Paul's Passing Thoughts

TANC Homework 2015 #2 Lucian’s Zeus Catechized

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on July 8, 2015

immel 3By John Immel

Dear Reader, If you don’t know it yet, TANC 2015 is at hand (a little biblical language for you Calvinist Aficionados). I am assigning homework for the attendees.   Answer the following questions. They should be pretty easy.

Questions:

1. Zeus references the Sophists. Who were the Sophists?  (Hint: watch my 2013 lectures)

2. …[Read more at Spiritual Tyranny.com]

TANC 2015 Homework

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on July 8, 2015

immel 3By John Immel

Dear readers, the time for TANC 2015 is fast approaching.  I’m in the middle stages of prep, trying to figure out what to present and what to omit. This happens to be my greatest challenge because there is so much to cover and so little time: so many ideas and concepts to introduce to people who will be saturated with new ideas and concepts.

So, this year I am going to give out homework. Read the following article and answer three questions.

Justice, and Why Christians Leave Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 25, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

“It’s not about injustice, It’s about Jesus.”

~ Producer of “Unearthed”

Justice: One Reason People Don’t Go to Church: Romans 13:1-7

1. Romans 13:1-7

A. What does this have to do with people not going to church?

b. Everything.

2. “Unearthed” video clip.

A. Seems to be EVERYTHING Christians would agree on as well as all moral people.

a. “You can’t legislate morality; you have to change people’s hearts.”

b. It calls men to stand up and be moral, and therefore circumventing the demand for porn.

c. Tim Keller

  • A man’s “sense of justice.”
  • The men are victims too; they are slaves.
  • The gospel is the key. (the collective soul will be explained).

d. Mark Driscoll

  • It hurts EVRYBODY, not just the man enslaved to porn.

†    Voice of reason; man is an island is a misnomer hurtful to society.

††  The collective good.

e. It’s the “portal”; soft porn ultimately leads to sex trafficking.”

f. You can’t keep picking the fruit (ie, stop the behavior), you have to cut off the root.

g. If we do this, it is hard telling what society will “look like” versus BE like.

h. We want move beyond the problem and make a film about the solution.

  • Title: The Hearts of Men.
  • Christ moves beyond symptoms and deal with the HEARTS of men.

†    Interpretive question: what is the “heart.”

i. Action.

  • Primarily pray for the victimizers as well as the victims.
  • Share
  • Give Money

3. What is really going on here?

A. Their definition of the gospel is the societal collective Psyche.

B. Their definition of the heart is the soul of man.

4. The construct defined.

A. Image #1

a. The collective psyche is the root.

b. All things progressing toward restoration is the fruit.

c. Image #2—the tree in the video.

d. Church historian and author John Immel

  • Image #1
  • The root is IDEAS.
  • The fruit is what society “looks like” as a result of the ideas.

B. The soul.

a. Like a tree, the “heart” has a root and fruit.

b. This is the Heart Theology of Neo-Calvinism.

  • Pastor rant: “I am sick of the “root and fruit gospel”
  • What is it? Image #3
  • Man is totally depraved/incompetent, therefore, his root ideas must be supplied for the collective good of society.
  • Moreover, his ideas should be compelled by force for the betterment of society.
  • What man thinks is what society is.

† This is the collective soul making the collective psyche resuting in the ideal society.

  • This is Plato: man’s soul is a mirror image of society; society is a tree of fruit and root, and man’s soul is a tree of fruit and root.
  • Image #4
  • Compare to Image #1
  • Image #5

c. The video NEVER states that man changes; it states, like communism, that society is the manifestation of man’s thinking, and that man does not know what to think, and must be compelled to think the right things through being educated by the enlightened, and for the betterment of society, by force if necessary.

d. Man is too incompetent to be a problem, bad ideas are the problem. The Neo-Calvinist therefore deems him as someone who should be prayed for, and at times agrees with the state that he/she should be executed if they refuse to repent of their own ideas—for the collective good of society. It’s nothing personal, it just so happens that your body is the bearer of bad ideas that are hurtful to society. No man is a bad person per se, ideas are the problem.

5. Justice: the story of two realities.

A. The justice of Romans 13:1-7 versus the justice of Plato’s Republic.

a. Government is a gift to man by God and is His servant for the good of man.

b. God exhorts man to have a sense of justice and to follow Him, and man is capable of doing so, and has a free will to do so.

c. However, when injustice takes place via the choices of men, God warns Christians and the unregenerate alike (throughout the New Testament) that the government is His servant to enforce justice and punish injustice. Hence, God is pleased with the natural flow of justice, but warns that He will enforce justice sooner or later; presently by government, or in the future via His White Throne Judgment.

d. Man is without excuse because he is created with a conscience—Paul exhorts Christians to live by their consciences.

B. Plato’s Republic insists that ALL justice comes from the root because man is incapable of knowing good and reality. Therefore, it does NO good to enforce behavior, what man believes is what must be enforced, and this root will result in societies fruit.

Conclusion

History tells us that Plato’s construct does not work. And because it has become the premise of the church’s Heart Theology, church doesn’t work. Hence, people stop going to church for the same reason that people do not move from America to Russia.

“It’s not about injustice, It’s about Jesus.”

~ Producer of “Unearthed”

Clip 1Clip 2Clip 3Clip 4Clip 5EXTRA

Society. Individual

Do New Calvinist Elders Believe They are Salvific Mediators Between Us and God?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 3, 2013

ppt-jpeg4While some continually comment here at PPT that they can’t understand a thing John Immel and I write, they understand more than they realize. And some advice: not understanding a teaching A-Z doesn’t  = “don’t understand it.” Focus on the elements that you do understand and add it to your knowledge. Those are building blocks used to build something; specifically, knowledge.

Also, say that John and I are diving way deep to look for sharks, and you see one swimming around the boat. That’s the experience I had yesterday when it was brought to my attention that New Calvinist elders are now plainly stating that they = “local church” and the “authority” of the local church. But the way the reader explained it was simple and profound:

“I thought there is only one mediator between God and man?”

Bingo. “But Paul, can we really say that New Calvinist elders think they are salvific mediators between us and God?”

ABSOLUTLEY.

New Calvinism is a return to the authentic Reformed gospel. Because Augustine, Gregory, Luther, and Calvin were Platonists and didn’t interpret reality with the grammatical normative, Protestants migrate away from Reformed authenticity into a hybrid, or light form of the original. That is why today, you have historical grammatical Calvinists (Jay Adams et al), and historical redemptive Calvinists (John Piper et al). It all boils down to mystical (mystical doctrines are always married to tyranny because it presumes the masses cannot understand reality) Calvinism and objective Calvinism. The latter retains contradictory vestiges of the former; primarily, sound soteriology, combined with Augustinian eschatology. You don’t have to understand all of these terms; simply file the concept away in your mind. The concept is a simple one.

The Reformation was really nothing more than the same Gnosticism (Gnosis: secret or lofty knowledge) that has plagued God’s people from the cradle of civilization. The Catholic Church was born of the Gnosticism that wreaked havoc on the first century church. Much of the New Testament is written with Gnosticism as a backdrop. Augustine et al were always Catholics and never left the foundations of the Catholic Church. I believe the present-day landscape of the church is absolutely identical to what was going on in the first century except for the technology.

Part and parcel with Gnosticism is the idea of the spiritual elite mediating between the masses and God; in particular, the salvific part (because the masses cannot comprehend reality). Augustine believed that one could not know for certain if they were saved or not, but posited the idea that your best shot is obedience to the institutional church. This is deep within the psyche of Western thought, and why there is so much money in religion. The American landscape is saturated by churches with $500,000 yearly budgets because that is where salvation is found—no matter how you live. Give at the office, and live any way you want to during the week.

And that’s why the Reformation also distorts the Trinity. The Trinity is applicable truth. Sometimes we look at the Trinity as One for certain applications, and sometimes we make the separate distinctions for other applications. In regard to mediation, God must be Father and Son must be mediator. The Reformed gospel makes Father and Son the same and elders the mediators. But there is only “one” mediator.

Like I said, New Calvinism is a return to the authentic Reformed gospel. Calvin et al clearly believed in the authority of elders to forgive sins on earth in God’s behalf:

Wherefore, our initiation into the fellowship of the church is, by the symbol of ablution, to teach us that we have no admission into the family of God, unless by his goodness our impurities are previously washed away (20).

Nor by remission of sins does the Lord only once for all elect and admit us into the Church, but by the same means he preserves and defends us in it. For what would it avail us to receive a pardon of which we were afterwards to have no use? That the mercy of the Lord would be vain and delusive if only granted once, all the godly can bear witness; for there is none who is not conscious, during his whole life, of many infirmities which stand in need of divine mercy. And truly it is not without cause that the Lord promises this gift specially to his own household, nor in vain that he orders the same message of reconciliation to be daily delivered to them.

On the other hand, the Lord has called his people to eternal salvation, and therefore they ought to consider that pardon for their sins is always ready. Hence let us surely hold that if we are admitted and ingrafted into the body of the Church, the forgiveness of sins has been bestowed, and is daily bestowed on us, in divine liberality, through the intervention of Christ’s merits, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

22. To impart this blessing to us, the keys have been given to the Church (Mt. 16:19; 18:18). For when Christ gave the command to the apostles, and conferred the power of forgiving sins, he not merely intended that they should loose the sins of those who should be converted from impiety to the faith of Christ; but, moreover, that they should perpetually perform this office among believers. This Paul teaches, when he says that the embassy of reconciliation has been committed to the ministers of the Church, that they may ever and anon in the name of Christ exhort the people to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). Therefore, in the communion of saints our sins are constantly forgiven by the ministry of the Church, when presbyters or bishops, to whom the office has been committed, confirm pious consciences, in the hope of pardon and forgiveness by the promises of the gospel, and that as well in public as in private, as the case requires. For there are many who, from their infirmity, stand in need of special pacification, and Paul declares that he testified of the grace of Christ not only in the public assembly, but from house to house, reminding each individually of the doctrine of salvation (Acts 20:20, 21). Three things are here to be observed. First, Whatever be the holiness which the children of God possess, it is always under the condition, that so long as they dwell in a mortal body, they cannot stand before God without forgiveness of sins. Secondly, This benefit is so peculiar to the Church, that we cannot enjoy it unless we continue in the communion of the Church. Thirdly, It is dispensed to us by the ministers and pastors of the Church, either in the preaching of the Gospel or the administration of the Sacraments, and herein is especially manifested the power of the keys, which the Lord has bestowed on the company of the faithful. Accordingly, let each of us consider it to be his duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Of the public reconciliation which relates to discipline, we shall speak at the proper place (Calvin Institutes 4.1.20-22).

In contrast, the apostle Paul said there is only ONE mediator, and made a clear distinction of terms between “mediator” and “teacher”:

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

When is the discernment blogosphere going to hunker down on this simple concept and demand that those who play both sides of the fence clarify their position on this? And why is it important? Because the idea of mediators other than Christ always leads to tyranny. Mysticism is the mother because it presupposes a truth/reality beyond the five senses that the masses cannot understand. It is anti-grammatical, and posits a redemptive stargate. Grammatical rules are merely guardrails, and empirically hinder orthodoxy on God’s behalf. Grammatical interpretation empowers the individual.

This was the forte of the first century Nicolaitans, which means, “power over the laity.” And this is exactly where we find ourselves today—history repeating itself.

paul

The James MacDonald White Paper: Church Historian John Immel Weighs In on MacDonald’s “Vertical Church”; Post 9 of 20

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 1, 2013

I was recently asked to read James MacDonald’s book The Vertical Church to address his criticisms of Aristotle. I’ve known for a while that Christianity was in trouble, that the seven-headed beast of Mystic Despotism was waking from its long slumber, that the haunting moan of Medieval European Religion was desperately trying to crawl out of its bloody grave. MacDonald’s book only confirms my expectation and helps me adjust the time clock for its resurrection.

It took fifteen hundred years for men to slay the Platonist/Augustinian beast that ruled the Dark Ages, to crush the ideas that founded despotism, to unseat the handmaiden of Tyranny—the Church—from her oppressive throne. It took a thousand years for men to grasp the basics of liberty, and then another five hundred years to put those ideas into practice.

The champions of liberty were heroes that gave the world a gift. But the children that they handed unspeakable riches to have failed to understand the gift they have been given. The children were handed a wealth they did not earn, so they have treated it as a given, as a perpetual motion machine without cause as they squander the effect. But liberty is not a given, and liberty’s enemy—the seven-headed beast—was not dead, merely wounded . . . and waiting. Waiting for the day when those of weak mind and weak will would once again abandon themselves to Mystic Despots in sheep’s clothing.

The result?

The heirs of liberty are now committing treason against the ideas that set them free. They are selling their souls to modern day mystics preaching the oldest of all worldly doctrines: man’s mind, man’s ego, man’s self, man’s existence is the source of the world’s ills. For a couple of decades, American Christianity has been walking in this direction. But as their ideas started finding more converts, gaining social acceptance, the pace is turning into a sprint toward destruction with men like James MacDonald leading the charge off the cliff of existential annihilation.

Does that sound overly dramatic? Stick around and see if you think so in a minute.

I got through a few chapters of The Vertical Church and knew that MacDonald’s book needs a rebuttal, but he is probably safe from any corporate critique. Christians have shown themselves incompetent in their ability to condemn anything coming out of the Neo-Calvinist movement roaring through American Christianity, seeking whomever it may devour. It is doubtful that “national leaders” will offer an appreciable evaluation, so MacDonald will continue to speak ex cathedra as he sets himself up to rule the church like Cardinal Richelieu.

As for moi taking up the challenge . . . well . . . frankly, I’m already in the middle of two major writing projects: books due out in late 2013 (Dead Alone, J. Lorin) and early 2014 (Dead to Rights, J. Lorin). Plus, I’m working on super-secret project to acquire two or three titles for publication, so time is a bit limited. Maybe I’ll put a formal rebuttal on my Spiritual Tyranny to-do list, or maybe I won’t.

But what I will do is comment on what I was asked to address: The Vertical Church vs. Aristotle.

MacDonald’s book is not unique, nor is it timely, nor is it really about anything “vertical.” Lots of preachers have written books addressing the failures of the Christian Church, and all of them presume that the solution is “more God, less man.” The theological focus of MacDonald’s book has been written about many times from generations past: men named Tertullian, and Augustine, and Luther and many, many others. As for the vertical part, well, that is the part of the book that needs the rebuttal.

But what MacDonald’s book does offer is a splendid game of theological three card monte. Picture a street hustler with his cardboard box and three bent cards shouting “Follow the queen! Follow the queen! Follow the queen!” as he starts mixing the cards. But if you don’t understand the game, you will never notice that he takes the queen off the box in the first chapter. And by chapter two, he will brazenly defy you to show him any cards anywhere in existence.

This is all by design.

Mystic Despots have always understood that Aristotle was THE greatest threat to their power. The Catholic Church knew this and condemned Aristotle. They condemned Saint Thomas Aquinas because of his efforts to integrate Aristotelian thought with Christianity in 1250. Luther knew it and condemned Aristotle because he knew it destroyed his ability to demagogue the definition of Grace Alone. Calvin knew it because Aristotle makes it impossible to set up a despotic theocracy. The Lutheran theologians of the Weimar Republic knew because Aristotle undermined National Socialism and the rise of the Reich Church. Karl Marx knew it because Aristotle destroys Dialectic Materialism. Hegel knew it because it destroys his political ideal: the State as Prime Consciousness. John Dewey knew it because Aristotelian thought destroys the roots of Pragmatism.

And the list of tyrants who knew it and sought to destroy Aristotle and his achievement goes on and on and on. And since James MacDonald is desperately trying to resurrect the philosophy of the Dark Ages, he must go after Aristotle from the beginning of The Vertical Church.

The first reference that I found to Aristotle comes in the first chapter under the sub heading “Rationalism Versus Transcendence”:

A further description of transcendence is that which is higher or beyond the widely accepted range of human experience cataloged in Aristotle’s ten categories. Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle created a “map” that attempted to encompass the full range of human experience into one or more of ten rational categories. Somehow Aristotle suppressed the eternity in his own heart, because his system includes only what can be proven by rational means. Sadly, his thinking forms the foundation of rationalism that continues to control the mind-set of the Western World. While postmodernism may have replaced rationalism as the philosophy of choice on a given college campus, rationalism is still the prevailing presupposition that dictates expectation among churches and their leaders. Rationalism says if you can’t quantify it, if you can’t prove it, if you can’t show it to me, then it does not exist. Rationalism teaches us to deny the eternity that God has placed in our hearts. And church leaders raised on rationalism lead ministries where the supernatural, the vertical, is suppressed and where God himself is at best an observer and certainly seldom, if ever, an obvious participant in church.

One of Aristotle’s more recent offspring who wrestled with the limits of rationalism was Immanuel Kant (1724 -1804). Kant proposed a “Copernican Revolution” in philosophy, saying, “up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but . . . let us once try whether we do not get farther … by assuming that objects must conform to our cognition.”

In other words, sometimes we know that we know something, even though we are helpless to prove it rationally. Maybe the greatest rationality of all is the recognition that rationality itself is incomplete as a way of knowing.

The only true-ish part of these paragraphs is that Aristotle is the foundation of Western thought (more on this in a minute), but pretty much everything else is just wrong.

Here is a brief rebuttal: Aristotle did not reject “transcendence,” which is a MacDonald synonym for “eternity,” which in MacDonald speak means rejecting God. Like all good Platonists, Aristotle believed in God though his theology would not have been of the Christian variety. But how could it? Christianity postdates Aristotle by almost four hundred years. Leibniz was the leading advocate for Rationalism (of the Rationalism vs. Empiricism debate in the 17th century), and Rationalism is not to be confused with Aristotelian metaphysics and epistemology. Postmodernism is not a philosophy. . . . it is a symptom of intellectual and philosophical bankruptcy in western philosophy. (In the college context most readily observed as the logical conclusion to John Dewey’s Pragmatism because Dewey’s ideas dominate modern American education . . . including Christian education) And the father of Western thought bankruptcy: the leading destroyer of western philosophy is Immanuel Kant. Kant and his categorical imperatives are the antipode of Aristotelian epistemology, not his “offspring.” Kant is really Plato’s bastard son who sought to reinvigorate Calvin’s metastasized theology and then added an evil twist.

Of course most Christians are ignorant of the evolution of Western thought because preachers make it a priority to run thinkers out of their congregations the moment they hear a word that is bigger than their vocabulary. Not that it is the preacher’s fault. Pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver (Thanks, James.) got what he wanted. Joe listens to the intellectual vacant preachers because he does not want the responsibility for the content of his own mind. He doesn’t want a complex anything, so he certainly doesn’t want a complex Christianity. Therefore, the outcome is inevitable. Pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver is unequipped to identify James MacDonald’s theological shell game. Joe Screwdriver is unable to detect the “rational” atrocity committed in the name of all that is Good and Holy. The result is James MacDonald’s critique of Aristotle, and that dastardly thing called “rationalism” is accepted as the truth. And Joe Screwdriver has no clue that the Aristotelian shtick is merely bait on the hook that will make it impossible to escape James MacDonald’s “reasoning.” Once pew-sitting Joe Screwdriver accepts the premise that being “rational” is somehow incomplete . . . somehow inferior . . . somehow spiritually seditious . . . then the hook is set in his mouth like a fish. From that point forward, MacDonald can pretend that he is merely a humble fisher of men and drag Joe and his screwdrivers into philosophical disaster.

Make no mistake: James MacDonald’s singular goal is to disarm his readers by separating them from their mind and their mind from reality. And any man who exists as such a creature is by definition . . . insane.

So what did Aristotle do?

That conversation is vast because to appreciate what Aristotle did, in context to the evolution of human thought, would require a short course on the history of Philosophy. And then it would require a further discussion of metaphysics and epistemology. (I did this in the 2013 TANC conference in a six-hour lecture, but I didn’t cover Aristotle’s contribution. You can Google it.) But let me give you, dear readers, a sense of proportion. Here is James MacDonald’s summation: “Sadly, [Aristotle’s] thinking forms the foundation of rationalism that continues to control the mind-set of the Western World.”

Okay, describing Aristotle’s achievement like this is like saying: “Sadly, Copernicus forms the foundation of looking at the stars. Sadly, Louis Pasteur forms the foundation of boiling milk. Sadly, Isaac Newton taught men to watch falling apples. Sadly, Albert Einstein controls how to tell time. Sadly, Jonas Salk controlled the mindset of people on crutches. Sadly, Alexander Fleming forms the foundation of penicillin that continues to control how the Western world defies God by combating infection.”

Yeah . . . uh . . . no.

In a world of total chaos, the world of Heraclitean flux, the world of Plato’s mystic other-worldly Forms, the world of Sophist and Cynic condemnation of the sum of human existence, Aristotle stood alone.

Aristotle was the first man to formulate the essentials of human thought. Not just some good ideas, not just a school of philosophy, but THE axioms of human existence in three laws: the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of the excluded middle. The law of identity is the axiom, and the next two laws are the subsequent corollaries. It is from this foundation that EVERY cognitive human success originates, including the one or two cognitive successes James MacDonald captured in his book.

The law of identity says that Man can’t be man and NOT man, that a horse cannot be a horse and NOT horse; A cannot be A and NOT A.

In Aristotle’s words:

“If, however, [a definition .e.g. Man, Horse, A] were not limited but one were to say that the word has an infinite number of meanings, obviously reasoning would be impossible; for not to have one meaning is to have no meaning, and if words have no meaning our reasoning with one another, and indeed with ourselves, has been annihilated; for it is impossible to think of anything if we do not think of one thing; . . .”

The law of Non Contradiction says:

“It is impossible, then, that ‘being a man’ should mean precisely not being a man, [ . . .] And it will not be possible to be and not to be the same thing, [. . . ] but the point in question is not this, whether the same thing can at the same time be and not be a man in name, but whether it can be in fact.”

The law of the excluded middle says:

“But on the other hand there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate. This is clear, in the first place, if we define what the true and the false are.”

And this is exactly right. The identity of A must in fact be the identity of A. The particulars of A must never contradict. For A to maintain its identity, there can be no middle compromise on something Not A.

It is from this point that all effective human cognition flows: all laws of logic, all of man’s conceptual capacity, all of man’s reason, and—most importantly—man’s capacity to grasp the world in which he lives.

And why is this a threat to despots the world over? Why has every oppressive ideology sought to unseat Aristotle? Why do tyrants cling to Aristotle’s shoulders while trying to cut off his head?

Because Aristotelian thought means that existence is knowable, understandable, and practicable; that all men have the means to arrive at truth; that knowledge is available for all who will use the laws and the rules of logic to obtain it.

This foundational concept was revolutionary. It was the original Copernican shift from the “transcendent” world of Plato’s Forms. Indeed, without Aristotle’s foundation, Copernicus is not possible, and neither is any other advance of human knowledge possible.

And herein is Aristotle’s impact on Western thought:

When using the laws of thought, the mind of man is effective to understand man’s existence. An existence that is identifiable is an existence that is understandable. An existence that is understandable is an existence that is explorable. An existence that is explorable is an existence that is controllable. An existence that is controllable is an existence that man can master.

It took almost two thousand years for man to come to this conclusion, start to roll back the mysteries of the world, and raise his standard of living. And then came the Age of Enlightenment (inspired by Aquinas’ rediscovery of Aristotle) and man finally started to throw off the chains of tyranny. The logical conclusion of Aristotle’s implied rational equality translated into political liberty. Men like John Locke began to challenge the age-old institutions of oppression: the government bulwark of the Church. His ideas were then taken up by men named Jefferson and Franklin and Adam and Washington. For the first time in world history, individuals committed to their own reason in possession of their own liberty were empowered to live their own lives by the greatest political document ever crafted. The consequence is that the Western world has elevated the standard of human living across the globe—eliminating disease, poverty, and suffering—more than any other culture in any other time in the history of the world. . . . EVER.

The contrasting ideological picture is dismal at best. Every other culture dominated by Plato’s mysticism, Augustine’s transcendence, Calvin’s determinism, or Kant’s noumenal world have lived in darkness, barbarity, war, and tyranny.

There is no such thing as rational equality with those who chant transcendence like an incantation against reason. Augustine made a claim to Plato’s Forms and started chanting transcendence when he wanted to wipe out the Donatists. The Catholic Church chanted transcendence while persecuting Copernicus and Galileo. They chanted transcendence to condemn serfs to generations of servitude. They chanted transcendence while war waged across the face of Europe and the Inquisition wrecked Spain. Calvin chanted transcendence while ruling Geneva with bonfires. The kings of England and France, assuming the Divine Right of Kings, chanted transcendence and wrecked their countries with wars and famines and destruction. Puritan Oliver Cromwell chanted transcendence while beheading the king, abolishing Parliament, and ruling England with an iron hand. Puritans in Salem chanted transcendence as they burnt witches at the stake. The Presbyterian Church (read Calvinist Church) in the South chanted transcendence and insisted that the black man was condemned by God to slavery. Immanuel Kant chanted “noumenal world,” and it didn’t take long for people to realize that was a synonym for transcendence. The Lutheran National Socialists chanted noumenal world all the way to the gas chamber. Karl Marx heard noumenal world and came up with Dialectic Materialism. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel heard noumenal world and created the Primacy of the State. Mussolini used his ideas to justify Fascist Italy. Trotsky and Lenin heard them both and chanted transcendence in the name of the workers’ paradise until he turned Russia into a slaughterhouse. The Muslims chant transcendence and have been waging war almost nonstop since 650 AD and are determined to wage war until Allah reigns supreme.

And the list goes on and on and on.

Mystics, shamans, witch doctors, imams, preachers, and oracles have been chanting transcendence for millennia because this is how they rule men. If knowledge—True Knowledge—is reserved for some ineffable, other-worldly realm that “transcends” human reason, then no one can challenge their conclusions: They possess the revelation of the transcendent truth, so they own the definition of truth. And they NEVER have to justify ANY rational conclusion or the subsequent actions inspired by the conclusion.

And this is the real goal of James MacDonald’s book The Vertical Church. Behind all the lofty language, behind all the appeals to God’s glory, behind the invitations to meet God in a new and unique way, just like the mystic despots of old, he is really laying the foundations of religious tyranny.

If you abandon your mind to men like him . . . you will get what you deserve

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