Why “Discernment Blogs” are a Bore, and My Growing Doubt About A Certain Ministry’s Formal Attempt to Challenge Calvinism

Sooner or  later every debate on these discernment blogs–the ones I peruse–boils down to the moderator threatening someone or kicking them into moderation oblivion because he or she doesn’t like the “tone”.  It’s all about making people “feel safe” on the blog…whatever that means.  How many times have you read that?  I can’t count the number.  It’s bullshit.

First, if people don’ t feel safe (as opposed to actually not being safe, I guess they mean) why are they on the blog in the first place?  They want to comment and offer their ideas but they don’t want to get their hands dirty or their  sensibilities offended.  That’s like going out on the football field and telling the opposing team “don’t hit me”.   You are going to get in the arena and tie your emotions inexorably to your ideas and then have the gall to cry foul if you get “offended”?  Well…to those who feel “unsafe” when their ideas are challenged:  Boo fucking hoo.  Here’s a solution:  don’t comment.  A spiritually abused adult is still an adult, and they are still on the hook for their own choices.  You don’t assuage the effects of tyranny by affirming the right of the victim to engage in a tyranny of their own; a tyranny which forces everyone else to put a cork in their own ideas because they don’t like hearing them.  And also, I never understood why it’s the job of a blog operator to make readers and commenters feel “safe”.  Especially when “safe” is nothing but a euphemism for putting people’s irrationally delicate sensibilities above relevant discussions of doctrine.

Let me be clear.  I have little sympathy for anyone who engages in the suffocation of debate and the exchange of ideas, no matter what their reason.  The vehement rational debate of ideas is the ONLY thing that halts human destruction when all the manipulative emotional bullshit exists the premises.  You use your right to “feel safe” as the trump card to avoid an uncomfortable discussion of ideas which challenge the the doctrines of human  destruction?  Then you have lost any credibility whatsoever, even to claim “victim” status.  You are doing as your teachers have taught you, nothing more.  You seek to silence the opposition by appealing to vile altruistic doctrines which put people at the utter mercy of YOUR whims.

The real reason people don’t fee safe ever in any context is that ideas are despotic and evil.  But ideas are usually besides the point on the blogs.  The ideas are never challenged.  Everyone can believe whatever they want…and yet they still cry for a “discernment” blog to point out when the meanies are being mean.  How does that happen?  Because the contradictions never change.  Our thinking is still fundamentally Platonist, and that’s why nobody ever bothers considering that rationally impossible ideas might just lead to human misery.

It’s why I struggle to muster any interest in discernment blogging anymore (and I do NOT consider myself a discernment blogger, by the way).  Even the article I read recently on a popular discernment blog concerning the neo-Calvinist practice of “Wife Spanking”.  I was like, who cares?  Why the fuck is anyone surprised?  These Calvinists are violent animals who make a living telling people that man is a beast; that brute force is required to compel human beings to “godliness”, and if that means beating the shit out of your wife and children…well, the ends justify the means.  And the ends don’t really include PEOPLE anyway.  So, again…shrug.  Big deal.  More tyranny from tyrants.  Why does this necessitate 500 comments, as if this is in the least bit shocking.  If you preach beating people for God in order to maintain His sacred caste (i.e. “biblical roles”), people are going to get beat.  2+2=4. Why is this so riveting?

*

At the end of the day, no one is really challenging the root assumptions. Even with the moderator of a very popular anti-Calvinist blog, as much as I like him and admire what he’s trying to do (offer a systematic theological challenge to Calvinist epistemology), I still struggle to support his ideas or really scrape together an interest.  At heart, he is still a full-on Reformed Protestant, I submit, and so even with his ideas…well, unravel them down to their roots and you will find he concedes the exact same Platonist assumptions he savages the Calvinists for. The Bible is still “God’s Word”, which is simply another way of saying that the writers of the Bible somehow have a monopoly on truth and are fully above human context life or man’s “reason”.  And their absolute Gnosis (special, otherworldly knowledge) thus must somehow translate into “understandable” terms that humanity can apprehend and apply, even though the idea of a “special revelation” which doesn’t involve the context of individual human beings (meaning, it cannot be vetted for truth by HUMAN context) cannot, by definition, be translated into “biblical absolutes” which man can apply to his human context.  NON-contextual absolute “truth” cannot be reconciled with finite contextual reality in a way that doesn’t contradict it.  As soon as individual human life is factored in, the “special” and “divine” absolute truth is destroyed.

 If you were to ask this blog moderator, he would declare that the Bible is God’s Philosophy to man.  Which means ultimately that man is totally irrelevant.  God does not need man to have a philosophy for Himself.  MAN needs a philosophy, and that is what the Bible is trying to tell us.  There is NO special revelation. There is human life.  Period, full stop.  There is YOU and there is God.  You get to be you.  God gets to be God.  You are not ever obligated to accept the idea that TRUTH comes in the form of a revelation that has NOTHING to do with YOUR human context.

This is a false idea.

And further…man, according to this blogger, is still a contradiction in terms…”a spirit and a body”; and God still has knowledge of a future which MUST demand an orthodox acceptance of absolute determinism; man is still subject to conform HIMSELF to the “form” of words’ “literal meanings” found in the Bible; man’s faith to believe for salvation still is totally outside of himself…God is the one who saves man in SPITE of himself, thus completely jettisoning man from the salvation equation.  Man still cannot do any good unless God lets him.

Shrug.  So…these sites don’t really blow my skirt up, so to speak.  Because true healing can come only from having right ideas.  And these blog sites have huge traffic.  But tone is more important than truth, unfortunately.  And that, ironically, is likely why there is so much traffic.  These blog moderators know their audience, and that is precisely why they have such a large one.  The audience does not care to be challenged concerning their “sound doctrine”, they care to be coddled and fed heaping amounts of seasoning for their “righteous indignation”. Nothing more.

I often wonder how many commenters on these blogs still go to the same church they bitch about.  I wonder how many actually have taken salient, volitional action and protested with their feet and their checkbooks.  I’m guessing…few.

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15 thoughts on “Why “Discernment Blogs” are a Bore, and My Growing Doubt About A Certain Ministry’s Formal Attempt to Challenge Calvinism

  1. Well, you are writing on the same cognitive dissonance I live in. I see a need for the discernment blogs that you don’t. Most folks have not moved on to the next step. Most do stay stuck, I give you that. But that first step is important. And that step is a place where this stuff is outed and discussed. The problem is it works more like peer pressure on the blogs than really taking a hard look at “why”. And the longer the blog is around the more the peer pressure works. But peer pressure does not produce independent thinking. So some become the meanie if they try and take it to the next step where real HEALING begins.

    There is still a lot of thinking that only the people are bad. Not the root assumptions.

    I fear the whole bible debate is an impossible barrier. If I say it is not inerrant then I am not allowed to speak from it because I obviously don’t believe it. It is so childish. But here is the real heresy. I knew the bible through a filter. And once I broke from that and focused on the indwelling Savior, things really changed for me. My life became MY responsibility. Not God’s. He gave me the tools and ability. So why was I always waiting around on Him to change this or that? Yes, I still pray for guidance, etc but in the end, I am accountable for what I do with what He has provided us with on earth which boils down to brains, reason, arms, legs, etc. For those who do not have those tools, we are responsible to help.

    I don’t worship a book. Ha! I used to think that folks who said that were heretics. Now I understand it totally. And I still love it. I still read it. But with a totally different filter.

  2. ARgo, I did not really explain that well at all now that I read it again. Perhaps my thinking is marred by my own experience.

    I could finally not accept that what I was witnessing and involved in was actual Christianity. (This was about 2004) If it was ‘Christianity” and accepted by our Savior then I was a misfit. That was how deceptive and evil the behind the curtain mega churches were. Once I saw that, what went on stage was a total farce to me. Total fake.

    So I decided to go on a private trek to find out what was going on. I discovered “discernment blogs” such as they were back then and I was overwhelmed with how many people were asking the same thing I was. I knew I was not a misfit in that respect. Ok, so what was Christianity? So I went on that trek. And that led me to study a lot. I was already a student of history so started paying more attention to the church part of history and how that played out. All the while praying for bad filters to be erased.

    Calvinism was starting to be more evident so I studied that, too. Somehow during this time I came across John Immel. We even talked on the phone. He encouraged me to take a real close look at Augustine and how those dots connected to Protestantism. What an educational whirlwind! Amazing how lies can become “orthodoxy”. But I am STILL on my journey. Much wiser.

    I say al this to say the discernment blogs early on kept me sane after what happened to me. EVERYONE within cat flinging distance of me thought that what I saw as evil was normal. I have never felt so alone in all my life.I knew it was evil but people I had respected thought it normal. Including parts of my family I had been very close to (Add to that my mom died in 2004 and she was the REAL thing as far as a believer not caught up in any of it)

    My personality is such that I had to find out the “why” of it all. I could not stay stuck in the symptoms endlessly discussing the evil but UNDERSTANDING how it could be called good.

    But there are folks who do not move on from that. They are afraid of not looking nice or really dealing with people who do evil. (Deception is evil, btw). They just want the bad behavior to stop. But we both know it won’t.

    To sum it up, I think a place where people can go and see they are not insane is important. they might be surrounded by people who think the evil is normal or that they should just forget it and move on as if their personhood has NO value at all. They might continually be called bitter or a gossip and they have no tools to deal with it. People can gain strength from being around others who understand.

    So, I don’t write off discernment blogs totally but will say some become seriously bad such as SGM survivors. The only thing that blog showed me was how toxic SGM really was as people ran from one tyrannical system to another looking for nicer gurus. The more healthy people left.

  3. “If I say it is not inerrant then I am not allowed to speak from it because I obviously don’t believe it.”

    The funny thing here is those who believe inerrancy the least are those who proclaim it the loudest. How many times have you quoted a verse only to have them ignore it because they didn’t like what it said? Especially if it was a verse that would convict them for their horrid lifestyle? Everyone harmonizes the Bible in one of two directions. Either the direction that leads them to become a better person, or the one that leads them to become something less than human. They all tell themselves they believe every word of it, while in reality everyone is overriding some part of it with another. That’s just how it works. It took a long time to realize that. But I think its supposed to work that way. What else could Paul possibly mean by “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”? This strong delusion is not external, but is in the Biblical text itself, in the badly worded passages which those who have pleasure in unrighteousness twist to their own destruction.

  4. “They all tell themselves they believe every word of it, while in reality everyone is overriding some part of it with another.”

    Seriously. And this is only possible when contradiction forms the root of all you believe. You can convince yourself of any “truth” when cooperating presumptions are thought to not apply. If one interpretation demands a contrary understanding of another passage, they just wave their magic wand of “special revelation” (you must agree before you can understand) and viola!, both passages mean and say the same thing, and/or are completely complementary.

  5. “harmonizes the Bible in one of two directions. Either the direction that leads them to become a better person, or the one that leads them to become something less than human. They all tell themselves they believe every word of it, while in reality everyone is overriding some part of it with another. ”

    This is why I cannot do a proof text war. I first want to know what filter they are using to read it. Actually, that is pretty easy to guess by what proof texts they use! :o)

    I would rather focus on the spirit of the text but that does not make for a good fight, does it?

    How to explain the “evil” God in the OT? Obviously we are not reading it in the ancient understanding, are we, if Jesus Christ is God in the Flesh.

    I have come to believe that the OT is written as a direct juxtaposition to the pagan culture around it. I would love to hear both of your thoughts on the evil OT God that so many throw out.

  6. Well, you are correct. It depends on your standard of TRUTH (your “filter”). I use man’s LIFE as the standard of TRUTH for all ideas I am exposed to. Because of that, i don’t see “evil” in any action or doctrine of God in the OT. All God does is in service to the idea that human beings were created to BE, not to be conformed to some external “absolute”. All the cultures the Jews were commanded to wipe out conceded philosophies that openly disdained human life, and demanded the wholesale subjugation of humanity to its irrational ideas. This is my interpretation. I think it is the most reasonably defensible.

  7. I think one of the major things is the OT is the rejection of empire and globalism as evil. Egypt, Babylon, etc. If empire and globalism is rejected, then constant war is a good because it prevents them. How can you establish a worldwide empire and enslave everyone when you are dealing with “savages” who can’t be conquered? The more the NWO agenda we see in America today proceeds, the more people are going to become Ok with the Old Testament, because they’re going to see firsthand the sort of evil the OT was designed to fight. The OT is the framework/constitution of a limited monarchy ruling over a set region of land and specifically not allowed to extend the borders beyond certain parameters (from Dan to Beersheba). A government like that, if it follows the rules, should not become too tyrannical. Thus, the OT is in reality behind any concept of limited government. Furthermore, this concept of inherited land that cannot be sold but only temporarily leased out, but always returns to the family, would be (if it could be implemented) a remedy to much of our nonsense fighting over redistribution of wealth. The problem is we look at the OT asking the question “How can I be saved spiritually?” when it doesn’t answer that question: the question it answers is “How can we establish a government that doesn’t oppress its people and that stays out of other nations’ business and doesn’t make itself the policeman of the world?”

  8. “To sum it up, I think a place where people can go and see they are not insane is important. they might be surrounded by people who think the evil is normal or that they should just forget it and move on as if their personhood has NO value at all. They might continually be called bitter or a gossip and they have no tools to deal with it. People can gain strength from being around others who understand.”

    Agree. It is about connecting. It has a lot to do with the comments & gaining perspective, sharing ideas & thoughts. If it weren’t for Paul’s blog, I would prob still be a Calvinist. I am glad most of you have commented there, because I think I’ve grown much from your ideas. I am thankful for all of you. I also find those who disagree (like Kevin on SSB) helpful to my faith as well, as odd as that sounds.

  9. David, this is interesting and lends itself to discussing the 1st Century political aspects of Jesus Christ. (There were other so called “Messiahs” for Israel before and after Jesus)

    Would this be part of God wanting man to manage himself such as getting the Pagan Abraham away from other pagans to begin what we know as Isreal? Would ti be God angry when the Jews begged for a King because He was their king? And so on?

    I find this subject on the OT very interesting. I was always uncomfortable reading itt and trying to picture God as Jesus Christ.

    With those who interpret scripture literally, the evil monster god wiping out people has to be addressed.

  10. The “the evil monster god wiping out people” is like Putin wiping out Muslims terrorists in Chechnya. Liberal Western talking points prevent him from being given a fair shake.

    The West views the death penalty as “cruel and unusual punishment,” so instead we lock up violent criminals and let them rape each other, since obviously that is so much more humane. Or at least we used to. Now we just let violent multiple rapists out to rape over and over again on the outside. My how humane and tolerant we are. Such wonderful people we. So much better than that evil OT monster god that would have them stoned to death.

    The “all life is sacred” mantra is hogwash. Once you’ve raped another human being, your life is no longer sacred. Once you’ve murdered someone in cold blood, your life is no longer sacred. That “evil monster god” knew that, but strangely in our society its the life of the miscreant that is considered more sacred than that of the innocent. The murdering abortionist whore has her life considered more sacred than the child’s. The rapist has his considered more sacred than the women or even children that were his victims.

    Where exactly has being so much more enlightened than the OT god gotten us? It has devolved our society into the very barbarity that we supposedly were rejecting. The fact is society requires a certain level of barbarity. Either that barbarity will be utilized legitimately in the protection of the innocent and punishment of the wicked; or it will be used in the victimization of the innocent by the wicked. That’s the lesson that we refused to learn from the OT God.

  11. David,

    There is a reason your comment sounds so provocative! And it does. Especially because there is such a societal/religious blur now between good and evil. The “Christian” would say to you….but what about the murderers eternal life? Don’t you care he might be saved? He might repent and be saved. But if you kill him there is no chance. And that same Christian would go to court tell the judge he is a changed man and to go easy….while the victims family is sitting there wondering about justice. The “Christian” then tells them THEY are evil for not rejoicing over this changed man. And so on it goes.

    So they would say that you sound as Barbarian as the murderer. That is what you get in return for “thinking” or declaring there is a right and wrong. A good and evil. And there SHOULD be serious consequences for evil or there is moral chaos.

    I maintain that someone who is doing evil things to others (rape, murder, etc) has already given UP their value as a human being. They have chosen to devalue themselves.

    They chose to give up their own value because they devalued others. So I think we need to be careful about making fun of “human value”. We choose it. (And I am NOT saying they cannot seriously repent and be saved. What I AM saying is that repentence does not matter to the consequences of their action of rape, murder, etc. They still deserve punishment for it.)

    Christians think it is wrong to think this way. They will blather on about laws protecting us, etc, but they are the first ones to run to court to ask for leniency for the “repentent” child molster. For some reason, claiming to be a Christian can get you out of all sorts of consequences.

  12. Lydia,

    Yeah…I saw that. This site does that sometimes. I don’t know why. So frustrating. Obviously you are not supposed to be in moderation!! 🙂

  13. I have seen this line of reasoning, and I doubt anything you could say to someone who thinks like that would ever sink in. But what about the victims? Ok, so let the murderer go free to keep on killing in order to give him time to repent. Great. And how much time to repent do all the people he will kill in the meantime get? The problem is they never think anything through. They just stay on the shallow end of the pool.

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