Paul's Passing Thoughts

Putinanity, Cuba, Bill 1062, and Why Christians Need to Shut Up

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 16, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted February 27, 2014

I won’t go completely postal on my fellow Christians because I too once believed that it would be just wonderful if Jerry Falwell was President of the United States. And as a Christian, I have never been interested in Mike Huckabee being President because the world is a dangerous place and the last thing we need is some cornball from Mayberry RFD as leader of the free world.

Let us remember that Jesus could have run for President of the world, and would have won hands down, and could have summoned Michael the archangel to pay the world a little visit if people didn’t like it, but He didn’t. This should cause us to take part in a lost art, especially among Christians, known as “pondering.”

Christians, in our culture, speak out on a lot of things because they are free to do so. America is an open society to everyone. This is not to be confused with democracies that are democratically run by the elitists only. That’s a democratic caste system. In a truly open society, people are free to speak openly whether informed or uninformed. Unfortunately, Christians have cornered the market on uninformed free speech. Worse yet, it’s speech predicated on misinformation concerning what we are supposed to be experts at: the Bible.

As director of the TANC research institute, three years has taught me this: Christians don’t even understand the gospel, much less complicated world affairs. Yet, within Christianity, there is endless debate about various and sundry issues complimented by Scripture stacking along with an absurd claim of societal moral authority. Look, when people in our society have problems, they go to a psychologist or tune into Dr. Phil, and if they go to a pastor for anything more than instruction on what color of car to buy (we wouldn’t want a color symbolic of something we were unaware of), he is going to send you to a psychologist anyway.

This is why being a Christian in America right now is very exciting to me because it’s an adventure, and adventures are always fun when you partake with other people and you experience that adventure together. What is the adventure? We Christians don’t know anything; it’s an adventure of learning. I know, I know, listening to what others want us to know and pulling the rest from where the sun doesn’t shine is much easier, but the results are most unfortunate.

For instance, our research indicates that the VAST majority of Christians do not know the difference between grammatical interpretation versus redemptive interpretation of the Scriptures. These are the only two approaches to interpreting the Bible in Evangelical circles, and yield antithetical results in regard to truth and reality itself. But yet, Christians who do not even know how their own pastors interpret reality are shamelessly weighing in on what they perceive as the exclusive property of Christians: morality.

Why? Because our world is divided between Christians and non-Christians, the former being the only authority on morality. It’s ok to argue about morality in-camp—that’s our way of better defining our “expertise” to the world, and the absurdity of it all is evident. The challenge for Christians is to do life better than the world, but we think we hold that position by default; not so, that is a position earned through wisdom.

Hence, most American Christians think the separation of church and state is to protect the church from the state. State bad; Christianity good. Therefore, if the state is influenced by Christianity, that’s good! This has led to the recent phenomenon of Putinanity, a new form of Christianity:

“Gee-wiz, look, even Vladimir Putin of Russia is reaching out to the Eastern Orthodox Church in his country. I wish our politicians had that much sense!”

And Christians breathe a little easier in regard to Russia accordingly; they think this is like Putin agreeing to do lunch with Joni Eareckson Tada every Monday at noon. What Christians don’t understand is that the separation of church and state was designed to keep the state and the church separate from each other for the protection and freedom of mankind in general.

Church historian John Immel has a superb article on Putinanity that every Christian should read before they weigh in on Facebook. No, Russia is not seizing the international moral high ground from the US because Putin is getting in bed with the church, in fact, as Immel points out in the article, this should send cold chills up and down our spines. Immel lays out the historical background leading up to this contemporary happening that is not an anomaly by any stretch of the informed imagination.

And this is a by-point worth mentioning: Christians do not ask why any event takes place as if events take place in a vacuum. It’s ALWAYS the what, not the why. Example: endless articles concerning confusion over what pastor John Piper does. Some have even suggested that he does these things to get attention. No, if you really understand Piper by following the philosophical paper trail, you know that there is a why for everything he does, and the why may be closer to Putinanity than you think.

Neither is it far from the reality that mass death is always preceded by a promise of paradise. In the same way that a US delegation returned state side and proclaimed Cuba a socialist paradise, Jim Jones promised the same thing until the day 900 of his followers drank from the community Kool-Aid vat. Those who flew from the US to join Jones’ community in Guyana and lived to tell about it, state that they knew they were in big trouble the second they drove through the front gates. Jones was strongly endorsed by Governor Jerry Brown as Jones was part of the San Francisco socialist political machine. In regard to the recent Cuban adoring US delegation, they were called on the carpet by Marco Rubio.

If Christians knew their Bibles better, they would know that God ordained governments to serve mankind for the good of mankind. Government is a servant, not the enforcer of every Christian moralist idea that comes down the pike. The framers of the American Constitution never cited Romans 13 once, but were in agreement with it. Know also that God writes the works of His law on the heart of EVERY person born into the world, and their consciences either accuse or excuse based on that law ( Rom 2:12-15). If Christians aren’t careful, the world can often understand that law better than we do, and that is all too often the case.

This brings me to Arizona bill 1062, and another unfortunate example. Christians weigh in like this: Christian photographers good; homosexuals bad. Government enforcing the right for Christian photographers to refuse to do a homosexual marriage—good, and Putin says, “amen my brothers.” In many countries around the world, homosexuality is a capital offence as well as adultery, and for that matter, my granddaughter would have been put to death in Calvin’s Geneva for throwing a snowball at a pastor’s wife, especially since the offence took place in the sanctuary to boot.

Let me just narrow this issue down to my own family. I am close to family members who are homosexual. We get along great regardless of the fact that they know where I stand. How do they know? They tried to convince me that the Bible condoned it, and that was a conversation initiated by them. I stated my case in no uncertain terms. We get along great because the sensibilities of both parties are respected as a matter of conscience. This is very similar to how Christians who disagree should relate in regard to Romans 14. Sure, the Bible is specific revelation, and conscience is more general, but the latter is why we can live at peace with all men as much as it depends on us.

In fact, NFL players coming out of the closet, which is totally unnecessary, are in one sense demanding the approval of others for their own selfish reasons. Government shouldn’t enforce their supposed right to violate the sensibilities of others by forcing an employer to hire them anymore than Christians should want the Government in people’s bedrooms. So where do you draw the line? Conscience. Most people agree that pedophilia should be against the law, and so it is.

Admittedly, these are VERY difficult questions, but they should be considered by Christians via pondering and not pandering to the dictates of pastors frothing at the mouth while beating their pulpits on Sunday morning. That’s just plain ignorance.

All in all, this post is designed to provoke thought, but there is one place that I can drive a stake: contemporary Christianity is the product of the mindless following of tradition. I believe Bible wisdom is a wide-open frontier in this country. Granted, it is an old frontier, but mostly unchartered by Western bobbleheaded Christians.

Until that changes, we should keep our arrogant despotic mouths shut. Ignorance will not save people from the judgment to come. God does not entrust eternal matters to stupidity.

paul

Mom Wants to Know: Why I Don’t Like Mike Huckabee (and Other Adorable People)

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 6, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published February 10, 2014

I am very busy and need to combine eight posts into one which is not difficult because it’s all related. I need to write about Mike Huckabee, Joni Eareckson Tada, Boz Tchividjian, K-Love, stuff happens theology, plumbing, Communism, and of course John Calvin, but not necessarily in that order.

Let’s start with a conversation that occurred over at my mom’s house about former Governor Mike Huckabee. Susan and I were over at her house overseeing the repair of her furnace. My study of medieval religion has given me a robust appreciation in regard to American ingenuity and technology. A working furnace is critical for someone my mom’s age in sub-zero weather. The furnace was repaired by a competent young man within hours of us calling, and let me add that he also laughed at my jokes.

Plumbing

When all was accomplished, Susan and I said farewell to mom and then received a call on my cellphone about four miles from her house; she reported a funny hissing sound in the kitchen. We returned, and concluded that a frozen water pipe had broken under the kitchen floor. This was totally unrelated to the furnace repair. There we were, the day well spent, and a broken water pipe shooting out gallons of water by the minute underneath the shallow crawl space of the kitchen.

Another competent repair man to the rescue, even at that hour? Maybe, but my mom is long retired and lives on a limited income. I went down to the basement and turned off the main water supply to the house and also observed the following: much cost was spared in installing shutoff valves, but the kitchen was an isolated run of two copper pipes easily accessible before entering the long and shallow crawl space under the kitchen. It became apparent that those two pipes could be sealed off and the rest of the house would have water until the broken pipe was fixed. The trade of a dishwasher and one faucet for flushing toilets etc. in the rest of the house would be a good trade indeed.

I have some past limited background in plumbing, so Susan and I drove to the nearest Lowes to buy sand paper, a propane torch, two copper end-caps, solder, flux, a small brush, a hack saw, and inner pipe brush. Then we talked to a delightful young man that informed me that American plumbing had indeed changed since fifteen years ago when I was dabbling in it here and there as a builder. He informed us that we would only need two “push fittings” and a mini pipe cutter, and about five minutes.

“Uh, let me get this straight. I just cut the pipe, and push this thing on the end of it, and I am done? ‘Right.’”

Now visualize me looking at the guy like he is the Lowes version of John Calvin as he explained how the simple contraption worked. Remember those weaved tubes that we used to put on our friends’ finger when we were kids back in the days of extreme political incorrectness? The tightness of the device around the finger increased with pull. It was the initiation ceremony of choice for all neighborhood club houses. In this case, the pipe is the finger and the water pressure is the sadistic adolescent.

Huckabee

All of this is why I don’t like Mike Huckabee. After the plumbing repair, we hung around awhile and watched the Mike Huckabee show on the Fox News channel. I informed mom and Susan that I don’t like the guy. Like many, they were astounded that anyone of Christian stripe could dislike that cornball.

“Why don’t you like Huckabee?!”

I really didn’t have an answer at the time. But I thought about it all night and realized that the answer was right under my nose the whole time—so I hereby write.

Tada

Huckabee had the mega storied Joni Eareckson Tada on his show. Both of these people are impressive and adorable. Tada has been a paraplegic since her teen years, but her life accomplishments are over the top. Both are the epitome of American pie and conservative Christianity. The reason Huckabee had Tada on his show was to discuss the “Academy’s rescinding of its Oscar nomination for ‘Best Original Song,’ which appeared in the inspirational American colonial epic, ‘Alone Yet Not Alone,’ when it was discovered that the composer, Bruce Broughton, had sent a short email bringing the song to the attention of Oscar voters.” Tada was the vocalist.

Christians en masse stand in awe of Tada, and Huckabee added to her mystique with his mainstream Christian appeal. And this is the problem with Huckabee: he doesn’t get it. Huckabee is the poster child for the Christian metaphysical treadmill. Tada is very much a part of the New Calvinism movement which is a return to authentic Reformation ideology.

Communism   

It is nothing more or less than Communism dressed in Bible verses. This is where the Huck doesn’t get it; as a political/religious conservative, he is representative of many in Christianity who allow their principles to fornicate with contrary ideology. This leads to a never ending endeavor to change society while unwittingly giving credence to the very ideologies that are the source of the problem.

In the same show, Huckabee, prior to Tada’s segment, criticized the opening ceremonies at this year’s winter Olympics in Moscow which promoted the virtues of Communism. He commented that Lenin’s murderous legacy was conveniently left out. Meanwhile, in the next segment, here comes Joni Eareckson Tada who represents a return to John Calvin purism. Granted, Tada’s extensive education came from seminaries that don’t teach the significance of how philosophy progressed through history and how that applies to the doctrine she embraces. Long story short, this leads to a contradictory motif in her own life as she benefits from an array of technological advances that has made much of her success possible (more on that later), but the larger point is that Reformation theology and Communism came from the exact same ideological source along with its presuppositions concerning mankind.

Hence, Huckabee partakes in the same hypocrisy that he criticizes. The Reformers were NO LESS murdering despots than Lenin—that’s conspicuous history plain and simple. In fact, in most cases, Lenin had people shot in the head while the Reformers wouldn’t have tolerated such a quick and painless departure by those whom they disagreed with. Huckabee is the epitome of the well-polished American do-gooder that refuses to come to terms with the fact that the Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the Reformers are not part of the ideology that made America; they are in fact part and parcel with Communist ideology. Putin needs ratings no less than Huckabee does.

The progression of philosophy and how it affects humanity is magnified in the differences between America and Russia. Huckabee, again, in the same show, pointed to the poor quality of life in Russia that is hindering the Olympics. What he doesn’t realize is that it would be much worse if it wasn’t for America. You have to have technology to eventually destroy the Great Satan, but if Russia ever succeeds, technology goes bye-bye, and the mass graves become filled with the Joni Eareckson Tada’s of the world because they can’t “contribute to the greater good of the group.” This is why Russia’s technology will never rival that of American ingenuity: Communists see technology as a necessary evil, Americans see technology as a means to accomplish good.

Really, this can be summarized in the living contradiction that is Joni Eareckson Tada. While promoting Luther’s worm theology and making one statement by God to the apostle Paul the whole enchilada, she continually pontificates, “God’s power always shows up best in weakness.” Communism asserts that the masses are hapless and incompetent; Reformation theology asserts that man defaces the glory of God through his own accomplishments. Both share the same presuppositions in regard to mankind. Tada points to her disability as set against her accomplishments as proof of Reformed doctrine while completely dismissing God’s use of technology invented by those who in many cases could care less about God. Tada has a lot of education in regard to what others told her is in the Calvin Institutes, and conveniently missing are Calvin’s vast discussions of Plato and Aristotle. I dare say that the Reformation had more to do with those two men than “justification by faith alone.”

And by the way, the Reformation wasn’t about that either; it was about cutting man completely out of the salvation process because of Plato’s philosophical presuppositions concerning mankind. This later morphed into Gnosticism.

Stuff Happens Theology

Can we summarize this dilemma with T-shirt theology? “S— Happens.” No, stuff doesn’t just happen (there is a logic that drives everything). And that’s how Huckabee functions because of his metaphysics: stuff happens and you have to relentlessly address that stuff until all of the stuff has been refuted. No, you have to stop fornicating with the logic that creates the stuff. The apostle Paul stated it this way: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” If Huckabee wants unleavened bread, he needs to take some culinary philosophy classes. And if you don’t like what you learn, stop criticizing the Communists for editing history.

And by the way, what scares the bejeebers out of me is that the average Communist on the street understands these issues as opposed to American Christians. They know exactly why their country stinks; because mankind and life stinks. Get with the caste program or it will stink even worse. It’s about the best world hospice care possible. The fray between Americanism and Communism really began when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. That’s where the rewriting of history for us began as well; “Pilgrim” is a soft term for “Puritan.” These are people who saw the likes of Benjamin Franklin as troublers who stir up the anger of the gods with their big ideas. Now they have to use those same ideas to put an end to the egregious idea that man has worth. That’s Joni Eareckson Tada metaphysics.

Hence, supposedly, technology doesn’t enable us to do more ministry. It would have been better to replace my mother’s furnace with a wood burning stove. It would have been better if my mother would have had to write me a letter about the broken water pipe instead of calling me on my cellphone. See, if we were like the Russians, we wouldn’t need plumbing anyway. For Tada, technology is a necessary evil to spread the word that we all suck. If she thinks that is an absurd evaluation of her metaphysics, she should stop promoting men who believe just that in no uncertain terms. She would know this if her reality wasn’t completely formed by the likes of John MacArthur Jr.

The Republican Party and Mike Huckabee in particular need to wake up to a new reality: New Calvinism has made the American church the New Communist Party. Again, stuff doesn’t just happen; there is a reason why many well-known New Calvinist pastors voted for Obama. Sure, they don’t agree with his stance on abortion and other issues, but there is agreement on the bigger issue at hand: mankind needs the best hospice care possible; unfortunate collateral damage can be dealt with when Calvinism is back in bed with the state. This is why the institutional church is the institutional church and partakes in many things institutional like movie production, formal education etc., etc., ect. The state gave it birth, and it will always gravitate back to its mother. This is why Christ’s assembly was never an institution.

The Boz

Let’s continue now with stuff happens theology and the adorable Boz Tchividjian aka the Boz. The Boz is another impressive guy. How can we criticize the Boz? For crying out loud, he left his station as a district attorney who prosecuted child abusers to start G.R.A.C.E, an acronym for, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. The Boz bemoans “the continued culture of silence and protection [for child abusers] in American Evangelicalism.” This is a reality—stuff happens. No, stuff doesn’t just happen. Read the history for yourself. Seriously, people have actually written this ministry and stated, “Evangelicalism is beginning to look like Catholicism in regard to child abuse.” This is stuff happens theology.

Catholicism was founded on Platonism, and Protestantism came from Catholicism, and never left it. Augustine, an avowed Neo-Platonist, is both the father of Reformed theology and a Doctor of Grace in the Catholic Church. Later, Baptists became Protestants when the issue of infant baptism became a “secondary” issue. Apparently, after all of the Anabaptists of the home church variety were executed by a joint effort of Catholics and Protestants, the institutional breed of Baptist was accepted. After all, they paid the tithe tax. In regard to Catholics and their bastard children, there is no heresy more egregious than tax evasion. Evangelicalism became a necessary addition to Protestantism when people could no longer be compelled by force to attend church and tithe.

Again, we criticize the Communists for propaganda, but yet colonial America was a Puritan theocracy that executed people for being theologically incorrect and jailed people for not attending church and tithing. The Puritans were the first to bring slaves to America at Jamestown. The American Revolution was a pushback against colonial tyranny. While the Boz seeks to rectify the child abuse stuff in “Evangelicalism,” he holds fast to the same presuppositions concerning mankind and the divine right of kings that flows from it. He wants to rid “Evangelicalism” of the behavior, but continues to fornicate with the ideology that produces it.

This ministry, which understands Reformed ideology, has therefore continually stated that G.R.A.C.E. cannot help victims of child abuse in the church. This is because the Boz, like all of those in a Calvinist mindset, sees all of humanity as being in the same boat. Peruse if you will all of the G.R.A.C.E . literature, I was not able to find the word “justice” anywhere. And yet, didn’t the Boz come from a justice system? Though God himself demands justice for the maltreated, Calvinism holds justice in contempt because it assumes humanity deserves NOTHING more than eternity in hell.

I have written extensively on the problem of dealing with abuse in the church with Reformed ideology. The difference is the mindset that puts as much value on one life as it does all of life versus collectivism which sees the individual as expendable for the benefit of the group. This is known as collectivism. This is a big player in the Reformation’s Platonist roots. This is about philosophical metaphysics—not the Bible. While the Boz deplores the behavior of child abuse, his remedy requires that the victim and the abuser both recognize that we are all just “sinners saved by grace.” In at least one sense, he believes that the abusers would repent if the victims would admit that they are no better than their abusers. Example: while the Wartburg Watch blog portends to be an advocacy for the spiritual abused, they partner with Pastor Wade Burleson, a Calvinist, who suggested that abuse would be greatly reduced if the church was not guilty of failing to pray for abusers. Here we have yet another example of attempting to bake unleavened bread while adding leaven to the dough.

Furthermore, discernment blogs, like the Boz, have a common goal of purifying the institutional church. This gets right back to collectivism which is always dependent on the state. Plato’s Republic was about the best hospice care for humanity: government must own man and truth so that humanity can be as comfortable as possible while dying. To the contrary, Christ said He came to give eternal life and life more abundantly in the here and now. And the Christian has no fight with those who believe in a limited government that assures humanity’s right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. This is closer to the priesthood of believers that devalues church as an institution. This is why the New Testament church was primarily home based before being driven underground in oppressive countries by necessity. To the contrary, the American church functions primarily in institutional venues: higher learning; corporate expression; missionary organizations; political organizations; and even movie making. Discipleship and citizenship to the glory of God is barely on the radar screen.

Therefore, the institutional church will always be one step away from a liaison with state. The institution is what the institution does—it collects taxes and tithes, and doesn’t much care for those who don’t contribute to the group.

Yes, all of the above is why I was able to predict the inevitable outcome of G.R.A.C.E.’s involvement in the Bob Jones University abuse scandal months beforehand. It’s a Reformed institution investigating a Reformed institution. Don’t be fooled by the good cop bad cop routine. They are all cops when it is all said and done. BJU’s final sentence of their statement in regard to firing G.R.A.C.E. after the smoke was clear says it all:

We grieve with those who have suffered abuse in their past, and we desire to minister the grace of Christ to them. Our prayer for the abused is that God will be their refuge and strength.

Yes, they ministered G.R.A.C.E. to them alright, and that message is loud and clear lest the discernment bloggers and victims cannot yet see it:

Justice isn’t the issue; who in the hell do you think you are? You think you deserve justice? If you had a smidgen of spirituality you would seek refuge in God and not the justice of men! How dare you threaten the institution wherein salvation is found because you will not accept the will of God! You were raped, big deal! Jesus hung on the cross for your sins! You are the unmerciful servant who received forgiveness but will not forgive!

K-Love

 …is a radio station that plays contemporary Gnostic Christian music. Here is what my missionary son in law posted on Facebook a couple of days ago:

We have been listening to the newest Christian music on K-Love as we travel and I am noticing an odd trend: there are several songs that ask for God to break someone or make them lonely with the expected result of being a better person. Having been broken and very lonely a couple times in life I am pretty sure they are not really aware of what they are asking for. You don’t have to be broken in order to listen to God’s voice and indeed if you learn to listen to His voice you will not break or be broken even when you do face difficult times.

It’s not odd really, but is part of the whole all reality than can be perceived with the five senses (which of course includes us) is evil and only the invisible spirit realm is good metaphysics dressed up in Bible verses. We have to understand the ideology that drives all of this stuff and stop focusing on the stuff. It explains the madness behind the music, why a pastor would vote for Obama, why someone like Tada endowed with all sorts of technical power and influence would glory in her “weakness” while being far more empowered than most Americans, and for that matter, why a Buddhist monk would set himself on fire just to make a statement.

John Calvin

…is the epicenter of all that is going on in Christianity right now, and the key to understanding the significance of Calvin and his cultural impact has little to do with the Bible and everything to do with the fact that his ideology is the premise that drives a lot of stuff across the spectrum of life and society.  Focusing on the stuff will only delay the inevitable. And per the usual, people will continue to focus on the stuff, because stuff happens, and we like to talk about it—it’s like rubber necking to get the best view that we can of a traffic accident—it’s like flirting with the voluptuous vampiress that just might bite our necks and suck all of our blood. There is no thrill in solutions like traffic safety or a silver bullet.

And what would Mike Huckabee talk about on his show? But others have a choice; we don’t have to strive in baking unleavened bread while allowing leaven. We don’t have to give mere platitudes to the suffering…

we can set them free with real truth, and be a blessing in our own little corner of the world. And when you stand before Jesus, as we all will, it’s better that way. Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of the little ones we do unto Him. With Jesus, love is about the individual—not the collective good.

paul

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