Part Five of: Collectivist Ideology Masquerading as the Orthodox Christian Ideal

“But if the only people in your circle are those who [sic] the wind blows your way, you run the risk of being pushed in directions you really don’t want to go.”

(Community:  Your pathway to progress, North Point Ministries, 2008, p. 17)

To begin, this question is deceptive because according to the group metaphysic to which the author(s) of this manifesto subscribe, there is no “risk”, there is only certainty.  Meaning, since your existence is only legitimate, efficacious, and actual as a direct function of the collective, you will pursue life and act in accordance with the dictates of the group.  There is no “risk” because there is no individual will.  Once you are in a group of “those the wind blows your way”, there is no maybe about it.  You will exist as a function of that group and do what that group does.  Period.  And you will then summarily become guilty of metaphysical insufficiency and moral depravity because this group of barbarian nomads is decidedly not the group which the author(s) of this primer declares is the only right group.  The assumption behind this question is that those people “blown your way” are indubitably an evil influence.  The only “good” collective is the church collective…specifically, the protestant reformed church collective.

In other words, you are either a member of the group they are espousing, or you are a member of an apostate group by default and bound for hell.  Never mind that YOU, in this metaphysic, do not exist at all and therefore it is impossible to argue that YOU will be eternally punished (for as the group rises, so the group falls…there is no individual suffering because there is no individual).  But remember, all the inconsistencies are forever punted into the cosmic abyss of God’s mystery.  All logical contradictions are only contradictions because you have not been given the grace to perceive God’s “real” truth, because you are epistemologically incapable of perception because you, individually, are totally depraved as a function of your root metaphysic.  So, in other words, shut the fuck up, do what your told, and leave the hard questions and paradoxes for the group leadership to understand, which has all divine authority over you, because they alone are standing in the stead of God.  Which literally means that they are God to you; there is no difference as far as you are concerned.

Nervous yet?  Sure you are…as you should be.

And finally, and most obviously, the idea that “the wind” indifferently blows people your way is a rank rejection of the reformed view of God’s sovereignty.  According to their determinist philosophy, not only does nothing happen which God does not ordain, but nothing happens which God does not specifically ordain for a specific purpose, which may or may not remain a mystery (well, at least in whole, for it is always a mystery in part) to those who are merely the vehicles (extensions) of His divine Will.  This means that it is then, by philosophical definition, impossible for you to randomly fall into some group by happenstance, blind fate, or even free choice (which you already know they categorically deny…even though they lie, or are ignorant, and say they don’t).  And again, this idea that things happen just because they happen even though God is “in control of all things” (and how often we are treated to that little gem of irrational thinking) is merely another paradox punted into oblivion, left to the pastors to apprehend for you.  You just gotta believe.  The acceptance of things as true which cannot possibly be true in any measure of human reality is a badge of holy faith, sure to bring the blessings of God immeasurably to all those who believe.

But of course since the root of reality is found in assertions which are mutually exclusive it makes it extremely dubious that you can or will possess the epistemological sufficiency to apprehend said blessings when they occur…but that’s not really your concern, either.  Your job again is simply to believe, by hook or crook, no matter what the consequence, and to never assume that you should ever know why you believe nor think that you should, nor have any right (because you are totally depraved) to, observe some kind of logical, and pleasant, outcomes of your faith.  For if the outcomes were logical then the belief would be logical, which means it would not be contradictory, which means it wouldn’t require much faith (again, these are the doctrinal assumptions of reformed “scholars”).  In other words, irrational faith will lead not to a logical outcome, but an irrational one, by definition.  And so any blessing derived from your faith will not be rationally observed.  Thus, you need to have that same blind faith to accept that the consequences will make sense, and be blessings to you, even though you cannot understand these blessings for the same reason you cannot understand the contradictions which form the root of what you are supposed to believe by faith.  And the reason is simply because you can’t understand.  Ever.  Because it is your very SELF which is depraved, wicked, flawed, and insufficient, and thus is categorically and perpetually exclusive of the morality and truth of God, by nature.

So the natural outcome of the reformed epistemology is belief for the sake of belief, and nothing more.  Thus, the ability to concede rationally and efficaciously impossible ideas is the pinnacle of collectivist enlightenment.

*

“Simply put, your progress spiritually hinges on your willingness to enter into structured relationships with other believers…

…God works through relationships and that’s what this group is all about.  It’s about being part of a community.  It’s about doing life with a consistent group of people for the sake of spiritual progress.”

(Community:  Your pathway to progress, North Point Ministries, 2008, p. 18)

Since “spiritual progress” (whatever the fuck that means) is the only relevant progress, according to the “orthodox” Christian dualistic metaphysic, your worth, existentially speaking (meaning, as a function of your very being), is a direct function of not only relationships with other believers, but structured relationships”.  Of course, this naturally begs the question:  Just what does “structured” mean in this context?  Because this word simply appears out of the blue, never mentioned in the preceding pages, and is given no attention once it is submitted.  The reader thus is left with the conspicuous absence of any meaningful definition of “structured”.  Nevertheless, I do not mind hazarding a guess…and truly even more than a guess, I would bet money, and I mean real money, that “structured” means “authority.  Which means a hierarchy of rulers, culminating in the Senior Pastor who possesses the full mandate of heaven to compel your behavior.  “Structured relationships” then is merely a euphemism…a Christian collectivist code for the massively unbiblical and downright villainous reformed doctrines of Authority and Submission.

*

“Discussion: 

1.  Tell the group about one or two of your friends.  Why did you choose them?  What was the basis for your connection?”

(p. 19 of preceding citation)

My criticism of this section of the primer will not deal directly with it as it is stated.  Rather, I wish to discuss briefly the underlying authoritarian premise behind relationships amongst people in collectivist organizations, most conspicuously observed in the modern American neo-Calvinist movement:

No secrets.

That’s the rule which is the foundation of your relationship with the group and everyone in it.  But why is your life to be an open book to the group which claims proprietorship over it?

By now the answer should be obvious.  Your life is not your own, of course.  It belongs to the collective.  It IS the collective.  Any attempt to harbor a life of your own is likened to sinful deception and will get you labeled a subversive, and your personal life will be targeted mercilessly, and you will be hounded for information; and if you are not forthcoming and obedient, you will be summarily dismissed, ostracized, or worse, depending on how much destruction they think they can get away with.

As a member of the group in good standing you are obligated to disclose the deepest and most intimate aspects of your existence to people whom you may have only recently met.  How often have you been in a new church “home ” or “care” group and scarcely three or four meetings go by before the moderator begins to speak about the importance of “accountability”?

Incidentally, accountability is merely the protestant form of Confession.  But at any rate, ideally your accountability “partner” will be a member of the same care or home group, but must at least be a member of the same church.  By no means shall they be someone who attends a different “local” church; or worse, one who does not regularly attend church at all.  The purpose of keeping accountability “in house” ensures that your “areas of sin” or “struggles” are owned exclusively by the leadership of the church, tucked away for a rainy day, so to speak, brought up in case of church disciplinary actions or for convenient manipulation.  A great example of this is the outright blackmail of former Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) pastor, Larry Tomzcak, by SGM president C.J. Mahaney, whereby Mahaney threatened to go public with some very personal and intimate information concerning Tomzcak’s son.  The vicious evil of this kind of rank criminal behavior by church leadership, that is, the using confidential information to manipulate the behavior of church members and/or subordinate employees, should cause us all to shudder in fear and set our jaws in anger.

The moral is: think long and hard before agreeing to “be held accountable”.  You better believe that if you ever dare to threaten the reigning status, power, and wealth of the ecclesiastical authority you motherfucking will be.

But the point of a question like the one excerpted above is to surreptitiously teach you that there should be no pretense of self-ownership; which means that there shall be no pretense of any personal (read individual) context.  Once the group is made aware of the intimate details of your life, the group is at liberty to compel your responses in any and all contexts whereby those details have occurred (e.g. work life, family life, personal thoughts, dreams, desires, lusts, emotional struggles, even hobbies, likes, or sundry interests).  And remember–and this cannot be stated often enough–the point of suggesting you cough up the secret details of your life is for leverage, period.  There is no other rational reason…and there is certainly no Biblical reason for any of the people in these churches to know your personal business, period.  Full stop.  They are entitled to know nothing beyond what you freely choose to share; they haven’t the authority to demand to know what you fucking had for breakfast let alone your deepest emotional struggles.  And further, might I add that if the group is the only legitimate manifestation of your existence because it is the only means by which God has given to pursue your “spiritual progress” (again, whatever the fuck that means), and your spiritual progress is the only progress which matters, then your personal life, including your emotional struggles, is irrelevant.

Lay that shit on them the next time they ask you how your “quiet times” are going.  Or…you could say, “They are still very quiet, thanks, and I would prefer to keep them that way.” And conclude it by muttering (audibly, though) something to the effect of “nosy git”. 

And sure, you may lose your accountability partner, but on the upside you’ll finally get a bunch of pretentious tools to mind their own damn business for a change.

 

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23 thoughts on “Part Five of: Collectivist Ideology Masquerading as the Orthodox Christian Ideal

  1. “So, in other words, shut the fuck up, do what your told, and leave the hard questions and paradoxes for the group leadership to understand, which has all divine authority over you, because they alone are standing in the stead of God. Which literally means that they are God to you; there is no difference as far as you are concerned.”

    And the leader is usually in their 20’s/early 30’s with minimal real world experience but given power. Recipe for disaster.

  2. “Incidentally, accountability is merely the protestant form of Confession”

    Very true. And what is worse, if you have nothing to ‘confess’ to be accountable for then you believe you are “sinless perfection” which is a horrible sin. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

    They especially target teens with this stuff. And often do it in the guise of prayer requests. Example: Tell the group something you need prayer for. And if you mention praying for someone else you are told no, it is about YOU.

    I has shades of Chinese re education camp tactics all over it. And people just blindly go along.

  3. My position is that most evangelicals are not to be trusted. This is after years of being proven right from the celeb on stage to the pew sitter. How long does it take for one to learn this? Too long.

    My position now is that we do not know the same Jesus.

  4. “Very true. And what is worse, if you have nothing to ‘confess’ to be accountable for then you believe you are “sinless perfection” which is a horrible sin. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.”

    Lydia, this is an excellent point; and one I missed. Thanks for mentioning it. Yes, exactly right. You can NEVER declare a dearth of sins or “struggles”. And, again, you nailed it: the fact that you have nothing to report is said to be an even greater sin than whatever you might have confessed. You are clearly blind in your self-deception, and you are lying to your accountability partner, and this perfectly illustrates your deep need for a “pouring out” of God’s grace, which will almost certainly resemble unusually deep scrutiny and the inappropriately pushy insertion of the “local church” leadership.

    In fact, next time, I highly recommend someone try this, if nothing more than for a little fun. Tell your “care” group that you had a great week, committed no sin, and didn’t have to go to God and hang-dog your head in guilt. They will recoil as they would from a rank infidel, and many of them will undoubtedly wonder whether or not you are even saved.

    You can’t NOT sin because your sin isn’t a choice. It is a function of your existence and the fact that all of creation rejects your presence as completely insufficient for life, to your very core, to your very ability to apprehend truth. You saying you can choose not to sin is an impossible lie, because it makes you not YOU, according to the reformed metaphysic. If you are you, then you MUST sin.

    Er…but the irony is that this metaphysic is what really, and absolutely, removes man from himself. If man must sin, then he is merely a function OF SIN; meaning, sin, not man, is what actually exists as the causal, actual material of which you are comprised. Sin being utterly inexorable, is absolute, which means it absorbs YOU in favor of its own absolute, infinite existence.

    Finally, this kind of thinking is precisely how Tom’s mind works. Since humanity is SIN, then humanity must SUFFER, because humanity is utterly at odds with its own existence; it is an infinite conflict between one’s SELF and his absolute, infinite depravity. And since what is absolute will always consume what is not–for it can be no other way because what is infinite cannot co-exist with what is not, by definition–then suffering will have its way with man regardless of what man thinks or does. And Tom doesn’t understand then that all his talk about man working to alleviate suffering becomes an exercise in futility; and working to alleviate suffering, being so entirely futile, becomes a form of suffering itself…and the fact that he cannot grasp this irony is depressing.

    Further, since suffering can never be eradicated, any attempts to alleviate it become not only futile, but irrational. It is much more rational, and frankly meaningful, to succumb to the force which cannot be resisted; to succumb to DEATH as your moral and existential and inevitable conclusion. ALL resistance to what cannot be resisted is by definition a complete waste of time. If, however there is a purpose to alleviating suffering, and its purpose is understood to be rational, then suffering cannot be absolute, which means it is not causal, which means it is not inevitable. The purpose for alleviating suffering, that is, LIFE, becomes the standard of truth. And since the standard is absolute, suffering cannot be.

  5. The idea of selective recruitment borders on Nazism. Whoops. Broken that law again. You can only be with us if you become like us. The borg. Accountability means taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions not confession. I thought we cleared that up with the Shepherding movement. I am sure you could make CJ confess till the 2nd coming. That’s not the point. No transformation means confession is nice absolution for the meantine but . . . go and sin no more is the instruction.

  6. “Accountability means taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions not confession.”

    Jason, this is right. Accountability means that whatever you do, right or wrong, is your responsibility. Where you fail, you seek to grow. Where you succeed, you gain self-worth from your accomplishments. God is our guide and teacher and Heavenly Father, but the root source of our reaping and sowing is ourselves.

    And again, you are right: accountability has become more like confession, where inability is reinforced by the expectation that you WILL have morally failed in the interval between each meeting. Thus it becomes all about reassuring ourselves that all of us are merely “sinners saved by grace”, and then we make some reference to preaching the gospel to ourselves every day and off we go until the next time. Resolving to make better choices so that we can please ourselves and God and reap better consequences, both here and in heaven, cannot be the point in light of the reformed metaphysic.

  7. Listen, if you are preoccupied with going deep in search of your own brokenness then you will have NO time to notice your pastor/leader’s wrongdoing. But if you do somehow notice their bad behavior, the backup plan is your only response will be this – we are all in the same boat together – we are all profoundly broken. All sin is the same.

    If your own brokenness doesn’t keep you quiet then the great equalizer (ass : all sin same) strategy just might.

    Last but not least, the gospel will neutralize you. All bad behavior is cancelled out by what is most important, which is their saving of lost souls. Reaching the lost with the gospel trumps their wrong action. How can you get in the way of that? I just listened to MD’s interview by Janet Mefford & that WAS the answer. Don’t get in the way of the gospel or you will be another body rightly run over by the gospel bus.

    It’s a biz. There are strategies. There are PR firms. There are buses. There are mega salaries. There is expensive marketing. All for the gospel. If you don’t like it, get out of the way of “the gospel”. Or you will be mowed down by “the gospel”.

  8. The only thing you need to be focused on is loving & giving to fund my “gospel” message. Got it, ding dong?

  9. “Listen, if you are preoccupied with going deep in search of your own brokenness then you will have NO time to notice your pastor/leader’s wrongdoing. ”

    Exactly. And worse, the pastor is encouraging you to make continual dates with Satan.

  10. It keeps ’em busy. Keep your eyes on yourself, cause your broken bum needs watching.

    And if the pastor is very bad, then no biggie. He’s just like you.

    Total depravity IS such a good strategy.. Total depravity is a preacher’s Teflon suit. As long as tithers buy it, the pastor is untouchable.

  11. A mom,

    TD is the most destructive of all reformed doctrines. It is, as you rightly point out, the magic button which allows them to equivocate on ALL criticisms, and therefore to maintain constant control over ALL reality. Reason, and your own context, are categorically irrelevant. So you are never in a position to disagree.

  12. Also, A Mom, I have been wheeling and dealing with Tom over on spiritualtyranny.com. I am confessing my hypocrisy. I did not follow my own advise…and it’s biting me in the ass! Lol!!

  13. A Mom,

    I am deeply sorry for how you have been treated by Tom. I feel that I bear some responsibility. I should not have re-engaged him. He is a cruel person with serious issues of self and I have decided to cease all contact with him effective immediately. Please forgive me.

  14. comment from TWW with my thoughts in parentheses::

    “I was tired last night and had to go to bed and did not answer your question. I look at the Bible through the lens of the world that I live in. If God created the Bible for us, then it must be relevant to all times and cultures. Frankly, it has been a success and I think I know why.”

    For the life of me I cannot understand how people can actually view the bible this way. How could it be relevant to all times and cultures when each book was written for a specific reason to a specific culture in a specific time.

    “I look out at the world and continue to see sin-we kill and hurt each other every day. Millions live in poverty and many die of hunger. Even in the US, our peace with one another is in short supply due to years of persecution due to race, culture, gender, etc.

    When I see the Bible narrative, I see a people who could not maintain a culture without violence and all sorts of inhumanity. In fact, they look a lot like us. ”

    Note: COULD NOT. Christians do not think in terms of “would not” but in terms of inability to maintain without violence. The low expectations of God’s creation.

    “It is evidence that we need something outside ourselves to show us the way. We need to be forgiven for the despicable way we treat one another.”

    Gnosticism. We cannot know right and wrong. We cannot know truth.

    “The Bible describes our estate, it provides an answer and promises and eternal solution. The narrative rings true to me.”

    So the answer is believe and keep on being horrible at the same time because we “cannot” do otherwise?

    “Now- the plain stuff is not so plain. We are dealing with the infinite and immortal who can create a universe. How does he relate to those who are so vastly different than He? He sent Jesus as an example-to show us the simplicity of the faith when found in His Way.”

    Note it is only about “faith”. Not recognizing Jesus’ humanity which is a glaring message to us we can be “human” like Him. We CAN make choices.

    Their religion is hopeless. The cognitive dissonance in discussing wolves but then believing we cannot help but sin makes no sense to me. The only difference is the degree and even then all sin is the same.

  15. Lydia,

    I completely agree. Nothing of that comment makes a damn bit of sense if consistent thinking is the rational standard.

    But reason isn’t faith, you see. Faith is believing that things which cannot possibly be true in this life or the next are the root of “truth” (you are; your are not, you understand but cannot understand; you are flesh; your mind is distinct from body, you are good; you are evil; the Spirit uses you; the Spirit rejects you, you are depraved and yet depravity is absolute). Of course, if that is the assumption then the inability to possess any knowledge concerning anything at all becomes the source of knowledge. So the way to know to have faith is to declare faith, which is BELIEF, impossible. If you cannot know anything, then you cannot even define faith, let alone define the thing you supposedly have faith in.

    So, in reality the categorical denial of man’s ability to possess any efficacious knowledge means that they cannot possibly have faith,which means they cannot possibly please God.

    This doctrine is a full on denial of man an God; it is utterly satanic.

    And the Bible was not created by God. It was written by man to other, specific men. With God’s counsel? Sure. But that is not “God creating”; it is God teaching, which presumes that man is capable of learning. That is, INNATELY capable of knowledge. And learning presumes reason.

  16. The rebuttal to the link above: “Our Lord Jesus reacted in a perfect and holy way to every temptation, trial, and trauma in life—and they were more severe than any human could ever suffer. Therefore, it should be clear that perfect victory over all life’s troubles must be the result of being like Christ.”

    http://www.gty.org/blog/B140909

  17. Jason,
    Yeah…more of the same nonsense and thoughtlessness which is neo-Reformation “sound doctrine”. It’s all jut as easy as trusting “God’s Word” (whatever the fuck that means). Of course since nothing happened that God doesn’t want to happen then this is just really code for “deal with it…it’s God’s will”. The problem is all the doctrines contradict upon intersection, so it always boils down to status quo. Don’t rock the boat. Suck it up and trust you pastor. Which means “keep tithing”; “keep obeying”.

    The church today know utterly nothing of helping people. It’s all about consuming them.

    The first and best move anyone struggling with mental illness can do is run for the fucking door of these institutionalized mind blenders. They are either the cause of or the exacerbation of the problem.

  18. After reading Brent’s account of SGM I am astounded that no one has dressed up in a clown suit and shot a few dozen of them. Sorry, I don’t mean to be crass for crass sakes, but jeez your label of “institutionalized mind blenders” is a good summation. I have a picture in my head of Benny Hinn holding up a whirring stick blender on stage and inviting people up for instant fruit salad.

  19. A Mom,

    Thank you. And you do the same. People will call you stupid, unsaved, deceived, and worse…for simply claiming your right to own the life God gave you. It is tragic, but such is the power of Satan’s lie. How stiff necked some must be to reject their own life as a means to “holiness”. Truly woeful.

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