Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 4

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 22, 2017

The following is the final part of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s fourth session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part twoClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


What we have seen over the course of the last 3 sessions is that the oldest of all worldly ideas is that man is effectively a sacrificial animal. The primary intellectual shapers of modern Christianity as we have seen have their roots deep in Platonism, the metastasized version of Platonism found in Augustine, and then the further metastasization in Calvin. The secular iteration of that is Immanuel Kant who put the final nails in the coffin of any self-interest at any point at any time, and he did it such that even secular people could arrive at the exact same conclusion.

Now this becomes very important in the modern age. I opened this whole series talking about how in America we are facing a new Dark Age. The reason that sacrifice is so central to tyranny is directly related to this observation:

The Gospel According to John Immel, chapter 3:1-3

  1. All people act logically from their assumptions.
  2. It does not matter how inconsistent the ideas or insane the rationale. They will act until that logic is fulfilled.
  3. Therefore, when you see masses of people taking the same destructive actions, if you find the assumptions, you will find the cause.

Consider once again the five pillars of tyranny. (slide 2) All tyrannies use some variation of these arguments.  This is why altruism is so central to tyranny. Notice how the branches of all of these sub-arguments are tied to altruism.

Incompetent Masses – How many times have you heard the preacher say, “No man is an island”? What he really means is that no man in my church has the right to his own ideas. He is demanding that you abandon your own rational judgment.

Dictated Good – The preacher says, “We believe in servant-leadership.” What he really means is, “My qualification for being in charge is telling you what to think.” He believes that his judgment is “the good” and it is his right to tell you what that good is.

Universal Guilt – “You are proud.” What the preacher really means is, “You are morally corrupt. You are taking part in humanity’s original sin. You are displaying Adam’s heritage.” What they are really saying is since you are universally guilty you can’t get away from Adam’s original sin.

Collective Conformity – “You are rebellious,” says the preacher, but what he really means is, “I have the moral right to dictate the content of your life. You have no moral right to resist my authority.” Rebellion is an appeal to political power. Any time someone says you are rebellious, what they are really saying is that you are defying my government right. He is compelling you to collectively conform.

Abolition of Ambition – “You are arrogant,” the preacher says, but what he really means is, “I don’t like your confidence. You have no business being confident because you really have no ability.”

So you can begin to see how this altruism, self-sacrifice, man as a sacrificial animal ties all of this together. This is why this is so fantastically destructive.

Here is in broad terms how collectivism cascades down to the smallest subset. Any time you see someone making an appeal to the “greater good” what they are doing is appealing to the moral standard of altruism to ultimately drive individuals into one of these subsets. Collectivism in the broadest terms encompasses statism. In other words, as an individual your first moral requirement is to the state. The society is a subset of the state depending on common cultural expectations. The tribe is effectively genetic commonality and the political code derived from that. Community encompasses things such as denominations, sects, or the local Calvinist tyrant.

Here is the problem. How can you resist any monstrosity that compels you into any of these things if you must sacrifice your judgment? Under the premise of self-sacrifice, on what moral grounds can you resist government? By what moral standard can you say, “I disagree?” There is none!


Sacrifice is destroying America!

Sacrifice is destroying a free society at its root.
The political leader stands up and says, “Muslims have the right to come to the United States, keep their ideology, and that ideology vows the destruction of America as such.” How can you object?

This is obviously a rhetorical question, because the answer is you can’t. To demand security is to be “selfish”. To demand your own self-interest is to be “selfish”…and therefore morally disqualified. The only moral standard is to sacrifice your security, and consequences be damned. As a committed altruist, you must destroy your values, your goals, your ambitions, your contentment, your LIFE! You have no other choice but to stand idly by, mute in the face of all ideological monstrosity and allow the invasion of your country.

Sacrifice corrupts government.
When it is morally correct to demand sacrifice, it becomes socially correct to compel people to sacrifice. The federal register is filling up with laws that are aimed specifically at compelling people to sacrifice for the “greater good.” For example, Obamacare. It is not about healthcare. It has nothing to do with getting people to a doctor. Obamacare is little more than the government committing armed robbery in the name of morality. Obamacare is a systematic seizing of money from the healthy merely because they are healthy.

At the moment we are a nation stymied by the charge of “selfishness.” In the political sphere, the greatest criticism that anyone can render is that you are selfish. It is effective because it is immediately disqualifying. It doesn’t matter what you are advocating. It doesn’t matter if it’s a better policy. The moment somebody tags with, “you’re selfish,” the discussion is over.

Free people are being browbeat into accepting any treatment, any hostility, any destruction, and any exploitation all in the name of self-sacrifice.

Sacrifice destroys the meaning of words.
Listen to just about any sportscast and you will hear an announcer praise an athlete for his great “unselfish” play. For example, if LeBron James has an opportunity to go for a basket and instead passes the ball to a teammate he is being “unselfish”.

LeBron James

That is objectively ridiculous. LeBron James is probably, next to Michael Jordan, one of the greatest players to ever play the game and one of the most prolific scorers. When LeBron James avoids scoring a basket he is actually penalizing his team because statistically speaking, the ball will probably go through the hoop. It is not unselfishness that’s at issue. It is a failure of conceptual understanding. It is rationally correct for the best scorers to consistently try to score.   So attributing a pass to “unselfishness” is a corruption of words.

But in our culture everything has become an issue of sacrifice. Listen to how often individual actions are being defined as sacrifices. Listen to how often we as a nation qualify our positions with, “I don’t get anything out of this.” Listen to how many times you hear the words, “give back”. Listen to how many times the word sacrifice appears near the word community.

Sacrifice destroys achievement.
Achievement is the product of individuals pursuing their own goals, persevering through obstacles, thinking through the flaws to overcome all challenges and finally arrive at a destination, outcome, or final product. Achievement is the long process of man pursuing values over time, making choices about alternatives in a particular succession until finally refined into the desired outcome. This is why productivity and perseverance are virtues.

Charles Kettering

This process I just described brought about the Write brothers’ first flight, Nikola Tesla’s three-phase electric power, his induction motor, his alternating current, and many, many more achievements. It brought about Charles Kettering’s electric starter motor, car lights, leaded gasoline, and advancements in air conditioning among many achievements.

And yet most people, if they know of these achievements at all, trivialize the achievements because unless these men gave away their money they cannot be moral. By contrast, people will venerate Mother Theresa for her vows of poverty while dismissing the fact that her life of sacrificial giving is only possible because someone achieved air flight, induction motors, electric car starters, advancement in air conditioning, and many more achievements.

Mother Theresa can’t feed anyone…EVER…because Mother Theresa doesn’t create anything.

On the other hand, the farmer had to achieve growing a crop. The trucking company had to achieve getting the food from the farm to someone who would process the raw goods into consumable products. Shipping companies had to achieve the creation of ocean-traveling boats. A thousands achievements from a thousand people pursuing their own values had to occur before Mother Theresa could ever pat someone on the hand and give away food she never aspired to create. Yet her vows of poverty, her “sacrifice”, is held up as the moral ideal.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, may I have your submission, please?”

In a world of achievement where achievement is a virtue, the Mother Theresas of the world, the men and women who live off the abilities of others, would be seen for what they are; freeloading slackers.

This is true of all Calvinist preachers living off the public dole. The only way they make a mortgage payment, or feed their kids, or even buy their first John Piper book is because the people in the pews create real achievements six days out of seven.

You people out there still attending those Calvinist churches, if you ever figure out that the men behind the Plexiglas podium have no right to your money, most of the preachers will starve to death because they aren’t qualified for a job at McDonald’s. You can’t run a McDonald’s chanting, “Submit to authority.” That is the sum of their managerial skills. But I will say that in an achievement-based society, the John Pipers and Kevin DeYoungs of the world (et al) would do a lot less damage if they were limited to saying, “would you like fries with that?”

Sacrifice destroys marriages.
Sacrifice gives Calvinist thugs the moral power to perpetrate their tyranny.

I want to talk about these two together because they go hand in hand. Most people encounter Calvinist thuggery in the middle of a marriage problem. You have serious problems in your marriage and you go to the pastor in an effort to try and get some help. You get to the pastor and the next thing you realize is that you’re “proud”, you’re “arrogant”, and you’re not “sacrificing”. That is almost the universal response.

Then you make the mistake of assuming that your opinion matters on the subject. And the more you decide to defend yourself they more they are convinced of your pride and arrogance.   The truth of the matter is by the time you get to counseling, your marriage is probably already over because the underlying problems have already run their course.

Why do Christians get married? The unromantic answer is, sex. However, once the sex thing begins to ebb and flow and they get past the emotion of it, people finally figure out that sex drive and libido is directly tied to your own sense of self-worth and personal values. The problem is that you’ve been going to a church now for however long that tells you that you can have no value. It’s a death spiral from the outset.

Here is what the ideal would look like. You look in a mirror and you choose four or five things that you really value about who you are. It doesn’t matter what they are. Everyone has their own set of things that they value about themselves. These are your highest values and aspirations. Then when you come to another person and you see those values reflected back in your face it is almost impossible to resist the attraction because you see yourself reflected back. And you know as well as I do that the greatest relationships that you have ever observed happen as a result of having the greatest number of values reflected back.

But here is the problem. You came to the marriage relationship in Christianity believing that sacrifice was the highest ideal, but you have no relationship because you have no values to share. You have nothing in common. Then you have been sitting in the pew for who knows how long, and now you have an endless negotiation on who has sacrificed the most.

The problem is that what you sacrifice is an individual value. The other person in the relationship doesn’t care whether you destroy it or not. All your time in the relationship is spent giving up more and more until eventually you have nothing left. This is why so many marriages, after about 20 years or so of this kind of a relationship, one of the partners finally says, “I’m dead. I have nothing left for you.” The internal emotional pain is so great that they really are dying. But is it any wonder. You have been doing exactly what you have been taught. You have been slowly killing yourself.

Now because of Calvin and Kant, pain has been elevated to a moral primary. But the reality is that pain is a signal that something is wrong. Pain is your signal that there is a problem, and the goal is to get rid of the pain.

At the root of this is an absolute sense of the moral right of your own existence. This is what you can never have in a Calvinist church. This is why Calvinism destroys marriages because it undermines at the root the very people that are involved in the marriage.

As for friends, and this is something that I think really trips people up, you have known some of these people for years and years. Suddenly you are in the middle of what you consider to be a fight for your life and you go to your friends, and you realize that now you don’t have any friends. This is salt on open wounds, because you’re confused. You really honestly believed that these people had your back. No, they would sell you out in a minute for pastoral approval. Now you are stuck because you have so atrophied your sense of self and achievement that you cannot project into the future your own existence. That is probably one of the loneliest places to be in the world.

But I’m going to tell you the truth; you have no one to blame but yourself. You let somebody tell you that your existence was contingent on the approval of other people.

I’m going to cite an excerpt from my book, Blight in the Vineyard. This is from the chapter “Interpersonal Train Wreck”.

Now pause and digest the system dynamic I just laid out in detail and take inventory of the cause of your emotional upheaval. This is why you feel so utterly betrayed and so deeply wounded. This is why you ache with despair that will not go away. You offered the sum of self, and people presumed the moral right to accept or reject the deepest parts of you and call their actions “spiritual.”  They spent your relationship like dollar bills in the pastoral g-string on a private authority lap dance.

No one can sustain this kind of utter personal rejection. No one can sustain others using unearned intimacy to fill out their Christian authenticity balance sheet. So when you rightly complained about the mistreatment, they were brazen in defense, “Forgive me IF I sinned against you, but since I am the authority in this interaction, I can say this conflict really exists because YOU are the problem.”

Sacrifice is the fulcrum of this control.

Here’s the real meaning of the doctrine of self-sacrifice: You are not entitled to your mind, you are not entitled to your ideas, you are not entitled to your own aspirations, goals, or desires. If self-sacrifice is your moral standard, how can you object to any idea? The fact is you have forfeited your right to any personal opinion. You have no moral right to resist the preacher, no matter how atrocious, how grotesque his demands.

Forget the pastoral fictional monopoly on sound doctrine. Forget that they have any authority to dictate any outcome. The minute someone committed to reformed theology say the words, “I think…”, they are disqualified. Your impotence does not come from their authority. You impotence comes from the fact that you don’t value your own existence. If you don’t think that it is morally correct to defend you, then why on earth would anyone else defend you?

This is why most of you have such a terrible time escaping the church that is destroying your soul.

One thing you need to understand, the one thing that men who are committed to authority can never tolerate is the appearance of any dissention. So the only thing they can do is to make effort to segregate you from everything else.

So how do we escape the coming Dark Age? 

It is often said that men will not sacrifice, but as we have seen, sacrifice as the highest moral standard is in human history. We have seen throughout human history that men will sacrifice endlessly. We have seen that men will suffer enormous pains in the name of sacrifice. In National Socialist Germany the German people sacrificed their minds, their time, their production, and their existence to the state.

Indeed the problem of human existence is not the willingness to sacrifice. History proves over and over that men will abundantly sacrifice. What men will not do is stand against the moral monstrosity of sacrifice.

Hanna Arendt

After World War II, Hanna Arendt dug into the roots of tyranny and totalitarian regimes and wrote a lot about the subject.

And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody, “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody, “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it – the quality of temptation. Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to become accomplices in these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.

         Hanna Arendt, Eichmann if Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963

And this is exactly what we see playing out in the church- church leaders perpetrating all manner of evil, and the congregation sitting idly by resisting the temptation to object. And what the church does in their buildings is a harbinger of what is to come in American culture. Christians like the idea that America is a “Christian nation”. That’s a problem, because historically, Christian nations have let the blood flow deep and thick in the name of sacrifice.

There has always been an uneasy relationship between the church and the Constitution. Christians love to claim the Constitution when it serves the purpose of religious freedom, but they reject the root constitutional premise. The Constitution presumes that man is an end in himself. The sole purpose of government is to defend the individual in the pursuit of his life, his liberty, and his happiness.

The American Constitution has an implied moral standard: that individual men are entitled to their own lives. Individual men dispose of their lives for their own sake and for their own pleasures. But dare to suggest that man is an end to himself and church people will start chanting “SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE!” with all the fervor of the Thuggee cult just before the high priest strangles the latest offering to Kali.

Gospel According to John Immel 7:17
”Sacrifice as the highest moral ideal is the lynch pin of the coming Protestant Dark Age.”

America was the freest, happiest, most prosperous nation in the world because it led the world in individualism. America stands at a precipice. Behind us is the excellent history of liberty, individualism, freedom, values, success, and prosperity. The cliff in front of us falls off into the abyss of sacrifice and injustice and bloodshed and destruction.

Americans are now turning their liberties and freedoms over to the primordial disaster of sacrifice. This does not bode well. Every nation that has walked this path has willingly walked lockstep behind a dictator into mass destruction.

America, if you want to escape the coming Dark Age, be the first people in history to find the courage to resist the temptation of sacrifice.

~ John

John Immel 2016 Session 4 Archive Video (YouTube) Audio Only (mp3)

The Desire for and Qualifications of an Overseer – Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 22, 2017

Originally published on October 2, 2014

 andy-profile-1As I began to put my thoughts down on “paper” (I don’t actually use paper, I jot everything down in a Word document and then fill in the blanks) it soon became apparent that the nature of this topic would be too unwieldy to limit to a single article. Therefore I have decided to address this topic in two parts.

I was inspired to write this article after viewing Paul and Susan’s latest edition of Gnostic Watch Weekly (9/26/2014). At the end of the video, Susan made reference to the qualification of an elder found in 1 Timothy 3, and used that in contrast to the alleged qualifications that reformed bloggers feel one should have in order to be qualified to post a comment on their blogs. I wanted to expand on each one of those qualifications of an elder in detail. But before I do that, I think it is necessary to first make sure we have an understanding of what an elder is. And before we do that, we first need to discuss the definition of an “overseer”.

What is an “Overseer”?

The word translated as “bishop” in the King James comes from the Greek verb επισκεπτομαι (ep-ee-skep-toh-my). It is made up of the words “epi”, meaning “over”, and “skopos”, meaning to peer about or referring to a watch or sentry or lookout. Taken together, we get the idea of “over-seer”. The word “supervisor” has the same meaning: “super”, meaning over, and “visor”, having to do with vision, seeing, or watching. So an overseer is basically a supervisor. Interestingly enough, a supervisor is a secular role and not specifically a religious one. So Paul is referring to a role that is not inherently a religious one but has a counterpart in the secular world.

How is this different from an “elder”?

While “overseer” has more to do with the role itself, the term “elder” refers more to the individual filling the role. The word “elder” is the Greek word πρεσβυτερος (pres-byoo-ter-os). It comes from the word “presbus” meaning “elderly”. In the Jewish religious/political system, the Sanhedrin was made up of elected representatives of the people called “elders” or πρεσβυτερος. Typically, these representatives were elderly men who were well respected and honored by the people.

The Jewish “synagogue” teaching model was also usually supervised by an “elder”. So with the advent of the New Testament assemblies, followers of Christ (who at the beginning were all converted Jews) simply continued to follow the synagogue model. And each fellowship selected an elder (πρεσβυτερος) to supervise/oversee (επισκεπτομαι) them.

When we come to 1 Timothy 3, Paul is addressing the qualification for the role of overseer, thus the use of the word επισκεπτομαι rather than the πρεσβυτερος. Although, granted, the significance is minor, and in general the words could be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing.

However, there is a significant difference between the forms of the word “overseer”. Please notice the difference between the words in verse 1 and verse 2:

Verse 1   επισκοπη (ep-ee-skope-ay) – noun: oversight; supervision

Verse 2   επισκοπος (ep-ee-skope-os) – noun: overseer; supervisor

Notice, that the words come from the same root, but the words are different! Even though they are both nouns, the first refers to the function, the second refers to the role. Why is this important? Let me explain.

Disclaimer: I am about to say something extremely controversial. Now consider yourself warned.

I believe that Paul is NOT addressing the issue of someone who desires TO BE an overseer.  GASP!  “How can you say that?” you might ask.  Because of the way this reads in the Greek.  While the King James renders this verse this way:

“If a man desire the office of a bishop”

This is how it appears in the Greek:

ει             τις           επισκοπης             οργεται

if             any         (of) oversight        is craving

This is where the difference in the words used is important. It does not say, “if anyone desires to be an overseer.” Literally it reads, “if any is desiring of oversight”. The question we must ask then is to whom or what does the indefinite pronoun “any” refer? Remember the context of 1 Timothy. Paul has gone ahead to Macedonia and has left Timothy behind in Ephesus to act as his proxy. The purpose of the letter to Timothy is to advise him on how to handle certain issues within the various assemblies there. So the “any” in verse 1 of chapter 3 must be referring to the assemblies. Paul is saying, if any of the assemblies desire oversight, they desire a good thing.

Two things should become immediately apparent here. First, that there were some assemblies that did not have an overseer. And second, the implication here would be that an overseer is optional. That’s huge! And that flies in the face of 500 years of orthodoxy. But when you consider the context and the grammatical structure of the text, it fits together perfectly. Paul is telling Timothy, if there are any assemblies that want oversight, that’s a good thing. He then proceeds to instruct Timothy on what the job requirements are for an overseer.

This is very similar to what happened in Acts chapter 6 when the Hellenistic Jews were being left out of the daily distribution to the needy, and the ethnic Jews were getting preferential treatment. The assemblies came to the apostles to solve this problem. But instead, the apostles instructed them to look to themselves for the solution. They gave them a set of criteria for deacons and told them to find men who meet these criteria and have them manage it. The apostles could have very easily said, “Ok, we appoint so and so, and such and such, and they have the authority.” But instead, they believed that those in the assemblies had the ability to select their own deacons. Likewise in this instance, Paul did not instruct Timothy to appoint specific men to the positions of overseer. He left it up to the assemblies to select their own if they so desired.

So, having then examined the relationship of elders and overseers, in part two we will study in detail each of the qualifications of an overseer. You can think of this as a job description. If you were seeking a candidate to fill a role, think about what kind of attributes you would want. What are the attributes that make for a good overseer for a home fellowship?

Andy

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 20, 2017

The following is part three of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s third session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part two
(Links to the archived files are found below)


So I left us with a cliffhanger two sessions ago. So let’s start the discussion of the greatest philosophical villains in human history. Do you remember the question? Augustine had a central flaw in his doctrine. Now when I said that, of course the question is when someone says “flaw” they assume that to mean “wrong”. But what I am saying is that Augustine was actually fantastically consistent with his doctrine. He would not have considered this a flaw. However, it turned out to be a flaw because it opened the door later for other people to step in and challenge his root assumptions.

That flaw gave the world one last glimmer of hope; one last place for man to escape the destruction of human sacrifice. If you are an American Christian in the twenty-first century, and in particular within a reformed school with reformed teachers, 90% of what is taught is Augustine, which means 90% of what you believe is Plato. Augustine condemned every expression of human existence, every pleasure, every aspiration, every value.   But Augustine left one thing for man to desire – the desire to go to Heaven!

Here is why this is important. For all of the sacrifice that Augustine is trying to lay on human existence, for all of the self-imposed destruction that Augustine is after, he still allows for this highest virtue (going to Heaven) and he says that all of these things that you sacrifice will ultimately impact on some level the ability to get to Heaven. Augustine is not at all consistent in this assertion, but it’s there. The vestige of this possibility is there.

Now here is what this means in practicality. There is still a relationship between action and outcome, so moral action can produce a moral outcome. In Susan Dohse’s session yesterday she was talking about how the church got into the middle of marriage. It was fascinating listening to the old thinkers basically point out that if you were in marriage and you still abstained you could gain for yourself a better salvation by virtue of this sacrifice. This is exactly the concept I am telling you persisted within Augustinian thought. The successive thinkers still believed that there was some form of moral action that man could take that would produce this given outcome. In other words, man could have values and he could choose those values and get a given outcome.

Now this is crucial because this little shred of possible benefit to human existence actually keeps the door open just enough that by the time we get to the 14th and 15th century we have man in pursuit of a different understanding of his own existence. We have man realizing that he can take actions that benefit his life.

That little itty bitty crack starts to get wider that by the time we get to St. Thomas Aquinas we have the re-institutionalization of reason, and so now we have the first formal presentation of Aristotle which is effectively man-centered/earth-centered (much to the chagrin of the Catholics). So here is St. Thomas Aquinas who ultimately lays the theological foundation that makes it possible for man to have his own existence. That was around 1250.

Fast-forward a few years and we finally get to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment.

Now here’s the thing. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment might have been successful – there were so many advances in human prosperity, human development, human understanding from effectively the 16th century to the 18th century that the church may never have recovered. They church knew it was on the verge of being laughed out of existence.

Now were are introduced to the first villains.

John Calvin’s doctrine closed the door on human self-interest as such. His doctrine of double-imputed depravity and the corollary doctrine of progressive sanctification eliminates even a trace of self-interest in God’s salvation plan.

Calvin was clear, man can have to trace, no hint, no breath of good inside him. Any aspiration to any value, any good, is proof-positive of total depravity. That’s his logic.   So man is even morally condemned for wanting to want to go to Heaven. Philosophically speaking, John Calvin made it morally an existential liability separating the moral from the practical absolutely.

So with Augustine there was a vestige of moral practicality. He could aspire to go to Heaven. Whether God would elect him was another issue, but man could at least wish. But in Calvin, even the desire to go to Heaven was proof of moral corruption.

Immanuel Kant


Immanuel Kant

In the course of human history, John Calvin’s work becomes the defining expression of Christianity in the 16th century. And it is my contention that without his philosophical systems saturating the whole of European thought, Immanuel Kant would have remained a fussy little Puritan in Königsberg, Prussia. I will lay Kant’s success at Calvin’s feet.

Without Calvin’s specific brand of total depravity drilled into the minds of European thinkers I submit that intellectuals would not have been theologically predisposed to accepting Immanuel Kant’s premise. In a moment you will see why I say that.

In the 2014 TANC Conference I explained how man climbed out of the primordial ooze of Augustinian thought, through Aristotle to the likes of men such as John Locke. By the time we get to the 17th century philosophers are aware that they need a new start. They need to throw off Augustinian metaphysical and epistemological framework. They know that mysticism and dogmatism wreck everything is touches. Revelation does not work as an epistemological standard. Faith was merely government-enforced superstitions. Dogmatism was really despotism. Despotism lead to oppression and poverty.

This new method of understanding the world was called reason, thus the Age of Reason. The Enlightenment was the full cultural acceptance of the Aristotelian premise. The fundamentals of the Enlightenment were:

  • The world is rational
  • Man is rational
  • The universe is benevolent
  • Man can understand the world and master its secrets

Metaphysically this meant man was competent to understand his own world. This was revolutionary.   So then politically, men were born free and no longer predestined to servitude. Serfdom dies, slavery takes a mortal blow, man challenges the traditional bastions of power, and people start restraining religious tyrants and mystic despots.

I have already said this repeatedly. Liberty and freedom as you and I understand it is a philosophical achievement. It is not an accident. Which means you cannot couple liberty and freedom with the doctrines of the Dark Ages (read Augustine and Calvin). They are antithetical to one another.

By the 18th century the church, both Protestant and Catholic, knew that it was in great danger of being laughed out of existence. The church needed a “savior”, and his name wasn’t Jesus. His name was Immanuel Kant. Consider the following citation of Kant’s:

“I cannot even make the assumption – as the practical interests of morality require – of God, freedom, and immortality, if I do not deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight.

For to arrive at these, it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend only to the objects of possible experience, and which cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere without converting them into phenomena, and thus rendering the practical extension of pure reason impossible. I must therefore abolish knowledge to make room for belief.

~ Preface to Second Edition, Critique of Practical Reason , B XXX

Kant is rough reading, and he is so intentionally with the aim to make you loose confidence in your ability to understand. Let me attempt to translate this for you.

The practical interests of morality require the belief in God. But I cannot even make the assumption of God, freedom, and immortality if I do not deprive reason of it’s pretensions to transcendent insight (read omniscience).

For to arrive at God, freedom, and immortality, reason must make use of principles. Principles can only extend to the objects of possible experience. Reason cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere – to things in transcendent dimensions – without reducing the things of the transcendent into the realm of possible experience. Or said another way, reason deals with reality, not mystical worlds. Because reason is “limited” to reality, and by existence “pure” reason – reason attached to nothing, limited by nothing, is impossible.

To make it possible for men to once again have religion, I will abolish knowledge to make room for belief.

His whole point here is, because reason is attached to the material world it cannot possibly be omniscient, and because it can’t be omniscient it can’t know God, but without God we don’t have morality. Therefore Kant said it was his goal to destroy reason for the sake of religion. And he actually did a pretty good job.

Kant was a genius. In the world of philosophy, the comprehensive nature of what he did is probably only paralleled by Plato and Aristotle. So he is no lightweight. I am not qualified to discuss the full scope of Kant’s thought. I’m not even going to try. It would be very tedious and would take us weeks to get through. For the sake of this discussion I am only going to give you a summary of what he taught.

The real world is unknowable and reality doesn’t exit. Man makes up his own reality.

Huh? Who would believe that? Well, pretty much the whole Western world. Let me give that in more detail. Man cannot know what Kant calls the “nominal world”. The nominal world is the “real world”. Kant describes this realm as things in themselves, for a whole list of reasons that we won’t discuss. By contrast man does know what Kant calls the “phenomenal world”. Reason knows this world because he makes it up, and he knows this phenomenal world through a whole series of processes that is also beyond the scope of this discussion. His logic goes like this:

Because man has eyes he can’t see things in themselves. Because man has ears he can’t hear the nominal world. Because he has skin he can’t feel. Because he has a tongue he can’t taste. Because he has a mind he can’t know anything.

Kant’s progression of thought goes like this:

Metaphysics – The world is divided between the nominal and the phenomenal
→ Epistemology – Because man has no access to the nominal world, man has no true knowledge.

With this in mind, knowing how all of these ideas integrate, what do you suppose Kant’s ethics are? Here is Kant’s argument. Since man can’t know the nominal world, the “real world”, he most certainly can’t know his real self. So man’s phenomenal self has a moral duty to a set of moral commands. He calls the source of morality the categorical imperative, a non-mythical, non-earthly set of commands.

So here’s a question. If the commands don’t come from heaven and they don’t come from earth, where do they come from? They come from man’s perfectly nominal self, a self which he can’t know. Dizzying, right? Don’t worry about it, the only thing that matters is that man performs his duty to the categorical imperative.

How does man act on this categorical imperative? This is a challenge, because Kant thinks man’s will is handicapped. Kant has his own brand of bondage of the will. You theology aficionados should know that the bondage of the will is the doctrine central to Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.

“…for the will stands at the crossroads halfway between its a priori principle which is formal (nominal world) and its posteriori incentive which is material (phenomenal world)”

Basically what Kant is saying is your will stands nowhere. That’s his point. Your will is ineffective because it is in neither place.   His solution to the will being nowhere, on how it’s handicapped, is what he calls duty. Here’s how it goes. Because the will can’t really do anything because it doesn’t sit anywhere, man has to have a method by which he can take action, and he calls that duty.

“Thus the first proposition of morality is that to have genuine moral worth an action must be done from duty. The second proposition is an action done from duty does not have its moral worth in the purpose which is to be achieved through it but in the maxim whereby it is determined. Its moral value therefore does not depend on the realization of the object of the action but merely on the principle of the volition by which the action is done irrespective of the objects of the faculty of desire…

…The third principle as a consequence of the two preceding I would express as follows: duty is the moral necessity to do an action from respect for law.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

 That’s a very wordy way of saying that the only choice you have is to take action on this thing called duty. That action has no intrinsic moral worth. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. In fact the outcome is antithetical to its moral value.

Now remember what I told you John Calvin did. John Calvin separated morality from practicality. Immanuel Kant has just created the secular version of the exact same concept. Kant is saying that there is no relationship between morality and action. They are hostile to one another. But, O, it gets worse!

“…The submission of [man’s] will to a law without the intervention of another influence on [his] mind…is a far more worthy purpose of man’s existence…the supreme condition to which the private purposes of man must for the most part defer.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Man’s highest purpose is to be done in accordance with law because it is his duty to act and for no other reason. He doesn’t need a reason because reason is irrelevant to moral action. So now we have a problem. Man cannot know reality, the judgment of his mind is irrelevant, and man’s will to act is morally impotent. How then can man be sure he is taking moral action?

“It is a duty to preserve one’s life, and moreover everyone has a direct inclination to do so. But for that reason the often anxious care which most men take of it has no intrinsic worth, and the maxim of doing so has no moral import. They preserve their lives according to duty but not from duty. But if adversities and hopeless sorrow completely take away the relish for life, if an unfortunate man, strong in soul, is indignant rather than despondent or dejected over his fate and wishes for death, and yet preserves his life without loving it and from neither inclination nor fear but from duty, then his maxim has moral import.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Your moral value is only apparent if you are in pain. What Kant is really saying is man’s inclination to preserve his life has no moral value, but if a man who is faced with all manner of suffering decides it would be better to die and still chooses the duty to preserve his life, then that man has moral worth. The only way to know if man is doing a moral action is if acting out of duty creates pain.

Think about that for a minute.

Kant’s version of sacrifice then is absolute. He even outdid Calvin in this regard. Calvin said there is no moral action, period. Kant specifically says that moral action is only accomplished by suffering.

Duty = Morality = Soul-crushing PAIN

The result of such ethics is the politics of Sadism. That is the only thing available to you in your own existence. Notice that this places sacrifice as the highest philosophical principle. Human sacrifice is done for the sake of human sacrifice in pain.

By way of comparison, consider the following:

“That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened”

“He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.”

~ Martin Luther, The Heidelberg Disputation, Theses 19 and 20

It should be apparent that Kant’s philosophy is the secular version of the exact same body of doctrine that was being rejected out of hand by the intellectual world. Now the intellectuals in Europe and America suddenly have the ability to have the exact same sacrificial doctrine with a legitimate secular twist. We don’t have to claim it was God telling us it’s our job to sacrifice, we can now find an acceptable secular reason why people must sacrifice. And why must we sacrifice? Because our political powers require that they have authority and control over the masses.

Let’s evaluate. Life requires the pursuit of values, but duty requires that man receive no values to any action. Proof of moral action = PAIN. Therefore the ideal moral state is total moral dissipation; total non-value; a total state of self-imposed ongoing agony. Man’s desire must collide with his duty. Man must rebel against his desires. Man must feel pain in the conflict.

Kant’s philosophy is a perfect secular overlay of Calvin’s doctrine. Kant requires that you desire to live at the highest possible level of love and happiness and achievement but relish every wound that strikes those down. Kant is advocating a slow, leisurely, prolonged death by sado-masochism. Kant is advocating self-sacrifice as an end in itself.

Now most people don’t know this background to this next word – altruism. When most people think of altruism they think of generosity. This word altruism was coined by a man named August Compte to describe man’s proper relationship to other men. In Utopia, all men would sacrifice their interest to all other men. Here is the problem, when people hear “altruism,” they think of love, empathy, humanity, or generosity, but this is a profound error.

Altruism really means that man’s first a primary reason for existence is the benefit of other men. His first mortgage on his life is paid to every other person he sees. You don’t have the right to draw breath because somebody else draws breath. Notice that this is not kindness or generosity. It is not kindness or generosity to give $5 to a homeless man. Why? Because the homeless man is entitles to your $5. And for you to be truly moral, you must suffer when you give that $5. You don’t give it to him because it makes you feel good. You don’t give it to him because you’ll go to Heaven. You don’t give it to him for any other reason than you are going to suffer because you gave him the $5 he was entitled to.

It is not humane for a doctor to heal the sick. The sick have the right to his knowledge just because they exist and just because they are sick. And to be truly moral, the doctor should heal the other people while those he loves, the people he values, suffer.

It is not love for a man to dedicate himself to his wife. He must hold all men as equal value, and he must sacrifice his wife’s well-being if he gains pleasure from that well-being. The bottom line for most marriages is that it is my duty to love you even if I don’t love you.

So let’s cut to the chase. Under altruism, man is the property of all other men. Property is the right to exercise power; to dispose of, to keep, to the exclusion of other interests. So if you are the property of other men, then politically they are morally correct to use force against you to dispose of you however they see fit.

This is the secular version that sanctions the ability of people to “raise awareness” about some cause and then compel other people to do what they want them to do. If you moral obligation is sacrifice, and you are the property of other men, then you have no moral right to what you can do, make, be, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Your sole purpose and function in this lifetime is for the disposition of other people. And if some people refuse to sacrifice it is moral for men to kill the selfish people.

How can murder be moral? Under Kant it’s actually very simple. (Actually, this is true under both Calvin and Kant’s moral framework.) As long as the tyrant does not want to kill people, and he does so at no personal gain, and for the benefit of other people, it is moral to kill 7 million Jews. The moral standard basically says you can do any action as long as you don’t enjoy it, indeed if you suffer from it and you do it on behalf of other people it doesn’t matter what you do next.

Here is why this has become so important. Most men couldn’t express their ideas in terms of metaphysics and epistemology. They don’t know what that means, and they don’t care. Most people encounter a philosophical system at the point of ethics. Yet their ethics implies a pre-supposed metaphysical and epistemological framework. That is how they get sucked into the problem.

Most people encounter Calvinism at the moral point. They go to church and are told what is good and moral and what is evil. Eventually they realize that why things are good and bad are directly related to specific metaphysical and epistemological presumptions. Then they go to the pastors, and the pastors assume it is their right to compel them to any given action. It is all consistent through the entire progression.

That’s where we are in American history. And now you understand why I said before that man’s moral choice is either:

Sadism – sacrifice enforced at the hands of others

Masochism – self-inflicted sacrifice.

Here’s what Calvin and Kant really created. Morality is man’s executioner. There is an absolute breach between morality and action. Man can never ever ever ever hold a value. Man must sacrifice his values in the most painful means possible, which means that Kant closed the door on human value with ruthless precision. It is for this achievement that Kant is the true destroyer of humanity, and altruism is the evil that saturates American Christian churches.

…To be continued.

John Immel 2016 Session 3 Archive Video (YouTube) Audio Only (mp3)

Think and You Will Find; Stunning Reflections on TANC 2016

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 19, 2017

john immel

Originally published September 9, 2016

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.

Begin article:

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…

>snicker<

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 . . .

Ehem!

“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…“

Stop.

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.

Ready?

You sure?

Leave.

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

Yeah

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’.

john-letter

page-1

page-2p

page-3p

**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.

End Article.

“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?

paul

 

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 18, 2017

The following is part two of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s second session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


I left us with a cliffhanger – Augustine’s flaw in his doctrine.

I’m not going to tell you what that is in this session!

I know, I’m a mean speaker. But before we can get to Augustine’s flaw, I have to dig into this right here, as represented by the chart at the right. I discussed this at length last year at TANC 2015, and effectively I’ve been already talking about this in some fashion for the last five years. This is the order of hierarchy within philosophy.

Now when I say “philosophy,” I really want you to start thinking in terms of here is how man integrates his mind. The foundation is metaphysics. The next level up is epistemology; how man knows what he knows. Notice how epistemology is the largest area of study in the whole construct, because it deals with how man integrates his world. From that understanding we arrive at action in accord with “good.” This is ethics. And so the question we really need to ask is what is ethics? What is human moral action? Since we’re talking about sacrifice as the highest moral ideal, we need to get into this question – what is sacrifice?

Let me ask you this. When someone demands that you sacrifice for the “greater good”, or the local church, what exactly are they asking you to do? Perhaps some of you may answer:

  • Give money
  • Give what you have produced
  • Give of your time
  • Give of your efforts

Here is the real root of what they are asking – sacrifice is the destruction of something. What is being destroyed?

Something of value!

When they ask you to sacrifice to the local church they ask you to give money. That money really represents your personal heartbeats, your personal intellectual efforts, your personal physical efforts. Human production is distilled into money, and that becomes a medium of exchange. So when somebody says they want you to sacrifice, they are asking you to get rid of it on your own behalf, to destroy value.

So the next question is, what are values?

Values are that which one acts to gain or keep.

So let’s break this down. There are two conditions for the concept of values to be possible.   First of all, values presupposes a value-er; an entity or being to whom the object is of value. This means that value requires a certain kind of entity; a being capable of generating action toward a goal or an end. This is very important, particularly in light of what I talked about last year regarding determinism. In a determinist world there can be no such concept as value because a determined entity has to self-oriented/goal-oriented action.   A determined entity cannot have values.

Second of all, in order for the concept of values to be possible, values presupposes an alternative. This means that different outcomes are possible and that the entity’s actions make the difference. As an entity, whatever outcome I bring upon myself is directly related to my actions. A thing is outside the concept of values if action is irrelevant. If you are guaranteed to have or not to have something regardless of action toward or away from that thing, then it cannot be a value.

So the next logical question is what entities fulfill these requirements? The answer is, living organisms; the only beings capable of goal-directed action. Living organisms are confronted with a fundamental alternative.  A living organism must act in accord with its nature to sustain its life. A living organism is not a passive reactor to its environment. A living organism is driven by a singular goal; the perpetuation of its life. By contrast, inanimate matter does not. It exists regardless of its action; it takes no action. Material matter might change form, buts its existence is perpetual independent of any action.

So value implies alternative, and here is the fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence; life or death. This alternative can only apply to living beings. The existence of inanimate matter is un-conditional. The existence of living beings is conditional, specifically on their pursuit of values to sustain their life. Life requires a specific course of action because living organisms are constantly confronted with life or death.

Ponder that for a moment because this is crucial to what comes next.

A living entity must take action in accord with its nature to survive, therefore life is a certain kind of motion. Death by contrast is stillness. Death is the state where action stops. To achieve death, just stop moving; stop eating, drinking, anything. You’ll get death just as fast as you possibly can.

Next question: How do living beings sustain their life? They seek to acquire things that are valuable. Only entities that must act to acquire specific things to sustain their existence can be said to hold values. Water is valuable because it is a component of life. Air is valuable because it is a component of life. Food is valuable because it is a component of life. Living things seek things out because those things sustain life.

Life makes the concept Value possible

The progression goes like this:

                Life → Values → GOOD

  • That which furthers an organism’s life is the GOOD.
  • That which undermines life is the EVIL.

All living organisms act towards their goals. Most organisms take their actions based on instinct. Man by contrast is a being of volitional conceptual consciousness. Man has no built-in standard of values. He is not guided by instincts. He has no automatic code of survival. Indeed, he has no automatic sense of self-preservation. Babies would die almost immediately if not cared for. How much of parenting is dedicated just to keep kids from killing themselves? Man does not come out of the womb ready to engage the world in which he lives. He needs a very specific set of ideas to make that happen.

Also notice that man does not automatically value life as such. Probably one of the greatest examples of this is Islam. Islam is based on the predicate assumption that men will destroy themselves in the name of Allah. And you can find that same mindset applied to Calvin’s doctrine. How many people in churches are willing to destroy their own lives in service to these higher concepts? They don’t specifically value their lives as such.

It is crucial to understand that learning to love and value life as such, and human life in particular as well as your own life, is an achievement. It is a philosophical achievement that has a very specific set of ideas in place. So man must choose to value life in general, and to be successful he must value his life in particular. So for man to live he must identify the correct values and then choose to follow those values.

And so here is man’s root need for morality. Morality is the proper code of values to sustain human life. Man needs ethics to live. He needs to have way to put what he knows into action to know how to successfully live. This is a crucial development in human history. We have already addressed the fact that historically man has not understood this point. It took Western culture almost 1,700 years to even get within a hint of this concept.

Man requires that he chooses his values to live, which means he chooses between moral action and immoral action. Moral action is that which sustains and facilitates his life. Immoral action is that which is going to kill him. Now those actions have context and much more development behind them, but the point is to understand why man needs a moral code.

Man’s Life/Man’s Character

Life → Values → GOOD → Morality → Ethics → Character

Morality is the standard that facilitates life. Ethics is the moral code. And when a man persists in consistently taking value-driven actions, that is what shapes his character.

And with this in mind you can begin to understand why Augustine and Calvin’s doctrines are so fundamentally hostile to human existence. You can begin to grasp why I have said at every TANC session that Calvinism is the single-most disastrous body of doctrine ever perpetrated on man. The single abiding standard in Calvin’s doctrine is the death of human existence. Calvin’s repudiation of human value is absolute. This is why sacrifice, continued and on-going sacrifice, is so central to Calvin’s doctrine. Calvin hates man’s existence as such and has created a full philosophical statement to facilitate man’s destruction.

So now we can answer the question that I asked at the beginning; what is sacrifice? Sacrifice is the destruction of values. And this should be a big “Ah Hah!” moment:

  • To demand sacrifice is to demand non-existence
  • To demand sacrifice is to demand death

Having said all that, I close this segment with these two questions:

How is there any benevolence in sacrifice?
And how have human being been so duped into believing there is virtue in death?

…To be continued

John Immel 2016 Session 2 Archive Video (YouTube)  Audio Only (mp3)

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