Paul's Passing Thoughts

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

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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 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 History of Western Philosophy and Its Societal Impact on the Church – Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 14, 2017

The following is part seven of an eight-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s thirsdsession 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 eight

john immelWe have hammered pretty hard the notion of people being personally responsible for the intellectual content of their minds. As a man who has been pretty much talking to the air about this very subject for the last twenty years of his life because I couldn’t get anybody to pay attention, it is very easy to become cynical about how people respond to this information. I suspect some of the cynicism is warranted, because no matter how many times I start up this conversation I am usually confronted with the deer in the headlights look from people.

However, what I have learned is that mostly the reason is due to the fact that people have never been exposed to any counter-argument. They are usually more dumbfounded that someone actually has the audacity to suggest that there is something implicitly wrong with reformation doctrine- not that it is something of an aberration or that a few stray teachers didn’t seem to get it right, but that reformation doctrine is fundamentally wrong.

During these lectures I have had the opportunity to talk to some people who have traveled the same path and arrived at very similar intellectual conclusions. I find them to be endlessly engaged, and I find that to be enormously gratifying, to find others people who have begun to do similar work, have started to see the big picture and have arrived at the same conclusions. The piece of the puzzle that was lacking was actually the framework of the puzzle itself. It was a commitment to say no, these ideas are morally evil. There is a root problem with this doctrine that corrupts it without end.

This is a very longwinded way of saying I am encouraged at the potential that is out there. In discussing the notion of tyranny, it has always relied on men who fear resisting it. Tyranny can only persist when good men do nothing. But good demands of you to fundamentally believe in your moral virtue. If you cannot believe in your own virtue, then you can never ever fight what is evil. This is perhaps the motivation of tyranny to promote the willful self-destruction of man, to keep good men in a constant state of devaluing their own virtue so as to not have the motivation to resist.

This is why I advocate endlessly for your own rational motivation, your own specific commitment to your rational faculties. In all that TANC Ministries is trying to accomplish, I loathe the idea that it ends up becoming one more cult of personality. I recognize that people like Paul Dohse and myself are very strong personalities. And it would be very easy for people to trade my personality and the force of my ability as an individual with any of the popular teachers who currently dominate the scene of reformed orthodoxy. I would rather wreck my own reputation on your behalf than for you to follow me simply because you trust me specifically.

I want you to trust the conclusions of your own rational mind.

The ultimate goal is for you to carry the fight on your own.

The beauty of Western culture is that it is ultimately the source of freedom and liberty. In the previous five articles I covered approximately 500 years worth of the evolution of Western thought. It is essentially a masters level course on philosophy crammed into a little more than 8,000 words.

The person I neglected to bring into the discussion is Aristotle. His ability to identify the laws of logic is the only thing that comes close to rivaling Plato. Inasmuch as Plato organized a collectivist ruling dictatorship, Aristotle is essential for the liberties of man. He is the first person to give a systematic presentation on why man specifically is qualified to operate successfully on the earth.

In part one we considered the following quote by Sun Tzu.

“All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what they cannot see is the strategy out of which victory has evolved.” ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

He was making the observation that it was the underlying strategy that allowed him to win. Men could see the tactics, but they couldn’t understand the function whereby those tactics were employed. This is essentially what we are now being confronted with. The reason tyranny has been so successful at sweeping across the globe is because it has drilled down to the same fundamental elements.

Because man is a rational being in need of a way to integrate his ideas, it is how those ideas go together that defines how he organizes his political life. Political life is nothing more than how individuals interact. We tend to think of politics in terms of the elaborate game that happens in governments between parties and the endless quest for social power. Yet what happens in the grand halls of government is nothing more than the logical conclusions of ideas, and then those men decide that everyone else should live by those sets of ideas.

Here is the central fight of all political philosophy. The whole of human existence has focused around the question of who owns man. The leading consensus, the predominant assumption, the conclusion of the vast percentage of human intellectual content has been focused on man is the property of the state.

My job in this series was to discuss the societal impact of the development of Western thought. I have put off revealing to you the ultimate impact until now because I was more interested in laying the foundation of how we get to that resulting impact. Once we identify how we get to societal impact, it is actually very simple for individuals to start understanding what is actually happening in society.

So the question is then if man is property of the state, what is the moral justification for some to use force against others? What have we just studied? What were the root presumptions throughout history? Man is incompetent. His senses are invalid. There are a select few who have some form of enlightenment from some extra-worldly source. Such enlightenment then makes them alone qualified to use force over others.

The underlying question historically within Christianity has universally revolved around why “they”, whoever those leaders happen to be, are specifically authorized to define truth. Augustine justified this very end using the same exact assumptions I just mentioned. The sheep are stupid, the sheep are incompetent, the sheep cannot organize their own lives, and more importantly, they should be compelled to do what is good.

Slide2I need to introduce you to yet one more philosophical concept. Any doctrine that services the notion that man is the property of the state is know as collectivism. The systems illustrated in the figure at the right are all manifestations of collectivism. In these systems, the dominant presumption is that your life is to be placed at the disposal of some collective. The collective will is the standard of moral value. The goal is always that man must be chained to the collective. And I do mean chained. Man is property of the state, to subordinate the individual to the collective will.

How do they do this?

Slide3This is my contribution to philosophy. I have identified five fundamental elements of all collectivist doctrines that are designed to produce tyranny. The reason I have organized this as a web is because I want you to understand that this is not linear. All of these elements are interdependent and to not necessarily follow in a progression. There is a dynamic tension between all the arguments. Some arguments that you hear will have facets of each of these categories. Let’s look at each one of these more closely.

Incompetent Masses
The underlying conclusion throughout all the thinkers we have studied has been that man’s senses or his ability to reason were fundamentally flawed. Man could not understand the world in which he lived. This is the bedrock of incompetence. If you separate man from his mind, man from his body, and man from reality, there is no other place for man to live. So if you presume that man is incompetent then you set the groundwork for the next concept.

Universal Guilt
This is a tool designed to drive you to accept your own incompetence. All men are guilty of moral depravity so that no one can advocate a moral standard. If you will accept guilt, a universal guilt, a guilt for no crime whatsoever, a guilt for nothing more than for simply being an incompetent human, you will accept the standard that you are morally incapable of running your own life. This is the death knell of all individualism. If you cannot presume your own moral good then the only thing left is…

Dictated Good
Because man is guilty and incompetent to carry out the important actions, he necessarily needs someone to save him from himself. This is why there has always been a separation between the willing elite and the general masses. This is where the class society comes from. There has always been the presumption that the “true philosopher” had a special access to truth.

The only function of determinism in all of its forms has been to create a class society. If everything is determined, there is no intellectual argument. You cannot persuade me, because whoever I am is nothing more than the outcome of that determinism.  Yet this is what sets up select men as the driving force of all political organization. The catch phrase these days among all various forms of Christianity is “God is Sovereign.” This is nothing more than another variation on determinism. If God is “sovereign”, then the very fact that certain men are in positions of authority is evidence of their right to run your life.

But the problem is, man is not a collective being.

He is a contractual being. This is how man successfully operates with other men. Look at all of your successful social interaction, and the quality that makes them successful is men freely engaging in a mutual exchange of value for value. This poses a problem for collectivism.

Abolition of Ambition
Because man is by nature an individual and not a collective being, he must be talked out of individual action. He must be persuaded that any action done independent of group sanction is the height of moral failing. This is why, within all collectivist doctrines, ambition is synonymous with sin.

The true definition of ambition is to see a value and then organizing an effort to achieve that value. In every effort as a contractual being, man organizes a value that he has and persuades another that he wants that value.

Consider the scope of the charge that God gave to Adam. Be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth! The scope of Adam’s existence was the earth, and we sit here and worry about how we are going to pay for new tires for the car. God has always been driving man towards his own individual best. So pursuing ambition is not sin. How we break contracts in the pursuit is how we get to sin. Covetousness is not sin because we want something. Ambition becomes covetousness when our means of obtaining value results in broken contracts in our mutual exchange of value with others.

Once you have been talked out of ambition you have arrived at…

Collective Conformity
This is the end game. This is where the full force of government is brought to bear for the sole purpose of creating a neutered humanity without complexion, or variation, or distinction. This outcome is held out as an ethical ideal and forced into existence at all costs.

In collective conformity, the group is prime. The collective must then define what is authentic “groupness”. It defines the parameters for group inclusion. This is where you get concepts such as “tribalism”. Where we see this most dramatically in the modern age and current culture is the concept of “political correctness”. You are fundamentally immoral if you do not conduct your life in a certain way, if you do not speak a certain way, if you do not hold to a specific set of values.

In the church, this presents itself this way: “Who has the most correct doctrine”, and the yardstick of inclusion is some form of orthodoxy. They hold up that yardstick, and they must pass that yardstick over every individual.

But what happens when someone no longer measures up?

Consider, you attended a church for 15 years or more of your life, you committed enormous amounts of time and resources to that church where everybody hugged and kissed you and told you how wonderful you are. But then you had a conflict, and you got kicked out on your butt. Suddenly you looked around and said, “Where are all my friends?”

Here’s what happened. The whole time you were there, they were holding up that yardstick, and as long as you measured up you were one of them. But the moment they could hold up that yardstick and say, “you are no longer one of us,” they had no other choice but to exclude you from the group. Because everything was about the collective.

Utopian Presitge
All arguments are in service to the collective reputation. Notice what the outcome is at the center of the web of these five elements. How many times have you heard a preacher talk about the reputation of the church? The argument is that individual action will impact the prestige of his “local collective.” This is the presumption of Utopian Prestige.

I have always been a little confused how it is that if  man is so morally corrupt how such a great God could ever be concerned that man’s actions would tarnish His reputation. There is no more spectacular conceit. Yet with stunning consistency, Neo Calvinists are obsessed with God’s reputation. In reality, the only way man’s actions could ever affect God’s reputation is if man is God’s equal!

Chew on that one for a while.

Collectivism always seeks some utopian ideal that is never achievable- the Marxist workers’ paradise, Hitler’s Third Reich, the Muslim perception of “Allah”. Every collectivist culture is always driving towards this idea that if we had this perfect thing, whatever that happens to be, and everybody focused all of their pursuits towards that one end, the prestige of that would be so enormously great that it would compel everyone else to fall down before it on their knees.

Well, it compels everyone to fall to their knees, but with their hands behind their back and a bullet to the back of the head.

The National Socialists of Germany went to war on two fronts for the prestige of the “fatherland”.  Alexander the Great conquered nations for his collectivist/statist will. Stalin killed 7 million people in his Workers’ Paradise due to man-made famines, all for the prestige of the Soviet Union.

And what do we hear now? How often in American parlance do you here people say, the world doesn’t like America; that there is something wrong with our reputation in the world? It is always about prestige.

What did the people in the land of Shinar say to themselves? “Let us make a name for ourselves.” What was the mark of that prestige? “We will build a tower to reach unto the heavens.” It was a collectivist ideal, and every resource of human ability was focused into the achievement of that ideal. But they could never get to the heavens. There was never any practical end to that outcome.

Once you know the elements of collectivism and the outcomes to which they are in service it becomes stunningly easier and easier to recognize it all around you. Have this chart in front of you the next time you listen to the news, I don’t care what source, it doesn’t matter, and in less than a half hour your will be sitting there in stunned amazement.

Watch any television drama, which is entertainment, which is nothing more than an artistic expression. These elements are even easier to see in art because art is the most condensed version of a society’s value statement. It is the result of a full philosophical statement boiled down into a picture. And without fail, the greatest villain in most television shows ends up being the one who is successful. This is the manifestation of the abolition of achievement.

These are all reflections of our cultural expectations. They are all designed to drive us towards some collective conformity. Any true individuality is always explained in terms of exploitation, and everything is about sacrifice to the collective.

…To be continued


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Click here for part three
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Click here for part six

Click here for part eight
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