When Hate Deftly Attempts to Pass as Love: Consumed by his own Reformed theology, Wade Burleson blows his “love yourself” article on Wartburg Watch

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.

The hypocrite.

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

  1. Here is what I understood of Wade’s post:

    So being “loved” by God and free from the imputed guilt of Adam’s sin so you CAN love yourself —-means you must first have been chosen to know that love before Adam sinned and the foundation of the world.

    Can those not chosen feel the love and love themselves?

  2. Just like you were saved by Christ’s death before he died. How does that work, exactly?

    It all boils down to the idea that somehow you existed before you existed. It’s all nonsense.

  3. “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”

    Wouldn’t the inability to be able to follow law just be a license to break the law? God gave laws He knew man could not follow? That makes God a monster and gives man an excuse to sin. This thinking calls into the question God’s character because of the teaching of total depravity.

    I despise this “no choice” thinking. It is just tyranny in so many parts of life now.

  4. Absolutely. And this is precisely why abuse in the church of the most evil kind is not only tolerated but often criminally hidden from the civil authorities.

    You’ve hit it exactly.

    The questions I am going to try to ask and answer soon involve a reinterpretation of the point of Messiah. My questions are as follows, and deal precisely with the notion of laws that man is unable to obey:

    If man is unable to obey because of his nature then sin isn’t a choice by definition. But if sin isn’t a choice then how can it be qualified as sin? And if it rationally cannot, then for what did Jesus die?

    But if sinning IS a function of choice then what is the point of Messiah? The death of Christ is not the solution to the sin problem, OBEDIENCE is; that is, choosing wisely is the key to salvation. The death of Christ is a declaration that sin is not only divinely tolerated but openly sanctioned! Obedience is IRRELEVANT.

    So where does Christ fit in, exactly? Clearly, reason demands a better explanation.

  5. How nauseating that W is still being held up as someone who ISN’T, regardless of the occasional morsel of truth, a dangerous FALSE teacher.

    As if there is any understanding of anything resembling love to be found in his destructive theology. I could almost laugh.

    Always wondered how this so-called “love” to the special “chosen” is supposed to generate awe for very long without a serious case of survivor guilt.

    I wish these bozos would just stop talking. Step down from the stage and stop poisoning minds and hearts, and blaspheming God. If only.

  6. Oasis,

    You are exactly right. Wade’s displays of “compassion” are rooted in a theology which demands the wholesale sacrifice of humanity to the absolute POWER of the ruling collective (which is a result of worshiping conceptual abstractions…ideas like “determinism” and “fatalism” and “total depravity” which are not ACTUAL). It is rooted in the supreme notion that your birth constituted an act of primary moral offense against the one WHO CREATED YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE. That is why I give Wade little quarter. Because it matters not how many tears he sheds for the abused and despised, excommunicated and banished, or how he waxes on sanctimoniously about the “worth” of human life…,for he is CULPABLE for the very abuse he thinks he opposes by continuing to spread the ideas that MUST lead to death worship and human suffering.

    And this is the great irony of tyranny.

  7. I wish I could figure out why it is so hard for many pastors to believe that God loves and values his image bearers, especially in light of the two commandments that sum up the law. He died for the world before we individually acknowledge him. How is that not valuing the life of His creation?

    I think most religious leaders I know have created a religion in their own image. Their (c)hurch functions according to their personal beliefs. Most of the beliefs (doctrines) are held because they are the majority beliefs and peer pressure prevails. They don’t stop to look at the results of the beliefs.

  8. Bridget, it is a question I myself have been pondering lately, too. Why do we rush to philosophies which declare us completely immoral and worthless? Why do we find comfort in being told we cannot help but be a big fat disappointment to God the moment we are born? What makes us so quick to concede that all of our struggles and disappointments are OUR fault? Why do we feel it is an act of holiness to concede that we are NEVER deserving of justice, or love, or worth? Why is humanity so uncomfortable with its own existence on the one hand, and yet, ironically demands that we WORSHIP the very Author of that miserable existence?

    It is more than just the appeal of the systematic philosophy. It is something well beyond just the intellectual attraction. There is a strong emotional satisfaction found in hating oneself; by conceding that the devil is right. That humans are corrupt at their root. What makes it rational to accept that conceding our categorical inadequacy as objects of love is the cover charge to salvation, which is a wine that demands the moral integrity of its vessel?

    This warrants some serious thought.

  9. “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.

    Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

    You’ll note two things here. First, soul refers to the whole life of man, not just some ethereal aspect to fly off to heaven when we die. How does eating and drinking satisfy the soul? It can’t satisfy what the Calvinist calls a soul. Secondly, that a man should eat and drink from his own labors (rather than have his income stolen away from him by Calvinists and communists) is the very will of God! Deus vult! Deus vult! Deus vult!

  10. Oasis, I agree. It is sad. Love is misunderstood. Even among Christians.

    I’ve thought so much over the last year about what love is & the greatest command from Jesus in Mark 12 & what it means. As Argo knows, I made a comment on Feb. 15 which included a small bit about loving myself on John Immel’s blog. I agree with what John said in his response to me. IMO, John’s response basically said that loving yourself (which can’t be done without loving God & others, IMO) is a life-changer & has the ability to affect others around you, in a good way. And then on Feb. 17 Wade did a post, “Be in Awe of Jesus & Love Yourself” at TWW.

    IMO, Wade gets it a little bit more right than his peers. But it is still intertwined with a message of death, so it still misrepresents love & what I think Jesus’ message is. I think his view is framed by experience (he admits that) & tradition (what he’s been taught). I think it misses the mark. I have a different view of love than he does. And the difference (whether big or small) matters.

  11. I said, “…loving yourself (which can’t be done without loving God & others, IMO)…”

    What I meant by this is:

    Loving action toward yourself will always be loving action toward God & others. IMO, they are inseperable. If your action is not loving to one of the three (God, yourself, others), it is not loving to any of the three.

    I realize I am going out on a limb, but so be it.

    BTW, love has been so twisted & misrepresented that selfishness is often thought of as self-love, & therefore self-love is bad. It is not. Someone’s selfish action, meaning action that hurts someone else, does not benefit one’s own self. It will repel good people away from you, which isn’t beneficial. Selfish action opens the door to be treated likewise by other selfish people. Selfishness isn’t self-love, it’s self hate. The saying should be, “Deny selfishness & self-hate.” It should never be, “Deny self”. “Deny self” goes against the greatest command.

    Now I’m really in trouble, right?

  12. “I wish I could figure out why it is so hard for many pastors to believe that God loves and values his image bearers, especially in light of the two commandments that sum up the law.” Bridget

    Exactly! It’s a mess of contradiction. They aren’t looking at the whole of the Bible. Especially not at what Jesus himself said are the two greatest commands! Sheesh.

  13. “It is more than just the appeal of the systematic philosophy. It is something well beyond just the intellectual attraction. There is a strong emotional satisfaction found in hating oneself; by conceding that the devil is right. That humans are corrupt at their root. What makes it rational to accept that conceding our categorical inadequacy as objects of love is the cover charge to salvation, which is a wine that demands the moral integrity of its vessel?
    This warrants some serious thought.” Argo

    We are born to do great things, IMO. Could it be failure has something to do with it? The most traumatic event I have ever experienced is my Dad’s death. I was faced with my own powerlessness, because if I could change it I would in a second. I got the phone call around 4AM and after that I awoke between 4-4:30AM for at least a year. Of course I have no power over death. But nonetheless, it made me feel helpless, choiceless, like a failure. I think Satan capitalizes on situations like that & tries to fool us into thinking we are choiceless. Failure, feeling powerless… that’s when the conceding begins?

  14. Exactly. How do we reconcile the idea that man is made in God’s image? The heavens and earth live and have their being in God so how can man have no self-knowledge? Is this an amnesia or a separation from self/God? Did God really create a nothing from which to make mankind. That is a Jedi mind trick of the most illogical sort. We are thus born before time with some kind of metaphysical handicap. Some kind of orginal defect before original sin which we get beaten with. If so then mankind would be rootless and God could wash His hands of us. Instead in time all things are gathered in Christ. An only in Christ can we see a true image of ourselves. Not in condemnation – condemnation does not open our eyes to our sinfulness or our fullness in Christ. So where are we rooted? Immanence philosophy completely enamours itself with temporal reality and refuses to place man outside of time forcing us back to the Garden with a big stick and leaving God and us restricted by time and space. That is if the whole Cretio ex Nihilo thing would be possible – which it is not because creation was done by God above temporal time – before the foundations of the world – it is just being played out within temporal time.

  15. A Mom,

    You are right about self love requiring a love of God and others . Since the true awareness of SELF is predicated upon the conscious observation of OTHER, which includes both God and fellow man, they are part and parcel to a proper definition of SELF. It is logical; you cannot value SELF unless you also and equally value that by which you are aware of SELF and the efficacious ness of your own consciousness: God and fellow man.

  16. Jason,

    Welcome! I don’t think you’ve posted before. Thanks for your comment!

    “We are thus born before time with some kind of metaphysical handicap.”

    That’s a great statement. I would add that the handicap is that apparently we are stillborn.

  17. A Mom,

    Wade may get it better, but he’s only as good as his doctrinal premises. Which are the same as Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney et al. The fact that he attempts to nip the theology in the bud before it reaches its logical conclusions makes him a doctrinal hypocrite. At least CJ and Al are consistent.

    One thing I hate more than a tyrant is a tyrant who swears he’s not…because that is a tyrant who doesn’t even have the intellectual fortitude to understand himself or his purpose. The fact that Wade cannot see his own rational contradictions makes him twice as bad as one who does but doesn’t care, to me.

    He may be a nicer guy, but the fallout for his laity is the SAME. And that’s who I really care about.

    As Johm Immel would say, once you concede the root assumptions, the rest is merely an argument over how much.

    As in how much of a doctrinal hypocrite do I need to be to avoid being a RANK criminal. The problem is that being a criminal STARTS with the assumptions, not when the first child cries “rape”, or when the first ex-elder accuses the head pastor of blackmail.

  18. “I think most religious leaders I know have created a religion in their own image. Their (c)hurch functions according to their personal beliefs. Most of the beliefs (doctrines) are held because they are the majority beliefs and peer pressure prevails. They don’t stop to look at the results of the beliefs.”

    I agree to a point. Some of it is sheer survival. Pastoring is institutionalized and therefore a “career choice” that cost money to obtain just like any post grad study. So once encased it is unusual to hear one of them say they were wrong on doctrine. They might try to tweak what they taught to slowly change it over time. (I have seen some do this) without just being upfront about it. They have to maintain control/ authority or the good will of those paying their salary.

    So when people actually believe this doctrine, then they continue to need a guru/someone to lead them. To enlighten them. To explain scripture to them. It is to the pastors advantage that people do not move past them. That is not how one keeps a salary and grows followers.

    And I do think there is mass peer pressure if they are part of a movement or denomination. Today most pastors are not independent thinkers at all and follow some guru or ST they were indoctrinated on in seminary.

    If anyone is watching closely there are some subtle changes going on in the YRR movement but not by the gurus as much as the poor shmucks who were indoctrinated by the gurus and now trying to make it on the outside with church plants and taking over existing churches. It is not so easy and of course, Mohler, Piper, Driscoll are not sending them checks but saying God will take care of them. Yeah, right. It was predestined.

    The subtle changes are trying to move away from the word “Calvin”, making sure people they want money from know they don’t agree with EVERYTHING Piper or Driscoll teaches. Some Acts 29 church plants are trying desperately to pretend they were NEVER Acts 29 and if that does not work then that they never agreed with Driscoll or Piper at all.

    If the deceit was not so bad in that movement, it might work but I am seeing cracks. People are tired of the “you just don’t understand it” or You have not been given the grace to perceive.

    In Wade’s case it is, “if you felt the real overpowering love of God you would love yourself”. So evidently God did not choose you to feel that love? What other conclusion can we come to given all his past teaching there? I don’t give him kudos for focusing on love because it makes the rest of it even more sinister. You still have to be “chosen” before the foundation of the world for any of it to apply to you. You still have NO input into any of it. This was an attempt to slap a plastic fish/smiley face combo on a doctrine that is going South in quite a few venues. Or perhaps to appeal to the TWW readers?

    Frankly, I cannot stand this stuff. As if you don’t feel what they describe then you don’t have it. I don’t buy that for one minute. There are times one might feel it. There are times ones intellect helps that love be real for them. There are times God is so silent you want to scream like Captain Dan in the storm in the movie Forest Gump..

    Guys, just because Wade says it does not mean it is so. I would take this another route. Because we are created in the Image of God our value is beyond worth. Yes, we have been separated by God because of sin but that does not have to be so. It is a choice. Those who murder, molest children, protect evil, etc, have a choice in their value here. They CHOOSE their value. God does not choose it for them.

    I was a bit shocked when I went over to read the thread last night that Dee is buying into a sort of Reformed replacement theology doctrine. This has been a big thing with Wade for years long before TWW was on the scene. That doctrinal stance in general tends to take away Hebrew thinking and replace it with Plato. I know that is a generalization but it is hard to explain “Hebrew thinking” or the Jewishness of Jesus in a blog post. And I don’t know a better word for it. One thing we do that causes us not to see this is the interpretations out there that God meant for the Israelites to always be isolated and separate. when in fact, He meant for them to be the light of the World. He meant for them to influence the pagans. not for them to be influenced by the pagans. Replacement theology plays into the wrong understanding about the Israelites.

    We talk a lot about God delivering them from the slavery in Egypt but never discuss all the reasons they ended up as slaves. That is just for starters.

  19. “As Johm Immel would say, once you concede the root assumptions, the rest is merely an argument over how much. ”

    This is exactly it. And it is hard because sometimes those who espouse the root assumptions are really nice people. So nice people teaching death is even worse. I would rather they show up with horns and a pitchfork and be totally obvious but that is not how it works.

    They can say it so loving and heartfelt: God is in control of everything. Your being molested as a child will bring Glory to God.

    Can you feel the love? Guys, this is the stuff that produces rabid atheists and suicides.

  20. Stllbirth or an abortion ripping the baby away from the womb? It doesn’t match up to man’s restless search for his own origin or the origin of the cosmos – be one an atheist or theistid- we all hold to that religious root. I haven’t got as far as to understand your anthropology, but how the human soul can exist in some type of dichotomy or trichotomy that is not integrated is beyond my current understanding. Granted it is clear our bodies are held to a temporal state but there is a logic to the soul/spirit existing outside and before and beyond.

  21. “It makes them more necessary, or rather than idea of them as an authority figure more necessary. They aren’t looking at the Bible at all, just at their job security.”

    Oops David. I did not see this before I commented. I totally agree except the bible part. Oh, they are looking all right reading it with their ST/Plato/Determinist god lens.

    An example: For years, SBTS students were using Wayne Grudem’s ST to understand scripture. And from what I understand that has been the case on many seminary campi. That is indoctrination.

    Wade has promoted AW Pink and John Gill for years since I was reading him starting about 06 or so. (I am bad on dates but when his blog first started) I am very familiar with Pink and find him incredibly scary. In fact, when I was flirting with Reformed back about 8 years ago, I read his books which helped me NOT be impressed with the Calvinist determinist god.

    Not as familiar with Gill but the little I read? No thanks.

  22. “In Wade’s case it is, “if you felt the real overpowering love of God you would love yourself”. So evidently God did not choose you to feel that love? What other conclusion can we come to given all his past teaching there? I don’t give him kudos for focusing on love because it makes the rest of it even more sinister. You still have to be “chosen” before the foundation of the world for any of it to apply to you. You still have NO input into any of it. This was an attempt to slap a plastic fish/smiley face combo on a doctrine that is going South in quite a few venues. Or perhaps to appeal to the TWW readers?”

    This was brilliant. Your whole comment was.

    What is “replacement theology”? I swear, I can’t keep up with all this shit. LOL

  23. Jason,

    I was using “stillborn” purely figuratively. LOL It has to do with an earlier comment where I said that in Reformation theology consciousness is an illusion. Thus, we are “born dead”, and we “die dead”.

    I don’t know if I’m answering your point, but I do not believe in any dichotomy of man; I do not concede any literal separation of soul and body as this puts reality squarely outside of man’s observation, which destroys man’s epistemology, and hello tyranny.

    Man is One is the only rational metaphysical statement, and the awareness of this is rooted inexorably in material existence. You are what you see in the mirror. There is no part of you which does not infinitely exist NOW; and where you see yourself NOW is where you are infinitely. You are the infinite singularity of yourSELF.

    Time is a concept; it is not actual. And the same is true for space. Everything is NOW and every object’s location is always ITSELF. Time and space are merely ways man qualifies/quantifies the relative movement of objects he observes.

  24. “BTW, love has been so twisted & misrepresented that selfishness is often thought of as self-love, & therefore self-love is bad. It is not. Someone’s selfish action, meaning action that hurts someone else, does not benefit one’s own self. It will repel good people away from you, which isn’t beneficial. Selfish action opens the door to be treated likewise by other selfish people. Selfishness isn’t self-love, it’s self hate. The saying should be, “Deny selfishness & self-hate.” It should never be, “Deny self”. “Deny self” goes against the greatest command.”

    I think it is all so confused because of changing definitions, the doctrine of “original sin” as in imputed guilt and total depravity make it impossible to point and say that is right. or that is wrong. It is moral chaos.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…..should be the indicator. But even that has been clouded with all the Platonic nonsense.

    The “Do unto others”…. if seen in a more contractual light….means that in our relationships we keep our word, treat others fairly, justly with kindness and give mercy when needed. It does not mean we are doormats to other believers. It also does not mean we do not protect ourselves from bodily harm from unbelievers either.

    it is old fashioned but good old basic Christian virtues are what is missing since so many have been taught they are either too evil or ignorant to make the right choices.

  25. “Granted it is clear our bodies are held to a temporal state but there is a logic to the soul/spirit existing outside and before and beyond.”

    I must disagree. Temporal states are merely conceptual, abstract ways we qualify observed relative movement. And there is no logic to souls existing above and beyond. It is impossible to reconcile what is “temporal” to what is not, UNLESS we concede that time doesn’t ACTUALLY exist and therefore doesn’t ACTUALLY have any causal properties. And if we concede this, then there is no real reconciliation necessary. You don’t reconcile what is real to what is not.

  26. “What is “replacement theology”? I swear, I can’t keep up with all this shit. LOL”

    To be fair, Dee did not use the moniker but her words tended to describe the characteristics of what is commonly known in Reformed circles as replacement theology.

    There is a whole lot to it but basically the church “replaces” Israel in the new covenant and the old covenant is totally obsolete. It is the whole “chosen” thing again. Which means if the old covenant is totally obsolete then that makes God a liar of sorts. His promises were only good until He came to earth as Jesus. Does that sound right? Nope.

    My problem with all of it is people take figurative speech, metaphors, etc and make narrow literal doctrines out of them. The Jewish Jesus IS God for crying out loud, pagans could be saved by faith in the OT and so on. In fact, there were more proselytes (Gentiles who converted to Yahweh before Jesus Christ) than folks might realize leading up to the 1st Century. A few are named in the NT.

    A GREAT book that really helps understand the OT and it’s relationship to the NT is “Anatomy of a Hybrid” by Leonard Verduin. It is a big mistake to believe God wanted Israel to be a closed sacral society. But it plays into the teaching of God being “exclusive” to specific chosen people. God was not forcing things. He was working with, through and around their sin and they kept ignoring Him and wanting to be more like the pagans around them. He wanted to be their King even AFTER the fall and separation. They kept committing adultery (metaphor!!!) instead of being the light of the world.

  27. Oh my word. Wade is doing to commenters at TWW what most Calvinists do on other blogs about Calvinism. If you are not a Calvinist you are an Arminian! He writes:

    “When dispensationalists try to tell us that God is all about “remarrying” Israel, we lose the power of Christ’s person by pulling out the Old Testament Law WHICH PICTURES CHRIST and embrace that again rather than kissing Christ Himself!”

    So, if you are not “replacement theology” then you are automatically dispensationalist! And not only that but dipsys who want to rebuild the temple and go back to animal sacrifice and every law of Leviticus. Oh dear, Oh dear!

  28. There are so many things wrong with Wade’s comment…where to even begin?

    First, I would like one legitimate OT verse which declares that God had at some point declared Israel utterly put away, and all His promises to Jacob, Moses, Caleb, and David nullified concerning the nation. At what point did “Nation” become strictly a metaphor for all believers in Christ and cease to have any meaning with respect to a distinct collective which shall govern itself?

    Now, I understand that nations strictly speaking are made up of individuals, and as such a nation is an ABSTRACT entity which is defined in order to organize groups of people. This is why it is irrational to support the ownership of human beings by the state; because the state does not exist without individuals, which makes the state ALWAYS a function of individual humanity…which makes the affirmation and promotion of individual human life the only moral justification for its authority.

    But we must also concede that we cannot rationally describe a scattering of individuals as a “nation”; that is an illegitimate use of the term. In order for a nation to exist, the collective must be organized according to formal governing structures within specific (though they can be vacillating) geographic boundaries.

    The neo- Cals love to invent metaphors in order to sell their brand of ” faith”. They want the buck to stop with Reformed orthodoxy and the Israeli nation totally threatens that power structure. If Israel is maintained as an heir to specific promises it undermines their authority of the “keys “.

    “Replacement theology” is just another way to deceive people into thinking the neo-Cals are the only game in town; that from the “local church” flows your salvation and the maintaining of it.

    It also has to do with their false understanding of the purpose of Messiah, but I won’t get into that now.

  29. Argo, I have read enough Reformation history to know how they felt about Jews. it was horrible. And they used their interpretation of the church as Israel to excuse their treatment of the Jews. That is why I am so chilled when I see it used. Of course there are nice guys who would not replicate that again but quite frankly, the Holocaust historically was not that long ago and perpetuated in an educated WESTERN country and Reformation writings were used to bring the mainstream Lutheran leadership into line with the Party.

    Look at the things people are believing today: You can keep your health insurance and it will be cheaper. People believed it hook line and sinker. Some still do. It is amazing what people will believe if it comes from an authority they like for whatever reason.

  30. “It also has to do with their false understanding of the purpose of Messiah, but I won’t get into that now.”

    I agree with that. And yes, that is a deep one to get into and quite controversial.

  31. As to rough treatment of the Jews, as soon as that stopped, the West was homosexualized. There is something inherently immoral with the Jewish religion as it has existed since at least 500 AD. And the Protestant pandering to them, and now the Catholics too, has been diluting Christianity for over 50 years. “The Jews” aren’t really Jews anyway. They don’t keep the Law and have no interest in doing so. They tossed the Law and replaced it with the Talmud in the 500s. And they basically tossed the Talmud and replaced it with Kabbalah (which is basically New Age mysticism) in the 1300s. They are nothing but a little semi-ethnic band of New Age perverts who care a lot about pointless ritual laws they made up.

    When God keeps his promises to Israel, it will be to so-called “Gentiles” who in reality have the blood of the 10 tribes of Israel flowing in their veins, not to “the Jews” who are probably the least related of all people to national Israel when you get down to it anyway. I really do think that “the Jews” are just imposters all the way through. I don’t think they descend from the real Jews at all. I’m going to right this very moment coin a new term, integration theology. God integrated the Gentiles into Israel via the Assyrian policy of interbreeding the world, of taking people and mixing them all together to make one people, and the result is, we’re all Israelites now anyway. IF anyone isn’t an Israelite, its probably “the Jews” who have successfully kept themselves in an isolated Gene-pool so as to prevent getting any Israelite blood in them.

  32. 2 Kings 17:24 “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.”

    The Sephardi Jews are just Babylonians that the Assyrians transplanted to Samaria.

    Keep reading in the chapter. Because the Sepharvaim didn’t know the manner of the God of the Israel, lions came and ate them, and the king of Assyria said in verse 27:

    “Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.”

    So then the Sepharvaim, Babylonians, were converted to Judaism by the order of the king of Assyria, but they are not ethnic Jews. This is where our modern “Jews” come from. They are not true Israelites at all.

  33. Argo, I agree that time is conceptual and I agree with your statement:

    “I don’t know if I’m answering your point, but I do not believe in any dichotomy of man; I do not concede any literal separation of soul and body as this puts reality squarely outside of man’s observation, which destroys man’s epistemology, and hello tyranny.”

    The notion of substance unchanging is a Greek Metaphysical concept and I have read some good arguments for creation being outside of cosmic time. This allow us to have a selfhood rooted outside of cosmological time. Man being the only creature who has awareness of such. It is pre-given. Most of what you are arguing, surely, is that Calvinism is doing just the opposite. It is not pointing back to God as source but is absolutizing a sinful religiosity – a fake foundation or a religious root based on the autonomy of man – the stillbirth. The connection or root is thus pre-taken. Our selfhood transcends time. I can understand that anything bordering on mystic may put your radar up – it does for me.

    But without our origin, God, we have no existence. The dualism of Calvinism puts an evil spin on things as how do we live in him and move and have our being ever outside of His scope?

  34. Argo, EXACTLY! Your February 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm reply is like a refreshing drink of ice-cold water in the middle of a triathlon.

    It…is…so…wonderful…not to be alone with these objections. To be understood.

    Lydia,

    “They can say it so loving and heartfelt: God is in control of everything. Your being molested as a child will bring Glory to God.”

    And the pedophiles in the pews or on stage can run home and tell their children, as they rape them, “God is in control of all things… This is part of his plan for your life, decided for you before you were even born. He is working this for your own good…! See how he loves you…”

    After all, if God is controlling every event, and chose not to prevent the molestation, the pedophile is EXACTLY RIGHT.

  35. Not that it could possibly be right, or ever make any sort of sense whatsoever, much less describe God at all…

  36. In other words, right, according to that kind of twisted, nonsensical, blasphemous logic. Ah, you know what I mean.

  37. “And the pedophiles in the pews or on stage can run home and tell their children, as they rape them, “God is in control of all things… This is part of his plan for your life, decided for you before you were even born. He is working this for your own good…! See how he loves you…””

    So…..back to the topic of the blog post and how it fits with what you have said above, Oasis:

    “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.”

    I tell you the more these people talk the more confusing they are. This is nothing but rank moral chaos. God controls every molecule. He chooses who will be saved before Adam sinned and before Christ died on the Cross and was resurrected so even the cross has NOTHING to do with salvation. It was already decided.

    Then: You are all rank sinners including the pedophile and the victim together in the same sin boat. But what makes you valuable, the pedophile and the victim, is the love God has for your sinful soul. Otherwise you have no value to God. And that is a shame because He might not have “chosen” you before Adam sinned. Remember, you have no volition. No input in these Divine designs for you.

    Moral chaos.

  38. Oh and a few more thoughts to take or leave: This is why they are so adament about “replacement theology” when it comes to Jews/Israel/Hebrew thinking.

    RT props up individual election…chosen before the foundation of the world. They will not admit there is any “corporate” election that is not about salvation when it came to Israel but God keeping His promises no matter what. That would be a death knell to individual election and thier interpretation filter. Esp Romans.

    Oh no, if one believes God keeps His earlier promises then they are labled as a pro Zionist who wants to rebuild the temple and make animal sacrifices. What guys like Wade do is interpret scripture in such a wooden literal (which is NOT how the ancients communicated) way that God’s Promises cannot be kept without all the trappings of Leviticus.

    This next part is dangerous territory but I am going to wade in (pun intended!). I am a student of history and cannot help but look at the “unconditional promises and conditional promises” from the OT.

    It makes TOTAL sense Replacement Theology would become “orthodoxy” after the sack of the temple in AD 70.

    At that point, the diaspora was in full swing with only a remnant staying in Jerusalem for the next 1800 years.

    This is a very generalized history but Around the mid 1800’s European diaspora Jews wth the organizational skills and contacts of Theodore Hertzel (who resurrected the Hebrew language, btw) started buying land in Palestine. Legit land deals. (Most folks think modern Israel was simply a total land grab. Not so. It is interesting how much of it was actually bought from the Assyrians, Turks, English, etc. But it is not politically correct to say so)

    If you read all the history of the Jews leading up to 1948 when the UN voted for it to be a nation state, you would be amazed it happened. The most amazing yes vote was the USSR.

    Ok, back to RT. Since there was NO Israel from about from long before AD 70 to 1948, it makes total sense that “orthodoxy” would replace isreal with the church and claim the old covenant has NO influence, NO bearing on any of it. It is basically a different God with a different people. (I personally think they miss the purpose of a chosen people in the OT. I think Israel was to influence the rest of the world and failed over and over)

    Here is another problem that plays into RT. They not only have a filter of determinist god has already done the choosing but also a wooden literal interpretation of scripture that keeps them from seeing God work in more recent history keeping promises. The Canon is closed. All has ceased. (Not all Cals are cessationist but their doctrine usually works better if they are)

    So RT worked best before 1948. In fact, it definitely looked like the only interpretation that was not wacko. So for 1900 years + Where were the Jews? Where was Isreal? (not all but you know what I mean, they were MORE assimilated than ever in Europe)

    Read what the reformers thought of the Jews and RT will come alive for you. I am no wacked out Zionist. I am simply stating historical facts but they sure are interesting.

  39. BTW: Guys like John Hagee, Tim Lahaye and other Christian Zionists have done more to help RT become popular because they are such wackos reading into every single Isreal policy as God’s fingerprints or they promote walking where Jesus walked as bringing some magic piousness. Many of those guys have made bank off Christian Zionism.

  40. “As to rough treatment of the Jews, as soon as that stopped, the West was homosexualized.”

    ????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). Is there anyone out there who really wants to defend this thinking? Yikes!

    You have so many brilliant insights and knowledge of biblical history but sometimes…..come off with something totally OTT.

    Oh and as to Jews not being “real Jews” in the OT, I don’t think for one minute pure bloodline was EVER the point with God. I think WE read that into it. If it were, then why would Rahab and Ruth be in the line of Messiah?

  41. “Not all, just don’t want to veer too far off topic or weird anyone out”

    Most of it is related in one way or the other anyway. :o)

  42. Oasis,

    You can’t weird me out. LOL Have you read MY posts! 🙂 You are in kindred company here.

    And I don’t mind veering off topic. I don’t think comment threads need be married to the article. It doesn’t bother me in a bit to discuss whatever matters to you or anyone else.

  43. “As to rough treatment of the Jews, as soon as that stopped, the West was homosexualized. ”

    It’s pretty hard to hear the rest of your message when you lead with something like that, David.

    I honestly have no idea what you mean…and not sure I want to, to be honest.

    Listen, I don’t much care to debate the morality of homosexuality. That subject is best understood, Biblically speaking, in its historical context.

    At any rate, there is no violation of person or property by two consenting adults (or more), thus I have no interest in demonizing it, labeling it a categorical sin, or using civil authority to moderate it by force (violence).

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