Substitutionary Atonement: The Satisfaction of the Wrath of God? (Long Read)

Many, who give Christianity a go, so to speak, do so on the basis of emotive appeals and/or yearning. And many, who eventually and effectively fall away, do so because Christianity seems incoherent. This may manifest itself as outright rejection, as neglect, or in wayward departure from essential verities and their application. Application is an entailment of genuine faith; much as technological applications entail genuine faith in underlying principles of scientific theories.

Proponents of Christianity can do little in regard those who honestly cannot reconcile Christianity with perceived realities; or those who exalt their own reason and/or psyche as the ultimate arbiters of Truth and the Good, especially whenever the counter-intuitive wisdom of the God of Scriptures comes into conflict (which shall inevitably occur); or those who were never sufficiently serious.

However, proponents of Christianity ought to, at least, ensure that the Gospel and Full Counsel of God that is transmitted is scripturally faithful and thereby rationally coherent. It is cause for deep grief and great disgust when it is the errant teachings of ecclesiastical orthodoxy, which prove contrary to Biblical orthodoxy, which are the reasons for initial or eventual rejection. It is cause for deep frustration when more time is required disabusing what Christianity is not, perpetuated by those self-identified and supposedly Christian, than in explaining what Christianity is.

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The Atonement of Christ, as the sating of the wrath of God unto our Justification, is one such ecclesiastical orthodoxy, deserving of such disdain. Continue reading “Substitutionary Atonement: The Satisfaction of the Wrath of God? (Long Read)”

Reclaiming Natural Law (Excerpt)

Virtually all of my Evangelical life, I have operated upon the belief in the existence of Natural Law. Or so I thought. Of late, I discover a subtle but substantive difference from how the larger part of Christendom, including Reformed Protestants, has understood the concept.

The form of Natural Law, upon which I have always operated, is ontological. The purpose behind natural laws is to provide experiential benefit and prevent experiential harm to the cosmological and psychosocial order in natural cause and effect fashion. This ontological understanding of Natural Law allows for the theoretical possibility of epistemologically ascertaining those ethical principles and their ontological effects through natural human faculties (e.g. reason and empirical evidence), although this can be quite difficult even with highest commitment to intellectual integrity. This enables genuine social discourse between all members of society regarding the nature of the Good, while being realistic as to the success of that project.

Nevertheless, just like the law of gravity, natural moral laws operate at the objective level of being, existence, and actuality; quite independent of the (subjective) knowing. Continue reading “Reclaiming Natural Law (Excerpt)”

Imputed Injustice – The Judicial Importance of Consent

Imputed Injustice

Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists

It is my empirically justified belief that modern Protestant Evangelicalism, and particularly its seminarian elite, have little comprehension of the nature and principles of Justice, including that of due process. In this, the seminarians have seriously failed to uphold the triumvirate of concerns that Christ Jesus deemed primary: judgment/justice, faith, and compassion (Matt 23:23). And if one does not comprehend the nature and principles of Justice, one cannot comprehend the Justice in the Justification in the Atonement.

A, if not THE primary argument deployed to validate the notion of humanity’s collective guilt in Adams’s sin is proof by blackmail. If one repudiates the imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt upon all, neither can one subscribe to the imputation of Christ Jesus’s work on behalf of those who put their faith in Him. We would thereby still be hopelessly dead in our sins. Continue reading “Imputed Injustice – The Judicial Importance of Consent”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

Mars Hill imploded a little while after my brief flirtation with Harvest Bible Chapel. While at Harvest, I met young males who were initially quite enthused about the masculine Christianity that Driscoll represented. As for myself, I have complicated thoughts and feelings about this now “Goldstein” in the New Calvinist pantheon. This is as it should be. Contrary to the Manichean stick figures of Hollywood, the larger part of humanity are a complexity.

I do not wish to speak to Driscoll’s attitudes, personality, and failings; nor to the hostile milieu which confronted him, globally, locally, and within his own multisite megachurch; nor the interaction between such, which contributed to greater contention in feedback loop. Others, many with personal acquaintance with the actors involved, have better testimonies to those elements.

Rather, it is Mars Hill’s Church Discipline in the Bible (2012) in-house document, which I found of greater pertinence and enduring import. For contained therein is a systemic theological understanding and ecclesiological practice, common with other New Calvinist churches. The purpose of this essay is to suggest a traceable link between those systemic understandings and the various scandals that consistently plague New Calvinist churches in various forms. Continue reading “The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline”

Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists

Imputed Injustice

Yet we still quarrel. We still contend with the Almighty. We still assume that somehow God did us wrong and that we suffer as innocent victims of God’s judgment. Such sentiments only confirm the radical degree of our fallenness. When we think like this, we are thinking like Adam’s children. Such blasphemous thoughts only underline in red how accurately we were represented by Adam.[1]

According to R.C. Sproul, repudiating the imputation of legal guilt for Adam’s sin upon ourselves as his descendants constitutes blasphemous thoughts, indicative of the radical degree of our fallenness. Then I am the chief of blasphemers; having visceral and vehement contempt and detestation for this ecclesiastical innovation! Had I first heard this nonsense, confirmed by the larger part of Christendom, I would have rejected Christianity outright as perversely absurd and unjust. I would have been as Christopher Hitchens, as Sam Harris, or as Richard Dawkins. Thank God that He saved me from His church, albeit in a most painful way.

Rejecter of the Faith

Apparently, I am not alone in my radical blasphemer and radical degree of fallenness. Continue reading “Imputed Injustice – Calvin Against the Calvinists”

The Defrocking (Firing) of Darrin Patrick – Part 3

 

The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 1

 The Defrocking of Darrin Patrick – Part 2

The Defrocking Darrin Patrick – Church Discipline

The more that I have learnt of Darrin Patrick’s person and ministry since April 13, 2016, the more that I have come to like the man. This does not make me his fanboy. He is not that pretty. However, I am a man with an acute sense of justice, and fierce Scythian loyalty to protect those who I deem to be one of “my own,” even to the point of savaging the reputations and livelihoods of those who would so dare hurt those I love.

Aspersions of sinful leadership and deceit in Darrin’s life are continuing to be promulgated by The Journey cabal and their allies. But the facts that are publicly available betray this narrative. There is total disconnect. And it is only because of the sheeple propensity of those within the Reformed/New Calvinist congregations, which allows this narrative to persist. But to trust the word of mere men, Evangelical mini-popes, over the plain rendering of Scriptures or the objective realities of the situation is to give evidence of a perilous salvific status. For such sheeples have made these elders, who proclaim to be the trumpets and anvils of God, to be the ultimate authority, even over the God of Scriptures.

From my vantage point, deep injustice has been done to Darrin Patrick. A predominantly conservative–minded faction among the eldership resent their more sociopolitical moderate colleague who has pursued the lost beyond the gated culture communities of white sepulchered Christendom. They have exploited the passages concerning the qualifications of elders, while blatantly violating other explicit scriptural passages that insist that the facts of Patrick’s supposed moral failings be laid out before the congregation for them to decide (Matt 18:15–7). In this, I see a successful bid by Satan, exploiting the envy of these moralistic and Pharisaic wolves that currently lead The Journey, to discredit and destroy one who has hitherto been able to successfully assault the gates of Hell. The facts of that reality, even these wolves have been disinclined to discredit. This is a better narrative, which fits the factual circumstances, and in light of scriptural and Christian history, than the narrative that seems to be in the process of morphing as we speak.

For according to the latest rumors that have been fed to Christianity Today and Barnabas Piper, the son of John Piper, “sexual behaviour was not the issue at hand, but the issue at hand was basically pride.”[1] Last week, innuendos of sexual impropriety and lack of self-control was the mainstay of The Journey’s assault on Darrin’s honor and reputation. But apparently this first lob of flak was too incredible, even for the credulity of those on their pews, to stick. So the current narrative is one of “Darrin Patrick . . .  was fired for violating his duties as a pastor and one of the major behavioural issues that his church board or elder board cited as the reason for their firing was a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.”

Determination of pride is a very difficult and elusive judgment call, usually requiring “by their fruits, you will know them” forms of palpable and measureable evidence (Matt 7:16, 20). Even New Calvinist leadership will counsel that one may refute perceived erroneous doctrines with gusto, but be very careful, and having plenty of evidence, in the aspersion of bad motives and attitudes. But as exemplified in Darrin Patrick’s response to a critique of one his books from John MacArthur, extant evidence on social media betrays this elusive pride that these church elder board members have apparent deep insight into, (even as their lead pastor, a psycho-socially oblivious Jeremy Bedenbaugh, publicly dishonored his wife).[2] But if one takes the time to listen to Darrin Patrick’s talks, the vanity of pride is not among the top five impressions one receives, unless one has a prejudice, agenda, or anvil to grind.

But let us take up the issue of “a history of building identity through ministry and media platforms.” If this be true of Darrin Patrick, who I have never heard of prior to last week, what can it be said of Barnabas Piper’s father, John Piper, who I have heard of, who was quick to make his presence known in the Oklahoma tornado? If this be true of Darrin Patrick, what is one to say about all those other books by New Calvinist pastors and theologians with pages of endorsements from their peers (John 12:43). I actually find it difficult to believe that they have been read by their endorsers. For what busy bee minister would have the time to read all the books that they have endorsed?

Is writing a book contrary to the declared will of God? If not so, then the public should be aware of the current state of the publishing industry. An author is required by the publisher of his book to establish a media platform. I know this, because in order to have an academic book published with Wipf & Stock, which was already accepted (“Faith from First to Last”), this has been a requirement laid upon me. But because I am just a non-credentialed grunt on the pew, in a Laodicean locality with a dearth of spiritual vitality to support my ventures, and without the network of endorsers, that book will have to be withdrawn from them.

The publishing market is so savagely competitive, especially with Amazon, traditional publishers no longer perform the promotional stuff that they once used to. Therefore, Barnabas Piper, who has published a book and should know better, but has the promotional advantage of nepotistic connections, is being deceitfully disingenuous.

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I am tiring of this travesty of justice. If The Journey will not self-correct or prove the facts of their aspersions concerning Darrin Patrick; and if Act 29 leader, Matt Chandler, or all the other New Calvinist leadership do not correct this situation; then just as the elders of The Journey have arrogated unto themselves to be the trumpets and anvils of God, so shall I do likewise. And just as my Father saw fit to hiss for the Assyrians and Babylonians to discipline “physical Israel”; in imitation of Him (Eph 5:1), perhaps I should hiss for the Assyrian and Babylonian presses to discipline “spiritual Israel.”

[1] Morgan Lee, “Darrin Patrick, Pastors, and Pride with Barnabas Piper,” Quick to Listen (Christianity Today), April 21, 2016, https://soundcloud.com/christianitytoday/barnabas-piper, Min 2:30.

[2] “When I make my vows to my wife in my marriage ceremony, I said, you know, richer or poorer, sickness or in health. And I will love you until all eternity. No. What do we say? I will love you until death do us part. There will be an ending of marriage.” From Jeremy Bedenbaugh, Singleness (sermon), St. Louis, MO: Tower Grove Church, October 18, 2015, http://thejourney.org/media/local-church-sermons-2015-16/singleness, 3:50 – 4:06.

When Is a Non-Profit not a Non-Profit?

Grunts on the pew have long been exposed to the disgraceful travesty of Evangelical profiteers of the “gospel”; although this seems largely to be an American phenomena. Unfortunately, although I dwell in another political jurisdiction, this stench cannot be contained by physical borders. Wheeler-and-dealer Ayatollah Robertson seems to have wielded a legally ironclad deal to have his “700 Club” punish the world in perpetuity. Between Robertson’s CBN and the Crouch’s TBN, The Walrus and the Carpenter of Prosperity Gospel broadcasting, these public persona have largely become the face of Evangelical Christianity.

Hereby, my local interlocutors, let alone all those on the commentariats, find easy reason to dismiss the Gospel and the Christian faith. And who can blame them? And thus again, “the name of God is blasphemed among the [nations]” (Rom 2:24). This is never a good state of affairs within which Christian seminarians should dwell. Such excess of wealth and opulence among the higher ranks of the Romanist clergy became useful fodder for the Protestant Reformers in the 16th Century, and the Jacobins in the 18th. And if Russell Moore complains about lack of Evangelical discernment and concern regarding Demagogue Donald, this is partially a function of country club seminarians having alienated many of their grunts on the pew.

Continue reading “When Is a Non-Profit not a Non-Profit?”