Think and You Will Find; Stunning Reflections on TANC 2016
“All your friends dash into the shadows like vampires fleeing the rising sun. You find yourself on a street corner, hat in hand, baffled, mystified and confused. Your other half—the person who promised before God and everyone, to love you and forsake all others—has somehow decided that it is theologically justified to abandon you and move in with other men. Your spouse’s body may still reside at your address, but the intellectual and emotional commitment is to men in a building visited four times a month.”
From time to time I am privileged to receive an email from author John Immel with a proposed article written by him for publication on PPT. Because it’s John, unpublication is unlikely, so it’s time to give it a quick reading and ramp up the copy and paste.
Unless the article ambushes you; resulting in stunned contemplation.
This journey that has come to be called TANC Ministries began with the following convictions: it will always be predicated on THE truth; it will always continue as long as I am alive; it will always continue if there is hope of helping one person, and if I have anything to do with it there will always be a yearly flag raising called “TANC conferences” to remind folks that this ministry is still here.
My fuel is not following and worldly credentials. My fuel is truth. That’s what the Spirit uses—nothing else (John 17:17).
I refuse to stop learning truth; I refuse to stop thinking; I refuse to quit until I die. I will be seeking truth that changes me and sharing it with others until my last breath. Jesus said to seek truth, and promised it would be found by those who love Him. And He is my only judge. Period. And by the way, He is my brother who will never condemn me with judgement. I use the word, “judge” in a manner of speaking as set against those who think they have been given God’s authority to judge. Reality check: personality appeal and credentials say nothing of a person’s real heart and even less regarding self-proclaimed accreditation by God who has never performed a theophany at any church counsel.
This year’s conference was the most painful to put together, and the most profound, and the most rewarding ever. To those who contributed onsite and those who sent encouragement, you have my promise that Susan and I will never stop trying to do our best. May more and more benefit to others be found yearly and every day in-between.
For some time now, Susan and I have been counseling Protestant spouses who are in really bad marriages and in disagreement with the church’s solutions. Especially since “biblical counseling” has made the marriage worse. Six months ago your marriage needed a tune-up, now both of you are talking to attorneys. But, the other spouse is in agreement with the church. The church’s elders are now the authority in the marriage, and by the way, in accordance with traditional Protestant orthodoxy. Spouse A will only recognize Spouse B as a legitimate spouse if spouse B “repents” and “submits to the authority of Godly men.”
For several months Susan and I have agonized over how to counsel people in this type of situation. These are people who are imprisoned in a cell of misery. In most cases we do not see divorce as the answer even though the replacement of the husband or wife in the home with elders is probably tantamount to divorce when it gets right down to it.
Since Susan and I have been agonizing over this for months, and the interactions of TANC 2016 have given us a clear answer, I would say that this year’s conference was well worth it.
And the first conference as well. That’s when we learned that ALL behavior is driven by logic. And, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy, and he will continue to do country unless that happens. Removing the spittoons from the house is pointless. And if people cannot think, reason, or change, the boy will always be country and any attempt to take the country out of the boy will be futile. There is no hope for rehillbillytation.
Herein is the answer. Those in this situation need to read John’s following article and know this: there is no hope for peace in the marriage until Spouse A abandons traditional Protestant logic. We would counsel spouse B to legally separate from spouse A until they do. Spouse B, if a child of God, is called to peace, and there is no peace in Calvin’s Geneva.
Now as those of us in the TANC camp like to write, “full stop.” Those of you getting ready to email me and type, “Paul! that’s what I have been saying all along, ‘just leave that church!’” Understand, I love you, I really do, but you just pissed me off. Excuse the French, but I have been sharing the emotional misery of this with many for months. You see, a clock that doesn’t work is right twice a day. Here is the big difference; John not only tells them to leave, but explains WHY they should and HOW they should. Per the usual, regardless of John not beating to the Baptist drum of buffoonery, there is usually something profound to be learned from him. The WHY is important because we must understand where people are in their thinking so we can help them.
Merely espousing the WHAT without the why is why these people are suffering in the first place. If they listen to your WHAT only, they have learned nothing even if they take your advice.
So, this is now our advice and I am not kidding: you hand spouse A the following article by John and you leave; the ball is now in their court. Ok, and here we go… “But Paul, these people don’t respect John Immel.” Sigh. Do you see what is going on? It matters what they think (which is not thinking because they think you shouldn’t think) because in your mind they still have authority. NO-THEY-DO-NOT-HAVE-ANY-AUTHORITY. You have allowed them to use your life to pleasure themselves with their own visions of grandeur. Stop it now. Stop it, like, yesterday. Enough is enough already.
However, you can do this: prepare your own statement, in your own words, to spouse A, through your attorney if necessary. Until you take action, you are merely enabling more fruit from the same ideological tree. That tree must be pulled up by the roots; nothing short of that will suffice. Until the tree is uprooted, NOTHING will change. Stop being an enabler.
These Boots were made for Walkin’
By John Immel: Edited by Paul Dohse, TANC Publishing
TANC 2016 was good. We talked about a lot and, curiously, marriage seemed to be a conference sub theme. It is kinda fun when each speaker’s contribution blends into the other speaker’s content. The speakers do declare their topics early in the year but we don’t give specifics; there is no pre-approval, so everyone at the conference is hearing everything for the first time. So, to encounter an unplanned harmony is always interesting.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Making like a tree and leaving. Making like a shepherd and getting the flock out. Make like Tom and Cruise. Make like a fat kid and bounce. Make like a banana and split. Make like a nose and boogie. Making like a baby and heading…
In my 4th and last TANC 2016 session I gave the super-secret method to successfully get out of the Calvinist juggernaut of destruction called Church. I talked about your situation—you know who you are—which goes something like this . . .
You have marital problems . . .
You go to a pastor for help . . .
Pastors say “You are a sinner . . .”
You say “Ok, but how does that help me?”
They say “You are a wretched sinner, you are the problem in the marriage, so you should sacrifice . . .”
You say, “But my husband beats me . . .” OR “My wife is running around . . .”
They say, “We are the pastors. It doesn’t matter what you think. We know everything . . .”
You say, “But . . .”
They say, “See, we knew the problem was you. You are proud. You are arrogant, you are rebellious bla bla bla . . .”
The more you talk to the pastors the worse everything gets until the theological big dogs speak the dreaded words “church discipline,” and your very safe, very Christian world collapses. All your friends dash into the shadows like vampires fleeing the rising sun. You find yourself on a street corner, hat in hand, baffled, mystified and confused. Your other half—the person who promised before God and everyone, to love you and forsake all others—has somehow decided that it is theologically justified to abandon you and move in with other men. Your spouse’s body may still reside at your address, but the intellectual and emotional commitment is to men in a building visited four times a month.
Since this is a family friendly blog I will refrain from detailing the curiously appropriate innuendos for this Reformed Theology ménage a trios, but do I really need to point out that you would NEVER tolerate this kind of relationship in ANY other context? Or maybe you would. I’m just saying . . .
“But John, how do I get out? I’ve tried everything. I keep trying to do the reconciliation process. I keep trying to honor God. I keep trying to do what the Bible says. It says to restore them gently. The Pastors, are wrong, my wife is wrong (my husband is wrong) . . . I just want to help them see that…“
Here is the grand delusion that is plaguing your soul. You think you can fix them.
Think a minute. As a Reformed theology aficionado you already know this but you intellectually cheat when it serves your church-going purpose. But I’m going to challenge you to be intellectually consistent for ten seconds. Dig down and find that switch called rational integrity and think of your own doctrine and then ask the question: HOW CAN I FIX WHAT GOD HAS DETERMINED?!
I’m not shouting. I’m just typing in all caps because it’s fun. And maybe those big letters will penetrate your mental stupor.
According to Luther, according to Calvin, according to Reformed theology, according to your own beloved “orthodoxy,” according to your own pastor, there is no human agency in God’s plan. Period.
If there is no human agency in God’s salvific plan then that means YOU are irrelevant. There is no YOU helping them see. They are the way they are because God wants them that way. Period. [“It’s God’s will.” “God will change them when He is ready.” Susan and I hear this constantly]. They “think” what they think because God has given them to think it. They do the evil they do because God has put it in them to do it.
And the moment you start feeling your brain try to apply caveats and hedges to what I just said . . . the moment you are tempted to utter the words “I think . . .,” run to the mirror, look yourself in the face and shout, “Intellectual Fraud!” Because as a Reformed theology aficionado you have no right to the words “I think . . ..”
When you declare fealty to the church elders—because they speak for God—you abandon the right to your own ideas.
So again, the delusion that plagues your soul is that you matter one whit in God’s salvation plan. You are nothing. You are a worm. You are the navel lint in the cosmic belly button. You are wretched, and ugly and full of self. You are a sinner in the hands of an angry God. How dare you exalt yourself to the status of helping God? (That would include James MacDonald too, but he has no intellectual integrity so explaining his metaphysical absurdity is useless.)
Anyway . . .
Every time you crack your Bible and trace your finger across a verse to “help” someone—useless.
Every time you try to protect the “reputation” of the church—ludicrous.
Every time you try to offer a word of “encouragement”—pointless.
Every time you try to “restore” a brother gently—ridiculous.
“John, are you saying that my situation is hopeless?”
Hopeless is as hopeless does . . .
Uh . . . errr . . . or something like that.
Or here is an idea: abandon the doctrine and condemn—with impunity—every evil person who advocates, subsidizes, or supports any part of Calvin’s doctrine. (James MacDonald and every man, woman and child that drops one penny in the offering plate for example.)
If you can do this you are ready for step one of the super-secret plan to get out of the Calvinist juggernaut of destruction.
Step one: Get your brain back. Quit being an intellectual fraud. If you want the right to say “I think . . .” then you are going to have to take off your Huggies and put on your grown-up pants and do the work to lay claim to your own mind.
“So John, what is the second step?”
Well, it is super-secret so I don’t know if you can handle it.
Run Forrest run!
Don’t write a letter. Don’t convene an elder meeting. Don’t beg elders from another church to carry your diaper bag. Don’t fly a carrier pigeon. Don’t tap out Morse code. Don’t send up smoke signals.
In the immortal words of Nancy Sinatra:
You keep saying you’ve got something for me
Something you call love, but confess
You’ve been a-messin’ where you shouldn’ta been a-messin’
And now someone else is gettin’ all your best
These boots are made for walkin’
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you
Offer no explanation. Give no details. Propose no justification. Just walk out and go learn how to think for yourself. I dare you . . .
“But John, what about my friends?”
Here is a news flash. They are not your friends. They are vampires sucking their life from the sheep in the pews. The moment you walk out the door you are depriving them of the ability to feed on your life like a buffet. Their singular purpose is to be Nosferatu’s soldier operatives—the pastor’s sycophant. You leaving the church is like a stake in the heart, garlic around the neck, or holy water tossed on the face. You leaving will bring out the snarling, raging hatred that really burns inside their double imputed depraved souls.
I’m going to say it again because 90% of you will not believe me until you have beat your head up against this wall a thousand times. They are not your friends. And more importantly neither should they be. You should not want evil people as friends.
“So John, is that what you did. Did you just walk out?”
Yup and here is the proof.*
Last weekend I was going through old stuff and found the following correspondence between myself and my favorite spiritual tyrant Robin Boisvert. His name is pronounced bwah vair (I’m pretty sure), and he used to be C.J Mahaney’s Covenant Life Church lead thug homeboy.** Maybe he still is, I don’t know and I don’t care.
(You feel patronized yet robin? >snicker<)
There is a lot to see in the letters below but notice that robin has no clue what has happened with me . . . and that is because I figured out that my boots were made for walkin’.
**Greg Somerville was the editor for People of Destiny/Sovereign Grace Magazine. I have no idea what he does now but let’s hope he got a real job instead of being chief propaganda officer for the CJ Mahaney blackmail machine.
“Paul, I would come to the yearly conference and support your ministry, but I don’t want my spouse or the church to interpret that as my unwillingness to be reconciled with them.”
Really? How’s that workin’ for ya? You cannot be set free or healed because this shows clearly that these people still wield some degree of authority over you. Your authority is not Christ alone. I don’t necessarily buy into “I think, therefore I am” lock, stock, and barrel, but you can be sure that I reject “I don’t think, therefore I am” with extreme prejudice. You want to be friends with people who reject reason and thinking, AND people who embrace it. Good luck with that, but do not look for our ministry to enable such vacillation in the future. You can thank John for that.
And let me remind you that we are an educational ministry that has no authority. Is that why you are ashamed of us? Because we don’t want to control you? Well, guilty as charged.
Why don’t you add TANC Ministries to your freedom repertoire? Consider adding us to your Unashamed Friends list. After all, regardless of their many reasons for rejecting us which includes accusations against me; ie., a felon in hiding, adulterer, attempted murderer, possible active shooter, etc., etc., I kid you not, their real problem is: I believe that God has called us to think. And by the way, 2017.ttanc.com.Why not register today and enjoy the freedom to seek truth with your own mind?
What do you think?