I had gotten up at about 11:30 last night and this morning wanted to go to church. I walked down the brick streets of Tyler to the First Baptist Church, one of Tyler's oldest congregations. The service began with the singing of three hymns, including Majesty and one other I forget and one which I was not familiar with. Then the pastor took the stage and pointed out that the organist was not present this morning. Unfortunately, his mother passed away last week. But despite this man's loss, he said "It is well with my soul." The story behind the song, written by Horatio Spafford, is incredibly moving (and I will make a post on this in time). Then the church sang the beloved hymn and it brought tears of joy to my eyes.
The subject of the sermon this morning was on sin. I was not prepared for the Calvinistic self-wallowing yet hopeful (in a most delusional sense) message. I was afraid at the introduction that it would be a presentation spoken in the common tongue, rather than the theological. I was mistaken because at the outset the pastor felt it necessary to make an observation on the Logos teaching of John chapter 1. His view was decidedly the Trinitarianist view of the matter, which was discouraging in that he had not advocated for my view. Indeed, I was the first theologian in a period of 1950 years to present this view of the Logos which you can find in one of my earlier entries on Trinitarianism. Because of that, I had no hopes of hearing him or anyone else share my view as I was the only one who taught it since the very earliest time. For that matter, I didn't expect to hear anyone's view of the Logos when I set out for church this morning and for that matter, I have no idea why he had to bring it up as it apparently had nothing to do with anything.
My hope that there would be a nod to theological matters turned to despair when I discovered I was sitting in a Baptist denomination, Trinitarian at that, and we know the Baptists never took pride in education, or evangelism for that matter. Instead, they let the good old Calvin rod and reel be cast out into the deep, drawing in sinners then roasting them on good old hellfire.
The reading began with Romans 3, which is immediately a red flag to me, as I have found that many churches skip over the words of Christ and are quick to get into Paul, you know, the fun stuff. Paul took it upon himself to advocate for many errors in this one chapter which I simply could not be any less familiar with until today because his writing to me is as a noxious fume and I'd prefer not to read it at all.
(This is the passage that the Baptists sing from, "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No not one, no not one!")
Paul's historical blundering of the Psalms where he says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one," was a purely self-serving reading of the text. Paul is here saying that we are all warped and without any redeeming feature whatsoever. What the text in fact says is not even close to what Paul claims and read within context (it opens with the phrase, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God) and that among those fools not one of them is righteous, very different from what Paul is saying. Paul resorts to deceit to further his own theological views and slanders the words of David.
(Yet the Bible says that Noah, Job, and Daniel were righteous men [Ezekiel 14:14]. How can this be when the so-called greatest apostle says that is impossible, he said so himself?)
Paul continues making his bed, which history will affirm he lies in to this day, by furthering other absurd beliefs that resulted in the Baptist pastor going forward with these following points:
The Law isn't meant to be obeyed (classic Paulinist thought), it's just there to show how crooked we are and how separated from God we are.
We can't obey the ten commandments. In fact, we don't break them, they break us. (Laughable, if it weren't sad. They don't claim to obey even the most basic commandments. Calvinistically speaking, they offer no explanation, only predestination and unconditional election.)
The rest of it that I suggested I would tell you are not even so relevant as to have taken my time and God's time this morning to even hear.
My humble observation on these matters is that this daemon Calvinist god is so evil that he has given us a whole variety of commandments just to see us fail, knowing that we have no chance of obeying even the most simple commands because we're the greatest most warped sinners, and he lives to rub it in our face, kills his son because he was out of ideas, and by the way, that was after he had his son rub it in our face and say Be ye perfect as my father is perfect, yet the whole time he is laughing at us because he's given us rules that no one could possibly follow and he knows that we can't even obey simple commands, much less be perfect.
Source: John Calvin, and the Baptist pastor speaking this morning.
Does it make any sense to us here today? No and if this were the religion, it would be no religion at all but an exercise in self-aggrandizement and wallowing in your own wickedness.
This was my first Sunday, the Sunday of discouraging Calvinism. But my second Sunday was an Inspiring Arminian one.
I left that church not more than thirty minutes after arriving, before, in my estimation, we had arrived half-way through the sermon. I felt that in my excursion with the sect of Calvin, that I was in strong need of an Arminian take of things for a good refreshing. Fortunately for me in the early 1900s the Methodists had built a church right next to the Baptist church. I know not which was there first but since I was born in the 1980s it would seem to be most irrelevant, although it would tell me whether the Methodist church was built next to the Baptist church, or the Baptist next to the Methodist.
Upon walking into this most historic of buildings into another beautiful sanctuary, I heard the name of Jesus. It was all Jesus I heard. The pastor was animated and passionately speaking in the name of Christ. This pastor has made quite the name for himself as a charismatic speaker, his name coming to me several times, and I was not disappointed in hearing how passionately he spoke of Christ. I had only been to a Methodist service on one other occasion and I felt in both cases that I was but a Lilliputian standing amongst giants. The Methodists are very tall and distinguished people who I suspect are impressed with a necessity to marry only the tallest women, as they are all so tall! In fact, the shortest woman there had the appearance of an old shrew, walking alone with no husband beside her or any indication she even knew anyone there. She must have been 4'8" only on her best day and among people who had been blessed with such strong frames I suspect many without looking down wouldn't know she was there.
I caught about the last fifteen minutes of the service, which I suppose is all I can stomach from even the more decent congregations any more. As I heard the man speak of the power of Christ I thought to myself, this, indeed, is the spirit of prophecy, the testimony of Jesus Christ. It now strikes me as an odd contrast that the
Calvinists would be speaking so passionately about how dead we are in our sins while this Methodist pastor spoke of how Christ is alive and He lives in us! The difference could not be so stark. I have always been more attuned to Wesley's view of Christian perfection than Calvin's total depravity. In every sense of the word, the Baptist sermon was nothing but depraved and the heralding of Christ by the Arminian speaker was perfect!
Towards the end a couple young girls, perhaps about eight years old, in robes, walked from the front of the sanctuary to the back carrying these odd poles with lit candles at the end. (I was standing at the back). When they got to the back of the sanctuary they blew the candles out. The first girl I noticed was of exceptional beauty, she had blond hair, the joy of youth shone upon her, and I stared at her, fascinated with her angelic appearance, having all the splendor of the cherubim. But then as I looked around, I saw that not only was I surrounded by people who were tall by anyone's standard, but I was surrounded by beautiful people! They were astonishing and seemed to come from a different stock.
At the end of the service the old ladies who, dressed in ostentatious clothing, not expensive clothing but distinguished, appeared to me as being a group of very privileged class who I could claim to be nothing but inadequate presenting myself to even in my best clothes.
The stained glass windows, though I didn't take time to view what images they contained, had a special radiating warmth as the eastern sun shone through, beaming a warmth which was comforting on a cool morning such as we had today.
It was here I learned today that the powerful evangelism of John Wesley is what is necessary to free the saints of their Calvinistic stupor. Calvinism is a terrible disease in the church that brings me now even that much more admiration for the ministry of Wesley, not that he combatted it per se, but that despite being surrounded by Anglicans and Presbyterians chose to preach the word of God and go against the Calvinistic heresy.
Though the Calvinist Sunday was a disheartening and discouraging day, Wesley has brought me back to inspiration and here I continue my fight against the blasphemy Calvin preached.