Paul's Passing Thoughts

God’s Acknowledgment of “Self” and the Full Circle of the Ten Commandments.

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on November 12, 2017

Originally Published May 25, 2016

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” ~ Exodus 3:14

When Jehovah (I Am) identified Himself to Moses at the burning bush, He did more than just tell Moses His name. God made a philosophical statement about reality. God acknowledged His own existence, and in so doing He declared His intrinsic rights because of that existence. Furthermore, by acknowledging His own existence, God also recognized man’s existence. I believe this is at the heart of what the Bible means when it says that man was made in God’s image. We have a right to “self” because God has a right to “self”.   And for us to acknowledge our own right to “self” demands that we by extension must acknowledge others’ right to “self”, just as God acknowledges ours.

Do not misunderstand what I mean by “right to self”. I do not mean “self-ishness”, which the Bible clearly decries. “Selfishness” means to love oneself MORE than another. On the other hand, the Bible never teaches us to love others more than ourselves. Said another way, the Bible doesn’t teach that we should love ourselves LESS than others. It says we are to love others AS MUCH AS we love ourselves. Herein is the way in which we acknowledge another’s right to “self”, we treat others as WE would want to be treated. We see our own value as an individual and in so doing recognize that others have that same value. That value includes one’s right to existence and the means necessary to sustain that existence. The United States’ Declaration of Independence embodied that idea in this way:

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”

“That all men are created equal” is to recognize that all men have the same basic right to “self” and to existence, and that equality of individualism is preserved in the rights to seek those things which would secure that existence. No one ever has the right to violate another’s right to “self”, EVEN GOD!

In a conversation with a close friend the other day, I posed the question, “why is stealing wrong?” My friend replied that stealing is wrong because God said so; it’s in the Ten Commandments. Stealing is wrong because God said, “Thou shalt not steal.” I then followed up with the next question, “Why did God say stealing is wrong?” For this my friend had no answer. All he could say was, “I don’t know, I never thought about it before.”

You see for my friend, as it is with most people (particularly Christians), that God “said it” was enough for him. It was nothing more than an appeal to authority. An authority says this or that, so we must do it or not do it. This is the same reasoning that led to the slaughter of 6 million Jews while millions of others gave their tacit approval. People’s behaviors are the product of their assumptions, to paraphrase John Immel. No matter how irrational the behavior may seem, if you find the assumption you will find the reason for the action.

So why DID God say that stealing is wrong? It is a simple question, and once challenged to think, my friend finally did ask it of me. Stealing is wrong because it is a violation of “self”, of the individual. Our possessions are the products of our labors which are an investment of ourselves. Your labor is an exchange of value. You enter into that exchange with an employer who trades you wages for your investment of yourself. Those wages then in turn are exchanged for those things that are necessary to further your existence – food, clothing, shelter, etc. – and if there is any surplus, luxuries – car, mobile phone, flat screen TV, etc. So in reality, everything you produce – labor, wages, food, clothing, car, TV, etc. – is a product of you as an individual. For someone to steal those things from you is to violate “you” (self) because those things represent what the individual produced as a function of “self”. You have a right to them because you produced them because you have a right to “self”.

Contrary to what people/Christians are taught, the Bible is not a theological book. It is a philosophical book. And the Ten Commandments in particular are not simply an authoritative codification of do’s and don’ts. It is a philosophical statement from God to man about the value of the individual. It is a statement about how God values Himself, and it is a statement about how God values man. Conversely it is a statement of how man is to value God and how man is to value man. God’s very first statement to man is an appeal to God’s own sense of “self” and value. God as an individual. “I am God. I exist. I have value.” Therefore, the way we show God that we value Him is to have no other gods before Him! We do not make vain attempts to conceptualize God’s sense of “self” by making an image to represent that. We do not mock God’s name because His name is intrinsically tied to who He is. To violate God’s name is to violate who He is.

Man, too, has value as “self”. Therefore, we honor our parents, we don’t murder, we don’t commit adultery, we don’t steal, we don’t lie, and we don’t covet, not because God said so, but because we acknowledge that this would violate another person’s right to “self”. This is the basis for morality. It can be said then that the definition of morality is anything that does not violate God or man as “self”.

God’s command to not covet seems all-encompassing. The last commandment perfectly reduces everything down to the root motivation for all violations of “self”. And that is self-ISHNESS. A desire to usurp for oneself that which rightfully belongs to another. And as we have said before, that is a desire caused by Sin. The Bible describes Sin as an entity that seeks to control others. It seeks to master and enslave. It seeks to violate another for it’s own benefit, to wield control over another.

The New Testament offers another perspective on covetousness.

“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” ~ Ephesians 5:5

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” ~ Colossians 3:5

The apostle Paul had a unique insight among the other apostles in that he was a certified expert on Jewish law. This perspective gave him an ability to draw parallels between Old Testament and New Testament concepts that the others did not. Peter even declared that many of the things which Paul taught were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16).   In these two passages in particular, Paul sees covetousness as being nothing more than idolatry. I’m not exactly sure how he gets there since he doesn’t elaborate on it.

Still, it is an interesting piece to the puzzle. Consider that one of the Ten Commandments speaks to idolatry. When one thinks of graven images, one usually thinks of idolatry. But Paul seems to suggest that idolatry involves more than just “idol worship”. It is a violation of God as “self”. Covetousness is a violation of man as “self”. What Paul has done here is to show the intrinsic relationship between the two. To violate man is to violate God, and to violate God is to violate man. Do not misunderstand, I am in no way suggesting that man IS God. But I do want to point out that there is a mutual recognition between God and man with respect to existence.

So to violate the tenth commandment is to violate the first, and thus we have come full circle. The Ten Commandments then are not statutes in and of themselves. It is not a means for God to show us “filthy rotten sinners” just how “holy He is” and how “sinful we are.”  It is a full-orbed treatise on morality and existence. It is not a law for authority’s sake. It is God instructing us on reality. What we see in the Bible is that LOVE is the motivating factor in all of this. To love someone is to ascribe value to them. Perhaps this is the relationship between idolatry and covetousness. To idolize something is to objectify it, to assign value based on its desirableness to oneself instead of an individual’s intrinsic value as another individual.

Whatever the case may be, when we show love to God and others, we have thus fulfilled the whole law because in this way we demonstrate a like view of both man and God, and we see reality the way God sees it.

Andy

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Consensus of the Majority Is Not Truth

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on October 4, 2017

“The inferior reasoning of crowds is based, just as is the reasoning of a high order, on the association of ideas, but between the ideas associated by crowds there are only apparent bonds of analogy or succession. The mode of reasoning of crowds resembles that of the Esquimaux who, knowing from experience that ice, a transparent body, melts in the mouth, concludes that glass, also a transparent body, should also melt in the mouth…The characteristics of the reasoning of crowds are the association of dissimilar things possessing a merely APPARENT connection between each other, and the IMMEDIATE GENERALIZATION of particular cases.  It is arguments of this kind that are always presented to crowds by those who know how to manage them. They are the only arguments by which crowds are to be influenced. A chain of logical argumentation is totally incomprehensible to crowds…”
~ Gustav LeBon, The Crowd (1895)

In other words, the Philosopher Kings recognize the irrational logic of the group and exploit it to their advantage.

Appeal to authority vs. reason.

This would make for an excellent discussion on how this phenomenon manifests itself in the institutional church.  Please share your comments below.

Andy

A Response to Calvary Bible Church, Columbus, Ohio

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 6, 2017

What follows is my response to a letter I received on September 1, 2017.  The original letter can be found here.  The subject matter pertains to a Reformation history class being offered this fall by Mr. Saxton.  My response is going out in the mail today.  I present it here for your consideration.

~ Andy
(related article: “Home Fellowship Distinctives Will Continue to Develop“)


David Saxton “Pastor of Discipleship and Counseling” These guys are big on titles, aren’t they?

David Saxton
Calvary Bible Church
3865 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214

Mr. Saxton:

Thank you for your timely correspondence dated August 28, 2017, inquiring as to the health and welfare of my family and myself. After all, it has been since June 26, 2011 since last we darkened the doorstep as official “members” of Calvary Bible Church, which to my count is approximately 6 years and 2 months. So glad you finally found the time in your busy schedule. Quite frankly, the letter you sent me last week was possibly the most entertaining thing I had to read that day.

I had also previously received your voicemail message when you called a few days prior to my receipt of your letter. I simply chose not to respond to it. Had you been wise and discerning you would have taken that as a cue and left well enough alone. Instead, you unwisely chose to exercise your over-inflated sense of self-appointed “authority” which you perceive you have over me and composed the afore-mentioned letter.

Since you have chosen to reach out to me in this manner, I believe I am well within my right to offer a rebuttal to the salient points in your letter.

For starters, I never had, nor will I ever have, any desire to attend any “class” taught by you or any pastor/elder/bishop/apostle/shepherd-leader/pope (or whatever self-appointed “authoritative” title you choose for yourselves) of Calvary Bible Church regardless of the subject matter. The class on the Reformation appeared in the news feed of a mutual Facebook friend, and it piqued my own personal curiosity about all things having to do with the Reformation. Thinking that it would provide me with more details on the contents of the class, I entered my email address. I had no intention whatsoever of ever registering.

You stated in your letter the following:

“I am sorry to inform you, but I am unable to register you for the Reformation Institute class at this time. This is because of your unwillingness to follow the spiritual leadership of Calvary Bible Church and to submit to their biblical rebuke of your divisive behavior among the saints. (Hebrews 13:17; and Ephesians 4:1-6)”

Well, take heart, Mr. Saxton. No need to feel sorry, as I already mentioned I had no intention of registering in the first place. However, your expression of regret is disingenuous at best. I highly doubt that you are sorry in the least. More than likely you were giddy with delight at the prospect of invoking your power of exclusion. For what it’s worth, had I even had serious consideration in registering for this class, your response is exactly as I would have predicted it would be.

From your statement above it would seem apparent to any casual reader that the acceptance of one’s registration for said class is predicated on agreement with the leadership of CBC. But I am curious; if you are charging $50 to attend this class, would this not simply be a mutual exchange of value? After all, $50 is $50, regardless if the parties share the same philosophical ideologies or not. I’m sure that if a stranger came into CBC on a given Sunday morning and put $50 in the offering plate you would accept it readily. I’m sure it would go right into the building fund for the new elementary school building at Northside Christian School. I seriously doubt that you would first give this person the third degree about his doctrinal position and then refuse his $50 if he were found in disagreement.

You speak of a “divisive behavior”. Know this, that the division begins and ends with you and the leadership of CBC. Refusing to let someone attend a class on Reformation history because he does not agree with you is the very definition of divisiveness. If you truly believed that your ideas are so correct, that you have the best argument for why you believe what you believe, then those ideas should be able to withstand scrutiny.

Why do you fear having your ideas challenged?

Answer: Because none of your arguments are based on reason.

You stated in your very own course syllabus in section 3 entitled “Reformation Church History Class Format”, letter “c”, that there will be “Open lectures – I encourage your input, comments, and questions,” but this is an outright lie. It would have been better for you to be honest and say that you encourage discussion that only agrees with you. In truth, you fear rational discussion because it represents a direct threat to your self-proclaimed “authority” any time someone disagrees with you. And rather than refute the argument, you resort to attacking your challenger, attempting to marginalize him by using terms such as “proud”, “arrogant”, and “divisive”.

I say “self-proclaimed” authority because that is exactly what it is. Jesus stated in Matthew 28:28 that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This was one of the last things Jesus stated before He ascended into heaven. Nowhere did He outsource that authority to anyone else. We are to follow another’s example only as that person follows Christ, NOT because he has some notion of “authority” over us.

In citing Hebrews 13:17 you have made an egregious interpretive assumption. The word that is translated “obey” is the Greek word πειθω (peitho), and it means to be persuaded through reason. Had the writer of Hebrews meant to say “obey” one would think he would have used the word υπακουω (hupakuo) which speaks of following the instructions of one in authority, such as when the disciples marveled that even the wind and seas obeyed (hupakuo) Jesus.

That you make such an error as this should come as no surprise, for “authority”, particularly the authority in institutional religious establishments, speaks to power and control through coercion and force. For where there is authority, reason is not necessary. When the apostle Paul journeyed from city to city and from synagogue to synagogue he did not preach, “I am right, and you must obey me because I have authority from God.” Time after time the Bible says that Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures. His scriptural arguments were valid only insofar as they were reasonable, meaning, they flowed from a rational premise to a logical conclusion.

Not everyone took Paul’s arguments at face value. Many took it upon themselves to search out the scriptures for themselves to verify that Paul’s arguments were valid. In fact, such people were called “noble” for doing so. They weren’t labeled “arrogant”, “proud”, or “unsubmissive.”

I am still trying to wrap my head around your citation of Ephesians 4:1-6. Perhaps you could have provided some context. Perhaps it has something to do with your flawed concept of “unity”. Make no mistake; your concept of “unity” is defined as being in agreement with the leadership of CBC. Period. It is disingenuous at best for you to try to suggest anything otherwise. Regardless of what you say or what you preach from the pulpit on any given Sunday, your actions betray you. The letter you sent me last week is evidence enough. If there is one thing I have learned over the past 6 years, it is that all actions are driven by assumptions (a beginning premise or set of premises).

I will say this without apology or equivocation: Protestantism is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind since the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Protestantism is even a worse fraud than Catholicism because at least Catholics know what they believe and are honest about it. What makes Protestantism truly evil in its deception is the fact that so many Protestants are ignorant about what they believe and what the Reformation was truly about.

Despite all the pontificating about the evils of the selling of indulgences and the perceived over-reaching of the authority of the Pope (there is no end to the irony in that statement), the Reformation was about one thing and one thing only; a desire to return the Roman Catholic Church to the authentic Augustinian orthodoxy from which it had drifted as a result of St. Thomas Aquinas and his rediscovery of Aristotalian philosophy.

There is no other argument. You can sit there and preach to me about submitting to authority, but it only betrays your own duplicity, for if you were indeed truly serious about submitting to authority, you would this very instant crawl on your hands and knees to Pope Francis himself and repent and plead for forgiveness for not submitting to his authority. You cannot have it both ways. The same claim that the Roman Catholic Church uses for authority is the very same one you seek to use. So why do you not submit to Rome? What makes you think that your own personal monopoly on truth is “orthodox”?

Protestantism is a fraud because it plays upon the presumption of the unsuspecting laity by allowing them to assume the normative definition of words while gradually indoctrinating them to a redefinition of terms. Probably the best example of this is the definition of “justification by faith alone.” One is allowed to assume that “faith alone” pertains to one’s justification only, but this is not the case. Reformation Protestantism takes “faith alone” to pertain to sanctification as well.

Luther and Calvin were both clear about this; that one perseveres in salvation by continually returning to the same gospel that saved them in the first place, and this too is accomplished by “faith alone”. This is the assumption behind such catch-phrases as “preach the gospel to yourself every day,” and “the same gospel that saves you sanctifies you.” Incidentally, these were phrases I heard with regularity at CBC once Eric Sipe became pastor.

Such orthodoxy makes Protestantism no different from Catholicism. Both believe in a justification that is progressive. Both believe that salvation must be maintained throughout the life of the believer. The only difference is the means whereby such maintenance is accomplished. Catholics believe salvation is maintained through the sacraments. Protestants believe salvation is maintained by “faith alone.”

Protestantism is a fraud because its orthodoxy results in only one final judgment that determines the truly “elect” from the “non-elect.” In this case, only those who have persevered to the end by “faith alone” will find themselves “covered in Jesus’ righteousness” and thereby spared the wrath of God. This is erroneous on many levels.

First of all, believers will stand before no such judgment. The only judgment for believers will be for rewards at the Bema, NOT to determine salvation. It is only after the second resurrection that unbelievers only will find themselves before the Great White Throne and judged according to their works and subsequently cast into the Lake of Fire.

Secondly, believers are not “covered” in the righteousness of Christ. Salvation is not a “covering” of sin. It is an ending of sin. Believers need no covering because they are truly righteous as a state of being. Their righteousness is a product of the New Birth, not by some vicarious imputation of the righteousness of Jesus to them.

This brings me to the third reason, and it is yet one more evidence of why Protestantism is a fraud; its misunderstanding of the Law. This is Protestantism’s Achilles Heel. Protestantism believes in a righteousness that is the product of perfect law-keeping, or as they like to say, “the righteous demands of the Law.” According to Protestant orthodoxy, since no man can keep the Law perfectly, Jesus must keep it for us, so that his perfect righteousness can be imputed to our account. So long as one is living by “faith alone” and not depending on any of his own works, Jesus’ righteousness is continually applied to them. But there is one HUGE problem with this.

Righteousness is APART FROM the Law!

It does not matter if Jesus has to keep the Law for us, because if that is true, then that is making Law the standard for righteousness in direct contradiction to Romans 3:21 and 3:28 which plainly state that righteousness is apart from the Law. Protestants are keen on saying that justification is a “forensic” or legal declaration of righteousness. How can it be a legal declaration if righteousness is apart from the Law?

This is compounding error with error.

The standard for righteousness is the New Birth! The one who believes in Jesus Christ and accepts God’s free gift of eternal life has passed from death unto life. The old man dies, and in his place is reborn a new creature who is the literal offspring of the Father. Jesus is righteous, not because He kept the Law perfectly, but because He is the Son of God. The one who is born again is righteous because he is God’s child and has God’s righteousness; he is truly righteous as a state of being just as Christ is righteous.

This is why the apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:9,

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

The Bible speaks of two kinds of people; those who are “under law” and those who are “under grace.” To be “under law” means to be under the jurisdiction of the law and therefore subject to condemnation. Therefore, to “commit sin” has to do with being under condemnation. But because the believer is born again, he is no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1), therefore he cannot sin. Since there is no law to condemn him (he is not under law) he cannot sin. Where there is no law there is no sin.

What should be abundantly clear in scripture is that the Law was never intended to be a means of righteousness, yet Protestantism seeks to make that same Law the standard for righteousness. For the one who is under law, the Law can only condemn. But for the born again believer, the Law is a means to show love to God and others. The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. Jesus said that if you love Him, then keep His commandments. The Apostle Paul wrote that love is the fulfilling of the Law. All the Law is fulfilled in one statement; “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Born again believers do not sin because they are not under law and cannot be condemned. At worst, for the believer any failure to keep the Law is nothing more than a failure to show love, but it does not condemn!

Yet Protestantism’s misunderstanding of the Law seeks to circumvent love. Protestantism says any good works you do is an attempt to merit righteousness. Protestantism says if you try to keep the Law you are not living by “faith alone.” Protestantism takes away the very means that God made for man to show love to Him and others and makes it nothing more than a subjective experience. The result is a constant introspection where the would-be believer finds himself in a constant state of wondering whether or not he is living enough by “faith alone” at any given moment. Rather than aggressively trying to show love to God and others, his life is characterized by fear!

Is it any wonder then that so many “Christians” (especially teens) lack assurance of salvation?

Is it any wonder then why so many churches are perceived as cold and loveless?

Like I stated before, assumptions drive behavior. The assumption is that any attempt by the believer to obey the Law will result in condemnation. The only thing that condemnation produces is fear, the exact opposite of love.

This is the very thing of which Jesus accused the Pharisees and other religious leaders of His day. The popular belief is that the Pharisees were “legalists”. On the contrary, they too believed that perfect law-keeping was necessary for righteousness, but such a perfect law-keeping was only attained by adherence to some form of orthodoxy or “traditions.”

In this way, Protestantism is no different from Pharisee-ism; it is a righteousness by perfect law-keeping or a law-keeping attained through orthodoxy. It is a misunderstanding of the Law that results in the true purpose of the Law being supplanted. This is the true definition of “anti-nomianism”, or the Greek word ανομια (anomia – no law, lawlessness).   Jesus said that because of “anomia”, the love of many would wax cold. Well of course it would. When you tell people they shouldn’t try to keep the Law you take away the only means they have of showing love.

This is the fraud into which you have bought wholesale. As one who claims that he is a preacher of the Word of God, this is the grand lie that you are perpetrating on your unsuspecting pew-sitters. The Bible has much to say about such perpetrators of such evil, for that is exactly what Protestantism is; it is an evil assumption, and its outcome is always the same. It is an ideology that has always produced a culture of death and destruction. Those who peddle it are called ravenous wolves who have no regard for the sheep; those who serve their own belly by deceiving the unlearned with good words and fair speeches; clouds without water carried about by the wind; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. I dare say that you just might find yourself numbered among those who will have the audacity to cry, “Lord, Lord”, only to hear Jesus say to you, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work anomia!”

In your letter you spoke of a desire on your part to seek reconciliation; reconciliation in this case meaning submitting to your authority. Well, that’s not going to happen. You have no authority over me or anyone else for that matter. You have no God-given right to rule. You have no special dispensation of enlightenment that entitles you to such a position. It is not your “gift” to bring light to the great unwashed masses among your congregation. All you have is a laundry list of useless academic credentials; a certificate hanging on a wall in your office; a certificate which you purchased with a great sum but that has no real meaning in the grand scheme of things.

It is unfortunate for you that your whole identity and reason for existence is dependent upon people submitting to you, because should the members and adherents at CBC ever come to the realization that the leadership has no control over their salvation, they will walk away in a heartbeat, and there goes your way of life. You are not even qualified to utter the phrase, “Would you like fries with that?”

You want to be reconciled to me? I quite honestly can’t think of any reason why I would want that. You are part of a system, an institution, a philosophical ideology that perpetrates evil against man and preaches a false gospel. Why would I ever want to be reconciled with that? Perhaps if you were genuinely repentant about your own behavior towards me and sought my forgiveness I might be inclined to give it. But I’m not holding my breath.

Sincerely,

Andrew Young
Born Again Child of God

The Assumption of Church Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 15, 2017

Originally published August 15, 2016

The word “assumption” can have at least two meanings. It can mean to take on or take over for oneself as a responsibility. It can also refer to a starting point of an argument; a premise from which a logical conclusion is drawn. In the case of “church authority”, both definitions are applicable.

Protestants must be aware of the assumption, the beginning premise, held by the “church leadership”, the logical conclusions of which produce the resulting behavior observed by so many who come to this ministry seeking answers. Those in so-called “church leadership” have an assumption (self-appointed) of authority based on a faulty assumption (premise).

As a result there are some questions that must be asked:

  1. Is it reasonable to assume that elders and pastors, being fallible men (because after all doesn’t “total depravity” apply to them as well?), could ever possibly be in error regarding doctrine and Biblical interpretation?
  2. If the answer is yes, then what mechanism is there in place, either from Scripture itself or a “church’s” own documented governing principles, to be able to determine if the leadership is in error, thereby making their claim to authority void?
  3. Maybe the same question only stated another way, if a discerning church member were honestly persuaded by his own personal study and illumination of the Holy Spirit that a pastor or elder was in error and promoting false doctrine, and the elder/pastor refuses to hear him, what recourse does that church member have (aside from leaving the church)? (The assumption here being that the member loves his church so much that he is concerned for the spiritual well-being of the church in general and the pastor, elders, and the rest of the laity in particular).
  4. If, on the off chance that an elder or pastor ever conceded the fact that the possibility exists that he himself could be in error concerning doctrine or Biblical interpretation, how would he know that? How would an elder or pastor know if he was wrong? (Of course that begs the question, would he ever admit to it?)

degreeThe answers to these questions should be obvious because this is the assumption: the leadership is assumed to never be wrong because they are the authority! The basis for their self-appointed authority is rooted in the simple notion that they know something that you and I don’t know – the knowledge that man cannot know real truth.  If you ever make the “mistake” of presuming that you know something, that only reinforces the reality of your own depravity and disqualifies you from taking action for good.  It is what testifies to your need for their authority to compel you to good action (“good” as defined by them of course).  Their basis for authority IS authority.

This of course is a logical fallacy. Nevertheless, an elder or pastor will ALWAYS defer to some other authority. His answers regarding doctrine and interpretation are never going to be based on sound reason from his own personal study. He will always make an appeal to the authority that instructed him (i.e. seminary, et al).

The only real difference between you or me and the elder/pastor is the amount of money spent on certification training. The man standing behind the pulpit paid good money for nothing more than a piece of paper that tells him that he knows that man cannot know.  But the Bible clearly states that all authority rests with Christ. The elder/pastor gets his authority from a framed document hanging on a wall in his office.

Whenever the basis for truth is an appeal to authority, there is no need for persuasion or reasoned debate. Only force and coercion.

~ Andy

The History of Western Philosophy and Its Societal Impact on the Church – Part 8

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 15, 2017

The following is the final part of an eight-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s third session
at the 2013 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six
Click here for part seven

john immelThe Concept of the “Common Good”

The “common good” is a collectivist myth designed to achieve the outcome of subordinating the individual to the majority. The collective well-being is the supreme measure of ethics. The phrase implies that if the individual acts for the “good” of the group, the individual is taking moral action. Notice the equation; action for the group = morality. However, there are three primary problems with the concept of the “common good”

1. It is deception.
By definition, “common” is a synonym for a generalization, and by definition a generalization does not have a specific definition. So when a person speaks of the “common good”, they are appointing themselves the spokesman for some loosely defined group. In conversation, the “common good” is used to refer to the good of the public or the community or society or the tribe. However, each of these words is merely a poor label for the intangible sum of individual interaction. The point is, such “groups” do not really exist.

  • “The public”: an adjective describing individual conduct exposed to general view.
  • “The community”: little more that the interaction of individual people in close proximity.
  • “Society”: The aggregate actions of many “sub-groups” within a geographic location.
  • “The Tribe”: A “group” based on genetic similarities. A religious denomination is merely a tribal preoccupation shifted from genetic pedigree to doctrinal pedigree.

So the thing that is “common” is not really common at all. There is no “thing” that is the direct recipient of good, because there is no specific object to receive the “good”. The work you do doesn’t benefit the good of the group, it benefits the good of individuals within the group.

The purpose of the deception is to conceal the root presumption that the collective stands supreme to its individual members, for the “common good” is really the good of the group at the expense of the individual members. Or said another way, the individual is a sacrificial animal to the will of the collective. Any individual who is perceived as a threat to the survival of the group must be sacrificed.

Every time I hear somebody talk about altruism and the “common good”, the conceit in this means that if my life is to be sacrificed to you, the necessary presumption is that your life in turn should be sacrificed to me. I own your life by default, and you think that’s morality? You think that’s just and good? So we’re reduced to moral cannibalism?

2. It poses as morality
The “common good” is really a moral subterfuge because it is an indefinable, elastic concept that can be shaped to apply to any outcome for any political whim. Since the group is elastic based on momentary standards of inclusion, the definition of “good” constantly changes. There is really no constant “yardstick” of measurement but rather a thick syrup that clouds the eyes and ears of its victims and makes them abandon morality rather than cling to it.

The “common good” inspires people to lay down values in service to a select few who claim to be spokesmen for the majority. We see this in political conversation all the time. The outcome is that the spokesmen have a moral blank check that every individual is obligated to cash.

You wonder why you hear stories of molestation coming out of church groups and Christian universities and missionary organizations, where the leadership and authority specifically tried to conceal the crimes against the children and members and students. This is the moral blank check that parents are supposed to cash in behalf of the child who was molested. This is EVIL, fundamental evil!

3. It masquerades as good.
If taken literally, the error within the expression “common good” itself becomes glaringly obvious. When people advocate for the “common good”, they think they are saying the “good” of all individuals admitted to the group. Or maybe if they paused to consider more deeply, they are saying the “good” of the majority. This doesn’t yet sound too scandalous because “good” is what is done numerically for the greatest amount of individuals. People do a loose moral calculus and decide that the greater the sum, the more moral the action.

But here is the result of that rationale: moral action is quantifiable by statistical outcome. If morality is nothing more than statistics then it is a trivial exercise to justify the Holocost. Stalin created a famine and killed 7 million people, but by the standard of the “common good” his actions are “moral” because the mathematical formula benefits 100 million faithful communists. The “common good” is used to justify taking enormous sums of money from individuals in order to pay for other people’s medical care, or whatever your favorite government program happens to be.

 

Having identified the three problems with the notion of “common” good, let us examine how this is all used at the root of tyranny.

We now know that the “common good” does not exist because the concepts of group do not exist, and they are never the recipient of any action. Only individuals receive good. Only individuals receive value. It is a false morality designed to subordinate all people to the collective, but who defines the collective?

At the root of all collectivist organizations there is usually only one person holding the yardstick of group inclusion. This person surrounds himself with a gang to defend against any interloper. He is the voice of the people, the voice of community, the voice of society, the voice of the tribe, the voice of the church.

big_brother_1984What people fail to grasp is the “good” of the people is really subterfuge to justify the violation of individual rights. The function of this expression is designed to violate individual rights, and when you violate individual rights you are really abolishing all rights. Groups do not have rights. When you tell me I must subordinate my rights to the group, the group does not gain them by proxy. They have been forfeited.

If there is no such thing as “rights”, the thug, surrounded by his gang, is free to use force (government) to achieve whatever outcome they fancy.The collectivist thug is at once empowered to force people to conform to the collective and shielded against all outcomes. It doesn’t matter what happens next.

This is why you have the brutal absurdity of Soviet Russia. The USSR was built in service to the “common good”, yet the only people who prospered were the tiny gang who surrounded the bloodiest despot in history, Joseph Stalin. The rest of the population lived in sub-human misery for almost three generations.

This is why you have the mystical tyranny of the medieval Catholic church. The Catholic church portrayed itself as the greatest proponent of human good on the planet, yet from effectively 600AD to almost 1500 AD the church leadership lived a comparatively lavish lifestyle, and the serfs existed generation after generation in squalor.

In the modern age, think of any social program that is said and done for “the people,” for “the society,” for “the community”. Now define exactly what the program does; give money for college, pay for medicine, feed the hungry. If you look at the actual event, only a select number of individuals actually receive the benefit, and all of the authority (force) is invested in a bureaucrat whose sole function is to weed out those who never receive the “good”.

Some of you are squirming because I have placed “community” in the same pot of condemnation. You long for community. You conceptualize your local church as a community. You think this is a social ideal. You think that the community does good. And you like the fact that you vicariously participate in the moral reputation, the prestige, of the group. You want the prestige plus you long for an inter-personal connection, and you yearn to find friends and have “relationships.” You pine for an indescribable thing that is a cross between a Norman Rockwell painting and the television sitcom, “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name. For the life of you, you struggle to see how this is the same seedbed of evil that I have been talking about.

Unfortunately, I am about to tell you that Santa Clause does not exist.

Look closely at the real social dynamic of your community. The connectedness, the relationships that you seek is really the exchange of individual value on an inter-personal level. You long to live in Mayberry R.F.D., filled with “Aunt Beas” baking apple pies waiting on the porch, never once realizing that the safety and security and fraternity that you want cannot happen if the highest moral standard is sacrifice of personal desires and personal values for the “common good.”

The price of admission to the community is the very self that you must surrender for public consumption. Think about that. To participate in community means that you must get rid of the very thing that makes you unique. This is why most communities (read “churches”) are petty, and gossipy, and back-stabbing, and cliquey. Everyone in the community is constantly vying for some piece of the “common good.” In the end, you realize that the mindless hoards sitting in the pews are there to graze over you like a buffet table.

Now let’s back up to the 10,000-foot view. Now you can see why metaphysics and epistemology are so important. Now you can see how everything revolves around a specific body of ideas that begins with Thales and evolves all the way down to the Cynics and the Stoics, formalized and systematized by Plato, and eventually shape Augustine, Calvin, and Luther. Inasmuch as you continue to accept their premises, you will continue to achieve the same outcome.

If you think the Neo Calvinists are ugly now, you wait and see what happens when you give them just an ounce of civil authority. There will be bloodshed. I know you think that’s scandalous, I get that. It may not even be the guys in the pulpits right this minute. But if you let this construct get hold of civil government, if you have the marriage of faith and force, they will make John Calvin look like a choir boy and Geneva look like a day at the beach. Make no mistake, at the root of this doctrine lie death and destruction.

When you separate man from his mind and his mind from reality, the only thing he has left to deal with another man is a club. The moment we have a club in our hands we are no longer offering an argument. And these guys don’t offer arguments. They have to bail on the conversation every single time they are pressed on the points of their doctrine. They must punt into the grand “mystery” of God. They don’t have a choice.

Once they are finally confronted with the dead end of their logic, all they can do next is attack and posture and threaten. Inasmuch as you fear that retaliation and extortion, you will willingly shut your mouth. This is why you see such enormous fear coming out of the pews. The discernment blogs and survivor blogs start discussing how they were treated. Everybody online is anonymous, not because they are trying to be deceitful, but because they are terrified!

They have accepted the premise.

What made me specifically so dangerous to them is that I rejected the premise. And that will make you dangerous. When you reject the premise, they will become terrified of you. They do not have the power, and if they ever get close to civil government, resist them with all of your might!

All collectivist cultures are tyrannies.

The philosophy of collectivism claims that there is a mystical, supernatural, social organism that embodies the highest moral values. Of course, only a few elite people with special insight can fully grasp this truth. Somehow they have access to special source knowledge that transcends the average man’s mind. Average men are incompetent, helpless, mindless creatures, depraved and unworthy of social interactions. So they must be purified to serve the collective organism.

Men cannot deal with other men voluntarily because they have no peaceful means to settle disputes. They have no means to act as contractual beings because they are metaphysically incapable of doing good. Human salvation always boils down to an elite clique endowed with some mystical insight, and that insight qualifies them to rule men. They are dictators of an omnipotent, benevolent state, doing what is best for the “common good.”

All collectivist ideologies hold the same political assumption. All collectivist doctrines seek the exact same end – subjugation of the individual. Man must be chained to the collective. Man is property of the state. Statism is always implemented by force.

The measure of social slavery is directly proportional to how much the slogan of “common good” is embraced. Conversely, the measure of civil liberty is directly proportional to how much the same slogan is overtly rejected. Our Founding Fathers rejected this notion of “common good”. They recognized that the legitimate role of government was specifically to defend the individual and his life, his liberty, and his pursuit of happiness. These are notions contrary to “common good.”

It is an easy slogan to reject because there is no such thing as a generalized good, because only individuals receive values. As soon as you realize it is a hoax it becomes a matter of course to refuse to pay homage to the fraud. Good is not being done. The reality is that people are enslaved to the fancies of others. No man has a moral obligation to subjugation to another man.

 

The Longing for Revival

We erroneously believe that a return to God will naturally be a return to morality. A return to morality is really a return to a belief in divine extortion. When morality is the product of divine command, the fight becomes about which divine we follow. What the Platonist/Augustian/Calvinsit version of Christianity has shown is that it has nothing to offer as a counter to militant ideologies.

Their first test was Islam. The eastern church showed itself impotent to stop the ideological tide of Islam. Christianity had so gutted the intellectual rigor of intellectual thought, that when confronted with a totally irrational ideology based on war, it could offer no counter.

Of course, Protestants like to push these things off as “those dastardly Catholics.” But Protestants have not fared any better. The Southern Presbyterian Church was in the forefront of slavery within the United States. Of course, Presbyterianism has a direct pedigree line with ties to the reformed tradition.

The reformed tradition’s next test would be National Socialist Germany. It failed miserably. Lutheran churches, with almost no exception, joined “the party” and remained committed to National Socialism until the collapse of the Third Reich.

Christianity has shown itself impotent to offer any intellectual defense against Marxism, National Socialism, and Islam, and that’s just in the modern day.

But they cannot lay claim to mere impotence. It isn’t “God’s will.” Christianity has with far too much consistency been connected to the tyranny. This is not a new observation.

james-madison“7. Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

~ James Madison, “A Memorial in Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments”, 1786

 

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own.”

Thomas Jefferson SAR Picture~ Thomas Jefferson

 

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth”

~ Thomas Jefferson

 

“I could never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an atheist, which I can never be, or rather his religion was demonism. If ever a man worshipped a false god!”

~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, April 1823

 

Here is the absolute conclusion of all we have studied in this series. For anyone with intellectual integrity, these things should be fully and entirely unacceptable. This should compel you to evaluate the content of Christianity for what it has said for the whole of its history. It is not an accident that the same tyranny abetted by the church has occurred over and over and over.

And now, having heard where all this is rooted, you are without excuse. Now you have seen where the core of Protestant doctrine comes from. The intellectual pedigree goes as far back as Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans. It finds its full philosophic formation in Plato, it is welded into Christian thinking by Augustine, and it is put into practice by Luther and Calvin – from Augustine to Luther to Calvin to the Synod of Dort to the Westminster Confessions to the Puritans to the local pastor pounding the pulpit.

The dots are all connected, and now it rests on you to resist the disaster.

~ John


Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six
Click here for part seven
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