Category Archives: The Wartburg Watch Watch

Moral Attrocity at the Hands of the Group is ALWAYS a Function of Choice Via Belief, Not “Nature” nor “Aberration”: Divorcing doctrine from behavior, and Wartburg Watch’s new commenting policy

“At TWW (www.thewartburgwatch.com) only thing they are really discussing is the “degree” to which something is bad/evil. And they have not really defined the line and that is going to be hard since believers sin all the time as normal way of life and have mixed motives. Now the only thing they can do is define the degrees.”

Lydia (Unreforming Theology commenter extraordinaire)

This is exactly right.

TWW is just like any other version of pure reformed theology in action. They want their metaphysical cake and to eat it, too. They believe man is totally depraved and incapable of resisting his sin…at least twice in yesterday’s post/comments thread (here) Dee references her inability to stop sinning whilst acknowledging her desire to do so–a common misinterpretation of Romans 7–and yet she hosts a blog with the ostensible goal of holding neo-Calvinist leaders accountable for their licentiousness and abuses of power. It’s a rank contradiction in terms. You cannot have it both ways. Man cannot be unable to resist sin as a function of his root metaphysic and yet be “held accountable” as though he were.  Ever.  There is NO logical explanation of this scenario.

It is this kind of insanity which causes abuse in the first place, and why there is NO salve for atrocity in the Church today, almost without exception, nor is there any to be found in the vast majority of “discernment” blogs.

Dee and Deb are acting like the morally relative authority their peculiar version of Christianity demands, via a doctrine that is at its root an expose on moral equivalency. Since humanity is perfectly sinful to the point where all actions are merely an extension of its inherent sin nature–a nature which absolutely determines their every move as it is the source of their being–then there can be no such thing as good or evil. Man acts as he acts, period, and thus, to establish some kind of moral guideline for “God glorifying behavior” must be the sole purview of divinely appointed leaders possessing the special Gnosis  (knowledge from on high) who, via this special understanding from God and the de facto mandate of absolute force which always accompanies it, compel humanity by hook or crook (or stake or dunking chair or guillotine or firing squad or oven or labor camp) to do the “right thing”.  This is because, according to essentially all of Christian “orthodox” doctrine, man cannot himself ever do the right thing because he is unable to even recognize what the right thing is in the first place.

So, again, Lydia is exactly right. As John Immel might say, all the fuss at TWW is merely an argument over how much, and this is the tightrope every “good Christian” inevitably finds themselves walking as they attempt to defend their indefensible metaphysic. In the case of the Wartburg Watch Blog, the philosophical conundrum is: How much sin is to be excused…or rather, to what degree can can sin exist under the banner of man’s inability/total depravity before blog moderators Dee and Deb are cleared to assign blame to the totally depraved perpetrator? That is, when does it become “appropriate” for them step in and declare someone actually culpable for their behavior?

See the problem here?  Of course you do.  If man is TOTALLY depraved (and yes, they mean totally…don’t let them get away with any equivocation on this; they are either lying or ignorant) then by definition man can never be held culpable for his sin because his TOTAL depravity precludes him from having any say in the matter.  It cannot be a matter of moral failure except to say that man’s rank existence IS the failure, period.  Because as soon as we attempt to separate the sin of man from the man, himself, we have declared man  NOT totally depraved; and thus in order to sin he must choose to do so; and this means that each and every one of us (who is not either clinically insane or cognitively challenged in some way) must possess an efficacious epistemology which is the inherent ability to understand TRUTH…for only in this case can there be a right from wrong.  And if all people are able to possess the truth then there is no specially dispensed class of authority needed to compel them by force into right thinking; they by nature flourish on reason. And thus people can inherently make a decision for themselves as to who they will follow and listen to and who is a waste of their time.  The power of truth resides in the masses as individual human beings, not a special class of God’s proxies.  The absolute power of the world’s self-appointed god-men is crushed to dust under the infinite value of individual human life.

And that, my friends, is the real issue.  The real problem with the idea that truth is rooted in man’s ability to know it and define it as such is that truth then becomes a function of the individual, and literally nothing else.  It is no longer even ultimately a function of some other consciousness, not even God.  It is no longer a function of some otherworldly, metaphysically mutually exclusive Agent who, in order to claim a monopoly on truth must also assume an existential state that can have utterly nothing to do with the rest of Creation, because absolute truth is an infinite ideal, and it cannot be parsed into relative units.  Truth becomes a function of human LIFE (and this is Biblical…for without human life FIRST, all the truths of God and the Bible are literally irrelevant; for if they are not relevant TO man, then man cannot claim them relevant at all, obviously).  And this means that individuals have the right to pursue their own lives free from anyone’s interference of false standards of “good and evil”.  Good and evil become utterly defined by how one perceives and treats individual human life, and nothing else.  Period.  Full stop. And this means that the pursuit of power over others becomes objectively evil…and that is a HARD pill to swallow for those who are committed to altruism (the sacrifice of man) as the means to their own power under the guise, either believed or feigned, of universal utopia, and to determinism as the explanation for how the universe interacts and exists.  Confronting the notion that truth lay outside of man then becomes the human moral mandate, and there are woefully few souls willing to do this; willing to declare and defend the idea that truth is a function of the individual human SELF.  To believe that this is true upsets the apple cart of almost all of humanity’s metaphysical and epistemological assumptions.  And this is why, incidentally, I don’t plan on ever having many friends, even amongst those whom comprise the philosophical circles in which I run.  It simply requires to much intellectual change, and that’s a LOT of work.  And it’s exhausting.

Anyway…

So you can see how those in power over the unwashed masses stand everything to lose if they declare man capable of actually sinning by choice.  They lose their power, their money, and worst of all, their doctrine.  And yet the unsolvable enigma for them then is how to define sin, exactly, if people aren’t really choosing it?

Well, again, you can blame man’s root existence, but then you end up ipso facto blaming the Creator for being the “uncaused” first cause of SIN, and that spells trouble in their book, for obvious reason. So, again, back on the fucking tightrope they go.  Man can sin, but he can’t help it; he is culpable, but there’s no way to explain why which doesn’t ultimately resort to a punting of the entire thing into the cosmic abyss of “God’s mystery”, as John Immel might say.  Dee over at Wartburg Watch admits she sins all the time against her will and then turns around and in a perfect display of rank hypocrisy dresses down C.J. Mahaney and the rest of the Gospel Coalition guys for their heartlessness with respect to church abuse victims. Again, it is merely a tightrope of “how much”, and only certain people are allowed in the epistemological sanctuary. These certain people are those whom God has arbitrarily called to be the standard bearers for His “truth”, which is hidden from those whom He has not called. Somewhere along the line I believe, someone told Dee and Deb (perhaps Wade Burleson, their resident Reformed pastor/guru, but it could have been their own idea) that they are now “called” to “lead”.  Consequently, they are now endowed with the divine ability to draw the relative line of morality in the infinite desert of moral equivalency. THEY alone are the ones who are responsible for deciding when someone is actually culpable for their sin and when it’s simply a matter of being another little ol’ “sinner saved by grace”; which is merely code for: they’re not actually on the hook morally because they couldn’t help it. It’s just the way God made them…or the Devil made them…or their sin nature made them…or Adam’s choice to disobey in the garden made them.

This last one is a rank display of the rational madness which passes for truth in Christianity today. As though the ability to freely choose can give birth to the inability to choose. Ability and inability, choice and determinism qua depravity (no choice) are entirely mutually exclusive ideas. There is no way Adam could have freely chosen to not freely choose. This is an entirely contradictory and senseless premise.

But regardless, Dee and Deb have decided that it is their job to say how much of any action is actually “sinful”; meaning, though ALL of man’s actions are morally reprehensible according to their professed Reformed metaphysic, they are the ones who will decide when it actually matters (i.e. warrants their invective), and then green light their commenters to criticize it. But only with the understanding that even the criticisms must be micromanaged because only THEY are gifted to know when someone’s comments are “over the line” morally speaking; meaning, they will determine how much of someone’s sin should be ascribed moral culpability and then how much criticism is warranted and and then how that criticism shall be appropriately leveled.

Now, let’s take a look at  Wartburg Watch’s updated moderation strategy:

New Policy: No sexual innuendos out of respect to those who have been abused. No references to Nazism. No name calling to one another or even to those with whom you disagree. We need to take it up a notch so pls understand that moderation slows things down since we are not chained to the computer.

You can read the disclaimer as well as the relevant discussion on the comments thread here.

First on the docket, side note:

How does this moderation strategy get a pass from anyone over at the Wartburg Watch?! It boggles the mind, truly. How is this madness not seen…how does anyone look in the mirror each morning convinced that they are proclaiming truth via an impossible philosophy of moral equivalency? Reformation theology destroys any moral actions or outcomes entirely…it is nihilist determinism. Nothing has any meaning because nothing has any relevance. Everything is a direct function of mutually exclusive determinist absolutes: God’s sovereign will and man’s total depravity. It is the epitome of the zero sum game. There are no winners. There are no losers, because everything is actually, at its root, nothing at all.

Now back to our discussion.

Aside from how reasonable this moderation update reads on its face, I have had some experience with TWW and their heavy-handed and capricious editing and, though I admit that I am a natural cynic, I don’t believe that this disclaimer is anything other than an attempt to control content in service to maintaining Reformed doctrinal purity.  Period.  I don’t think it has anything to do with guarding the delicate sensibilities of abuse victims or preventing the comments thread from becoming an homage to Eddie Murphy.  Dee and Deb have made it very clear in the past that ideas  (a.k.a. doctrine) are off limits; only behavior is to be criticized.  Thus, there has been, I submit, a longstanding endeavor at that site to utterly divorce behavior from doctrine.  This new moderation policy is a perfect example of this.

Since only behavior is to be criticized, not the ideas which drive that behavior, it seems only natural for Dee and Deb to want to control what behavior is discussed in the comments; and to that end, to decide how that behavior is described.  This is the root I believe behind the “no sexual innuendos” policy.  In the minds of TWW’s moderators, overt descriptions of the heinous sexual acts of Reformed perpetrators amounts to a commenter taking it upon themselves to declare specific behavior morally reprehensible.  But this is purely the prerogative of Dee and Deb, and never that of an “uncalled” layperson.  And yes, I said “layperson”.  The Wartburg Watch is now, since the inauguration of Wade Burleson as ePastor, a virtual church, and to label the regular commenters there “members” is not, to me, any kind of stretch.  They are members of a virtual body of Reformed believers, a “local church” if you will (for what is more local than your home computer?), and as such they are expected to tow the doctrinal line.  Do not doubt me on this.

Commenters have no business expressing their moral outrage by giving examples of morally offensive behavior…what Dee and Deb refer to as “sexual innuendos”.  And by the way, for the record, I’m not entirely sure those two really know what that means.  Reading through the comments thread, specifically the input from long-time Wartburg pal, commenter “Eagle”, who is the most notable victim of the latest propaganda edit, it seems that making reference to direct quotes from Reformed pastors concerning their idea of “wifely duties”, which include all manner of debased and degrading sexual acts as a function of her moral obligation to “biblical” submission (sex during menstruation, as one example), is “sexual innuendo”.  Which, er…no, Dee.  It is sexual slavery, if you want to get technical about it.  And I would define sexual innuendo for my readers, but I assume they are smart enough to know what it means and already understand that it would be incongruous and ludicrous to make one on a blog like this, or a blog like Wartburg Watch. Don’t really need a separate disclaimer.

It also should be said that to his credit Eagle immediately and rightly called bullshit on the censorship, and was then predictably and perfunctorily savaged by intellectual lightweight “Numo”, who tows the Wartburg partly line like nobody’s business, and who appealed to all manner of non-specifics and ad hominem as a defense for the egregious comments purge.  Now, I must admit that Eagle was at a distinct disadvantage as his comments were, obviously, never posted, so we don’t really know what actually comprised them.  I suspect that if we did, however, and knowing Eagle from reading his comments over the past couple of years, and knowing Numo from the same, we’d see the fuss Numo makes is at best hyperbole.

But getting back to my point.  The main idea is to buffer doctrine from action.  This is more easily done if the actions are less, not more, egregious.  For when we see a whole bunch of people engaging in immoral behavior that can be spun so as to not appear to be “so bad”, then we can better make the argument that the doctrine is pure and the behavior of humanity, though it tries and tries its little heart out, still leaves perfect morality to be desired.  With a pensive sigh they explain that nobody’s perfect, after all.  However, when we see a whole bunch of people engaging in outright shocking debauchery and evil (like forcing a wife to have anal sex, or sex during menstruation, or sex on demand, or the systemic enabling and cover up of child abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries) and a whole bunch of other people affirming and confirming this behavior, people ostensibly just like you and me…well, then it gets a little harder to divorce the doctrine from the practical outcomes.  All of a sudden, in the face of the rank horror of this kind of moral death, people want to examine everything, and not even the fucking doctrine gets a pass.  Everyone not totally insane, Reformed or not, wants the proverbial microscope focused in on every facet of the issue, and they are vigilantly interested in the major malfunction of the lives and minds of the perpetrators.

And some of those perps and affirmers of the perps are themselves, they realize, as card carrying members and long time, abundant tithers.  And then they start to wonder if they have been duped, and that’s when it becomes personal and that’s when people really start asking questions.

A convenient way to nip this kind of critical eye in the bud is simply content control.  This happens all time.  A cursory glance at the history of Nazi Germany (the NAZIS, DEE…yes the NAAAAAAAZIS) reveals this.  If we don’t talk about the really bad stuff, then the really hard questions aren’t as likely to arise.  It’s easy to couch bad stuff as a function not of doctrine but of “sin nature” when the stuff isn’t something one normally sees in horror movies.  It is much harder ascribe mere perfunctory sin nature to an action when it’s so bad and so prevalent and is engaged in by so many seemingly “normal” people that it is impossible not to attribute to it some kind of root philosophical assumption; some manner of group think.  But content control is the mother of thought control, and that’s what Reformed theology is all about.

Perhaps Dee and Deb are just intimidated.  Perhaps they have no confidence–and they shouldn’t–in their ability to defend their beliefs.  It is MUCH easier to condemn behavior, waggling a disapproving finger and telling C.J. he should have known better, than to actually argue WHY he should have known better, especially since he believes the same things about God and Jesus as Dee and Deb do.

But I don’t think so.  I think they are fully committed to the idea that in order to be truly “Christian” any real and efficacious judgement of behavior should be reserved for God.  And since real judgement is going to be a function of a knowledge that humanity cannot possibly posses, because only God really understands, there is no point in debating doctrine.  And a great way to steer the comments away from doctrine is to steer them away from any truly controversial examples or comparisons.  Dee and Deb make a great show of expressing their moral outrage over church sex abuse scandals and the predictable Gospel Coalition wagon-circling, but these ladies I submit understand that they cannot make any substantial argument for the doctrinal legitimacy of their disapproval.  And that’s why they never allow their blog to go down the path of doctrinal discourse.  And anything which they decide offers a vehicle for any disagreement with the Reformed theology they have conceded is declared blog heresy and is summarily purged.  It is as simple as that; and not even Eagle is spared.  Yes, for aaaaaall the melodrama and emotional slobbering Dee and Deb lavished upon this guy–a guy who, frankly, needs to be a hell of a lot smarter when it comes to the kinds of religious folk he chooses to roll with–they shoved him aside with all the grace and finesse of a runaway truck.  Hitler himself couldn’t have been dealt with with more disdain for his ideas.  HITLER, DEE!  Yes, HIIIIIIITLER!

And speaking of Hitler.

You see, “inappropriate” comparisons are the ostensible root of the moratorium on discussing similarities between Reformed ecclesiastical leadership and the National Socialists.  Again, this is a function of Dee and Deb’s moral equivalency qua moral relativism.  Remember, when behavior is summarily divorced from ideas then the ethical outcome of such a belief WILL be moral equivalency…and this is precisely why a discussion of National Socialism is a perfect and natural and necessary segue into Reformation theology, and vice versa.  Because this is the root of how the Third Reich could go on to commit one of the most egregious crimes against humanity the world as ever seen.  Any “evil” done on behalf of National Socialism was never a reflection of, nor did it impugn, the integrity and purity of the state and its ideals.  In fact, “evil” and “good” were redefined to utterly support the mission of the Reich, and to act as a functional propaganda tool for the perpetuation of its doctrine.  The ability of the leadership to summarily dismiss general INDIVIDUAL human existential nature from the purity of its collectivist philosophy, leading to the concession of the doctrine’s absolute causal and determinative power over the universe, led, in part, to the wholesale slaughter of over six million defenseless human beings.  And this kind of tyranny is always the practical outcome of moral equivalency wielded as moral relativism in the hands of a select group of herrenvolk.  The doctrine becomes a life force, itself, and thus those who act as extensions of it–the officials of the party, or the tribe, or the church, or the king, and those who are fully and formally integrated into the group–can never be held accountable for any “evil” action…because there is no such thing.  And the more the overt horror is scrubbed from the eyes of the general masses, like Auschwitz was hidden from the citizens of mother Deutschland, the less likely people are to start questioning the primary consciousness’s “absolute truth”.

Yes…such is the capricious yardstick of relative morality in the hands of a divinely ordained “authority” who acts as the proxy for the absolute and all determining Primary Consciousness, e.g., the National Socialist State officials, terminating with the fuhrer in Fascist Germany, and the senior eldership of the “local church” in neo-Calvinist theology.  They alone get to decide when and how to make moral comparisons; what is bad and what is worse; and what is good and what is better, and what is neither.  Period.  Full stop.

So please, no comparisons to Hitler or “sexual innuendos” (as we understand them to mean), Dee and Deb will sagely advise.  We must draw the moral lines in the sand on this blog.  You will nod your heads and write a lot about our justice and our compassion and how adept we are at bearing the massive and humbling burden of being a part of the elite group of chosen keepers of God’s “sound doctrine”.

And that, my friends, is the message of the Wartburg Watch’s new comments policy.  And it speaks volumes about what is really going on over there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wade Burleson and Commenter Ken: Defending Wartburg Watch’s community of commenters against Reformed theology’s epistemological madness

This is a neo-Reformed assault launched against the Wartburg Watch by Wade Burleson and some commenter named Ken.  I have no love for that site as I’m sure you have gathered by now, but I will call out mystic oppression when I see it, and this is mystic lording at its most subtle finest.

Wade Burleson UNITED STATES on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:33 PM said:

ken wrote:

@ dee:

Got tied up with a couple customers, Dee. Wasn’t intending on skipping out that long. I’m very glad you post the majority of people’s comments and show the real world, but it wasn’t really what I was getting at.

 Maybe this would help explain my concern: there is a difference between a genuine comradery that develops when people are drawn to this site because of their painful/wrongful experience with authoritarian leadership in the church (I commend you guys for this) and comradery that results from being analytical and critical (not so good, imo). The latter is my concern in that it produces extremely fertile soil for the seeds of self-righteous banter to take root. I’ve seen it in my own life when I started seeing and identifying the huge problems in “church” as I knew it years ago. I’m still guilty of it at times and need to repent of it. I am no better than they are, will always have error in my thinking regarding Christ and His Kingdom, and am in desperate/continual need of the grace of God in all areas of my life…especially my attitude towards others with whom I disagree.

 So, yes, I realize not everyone who comments is professing to love Christ here, but among those (a rather large group) that have claimed to love Christ there seems to be much joy and satisfaction in finding fault. Just my humble opinion, but it seems your comments frequently incite that aspect of response, rather than curb it with a graceful reminder.

 What do you think – does that make any sense? I know there is a fine line here, and am not sure I have the ability to articulate it. Thanks for your patience with me!

 Dee and Deb,

 The above comment by Ken (whom I do not know) is worthy of our serious contemplation. The spirit in which he writes gives evidence of the Spirit possibly speaking through him. Nobody has commented on his comment, so I thought I’d highlight it lest it be missed. What he’s written, in my estimation, is very profound.

 Now to a couple of other issues at hand. It should be obvious to everyone what happened to Mefferd. When someone’s livelihood is at stake, one’s silence is understandable. However, in the end, truth will always win. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and reflect on the truth that in the age of the Internet, stunning silence speaks ten times louder than ten thousand blogs. It has the REVERSE effect intended. So, hang on – its only beginning.

 Second, to the two of you (Dee and Deb) – your labor of love in running a blog that has hundreds and thousands of daily readers is amazing. Don’t get discouraged. It’s difficult to walk the line between truth and love (No, it is not.). I see you doing it well. Continue – loving people where they are, including those who disagree with you theologically, and you will continue to make an impact with your truth writing.

Praying for you guys and Rachelle and I love you both!

Wade

(Bold print added for emphasis, and bod print in parenthesis are mine.)

So says Wade Burelson, resident e-pastor over at Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com).  Now, there is a ton of philosophically and theologically ridiculous stuff going on in this comment; and notice that half of the comment is a re-post of another comment by this Ken guy.

Both of them are birds of a despotic feather in my opinion, because both of them concede the idea that man is not capable of making any  moral distinctions, and thus by logical extension is incapable of taking moral action.  This is certainly implied when Ken declares:

“I am no better than they are, will always have error in my thinking regarding Christ and His Kingdom, and am in desperate/continual need of the grace of God in all areas of my life…especially my attitude towards others with whom I disagree.”

It should be standard operating procedure that any rational human being be infuriated at statements like this.  This is rational larceny at its glittering finest…literally.   Ken’s statement utterly robs you of your ability to apprehend truth, to call evil, evil and good, good.  He openly admits that HE has no such inherent ability to make such judgments…that God, by his “grace”, does it for him, even though this defies any logic.  For if Ken cannot help but have “error in his thinking” then how can he pretend to understand God well enough to even know that he cannot help but have “error in his thinking”?  For that statement is, itself, a declarative absolute…the very thing his statement utterly DENIES he is capable of.  If his thinking is perpetually in error then why in the fuck should I believe that he has anything useful to add to the conversation?  If he preaches Jesus, why should anyone listen to him?  He flat out concedes that even HE doesn’t really know what he thinks he knows; that his entire epistemology is pervasively flawed at its root.  

Asinine!  And this is what Wade thinks could “possibly be the Holy Spirit”?!  How long…O, how long will “Christians” continue to exchange reason for madness?! 

Bullshit in its finest, and it tasks my temper.  For there is no such thing as “partly good” or “partly evil” in order that you can make such a statement that you “cannot fully know” what you think (as if thinking is somehow subject to abstract concepts like “knowing and not knowing”…NO, you either are thinking or you are not thinking; when you think, you think ABSOLUTELY.  Your MIND is THE absolute, not the concepts you use to organize what you observe).  The very notion is irrational piffle.  Evil and good are mutually exclusive absolutes.  If you cannot fully concede good and fully act in service to it, and fully concede evil, and fully act to avoid it or destroy it, then you are morally broken, defunct, and irrelevant to LIFE.

Aaaaaand….here we are again, right back to Calvinism.  For those of you who were or are Calvinists, you know that this is exactly what they believe.  Human beings, saved or unsaved, are morally useless, never fully understanding good, and thus, by extension, never fully understanding evil.  They are “lukewarm”, as Christ would say, and are fit for nothing as a matter of metaphysical course. This is why this theology utterly condemns to hell all men and women, and must appeal to God’s rank and arbitrary “election” for salvation.  Nothing you and I ever say or do at all, good or bad, really matters, because your entire existence is perfectly broken and irrelevant.

With respect to the “tone”, or “attitude”, or “bitterness”, or “fault-finding” of Wartburg’s commenters:  Well, what the fuck do Ken and Wade propose these poor propagandized people do?  I mean, Ken and Wade and Dee and Deb divorce doctrine from behavior, so what do they expect the comments to look like when you have a group of people who want to decry spiritual tyranny and are invited to do so and yet are gagged when it comes to actually discussing the ideas which drive it?  If you attack the precious “orthodoxy” and “sound doctrine” (which is basically pure Calvinism), you are an apostate and a heretic and Dee gives you the left boot of fellowship right into moderation oblivion.  And according to Ken and Wade if you attack the behavior and actions of others you are “self righteous”, and “pridefully” ignoring your own proclivities to utter sinfulness…you deny your TOTAL depravity.  If you judge others’ actions on the basis that they are not in keeping with proper doctrine, you pretend that you have the same wisdom and authority as PASTOR, who is divinely called by God and thus somehow specially dispensed to know a bunch of shit you don’t.  Which means you are assuming THEIR authority to gauge degrees of “orthodoxy”, which puts you in the position of trying to actually BE God (because there is no distinction between Pastor and God in reformed theology/Calvinism as fair as the laity is concerned), which makes you vulnerable to excommunication, Church “discipline”, or worse.

The purpose of this philosophy (Reformed/Calvinist) then should be obvious:  to use fear of death and hell to compel the masses into a specific ideology in order to serve that ideology, in order that those who “lead” may grow in power.  Make no mistake, there is nothing Christian about any of this thinking.  Calvinism and Reformed theology have roots which do not find their way back to Jewish Law nor to the Revelation of God which is the source of the Torah.  Calvinism and Reformed theology are the evil spawn of Gnosticism, which is one of the many bloodthirsty sons of Platonism…the university and bulwark of all tyranny.  To declare that people are wholly unable to make moral judgments of either behavior or doctrine (or motives, or intentions, or “heart”) is to remove humanity from itself.  By putting an awareness of TRUTH utterly outside the metaphysical and epistemological boundaries of human beings, those who proclaim themselves, hypocritically, as “called” to lead are in a position of absolute power and control.  THEY alone, by God’s Will, have a monopoly on all LIFE…they alone get to say what is true and what is not; and since the reasons for doing so are completely beyond the “average” person’s ability to apprehend, by purposeful divine mandate, these “leaders” are in an indefatigable position to control absolutely.  Whenever and in whatever way they want.  Capriciousness has no definition in such a worldview.  Actions are right not based on the consistency of them to a standard of reason or life or truth or anything else;  actions are “right” merely because they say so; and they are God as far as you are concerned.  And you should know that neither they or you are, according to their “sound doctrine”, able to make ANY distinction between their words and God’s words; their authority and God’s authority.

So, notice what Wade does here.  He invokes “possibly” the Holy Spirit in service to the doctrine he accepts. That’s right…not in service to “truth” or “good”, because both of those things are entirely subservient to doctrinal orthodoxy in reformed theology.  TRUTH and GOOD, even God’s GOOD, is not the standard of their doctrine, but the opposite is true.  If it isn’t doctrinally sound (which means consistent with their interpretive premises, which deny human life as the standard of truth), then it cannot be GOOD and it cannot be TRUE.  This makes TRUTH and morality a function of the gnosis–the Pastor’s special knowledge–and not the other way around.  And this of course makes truth and good something which is BEYOND the scope and context of man’s life.  And the hounds of hell are free to run wild amongst the human race.

Let me explain.

Now, Wade qualifies his statement about the Holy Spirit with “possibly”, which is wise. But allow me to pontificate on the dangers of holding to the doctrinal beliefs Wade presumes, and the precarious and dangerous position it places him in, as a Pastor; because you must understand, whether they admit it or not, reformed theology demands a spiritual caste system.  In other words, it demands that the ecclesiastical leadership possess the “gnosis”, the divine knowledge, which eludes “normal” people like you and I.  It requires that Pastors have “authority”, and authority is the power of force/punishment, and this is defended precisely by appealing to the their special relationship with God.

So, notice what happens when one does not have a rational epistemological plumb line…that is, a rational standard of TRUTH (which must be and can be nothing other than man’s LIFE)  by which to vet all ideas and notions so that their efficacy to truth can be reasonably seen and reasonably observed.  The Holy Spirit becomes subservient to what?  That’s right.  To doctrine.  And what does the doctrine say?  It says that Pastors are spiritual authorities.  And what does that mean?  It means that they have a special revelation from God that you cannot have…it has been bestowed upon them, despite this assumption being categorically contradictory to every point in TULIP.  Somehow, God has decided that they are “worthy” (but not worthy…making God’s truth nothing more than rational insanity).  So, I submit that if Wade reads something that sounds reeeeeaaaally good and reeeaaally in keeping with what HE believes and what HIS heart thinks, then, viola! the Holy Spirit this must have been.

This is very, very dangerous ground for him and any other Reformed pastor to stand upon.  But they don’t lose a wink of sleep over this of course, because…well, think about it.  I mean, if you are God, for all intents and purposes.  Ce la vie.  It’s all good.  You don’t have to fear God, for God serves YOU…that is, God’s truth is YOUR truth.  Fear is incompatible to the Pastor who decides that his every whim is divine.  What do they have to be afraid of?  The Holy Spirit becomes merely another useful servant in their quest to perpetuate their own power as “God in the stead”.

And they go on, never really understanding how terrified they should be that they believe this kind of “orthodoxy”.

You see, conceding that man’s life is not the plumb line for truth, even though it is the only  rational standard, leads to every sort of evil, and every manner of violent and tyrannical consequence.  This should not be hard to graps.  And when I say evil, I don’t even mean Hitler evil (which it does lead to…all tyranny can be traced to Platonism; and certainly Reformed theology is Platonist in its foundations).  I mean…using God Himself as a means to the end of your own power.  Yes, THAT kind of evil.  Even typing that last sentence made me shudder and tremble.  Do you not see that when the plumb line of  TRUTH is OUTSIDE of man’s life then man cannot ever be in a position to know truth, by definition.  Which means he cannot know God!

But God is relevant not because He is TRUTH outside of man but precisely because man can know Him as TRUE.  Man can define God, and define God properly AS God, because epistemological understanding is utterly within the scope of man’s existence!  If man’s epistemology is subservient to a TRUTH outside of him then God loses all definition; all relevance, all meaning.  And those that fill the vast moral vacuum which rips through the universe like a galaxy sized black hole can declare NOTHING off limits to their own power.  THEY are the only ones who are somehow able to have a useful epistemology…that is, they are the only ones who can say what is “true” and what is not.  This means that they do not serve God, but God must serve them because TRUTH is categorically ruled by them.  God only has any meaning when THEY define Him.

Now, they will declare “God’s revelation” as the source of their knowledge and authority, but understand that this cannot be true.  For in order for God’s revelation to be understood—to have any useful relevance–then man must possess innately an ability to properly judge his own reality/context in order to see that God’s revelation is “right”.  In other words, man must possess the inherent ability to be “revealed upon”.  Which means that any revelation must coincide with man’s root EXISTENCE.  It is the fact that man IS which makes it possible for God to reveal TRUTHS to him.  Man has an innate standard of truth by which he can automatically apprehend God’s revelation.  That standard is of course his LIFE.  Thus, man can know God is God because such knowledge is rationally compatible with man’s EXISTENCE.

But if we say that man’s existence is purely subjective to God’s truth, then man’s very BEING, his very SELF, can by no means be any kind of vehicle to understand what God reveals.  Man’s life is irrelevant to God’s truth being true.  This makes no rational sense, but it is precisely what reformed theology teaches.  And this means that truth, inherently, cannot be known by man because “truth” ignores man’s very existence as a prerequisite for it being true.  This makes man’s epistemology (how he knows what he knows) totally useless!  Which puts God, Himself, as a “truth”, beyond the scope of man’s life. Man cannot know God, and God cannot know man, because “knowledge” must be KNOWN by someONE, and according to the doctrine you cannot appeal to your LIFE—your someONE, so to speak—as a means for knowing anything.  So, by their own doctrine, the neo-reformers declare that man cannot be “revealed upon” because man’s life, man’s EXISTENCE,  is an insufficient vehicle for knowledge.  And if man cannot be revealed upon because his existence is wanting as a receptacle for knowledge, then how in the hell can they appeal to divine revelation as the source of their authority?

The answer is, they cannot.  So, by their own doctrine they remove God from man entirely and place themselves in His position as the source of all power and authority over life and death, meaning and truth, good and evil.  And if this is a philosophy which saves man and does not destroy him then God is a farce.  The only way for God to be God is if man is capable of reconciling God to the affirmation of his own life, his own existence, if for no other reason than your LIFE is the only objective, observable, actual means you have of knowing ANYTHING, including and especially God.  It is axiomatic to declare that all you know as true begins and ends with your existence.  This is not blasphemy…on the contrary, by recognizing that human life as the standard of GOOD we can easily reconcile the Bible and God to TRUTH.  Why is God, God?  Because He is NECESSARY, not to the destruction of human life, but to the preservation, affirmation, and CREATION of it.  How in the world can anyone declare this philosophy unbiblical?

By being a gnostic, that’s how. By exchanging the truth for a lie.  By pretending that human life/existence is incidental at best to TRUTH. And notice how motherfucking convenient this idea is to the acquisition and maintaining of absolute power.  It’s a hook in a sea of madness…and many are being reeled up.  They expect to see heaven, but all they’ll get is a boat full of hell.  And into the cooler go their souls.

Learn the Hypocrisy Two Step Over at Wartburg Watch: Action divorced from assumption (“motive”)

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/11/30/crossway-to-release-new-book-in-2014-points-are-being-made/

John A UNITED STATES on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:59 AM said:

“The group on this site seems to have grown very critical, cynical , and even self righteous. Reading through these posts I am amazed at the confidence with which any of you reveal the motives and intentions of others. Only God knows the heart. I’m not saying don’t judge but I am saying many of you take it too far when you state as absolute fact things that nobody can know.”

April on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 12:49 PM said:

“log in your eye, speck in theirs–can you not see that you are presuming to judge people’s hearts and motives? Only God can do that. To many, you come off as ridiculously more evil than those you seek to vilify (and to many others, as a bunch of theologically illiterate [and grammatically challenged] whiners).”

dee UNITED STATES on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 08:45 AM said:

John A wrote:

My point is that your criteria is subjective, unverifiable, exaggerated, and absurd.
I know some are tired of the argument but you cannot judge the hearts motives or intentions of these men with such a broad brush approach.

OK-now I am getting weary of your statements like this. Either put up or shut up. Tell me exactly where I have judged the motives of people. I have asked this of you already and I am not going to start off my week with you starting up with this again.

I have said it before, and I will say it again one more time, I don’t judge motives because it is impossible. Only God can do that. I look at words that people say and actions that they take. Frankly, none of us can fully judge our own motives, including you.”

*

Now, let me ask.  Are you, like me, wondering just what they are talking about?  Both are judging the motives of each other while they deny that anyone but God can judge motives.  Huh?  And this saying, right out of the Reformed Theology Indoctrination for the Purposes of Pure Control of the Masses primer:  “Frankly, none of us can fully judge our own motives, including you”…honestly, I don’t even know what the fuck that means.  If you act without knowing why you act, you belong in an institution, not moderating a “discernment” blog.  This is like the cosmic spiritual insanity plea.

“Dear Lord, have mercy.  After all, I cannot really know why I do the things I do, because by doctrinal definition truth is subservient to our pervasive depravity.  So, doesn’t this make You ultimately to blame here?  I mean, if we are being fair about it?  If you want to be Creator, take some responsibility for a change, why don’t You?  If I’m an evil ignoramus, isn’t both the “evil” and “ignoramus” part Your fault?  At the very least can we drag that scumbag Adam in here?”

See…now we see the Calvinism inherent in the system.  Notice how with this little phrase Dee undercuts her entire existence as a discernment blog operator:  “We can’t fully understand our own motives.”  Then how in the fuck does she get away with criticizing, well…anyone?  If motives are never in question, then how can we consider an action evil?  She concedes the “we are all just sinners saved by grace” and in the same breath condemns men for their actions!

Welcome, one and all, to the Wartburg Watch’s Dance of the Hypocrisy Two Step.  May it serve to dazzle and delight your family this Christmas as you appeal to your own infinite acceptance by God and utterly condemn others with absolutely no rationale at all.  Just because it’s that way.  After all, if we cannot judge others motives and reasons, how much less can I explain why God loves me and hates you?

*

Once again the battle of wits rages over at Wartburg Watch, ending in a hopeless and sad little draw…as usual.  But what is even sadder is that the opponents both approach the argument from the same philosophical assumption:  The doctrine doesn’t matter.  Wrong or right, rational or insane, since only “God can judge the heart/motives”, the assumptions which drive behavior cannot be something we can ever actually know.  So, let’s make the fight about behavior, and not the doctrine which drives it. Let’s change the leaders out, and leave the ideas in place.  Because…that always seems to work, doesn’t it?

Both opponents in this fight use the God’s Mystery get-out-of-jail-free card. They both deny that its possible to know the the doctrine which is in the heart of a person–that you can’t possibly know what they really believe–and this is why doctrine doesn’t matter.  Action must be judged in a vacuum, fully divorced from the “heart”.  This conveniently absolves the antagonist from any moral responsibility because they have simply decided that the human being–as a thinking, volitional agent–is removed from the equation.  Thus, they aren’t on the moral hook for their criticisms because they divorce brain from body.  After all, you cannot sin against an action or a word.  So if we cut the person in two, we are always in the moral right, because we don’t target people, we target words and actions.

This is what that rascally and brilliant metaphysician, John Immel, would call a rational atrocity…a rational larceny (two of the best phrases ever).  A pitiful attempt to take the moral high ground by using argumentative slight of hand and ad hominem.

In the right corner, Dee, wearing compassionate Calvinism trunks of many colors, given to her by her Father, who loves her bestest of all…just because.  And in the left corner, John A and April who are wearing identical trunks because they say, no, their Father, who is the same Father, loves them bestest of all…just because.  The fight will begin once we figure out just who the Father is cheering for. Because that?  Will tell us who wins even before the first punch is thrown.  You see, it’s all about who is loved more by daddy just because.  Just because, for some reason, he says that they are just so damn special that no one else would understand.

“We don’t judge the heart motives, we only judge actions. Pfft…only God can judge the heart motives.”

Let me explain something…little “truisms” like this that never get examined is why there is tyranny run amok in the church and in the state, and why so few people are just too fucking tired to think anymore.  Every time they get a good idea, some “absolute” like this gets plastered like a mental blindfold and they refuse to tear it off. But the “Bible says it” (and I don’t actually concede it does) goes the dancing monkey, spinning in circles.  And since the Bible is the replacement Primary Consciousness for God in Christianity these days, there isn’t any REASON to think because clearly, other men have already done all the thinking the world will ever need FOR them.  They’ve got their little bumper stickers on autoplay in their heads and there simply isn’t room for reason between the little cracks of ramshackle theology.  Whatever holes are big enough to fill with logically defensible arguments have been jammed full of “God’s mystery”.  Little insane ideas like “we don’t judge motives, just actions” allows people to get away with the most egregious, self-righteous and vile criticism all the while proclaiming their own innocence of any malice or evil intention.  Why?  Because if motives/assumptions are divorced from action then by what standard can their OWN hearts be judged?  They can get away with any degree of evil speech and psychological violence and even rank murder (when you take the assumption to its logical conclusion) and NEVER have to defend their own behavior because saying you don’t judge “motives” is tantamount to saying that motives don’t matter.  And if motives don’t matter, and are off the table as a topic of discussion because they are a “mystery” that only God can know, then the minute a critical eye is turned upon them…well, notice what Dee does.

“Ah, ah, ah…” she says, waggling her index finger before your nose like your fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kranklefrauer, “I will sit here all day long and judge motives and the minute you look to judge mine, out comes my gigantic and universal trump card of “God’s Mystery”.  Motives are mystery, the old saying goes, and so I will kindly thank you to take your criticism elsewhere, young man.  You don’t judge me.  Even I can’t judge me.”

In other words, Dee, trained to do so as she is by conceding the very doctrine that drives the evil behavior she “confronts” on her blog (and forms the motives…yes, I said it; see, Dee, it isn’t that hard to not be a hypocrite…just say it: I judge your motives), flips the script.  She changes the rules on a whim and a sniff of the wind.  It’s blowing against her…the critical eyes are condemning HER.  The motherfucking nerve of them!  Don’t they realize that MOTIVE is off limits!  Only God knows my motive! she declares.  How DARE they challenge the purity of my assumptions by pretending that MY actions can be linked to my assumptions! she cries in fury.

“Off to the Wartburg dungeon!”  She screams…and off they go.  Just like that.  For no other reason than doing the exact same thing Dee does.  Questioning the actions by looking at the assumptions.  Yes, yes she does…because it is impossible to only judge actions.  Im. Poss. I. Ble.

“Dee, why are you all such assholes?” John A innocently asks, daring to enter the shark tank of the “poor” and the “abused” where bloody teeth surely await him…he knows this all to well, and shudders.  “You judge and judge and pretend to know the heart of all you despise when you cannot possibly know that; and further, according to your own words, your own “doctrine”, motives cannot even be known, they are God’s purview solely, and thus what is your appeal for savaging these people?  If you insist on divorcing action from assumptions which drive it, then by what moral standard can you judge them?  For it is obvious to those not gone insane by hubris and a massively self-serving blog apparatus that action in a vacuum cannot possibly be declared “evil fruit”…for if the fruit is found far from the trees, how can you declare it evil?  You know not which tree it came from.  And even if you knew, if you divorce fruit from the root entirely, on a metaphysical level, then even if the fruit is rotten it must be the tree’s fault.  And you cannot criticize the tree,  you say…for only God sees the tree.  So…whats with all the rationally insane  and self-serving platitudes?”

*

The question isn’t “are you judging motives”.  The question (if you want to get all Biblical about is) is are you judging motives correctly?  Are you able to see enough in order to draw a logical conclusions as to the morality of a person’s motive?  The answer to this is sometimes yes, and sometimes no.  But make no mistake, actions cannot exist in a vacuum when perpetrated by a self-aware, volitional agent.  You MUST judge actions because JUDGE implies a rendering of a decision concerning moral innocence or moral guilt.  If you judge a person’s actions you ARE judging their heart/motive/doctrine/assumption ipso facto.  So, the Bible’s point is that you better have a pretty good idea of what you are observing so that when you do judge, you are doing it according to a defensible rational standard.  Otherwise, you are a hypocrite and are denying the right of SELF to your fellow man.  And that’s not cool at all.

So…what’s really going on here with this little tidbit of Wartburg Watch intellectual laziness (that they are so well known for)?  Well, I submit it is this:  Dee is free to judge motives all day long and savage the targets of her ire and when someone decides to turn a critical eye upon her she claims how dare they?…my motives are pure, and you can’t see them anyway.  And when they say, “but you are judging motives so why so upset that we judge yours”, she says I am not judging motives at all, only God can do that. And when they look at her all confused and say  “Then why judge at all since action without motive is by definition utterly meaningless and thus must be a-moral?”  And Dee replies “How dare you advise me to do something rational in service to my ideas…especially when the assumptions for doing so puts me on the moral hook for my own actions.  How dare you take away my safety net of epistemological purity, which is “Ignorance is bliss”.  I intend to appeal to ignorance of motives should God ask me to defend my tirades.  Just in case I’m out of line here and am violating other Christians and God calls me out on it, I need to be able to say “But I never judged motives; I never judged the “heart””.

Well…isn’t that just convenient, Dee?  You don’t judge motives, so you can be just as horrible as you like and you can never be held to moral account because it is merely the “fruit” you are judging.  The person is as innocent in your eyes as a baby’s powdered bottom, I suppose you are saying.  So when CJ turns a blind eye to abuse in the Church, for all you know, his motives may have been of the heavenliest kind, hmm? There may be blood but as long as Ceej is seeing Twinkies and Buttercups in his mind’s eye, then how can he be judged, right, Dee?

THIS is what you argue when someone calls out your invective? Good luck with that.  And by the looks of your blog’s popularity, you are having copious amounts of good luck with that.  And that?  Is really depressing.

Aaaaaaaand….this is when Dee gets backed into her epistemological corner–which is easy to do–and the fire flies from her eyeballs and in a flash all that is left of poor old John A is a smoldering little circle in the comments thread.  Once again, the brute force of blog moderation saves the day.  The Hypocritical Two Step can go on, spinning and spinning and spinning in the barn, with party favors and used napkins and styrofoam cups littering the happy floor, into epistemological oblivion, leaving a trail of tyranny and human destruction in its wake.  And this force?  Is otherwise known as shutting the opposition the hell up because physical oppression, not ideas, are the root of all philosophical victories, I suppose.

Sigh.

Now, somewhere in there (I’m too tired to even go look now) Dee challenges John A to point out where she has judged motives.  I didn’t wait around for John to oblige, but went on my own search.  This took me a whopping twenty seconds to find.  Here is Dee…er, not judging motives:

“This post [by Mark Driscoll] is either divorced from the reality of his situation or he is throwing the blame onto others, especially Satan and women.  They are the problem, not him.  This is a case study for psychologists.” 

“How could Driscoll write this without taking into consideration the growing scandal?  Or did he?  Is it an admission of sorts?  Is he saying “the devil made him do it?”

From http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/11/29/mark-driscoll-and-d-a-carson-believe-pastors-who-plagiarize-should-resign/

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery? (PART FIVE)

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson

In Wade’s theology, that is, Reformed Theology, the human being is a victim of God’s sovereign, determining and absolute control; and yet those who suffer in this life for a variety of reasons (with those exempt from God’s arbitrary election unto salvation burning forever in the barbeque pit of God’s cosmic ho-down) are somehow, despite God’s absolute control, in which the choice of man cannot possibly exist (as determinism is mutually exclusive to consciousness), wholly culpable for the sin which brings Gods “just” wrath upon his head.

Even in the best case scenario offered by the more sympathetic Calvinists wherein man’s sins are chalked up to his indefatigable and irresistible “sin nature” (defined by an impressive cache of proof-texts interpreted almost categorically through a lens of gnostic philosophical assumptions), man’s personal responsibility for his divine punishment is still impossible.  For in light of God’s raw determinism, in which, according to R.C. Sproul, nary a single molecule escapes His premeditated Will, coupled with the irresistible influence of man’s sin nature, which is the functional arm of his Total Depravity, man’s self-will/volition, which is necessary if we want to declare man acts according to choice–that is, interprets and applies ideas according to a standard of TRUTH which must be the life of the SELF (the conceptualized self plus the physical self), fed to him via his senses and vetted through the conceptualized self…yes, in light of the utter determinism of man’s sin nature and God’s absolute universal control, any notion of man’s “will” cannot possibly exist.

Between God’s sovereignty and the sin nature, man as an agent which can even be defined at all as physically and metaphysically distinct from the forces outside of him which determine him is totally fucked.  There is no room for man…as an individual life-form in the physical sense, nor as a thinking being in a metaphysical/epistemological sense.  And yet somehow, apart from any reasonable, measurable, knowable standard, man is still ultimately culpable for his punishment–which, as we learned from Wade, can occur randomly in the form of pastoral authoritarianism.  It’s all man’s fault.

And this is the argument I believe Wade is making:  any abuse is ultimately, via his inexorable wicked core; his depraved self; his sin nature, man’s perfect fault.  And thus Wade, like many a good Calvinist, is compelled, they think, as those called to preach the “truth” of man’s pervasive depravity, to search the roots of evil in the hearts of ALL human kind.  And this means that, yes, even in the case of the most horrific actions perpetrated upon humanity, Wade will spend just as much time searching out the roots of the abuse within the hearts of the victims as he will spend searching for it within the hearts of the perpetrators.  In Wade’s peculiar and evil philosophy, the victim is just as much a part of the evil as the one who actually employs it.  There is no cause and effect…there is, in light of Wade’s devotion to the utter determinism of God’s sovereignty and man’s inexorable depravity/sin nature, only effect.  And that effect is always YOUR SIN.  Period.  Full stop.  And that is why he has no problem making a statement like the one I posted above, wherein he completely shreds the distinction between good and evil, ushers in antinomianism and moral relativism like the four winds, strips man of his identity and SELF, and makes TRUTH utterly unknowable to anyone, even himself…and as such, rips God Himself away from the people of the earth, creating an impossible chasm between God and His children.  This is Wade’s (and Calvinism’s in general) solution to man’s evil and God’s frustration.  And this is what passes for “sound doctrine”.  Honestly, I do not understand how those who call themselves the emissaries of God can so little fear and understand Him.

Well, the answer is:  they are not.  God’s emissaries, that is.  And they are certainly not “called” to offer the removal of God from his people as the solution to the woes of the universe.  Life, not death, is the Word of God; is the Love of God.  That these pastors teach otherwise is not lost on our Lord…and I can assure you, He is not amused with their inept handling of of his Name.

But I believe Wade sees no conflict within the theology.  According to the doctrine, a fundamental TRUTH is that man is always responsible for the suffering and torture God brings, so why the hell should man be given absolution if the suffering and torture is brought by a fellow human being, like an abusive pastor?  After all, Wade is unable according to his doctrine to make a distinction between the two bringers of torment.  In the name of Sovereignty, ALL that happens, happens at the hands of God’s absolute, determining Will, and thus, a person abusing is functionally the same thing as God, Himself, abusing.  Again, Wade can appeal to no rational distinction…and thus, what this really means is that there can be no such thing as actual abuseFor suffering is always a direct result of man’s total depravity and God’s sovereign control.  The term “abuse” implies moral failure as juxtaposed to moral innocence.  But in light of the doctrine of Total Depravity man can never be in a position of moral innocence…ever.  And further,  God, who controls all cannot commit moral failure, and so he cannot possibly ordain ABUSE, but only “just judgment”. 

In light of God’s absolute perfection, all of man’s moral failure is exactly the same between human beings.  No one is “better” than anyone else. This is the point of Total Depravity…no one is “good enough for God; and as such, no one’s sin is any worse than anyone’s else…for all are totally depraved next to God.  And therefore, if Wade wants to be consistent with his doctrine, it is impossible for him to declare the victim “just” and the perpetrator “evil”.  BOTH are evil…and so he looks to qualify or quantify the same “cause” within both for the effect of abuse,  which is man’s complete depravity.  IF you are abused, you MUST have done something to deserve the suffering, because your total depravity demands that you cannot possibly be innocent in the matter.  Your depravity is TOTAL, and thus, at the root of all suffering, just like everything else, we must find and highlight your SIN.  Wade is obliged to consider this when discussing even the most heinous of crimes against life.  At the root of your abuse is YOUR sin…YOUR failure…YOUR odious SELF.  And so Wade looks around for things that “might be the cause” of abuse within the victim.  In the case of the comment I posted at the top of this article, it is your “lack of interest in prayer”.  In the case of the wife whose husband smacks her face, as I mentioned in my response to Wade, it is her failure to get dinner ready on time.  In the case of people waning and cracking under the weight of an theocratic dictatorship, it might be their false religion (they are Muslims, thus, God is merely punishing them for their wrong beliefs), in the case of Americans suffering under the weight of a Marxist president…well, I have heard people in my church blame the laity (Christians in general) for “not voting”, or “not being vocal enough against gay marriage”, or simply being too lazy to become politically active…and God is punishing our indifference accordingly.  In the case of a three-year-old child who is sexually abused in a neo-Calvinist mega church whilst the leadership bends over backwards to both look the other way and protect the reputation of their Tyrant Pastor, Wade’s theology can always fall back on the pure existence of the child, since a three-year-old is hardly self-aware enough to warrant a more specific charge.  But no matter, existence is quite enough.  Because in light of man’s utter depravity, which must be the root of humanity itself, God MUST hate man, period.  Thus, it is the very BEING of a person which obliges God to torment them and to heap violence upon them.  You see?  It’s always YOU!  The fact that YOU ARE HERE is why you suffer, you filthy worm!

And this is why Wade will never let the victim off the hook…if there is a crime, somehow God is certainly teaching them about their own evil.  Nothing happens in a vacuum of human free will, remember.  The evil abuser could not have acted alone.  God must have been there, determining his actions (though most Calvinists will NEVER have the balls to admit this, but will equivocate like cowards until the sun burns out) in the interest of giving the victim the “grace to perceive” the level of his or her depravity, so that they might change.  And it’s always within this falsely altruistic context:  yes, you were raped seventeen times by a pastor in your church when you were a three-year-old little girl; yes, your father beat you within an inch of your life for nothing more than spilling a glass of milk when you were a little boy; yes, your husband humiliates you in public because you are a little overweight, whilst he sports a triple chin , but it’s only God loving on you.  It’s only God letting you know how much you need Jesus.

Vile teachers.  Their condemnation is deserved.

Part six coming soon.

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: More hijinks from Pastor Wade Burleson and Wartburg Watch (PART FOUR)

All right.  Enough goofing around.  Enough fun.  This is no laughing matter, really.  So it is time to get serious…to flay this frog on our little silver trays of reason and reveal the putrid, formaldehyde-reeking inner guts thereof.  This is life or death stuff here…for these are the ideas which water the graveyards of tyranny and violence.

What ideas?  Why, this idea, for starters:

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma

I submit that this statement is a revelation…a perfect example of the fullness of Wade’s allegiance to neo-Reformed/neo-Calvinist metaphysical and epistemological definitions and interpretations of not only the Bible, but of reality and existence in general.  It is a clear and direct function of his world view; more precisely, how he defines humanity.  The direct cause and effect which seeks to inexorably link the innocent victim of abuse to the very cause of his/her suffering in another human being in the interest of affirming the evil and false doctrine of Total Depravity is the full on moral atrocity of Wade’s neo-Calvinism on display in all its splendor.  The declared culpability of victims of abuse (the laity in this theoretical example) in the behavior of the abuser (the Pastor in this theoretical example) is, in my opinion, a symptom of a clinically deviant understanding one’s fellow human beings.  It is a manifestation of Reformed metaphysics, which is, I submit, at its root, little more than a thin mask of pathological narcissism; and perhaps even sadism and psychopathy.  That a man with the task of leading people to the loving and merciful arms of the Great Shepherd should burden the sheep with his own disobedience and odious moral failure–not to mention his utter incompetence and lack of gifting as a elder–is an evil that strains credulity.

Does Wade actually believe all of this in his heart?  Shrug.  Who knows?  Frankly, I don’t care what Wade THINKS he believes.  I am merely pointing out what I consider to be the only rational evaluation of his troubling comment.  There is no way to equivocate on the clear meaning of the language he chose, typed, and submitted for the world to view.  What he thinks he is saying is fine with me, not interested…what I see and what this comment is, is a perfect example of the evil of Calvinism, stripped naked:  there are no innocent victims who can rightly hold a grudge.  If your pastor is fucking you over, be thankful, because you deserve a lot worse than that.  And your total depravity and the inexorability of your sin nature demands that you are at your root, culpable for whatever shit goes down on your head.  Therefore, if you are victim of a moral crime (and likely a legal one, too), like Pastoral authoritarianism, well…then look to thine self first, o sinner.  And therein you will see the absolute infinity of your spiritual failure and realize you only have yourself to blame.  If you had just prayed more, none of this would be happening to you.  Translation, if you were just a better person…someone who obeyed God and could curry His favor by your righteousness and thus exist as a being the King could actually tolerate, God would save you from all manner of torment.  Translation:  obviously, this is impossible for you because you are pervasive in your depravity and at your root a wicked, fallen sinner.  So, take your ass-kicking and keep your mouth shut and just maybe, at the Throne of Judgement, you’ll have suffered enough and died enough and hated yourself enough and denied your ability to apprehend anything at all, let alone TRUTH or GOODNESS, for God to suffer you to drag your ass across His heavenly carpet like a dog.  Because in Wade’s equation, only your DEATH is the salve for your torment…your existence is what God must hate.  And thus, if you aren’t dead then you can never be in a position to complain, regardless of the manner of violence and psychological horror you are forced to suffer against your will.  Remember, in Calvinism, the DEATH of the individual is the solution to all the evil of life.  The absence of man is how man reconciles himself to God.  And this is precisely what Wade’s comment concedes.

Now, is Wade acutely aware of the startling psychological warning signs and red flags that a comment like this sets off and raises in the minds of people who do not operate from an entirely irrational epistemology?  Shrug.  Again, who knows?  He’s a nice enough guy.  But “nice” does not magically give words meaning.  Wade should know what he said.  If he equivocates about that statement it is possible that he just doesn’t get it.  And that shouldn’t make us feel any better.  This is indicative of a man who doesn’t have the slightest idea of just what in the hell he is teaching people; and doesn’t have the slightest inkling of how dreadfully destructive his ideas are to humanity.  The only other option is to declare that Wade is fully aware of it and doesn’t care, and is thus a rank sadist.  Given his ostensibly affable personality, I am forced to concede it is likely the former, not the latter.  Wade is not a psychopath or an abuser.  But his ideas…well, it’s like a three-year old with .38 shooting his Dad because he wants to see the fire come out of the barrel.  Is the kid evil?  Of course not.  Did the kid do, objectively, a very, very, very bad thing?  Definitely.  And Wade preaching these kinds of ideas is just like that.  Just because it is a child who pulls the trigger doesn’t make the bullet wound any more shallow.  It still kills.  It still maims.  And incidentally this is how I view most Pastors in the American church.  They are basically like children.  They are stuck in the process of tepid, third-rate philosophy, parroting what their daddies told them and reinforced with a switch or a belt.  Or, they bring their own utterly Platonic and thus, subjective, assumptions, which are hammered into all of our thinking from the time we are born to where we are now, and just spout out a bunch of poorly vetted and nauseatingly affected opinions and pass them off as divine mandate; as their own “special revelation”.  Oh sure, you get your abject tyrant here and there (C.J. Mahaney, exhibit A), but most of them are just regular schmoes with no special wisdom who simply have a platform every Sunday for their opinions.   And they are just intelligent enough (or the congregation stupid enough) and/or just spiritual enough for them to pass for a serious intellect.  And this is why there is such a push to demand that people begin to accept their sermons as though from God, Himself.  I think at some point in their career, most Pastors realize that they really aren’t telling anyone anything they couldn’t just figure out for themselves, or already have, and that they don’t really offer anyone anything particularly interesting or enlightening, so they pull the caste-rank card and get all in your face about their “calling” and their “authority”.  Argo to reader:  It is uber-likely that they don’t have the former; and it is categorically without a doubt that they don’t have the latter.  Keep that in mind.

In Wade’s theology, I submit, the human being is a victim of God’s absolute, sovereign, control.  Man’s suffering is a direct result, somehow (this is not actually reconcilable), of God’s determinism and man’s wholly independent and unfettered spiritual debauchery.  Man thus must suffer in this life, and even better, those excluded from God’s arbitrary will in “election” get not only to suffer as an anathema to their own existence, body and environment here on earth, but after they die they get to be on fire for eternity, all for not being fortunate enough to win God’s salvation lottery.  Well…that and the fact that they are, of course, unrepentant, evil pricks of their own “free will” because they are unable to freely resist their sin nature (figure that one out), and thus deserve every second they spend as cosmic charcoal.

And this is important, for the “depraved sinner/absolutely sovereign God” contradiction which the Calvinist in good standing categorically affirms as “truth” is precisely why Wade said what he said.  His comment is an utter affirmation of this impossible idea.  YOU are not really YOU…for you are either, or, and both a product of your wholly depraved nature which you cannot resist by an independent and free volition, as well as a product of God’s absolute control over every molecule in the past, present, and future which you cannot resist by an independent and free volition.  This makes you absolutely a product of both determining forces which must exist OUTSIDE of you, which means that it is utterly impossible for you to define yourself because, as a product of these all-determining forces, you, yourself are nowhere be found.  If all you are and do is already accomplished by the forces which determine you, how is it possible for you to even see to apprehend anything at all?  You cannot define yourself, your existence, let alone God, or PASTOR.  And this is Wade’s point.  For the victim to demand rectitude, a victim needs to exist to identify the offense to his or her person or property.  Since by Calvinist definition this is impossible, how in the world can you seriously think that you are every going to be in a position to declare good from evil; truth from falsehood; abuse from blessing?  You cannot.  And so when Wade thus says “Just pray more”, you have no choice but to concede.  And because it is impossible contradiction which defines his entire philosophy, it will be impossible contradiction and epistemological and metaphysical chaos which must provide the solution.  In the sense that you can function in any way at all as a “self” you are obliged to obey him.  To disagree is to assume that you can rise above either God’s determinism or your total depravity and actually “perceive” TRUTH and thus declare that a sin has been committed.  To claim that you can know good from evil. And this is nothing more, in the reformed construct, than a symptom of your evil pride.   After all, isn’t that what got man in trouble in the first place, thinking he could be like God?  To the Calvinist, thinking you can accuse PASTOR is the exact same sin.  The only way to salvation is to deny you exist as a human being, and thus you are “saved” by not knowing anything at all. Not even whether or not you are actually saved.

I tell you, it is just a plum peach of a philosophy.

Stay tuned for part 5

 

 

 

 

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: A short look at a hypothetical study based on Wade Burleson’s “Prayer/Pastoral Abuse” synergism (PART THREE of series)

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson, eChurch Pastor, http://www.thewartburgwatch.com, 10/14/2013, 8:26 am

Before reading this third installment of the series–which concerns Wade Burleson’s extremely disturbing quote above, and which went wholly unchallenged by the purveyors of The Wartburg Watch, Dee and Deb, who laud and congratulate commenter, Eagle (former self-avowed atheist) on his upcoming baptism, while at the same time presumably sending the message that, in the interest of Dee’s brand of Christian love and solidarity, he may be forced to suck up some of the culpability for his pastor’s unholy tyranny should the situation arise.  And let it be known yet again, that neither Dee nor Deb to my knowledge offered one singe rebuttal to this quote; raised no hand of inquiry, nor even demanded a brief explanation.  And I am supposed to congratulate Eagle on his Baptism?  What am I to think, though?  Of course, that we should all acknowledge Christ and be free…but free from the exact same kind of tyranny which Wade declares in this quote and the exact same kind which Dee and Deb cannot fathom is actually tyrannical at all, for Wade after all is just such a kind fellow.  And of course we all know that the plumb line for TRUTH and LOVE, and the single greatest indication that a leader is a good leader is our subjective opinion of  how pleasant his demeanor is, and how many times he pats you on the shoulder and calls you “friend”.

Congratulations, Eagle.  Really.  I mean it.  Now, stop listening to Dee and Deb (and most definitely Wade) and continue on your journey to think for yourself.  Don’t let all the Wartburg love-bombing cloud your senses…because this is just what happens.  You feel all warm and fuzzy…and then WHAM! the next minute your spiritual “authority” is demanding that you stop forcing him to hurt you by disobeying his “divine calling” according to your pervasively depraved nature; and your blog queen friends are right next to him nodding with sympathetic looks and and murmuring, “He’s right, you know.”

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes…before your read this third installment, be sure you’ve read the previous two.

I have mentioned before what I think Wade’s intention was in submitting this quote for all the world to see and wonder just how in the hell anyone who actually likes people could believe such a peculiar thing, but it bears repeating again.  What I submit Wade is doing here is attempting to draw a direct connection between the laity’s interest in prayer (by which he really means:  you’re not praying!) for their pastor and his level of authoritarianism.  This notion he presents, with his patronizing smiley face and the snarky “Maybe?”, as theoretical.  This is because even Wade knows, I hope, that there is no actual, empirical, objective, or even reasonable way to measure such a correlation:  prayer as it inversely relates to a given pastor’s degree of psychopathic narcissism or sadism.

Nevertheless, let’s take a gander at how it might develop should we buck the odds and attempt to make such a correlation, in accordance with accepted university-level research standards.  I have a doctorate, so I am familiar with such things to some extent.  Hmm…let’s see what I can recall off the top of my head.

First, of course, you would need to outline the experiment in a formal proposal for the purposes of securing funds, which…good luck on getting that grant money.  You may want to hit up Liberty University or the SBC for this one, because a secular college (that’s code for a college that actually has empirical standards for the execution of studies and demands valid statistical data in the analysis) will do little more than call security on you depending on how hard it is for you to take “no” for an answer.  But let’s assume you find some complicit institution which is sympathetic to your totally irrational epistemology.

Then you need a control group.  You’d need to get a pastor willing to fake authoritarianism, and a congregation willing to fake prayers.  So you’d actually need two control groups, then.  And in both cases, considering this is church we are talking about, one could make the argument that the control groups are organized around wholly unethical behavior which will likely lead to the affliction of emotional/psychological abuse on the part of certain test subjects.  Which I’m pretty sure disqualifies the study right out of the gate if my memory of Internal Review Board codes of ethics serves; not to mention you’d really be making more work for yourself because now you’d need to do two more studies–because the suspense would kill you–on the degree of abuse perpetrated on church members by pastors who fake leadership in the church (i.e. preach a bunch of shit they don’t really believe)  or members who fake prayer or an interest in prayer for their pastors (i.e. say they’ll pray for him while crossing their fingers behind their back) just so they can make a few bucks participating in a study on the psychology of and social relationships within a hyper-authoritarian Christian cult…a study which is, itself, abusive.

See how Wade’s innocent little remark only very lightly masks a vast, vast ocean of metaphysical and epistemological chaos?  I submit that there is no way a man who would make such a suggestion can be operating from a rational world-view.  That there are people out there who really believe such things acting as God’s proxy for real, life human beings should scare people.

Next, you’d need to identify the Pastor’s (the one in question) natural disposition according to accepted professional clinical standards and definitions/labels, and which has been vetted and reviewed by psychiatric experts.  That is, you would need a reference personality by which you could gauge this Pastor’s standard deviation from this reference to the degree the laity withdraws their “interest” in praying–and you’d need to, if you wanted to precisely measure Wades’ glittering jewel of philosophical insanity, make some kind of quantifiable distinction between an “interest” in prayer and actual prayer.  And so the study’s sample size would need to be limited to those pastors who have been professionally and clinically deemed to posses such a natural disposition…for there wouldn’t be much of a deviation to record if the natural disposition of the pastor was already that of a psychopathic narcissist.  And given the rise in popularity of neo-Reformation teaching and preaching, and the ubiquity of neo-Calvinist despots literally and figuratively littering the landscape of the modern American church, good luck in finding some genuinely compassionate elders.  Before you rounded up enough test subjects to make the study statistically valid, you’d run out of land.  You’d have to sample from other countries and that’s a whole new set of criteria you’d have to meet, as there isn’t necessarily reciprocity between domestic and foreign Review Boards, I’m afraid.  But you might get lucky.

So, as I was saying, you’d have to exclude your psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines, sadists, dependents, depressives, PTSDs, anxiety cases, schizoids, molesters, violent porn addicts, drunks, pharmaceutical dependents, and your general, run-of-the-mill assholes…all of which of course would require an extensive amount of professional vetting.  I’m not sure if you are familiar with the kinds of specialists you’d need wrangle into your corner in order to accomplish such a thing, but as Rodney Dangerfield once said, “I assure you, it’s not the Boy Scouts”.  And these psychiatric egg-heads don’t come cheap; get ready to grease a few palms and fork it over for expensive steak dinners and a more than a few hundred-dollar bottles of wine.  If you are an attractive female, you may need to consider, er, other ideas in order to curry favor with expert adjuncts should you find yourself running short of grant money.

(That was a joke, okay.  Just a joke.)

Then you’d need to both qualify and quantify “excessive pastoral abuse”, and also “prayer”…yes, yes I’m afraid you will.  You must understand that for the kind of exacting study Wades impressive divine musings demand you cannot leave anything up to the notion that certain ideas are just perfunctorily understood.  And so, yes, an equation for prayer will need to be produced by you and your fine research mentors for the purposes of generating the charts and graphs to fill your impressive end notes, first and foremost to cause an impressed murmuring among our esteemed reviewers, and second so we may understand just what we mean by “prayer” with respect to the study.  Which is important, believe me.  Will the monosyllabic prayer of our little three-year-old Cheerios munchers fit the bill, or do we require the solemn chanting of our more seasoned citizens?  Will the prayers of women be permitted for inclusion, or are we assuming that there will be far too little time a woman can give to the kind of prayer a mighty man of God requires, given the weight of his stature and unsearchable wisdom; and after all shouldn’t she be spending a little more time minding her biblical role and a little less time worrying about what a man with supreme God-like authority over her AND her husband (because, see, it’s in the bible) is doing to “abuse” her.  Scoff!  As if she could be in a position to know!  For if God doesn’t give PASTOR the grace to perceive his sins at times, how much less does the Almighty heed the insufficient sniveling of the weaker sex?

Next…what do you consider the direct influence of prayer upon the pastor to be, exactly?  What is the direct influence of a lack of prayer?  How do we define/quantify the direct influence of a lack of interest in prayer?  And then in light of this, how do you define and then how do you statistically subtract other factors which might affect the pastor’s disposition from the influence of prayer…such as stress, fatigue, marital strife, work load, personal health, medication, diet, doctrinal assumptions (e.g. maybe excessive abuse is not actually excessive nor abusive at all according to another pastor…maybe what Wade would define  as pastoral authoritarianism is just biblical as far as they are concerned), interpretive assumptions, vagaries concerning the definition of “authoritarian”, and, if your Mark Driscoll, sexual frustration and the influence of your extra sensory perception (ESP).

Supposing you were able to do all of that, and rule all of that out to an acceptable degree according to the standards of empirical research, you would still have the very, very formidable…nay, impossible task of proving beyond a statistically reasonable and and logical doubt that the prayer–since its direct causal influence is almost certainly unobservable (hence the needing faith part of Christianity)–was the single greatest factor acting upon the disposition of the pastor in question.  It is impossible to qualify as empiric that which is a function of an extra-sensory Being (God) unless He happens to show up in a flash of smoke and lightning at just the right time and on cue during the dissertation defense and and declare “Ta da! That prayer did that thing!”.  Which, I suppose He could do, but…unless the Ph.D. committee actually had faith enough in God in the first place, they likely wouldn’t believe Him anyway.

So what are we left with?  We are left with this:

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

A statement which has absolutely no rational defense, no plausible means of validation by any empirical or reasonable standard, and should be rejected as nothing more than a churlish playing at Christianity.  The point of my facetious exercise in this post is simply to point out that this egregious statement of Wade’s should not in any way be given serious consideration as a legitimate perspective worthy of any sane person’s time.  He should categorically retract it and apologize for its utter offensiveness to anyone who has ever been abused at the hands of a self-absorbed, unbalanced despot, be it a parent, a spouse, a governmental leader, or a pastor.

But he won’t because God likes him better than he likes you.  It’s really just that easy once you get away from all the high-brow platitudes and the appeals to “right biblical exegesis” and “sound doctrine”.  It’s nothing more than a Christian caste system where PASTOR declares TRUTH for all of us…and we agree, or suffer a divine “fuck off” which shall surely run the gamut of physical and psychological horrors.

Still…I’m not done with this little Calvinist peach of a statement.  Stay tuned for part four.

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: More hijinks from Pastor Wade Burleson and Wartburg Watch (PART TWO)

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson, Pastor, eChurch, Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com), 10/14/2013, 8:26 am

I would again like to remind you, dear readers, that neither Dee nor Deb of the Wartburg Watch offered a single, solitary challenged to this comment by Wade.  These two run a “discernment blog”, ostensibly in the interest of pointing out abuse and abusive trends in today’s church.  And yet this?  Went utterly ignored by the self-proclaimed “blogging queens”.  And now, of course, where before we thought we knew the answer to this question, it seems we are left in an information lurch.  Just what, pray tell, are they the queens of?  Because for this comment to go unchallenged by either one of them leaves me a lot confused as to just what in the hell the point of their blog is anymore.  They rail against Steven Furtick in North Carolina for having a big house and, heaven-forbid, a “mega-church”, and yet allow Wade Burleson to walk away from his metaphysical/epistemological smoking car-wreck of tyranny while running blocker for him against the doctrine police.

And again, my comment?  Derided as mean-spirited, deceptive drivel.  My comment gets both barrels.  My comment, which calls Wade out on a categorically indefensible statement, utterly un-proveable, with no ties to reason or rationality…a product of a mindset completely bereft of any grasp of the physical world in which Wade operates and draws his living wages—at least philosophically and judiciously–and rooted in the rank acceptance of the Primacy of Consciousness model, which puts all VALUE (TRUTH and MORALITY) utterly outside of the human frame of reference.

Yeah, that’s Dee’s target these days.  Can we all pronounce “Master” correctly?  It’s “massa”, in case you readers over there at Wartburg forgot you were still a slave to he who is in the stead who owns you on God’s behalf.

I have said it before and I will say it again:  Wartburg Watch jumped the shark the day they decided that Wade should be the resident eChurch pastor for that site.  And once the thieves enter in and bind up the strong man…well, we know what happens to the house.  It needs a really good maid, PDQ.  And what was that Jesus said about making people twice as much the sons of hell as they were before?  Yeah…that’s pretty much where my thoughts are headed concerning any abused ex-Calvinist punching bag/drone (like I used to be) who enters into the majority of “discernment blogs” these days.

Dee’s response to my comment was knee-jerk, hyper-emotional, and completely predictable, as I have already mentioned.  Part of it implied that I had accused Wade of advocating domestic violence (“And if the wife had gotten her husband’s dinner on time she could have avoided that crack across her jaw. Just look what she made him do.”), which of course, I did not do at all.  I did, however, liken his accusation that a “lack of interest in prayer”–which must imply a lack of prayer, itself, by logical extension–as the source of pastoral authoritarianism to the idea that a wife can be, by Wade’s crooked “logic”, accused of being the root cause of her own spousal beatings if we decide this: to link violence against a victim with that victim’s own refusal (or obviously limited ability) to claim ownership of his/her tormenter’s sadistic personality disorder.  And of this, you can be sure.  I stand by my argument in this matter.  And further I declare that any Pastor, who is supposed to be in charge of compassionately leading God’s sheep into the safety and love and peace of their Heavenly Father, who engages in abuse and authoritarianism does not need prayer or an “interest” in prayer; he needs to have his ass fired, be publicly stripped of all his pastoral “privileges” and sent to a fucking psychiatrist.  Preferably one who is liberal with his criteria for admission, forced, into a state mental hospital.  Because anyone with that kind of ostensible trust and that kind of command over peoples lives and property who would abuse people’s trust like that is not a healthy man.  He is an evil man.  He is a man who needs a new personality, and/or to be put as far away from other human beings as the law allows.

That’s what he needs.

ANYONE who hears this kind of argument in their church…the one that Wade makes, should grab their kids and sprint to the nearest exit, like air to the vacuum of space.  And I mean STAT.

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

Oh…for fuck’s sake!

This is how a Calvinist responds to ABUSE!!!!  And let me tell you something…it’s the same attitude I saw in SGM for years, and we all know how that church went down.  But do you think anyone in that church accepts responsibility for their evil actions?  Do you think anyone blames the “divine” doctrine.  I have not talked to all, but I’ve talked to several of my old SGM cohorts who are still in that mind-prison and I can assure you that they have absolutely zero appreciation for the level of manipulation and psychopathic teachings that led to the demise of that group’s credibility with anyone who looks to sanity and reason for their world-view.  In short, they just don’t see what the fuck the big deal is.  Seriously.

Folks, that is the kind of lightness with which Wade, I submit, himself takes these kinds of issues.  Issues like Pastoral abuse, which can take many, many forms…from physical, to psychological, to lying or being deceptive about church finances, to using people, to intimidation, to stalking people, to spying on people, to extort, and–as we who have a working knowledge of CJ Mahaney’s soiled history as President of SGM understand well–to blackmail.

Okay…moving away from my soap-box, whereupon I have appealed to my fellow-man/woman’s sense of moral decency to reject Wade and his teachings and his doctrine and his eChurch, I turn now to your sense of reason.  To that large and powerful brain muscle of rational thought that most people have (but many sadly choose to ignore), and one which has been trained to Olympic proportions by those who have spent a few minutes here and there ferreting out the logical conclusions of the Reformed doctrinal iron maiden.

One more thing, however, before I go there…let me just say that I will no longer subject myself to the emotional abuse I get from Dee over there at Wartburg Watch.  I have confronted her spiritual mentor, and as a consequence I have been privileged to taste several of Dee’s shit sandwiches, prepared a variety of ways.  It is no longer worth it…because shit sandwiches, while at first are a novelty and piquing,  just stopped being interesting a long time ago.  And besides that, at this point, let’s be honest.  My comments on her blog are just a red cape to Dee.  She doesn’t bother to think much, she charges and hopes she connects a horn to some flesh…there’s simply nothing rational about how she responds to me anymore.  And it isn’t kind of me to bait her by going there.  So, I guess my point is that from now on I’ll be discussing things only as an outside observer to the car crash that has become the Wartburg Watch.  I won’t actually be in the car.

Anyway…Wade’s comment.  Yeah.  I mean…further on down the comment thread you see Wade equivocate on what he “actually meant” (though, he never concedes, as far as I can tell, that what he said, that is, the words he used in that particular order, which beg a clear and rank interpretation by anyone with a grasp of the English language, are simply just plain wrong, which to me is the only meaningful response; a complete redaction). But, like, whatever, you know?   I don’t particularly care to see Wade attempt to “correct” a statement that should be categorically rejected, full stop, and then stricken from the record; or held up for perpetual derision as an example of how a Pastor can lose all credibility in a single bound.  Any clarification of a statement like that must be, by definition as far as I’m concerned, not nearly enough to make it either functionally justified, nor moral, nor meaningful, nor sane.  Any attempt to clarify what I consider to be a psychologically abusive statement merely indicates that Wade doesn’t really get it at all, and thus is not in a position to understand either abuse nor authority and as such, is not in a position to comment on it ever (nor to be a Pastor).  An attempt to “clarify” psychological abuse/spiritual tyranny is merely an indication that the person doing the clarification is, very likely, uninterested in actually stopping abuse.  If the husband, after he cracks his wife across the jaw for his late dinner decides to “explain what he really meant”…well, this doesn’t make him all of a sudden a guy to be trusted to confront abuse. But this is precisely what Wade believes, I submit, in theory, even though he wouldn’t concede my example.  It is, however, the exact same idea.  And that’s Wade.  And Wartburg.  After all, why does any hyper-authoritarian Pastor need Wade to “explain” that the reason for his tyranny lands squarely in the lap of the laity?  He is just as much an emissary of God as Wade is, according to the doctrine.  Wade doesn’t need to play the middle man.  The abusive Pastor in Wade’s example can excuse his own evil behavior just fine all by his lonesome, thank you very much.

That’s my opinion on the matter and yeah…I went there.  Again.

*

What Doesn’t Logically Reconcile

So Wade draws this direct connection between the laity’s “interest” in praying (which means their actual praying…which means: you’re NOT PRAYING for PASTOR and that’s why he is such an asshole)…yes, between the laity’s interest in praying for their Pastor and the amount of ecclesiastical authoritarianism to which they are subjected.  Now, even though Wade draws a direct connection between these two actions, the “real” connection can only ever be purely theoretical.  Because anyone with even the minutest grasp of the real world can see that there is simply no objective nor empirical way to measure the correlation between the degree of one’s prayer and the degree to which his or her pastor is a psychopathic narcissist.

Allow me to explain how an attempted study might look and why it is doomed to fail…not that this makes any difference to a Calvinist.  Remember, to them, TRUTH cannot be learned but must be, somehow, divinely bestowed, and so there isn’t any pastor who would or could be bothered with any kind of empirical study in the first place.  By their own doctrinal definition, TRUTH happens to be whatever they say it is at any given moment, even if it directly contradicts a TRUTH declared just yesterday over morning coffee.  That is the width and breadth of Calvinist epistemology.  So, even if Wade understands that correlation is not causation it doesn’t mean that it applies to him as God’s proxy.  Correlation, like anything else, is whatever God “gives him grace to perceive”.  Which means simply, again, that whatever Wade declares is true is true, and any criteria anywhere in the world according to any measure of statistical consistency or objective reason or epistemological frames of reference or human context (metaphysics) is merely the devil, up to his old Garden variety tricks again, deceiving the depraved masses until God arbitrarily decides who He has already predestined to get saved again and again by “preaching the gospel to themselves every day”.

Get it?  Yeah. Neither do I. But remember, it doesn’t matter.  As long as it makes sense to Wade and any other neo-Calvinist authority standing in the stead of God, that’s all you need concern yourself with.

Okay…time’s run out for this morning’s edition of Reformed Fun and Hijinks, sponsored by http://www.wartburgwatch.com.

See you for part three.  Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about Cal Thomas’s terrifying sermon on how to compel moral behavior in America’s blind, barbarian masses through a despotic theocracy.  I have MUCH more to say about that in part three of the series.  Ta ta.

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: More hijinks from Pastor Wade Burleson and Wartburg Watch

Here is the link to the e-Church sermon in question…Wade’s comment I will be discussing is at the top of the thread: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/10/12/echurchwartburg-10-13-13/

Wade Burleson, 10/14/2013, 8:26AM said:

“…Fascinating to me that the three messages challenging the modern concept of pastoral authority…have an average of well over 200 downloads to watch.  However, the message on “How to Pray for Your Pastor” has only 4 downloads–total.  A reduction of 98%.  It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 [smiley face] Maybe?”

(Comments in brackets and bold emphasis added)

Now, let’s take the most egregious and most salient statement out of the greater quote so that you can view it in all its unequivocal clarity:

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor.”–Wade Burleson

And again, just in case you are still blinking your eyes and scratching your brain case, wondering if you read that right (you did) let’s get Wade to give us an encore of his encore.

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor.”–Wade Burleson

Now, if you are like me, you kind of tilted your head sideways and thought that if maybe you read the words from a slightly different visual angle, you’d be able to process what in the hell Wade is trying to say here.

Then you tilt your head a different way and realize that the problem is not you, the problem is those words….in that order.  And you can scarcely believe what you are witnessing.  Did Wade Burleson, poster pastor for Compassionate Calvinism, actually just blame the the victims of the abuse for the abuse?!  Well, as you read through the comments thread and you see Wade equivocate like schoolboy caught smoking crack in the bathroom, you will notice his denunciation of this interpretation (in his own charitable way) in spades.  However, read the quote again.  I mean…I am not calling Wade a liar; perhaps he truly doesn’t mean in his heart what his words so clearly, I submit, declare, and declare with force:

THE problem with excessive pastoral abuse is the LAITY.

Friends, country-men, lenders-of-ears…this is what I have been talking about, and why a site like the Wartburg Watch is a place that is almost an abject educational necessity for those of us interested in seeing the evolution of tyranny from its innocent roots as merely a bunch of confused and slightly indignant-but-well-meaning people just trying to “learn to accept and love one another better while not playing the doctrinal blame-game”, become a full-fledged monstrosity of irrational and despotic metaphysical and epistemological assumptions.  And the fact that this comment by Wade went utterly unchallenged by Dee or Deb, and yet, my response was immediately condemned as mean-spirited and deceptive and whatever other irrational, knee-jerk pejoratives Dee could conjure up in the deep well of her emotionally-lopsided reason…well, this should speak volumes and volumes to the fact that indeed, it doesn’t take much time nor work for the very destructive ideas which led to the formation of Wartburg Watch in the first place to swallow that same site whole and spit out even more victims than before Wartburg even existed.

So, yes…a little confused at first, I am, and so are you (but deep down, perhaps not really…we understand the roots of how Wade sees humanity).  It’s like…you know there is something vastly wrong with a statement like this…and you know that it isn’t just wrong in one way, but its wrongness and evil spread and fill the sky like countless branches on a tree used for lynching.  So there are thoughts all going in a thousand different directions and you sit and think and think about…okay, why is this so evil, and where does one even start to lay down a counter-argument to such debauched thinking?  There are plenty of places to begin, each one seemingly as good as another.  But then you notice that within the purely blatant and obvious meaning of those words in that order are layers and layers of nuanced theology, each stratum more putrid than the next.  And so you dig to the bottom, trying to find the root which gives life to the poisonous vine you see above the dirt, which is but the flower of violence…the concluding fruit of what is really a deep, deep philosophy.  A very well-rounded and very reformed philosophy.

And this is what I was able to come up with as a quick response.  I realize it is inadequate as a systematic rebuttal to Wade’s statement, but the reason I only hinted at the myriad of ways you could defy such a belief while highlighting  its frustrating effect on me, was to get Wade and others to understand that, yes, of course, there were indeed logical and and organized avenues of answering  Wade’s false assertion, but the first logical response should be one of abject offense and anger.

“The reformed get-out-of-jail-free-card.  The pastor is merely a sinner saved by grace.  If you only prayed for him…”

Okay…wait.  Break.  It’s always a him, isn’t it?  And that of course is the first sign of tyranny within the ranks of “God’s chosen people”:  a caste system based on the possession of external genitalia (among other things).  That is a sure sign that you are walking into a philosophy which operates in a vacuum of reason, and without any objective plumb line of morality and value…and there can be only one:  life.  And the sex of that life simply cannot rationally matter.  Now, certainly, this isn’t to suggest that the Calvinists don’t have some use for the “weaker sex”; surely, male copulation is a divine right not to be refused by women under any circumstance (within marriage, of course, they are quick to point out, as if that makes it any less disturbing…and, listening to some Calvinist pastors, I think I finally understand why some define marriage as institutionalized rape), so the male supreme ecclesiastical authority do have an orthodox “biblical role” for boobies, but they only really talk about that at the marriage retreats (or, if your Mark Driscoll, whenever).  Anyway…back to my response:

“If you only prayed for him more, none of this unpleasantness would would have happened.  Your lack of prayer is probably why God did not give him the “grace to perceive”.  If you just showed a little more interest maybe the pastor wouldn’t have to force you into right behavior.  If you just got with the program, and admit that all your pastors’ sins in the area of authority are due to your lack of compliance [to his supreme and infallible will as God’s proxy]…well, you wouldn’t be so miserable, now would you?

And if the wife had gotten her husband’s dinner on time maybe she could have avoided that crack across her mouth.  Just look at what she made him do.” 

(Comments in brackets and bold emphasis added)

Coming soon: part two

The Wartburg Watch’s Dee and Deb: Their fall TO grace, part TWO

A lot of irons in the fire, here.  I’m currently in the middle of two series’ with respect to the Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com)–one concerning the relatively recent E-Church sermon by Cal Thomas (it’s horrifying…the sermon), and this one concerning the decline of Dee and Deb’s site from a formidable and encouraging discernment blog to a fairly innocuous entity interested in what I would describe as “light” criticism of abuse in the church.  A categorical bulwark for Reformed doctrine, the Wartburg Watch is currently incapable of unveiling and challenging the roots of the ideas that drive the violence and the hypocrisy.  This is in large part thanks to their resolute determination to affirm Wade Burleson categorically (for some reason), which means he is off the table as far as criticizing ideas is concerns.  And if Wade is off the table, then so must be his doctrine.  For like I said, Dee and Deb cannot or will not make distinctions between bad men and bad ideas.  Wade is very likely a good man with bad ideas.  The problem, of course, is that eventually, bad ideas manifest into action, and that is when bad men DO bad things.  It is only a matter of time, as history has witnessed.  Thus, to me, the logical rout for a discernment blog to take is to defer talk of personality traits to other places and times, at least for the most part, and in the interest of actually discerning and destroying abuse, its evil spawn (other abusers), and the ideas which premeditate it, instead focus on the the bad ideas themselves, even if they  happen to come from Wade Burleson.

And this is precisely where I intend to go next.  Wade’s comment under the thread of his E-Church service this past Sunday or Wartburg Watch (10/13/2013) wherein he describes–theoretically (he says “maybe?”, at the very end of the comment, though I suspect that to him, there isn’t much “maybe” about it…but I could be wrong)–the direct cause and effect relationship between the laity’s lack of an “interest in prayer” and “excessive pastoral authority” I would categorize as an abusive statement.  At the very least, the implications are psychologically detrimental because they offer a cause which cannot be in any sense objectively verified, and thus, provide no way for the laity to reasonably validate the level of the efficacy of prayer, should they take steps to foment an “interest”.  To me, this is clearly psychologically abusive.  But that’s me.

Believe me, there is much to be said about Wade’s comment, and I have written much about it.  It is a  smorgasbord of telling doctrinal information with respect to the heavy Reformed roots of Wade’s philosophy.  For a critic like me, it is the gift of manna in its most pure form.  It is the proverbial gift which keeps on giving, and I intend to give back.

Now, I will limit my criticisms to Wade’s ideas only, and not to his person.  I do not like to make the connection between ideas and the definition of the human being who proffers them because that gets into sticky legal territory…not to mention that since I cannot read Wade’s mind I cannot judge his intentions, and thus it would be uncharitable of me to somehow claim that Wade is, himself, a sinister, evil jerk.  I cannot say that and I won’t.  Certainly, I have yet to speak to anyone or read a comment by anyone who knows Wade who even comes close to describing him as anything but a kind sort; humble and long suffering.  And with me, he has been, I must admit, gracious and kind in his speech.  He is also NOT a demagogue from what I can tell…and there is simply no way I can truthfully declare HIM an abuser.  That is something I cannot possibly argue…I want to make that clear.  And thus, understand that, regardless of what you might conclude from my posts, I reject any claim that this is, in fact, what I am declaring.  I am not.  I am discussing the doctrinal roots and broad philosophical and theological implications of his ideas, and how they might hypothetically manifest themselves in practical application by both pastors and laity.

In other words, though I cannot judge Wade, because I don’t really know him, I can judge his words and what I think they belie and how I suspect they might affect the teaching, behavior, and leadership style of the ecclesiastical authority.   I will offer an expose on what I believe his word choices symbolize with respect to Wade’s Calvinist roots, and why his teaching should be avoided at all costs, because, like I said before, Wade may be nice and kind, but his doctrine, I submit, is fundamentally evil.  And my primary point in all of this is this:  Wade’s ideas, I submit, are pure Reformation interpretive premises with respect to epistemology and metaphysics.  But I also submit that Wade, in service to a humble and kind heart, may function himself at some level of contradiction to his ideas, and may either not know it or not concede it…or something else.  Who knows?  Like I said, I am not going to pretend to know the man’s mind or intentions.  Just his doctrine.

But back to Dee and Deb and Wartburg Watch in general.

My premise is that ideas drive behavior…and this I submit is axiomatic.  There is always a reason which serves as the catalyst for the actions of man (man is conceptual being).  Behavior may be consistent or inconsistent with a given philosophical school of thought (e.g. Systematized Calvinism/Lutheranism: neo-Reformed theology), but this does not change the fact that the school of thought is, in fact, codified and organized to completion. If one accepts such a philosophy as orthodox, then they are on the hook for it, particularly when they defend all of their actions and behavior, ultimately, by appealing to it.  If they reject it on some level, then they must explain which parts they reject and why; and then explain how this does not contradict their concession of its “absolute orthodoxy” entirely.  Then and only then are they no longer on the hook for the destructive manifestations of the ideas they declare as absolute truth.  Whether indirectly or directly responsible for abuse in the church will depend…however, it is ultimately irrelevant how nice or inconsistent-to-abusive-outcomes some men are as a function of how they apply what they declare as TRUTH systematized and divine.  If there is fallout and abuse from the ideas, and the leadership does not reject outright those aspects of orthodoxy which can be seen as responsible for the abuse, and then explain their capricious and inconsistent understanding of the pure doctrine, then as far as I am concerned, they are culpable for the outcomes of what they confess as TRUTH.  Perhaps not legally culpable or directly culpable, but culpable as those who disseminate ideas which must logically conclude, when implemented in accordance with the cohesion of their epistemological roots, in humanity’s suffering, exploitation, and destruction.

And so on this level, the level of ideas–the level of doctrine–I submit that Dee and Deb’s apparent categorical support of Wade Burleson must then be considered a categorical support of his Reformed theology.  For there is no distinction made or indeed, allowed, on the Wartburg watch as far as I can tell.  Doctrine has been deemed by them as inadmissible in the discussion of why abuse happens in the church.  This is nothing more than a declaration that all doctrine then must be morally pure, and thus is beyond reproach.  That if we just got the right kind of men involved in forcing people into right behavior on God’s behalf, all the time and trouble abuse causes would vanish in a sea of altruistic, vapid notions of “love” and “tolerance”.  Aaaaaaand….we all know that life just doesn’t work this way. We all know that in the end, absolute ideas (the notion of the Primacy of Consciousness) will not suffer humanity to limit them.  And very quickly the right kind of men become the wrong kind of men right before our eyes.  I have seen it, and it is a disgusting and terrifying thing to watch.

This has always been the loophole for tyranny:  the notion that men, not their ideas, do bad things.  Ideas are good.  Men are bad.  Hello, Platonism.  We missed you; though we understand you were never really gone.

The Wartburg Watch then is the quintessential “new boss” which is, as Roger Daltry so famously sang, “the same as the old boss”.  Truly, they are exhibit A.   And this leaves me in an uncomfortable position, and one I need to tread carefully.  On the one hand, I do not believe nor am I saying that either Dee, or Deb, or Wade are directly responsible for abuse.  They are not abusers nor are they abusive people.  But I am forced to believe and opine that they are indirectly responsible for abuse because they all seem to me to categorically confirm what I argue are abusive ideas…that is, ideas, when afflicted practically upon people in their individual lives, must demand abusive outcomes in service to the root assumptions.   You see, Reformed doctrine demeans and diminishes the moral and physical worth of human beings, and further I unreservedly declare and argue that this should be obvious.  I declare either a rank liar, or a self-deceived shill, or a pure-bred ignoramus anyone who attempts to deny this; for how can one assume God’s absolute sovereign control and not apprehend how this must diminish man to the level of utter irrelevance (without appealing to “mystery” or “paradox”…which is not a rational argument, it is the lack of one…it is NO argument)?  How can God be in complete control of one who, as a person, claims to be independently valuable (have truth and morality in and of themselves) and is thus existentially equal?  It is impossible.  For man who is “less than God” in value and existence can never be in a position to claim their own individual relevance in light of an absolute (infinite) God.  Next to God, man is a worthless non-issue.  This is a fundamental presumption of not only neo-Calvinism, but of practically every Protestant and Catholic denominational school of thought in the world.  And thus this:  that the doctrine the Church concedes must demand man’s removal from the existence equation if TRUTH can be absolutely true should hardly be earth-shattering news to Christians.

And Dee and Deb, having made it clear to me on their blog that doctrine is not what they consider to be the driving force of abusive behavior in the Church have severed the link between religious ideas and religious abuse; that man does not in fact act according to his assumptions–in stark contradiction to a panoply of historical (and logical) examples to the contrary–means that ideas presented on the Wartburg Watch are, again, above reproach in any deep, philosophical, theological sense of the word.

In their rush to condemn my “mean-spirited” attacks on Wade Burleson, Dee is never shy to proclaim loudly that they do not believe that all Reformed pastors are abusers…and the implication, as I take it, is that I do.  Of course, this is yet another typically superficial knee-jerk reaction common to a person who is not interested in any real discussion of the matter, but is simply an appeal to the notion of “my blog…you aren’t allowed to say that here”.  Fair enough.  I’m a Libertarian capitalist.  But let’s just cut the bullshit.  Dee simply refuses to be truthful about what I believe because I submit that she thinks the ends justify the means.  As long as she is acting “in love” (which, to her, is utterly devoid of any rational, observable standard from what I can gather), she is  completely sanguine in doling out abuse in service to her “absolute truth” of “love” without the fetters of any pesky rational definition.  Because she loves Wade, her abuse is just fine.  And she would never qualify it as abuse in the first place.  Remember, ideas are not abusive, people are.  Intentions then, are either pure or not pure…the doctrines behind the intentions and thus the behavior are irrelevant.  Her intentions are good, so she will act in any damn way she pleases towards people like me; people who don’t agree with her divinely-bestowed “truth” and attack Wade’s doctrine.

Of course I do not believe every Reformed pastor is an abuser.  But this is purely subterfuge, anyway.  Whether every Reformed pastor is an abuser or not is irrelevant to the larger and serious issue of abuse in the church as a reality.  Reformed theology, followed as a consistent flow of ideas to action in direct service to its foundational metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions will lead to abuse in the church because the logic inexorably goes there. And this truth is born out by the regaling of tales and woes of abuse by literally dozens of people–who are suffering or have suffered in Reformed churches–on Dee’s own blog!  So the problem, yet again, is that Dee and Deb have made the assumption, despite all of the evidence to the contrary dancing and twinkling right before their eyes on a blog that they own and operate, that a doctrine which demands the destruction of humanity in service to its absolute “truth” and “moral purity” will not actually lead pastors and teachers of such a doctrine (appointed by God to “stand in the stead”) to behave in ways that destroy/abuse humanity; and thus, to debate doctrine is useless, and even worse, unloving and “mean-spirited”.  A Pastor or any other person then, by definition, is utterly removed from their ideas, is my point.  So if there is abuse in the church by the leadership, it doesn’t actually have anything to do, incredibly, with what the leadership believes the “infallible Word of God”  demands is their duty and calling in Christ to act as God’s proxy in doling out his divine and exclusive will without any respect to individual human application and context.  And thus if there are poignant and unequivocal attacks targeting the abuse, according to Dee and Deb it cannot possibly be directed towards doctrine which they have somehow deemed a non-issue and thus functionally non-existent; but it must be, and can be none other than, a direct attack on the person.  Thus, all my attacks on Wade’s doctrine are interpreted by Dee as a personal attack on Wade the man, and literally NOTHING else.

I submit then, that Dee and Deb operate in this endeavor of “discernment blogging” on purely an emotional level, and in the long run this unfortunately makes them ineffective in actually preventing abuse by spiritual tyrants.  They only see behavior, not ideas.  This may make for a great shoulder to cry on, and, to Reformed preachers like Wade Burleson, makes them wonderfully vigilant allies who will defend his peculiar doctrine to the bitter end, it appears.  And in the short run, it makes them look good…keeping all the meanies like me away; but again, ultimately it does little or nothing to address the problem.  This is a shame, and something I lament, because obviously Dee and Deb have a massively popular blog with a following to be envied by any blogger–exponentially more influential in this respect than mine–and yet the overall effect is nullified by the very same notions that allow abuse to happen in the first place.  But this is just not what the Wartburg Watch is about, and I wanted it to be…so I lingered longer than I should.  My pain is thus my fault in this.  I was too obtuse to see what Dee has been shouting at me for months.

She doesn’t give a shit about what Wade believes.  Duh.  She literally could not have been clearer.

As long as Wade continues to be a nice and charming person, Dee and Deb will not allow people like me to speak freely about the doctrine that forms his approach to all matters in the church and in the world.  They do not see church leadership through the prism of theological assumptions as I do.  Simply put, they do not believe doctrine is all that important.  Mean-spirited demagogues like me are stopped and frisked.  But evil ideas flow to and fro with all the impunity of a diplomat.  This is a mistake.  For to not evaluate the little old lady next door through a prism of her metaphysical/epistemological assumptions is one thing; but to deny the importance of this approach when evaluating someone who declares themselves specially called by God to hold authority over other human begins is disastrous.

Hence the sad and heart-wrenching decline of the Warburg Watch.  By taking doctrine off the table as a legitimate target of grievances, Dee and Deb have unwittingly thrown open the doors to new and greater trauma, I submit; and for an even greater degree of abusive thinking to take root in the church.  If people cannot appeal to the inconsistencies of the doctrine and the evil to which it thus must inexorably perpetrate upon the Lord’s people, the I would ask them by what standard can they ever hold their leaders, called by God, accountable for the abuse? For abuse can only be qualified as abuse if it violates some standard of morality and truth which we can all, as human beings, apprehend and agree upon, otherwise, our religion is pure mysticism.  And therefore the idea of what constitutes moral or immoral treatment of human beings must be rooted in standards of GOOD that can be observed by humanity as a natural function of their existence and their ability to observe and organize their surroundings.  But since Reformed theology makes it clear that defining standards of GOOD/VALUE/TRUTH are the sole purview of the pastors, where exactly can a layperson turn to for an injunction?  For relief?  Since they, by Reformed definition, cannot be in a position to recognize TRUTH on their own, the unfortunate layperson cannot even categorize what they are going through as abuse.  For that label, being a subsidiary of morality, is one that only the Pastor can use. 

So, the poor abused layperson who has been told they are nothing and nobody and no good for years by their Reformed pastor might turn to Wartburg Watch, as so many have.  For relief.  A shoulder to cry on.  But when they look up they will see that on the other shoulder is the very face of their torment…happy, healthy, and flourishing under Dee and Deb’s succor and their longing gazes of sublime adoration.

The Wartburg Watch’s Dee and Deb: Their fall TO grace (the Reformed doctrines thereof, that is), part ONE

I am thinking…nay, I will post this under a new category:  The Wartburg Watch Watch.  I thought it appropriate since I seem to spend so much time defending myself from their knee-jerk emotional responses to my comments over there; as well as helping myself on many occasion to a large serving of Wartburg Watch Fodder and Folly Casserole in service to my own blog’s content.  It is a treasure trove these days; a precious-gem mine of wonderful cautionary exposes.  And also, it is educational for me.  I mean this in all humility:  I find that sometimes yes, I can actually communicate better, and my infinite time in the moderation corner (we’ve been having some great keggers over here, by they way…if Dee ever tosses you into this motley crew, bring beer money)  has helped me see that. So, I can thank them for a few things, both personally and “professionally”–that is, as a writer dabbling in the subjects of philosophy and spiritual tyranny.

For those of you who want the complete context of what prompted this post, I suggest you visit http://www.wartburgwatch.com and go to the comments thread under the recent Wade Burelson E-Church post.  Wade makes an…er, well, very interesting remark which naturally I took issue with and attacked accordingly, because, I guess you could say that that’s how I am.  And yes, if you read it, you’ll see that I “went there” and you’ll also see what I mean by this and you’ll also see that I’m unapologetic about “going there” and think that “going there” is inevitable when the egregiousness of the statement to which you are responding basically drop kicks you directly “there”.

Dee reacted with a predictably uber-emotional knee-jerk reaction and made all sorts of unsubstantiated and false accusations about my heart and my intentions and my “spirit”…which, shrug, I expected that much.  I also expected her to not post it because by now I understand that that is how she is.  What I didn’t expect was for Wade Burleson, himself, to take up my cause and basically call Dee out on her hypocritical natural instinct to decide for me what my intentions were or were not, and essentially tell her that he wears big boy pants and can take it and give it back (with all the added charm and grace of…well, of Wade; he really does have quite a fetching disposition).  And Wade is and was right…though, his rationale…hmm, I’m going to talk about that later.  You can read it for yourself over there, just go down a bit and you’ll see the scripture reference he uses (uses the example of Shemei and King David).  At any rate, Wade was right and seeing him stick up for me was pretty awesome.

I was, like, this close [index and thumb together and one eye squinting] to not even commenting because I realize that I have totally  misjudged what Wartburg is going for as a blog; and understand that I have been trying to go in a direction over at that site that is just not what they are about at all.  Oh…what foolishness we engage in when we convince ourselves that we are helping people.  What we really need to understand–and I know this will sound jaded and cynical, but I’m of the real world and let’s be honest, the real world makes people cynics and jaded like gravity makes them hit he floor when they trip–anyway, what we really need to understand is that the people we help or want to help in understanding how doctrine affects the behavior of spiritual despots are vaaaaastly, almost infinitely, outnumbered by the people on these “discernment blogs” who simply don’t give a shit about that at all.  And that means we can all breath a sigh of relief, shrug off our illusory responsibility to “them” which can be counted usually on a couple of hands at most, and stay away from these blogs and the inevitable abuse we will suffer at the hands of those who proclaim themselves  moderators of “discerning abuse”, without a blush of irony.

They. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

They do not make a connection between bad men and bad ideas.  Thus, they have a blog that is really good at pointing out who in Christianity these days is a big old meany, but not necessarily why they are a big old meany.  They are a fine shoulder to cry on, and a place to gather and vent “outrage” at the blindness of these wicked overlords/the CJ Mahaney’s of the world…but the root of the calling out of this behavior by these moderators and blog hosts extends no further than:  “that was a bad thing to do, mister, and you should know better”.   And when you ask them, “Well, since they (the meany Pastors) believe this, can you explain why they should “know better?”

That’s when you are told that you should just be quiet and just love people more.   That you should stop pretending to “understand God” and should quite “telling people what they think”.

Because,you, dear reader, must understand, that love, undefined and without a standard by which it can be known, is somehow the “thing” which these Christians truly believe will magically make all intentions good and all doctrines beside the point.

So, this little post is dedicated to what I call Dee and Deb’s fall TO grace…a little tongue in cheek reference to the ironically quite evil “doctrines of grace” as codified and systematized by Reformed Protestantism and specifically, and most purely and abusively, by today’s American Neo-Calvinist movement.  And I do categorize Wade Burleson as being part of this movement.  He is a quintessential Calvinist in his theology, I submit, and the fact that he is quite a nice man cannot and should not and will not absolve him of his responsibility to defend his doctrine rationally.  This he cannot do, because the doctrine is irrational…an anathema to reason.  And thus, can only be apprehended at the expense of humanity, never in service to it.  You see, nice occurs only in spite of reformed doctrine, as I have said numerous times in the past.  It is not canonical nor is nice orthodox, as a cursory review of Protestant history will verify.  And also, nice is a relative term.  Wade is “nice” to me (I suspect only to a point, though).  And Dee is not nice to me at all now, but she is nice to Wade.  My point is that Wade and Dee may be nice here and there, but Reformed doctrine is always evil.

Gotta run…back with part two in a bit