Yesterday I was reading Paul Dohse’s article on his blog entitled “Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potters House Journey: Part 2“. In that article he made this very startling statement:
“The Scriptures are the standard of truth taught by teachers and confirmed by the saints…”
Now, I say “startling” because the theological/philosophical implications of such a declaration are so massive that if Paul means this as strictly and literally as it sounds, then he has made his entire anti-Calvinist argument moot. And that means that everything he writes and everything he thinks and everything he believes with respect to Calvinism being a false gospel is irrelevant. If he truly believes that the standard of Truth is an edict outside of man’s life then he has ceded the entire Calvinist argument, replacing one false gospel with another.
The truth is there is absolutely no rational argument for any standard of Truth outside of man’s life. Period. Full stop. There is no logical defense…such a notion is pure mysticism, and demands that man sacrifice what he IS (his life and the context of his SELF) for that which he is NOT (i.e. a standard of Truth OUTSIDE of his life). This is the singular premise which forms the foundation of every cult of death, be it Communism (or other sundry forms of economic collectivism), Calvinism, monarchism, tribalism, racism, etc., etc.
This is why I am concerned that Paul would make such an egregious statement. Indeed, if Paul really believes that the efficacious existence (truth) of ALL things must be vetted by the Bible, then all he has done is replaced “law” with “Bible”. He rails against the Calvinists for demanding that the keeping of the law is the means of justification, while at the same time ceding the philosophical assumption which under-girds such an idea: Truth is outside of man. He replaces “law” with “Bible”. How do you know if you are TRUE? (And the flip side of that is GOOD.) Your truth and good are a direct function of you integrating yourself into the commands of the “standard of Truth”, the Bible.
Bible-keeping is Paul’s law-keeping. And the rest of his argument is meaningless.
The Calvinists win.
And this is why Calvinism lives on like so many cockroaches no matter how much ordinance is thrown at it. Because the critics always start with the same fucking assumptions. And when you concede their fundamental assumptions, it is impossible to deny their right to proclaim God’s will. The argument dissolves as it always does, over and over again, into a fight about which external standard (that does not include man) is the right one, and who gets to say?
The most functional component of that fight being the “who gets to say?”. Paul’s argument that the Bible is the standard of truth becomes, no matter how he may try to deny it, merely the shifting of absolute power (over the masses) from one philosopher king to the next. Whoever claims to have the sage wisdom and divine understanding of the “standard of truth” outside of man gets to rule. Paul declares the standard of truth is the Bible, and he is its priest. The Calvinists declare the exact same thing, except they argue that all that is required is law keeping while Paul seems to think that Bible-keeping is necessary.
Who is right?
Scoff! Like it matters! The point is that YOU, and YOUR LIFE, is NOT the standard! So who gives a fuck what the standard is? It all means the same thing: man’s DEATH is is required in order for him to be GOOD and TRUE. Because GOOD and TRUTH as a matter of his root existential being are outside of him. The only way he can make himself good and true is to sacrifice himself in service to that truth which does not naturally involve or include him. So whether your sacrifice comes in the form of being lined up against a wall and machine gunned, or denying your rational brain in order to have “faith” in and utterly obey the “party”, or the “body of believers”, or the “bible”, or the “authorities”, or the “state”, or “tribe”, or “nation”, or whatever, it’s all the same: the more you are dead, either literally or figurative (literally, however, is always the logical conclusion…hence the notion of hell. If you have no rational definition of YOU, then YOU cannot be saved. You have condemned yourself by your irrational beliefs)…the more you are dead, the more “truth” abounds in the world.
That’s what Paul is arguing, whether he knows it or not.
Thus, your metaphysic is that of UNTRUTH, which means that you lack the epistemological means to apprehend what is true. And viola!! Meet the new Priest, who’s mandate it is to force you into right thinking and behavior, in sacrificial service to the standard of Truth. This means that the point of your life is DEATH. YOU are not the standard of truth. Therefore, truth is a function of how fully you integrate yourself into the standard which is outside of you. The logical conclusion of this thinking is obvious: the elimination of you in service to the absolute truth of the standard is the very POINT of your existence. The absence of YOU in sacrifice to the external standard is the only purpose of your LIFE. The less of you there is, the more the standard is proved to be, in fact, the absolute standard. Therefore, your DEATH, the death of the individual SELF, is the greatest moral good.
One question I have for Paul: How exactly can the Bible be true without man? Meaning, without man’s life, the Bible is utterly irrelevant. Therefore, man’s life, it would seem, is the source of the Bible’s truth, not the other way around. How is it that that which cannot be true at all, nor even exist, without FIRST man’s life to give it any relevant meaning all of a sudden gets to be the standard of Truth for man?
That is as backwards and contradictory an idea as any I’ve heard since I started my crusade against false and evil ideologies which seek to proclaim that the death of man is the point of his life…a wholly irrational and contradictory notion. Utter bullshit from back to front.
This is a comment I left for Paul on that post of his:
“Without man’s life, the Bible does not exist, and it certainly does not have any relevance. So how on earth can it be the standard of Truth?
Man’s life is the prerequisite for the bible being true. That makes man’s life the standard, not the Bible. You cannot say that the bible needs man to be true (not the other way around) and then say the Bible is the standard of Truth. That’s a tremendous contradiction.
If you make the bible the standard of truth then all you’ve done is replaced “law” with “bible”. Bible-keeping, like law-keeping, is the means of justification.
Seems like a lateral move.”
Paul replied to me:
Justification has no law. The Bible informs us of that. If not for the Bible, we wouldn’t know that there is no law in justification. So, following the Bible instruction in sanctification cannot be a lateral move back to justification”
To which I replied:
It is a lateral move if we follow the Bible instruction because it is the standard of truth. We do not follow the Bible because it affirms the right of man to his own existence, but merely because it says so. That is what is meant when you say the bible is the standard of truth: nothing is true OR good unless the bible says so. That puts truth outside of man, and that is the same thing as law-keeping.
But you still did not answer my question. How can the Bible be the standard of truth when it needs man’s life to be true (and even to exist in the first place)?
Your answer has profound implications. If you don’t carefully think about what you are saying, you will have ceded your argument to the very people you claim preach a false gospel. And thus you will have destroyed all your work. It will have been for nothing.”
Now, Paul’s response is telling, and gives me hope that he doesn’t really understand what he is saying when he declares that the Bible is the standard of truth…that is, he doesn’t understand the massive implications such a statement has. He is arguing that because the Bible happens to be true (for the sake of argument…understanding that it is possible that it is not always true, because it doesn’t have to be), it is the STANDARD of truth. But being true doesn’t make something a STANDARD. A cookbook is true. Meaning that if it is followed correctly, you’ll get a lemon sponge cake instead of a coffee table. That doesn’t make a cookbook the standard of truth, it just means that if you follow it properly you will realize your objective: getting a cake instead of a coffee table.
Why is this good?
Because YOU WANT a cake, not a coffee table. YOUR life…your desires, your existence has dictated the truth of the cookbook. If YOU want a coffee table, you understand correctly that the cookbook is no longer true; because it can’t give YOU what YOU want. The cookbook doesn’t get to call you evil because you want a coffee table; it doesn’t get to say you are wrong because you aren’t interested in the cake. The cookbook does not tell you what you want or what you are. The cookbook does not give you meaning, you, YOUR life, gives IT meaning. The cookbook is created in order to serve what you want and are, which exists already…as a prerequisite for it being true. That means YOUR LIFE is the standard of the cookbook’s truth.
The same is true for the bible, but with a different focus: philosophy for living; for existence. If you follow the bible, which is given for you, in YOUR context (LIFE), then you will get what you want and should want, efficaciously and rationally speaking, above all else: your LIFE; ownership of your SELF, your existence. The Bible doesn’t get to give man meaning…man gives IT meaning. Man’s life is the only context wherein the Bible has any relevance whatsoever. That makes the Bible a servant of man’s LIFE, not the other way around. Man’s life makes it true, and not the other way around. Man’s life then is the Standard of Truth, NOT the Bible.
The bible was given for man to serve his life…to serve what he wants and desire and IS, which existed already, before the bible could be given, could be created, and could be proclaimed as true, before even Christ existed. That means man’s LIFE is the standard of the Bible’s truth; man’s life, and get ready to cry heretic, is the standard of Christ’s Truth. Man gives meaning and relevancy to the Christ, not the other way around. As we affirm Christ, we uttery affirm ourSELVES, and that is the point of the gospel. Jesus came to show, as God in human flesh, the ultimate source of TRUTH was not the law, but human LIFE. That LIFE was the context by which anything had any meaning at all, even God has no meaning outside of the context of man’s life. Man’s life is more important that law-keeping. That was the message. The only law then, is the law of love. The love of Self which logically demands the love of God and Others.
The Bible gets to be true, and specially so, because it utterly affirms the ultimate standard of TRUTH, recognizing it absolutely, beyond any other work ever written. And that standard, again, is man’s LIFE. YOU are the reason for the Bible, which means that it serves YOU, YOU do not serve it.
You always get to be you…eternally, and forever, affirming, promoting and perpetuating your SELF, and your comfort, peace, prosperity, whims, fancies, work, etc., etc. The only law, again, is the law of love, which says that LIFE is the standard of truth. The only immoral act then is violating LIFE. There is no standard of truth found in the Bible. The Bible does not enslave men to an edict outside of him, like every other evil and despotic ideology. The Bible is meant to proclaim the right of man to own himSELF, because SELF is the inexorable root of everything in the universe.
1 thought on “No! The Bible is NOT the Standard of Truth: A response to Paul Dohse”
I am just not up to a logical or philosophical discussion on the bible as the basis for truth. One reason is because I have been reading the court filing on the Doug Phillips lawsuit. The bible was Doug’s standard for truth. It is John Piper’s standard for truth. It was Calvin’s standard for truth…….and so on.
What is wrong with this picture?
Let’s pretend we grew up in an Orwellian society where the bible did not exist. It was out of print and there are never going to be more copies. How would anyone in that society know truth?
Let’s start there for a change…..
And this from someone who has tremendous respect for the bible. I just view it differently. If we make it the standard for truth then it simply becomes a fight concerning interpretation.
But what if we do not start there?