God, Church, Family, Work: The oppressive fallacy of abstract value hierarchies

A few weeks back at the burgeoning neo-Calvinist church that my family is attending, though we are not members…

Wait.  Let me back up.  Lay some ground work so that you don’t get your brain muscle all outta whack.

Before you cry hypocrite, hear me out.  I have told this story before–somewhere, but don’t ask me to link it–but it bears repeating.  I will make it short, however.

Well.  Short…for me.

After fifteen years and over a hundred thousand dollars in tithes and offerings to Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) in three different churches in three different states, my family and I had an epiphany, known in our household as a healthy dose of reason.  This occurred not long after C.J. Mahaney, President of SGM got–as John Immel of spiritualtyranny.com hilariously put it–“a bucket of wikileaks in the face” and then the proverbial human excrement hit the proverbial wind motivator.  We foundered in the spiritual wilderness for a while (we should have stayed there, frankly, because the alternatives out there in Christendom are all pretty much a massive waste of time and money) before finding a great little church (well…not that little; a couple hundred attendees) literally just down the road from us which was in the midst of recovering from a nasty church split.  The cause of the split?

Take a guess.

I do believe you’ve got it.

A neo-Calvinist tyrant was trying to lead the church down the tyrannical road of that peculiar brand of theo-marxist tyranny, and after doing the “Cant’ We All Just Get Along” dance and standing on ceremony for a time laity basically said “fuck off”…and off the tyrantwent, taking the usual 30 to 50% flow of slavish, mindless devotees with him(and we think this country could never fall for a Hitler….we can, and probably will, and he will probably be Reformed and probably a Calvinist, though he will probably deny it because tyrants love to talk about how they aren’t really tyrants and don’t believe the tyranny that Calvin taught, because they only believe in the Westminster Confessions or the Heidelberg Catechism which of cours have noooooothing to do with Calvin’s systematic theological system, even though they SO do adore Calvin, and no I’m not kidding; our national tyrant will be a “good Christian man” who believes only in the “objective” and “inerrant” “Word”; trust me).

So…great situation for us, right?  My wife and I were all smiles, and assured our new brothers and sisters in Christ that, after having spent some time in the theo-marxist sausage machine of Calvin’s brand of Protestant “sound doctrine” and having some personal experience with the psychological manipulation and emotional abuse (and I got off easy) which proceeds from such a mindset, that the folks in our new church had indeed made the right call in sending the little dictator off to sell his snake oil to people who actually DID just fall off the turnip truck, having actually BEEN born yesterday.

Cut to a year or so later when, in an act of what I can only define as desperation, they hired a full-on, rank neo-Calvinist to replace the one they just sent away, after having vowed that they’d rather see the church “body” cloven in two like the baby before Solomon than to have someone like THAT tell them a spiritual thing or two about a spiritual thing or two.  Now, in the defense of the laity, these mystics are exceedingly convincing, and in the question and answer sessions which took place before he was hired this neo-Cal did a great job of deflecting his theological…more like philosophical roots.  As I knew he would, having, by that time, come to understand that what neo-Calvinist pastors call “preaching and teaching” is really full-on propaganda; and that to someone who believes that humanity is morally and epistemologically defunct at the root of its very existence, LYING and LYING WELL becomes the operative mark of a successful Pastor.  Of course, they don’t look at it as lying.  They look at it as putting the “milk” before the “solid food”.  But here’s the thing:  the “solid food” only every really goes to a select group of soldiers that the Pastor can trust to carry out his demands without question and without concern for the pesky lives of the laity which NEVER matter in the grand scheme of doing God’s will and spreading “sound doctrine”, which is always in service to the Pastor’s his own power, even though he might deny this, because in that peculiar theology it MUST BE, because there is no distinction between PASTOR and GOD; and what God wants, God always gets because God has supreme and sovereign “authority”, which is really FORCE, as John Immel says, and FORCE is VIOLENCE plain and simple.  The Pastor is God…if God were nothing but a man with a gun pointed at your head telling you to pretend you don’t really exist and thus you are free to shut up and tithe and serve. You sit and tithe and serve and fear for your life which you don’t really have, but which is leveraged against you to get you to serve the “authority’s” absolute Will to Power.

The rest of us get the “milk”, and so…my point is, having been sucking on the neo-Calvinist teat for fifteen years and cooing for more, I had gotten pretty adept at spotting the subterfuge and deception.  I could smell it in the air, and it smelled like burning flesh.

So…needless to say they hired this guy and so there me and my family are to this day.

Why have I not left?

Hmmm…it’s complicated, but as usual it involves the children and the torturous and heart-wrenching thought of tearing them away from certain friends.  You must understand that we home school, so my girls don’t get a lot of interaction with kids their own age.  When they do, they tend to get extremely attached to them.  And…well, if you don’t have kids you won’t understand; you’ll likely see me as a rank hypocrite, and I get it.  I really do.  We are trying to leave.  And we will.  But for those of you with kids (and actually like them) you will quickly understand that no matter how steely your philosophical resolve, you find yourself making compromises and adjustments that you’d NEVER have thought your principles would have allowed, in order to save yourself and your family from emotional torment.

But, having said that, I must say that for a blogger like me, there has been an enormous benefit to hanging around this church; and I would be lying if I said that that also wasn’t part of the reason I have stayed.  You see, I have witnessed the doctrinal conversion of a church from something NOT Calvinism to that which IS Calvinism, and IS CALVINISM to the fullness of its despotic and destructive conclusions.  I have seen the manifestation of the evil theology rise from just a few seeds and a few smatterings and suggestions here and there and some “care group” banter concerning the merits of “free will” vs. “total depravity”…to the formal doctrinal “discussions” between the Pastors and the laity as exhibited in many a Sunday “sermon series'”…to the full blown acceptance that the church is completely devoted to Reformation orthodoxy of the codified and systematic Calvinist kind and the leadership will reject the granting membership status to, or ordaining, ANYONE who denies “sound doctrine” in any way…to the full blown scandals of child rape, blackmail, cover up, intimidation, excommunication, lying and distortion, and leadership taking financial liberties with tithes and offerings.

But see, back then, I was a Calvinist, and so I didn’t have the rational frame of reference with which to understand what was really going on at the time, nor did I much care, trusting that the leadership had the mandate of God on its side and so who the fuck was I to question men who had been called and inspired in a way that was utterly beyond my ability to apprehend.

Of course, realizing that that is all total bullshit now, I have an entirely new vantage point from which to observe this spectacle; the inexorable march of the hoards of darkness as they take over this little unsuspecting group of very nice people.  I note with clinical and studious interest the furrowed brows on some of the elderly folks when they hear the new Pastor pronounce that he does not see it his duty to visit the sick and the dying in their homes and hospitals because his primary responsibility is to spread false ideas and unholy propaganda, and to tear the church from the arthritic grips of the old, fuddy duddies and place it squarely in the possession of younger, more malleable and impressionable males.  And they shall replace the geezers as the new leadership, and they “shall not be despised for their youth”, and shall possess no abundance of years nor wisdom, understanding, enlightenment or self-confidence.  Personality traits of which are nothing more than rank unwashed arrogance insofar as Calvinism is concerned.

Yes, I see the hands raised ever so slightly in tentative protest and the small voices here and there who dare to question the Sunday School teacher (who is maybe thirty) when he says he doesn’t feel that he can support the idea that the American Revolution was a righteous endeavor; nor is he convinced that God looked favorably upon those Colonial rascals who dared challenge the right of the King of England to stand in the stead of God as His divine proxy and wave a scepter and pronounce that no man shall have any value at all who has not been sacrificed, body and soul and wallet, to the “sound doctrine” of his Divine Right of Kings.  That YOU, oh America should have remained a direct extension of the his Majesty, with no thought to that insolent notion of YOURSELF as actually existing autonomously from the British Imperial Collective, ruled by his royally Reformed ass, King George III…oh yes, that you should have, in order to truly be godly, been denied your very SELF–that inexorable and infinite singularity of existential essence which must exist before you can even agree with his majesty, the royal butcher, and concede Divine Right of Kings in the first place–is the very thing being taught in an AMERICAN church, right now, down the street.

And NO ONE is leaving!   On the contrary!  You’ve never seen a church so full!  Packed to the brim with rows of pews threatening collapse under the weight of sanctimonious declarations of human existential failure and positively desperate begging of forgiveness for inherent and unavoidable depravity and shame as we learn of the cosmic importance of our local church and the evils of the individual…that sense of ME, that sense of SELF, that sense of metaphysical ONENESS which is the crux of life, oh how we are told to beat our chests and gnash or teeth and tear our clothes and bathe in ashes for the very shame of being born a single person.  Who will save us from this body of death?  Be it Christ?!  Aye…Christ who is now incarnate within the collective called the church, and never from without, which beckons you to forsake SELF and fuse yourself to the GROUP which is the very Ark which shall rise up to heaven!  Indeed, rational human beings (ostensibly) gather en mass each Sunday to learn that in fact they possess no ability whatsoever to do, think, choose, or teach anything GOOD.  They gobble it up with shaking and desperate hands as though it were manna from heaven, hoping that it will somehow bring life to that which was born dead and is destined to enter the final judgment dead; that the very NON-SELF of the the Christian who has been categorically integrated into church collective might somehow see salvation (which is a rational impossibility…for without YOU, there is no one to save)and the love and grace of God which can only be effective and received if humanity itself is categorically removed from the equation.  In this system, the conceptual abstractions of “group” and “body” and “biblical roles” are what is real, and YOU as YOURSELF are the lie which stumbles “the truth”.

Shall I stay? I find it ever so motherfucking fascinating!  So you bet I will stay.

For a while.

And I will stay and listen as the young Sunday school teacher, with a marvelous boyish charm, most kindly and gentle disposition, and positively sparkling smile says this:  “God, Church, Family, Work” with respect to an abstract value hierarchy which he is utterly convinced is rooted in rational Biblical ideas.  For I.  Cannot.  Help.  Myself.

I will stay and listen and blog.

It demands rebuttal.  And this is my forum.

More soon.

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31 thoughts on “God, Church, Family, Work: The oppressive fallacy of abstract value hierarchies

  1. Hi Argo,

    “…then the proverbial human excrement hit the proverbial wind motivator” 🙂 This was not lost on me. l’m laughing & clapping! So much more interesting & funny than the proverbial S hits the F run of the mill boring line. There were more examples of creative writing in this post. Your creative words prime the thinking mind into eager interest for what’s next. You’re actually a good story-teller, Argo.

    Now, as for your predicament, I understand. As you know, I’m a homeschool Mom.

    My view on reformed/Calvinist/TULIP/determinist belief is that it’s dangerous & not something I would choose to expose children to. And I don’t. It’s a zombie-maker & depressing. And I’m not kidding when I say hide the kids & wallets from self-professed broken/depraved adults. My assessment is they’re true & right at home, or ignorant, or ignorantly arrogant.

    However, it’s difficult to quarantine kids from the basic belief in fate. It’s everywhere (cashiers, waiters, etc). It happened so it’s meant to be mentality is all over the place. And I don’t wish nor want to quarantine. These are valuable teachable moments. We use them to think things through. Now I’m being told what’s wrong with ideas behind statements!

    I do have to tell you, based on personal experience, your kids will meet & make other friends. If you’re at a park/event/music lesson/game/bday party & you naturally strike up a convo that’s interesting & enjoyable, ask the other parent to meet up again. If your kid buddies-up, take note & foster those budding friendships. Watch for connections. Notice if both sides have a hard time saying goodbye. Exchange phone numbers & email addresses. I’m not kidding. And if it fizzles that’s okay. You never know, your kid might meet a friend for life, a kindred spirit.

    If your kids have those friendships at church, start spending time together outside of church. Will their parents allow friendships to continue if you stop attending? Don’t wait, see what happens. The parents may change their mind. If not, your kids will survive. Your kids & theirs will learn a good lesson for life, either way it goes.

    I would encourage you to leave while the leaving is good. Timing may never be great for the kids. But the kids are better off (even if it seems difficult for them at the time) if you leave before the proverbial human excrement hits the proverbial wind motivator. 😉

  2. A Mom,

    LOL…good catch!

    As for the rest, I am going to read your comment again. But I have a feeling you are very, very right.

    BTW the last comment you left on John’s blog I thought was the best comment I have ever read on any blog.

  3. I feel your pain, Argo.

    We also attend a church that was NOT Calvinist at ground zero. A rarity. We have one old man deacon who says it will go Calvinist over his dead body. And he is on all kinds of denomination boards so you think he would be up on what is happening in the SBC. But I am here to affirm your post that these young cal guys are slick, slick, slick. And the old man believes some of the movers and shakers when he shouldn’t.

    Our pastor left (the man was a scholar and I will miss him but this is not a good town for non Cal scholars) and I can assure you they will end up hiring a Calvinist even though they don’t want one. (I use Calvinist in general terms because they are going to great lengths now to hide it) Why? because that is all there is out there.

    We have an entire generation that has been schooled in it to some degree in seminaries all over this country. Some are more than others but it is there. I don’t think people have any idea how much it has infested most of Protestantism. They have even hidden in some of the most non Calvinist seminaries or colleges you can imagine.

    New youth pastors/ children’s ministers….both Calvinist and pretty much benign until the pastor left. I did not have kids in youth for the last one but he left to plant an Acts 29/Sojourn church and somehow got a hold of my email and sends pleas for money all the time. Sigh.

    It is a bit hard to take when one has been there longer and you think it is your church, too. Not at all. I forgot. I don’t exist. Silly me.

    I also spend quite a bit of time with the kids going over what is taught. I am just point blank about it with them. But also they are involved in many volunteer activities at church that takes them away from the teaching part in youth and helps develop their gifts at the same time. My kids spend a ton of time with the seniors at church and the very little kids. that part has been a blessing. I am not very involved at all.

    So, I feel your pain. The problem is bigger than most think. There might not be a church unless you go for Eastern Orthodox or something drastic like that. But at least they believe in free will/accountability/responsibility. On the other hand some of those places are extremely liberal and that galls me too. Just trading one tyrant for another: A socialistic government making your choices for you.

    So if they were not volunteering with the seniors and small children, we would be gone. But even with that they are picking up on things big time. Great discussions with them, too! But it is amazing how few people can pick up on the red flags. They get slowly boiled.

  4. One more thing….I am already seeing that we are going to have to give our children a different paradigm of being Christians and what is “church”.

    BTW: Obama is a “Christian” who loves to micromanage our lives for us. I don’t know his position on inerrancy, though. (wink)

    I am going to watch out for the guy or gal who wants to control my life the most whether it is healthcare or values.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Lydia. We want for our kids what we grew up with.

    “I don’t think people have any idea how much it has infested most of Protestantism.” 100% agree. This is not the belief system I learned as a young child in Sunday school. We were taught the Golden rule, saturated with “pure” entire Bible & not the “Romans road”, etc. People like you, Paul, Argo, John are the modern day Wilberforce & Bonhoeffer. They were unstoppable. Protestants herald bratty power-hungry boys instead. Check out Piper’s Q&A with Eric Metaxas on youtube. Piper is quite arrogant.

  6. “…and off the tyrantwent, taking the usual 30 to 50% flow of slavish, mindless devotees with him(and we think this country could never fall for a Hitler….we can, and probably will, and he will probably be Reformed and probably a Calvinist, though he will probably deny it because tyrants love to talk about how they aren’t really tyrants and don’t believe the tyranny that Calvin taught, because they only believe in the Westminster Confessions or the Heidelberg Catechism which of cours have noooooothing to do with Calvin’s systematic theological system, even though they SO do adore Calvin, and no I’m not kidding; our national tyrant will be a “good Christian man” who believes only in the “objective” and “inerrant” “Word”; trust me).”

    I once heard a a good Christian president say, “I am the decider.” LOL

    Anyway, it’s great you touched on this. Yes, the pump is primed. Fatalism is the American mindset in general, and the go-to for Christian Americans. Fate is the easy explanation for bad. However, apathy is not good for life.

  7. Lydia,

    You touched upon the dilemma well. The problem is that there are NO churches which aren’t ultimately throwing up their hands to fate; to a version of “sovereignty” that demands the wholesale denial of human consciousness. So while I am fine not going to “church” at all, because I think what we call church is more “tradition” (and I have this sort of general revulsion to traditions anyway because there is never a satisfactory answer to “why in the hell are we doing this when I could be napping instead?”) than useful, my wife simply rejects a life without a “regular” church. And I understand; she craves the social relationships church offers. I’m an introvert by nature, but she is not. So…what to do? And I am loathe then to leave until it becomes absolutely necessary because I agree that “Calvinist” is a catch-all phrase for Protestantism in general these days. Almost ALL Christians in America concede to greater or lesser extent the ideas of “original sin”, “total depravity”, and the absence and irrelevancy of man in the salvation process (i.e. choice is void). This evil trinity automatically creates mysticism instead of truth. And so there is just no where else to go…and I have looked.

    Plus, yeah, the kids are young so they aren’t getting much “theology” right now, and they know daddy’s opinion on their worth and their ability to act efficaciously according to their own values.

    Still…A Mom rings very true. To me, there is a palpable sense that this place is a cauldron. Those in leadership are extremely enthusiastic, and it is kind of frightening. Not to be derisive, but where we live now (man this is going to sound arrogant) the level of higher education is quite low and the conservative mindset is REALLY ramped up to like defcon five. My opinion is that that is a dangerous combination (just as any absolutism (ideology) is dangerous when not combined with a relatively well established understanding of the evolution of civilization and at least some experience with the world outside of one’s own four walls). So while the trends resemble what I saw in SGM at this church, they are moving MUCH faster, much more relentlessly, and with an enthusiasm that looks more like fanaticism.

    Last Sunday’s worship revolved around blatantly militaristic themes, and this seems to be the bedrock mindset for the entire thrust of the church under this new pastor. There is a lot of “stand up and fight to take your country back” thinking. Which I don’t mind I the thinking is rooted in the assumption that ALL humans have an inherent right to EXIST. Unfortunately, as we all known, Reformed thinking HATES life; worships death.

    I would be lying if I didn’t say I find it uncomfortable at best; and more like…disturbing.

  8. “This is not the belief system I learned as a young child in Sunday school. We were taught the Golden rule, saturated with “pure” entire Bible & not the “Romans road”, etc.”

    Oh boy…you are right. First of all, it took me some time to really recognize how much things changed for the worse because I tend to be a big believer in good change adn moving forward. But some change is horrible.

    Then I tried to track when these things started changing in a big way. I really think it started with the rise of the cult of personality: The “Christian” market niche. The rise of Christian celebrities.

    I am not talking about the cults out there that have always been around like IFB, OPC, etc. I am talking mainstream.

    It is all anecdotal but the thing is, when I was growing up, the Catholic down the street belived in and for the most part practiced the Golden Rule as did the Lutheran across the street.

    ARgo, I can relate; I am introvert but have very extroverted children. So what to do? They would die inside being taken away from the relationships with those seniors ann the little kids. I mean, we are talking about the fact, they miss school for their funerals, too. However, I do worry about the influence but I am teaching them to question everything (test everything) respectfully.

    And then growing up our life revolved around “church”– my mom always had a key to the place!. It was part of our life. I won’t spend time crying for what was because there there problems then but at least the pastors were one of us in the priesthood back then adn the problems were NOTHING like they are today where spiritual abuse/control etc is ingrained and part of the culture. What kills me is that back then these pastors would have been run off in no time. taht is how much things have changed.

    I think the fact that my parents generation also recognized seeds of tyranny and had a much healthier view of “authority” in that it had to be qualified or elected. My generation spent time building the megas and systems that eventually became tyrants and this generation is taking it to it’s logical conclusions by making the pimply faced pastor with NO trench experience their guru because of his title. Talk about ignorance.

    It is a very unbrave new world, my friend. Ever read about the Khmer Rouge? They ,for the most part teenagers, who raped, pillaged and ruined their country.

  9. “Last Sunday’s worship revolved around blatantly militaristic themes, and this seems to be the bedrock mindset for the entire thrust of the church under this new pastor. There is a lot of “stand up and fight to take your country back” thinking. Which I don’t mind I the thinking is rooted in the assumption that ALL humans have an inherent right to EXIST. Unfortunately, as we all known, Reformed thinking HATES life; worships death. ”

    And your blog article said some there were talking about us being wrong to split from king George. We did not obey our authority type thinking. So take it back for what? Theocracy?

    Some Reformed here are doing this to “rally the troops” early on because it works. There are a lot of people (pew sitters) who think we can still win the cuture war as it has been focused on for years.

    I hate the culture war whether it is an embrace of homosexual marriage by the leftites or outlawing homsexuality by the righties (as one example of hot button issues). Both wear me out. Because BOTH sides are trying to shove their values down my throat. I get sick of it because right now I am wondering how I am giong to pay for health care 5 years from now. It has gone up so much for us. And I thought it was going down and would be more “affordable”!

  10. “Check out Piper’s Q&A with Eric Metaxas on youtube. Piper is quite arrogant.”.

    Yeah, I gotta see that. I find Metaxas interesting. I have a hard time getting a handle on him.

  11. “My generation spent time building the megas and systems that eventually became tyrants and this generation is taking it to it’s logical conclusions by making the pimply faced pastor with NO trench experience their guru because of his title. Talk about ignorance.”

    Yes. Humility was part of the pastor’s job requirement. And ministry to the body. Today it’s smooth, slick-tongued dynamic delivery of the sermon. The people want someone they will worship who will lead them. They short-change themselves.

    The mega-seekers started it. The SB reformed adopted this model for themselves & pack the pews. Fatalism is easy to understand. God decides. But fatalism creates inch deep faith in a distant god. Many can parrot it but don’t live it out. But some do, which is tragic.

    What’s disturbing is the “us against them” mentality Argo brings up. I see it, too. It’s the “we are enlightened, we are better than you” mindset. Everyone else belongs in the depravity dumpster. These attitudes bring on “holy” wars & more suffering. There’s nothing Christ-like about it. Fate makes brains cold & rock-hard. It’s truly chilling.

  12. “The mega-seekers started it. The SB reformed adopted this model for themselves & pack the pews. Fatalism is easy to understand. God decides. But fatalism creates inch deep faith in a distant god. Many can parrot it but don’t live it out. But some do, which is tragic.”

    Here is one for ya. Talked to a ton of SBYRR guys over the last 8 years or so and many were raised in the SB seeker type churches whether large or small. The sort of Rick Warren type churches.

    There were attracted to “Reformed” because they actually mentioned “sin”. . In the seeker world sins are “mistakes” and no big deal unless you are negative toward the organization/leader. Then it is sin.

    But in reality seekers and reformed are more alike than different. In the seeker world, sins are mistakes and in the Reformed world, your existence is sin. So either way, you cannot help it.

    To add to that, in the seeker world, the idea was to be idolized by the pew sitters while being hierarchical with staff to control the organization and message. They pioneered the celebrity Christian pastor. (instead of evangelist)

    In the Reformed world it is just plain old hierarchical. And they have learned how to promote themselves to become the untouchable celebs who have the truth for the rest of us.

  13. I hear ya, Lydia. Either way, seeker or reformed, wrong-doing gets a pass. We get a lot of SBTS rising star grads, due to location & proximity is my guess. There’s not much left to choose from in my neck of the woods either. It’s troubling.

  14. Lydia,

    Just read about the Khmer Rouge. Very disturbing stuff. But the same philosophy exists in the church. Which is positively chilling. And that is no exaggeration.

  15. Have you read John’s latest post. It is brill.

    yah, the Khmer is a drastic example but the strategies remind me of how the YRR movement evolved. I mean, I feel like I am in alternative universe when the pimply faced Calvinist pastor who was living in his parents before seminary acts like he is some oracle of God and to be totally obeyed. (The Mormon “elders” come to mind, too)

    I have no problem with YOUNG entrepreneurs who develop a product or intellectual property. But I have a huge problem with handing over a long time institution to children. I think this is what happened to Mohler. he was given SBTS on a silver platter at age 33 with full power. And within a year he fired a man who was in his mid 60’s who was 8 mos from retirement for daring to “disagree” with a chapel speaker. Too much power too soon. Unseasoned. Able to ruin a man for disagreement. If there had been an internet back then, things might have turned out different.

  16. No, you are right. There is a difference in not despising youth– because merit is a function of wisdom and wisdom is not necessarily a product of age–and selecting leaders BECAUSE they are young and SPECIFICALLY because they do not posses any experience which has grown into a formalized world view based on a pragmatic understanding of the rational cause and effect of life. Any leader to me is welcome, IF they are in their position because of merit by a demonstrable understanding of how the world operates, and a rational standard of TRUTH.

    But these people are being lauded BECAUSE of youth, even though wisdom is usually in spite of it. They are being put in charge specifically because their youth makes them easier to manipulate. They are willing and ignorant, and that might sound harsh but I have been involved with neo-Calvinism a loooong time and what these young leaders preach is nothing more nor less than the despotic theo-Marxism their mentors presume. They are not merely ignorant of reason and wisdom, they are ENTHUSIASTICALLY ignorant of reason and wisdom. And their energy and youthful enthusiasm makes them effective and dangerous. Which is just what is desired.

    Wisdom generally comes from two main things: the ability to communicate ideas clearly (to successfully parse emotion and reason while simultaneously employing both…something I still struggle with), and a strong, RATIONAL understand of the value of SELF.

    Both of these take much time. Not always, but usually.

  17. Yes I have read John’s article. He usually lets me know when he publishes a new one because he knows I am always chomping at the bit to expose my brain to his. I think he is the finest writer on these subjects in this country if not even beyond. It is no secret that he is a huge influence on me and my writing. I have been accused of imitation more than once. LOL…I have yet to deny it (though I think my subject matter is at least slightly different.)

    My only criticism is the same as A Mom ‘s…I just wish he would post more often. 🙂 But he has mentioned a few times why he doesn’t and I completely understand. He is, among other things, a much more careful and deliberate writer than anyone else in the game. And this is why he is that much better.

  18. You guys need to read Wade’s post on Wartburg Watch. It’s the latest one. I’d love to get your thoughts. I have two issues with it and I hope to post something about it if I can (I have soooo much to get to, it is overwhelming).

  19. You mean when they’re in their flip-flops on stage to “keep it real”? LOL Usually wisdom comes with age, but not always. A youth with wisdom is an exception. Heck, an adult with wisdom is rare these days.

    The underlying problem is a lack of wisdom. GR Randy can’t be more wrong. It’s not more fatalist theological training pewsitters need. It’s thinking things through & wisdom that they need. Needless to say, the slick-tongued pastors & their followers sorely lack wisdom. They won’t listen to wisdom, who screams to get their attention, because she’s personified as a woman. We all know Biblical men don’t listen to women. Wisdom, for all her arm-waving & screaming for attention, will not be tolerated even though it’s how she rolls. LOL

    The picture of wisdom (as it’s described in Proverbs) that comes to my mind is a lady screaming & waving by the side of the highway at cars, trying to get them to stop. And the drivers look at her as if she is crazy & pay no attention. Seconds later the highway drops off & the cars tumble into a sinkhole. She has zero authority, she doesn’t force, she can be completely ignored. But if she’s ignored, the peril ahead becomes unavoidable.

    Wisdom looks ahead & warns. Wisdom is the sword that duels & fights off suffering. These theologically trained pastor/leaders are taught suffering is right & meant to be. Wisdom has no place. And the resulting carnage shows up.

    And if a woman merely said: wisdom is the best teacher, suffering is not preferred method of learning (say in Randy’s church), they’d issue her out so fast (who really cares what she said), ’cause her body parts disqualify her words. It’s the mere disagreement (& body parts) that label her heretic, unbeliever, divisive.

    Wisdom has many strikes against her in church today.

  20. Argo, You must put your thoughts together quicker than I do. 🙂 It takes me time to organize my thoughts into something somewhat understandable. I struggle. And sometimes I still don’t clearly convey my thoughts exactly to my liking.

  21. Argo, I have not thought this out well but it seems to me wisdom often comes from experience. Much wisdom comes from failure and making mistakes. And that could be where we learn a lot about reason, too?

    I have been listening to Love and Logic parenting and it is based on allowing consequences and putting responsibility upon the kid for what they do. Not fixing their little problems but encouraging them to find solutions.

    They have said the worst thing that can happen is your child never fails, never breaks the rules, etc, because there is no opportunity to learn real world stuff. shouldn’t the learning of wisdom start early? What a great way to know “self”. Which is what we talk about here quite a bit.

    We seem to have a generation of pastors who have come from theworld of helicopter parents.

  22. “You guys need to read Wade’s post on Wartburg Watch. It’s the latest one. I’d love to get your thoughts. I have two issues with it and I hope to post something about it if I can (I have soooo much to get to, it is overwhelming).”

    I went over and read it earlier when I saw your comment. I am trying to figure out if he is moving away from the Arthur Pink determinist god paradigm? It does not really square with some of his earlier teaching about those who have suffered abuse and it bringing Glory to God. (A strange way to think of God’s love, imo) It does not square with God foreordaining suffering (controlling every molecule)

    He seems all over the board to me. I find him confusing. There always seems to be a “catch” that comes later.

  23. “They are being put in charge specifically because their youth makes them easier to manipulate. They are willing and ignorant, and that might sound harsh but I have been involved with neo-Calvinism a loooong time and what these young leaders preach is nothing more nor less than the despotic theo-Marxism their mentors presume. They are not merely ignorant of reason and wisdom, they are ENTHUSIASTICALLY ignorant of reason and wisdom. And their energy and youthful enthusiasm makes them effective and dangerous. Which is just what is desired.”

    Yes! This is it. Their youth in ignorance made them malleable but a few of them went off the deep end with the enthusiasm and then are confused when the celebs don’t affirm them. They were fanatics for the cause and then ignored. They never got it.

  24. Argo —

    So you never get totally frustrated with what is being spouted from the pulpit and have to make a quick exit to the restroom to avoid an audible sigh?!?! You must be better than me at hiding your frustration 😉

    Our church is teaching “sound doctrine” to 2 year-olds on up to fifth graders. I would be concerned about what my children are hearing in SS if they go. It might be better to keep them with you and be able to explain where and how you disagree with teaching from the pulpit. Otherwise, you don’t know what they are being taught and have no way to address it. I believe children were taught of their worthlessness first and foremost, and not that God loves his creation and wants the best for it and his image bearers.

  25. “But for those of you with kids (and actually like them) you will quickly understand that no matter how steely your philosophical resolve, you find yourself making compromises and adjustments that you’d NEVER have thought your principles would have allowed, in order to save yourself and your family from emotional torment.” Argo

    This post won’t let me go. It won’t let me go quietly into the night. The Argo who writes the posts on “Unreforming Theology” would have some choice words for the person who writes that leaving this weekly teaching of death would cause emotional torment (of a greater kind than despotic teaching?) to their family. Heck, you have a problem with Wade’s posts on TWW yet you willingly take your kids each week to indulge, without dissent there. Without you ceasing or desisting either. It doesn’t reconcile. I’m not defending Wade AT ALL, I’m saying how is one worse than the other? Protecting one’s self & family, anonymity, I understand. But to have such strong convictions…. yet remain in self-created bondage of sorts. I don’t know about that….. It’s a bit of a back & forth.

    You set up a false dichotomy / excuse.
    IF kids + love them = compromise the whole of what you believe.
    The Argo I know knows that ain’t loving yourself, kids, God.
    Yes, ice cream is bad for us but we indulge. Reformed theology is far worse than indulging in ice cream with our kids here & there, isn’t it? Or is it of the same insignificance consequence?

    Think about your message. What are you trying to tell us here? What is it you want us to know?

    It is your liberty. I am only challenging your root assumptions of what you just told everyone what loving action is toward kids. And what loving action looks like to save yourself from emotional torment. IT is: I will continue to attend.

    Look, how can we say hide the wallets & kids if we don’t do so for our own families? What message does it send to other families who thought they had a good handle on “what’s going on at church” only to find out later they did not? Many families stay for the exact same reasons as you mention. Is the message you want them to hear, “That is the right thing for you & your kids?”.

  26. The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,
    not a footprint to be seen.
    A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.
    The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.
    Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.
    Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
    Be the good girl you always have to be.
    Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
    Well, now they know!

    Let it go, let it go!
    Can’t hold it back any more.
    Let it go, let it go!
    Turn away and slam the door.
    I don’t care what they’re going to say.
    Let the storm rage on.
    The cold never bothered me anyway.

    It’s funny how some distance,
    makes everything seem small.
    And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
    It’s time to see what I can do,
    to test the limits and break through.
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
    I’m free!

    Let it go, let it go.
    I am one with the wind and sky.
    Let it go, let it go.
    You’ll never see me cry.
    Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.
    Let the storm rage on.

    My power flurries through the air into the ground.
    My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
    And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
    I’m never going back; the past is in the past!

    Let it go, let it go.
    And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.
    Let it go, let it go
    That perfect girl is gone
    Here I stand, in the light of day.

    Let the storm rage on!
    The cold never bothered me anyway…

    Let It Go Lyrics from Disney’s Frozen. Trending in my house right now as well. 🙂

  27. Bridget,

    I have come to the conclusion that A Mom was right. We must leave, and leave now. Last weeks sermon was on the responsibilities of the laity to the elders. It was full on totalitarianism; theo-Marxism. I took copious notes and will be sharing them with you all. They are frightening. I told my wife that I wasn’t going back. It was too much.

  28. A Mom,

    LOL! Thanks! But I already have them memorized! I’ve seen it twice, and my kids FOUR times. It is our favorite Disney movie.

    I so want to be Kristoff.

  29. A Mom,

    Read my last comment to Bridget here. I am conceding your point on this. After the last sermon, it became clear. There is no equivocation on tyranny.

    Good call. You were right. I am looking forward to posting my article on the sermon about the laity’s “responsibility” to the elders.

    And I wanted to shout the most vulgar invective at that tyrant right in the middle of his babbling. Trust me. I was not of a compliant, dispassionate mind.

  30. As I mentioned above, it is your liberty to stay. I was just pointing out that staying is not consistent & disconnected with what you have to say about a religion of death. And I do agree with you, once it’s understood, it is frightening.

    Take heart if you do leave. I know of a family (friends of friends) who quite recently left a reformed “we have a corner on the truth & are the chosen ones” church. They have young children who are quite active. Of course the “right” children are the meek, mild, perfectly obedience ones. I am concerned for children who aren’t the “right” children because they must conform. Thinkers usually express themselves AND ask questions, conform not so much! It must make sense to them first, so these young thinkers are the enemy, they are deemed “rebellious”.

    Anyway, this couple realized they needed to leave when… The wife asked the husband if he recommended their church to someone he was talking with about Jesus. The husband said, “No way!”. They then realized their church was “the cultish chosen”. Hence, the light bulb moment.

    Hurray!

    I will continue to caution anyone against joining a church. If you decide to leave for any reason whatsoever, it can become quite difficult & painful…..

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