We Deniers of Biblical Inerrancy and Non-Contextual (to Individual Human Life) “Sound” Doctrine Don’t Fear Insanity, We Fear We Are the ONLY Ones Sane: Response to Lydia

Lydia, this is for you.  🙂  I refer specifically to your comments in the last thread.  What struck me is how you said the discernment blogs helped you stay sane as you were going through a journey of faith and a breaking of doctrinal ties with your old ways of thinking.

Do I have that right?

By the way, if I am off base in any of this please call me out.  This is just what I have been thinking…if it doesn’t speak to you or your situation at all, then I would like to know.

*

But, you see, to me, I don’t understand how discernment blogs can keep anyone sane, really, because when you parse down their thinking just like we parse down the thinking of institutionalized tyranny like SGM and the SBC, they all still concede the exact same premise: the doctrine is fine, and no real evil is being perpetrated.  This makes all the “abuse” and the “abused” they dramatically wax on about on the blogs just as meaningless as it is in churches these people go to (or went to).  I would think the very fact that so many of these people on the blogs (I submit) still go to the same church is evidence that they don’t really think there is anything wrong with what goes on there. Further evidence is the bald-faced Calvinist masquerading as the benefactor of all the abused on a certain discernment blog with a resident “E-Pastor”.  You say cognitive dissonance?  I give you that circus.

My enlightenment about the discernment blogs mirrors my enlightenment about Sovereign Grace Ministries, of which I was a swaggering, neanderthal dickhead for, for over fifteen years.  After observing and thinking, I saw the exact same kind of tyranny on the blogs, just in a different form.  But regardless of the form, it was always in service to the “doctrine”.  In SGM, the doctrine was whatever CJ said it was.  And you know what?  On these blogs, it’s STILL whatever CJ says it is.

What I mean is that in neither place is the Reformed/neo-Calvinist doctrine considered a problem.  This implies that these blogs do not believe IDEAS really drive actions, which means that actions of people are driven by something OUTSIDE of themselves. Which means that people can’t help being the depraved despots they are, and abuse cannot really be rationally defined as abuse because abuse necessitates an efficacious human apprehension of an epistemological dichotomy of “good and bad”,  which of course is impossible if we concede that ALL that happens is God’s pre-ordained Will.  And this precludes the ability of “victims” on these blogs to claim that they are, in fact, “victims”, or for critics of Calvinism to be anything other than hypocrites.

*

I will say it again.  Unless the assumptions reconcile, the outcomes are always the same:  subjugation of man in service to some external absolute; to some “idea” that only certain “priests” are privy to.  As I said before, the “discernment” blogs, when you get down to it, are really only places which serve up seasoning for people’s hypocritical “righteous” indignation.  They hate those who abuse them, and yet they AFFIRM the doctrine (assumptions) which their tormenters appeal to as the authority for their despotism–their mandate from God, Himself, to do such things-as absolutely GOOD.  Which makes them twice the hypocrite as CJ and Piper, in my opinion.  The moderator on one blog criticizes Piper, yet lauds her E-Pastor, when there is virtually NO doctrinal difference between these two men.  She does an article on “sin and suffering” and goes in logical circles, arriving nowhere, just like every single Calvinist I’ve ever met.  Even the person running the vitriolic anti-Calvinism site I referred to in my last article (and I don’t mind the vitriolic part…at all), when you examine his ideas, is still, I submit, a Protestant purest.  Just today he declared on his blog that people who are saved are saved before they are born; and almost immediately prior to this he said that “he doesn’t know where he stands on the whole “election” thing”.

Huh?  Those two statements are completely contradictory. He JUST SAID that the saved are saved before they are born.  If this isn’t election then what is?  But it is okay with this person because he declares that this is NOT what the Calvinists believe.  They don’t believe in “election” as he defines it (and he is wrong; they sure as hell do believe in election, unless he wants to say that SGM and CJ Mahaney isn’t Calvinist). So, effectively, what he is doing here is assuming the right to perpetuate an irrational, utterly impossible and inevitably destructive idea simply because it isn’t Calvinist as he would define it.

Sigh.  And this is considered a “good effort”, even among some of the people I respect most, if not THE most.

Sigh, again.

See?  Who cares what we call the false idea? Calvinist.  Biblicist.  Catholic.  Shrug.  It is still destructive.  But people don’t care about individual human life, they only really care about proclaiming that THEY have the monopoly on divine “truth”, whether reasonable or not.  And that blogger’s definition of election explicitly means that you are saved before you exist.  But how in the world can this be a rational basis for ANY faith?  If salvation occurs not only in spite of man, but with man literally out of the picture, as in, categorically non-existent, then how can he reject ANY crazy idea, even a Calvinist one, without being a hypocrite?  If God determines all there is, which is what his definition of election demands, how can he criticize Calvinists?  They are no less determined by God to do what they do than he is.

*

If I may be so bold…

You went to the discernment blogs, not to save your sanity, I submit, but to convince yourself of something you ALREADY knew was true:  that you have every right to be YOU; which means you get a say in what goes on in your own life. The discernment blogs showed you that there are Christians who engage their brains; that you weren’t alone in this.  But the issue really wasn’t your sanity…you already knew you were right because you already knew that what you were hearing wasn’t reasonable. Ergo, you couldn’t be the insane one.  But knowing you were right terrified you, because if you were the only one then you were on the outs…you were alone, and that has epic psychological ramifications.  You were scared of being alone, not of being insane because you couldn’t accept the metaphysical rape pouring forth from the plexiglass podium.

In other words, you weren’t afraid that you were insane. You were afraid that you were, somehow, the ONLY one who WAS sane.  And that was something that, in the Calvinist theology you had conceded for so long, couldn’t possibly be true.

But you knew it was.  Hence the personal dilemma which sent you on your journey.

And once you found relief in knowing that you weren’t the only one thinking, via the discernment blogs, and that you weren’t alone, you quickly realized that it isn’t thinking which is the problem.  It is WHAT people think that is the problem.

And the thinking of the “discernment” blogs bears no functional difference to what you learned in church.   And that?  Is not sane.

Ever.

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9 thoughts on “We Deniers of Biblical Inerrancy and Non-Contextual (to Individual Human Life) “Sound” Doctrine Don’t Fear Insanity, We Fear We Are the ONLY Ones Sane: Response to Lydia

  1. “In other words, you weren’t afraid that you were insane. You were afraid that you were, somehow, the ONLY one who WAS sane.”

    Well, I think you probably nailed it. But as for the above my thinking went more along the lines of justice. Did ANYONE care about basic justice? Right and wrong? It is so weird that those in the forest cannot see the trees. That is what the experience was like.

    Look the experience was exactly the same as what we discuss in Calvinism. Not because the seeker megas are acknowledged Calvinists (they would be offended) but because they believe the same root assumptions. Humans are expendable and not of value unless for their cause. They are to be used for a greater gain in our service to Christ. In other words, their service to Christ required that no humans get in their way by disagreeing, not going along, etc. The ends justified the means.

    The real problem was there was NO ONE to even discuss this with back then. NO ONE. Not even in my own family. I was the problem because I defined evil as evil when they wanted to act like it was normal (or blank elder was just having a bad hair day or they don’t really know what is going on or enter any excuse you like here____) No one was to blame for what was being done to individuals who dared not go along with questionable practices or dissented. NO ONE questioned the leaders. It was unwritten policy. And because everyone was so fakey nice on the outside you had to be real up close to see what was going on as I was.

    Was I nuts? How could so many long term “Christians” go along with this even at those levels?

    Oh, I saw uncomfortable people rationalize it away. I saw some look the other way and pretend things were not happening. Everything was very subtle. It was pure deception. Nothing was documented. There was no trail. But people would just disappear from staff and if anyone asked about them— crickets— and they learned not to ask anymore.

    I started thinking this must be how Nazi Germany started out. Then I found an obscure book written by a German who was apprenticing law during the 30’s in Germany. I could totally relate to his story as to the methods of thought control used there. The peer pressure. The going along not to rock boats. Wanting to be seen as “nice”. And this was early on before the Nazi’s got real power. He got out in 1939 and took his diary with him. His family published it after his death. So his diary is NOTHING about the war but only about the environment of working/living in Berlin as a 20 something leading up to it. It is uncanny how close it was to how things worked in these mega churches. I could not believe it. He ended up realizing that even his close friends were not to be trusted and they were good guys who did not like Nazi’s. It was just the environment. And environments are created and affirmed by those in them. Right?

    So, was he the “sane” one among hundreds he was around daily? I guess he was. And was smart enough to get out.

    It is not an easy place to be. We all want some form of acceptance from those around us but many times it means no real relationship because we have to be so careful what we say/do. I hate that life. I hated it. I still hate it. And to this day if someone finds out, they are “offended” because they like those churches and there is “no perfect church”. As if the choices are “perfect or evil”.

    If I were the sane one I can only give credit to my mom who was always REAL and taught me to be also. I did my time with the fake Christian world that puts NO value on individuals. I came to see it as a form of collectivism. Everything was done to protect the leaders and the institution.

    The discernment blogs probably showed me there really was a serious problem in Christendom, it was not just me. But they were also scary, too, in those early days because the defenders of the system were simply vile. In some ways, they have become more clever in that respect. Years of blogging have taught them how to be clever. I think this is why it is hard for me to trust anyone who makes a living in ministry. I have seen how they play people. They have to! Or out of job.

    But I was up against some serious heavy duty celebrity players. EVen telling my story would set me up for serious problems because these guys are very respected and most folks only know their stage personas. They have NO CLUE what goes on behind the stage and most don’t want to know anyway. The other thing is that the other movers and shakers around them LIKE how they are. It is about success, celebrity, being around the right people. So no matter where….YOU are the problem and no one believes you anyway.

    The discernment blogs helped there early one when I was getting my sea legs and gaining confidence. That took a while. And I think this is because I was not just an attender of these places but a highly paid and involved consultant who knew things. I was dangerous and had to be marginalized.

    Yep, it was lonely and scary. But it was also an important time to really test this God thing out. Did I matter? Why would God lift them up and bring me down so far if I was right?

    Well, God DID NOT DO IT. That was lesson 1 that the Holy Spirit taught me. It is logical! The Holy Spirit is pure wisdom. They did it. Not God! I learned to stop thinking of God that way. And woe to them that do such things in the Name of Jesus! They are the ones who should be scared. In fact, I think ministry “life” has become a huge sin trap.

    You know you are close to overcoming when a person very much involved in that whole thing asked me recently what were my beliefs are now (sort of implying I was a heretic). I told him that my belief system hinged around the doctrines that teach humans are personally responsible for what they do/say. Period. No excuses. No rationalizations. And that have a deep sense of basic right and wrong. That understand the value of individuals and decry any caste system at all among believers. That believe the function of elder is they are fed to the lions first. They don’t feed people to the lions.That believing in Jesus Christ as Messiah did not mean cheap grace, determinism or lawlessness. And yes, I am a heretic in the eyes of most of Protestanism. So be it.

    (I was actually told that I was selfish for thinking I was of “more” value than a mega church doing great things for God!. See how it works? That thinking is ingrained in most of Protestantism. If you think you have value it is thought you think yourself of MORE value. Sheesh!.)

  2. Just to add: I think I needed validation that I was sane. But the whole thing taught me how important it is to really KNOW yourself and think through what you believe and why. It is very easy to get caught up in things. (I admit I got caught up in the money. Trust me it flows like crazy in that world)

    And another thing this taught me is how fake most of Christendom really is. It is mostly outward show. As a friend of mine put it: Totalitarian niceness.

    Some people really think Christians are supposed to be fluffy nice. And the most important thing is to be liked. That is a recipe for cult or participating in evil.

  3. “In fact, I think ministry ‘life’ has become a huge sin trap.”

    That’s an interesting statement. Why do you think that is? Is it because in Protestantism ministers must elevate themselves above everyone else as God’s amanuensis? or is it because they must tow the party line of determinism yada yada yada and end up believing it and living out the wickedness it entails?

  4. “Just today he declared on his blog that people who are saved are saved before they are born; and almost immediately prior to this he said that “he doesn’t know where he stands on the whole ‘election’ thing”.”

    Yes I heard that too. This is the whole issue. To sit on the fence on this means you can never get anywhere. And to take a solid position (and the wrong one) while declaring out of the other side of your mouth that you are on the fence, what does that accomplish? Sneaky sneaky. This is why I think Roger Olson is the sneakiest Calvinist of all. (He’s a leading Arminian, so he as most people fooled into thinking he is against Calvinism. But he’s really a Calvinists if you pay attention to what he says.)

    Election must be corporate only: the church is elect. God doesn’t pre-choose who will be in the church. Aside from the apostles themselves, if we must take Paul seriously on “God who separated me from my mother’s womb…” But this idea that God chooses who will be saved, its no different from Obama choosing the economic winners and losers. Its not right and no good can come of it.

  5. “Election must be corporate only: the church is elect.”

    That is the only legitimate interpretation. It simply cannot mean anything else without utterly wrecking man’s entire epistemology. Shooting it dead at point blank range. If man is saved before he exists, then man is, by definition NOTHING. What the doctrine of individual election says is quite literally that NOTHING is “saved”. And as “nothing” is by definition an absolute…well, then if you were saved as nothing, then you ARE nothing.

    Another doctrine which separates man from himself. And even the most vehement anti-Calvinists end up holding the door open for their atrocious ideas.

    This is how deceptive and surreptitious the ideas are. For all our hard work, we are still Platonists at our root.

  6. “That believing in Jesus Christ as Messiah did not mean cheap grace, determinism or lawlessness.”

    Lydia,

    And isn’t it interesting how the first leads to the next, and that to the next. Funny how it happens in essentially that order. If you are irrelevant to grace, this means that YOU do not really exist. “You” cannot possibly be the receptacle of “grace” if YOU offer NOTHING to the equation, which is precisely what Reformation orthodoxy teaches. There is NOTHING about you in your “natural” state (meaning, you as YOU) which can be reconciled to God’s grace. This must naturally preclude your very existence from being itself relevant. This is the very definition of cheap grace. By definition what you DO doesn’t matter because what you ARE is irrelevant. This of course leads straight into the absolute of determinism. In order for “you” to receive grace, you must not actually be you. Thus, you are nothing more than a direct extension of some absolute “force” which means that all you think and know and do has ALREADY been decided without “you”, as well as meaning that all you think and do and know isn’t really anything YOU think and do and know anyway. You only THINK you think and do and know…when in reality, THAT is the illusion.

    And obviously this leads to lawlessness because if people don’t actually exist, but are merely extensions of some determining force outside of them-either God’s grace or their “sin nature”-then they can’t really be expected to concede any kind of moral or practical standard of living, can they? For the ability of one who does not actually exist as a self-aware agent to choose good actions over evil is subordinated by the force which acts “through” them.

    In other words, they cannot keep the law in the first place, so why bother trying? Any relevant consequences are going to be meted out regardless of what they do or don’t do. Isn’t that the whole point of the doctrine of “sovereign grace”?

  7. “Why do you think that is? Is it because in Protestantism ministers must elevate themselves above everyone else as God’s amanuensis?”

    Well, yes for one. That is built into the system invented by man. There is no way around it. They always end up “set apart” in some way or another. Some worse than others. For one because they have redefined functions to be “offices”. Or ‘elder” to mean boss.

    It does not take long for the system thinking to become their normal no matter how they start out.

    . Instead, the NT concept communicates leaders as “those who have gone before” who endured horrible hardship, who have lived it out, etc. A whole other ballgame that is foreign to our society. .

  8. The election issue has to be dealt with. And yes it is corporate. It is way over literalized in most of Protestantism. Any other view leaves us with the monster god and man with no volition.

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