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Jan 13 2014

Discernment Blog

Recently someone called Spiritual Tyranny a “discernment blog.” This surprised me because my blog has nothing to do with “discernment,” and I thought this was self-evident. And then I realized it probably isn’t. I write about the tyranny and despotism within contemporary Christianity, and the current mad dash into Calvinism dominating the religious landscape. And since blogs challenging “Christian abuse” are called discernment blogs, it vaguely makes sense that my work would be subsumed in that category. But this only makes sense because people are not making a crucial distinction.

Since I started writing in 2007, the blogosphere has exploded with people writing about the “abuse” within the American church. Well, maybe I should say that the web has exploded with people bitching about the ill treatment they received from some preacher standing behind the Plexiglas podium but very few of these blogs actually deal with the roots of the oppression. Some of the bitching is warranted: they are reporting some obscene stuff done in the name of Christianity. There is a real need for those first baby steps out of an emotionally and spiritually bad situation. It is nice to know that you are not crazy because other people have walked a similar path. I get the powerful forces behind this phase of the recovery process . . . as long as it is a phase in the process. Unfortunately, it is proving to NOT be a phase but an end in itself. The blogs merely relive the anxiety of each report, woeing and tumulting and outragifying. And when they run out of that, people finish the cycle with bromides and cyber-empathy. As if everyone giving an emoticon hug will make the bad monsters under the bed go away.

>sigh<

It hasn’t and it won’t.

As I predicted some time ago, the current trend of spiritual tyranny is only the beginning; we have only begun to scratch the surface of the Christian “abuse” dealeo. Even a slumbering coed in a freshman world history class can see that Christianity has been at the forefront of the world’s greatest atrocities. National Socialist Germany was Lutheran/Calvinist by every measure, and we all know how that worked out. And this is just one example among many confirming James Madison’s observation:

“What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people.”

So in the scope of potential tyranny, we are still in the baby steps stage. Discernment blogs woe and tumult over such doctrines like “wife spanking” (the practice of disciplining a wife for sins like she is a five-year-old), but rest assured it won’t take us too much longer to start brushing up against the bar set by the Reich Church. Since Calvin released his first edition of the Institutes of Christian Religion with a preface to Francis I (King of France), the Reformed Tradition has been directed towards theocratic dictatorship. His detractors knew it when they complained to King Francis. And Francis suspected it must be true. This compelled Johnny C to describe his plight with these words:

“… they press Upon us to confess it [our doctrine] to be schismatical, which moveth war against the Church, or that the true Church hath lain dead through the many ages in which no such thing hath been heard of. Last of all, they, say that they need no arguments, for (say they) it may be judged by its fruits of what sort it is, which namely, hath bred so big a heap of sects, so many turmoils of sedition, so great licentiousness of vices.“

John Calvin wrote King Francis looking for political refuge against detractors; the only problem was his detractors were proved right a thousand fold. Make no mistake. Calvin’s endgame is theocracy, and every intellectual heir since he penned his metastasized doctrine has sought the same outcome, so modern day wife-spanking is merely one more logical step on the path to despotism. And by the way, Christian wife beating is nothing new. If you are of a mind, Google the etymological origins of the phrase “rule of thumb” and then remember that French and English common law have their roots in Catholic and Protestant theology.

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    2 comments

    1. 1
      Lydia

      John,

      Something I have noticed reading ‘discernment” blogs over the years is how they seem to attract leftists. Some of them are there to say. “told you so” and push their version of Christianity which is just as much about control…. except by government instead of the church.

      Others think that going left after leaving fundamentalism/Calvinism is the answer and gravitate there. They think it is the “opposite” and more caring. But it is simply more of the same just different areas of your life they want to control.

      Both are missing that the root assumptions are the same! Which is why studying the root assumptions of abuse/control/authoritarianism is absolutely necessary for any real change to occur.

    2. 2
      John Immel

      Hey Lydia

      Of course I think you are correct. All arguments that concede the premise are really arguments over how much. What people fail to grasp is that the political left and the “religious” right are actually two sides of the same coin. At their root they both believe that man should be compelled to “moral” action. Of course what shifts is the definition of moral but what does not shift is the presumption that man must be compelled.

      This is exactly why Christians get sucked into supporting dictators. They hear a tyrant advocating “moral action” and applaud the theory and thereby applaud the public policy carried out in behalf of the theory. Failing to grasp that it wasn’t “moral action” he was advocating. He was advocating FORCE against what he considered immoral.

      This is of course why the discernment blogs run themselves ragged around the issue of polity. (among other rabbit trails) They have the cause and effect of polity backwards. They assume polity is the thing that produces correct doctrine. But what they are really saying is … if only the “Right” person had the force then C. J Mahaney wouldn’t be able to perpetrate his magical metaphysical mayhem. This really means they believe that force produces ideas. But this is error. Ideas are the justification for force. Until these blogs are actually willing to think about ideas driving the actions they can blog all they want. They won’t discern a thing.

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