I haven’t forgotten about my series on abstract value hierarchies. But I had to get to this first. Any time Wade is presented front and center on Wartburg Watch, apart from his usual Sunday e-church stint, I find that I am unable to hold my tongue. And since it has been has been over eighteen hours since I added my comments and they are still in moderation oblivion (which always happens when they are about Wade, by the way), I figured a full on examination of the article was in order for my blog, where I cannot be censored to protect the neo-Calvinist leadership.
The proverbial wool of “sound doctrine” that constantly masquerades as the solution to human abuse and church dysfunction over at that blog is absolutely exasperating. I know Dee and Deb are much smarter than this…but they fall for the trap over and over and over. I submit they concede the evil premises because they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that they could have been that wrong for that long (I had the same problem). I submit that through Wade, they seek reassurance for the vile doctrine they used to accede. I could be wrong, of course, but I just can’t see it any other way. They want to believe that it is as easy as spotting the few bad seeds, when the the reality is that these “seeds” are are really just men, like C.J. Mahaney, for instance, whose evil practices became so great that not even two thousand years of orthodoxy could run blocker for them anymore. I mean…shit, when the children come out and start crying “rape!”, even a brilliant preacher like C.J. has to boogie on out of town. Which, as you recall, is exactly what he did.
If you haven’t yet, I recommend you read Wade Burleson’s guest post on www.thewartburgwatch.com, called “Be in Awe of Jesus and Love Yourself” posted on Monday, February 16, 2014.
It is hard to know just where to start with an article written by Wade, but especially this one…I agonized for some time about this. I guess I’ll just jump right in with this ostensibly compassionate quote:
“Everyone knows from personal experience that real, genuine heartfelt love is drawn from a heart that is being loved!.”
Um…okay. Yeah. Wrong. To be blunt, this is just rank nonsense. Love can never be present in a person who cannot or will not accept that there is an infinite amount of inherent value in their existence as a distinct SELF. As a creature of God, the inherent value of BEING a person is the root of all love. It is how you can receive love from God and anyone else, and how you can love yourself and share that love with others. If there is no inherent value in simply BEING, then man does not possess any sufficiency for being a receptacle for love. Love cannot be reconciled to what is conceded to be fundamentally worthless at its physical and metaphysical root. Worthlessness is completely antithetical to love. As much as I do not like to appeal to the Bible as my “final authority” for truth (for truth is a function of reason; and reason is a function of reconciling ALL ideas to the only objective standard of TRUTH, which is individual human life (existence)), the Bible is a useful work for some arguments. For example, where in the Bible to we ever see God declaring his abject, “unconditional love” (a phrase which I do not believe appears in the Bible… there is no such thing; for all love is contextual, by definition, and thus, it is conditional, by definition) for worthless things? Answer: NO where. Worthless things are counted worthy only of destruction, never salvation. What is worthless has no practical value, making its existential essence functionally ZERO, or nothing. And it is impossible to save “nothing”. Or, think of it this way: unconditional love for an unconditionally worthless object equates to a product of ZERO. Infinite love times infinite nothingness equals nothing. Or, probably better said, infinite love added to infinite nothingness makes the love irrelevant.
Later Wade says:
“I propose to you that only when you are utterly captivated by what Jesus has done for you will you become overwhelmed with the value, worth and dignity of your person.”
According to Wade, your value is rooted in what “Jesus has done”, not in any inherent value you possess as a function of the SELF of your own existence. There was NO value in humanity, goes the logical extension, until Jesus “did it”. This is pure Reformed gnosticism, and is far from what the Bible teaches, period. Full stop. The truth is that Jesus died on the cross because you had infinite and inherent existential and moral value already.
And he follows shortly after with this:
“God died for you while you were yet a sinner, but it is the love of God for your sinful soul that makes you valuable.” [Emphasis, mine]
Now…did you catch what Wade just did there with those two quotes? It is very subtle so you may not see it right away. But that’s okay. I’ll wait.
…this little piggy went to the market…baa baa black sheep have you any wool…here I aaaaaaam, and here I staaaaaaand, let the storm rage oooooooon!!!!!! The cold never bothered me anyway. (I have two little girls…what, you didn’t think I’ve seen “Frozen”? Twice, baby.)
Okay, I’m sure you have it now. Yes. Mm hm. That’s it exactly. Notice how God’s love for you is a prerequisite for you loving yourself. Meaning that your love for yourself is a direct product of God’s love for you. Unless God directs his love personally AT you, you have no justification to love your self. Your value is in”what Jesus did”; it is in “God’s love”. It is NEVER due to any autonomous or inherent value of YOU, by yourself, by the simple fact of your existence. And without this…without an inherent value to humanity as distinct objects and agents apart from God, there is no such thing as any real, efficacious value, which means that man is, at his root, utterly incapable of being loved, of receiving love, and thus of loving himself. And this makes any love you might have for yourself merely a direct function of God’s determining force of your “election”. There is no YOU in the equation. YOU have no value. God’s love for you is in SPITE of you. Thus your love for you must be in SPITE of you. Or, put another way, and I will reiterate this later, God loves you FOR you. Meaning, you don’t ever really love you, God loves you as an extension of his arbitrary determining election, which again, is always in spite of you, and NEVER because you have any inherent worth. And thus, it is impossible to love yourself. Because YOU? Are never really part of the equation.
And this is what makes Wade’s message so dastardly. That it is couched in compassion makes it even that much more vile because it adds an element of deception.
Wade is extremely convincing in his article…his heart seems genuine; his love for people seems objectively apparent. He seems legitimately concerned that people understand the importance of accepting themselves as products of God’s divine pleasure in Christ. Fortunately those of us who are by now sensitive to all manner of irrational mysticism and hip to the jive of the REAL message of the American theo-marxist oligarchy are no longer fooled by devils passing for angels of light. This is not to say that I think Wade is a devil…I’m not really convinced he understands the mutually exclusive premises which form the crux of the steamy bottom of his philosophy. And this is true for most Christians I would say. That is why I am careful to categorize the BELIEFS and not necessarily the messengers as evil. For I agree with Jesus in most cases that forgiveness is warranted because “they know not what they do”.
Of course, for Wade, as one who pretends to be a man of God, and who undoubtedly feels no shame in labeling himself a teacher of the “word”, he really should know better. As to whether God will take that into account when judging Wade for the gut-wrenching destruction he is wreaking across the lives and souls of humanity…well, that’s up to Him.
At the beginning of his article Wade opens up with, “I am about to blow away everything you’ve ever been taught by mainstream religion”. That’s a nice try, but the fact is that Wade does just the opposite. Wade confirms the very root of the typically Reformed orthodoxy of mainstream religion (by this I assume he means mainstream Protestantism, since he would undoubtedly need to be a scholar and an expert on countless world belief systems in order to blow away everything we’ve been taught…or he’d have to know absolutely that no one in his audience has any experience with any other religion outside of his peculiar and destructive brand of western gnosticism). The fact is that there is simply nothing hopeful nor comforting about Wade’s article. It is a false compassion and it espouses a false understanding of love, which is rooted in his impossibly irrational understanding of God and man at the metaphysical, moral, and epistemological levels. And this? Is nothing LESS nor MORE than mainstream religion. This is the same shit we’ve always heard. In his article, Wade operates under the assumption that what people are really missing…what they really need and that which has been sorely lacking in their lives is a “proper” (meaning…somehow reconcilable to the idea that God must naturally hate your guts the moment you are born, for this is precisely the bedrock assumption of Wade’s Reformed interpretations)…yes, a “proper” understanding of why they should love themselves. But the fact is that that message is entirely irrelevant to Wade’s standard of doctrinal “truth”. The only thing which man needs to understand is why they shouldn’t love themselves. And, true to his Reformed roots, Wade’s article simply reinforces that tired old notion. Because there can be no such thing as a love which can be reconciled to that which is its absolute opposite. And that? Is man. Man is the very definition of what love is NOT. Man is utterly at odds with love at his root. And THAT is the message Wade is really proliferating in this article.
And the worst and saddest part isn’t that I think he is aware of it, but that I’m pretty sure he is not.
Let me explain.
Wade’s article is a good example of how adept these Reformed pastors are at making an evil philosophy appear entirely altruistic, and themselves sanctimoniously concerned with the lives of everyday human beings. But the fact is that after two thousand years of codification and systematic integration into the psyche and culture of half the world, Reformed theology has become the default spiritual zeitgeist of our nation, and so it is no longer that difficult to present this evil and destructive world view as serious charity and compassion. It has been done before, by many other devotees, and has successfully convinced whole nations to follow the presumption over the cliff and straight into hell where the logical conclusions always, always lead. You simply cannot espouse a philosophy that worships the death of man and demands man’s utter banishment into determinist obscurity (i.e. the separating YOU from YOU) and concomitantly find that anything resembling love results. And certainly the greatest evil is in implicating God in the scheme of reducing man to nothing but an extension of the violence of despots.
God is the Creator of man. If we accept that (and we should…for there is no rational argument which excludes God for the existence of man or anything else) then we must accept that man has an objective and inherent VALUE which is rooted in his very existence; in his very SELF. This naturally destroys the Reformed lie of Total Depravity, which is the bedrock of the entire school of thought. Anyone who concedes the Total Depravity of man cannot possibly speak of an actual and efficacious love FOR that same man. Anyone who says humanity is existentially a moral and epistemological failure and yet can be loved is a liar. For it is impossible for that which is depravity incarnate to be made righteous or to receive righteousness; and thus, it cannot receive love nor in any way be joined to love. For depravity is diametrically opposed o love by definition. Depravity is rooted in the hatred of of the GOOD, by definition; but what is more is that that which is depravity itself is never in the position to make any sort of moral distinction. And that is why Total Depravity is so vile. It doesn’t assume humanity is merely evil; it assumes that humanity is evil and is completely unaware that it is evil. It cannot recognize good as good because it has no frame of reference. It is infinitely depraved which means that it only sees itself, by definition. This removes God entirely from man, never ever to be reconciled; and it makes man the victim of his own epistemological failure. He cannot know God because he cannon properly define God. And a humanity which can never define God by virtue of its absolute metaphysical, epistemological, and moral failure can never be in a position to receive God’s love. But according to Wade’s article, we are to love ourselves because God loves us. However, when Total Depravity is parsed out and taken to its only logical conclusion it becomes obvious that that which is totally depraved CANNOT EVER receive God’s love because, again, it is diametrically opposed to it. It can never commune with God’s love because God’s love presents a contradiction to the absolute infinity of TOTAL depravity; and remember, Total Depravity says that man is not merely depraved but that he is depravity itself. So if God loves man the assumption must be that man can efficaciously and rationally receive it. Which must assume that man has some inherent VALUE to God which then can be reconciled to God’s affection; that man is INHERENTLY capable of receiving it . And if this is true then man cannot be totally depraved, by definition.
But this is not what Wade is saying here. You will notice in the article how Wade never, not ONCE, mentions that humanity has any inherent or autonomous value to God; that man is capable of offering something to God which God can love that is distinct to man, alone. Wade concedes total depravity (I’ve read the statement of faith on his Church’s website). And at the same time he is trying to convince you that loving yourself is possible.
It is not.
If you posses no autonomous, inherent value to God, then you are by definition totally depraved. And as such, you are an insufficient receptacle for God’s love. You are the utter antithesis of love. So what Wade is really trying to say is that God somehow loves you in SPITE of you. And as such your “loving yourself because God loves you” means that your love for yourself is nothing more than a direct extension of God’s love. Meaning any “real” love you have for yourself cannot come from you, because Depravity cannot love. The love you have for yourself comes directly from God, NOT from you at all. Meaning that any love you have for yourself is actually nothing more than God loving you FOR you; and once again YOU as SELF are removed from the entire equation, because YOU do not really exist. YOU are merely a function of the determining force of depravity, which somehow morphs into the determining force of God’s “sovereign grace” once he arbitrarily “elects/predestines” you.
There is nothing in Wade’s article that acknowledges any inherent moral and/or metaphysical worth within humanity, and thus there is nothing in Wade’s article which acknowledges the actual existence of man as a legitimate SELF. This makes it impossible for God to actually love YOU…for you are NOT.
Finally, I just want to spend a moment discussing this quote, which occurs at the very beginning of the article:
“You should know my standard of truth is God’s word, not religion or the opinions of man.”
Now, I don’t want to engage in a long monologue about the fallacies of this statement because I have covered this idea somewhat in depth in the past. However, though this statement may pull at one’s spiritual heartstrings and smack of a heavy dose of godly humility, the cold and hard fact remains that “God’s Word” as a standard of truth is simply irrational. There is no way an argument can be made for an objective interpretation of Scripture whereby it can be said that Scripture is the sole interpreter of itself. This results in a circular logic which makes the entire Bible completely irrelevant to man. Since the Bible is axiomatically and categorically FOR man, man’s context must be considered in how it is interpreted. And since all men and women are indeed individuals, the context considered must be an individual context. This means that individual human life is the only rational standard for how the Bible is interpreted, because human life is the only rational standard of TRUTH. If the Bible cannot exist without man, then it is logically obvious that the primary definition of truth and morality is human life. Thus, if we want to claim that the Bible is true, its ideas must be rationally reconcilable to the objective of affirming and promoting individual human life, and the categorical right of human beings to own themselves since THEY are axiomatically and inexorably the prerequisite for all things being true; and that truth can only be born out if they are free to pursue themselves as a function of themselves.
For more information on this, you can peruse my other articles dealing with the notion of “biblical inerrancy”.
Finally, here are a couple more quotes from Wade on which I want to comment briefly:
“You come to see your absolute inability to be righteous before God by your conformity to any Law, and you come to rest by faith in Jesus!”
If human beings are “absolutely” unable to keep a law, then it must be because they are existentially insufficient. Meaning, it is not choice that prevents them, it is the fact that they were born at all. This makes the law irrelevant, and not only can it not be a rational standard of good it cannot point to a rational standard of good (Christ as the standard is assumed here). For if an irrelevant law points to a standard, then the standard by extension is likewise irrelevant.
If there is a law for man then man must be able to follow it. If he fails, it is because he chooses not to follow. This makes doing good a function of obedience. Of choice. And Christians are loath to accept this because it necessitates a complete revision of their understanding of the purpose of Messiah. And Christians in general tend to hate contradicting orthodoxy because they equate orthodoxy with God, Himself.
“Don’t misunderstand. There is a subtle difference between loving yourself and demanding others love you. Loving yourself means you are free from the pressure that others love you. What does it matter if others reject you if Jesus loves you and you love yourself? Demanding others love you is a tell-tale sign that there is actually no self-love. Crazy as it may seem (I call it “upside-down-wisdom”), the more you seek love the less you self-love.”
Perhaps. But we must be sure that Wade is not conflating “self-love” with the inherent right of every individual to rationally demand that others respect their infinite worth, and not to violate their person (which includes the mind) and/or property. This is not “pride”. The defense of the individual’s right to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness is the only moral justification for force. Turning the other cheek may be useful in a given circumstance, but it is NOT a philosophy. The right of each one of us to demand that we not be possessed by any other agent or entity (like the “church” or the “state”) is not indicative of a lack of self-love, it is indicative of PURE love, and of a rational mind.
“God actually owns all that you have, and you are but a steward of it all.”
No. You eat and possess because you work, and this is biblical, not Wade’s statement. Your property is a direct function of your work, which is a direct function of yourself. If you don’t own your property you can have no claim to own yourself. And only a very misleading proof text of Paul’s statement “you do not own yourself” can support the idea that humans are not the sole owners of their lives. If you don’t own YOU then you have no claim to any justice, and this necessitates the assumption that you have no moral justification for your own existence. Which is ludicrous and will eventually result a quick trip to the gas chamber. Because saying that you do not own your property is a akin to the denial of human existence. Personal property is categorically necessary to life; being merely a steward then demeans life, for it denies the single most practical thing require to LIVE: what you own. And if it denies ownership, it denies life.
It is also a full-on assault on the idea that man possesses any rational and efficacious epistemology–that is, if you cannot be in a position to own, you are obviously not trustworthy to KNOW how to manage property in accordance with GOOD and TRUTH–but that’s a whole other article.
56 thoughts on “When Hate Deftly Attempts to Pass as Love: Consumed by his own Reformed theology, Wade Burleson blows his “love yourself” article on Wartburg Watch”
Weren’t “foreigners and aliens” invited to be Israeli citizens if they conceded the truth of God? Would the descendent of those people not be considered “real” Jews ?
The God of Israel was not a xenophobe.
“David, sometimes you come off with the most bizarre comments out of nowhere. So what are we to conclude? That rought treatment of Jews keeps our society from being “homosexualized”(whatever that is).”
People who don’t know any Jews other than the ones in the Bible always think of them as the victim. Go to youtube and watch every video made by a rabbi you can find, read their books. Go to the websites of their synagogues. Go to their synagogues. And see if “the Jews” today are anything more than a front for the homosexual mafia. Because you’ll find that that is all they are: their real religion is Gaydaism.
I will not entertain any discussion which A: impugns an entire group of human beings (e.g the The Jews) as somehow collectively responsible for what someone considers a moral crime…as this is de facto determinism, which I reject out of hand for reasons I’ve already discussed on the blog. B: I will NEVER entertain the irrational notion that a lifestyle, opinion, or world view is a sin just because the Bible says it is. Frankly “it’s in the Bible” is a non-argument, and doesn’t prove a thing. It is an intellectually lazy way to argue for one’s moral opinions, and it’s irrelevant.
“The God of Israel was not a xenophobe.”
This is a huge subject but I think most have been taught wrongly about what their beng a chosen people meant. It was not about them being exclusive, it was more about God showing Who He is through a group of people. (Their King) Of course, it did not work out that way. We also miss the aspect of King Jesus, too)
David, Most Jews are secular Jews. Ironically, Isreal is a parliamentarian democracy and not a theocracy. They have even elected several Non Jew but Arab MP to the Knesset over the years. Try finding anything like that in any other Muslim ME country.
The whole point of Isreal to the secular Jews was “never again”. No more victimhood.
I deleted a response from David. It really didn’t address your comment, nor mine…because I don’t think he really reads them. He’s more of the “skimmer” type. And that’s okay…until the comments make it too obvious to ignore.
At any rate…I would say that the Jews have as much right to spread whatever ideas they want. I mean, if the Reformed have free speech then so do the Jews. It’s a free country. If they spread homosexuality, fine…explain why homosexuality is a sin without resorting to “the Bible says so”, and go from there. But he loses me with phrases like “homosexual mafia”.
To be honest, the gays scare me a lot less than “complementarians” or anti-Semites. . As far as I can recall, the gays have never burned people at the stake or shoved them into gas chambers.