In his usual Calvinist form:
“When the act of confronting evil is borne out of a desire for personal gain (healing), then the confrontation itself is in danger of becoming actively evil by seeking to take from or harm another human being for one’s personal profit and pleasure.”
Wade Burleson, E-Pastor, www.wartburgwatch.com
And this is an astute comment by David, from the previous post’s thread:
“Besides that, aren’t the Calvinists forgetting their own supposed doctrines of justification by faith alone and once saved always saved? If you have faith in Jesus and you happen to engage in the “sin” (falsely-so-called) of rejoicing when the Calvinist enemies of God get squashed, what’s God going to do to you? Damn you? My oh my! They’ve forgotten their own theology.”
David…of course you are completely right about this. Like Lydia said before, it is mystifying the level of cognitive dissonance that passes for “truth”.
But I submit they haven’t forgotten their theology; on the contrary, they are quite conscious of its inherent rational flaws. They are aware, and simply do not care. Rational flaws, you see, get punted into the cosmic abyss of God’s mystery (thanks to John Immel for his most excellent phraseology) So, its not a memory problem, it is a philosophical one. They fully concede that “mystery”–what I refer to as rank contradictions in assumptions; because there can be NO mystery inherent in any legitimate epistemology–is at the root of their belief system. They have no problem surrendering their reason to a theology that ultimately declares them completely inadequate vessels for knowledge. The reason Wade pushes for being “nice” and “graceful” to rank evil actions is precisely because he is FULLY AWARE that his doctrine demands immoral equivalency (the hardworking, church going old man is as morally corrupt as the 18 year old SGM child rapist). So, it is always best to fall back on “but for the grace of God go I”, lest you be “evil” in confronting “evil”.
Now, let’s look at this “evil in confronting evil” Burleson-ism again, because it speaks volumes as to how dangerous these Reformed pastors are; and how inadequate they are as teachers of…well, anything, but particularly God’s moral standards. This idea of “being evil, or having evil motives in confronting evil” is a wholly impossible scenario. Because if there is evil in your assumptions for confronting evil, then your problem is that you don’t have a real definition of evil, and thus, cannot be in a position to confront it, because you don’t really know what it is. Your assumptions drive your actions, you see, and if your assumptions are wrong then so is the definition of what you think you are confronting.
That might be a little confusing. Let me see if I can break it down.
What I mean is that if you are a hypocrite, you cannot really confront evil. It takes a proper understanding of evil to confront evil…and if you had a proper understanding then your motive for confronting evil would be naturally good. By Wade’s statement above it is clear that his assumptions cannot ever place him in a position to truly confront evil because he concedes, I submit, that he cannot really define evil; and that is reason enough to scare people off of Reformed theology . Again, if you truly think that evil assumptions can drive behavior which confronts evil, then it is obvious that your very definition of evil is flawed.
That is why this doctrine is so vile…it destroys all moral definitions and creates a cult of moral relativism. You MUST surrender all your judgements to the mystics who are, somehow, the ONLY ones in a position to have true revelations; to be in a position to possess real, efficacious “truth”. And these men will stand at the podium and teach people that it is not really possible for you to confront evil in your lives; and to teach you that “healing” is somehow selfish gain. It is a dreadfully un-Christian and unbiblical theology. They completely distort the notions of mercy and “turning the other cheek” and “not rejoicing over ones enemies”. The real reason Christians are to act in mercy and grace is not because all people are morally bankrupt and worthless and therefore cannot possess knowledge of anything with any certainty, but because they HAVE fundamental worth,and are thus fully capable of making rational and epistemologically sound moral distinctions…because they understand that all TRUTH starts with the human life, which is their singular, inexorable, perpetual frame of reference. We respect the fundamental goodness of the humanity of all people as God’s creation, which is why we are not to take pleasure in the fact that there are some people who choose to deny their own selves, and God in the process, by engaging in wickedness. Like David said, we are to ultimately rejoice in the destruction of evil (not people) because it represents the triumph of God and man’s existence; and we are to reject belief systems which demand man’s death in service to some subjective standard outside himself.
You see, Calvinist theology rejoices in the death of MAN, while true Christian theology rejoices in the death of EVIL. And this is really the crux of the difference between God’s truth and the World’s truth. The world loves external, subjective standards. They smirk and smile when they think of “god” (whatever primary consciousness happens to be in question at the moment…political party, culture, race, tribe, science, philosophy, nation, “bible”, leader, cult, CJ Mahaney etc., etc.) bringing destruction to cities full of people. But godly philosophy laments the destruction of humanity…it cries like the prophets at the thought of God’s creation being consumed in His wrath. It pleads and begs with humanity, like God does so often, to turn from its wicked ways; its denial of human self and human life and God’s truth. It does not take pleasure and get giddy about the destruction of human beings.
But Reformed theology does. Because goodness only comes in spite of man, never because of man. To them, God hates you with a hate that has no end. If there is any love towards you it is only because, somehow God has possessed you, in spite of you. He loves Himself, and that’s all.
But back to my other point: it is not that they have horrible memories when it comes to their theology, it is that they totally concede that God’s “mystery” is the backbone of all physical and metaphysical and epistemological reality.
But the problem is that anything which is truly an “unknowable” mystery cannot possibly be relevant to man’s life. If it is outside of man’s capacity to integrate into how he organizes his environment, then it is pointless. Mystery cannot ever be rationally grafted into any serious philosophy. “Allowing for mystery” is one thing, but it is unreasonable to actually ACT on what is NOT known, which is precisely Wades’ point: all your behavior is in service to that which you don’t know…which is, according to his doctrine of Total Depravity, everything. You and life your life exist as a purely function of God’s mystery. Which means that there cannot ever be a YOU in there because YOU can’t even really know YOU…you are a vessel with a hole in the bottom. Whatever truth you think you have is fleeting, nebulous…never still and always just out of reach.
They think: well, we’ll understand in heaven. But the problem with this idea is that if whatever you don’t know isn’t actually relevant NOW, then there is no reason to think it will be relevant THEN. If it isn’t going to help you to get to heaven, because you can’t know it, then it is meaningless. And if it is only relevant in heaven then why bother even bringing it up now? Concentrate on what you KNOW, not what you don’t. And if the sole end and beginning of its relevance is “trust God’s mystery”, then…well, where is the reason behind that statement? It goes right back to the fundamentals of Reformed epistemology: there is no way you can ever really know anything, because your mind is ultimately corrupt. You are to trust that God is doing things in your life that you don’t understand, and so you just let go and let all manner of life happen. Because confronting evil? Isn’t possible for you, really. So turning the other cheek to a slap in the face becomes turning the other cheek to a serial rapist in your church. And the fact that Reformed epistemology is utterly rooted in “God is doing things you can’t understand” means your understanding is irrelevant to life and living; both now and in heaven. Assuming that people who engage in a wholesale rejection of humanity actually get there.
You are not really you. That is the beginning and end of Reformed theology. And that is why discernment blogs which do not confront the doctrine will never curb abuse. Because, as I said before, to them–exhibit A being, I submit, the Wartburg Watch–evil is a disposition, not a philosophy. As long as you are nice, you must be good. And they never realize that by conceding the doctrine they have conceded that they cannot possibly qualify “nice” in the first place. They have no definition of good or evil, and so they cannot have a definition of anything else.
Remember, any philosophy which does not require man’s life to be true will require man’s death to the same objective.