Revised: Calvinist Tom Chantry and My Friend the King
My little exchange with pastor Tom Chantry here at PPT (see screen shots below) has prompted me to make a point that I have been thinking about for three years. I know my use of the “philosopher king” nomenclature is seen as satire, but it really isn’t. These guys think they have authority over all of us. They really do. I could cite data galore, but I will instead mention the Calvinist pastor from Bellefontaine, Ohio who tried to place me under church discipline as a process possibly ending with me being declared an unbeliever. I have never talked to this guy in my life until he called me to….”I am trying to gain a brother here.” This is just fact: Reformed elders think heaven will honor their declarations and remove names from the book of life. Calvin and Luther believed elders have that kind of authority (Calvin’s “power of the keys”), and their offspring are all too eager to believe them. Though I don’t know for certain, I think my name has been removed from the book of life by Reformed elders on three occasions.
And like the Bellefontaine case, these guys think they interpret reality for us. I was instructed to repent of what I saw (the Man of God conference controversy) because this philosopher king proclaimed that I really didn’t see it. This resulted in a visit to my home by three local pastors who pushed his agenda, albeit two of them didn’t really get what was going on. But the message was basically the same: I didn’t really see what I saw because they said so.
They think many take this idea seriously. And worse yet, I think they are right. These guys come to PPT and declare me unknowing, and that is the end of the discussion among their Kool-Aid drinking followers. When members of their church come to PPT and see that the philosopher king has passed judgment on me regardless of the facts—end of discussion. In spite of the damning data in regard to CJ Mahaney, a group of philosopher kings declared him fit for ministry—end of discussion. Hence, victims of his spiritual despotism can only watch as he enjoys rock star status among followers that Jim Jones would have died to have for himself. More correctly, some only watch while others have dragged this sorry excuse for a pastor into court. American pastors have become so bloviated with this idea that secular courts are now the only recourse for Christians to expose unspeakable evil in the church. It is clear: church discipline is only for congregants and not elders. The pastorate refuses to rebuke renegade pastors publically as they are commanded to do by Scripture. Instead, they go a step further and cover for them.
I was once a fire system inspector for a private firm in Indiana. I was primarily assigned to homes for the mentally disabled. It was a very interesting job. It was a job that preached many sermons to me throughout the week. I remember that I was once grumbling to myself on the way to an inspection about my life in general. After I saw the residents of that home, I never grumbled about my imperfect circumstances again. That is a sermon that is fresh in my mind until this day.
Then there was one who I will call “Purity.” After a while, I had my own names for the residents. These names reminded me of what God was teaching me through their lives. She was a sixteen-year-old that had the mind of someone around six-years-old. She was fascinated that I have a daughter that is a missionary in Puerto Rico. She followed me around as I was doing my work trying to find out everything she could about my daughter. Till this day, I wonder if there is a more sincere soul walking upon the earth. She was a sermon about the beauty of righteousness—a sermon I will never forget. Then there were the gatekeepers. They wheeled around and acted like they were asleep while the staff changed the codes on the entry/exit doors. They then enjoyed giving vendors and inspectors the codes so they didn’t have to mess around with all the red tape at the administration office. A wonderful service! And “Anna” who appeared to be merely mumbling in her bed, but closer observance revealed a person in constant prayer.
But my favorite was the king. He really thought he was a king. The staff also aided him in his endeavor to be a hard-working king. They bought him a crown and a cape. He would go from room to room with a legal pad and write new laws and then verbally proclaim them. Well, this was pretty cool. I got permission from the company to take him out to lunch. The plan was Burger King of course, but unfortunately, the opportunity never presented itself after I obtained permission.
I’m thankful for the king. He enables me to think lightly sometimes of the Calvinists who also really think they are kings. But they have no excuse and I don’t like them because unlike the king, they are abusive spiritual despots. He went from room to room proclaiming good laws that he thought would help people. He wasn’t really interested in controlling people. He wasn’t interested in power.
He is a good sermon for the Calvinists because if you are only a king in your own mind—at least be a good one.