Paul's Passing Thoughts

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away….but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.” James 4:14, Hebrews 10:25

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 7, 2013

 

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Index of Essays on Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 6, 2013

Originally posted on Essays on Calvinism:

This is a work in progress. This blog is indexing over 1000 articles on Calvinism from Paul’s Passing Thoughts .com

This is in preparation for several upcoming writing projects for TANC Publishing.

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Gnostic Watch Weekly is Now False Reformation Blogtalk Radio, Fridays 7pm

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on October 5, 2013

The 2015 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 4, 2013

The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 31, 2015

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Welcome to Blogtalk Radio False Reformation this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 2 of “The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification.”

How is 1John used to argue for a progressive salvation, and what is John really saying in his epistle? That’s what we are discussing tonight. If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson.

Ok, so this whole idea that is very Protestant that we must keep going back to the same gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved. But, it’s all good because we are going back to the “gospel” and the “gospel” is by faith alone so going back to the gospel is a faith alone work which isn’t really a work. So, it’s ok to do something to keep ourselves saved as long as it’s a faith alone work.

As we discussed last week, here is where the home fellowship movement stands apart from the institutional church: salvation is a finished work; salvation is NOT a progression from point A to point B. The new birth is a onetime instantaneous quickening of the believer. The believer then in fact does move on to something completely different—kingdom living, or discipleship. Central to Protestantism is the idea that moving on from the gospel to doctrinal maturity is an abomination. The who’s who of Protestantism can be cited many times in stating this in no uncertain terms.

The home fellowship movement is not a mere preference over the institutional church—it is an anti-progressive justification movement. It is a return to the true gospel of Christ. All of the institutional church either embraces progressive justification or is willing to fellowship with it and is therefore altogether guilty.

Last week, we also introduced the fact that 1John must be interpreted according to its historical context. The number one nemesis of the 1st century assemblies was Gnosticism and 1John is a treatise against it. We covered John’s introduction which was a direct pushback against the Gnostic idea that the spiritual Christ did not die on the cross. We believe that John was specifically addressing the Gnostic teachings of Cerinthus. He taught that there was more than one Christ; one born naturally of human parents that will be resurrected with all other men in the last days, and the spiritual Christ who dwells in heaven. Elsewhere, John wrote:

1John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

The very definition of antichrist teachings is the denial that the true Christ (Messiah) was part of the material world, or actually came in the flesh. Gnostic systems of thought are very complex, but the cardinal principle is that material is evil and the spiritual or invisible is good.

The important distinction is that biblically, the material creation is not inherently evil, but weak. This is an important distinction because Christ coming as man makes it possible for men to be literally recreated and part of God’s literal family. The teaching that “denies Jesus is the Christ” (Messiah: 1Jn 2:22) circumvents the new birth. Throughout this epistle, John refers to the recipients as “little offsprings”(teknion; little children). I want to dig into this a little deeper; the new birth and its relationship to apostolic succession, but first, let me address the crux issue here.

John was also addressing an aspect of Gnosticism that believed the following: sin only resides in the material, and the spiritual part of man is sinless and has never sinned. In essence, it doesn’t matter what we do in the body because the spiritual part of man is sinless and has never sinned, and that is the only part of man that is eternal anyway. Many scholars concur that this was a common form of Gnosticism. Of course, this disavows any need for Christ to die on the cross and makes the knowledge of this supposed lie salvation itself. Salvation by being made into something new is out—coming to grips with the gnosis regarding man’s inner spark of divinity is in. This backdrop now explains exactly what John was getting at in 1John 1:7-10 and 2:1,2.

1John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1John 2:1 – My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

“We” in these verses should be viewed as speaking to mankind in general while including both saved and unsaved individuals. Recognizing that Christ came to deal with man’s sin problem is efficacious to the gospel.

John is NOT stating the Protestant gospel of “deep repentance” which teaches that we keep ourselves saved (or washed) via a “lifestyle of repentance.” That would be a perpetual return to the same gospel that saved us for relief from “present sin.” That flies in the face of biblical justification. This makes “if” in these verses a conditional conjunction. That would mean that our sins continue to be forgiven, or washed, or cleansed “if” we “walk in the light” and continue to repent. That’s clearly works salvation, and clearly a reapplication of Christ’s sacrifice to present sin. As actually taught in Protestant circles, the sacrifice only happened once, but the remembrance of it continues to cleanse present and future sins.

This is the whole deal behind, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day” and the vital union doctrine. Living a “lifestyle of repentance” or deep repentance “keeps us in the love of Jesus.” This is salvation by Jesus + deep repentance to keep ourselves saved. The Reformed say, “No, it’s not works because repentance is a faith alone work,” but not even a so-called faith alone work can keep you born again—you can’t unborn yourself by not doing something. Look, here is the money point on all of this: the needed present and future forgiveness can only be found in the Protestant institutional church via baptism/formal membership. And we will be addressing that a little further along.

One of the many problems with this is, in regard to believers, follows: in order for present sin to exist, there has to be a law, and the blood of Christ ended the law—it’s a onetime cleansing. To have some need to reapply the blood of Christ to present sin implies that there is still sin, and there is not because where there is no law—there is no sin, and Christ died on the cross to end the law. This fact is found in Romans 3:19,20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:8, 10:4.

Some insist that John’s context here is fellowship, and since fellowship is the context, John is writing about repentance that is necessary to keep us in proper family relationship with God, and not a repentance that keeps us in the family of God; ie., John is talking about sanctification and not justification. Frankly, that’s the view that I used to hold to as well.

But John is talking about the onetime cleansing that justifies. Note that throughout these verses that it is a forgiveness that cleanses from “all sin” and “all unrighteousness.” That has to be justification. What John is saying is that no matter who you are in humanity, you have need to be forgiven of sin by believing that Jesus is the Christ and died for you. Note the subjects of these verses: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

However, John is also saying that this fact doesn’t give us a license to sin any more than the Gnostics, “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” But watch this: “But if anyone does sin, we [everyone] have an advocate with the Father.” Ok John, an advocate for what purpose? Answer: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Who are the subjects? It’s obvious who the subjects are.

If this isn’t speaking to a onetime cleansing of sin, the world doesn’t need the new birth any more than Christians—they only need to ask forgiveness so the blood of Christ will be applied to the particular sin. Not only that, the new birth is also disavowed through the denial of a new creaturehood displayed by people who have passed from death to life. And John is speaking directly towards this issue as well. You see, who the “we” are and what the “if” is—is critical to interpreting these verses properly. The “we” are the “anyone.” The “if” is a cause and effect conjunction and not a conditional conjunction.

And let me tell you something, Protestant theologians rarely have any qualms about saying that God’s promises are conditional. I mean, what’s the paramount example? Replacement theology/supersessionism, right? This whole idea that Israel’s election was conditional on them holding up their end of the covenant. I just don’t know what can be more obvious, and this is their exact take on justification as well.

This is the crux. John is saying that if we walk in the light, it’s because we have been born again, not that we keep ourselves born again if we do our part by walking in the light. Walking in the light is not our part of the so-called vital union, we walk in the light because that’s what new creatures do; cows like hay and ducks like water—it’s a cause and effect conjunction not a conditional conjunction.

Now, here is where we really struggle with these verses: in verse 7, the English word in the plural strongly suggests a present continuous action. Verse 9 really isn’t that much of a problem as it’s merely saying that anyone that confesses their sin is cleansed of all unrighteousness. Note the following verse 10 that can be rendered this way: “If we say we have not [never] sinned.” The English “ed’ on the end of sin indicates past tense like, “I sinned.” That’s past tense. If John is speaking to the present continuance, why would he have not written, “if we say that we do not sin.” Right? Verse 9 simply fits into the Gnostic motif that John was arguing against.

Neither is 1John 2:1, 2 a problem. John is simply stating that anyone who recognizes their sin and wants to do something about it has an advocate in Christ who cleanses all sin. And by the way, the rest of John’s letter backs up my Pauline argument to the hilt. Just, all over the place in the rest of the letter, for example,

1John 3:3 – And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

He came to “take away sin,” not to cover it with His own righteousness and to continue to forgive it. Christ came to end sin altogether. Are we “in Christ”? Well, in Him there is NO sin. So if we are in Him, why would we need forgiveness for present or future sin in regard to justification? In 1John 2:12-14, forgiveness of sin and overcoming the evil one is spoken of in the past tense.

The only matter at hand is the word “cleanses” in verse 7.  Let me point something out to you. Most of the English translations that we have come out of the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, and there are myriads of examples of this, the translations are tainted with progressive justification presuppositions. And unfortunately, this includes the Greek word-study helps. Here is something I read in one:

Every encounter with a command to obey, is our opportunity to jettison self-reliance and to yield to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Supernatural commands from the supernatural God can only be carried out with reliance on His supernatural power! The Spirit is called the Helper, but don’t let His Name mislead you. To say that we need His help is to imply we have some ability of our own to obey and are in need of a little “push” so to speak.

See the problem? You can know the Greek backwards and forwards, but what good does it do if “help” doesn’t mean “help”? Look, what good have all of the Protestant Greek scholars done for us? I came to realize the problem of progressive justification by my own independent study in Romans. The basic concept easily understood regardless of the language, “where there is no law there is no sin.” That statement astounded me, but was the key to unraveling the whole mystery. Once you understand that fundamental, the rest of the Bible, when taken in context, fits together perfectly in every way. How much did any knowledge of Greek aid me in this understanding? Nada. Goose egg. Zilch. Loco zippo.

Greek can be confirming, and helpful, but the Bible is written in definitive structures that mean the same thing in all languages and that is no accident. You can translate the fact that Christ died on the cross to end the law, and where there is no law there is no sin, any way you want to—it’s going to mean the same thing in any language. Then you start seeing where the concept fits together with everything else in the Bible which enables you to nail down what the anomalies are. And a lot of the anomalies are bias towards a certain worldview.

Notice in the example I gave there is no room given for an authentic colaboring between us and the Holy Spirit. It is either all us or all of the Holy Spirit. My friends, that is the Protestant redemptive-historical worldview to a T and it is fundamentally Gnostic in its premise. Hence, when you use Greek word-study helps, you are often dealing with the same bias. This is why I eventually threw away my Kenneth Wuest expanded New Testament translation. I started seeing clear bias in how he processed the Greek verbs and I was totally done with him at that point.

I spent the better part of yesterday researching 1John 1:7 and the word “cleanses” therein. We know from biblical context that this verse cannot be saying that the one sacrifice of Christ continues to rewash us IF we continue to walk in the light; ie., Protestantism. And let me give you the thumbnail: if you remain faithful to the institutional church and its sacraments/ordinances, that keeps you saved. Even if the Greek usage indicates a present continual action there is no way to distinguish that from the simple reality of being washed once and remaining clean thereafter. In other words, there is no way to definitively distinguish between two intents: a required reapplication to reinstate a status or an unchanged status that continues in the same state without any further action.

Though “cleanses” appears to be some kind of continuing action in the ESV version of 1John 1:7 as well as many other versions, we know that this same cleansing of regeneration is clearly stated as a onetime final act in many, many other Bible passages. For example,

1Corinthians 6:11- And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Ok, you have “were” in there four times with sinful lifestyles being in the past tense, and sanctified, justified, and “washed” being in the present tense. It is one event that happens one time and transforms us into an immutable state. Period. This is irrefutable. And by the way, if you do a New Testament word search on the exact form of the Greek word “cleanses” (other translations “cleanseth”) in 1John 1:7, it is almost always used as a onetime ceremonial cleansing.

Matthew 8:2 – And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, ” Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. [Here in Mathew 8:2, the same exact form of the Greek word is used for past, present, and future tense. “Ed” is added to the English word “cleansed” to indicate past tense].

Note how Young’s Literal Translation has 1John 1:7.

and if in the light we may walk, as He is in the light — we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son doth cleanse us from every sin;

Now, not only does this simply state the fact that the blood of Christ cleanses us from every sin with a much less conditional translation, it’s interesting that the YLT picks up on something that Andy related to me yesterday in regard to the word “may”:

What is interesting is that all of the examples that John uses where he says “if” are all 3rd class conditions.  All the key verbs are in the subjunctive mood.

Here is an excerpt regarding 3rd class conditions…

“The third class condition often presents the condition as uncertain of fulfillment, but still likely.  There are, however, many exceptions to this…The third class condition encompasses a broad range of potentialities in Koine Greek. It depicts what is likely to occur in the future, what could possibly occur, or even what is only hypothetical and will not occur” (Wallace, p. 696).

So John is really posing a series of future hypothetical situations. Any place where it says “if” you should read it as “if ever in the future…” or “if at any time in the future…”

It would appear that this seems to be an exercise in reason using hypothetical examples to refute the gnostics that were among them in those assemblies. Notice that the present tense verbs are present tense because they are in the conclusion (apodosis) to the proposed hypothetical conditional premise (protasis). But the verbs in the premise (protasis) are in the subjunctive mood.

Also, you cannot read verse 7 without verse 6.  Verse 7 is an antithetical conclusion of verse 6. In other words, you can’t properly interpret vs 7 without vs 6. In fact, notice how 7 contrasts 6, AND vs 9 contrasts vs 8 also!  They are parallel arguments, and then vs 10 kind of sums it up.

This bolsters my contention that John is addressing people in general regarding the ramifications of their beliefs about sin in contrast to Gnosticism. That’s the crux here: the backdrop is the Gnosticism John is addressing. If you say that you have no sin, for whatever reason, you are making God out to be a liar. But if you confess your sin, God will cleanse you from all unrightousness. And, that will have an effect on your life because you have been cleansed. John does not hone-in on the new birth right here, but does so in chapter 3 bigtime. Really, chapter 3 clarifies exactly what is being stated in the first two chapters.

In addition, John is saying that even though those who confess their sin are cleansed of all sin, that is not a different kind of license to sin without ramifications. Hence, “…I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” But if you do recognize that you have sin, we have an advocate with the Father that is a propitiation for all sin, those who confess that they have sin, and those who may in the future confess that they have sin—this is what is going on in this passage. And by the way, this is another refutation of limited atonement as well.

Let me give another example that might help clarify all of this. One Reformed fellow (a disciple of Paul David Tripp) arguing against me in regard to all of this stated the following:

In John 4, we are to drink once, but that one drink becomes a reserve that refreshes continually. The substance that refreshes is the same (Christ’s salvation, in an ongoing manner)…For Calvin, the cleaning is ongoing, because there WILL be new sins, and 1 John tells us there are new sins. WERE IT NOT FOR the ongoing cleaning and forgiveness, we would exit the family of God, but the faithful know of a certainty that this cleansing is ongoing and present.

See the problem with not interpreting this passage in its historical context? John isn’t talking about “new sins,” he is talking about SIN period. Where is there anything stated in this passage in regard to “new sins”? What relevance does “new sins” have with the unsaved world that is one of the subjects of this passage? The unsaved have “new sins”?

Also, Christians do not have “new sins” because Christ ended the law and where there is no law there is no sin. This is exactly why the Protestant gospel keeps people under law—the whole concept of “new sin.”

In addition, notice what he states about John 4 that is a common Reformed position:

In John 4, we are to drink once, but that one drink becomes a reserve that refreshes continually.

This statement is a common smoking gun that damns Protestantism. In that passage, Jesus said that those who drink of the water will never… (what?) again? Right, they will NEVER “thirst” again. Christians may need refreshment against the weakness of the flesh, but we never need our justification to be refreshed—that’s just a blatant false gospel.

Moreover, note, “WERE IT NOT FOR the ongoing cleaning and forgiveness, we would exit the family of God, but the faithful know of a certainty that this cleansing is ongoing and present.” This is where the “if(s)” of 1John totally shoot Protestantism in its gospel foot. If you take this approach, the if(s) of 1John 1:7-2:2 are conditional upon confessing “new sins.” This clearly makes the cleansing of sin that makes us part of God’s family conditional. It makes the new birth conditional. “If” we don’t confess, we can be unborn.

Doesn’t it make much more sense if John is saying that we (people in general) have to recognize that men have sin in order to receive a cleansing from it? Sure it does. John is pushing back against a philosophy that taught the following: man is spirit and therefore without sin; only the material world has sin. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what people do in the body, it’s all just part of the material world that is passing away. This also rejects the new birth and its righteous lifestyle that walks in the light as Christ is in the light and there is no darkness in Him. Those who walk in the light are born of the light and they are of the light because they recognized the need to confess their sin in order to be cleansed. Hence…

John 3:2 – Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Next week, we are going to look at how the rest of the book of 1John fits into this Pauline soteriological schema perfectly. Why does John follow our passage at hand with a discussion of love and then the new birth? How do we get from the gospel anomaly of “new sins” to “love,” and what does that have to do with the new birth? How does all of this make walking in the light synonymous with the new birth?

See you next, and now let’s go to the phones.

Why Home Fellowships Can Help Abused Women and the Institutional Church Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 31, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

In our vision for a return to the way Judeo-Christian assemblies were done for about the first 300 years, let’s look at why home fellowships can help abused women and the institutional church cannot.

I would like to use this article as a catalyst for argumentation. The article was posted (author is not clearly stated) by Anna Wood who co-authored a book with Jeff Crippen, a Reformed pastor. The book can be found here.

The post is titled, What domestic abuse victims need from the church. My contention is that abused women cannot get what they need from “the church” as demonstrated over and over and over again. In fact, clearly, as also demonstrated over and over and over again as well, the institutional church adds to the abuse and becomes a co-abuser.

Why is this? The article offers a perspective from which to answer. This issue also speaks to the differences between home fellowships and the institutional church, hereafter “the church.” In an institution, it is easy to sign on the dotted line, give at the office, and pretend. Pastors can bark from Calvin’s Geneva pulpit all they want to; all folks have to say is, “Hey, I am a member in good standing, and as often heard, humble and incompetent—it’s not my gift and I am not qualified.” Likewise, in said article, the author’s call to “get involved” is going nowhere in the church in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

To the contrary, home fellowships are comprised of people who are sick of playing church, are weary of being mere spectators, and are not looking to walk into an arena with hungry lions, but know it could lead to that. They are also confident in the Spirit-filled laity and recognize where 500 years of academic popeism has brought us. In addition, they have a literal view of reality versus the functional dualism that drives orthodoxy. What am I saying? I am saying that home fellowships have a radically different worldview than orthodoxy and this will lead to aggressive participation in all kinds of needs.

Let me further this point by using the article at hand:

Statistics say that one out of four women in the United States experience domestic abuse of some form in their lifetime. Men can also be victims of domestic abuse. When those who have suffered are members of the Lord’s church, the faithful among them have an obligation to help them. And, if we know of someone in the community who is being abused, I also believe we have an obligation to help if we can. When, for whatever reason, we shy away from this obligation, either through ignorance or willful refusal to get involved, we lay waste to the Gospel we claim to believe. Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.

What abuse victims need from their fellow Christians is pretty simple and straightforward. We need you to be Jesus to us. Do what He would do, say what He would say, were He the One ministering to us. Isn’t that what we all need from each other, anyway? Christians are called to stand in the place of Christ here on the earth and be His representative and do the works He would do. To fail in this is to fail in serving Christ.

Whoa, what a minute here! This is entirely unrealistic because of the message constantly drilled into the heads of Protestants. We are “all just sinners saved by grace.” We are, according to one prominent evangelical, “enemies of God.” According to yet another, “we hate God.” On the one hand, it is constantly drilled into the heads of those in the church that “when you are dead, you can do nothing,” but on the other hand we really think that parishioners shouldn’t think twice about getting involved in a domestic abuse situation?

First of all, getting involved in domestic violence is not “pretty simple.” Actually, it can get you killed by someone who doesn’t much appreciate your intervention. Moreover, getting the facts and evaluating the situation biblically is far from simple. Now couple that with the constant total depravity of the saints mantra heard in the church and it is little wonder that few will get involved in domestic abuse needs. The completely upside down worldview of the church makes laity involvement in domestic abuse nothing more than a pipe dream.

And, “Christians are called to defend the oppressed yet when it comes to domestic violence, so few do.” This complaint is not only a mere symptom, but is not even a symptom of the real problem. Congregants not only fail to defend the oppressed, they either turn a blind eye or defend the defender of the abusers—the church. Ever heard of SGM? Ever heard of ABWE? Ever heard of the SBC? In case you haven’t noticed, they are not only still in business, but business is booming! Why? Because regardless of what happens in the church, it is the only ticket to heaven. “What? so billions of people should go to hell because some bad things happen in the church that is made up of sinners? Well, get a grip—where there are people, there is sin!” That is in quotations because this is exactly what we hear in response to a “cry for justice.”

So far, if you are keeping notes, we have two reasons the church cannot help abused women: 1. The total depravity of the saints resulting in a few “experts” attempting to minister to a massive throng 2. Salvation is found in the institution, and therefore the institution will be defended at all cost. Better that a few suffer by themselves rather than all of humanity being sent to hell.

Before we move on to the next points, a little more clarification: why does the church defend abusers? It starts with its worldview. Without going into a lot of detail, we must first recognize that Calvin and Luther are the church’s heroes, and then recognize what their “theology of the cross” was all about. This is a philosophy that interprets all reality via the suffering of the cross. As Luther stated, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” Luther, as well as Calvin, split reality into two epistemologies: the cross story and the glory story. Only preordained leaders can lead the great unwashed masses in the cross story—only the preordained can save humanity from the story of man, or the glory story. As Al Mohler once said, “pastors are preordained to save God’s people from ignorance.”

fake-church-sign-first-baptistHowever, theologians of the cross and the spiritual peasantry have something in common: we are all just sinners saved by grace. So, everything going on in the material realm is fairly insignificant—it’s just the same old sin and dance anyway. But by the same token, theologians of the cross are preordained of God and invaluable. And besides, many are icons of the institution that keep the money rolling in. Sure, you can reject this theory and opt for another one, but in the process you will drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why ABWE defended and protected Donn Ketcham until the bitter end.

Need another example among myriads? What about Jack Hyles? The guy was a mafia don dressed in Bible verses and is still a spiritual hero among many Baptists. David Hyles, Jack’s son, was also a well-respected pastor in the church who had affairs with at least 19 women and is a suspect in an unsolved murder. Yet, to the best of my knowledge to date, David Hyles is still invited to speak at Baptist conferences/churches and receives robust ovations. Jack Hyles remained in the pulpit until his death in 2001 and was succeeded by his son in law Jack Schaap who is presently in prison for statutory rape. Jack Hyles is notorious for his quip, “If you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen” and is still revered among many Baptists as the best preacher since the apostle Paul.

The article continues with its list of things abuse victims need from “the church.” But the thesis of this article is that the church is not only unable to supply these things, but becomes a co-abuser. In contrast, the original Christian model for fellowship is well able to help and more likely to do just that.

First on the list is “The Pure Gospel.”

The church long ago got away from the pure gospel. We water it down, mix it up and serve it with a side of fun. No wonder it doesn’t save. It can’t save. It’s poison. We need preachers dedicated to the truth of God’s Word who are willing to stand up and preach that truth without changing it one iota. We need Christians who long after righteousness. When we have that–the pure Gospel preached and lived–we’ll see more Christians helping abuse victims and we’ll see less abusers masquerading as Christians.

Uh, ok, not sure how to add to this. It’s a stunning admission while calling on the same church to do something about the problem it has created. We don’t need “preachers” to do anything. Preachers have been preaching long and hard for thousands of years and the results are evident. We need God’s people to stand up and get back to the first works of home fellowship. The laity waiting on the experts is long traveled and worthless. More of what is beginning to happen needs to happen more and more. Ordinary Spirit-filled Christians are meeting together around the word and fellowship, and seeking God’s face in this whole matter about how church is traditionally practiced. And the fact that the church is grounded in a false gospel is something I addressed in another article posted today and Friday.

Without addressing every single point in the article other than those mentioned already, let me move on to this one:

Someone to care for their needs

Do you know what keeps a lot of abused women and children with their abusers? The lack of money to leave. If a woman is trying to get herself and her children to safety, don’t spend time telling her why she’s wrong, what you think about her decision or trying to talk her out of it. She knows what it’s like to live in abuse and you don’t. Even if she stays, chances are great that she and her children need something or maybe a lot of things. Financial abuse often accompanies other types of abuse. Instead of lecturing, get busy serving and help them.

According to the first-century model, a home fellowship network would be several small groups meeting in several homes in the same geographical area. And because of freedom from massive infrastructure cost and “tithing” versus New Testament giving based on NEED only funds and resources to help the abused would be ample. In fact, I could share an example from our very own home fellowship. We have a young lady living with us, and other people connected to our fellowship contribute financially to her needs. She is fully supported independently from anybody who might be a problem in her life. And when people live with you, trust me, you know the facts and you do a lot of listening. She will be completely self-reliant this month after living with us for about two years.

In regard to a different kind of abuse, a home fellowship network that I know of in Africa operates in the following way: the network assimilates street orphans from Nairobi into their fellowships. There is a leader from the network, equipped with the latest information about funds and availability that goes into Nairobi searching for orphans, and upon finding some, brings them back to the fellowship network where they will have a home, food, protection, and education. Let’s say that our home fellowships are connected with theirs; many of these children could be brought stateside and assimilated into fellowship here as well.

In addition to being freed from the bondage of infrastructure expense, the authority of the church’s clergy is suffocating. Clergy, more times than not, are control freaks obsessed with keeping the herd calm. They are spiritual cowboys constantly concerned with the herd being spooked. This speaks to the rest of the concerns in the post being considered here. More times than not, the laity are kept in the dark concerning the needs of those abused. There is a wall of confidentiality between the church’s “trained” counselors and the parishioners who fund the whole mess. When red flags are raised in regard to how certain situations are handled, we are told that “we should trust the elders who are closest to the situation and know all of the details.” This continually proves to be a recipe for disaster, and elders are granted NO such authority via the Scriptures.

Small groups in private homes offer intimate support and confidentiality from the other home fellowships. It is a perfect balance of intimate care and financial support if needed. All of the different gifts and experiences of Christ’s body are brought to bear on the situation.

Also, we must remember that the home fellowship movement is comprised of people from all walks of life: policemen, mental health professionals, etc., etc. These people or their areas of expertise are not separated from any situation by the professional clergy for inappropriate reasons.

paul

Answering the Baby’s Question

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 30, 2015

10653321_364310293770077_4897802152678323822_nThe answer to the Baby’s question, according to Protestantism and all its various and sundry stripes including the Baptists is “yes.” Since the law is the standard for justification and Christians cannot keep the law perfectly, yes, Christ supposedly came to keep the law perfectly in order to fulfil it, and then died for all of our past sins. Instead of the resurrection being a prelude to our own resurrection and a totally different relationship to the law, Christ’s resurrection is said to “confirm that God was satisfied with His sacrifice.”

Hence, if “Christians” live their life by “faith alone in the same gospel that saved them,” the perfect obedience of Jesus will continue to be credited to our account in order to keep the “righteous demands of the law satisfied,” and we will receive continued forgiveness for “present sin” that violates the same law. So, according to Protestantism, Christ didn’t come to end the law for justification, He came to fulfill it through obedience so that His obedience and sacrifice can continue to be applied to our lives by faith alone. Therefore, His justification work is not finished. Yes, they concur that it only happened once, but the one act must be continually reapplied to the “believer’s” life.

Let’s evaluate this according to the new birth since it’s a baby asking the question. In this system, Christ’s resurrection is not imparted to the new believer, but was merely a confirmation that God was satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice. Technically, Christ’s death and obedience continues to be imparted to the “believer” IF they continue to live by faith alone in the same gospel that originally saved them. Now you know why there is so much emphasis on “the gospel” at “church” and why sanctification has always been so weak in the institutional church.

Protestantism is about keeping yourself saved by faith alone in the same gospel that saved you. Rather than honoring God with a mature life as one of His literal children, the attempt is to spend our whole lives honoring God by what He did to save us. It’s all about what “He did, not anything we do.” But not emphasizing what we do is actually denying the new birth and jettisoning our responsibility to love others back onto Christ.

And by the way, this efficacious reapplication of the same gospel that saved us, according to Protestant orthodoxy, can only be found and applied in formal institutional church membership.

What is the true gospel? Christ came to end the law for justification. As the law was increased, more and more sin was imputed to it. Violating the law is the very definition of sin. So, when Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross it also effectively ENDED the law. When a person believes on Christ’s death, they literally die with Him, and all sins they committed against the law are vanquished. They were “under the law” of “sin and death.”

On the other hand, the believer is also resurrected to a completely new life (under grace). Christ was NOT resurrected to validate His sacrifice; He was resurrected so that we could also be resurrected after dying with Him. This is the significance of also believing in His resurrection—not that it was a confirmation, but that we are also resurrected with Him as completely new creatures where “all things are new.”

This now places the resurrected believer under a different relationship to the law. What used to be the “law of sin and death” is now “the law of the Spirit of life.” In other words, instead of the law condemning us, the Spirit of life uses the law to change us (John 17:17). It is our responsibility to obey the law with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and that is the very definition of how we love God and others: “If you love me, keep My commandments.”

To define our obedience as an attempt to “justify ourselves” shirks what should be our natural desire to love God and others through obedience which is a result of the new birth. It is eerily reminiscent of the parable of the talents. The whole convoluted Protestant system that supposedly sanctifies our obedience lest it be works is a denial of the new birth and a false assessment of law/gospel.

When Protestant soteriology is accurately assessed, we should expect to find the following in the institutional church: weak sanctification; an overemphasis on the gospel to the exclusion of personal obedience; convoluted theories on how Christ’s obedience is imputed to our lives; overall doctrinal ignorance in regard to wise and powerful living; poor testimonies; a lack of genuine love; cliques; an overemphasis on following men; total dependence on extra-biblical writings; a laity/clergy caste system,  and efforts to protect the institution at all cost.

And that is exactly what we find.

paul

Acts Lesson 49

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, contributing editor on March 30, 2015

Acts Series

Tuesday Night Bible Study – Now LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 49 – Listen Live at 7:00 PM, March 31, 2015

 

 

 

 


Tonight’s Text – Acts 18:18-28

Brief review

  1. A work begins in Ephesus
    1. Paul’s vow
      1. Imperfect verb tense indicates it is on-going
      2. Clue found in verse 21
        • Desire to keep a feast
    2. Aquila and Priscilla accompany Paul
    3. Paul does not abandon the Jews
      1. He finds a synagogue
      2. Positive response
        • They want Paul to stay longer
    4. Aquila and Priscilla entrusted to finish the work.
      1. Become key figures in NT assemblies
      2. (1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Timothy 4:19)
  2. One journey ends, another begins
    1. Arrival in Caesarea and ascent to Jerusalem
      1. Paul greets the “assembly”
        • not just the “important” ones
      2. ασπαζομαι (ah-SPAD-zoh-my) – to enfold in the arms.
    2. Arrival in Antioch signifies the end of the 2nd missionary journey.
    3. Visiting the regions of Galatia and Phrygia.
      1. Hindered by the Spirit the first time.
      2. επιστηριζω (epi-stay-RID-zo) – To establish further.
        • Compare with Acts 14:22, 15:32, and 15:41.
  3. An introduction to Apollos
    1. Important to know
      1. Jew – born in Alexandria
      2. Eloquent
        • λογιος (log-EE-os) Full of words.
      3. Mighty in the scriptures
        • δυνατος (doo-NA-tos) – Powerful. To have the ability.
      4. Instructed in the way of the Lord
        • κατηχεω (kah-tay-KEH-oh) – To sound down into the ears
      5. Knowing only John’s baptism
      6. Fervent in spirit
        • ζεω (DZEH-oh) To be hot, or boiling.
    2. Spoke boldly with the religious leaders
      1. He taught accurately.
      2. Intimate knowledge of scripture
    3. Aquila and Priscilla fill in the gaps.

Gospel Tract for Saving Protestants

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 28, 2015

PDF  file for printing purposes. No rights reserved. Protestant Tract

Protestant Tract p (1)

Protestant Tract p (2)

 

 

Kirsten Powers: When a Liberal is Almost Right About God and Politics

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 27, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted June 2, 2014

“There is an issue that is so important in American politics that frankly I don’t care who gets it whether conservative or liberal, and Powers almost got it right.”

Kirsten Powers is a political pundit and Fox News contributor who appeared on the Sean Hannity show last night. Hannity was having a group discussion with a mixture of conservatives and liberals regarding Paul Harvey’s If I Were the Devil speech.

At some point, one of the conservatives verbally bemoaned the usual “God has been taken out of the schools” mantra. I am 57 years old and have been paying attention to politics since I was 9 when my parents hosted a campaign party for Barry Goldwater, and in reply to the often repeated mantra, liberal Kristen Powers replied with one of the most significant political statements I have ever heard. The following is a paraphrase:

How was it working for us when God was in the schools?

Ultra liberal Judith Miller aped approval adding to the shock value. However, and disappointingly, Powers was only partly right. Was I disappointed because I am a liberal and I want liberals to be right all of the time? Hardly, in fact, I think Ronald Reagan was a conservative sissy compared to Barry Goldwater. There is an issue that is so important in American politics that frankly I don’t care who gets it whether conservative or liberal, and Powers almost got it right.

Her idea was spot on, but she missed the right application by 200 years. She pointed to a time in the 50’s when our public schools were segregated which opened the door for Sean Hannity to make a comparison between the challenges in public schools then versus now. How strange, a conservative such as myself with face in hands, crying out, “She almost nailed it! She almost nailed it!”

Conservatives are completely ignorant about what really matters, and I will use public schools as the primary example. But as an aside: Dr. Ben Carson may be one of the most significant political players since our founding fathers because he states the following (again, this is a paraphrase):

We have to rediscover who we are and educate accordingly [i.e., what is America really about?].

And there you go, and Powers touched on it regarding public schools. The true history of public schools reveals the pervasive ignorance among conservatives and conservative Christians in particular.

This necessarily requires a discussion about the founders of the public school system, the Puritans. “Pilgrims” is a soft term for “Puritans” who are the ones who originally brought Europeanism over the pond and settled on the east coast of the American continent. And they were political refugees, not innocent souls braving the Atlantic to find religious freedom in a new land. Before the American Revolution, politics and religion were of the same soul. To say that the Puritans were religious refugees is not telling…as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

And “Puritan” is a soft term for “Calvinist” as well. The first Bible to ever make landfall in America was the Geneva Bible, as in, John Calvin’s Geneva. Do you want to know what Geneva was like during Calvin’s rule there? See: American colonial history. Things like the Salem witch trials didn’t just happen; such was a European theocratic family tradition.

The American colonies were ruled by a Puritan theocracy completely intolerant of religious and political dissention. Oddly, though it is fairly well known that Puritans hanged Quakers for their beliefs, and partook in superstitious persecution that would shame cannibal witchdoctors, the Puritan as American religious hero continues to be a historical anomaly. Even Rush Limbaugh wrote a children’s book extolling the virtues of the Pilgrims. Good grief!

This brings me to my point. The Puritans founded the American public school system. Yes Kirsten, God, at least the Puritan version of Him, ruled the public schools and the government; now you may ask, “How did that work for us?” Actually, pretty good—the American Revolution, in large part, was a direct pushback to Puritan tyranny. Separation of church and state was not to protect religion from government, the working word here is, SEPERATION. The two need to be kept apart. The founding fathers grew up under the heavy hand of Puritan tyranny, and upon further evaluation of human history concluded the following:

Experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

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.

James Madison: Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments; 1785

The fact of the matter is God Himself has never said that He wanted one of His representatives ruling a government because God knows mankind all too well. In case anybody hasn’t noticed, people can have some misguided ideas about what God wants. There seems to be some confusion here; Christ said His kingdom is not on earth, but many conservative Christians believe they have a mandate to take over the world, starting with the public schools, for God. Yes, the Puritans were in total control of the public schools, and were kicked out after the American Revolution because among many other reasons, the Puritan-controlled public schools were taking children away from parents and boarding them separately. Yes, those were the good ole’ days when “god” was still in the schools.

But unfortunately, liberals have something wrong as well. Unwittingly, they worship the same god as many conservative Christians. Again, Puritans came from a culture where religion and politics were the same soul, and the ideology that drove those politics was belief in the inherent inability of man. The Puritans were driven by the same spiritual, social, and political caste systems that dominated Western culture from ancient times. This is the crux of what the founding fathers rejected; the total depravity of the individual and the assertion that his sole purpose for existing is the ability to contribute to the collective. Dr. Ben Carson gets this, and that’s what makes him invaluable in our day.

If one wants to talk about the Bible, we can do that. Eventually, God is going to come back and raze the whole earth and set up His own kingdom. He hasn’t called conservative Christians to take over the world with their supposed moral superiority and then invite God back for a reunion. God is not in exile, He is simply going to clean house and move here when He chooses. Really, no need to prepare things for Him ahead of time. By the way, that’s Islam’s gig as well. Alarmingly, many political conservatives in our day are of this theological persuasion known as Dominionism.

Carson is right. The Answer is to rediscover America and educate Christians and heathen liberals alike in regard to her founding principles: individualism and separation of church and state. According to Carson, we need to forget about all of the divisions being created and focus on those two principles.

Sure, as a Christian Goldwater conservative, I would that all men be saved, but God still created a capable human race and we will stand before Him individually—no one will stand in for us. We are responsible for the sum and substance of our own lives. Read history, the clergy was not in charge of the Nuremberg trials. Man knows right from wrong as a matter of God-given conscience. When caste systems aren’t crazy enough, just add religion and superstition. That’s when history is like a movie that you could never make up in your wildest imagination.

When it gets right down to it, you can invoke “one nation under God,” but the question quickly becomes, “Which god?” And what does that God believe about man? Is man capable of governing himself, or does he need a government that controls every nuance of his life? Powers is almost right, but Carson has it right, we must reeducate Americans about who we are: a government by the people and for the people.

And how has that worked for not only us, but the world? Very-well-thank-you.

paul

Here We Go Again: “The Church”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 26, 2015

In the video below which promotes a book on the subject, we have another example of this whole idea that God will bless America if “the church” is running the show. I wrote a post on this yesterday and defined what is meant by “the church.” In the video, this very term is used: “the church.” The key to America returning to greatness is “G-o-d, not G-o-v.,” via “the church.”

What is the assumptive presupposition? That, and this even coming from Rush Limbaugh of all people, some “concept of God” is key to strong leadership. What does this assume? It assumes what we swim in daily: God is not concerned with particulars. God is not concerned with the particulars of the Big T, truth.

Get out of bed, get dressed, put your hands over your eyes, walk a couple of steps into the day, and look, and there you will find an example. On Facebook the other day I saw a conversation among women who belong to “the church,” in this case Baptists and Methodists, clamoring about getting a group together to hear Beth Moore speak in Cincinnati, Ohio. Never mind that she flaunts her Eastern mysticism in broad daylight, she is a well-spoken, feel-good expositor that is part of “the church.” Her outfits are also to die for. ‘Nuff said.

This makes the case that mankind is helplessly enslaved to the concept of church state which is founded in the ancient doctrine of the knowledge of good and evil. It is the belief that creation is fundamentally evil and only the invisible is good. Moreover, the invisible is a subjective complex knowledge that takes a spiritual journey that should include everyone, and as many “gifted” teachers as possible. Faith in general, and “Christianity” in particular is a journey in pursuit of the gnosis. All who are on this journey are good and closest to the gnosis that brings wellbeing (utopia), those who are not part of “the church” are confused and cannot discern anything of the gnosis. They are not “spiritually discerning.” They are helplessly enslaved to material absolutes.

This is exactly how “the church” functions. It is an institutional church state wannabe. It is an institution that groans and weeps for the realization of Plato’s Republic. It moans and weeps for philosopher kings to save us from the abyss of people governing themselves.

It took mankind something like 10,000 years to break free from this tyranny and the historical demarcation was the American Revolution. The reason American ideology works so well when properly applied is because it has a biblical metaphysical premise: creation became weak, not inherently evil.

In addition, mankind in general can know things—mankind in general can know reality. Secondly, every person born into the world is responsible to God personally, and God speaks to every human being individually in a way that every person can understand. In other words, people are created free and culpable before God alone for the sum and substance of their own lives. The sole purpose of government is to insure that freedom for each and every person born into the world.

The framers of the American Constitution held that these principles were “self-evident.” Some were Christians, most were deists, some were agnostic if not outright atheist, the principle of individualism versus collectivism was the driving force—NOT where the principle came from! All of them agreed on the principle and the role of government and cared little about where the others thought the principle came from. What we see today is an emphasis on the source, not the principle. And this is the fly in the ointment: some “concept of God” can be interpreted in a variety of ways; in every case, enter tyranny.

Hence, “the church” is a purely Platonist concept propagated by the big three of the Protestant Reformation: Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. A cursory observation of history reveals that all three were murdering despots. Most Christians, really all save a few, are helpless to know the difference because world philosophy is “worldly knowledge.” So, if the premise of what you really believe is unnecessary knowledge, the philosopher kings of “the church” can lead you around like a dog on a leash.

Want an example? Wherever you are, just remove your hands from over your eyes and look.

paul

What is “The Church”?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 25, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

We hear it constantly, references to “the Church.” When discussing statistics, they are always in reference to “the church.” This is the term used constantly regardless of the fact that “church” can refer to Catholicism and an array of Protestant denominations including Charismatics and a myriad of Baptist stripes.

So, what is meant by “the church”? The concise definition is very obvious: the church is institutional theism. At least in Western culture, that is the starting point of accepted goodness that must prevail for the survival of humanity. In the same way that some parents send their children to Sunday school because “everybody needs some morals,” being a “Christian” is the minimal requirement for being unhazardous to humanity.

Hence, we have another definition: a “Christian” is someone who is identified with institutional theism, or “church.” And again, this is a societal Good Person Seal of Approval. For example, even President Obama claims to be a Christian and is a member of an institutional church. No Presidential candidate would have a prayer of being elected without some sort of religious affiliation whether Catholic or some breed of Protestantism. Quality of faith is far from being the issue, but the minimal requirement is a wink towards “the church.”

Being a Christian in America means you are a member of the institutional church which is anything theism. If you are a member of a theistic institution, you have good intentions and nobody has a right to judge your path to the pearly gates. Go to any Baptist church and start criticizing Catholics and you will quickly hear about all the Catholic friends they have who are saved and loved by God. Go to any of the National Day of Prayer gatherings and you will see that everything but the religious kitchen sink is there.

“The church” is the “Christian” club and means, not atheist, but rather any and all things theistic. Even the umber pragmatic Rush Limbaugh concurs. Just the other day on his radio program he stressed the importance of people, especially political candidates, having some “concept of God.” Bingo. A belief in some sort of deity: good; not believing in some sort of deity: bad. Limbaugh associated atheism (the Greek article “a” which means “anti” prefixed to “theism”) with being deceived about all sorts of things including global warming which he mentioned specifically.

Dr. Jay Adams, in a recent article, assumes that there are enough doctrinally sound churches in a given town or city to prevent “church tramping.” In my book, “church” and “tramp” are mutually inclusive.

When did “church” begin? The etymology of the word is German (kirche), and replaced the Greek word for “assembly” found in the Bible manuscripts (ecclesia). The word “synagogue” also means “assembly” or “congregation.”

The first complete English bible was the Tyndale bible in about 1524, and that bible did not use the word “church” anywhere in its pages, it used the word “congregation.” Sometime after this bible, they started replacing the word “congregation” with the word “church” (Christ’s Ekklesia and The Church Compared: Richard Anthony; http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/ekklesia.html).

However, the concept of church started much earlier in history after the deaths of the twelve apostles. The early church fathers, at least according to the English translations, used the word “church” often. Several of the early church fathers were disciples of the original twelve apostles and deemed authoritative theologians of that era.

Unfortunately, an apostolic succession controversy took place immediately following the passing of the twelve apostles. Regardless of the fact that the twelve established a home fellowship model led by elders and organized by deacons, and predicated by gifts rather than authority, many of the church fathers argued that chaos and doctrinal abyss would ensue unless the authority of the twelve was replaced with a like central authority.

However, even the apostles pointed to Christ as the only head and rarely implemented apostolic authority. The principle protocol was that of persuasion by apt teaching from the Word. Nevertheless, the church fathers insisted on a central hierarchy located in Rome that would rule over what they called “the church.” The first “ruling bishop” of Rome was Linus who was a disciple among the original twelve and an early church father, and for all practical purposes, the first pope. Later, Protestantism came out of the institutional church which originated in Rome.

The home fellowships established by the apostles contended against the institutional church for about 200 years until home fellowships finally began to give way in the 4th century. Unfortunately, the home fellowship model only continues in certain geographies because of necessity, usually economic or governments that prohibit organized religions that follow Christ.

Obviously, “the church” is little concerned with “sound doctrine” emphasized by the original twelve. The focus is some “concept of God” defined by “Christianity.” It is quite enough that the first Republican announcing his candidacy is calling himself a “Christian,” and has included video of his family praying before a meal in a TV ad—no one will ask for any particulars, the main concern is that he’s not an atheist and is a member of formal theism. The main concern is, does he have a “concept of God”?

This is where the home fellowship movement has opportunity. We are NOT “the church.” And by today’s definition, we are NOT “Christian.” And if nothing else, that will spark curiosity. But more than that, when the freedom to pursue sound doctrine is fully exploited, I wonder what the Spirit might do?

paul

“< Tweet, Tweet: Home Fellowships

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 25, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: Lord or Savior?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 25, 2015

Revelation Overview

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 25, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Acts Lesson 48

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, contributing editor on March 24, 2015

Acts Series

Tuesday Night Bible Study – Now LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 48 – March 24, 2015 (click here to listen)

 

 

 

 


Tonight’s Text – Acts 18:1-17

Brief review

  1. Paul arrives at Corinth
    1. Historical and geographical context
    2. Aquila and Priscilla
      1. Similar skills
      2. Helped with tentmaking.
      3. Jews
    3. “Reasoning” in the synagogue
      • πειθω – “peitho” – to convince by argument
      • (Hebrews 13:17)
  2. Silas and Timothy join Paul
    1. “Pressed in the spirit”
      1. συνεχω “soon-echo” – moved with the press of a crowd
      2. Ministry to Jews expands
    2. Jews’ response to Paul
      1. They opposed themselves
        • αντιτασσομαι (anti-tass-oh-my) – acting riotous
      2. They blasphemed – spoke evil of Paul
    3. Paul’s emphatic response
      1. Shaking his clothes
        • symbolic display of shaking off uncleanness
        • More intense than just shaking off shoes
      2. Provoking the Jews to jealousy
  3. The synagogue next door
    1. Paul comes to stay with Justus
    2. Crispus becomes a believer
      1. Leader of the synagogue
      2. His whole “house”
  4. The Lord encourages Paul
    1. Grammatical analysis
      1. Keep up the good work
      2. I got your back
    2. The practical outworking
      1. Gallio’s keen judgment
      2. Corinthian’s retaliation against the Jews

Home Fellowships: Are Elders Optional?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 24, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Some time ago during our Tuesday night Bible study in Acts, teacher Andy Young suggested an alternative interpretation of 1Timothy 3:1.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

Most English translations use words in this verse that indicate an individual’s desire to become an elder, but Andy pointed out, and as far as I can tell from word study, such a conclusion is not definitive. In fact, while many translations render this “if a man,” the ESV and other translations are more accurate by rendering it, “if anyone.” Whether the text refers to the aspirations of a group or individual is difficult to ascertain.

In addition, “the office of” is clearly added with no merit to do so whatsoever. This should be a red flag. We must also interject into the discussion that first-century home fellowships, at least for a while, had no elders.

Titus 1:5 – This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

So, at least for a time, Crete obviously had no elders; yet, it didn’t prevent the gathering of the saints. Throughout the New Testament, we see the forming of fellowships with no mention of elders. In the least case, elders were not efficacious to having a fellowship for any designated period of time. Clearly, it was a secondary priority. Meeting together is the first priority. Putting things in order is a lower priority.

We must remember that home fellowships are a powerful combination of informality and order. Doing things in an orderly and organized way does not prevent growth, but later facilitates growth. Once home fellowships reemerge from the Protestant Dark Age, deacons and elders will accelerate the Lord’s work and general mandates. Granted, a world outreach and impact from homes is an idea that we need to get used to, but building materials do not empower God’s people—this should be evident. Nor does authority passing judgment on the gifts of others empower. Even when elders and deacons emerge by necessity in the home fellowship movement, disciples will not be waiting for permission to practice their gifts.

Let’s also consider the context of 1Timothy 3:1. Let me suggest from the prior verses that there was a problem with a loosey-goosey approach to the freedom of home fellowships. No institution with its strangulating authority equals NO organization; that’s a huge miscalculation. Also, see Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.

However, while we are on that subject, is it not interesting that elders are not spoken of in the Corinthian letters? Am I missing something? If they are mentioned it is barely more than a mention that I cannot find. Nevertheless, I leave room for correction. But at any rate, the vast majority of instruction in the New Testament addresses the assemblies in general and NOT leadership in particular. That is very telling. Leaders are to facilitate gifts, and are not called to grant permission.

This ministry is beginning to get a lot of feedback that looks like this: “We have left the institutional church; what now?” And this ministry will be addressing that question in the near future.

But be sure of this: in the beginning of your journey, you only need the head—Jesus Christ. Follow Him, and whatever you do—don’t look back.

paul

“< Tweet, Tweet: Commitment to the Church?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 24, 2015

Thanks to the Institutional Church the Discussion Continues: “What Does It Mean to be Saved?”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 23, 2015

Note the above Tweet I posted today. So true. As Christians, we all need help and a hand up, but because we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and completely capable as new creatures, our attitude must be, “Gee thanks, now I will take it from here.” If all of your knowledge comes from others, you had better do an emergency evaluation of your present standing.

There are only two individuals that are part of the institutional academia of the church that I have any respect for: Dr. Jay Adams and his associate Donn Arms who I think might have his doctorate by now. Apart from those two, to the best of my remembrance at this time, the whole of Protestant academia makes me sick. For the most part, they are mindless cowardly tyrants ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of truth. Seminaries continually pump men into the institutional church who have no gift for teaching, but have spent money to certify themselves as faithful regurgitators of Protestant orthodoxy.

Mindless followers of orthodoxy (the traditions of medieval tyrants) who do so for some sort of personal gain embody the worst of what humanity has to offer. I do not believe in the saying that evil can only prevail when good men do nothing—there is no such thing as a good man who does nothing—that’s an oxymoron. There is only one thing worse than pure evil: those who watch it and do nothing. Voyeurism is not commendable for any reason.

So here we are, more than 500 years after Calvin’s post tenebras lux, Dr. Jay Adams sees the need to write a recent article on what it means to be saved. And this is by no means unusual; googling “What is the gospel?” will produce a myriad of recent articles that take on the subject. And since Calvin et al propagated a false gospel that has been driven into the psyche of Western culture for more than 500 years, we might suspect that Biblicists must continue to work on using biblically accurate ideas, terminology, and words accordingly, and Dr. J’s article, with all due respect, is no exception.

A little past the introduction, Adams states:

The biblical usage of the word translated “saved” is precisely the same as ours. A newspaper headline that reads “Child Saved From Drowning,” means he was rescued. To be saved is to be rescued—rescued from sin and its consequences. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (that’s what Romans 3:23 has to say about everyone, including you). When God saves someone He rescues him from the penalty of sin, which is eternal punishment in hell. He also gradually rescues him from the power of sin in this life. And, ultimately, He rescues him from the very presence of sin by taking him to heaven. That is what it means to be saved.

My only protest to this definition is the wording in reference to the days we are in. Salvation must be spoken of in hard past-tense terms. Does God “gradually” “save” us from the power of sin? No, there is NO gradual rescue from sin. We are NOT rescued from sin on the installment plan; we are COMPLETELY rescued from sin when we are saved. There is now “no condemnation” for those who are in Christ—condemnation does not gradually decrease, it’s completely gone.

Sin still has the power to bring about death in our lives, but it is our choice to be lazy disciples or diligent ones, but either way, the final culmination is not condemnation nor is condemnation present in the interim. The word “sin” must be defined in reference to both justification and sanctification when presenting the gospel.

The Bible is clearly saying that you must depend upon Jesus Christ. But, what does that mean? It means that you must entrust your entire life, here and hereafter, to Him. It means that you must depend wholly upon what He has done, to be saved.

I must also object to this kind of wording in our day. We live in days that require much more clarification. Familiar terms will not suffice. There is no, I repeat, no future commitment and future dependence on Christ for purposes of salvation. The only requirement is to believe in Christ and what the present consequences are. If a cow wants to become a duck, he need not be concerned with depending on water in the future—being a duck comes with desiring water by virtue of being a duck. Better stated, committing to being Christ’s brother in the future doesn’t save us.

Being a brother isn’t a commitment any more than a future commitment to being born again. The new birth is a one-time event that we have no control over in the future. You cannot make a future commitment to prevent unbirth or debirth via a commitment. The new birth is beyond the realm of any commitment we make. Therefore, future commitment is assumed in the same way we assume that ducks can always be found in a pond. No future commitment to water is necessary for becoming a duck, the former is part of being a duck. You are either a duck or you aren’t.

Believing in Christ is to follow Him in death and resurrection. It is saying goodbye to who you presently are, and becoming whatever Christ chooses to make of you. What we need is biblical language in the gospel that emphasizes the new birth as much as the cross.

Jesus Christ died on the cross, bearing the punishment that was due to all who throughout the ages will believe on Him. He rose from the dead, giving evidence that God accepted His penal, vicarious sacrifice. The wrath of God fell on Him instead of them. All who trust Him as Savior have their sins forgiven. This is the “good news” that the apostles proclaimed around the Mediterranean world and that you are now learning in this blog. If you depend upon the saving work of Christ on the cross you will be saved.

The other words aside with no relevant disagreement, I would like to focus on, “He rose from the dead, giving evidence that God accepted His penal, vicarious sacrifice,” and offer the following comment: “No! No! No! No! No! No! No!”

Christ did not have to be resurrected in order to prove that he was approved of God—that happened at His baptism and has little relevance to the gospel. Again, we see our penchant for overemphasizing the cross at the expense of the new birth. The resurrection by the Holy Spirit was a promise made to Abraham and Christ, not proof of His approval by God.

Christ died so that we can die with Him and escape the law’s condemnation; Christ was resurrected so that the Spirit can resurrect us as well to serving His law in love. Christ died and was resurrected so that our relationship to the law can be transformed from condemnation to love. That’s the gospel.

Notice, the “gospel” is good news to be believed; not good deeds to be done. News has to do with something that has already happened; not with something yet to be done. You cannot be saved by depending upon your good works, on ceremonies like baptism, or church membership. Nothing you have done or ever could do will save you. You must look away from yourself and others and look in faith to Christ alone. It is depending on the Lord Jesus Christ alone that saves. You cannot be saved by some vague invitation to “come forward,” or to “let Jesus come into your heart.” There must be an understanding of the good news that Christ died on the cross for guilty, condemned sinners like you, and a willingness to depend on His death and resurrection to save you from your sin.

All of this is true, but again, in our day, the distinction between justification and sanctification must be made in order to not add to the prevailing progressive justification of our day. We MUST ALWAYS delineate between works salvation and new creature love lest we confound the two…

Notice, the “gospel” is good news to be believed; not good deeds to be done

…is the exact same language used by the progressive justification crowd that is firmly in charge of the American church. With all due respect, the statement separates good deeds (love) from the results of the resurrection (new birth), and that’s an extremely unfortunate result.

Because of prevailing progressive justification in our day, the very things Adams lists are described as the “means of grace” that “impart grace” and “keep us in the love of Jesus.” They are faith alone works that we “depend” on to keep us saved.

“Depend” is a bad word to use in conjunction with the good news of being born again. I was born of my mother and father, but I do not depend on what they did to stay alive. What they did is a finished work. For some time, I depended on them for the necessities of growing up in life, and my birth made that possible, but again, is a finished work, not the progression of growing up which is not yet finished.

Salvation is a finished work and includes regeneration. It is dying with Christ and being quickened by the new birth. It’s two-fold: Christ accomplished the first part and the Holy Spirit accomplishes the second. If you are going to say that a Christian needs to continually “depend” on Christ for salvation, you are wrong, but excluding the Spirit in that dependence is even more wrong and compounds the confusion. It also adds to the Chrsitocentricity of progressive justification. If you are going to be wrong, at least be wrong more accurately and include the Spirit. Salvation is Trinitarian—not Christocentric.

Let’s exclude the “depend” wordage in the gospel and replace it with “believe.” If you would notice, “believe” is the word always used in conjunction with the gospel in the Bible and that is not an accident.

“Depend” implies an ongoing work that should always be qualified as the new Christian life and NOT the finished work of regeneration. And that dependence should always include the Holy Spirit. Be sure of this: neither justification nor sanctification is Christocentric.

The completion of our new life is not salvation, salvation is a finished work—the completion of our new life is redemption. That’s the salvation from the weakness of our mortal bodies—not the salvation of our souls.

paul

“< Tweet, Tweet: Knowledge

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 23, 2015

Blogtalk Radio: A Discussion About Home Fellowships; Paul, Susan, and Caller from Colorado

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 22, 2015

The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 22, 2015

The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 22, 2015

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Welcome to Blogtalk Radio False Reformation this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, we are going to attack and unravel interpretive abuses of 1John, particularly 1John 1:9 and 2:1. There is only one other text twisted for ill use more than these two verses, and that would be Galatians 2:20 and 3:1-3. Later, In part 2, I will toss in an exegesis of those verses as a bonus.

There may be a lot of different religions and even more denominations, but for all practical purposes they all have one thing in common: this whole idea that salvation is a process with a beginning and an end. This makes salvation a process that includes our present life.

So, the argumentation between religions and denominations involves the correct way of getting from point A to point B. But there is no point A and point B. When you believe God unto salvation, you get the complete package and the salvation part of your life is finished. It is an instantaneous quickening of the Spirit that transports you from one kingdom to another, from one master to another, from being under law to being under grace, from the old person to the new person, and from darkness to light. You don’t become a servant of righteousness on the installment plan, and you don’t become a kingdom citizen on an installment plan.

How is 1John used to argue for a progressive salvation, and what is John really saying in his epistle? That’s what we are discussing tonight. If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. We will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective. If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the show.

Way back at the beginning of this ministry, I had this nailed down. If salvation is a process, and eternal life as opposed to eternal punishment is at stake, the Christian life is really a minefield. The focus isn’t being the best kingdom citizen; the focus is making sure you don’t mess up your salvation. The focus is salvation, not discipleship. The focus is fear of judgement, not love.

I realize many Christians hold to OSAS, once saved always saved, but the problem is how they are led by pastors trained in seminaries deeply grounded in Protestant tradition. That tradition looks to the institutional church as the primary way of getting God’s people from point A to point B in regard to their salvation. Whether OSAS or not, they are led to do the same things week in and week out. Be here at this time or that time; stand up; sing; sit down; listen to announcements; stand up; sing; sit down; listen to the special music presentation; put your tithe in the plate; listen to the sermon (always about the gospel just in case there are lost people present, wink, wink); stand up; sing “Just As I Am” until someone walks the isle so you can stop singing “Just As I Am”; pray; be dismissed; be cordial to people and tell them how much you love them; go home, and come back next week and do it again.

Why? Because all of that ritualism “imparts grace” and enables us to “grow in grace.” It enables us to “grow up in our salvation.” After all, discipleship is the “growing part of our salvation.” We have all said it, but salvation doesn’t grow. While believing in OSAS, most parishioners are led by pastors who believe in progressive salvation/justification which was clearly the foundational premise of Protestantism with the progression being overseen by the Protestant institutional church.

Moreover, let’s face it; while believing in OSAS, there is only one reason people put up with all of the nonsense and drama of the institutional church—OSAS means that if someone leaves the institutional church, they were never saved to begin with. Right? In other words, they function according to the idea that they are led by. It’s OSAS as long as you are “faithful” to the institution. Then each church has its own little “faithfulness” caste system. Those who show up for all of the services are the “core members” that run the church. Those “less faithful” that only come on Sunday mornings are a lower class of member in the caste system.

You have the pastors, staff and deacons, then the “faithful” that attend all of the services and tithe at least 10%, the “casual” attenders that tithe, and then the bottom of the caste strata, even lower than the serfs, the putrid “nonmembers.”

Whether Calvin or Luther, the two icons of Protestantism, these beliefs follow after the doctrine they established for the Protestant institutional church. Access to the institutional church was through water baptism, and the critical need according to the Reformers for formal church membership follows: as Christians, forgiveness for present and future sins can only be found in the institutional church, and those sins condemn us. Forgiveness for all sins does not occur at salvation, but only for past sins. Water baptism initiates us into church membership where forgiveness for present and future sins can be obtained through the sacraments; ie., “gospel preaching,” the Lord’s Table, and anything else deemed as acts of faithfulness to the institutional church not to exclude tithing by any means. Calvin states this explicitly in his institutes, 4.15.1.

All in all, you can say that in Protestantism, the status of sin does not change for the believer—it still condemns requiring perpetual resalvation for every sin committed.

Therefore, 1John 1:9 and 2:1 is interpreted in this light: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9). “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1).

These verses seem to bolster the authentic Protestant position on justification. Confession of sin in our Christian lives keeps us saved. And if we confess our sins, Jesus is up in heaven as our advocate with the Father continuing His work as a propitiation for our sins.

The problem is that this interpretation stands in stark contrast to what other Scriptures state about justification. Biblically, sin has a different classification after salvation—it can’t condemn; it can bring chastisement and present consequences, but it can’t condemn—its ability to condemn has been taken away. Hence, there is no need to have some institution that prevents future condemnation.

Nevertheless, it is easy to understand why the institutional church not only gets a pass on outrageous behavior, but the money keeps pouring in. What will people pay for their salvation and décor that glorifies the institution that saves them? Apparently, no price or compromise is too large. One can also appreciate the fear of so-called excommunication because the institutional church is the only place where one can receive continued forgiveness for present and future sins.

Before I move on, I will solidify my present point. Romans 8:1 states that there is presently NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. In Contrast, Calvin stated that “even saints cannot perform one work which, if judged on its own merits, is not deserving of condemnation” (CI 3.14.9, last sentence). Obviously, the focus is going to be avoiding condemnation, not our freedom to pursue aggressive love in discipleship.

So what are these verses in 1John really saying? Let’s begin to unpack that using the historical grammatical approach to interpretation as opposed to the traditional Protestant means of interpretation, the historical redemptive method. Since Protestantism sees salvation as a process, “redemptive” means that the Bible must be approached with a redemptive prism; ie., the Bible is about salvation. Clearly, this is eisegesis; going to the Bible with a presupposition.

In regard to the history part, this is the belief that history is an unfolding drama about salvation. Hence, all of reality is interpreted through salvation. All of history and the Bible continually reveals the one two-fold redemptive truth/reality: the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God. Salvation begins when we see or understand this reality, and the experience of that reality increases until final salvation.

In contrast, the historical grammatical method uses historical facts to bring more meaning to the text, and all truth is determined by what can be concluded by the grammar—this is known as exegesis. All meaning and truth comes out of the text without anything being read into the text except conclusions from other texts.

In fact, Protestant tradition holds to the idea that a historical grammatical approach to the Scriptures invariably leads to works salvation. Protestant tradition insists that the Scriptures must be interpreted through the prism of total depravity. In this year’s TANC conference, this is what I am going to be hitting on. Christians, save a few, have no idea that Protestant pastors that are leading them view reality in a totally different way than most parishioners. And this is why church looks like it does. And there is no salvaging it—it’s a completely broken system.

So, if you interpret said verses in 1John redemptively, it fits right into their narrative, right? You have to continue to repent for new sins in your Christian life in order to not be condemned and to keep your salvation. A good old fashioned Baptist lady who I am sure would hold OSAS stated this to my wife Susan in the grocery store a couple weeks ago. When Susan asked her why Christians need to go forward during alter calls, she answered, “they have sin that needs to be forgiven.” Well, why can’t they get that forgiveness by praying at home? You ought to see the reaction Susan and I get when we suggest her mother was saved even though not a member of a church.

Protestantism and all of its offshoots including the Baptists is nothing more or less than functioning Calvinism. Election isn’t the point, progressive salvation is the point. Protestants think salvation grows—salvation doesn’t grow—you are either forgiven once and for all time or you aren’t. Look, if you are going to stay in the institutional church, it makes absolutely no difference where you go. Please, stop driving 15 miles to the Baptist church when there is a Catholic Church right across the street—it’s a shameful waste of gas. It’s all progressive justification.

In contrast, we have to see 1John in its exegetical historical context. It must be interpreted according to what was going on during the time that prompted this letter. And what was that?

John was pushing back against the number-one nemesis of the assemblies during that time: Gnosticism. Now, there were many, many different veins of Gnosticism during that time, but like denominationalism, there are basics that are fundamentally the same. Denominationalism quibbles about how to get from point A to point B, but it is all progressive salvation.

When you understand the basics of Gnosticism, it is easy to see that John’s first epistle is a point by point rebuttal of Gnosticism, and NOT the proffering of progressive justification. Protestants can bicker with Catholics all they want to about how to get from point A to point B, but again, it’s all progressive justification. If it’s a religious institution, it’s selling final salvation, PERIOD.

If we follow John’s arguments in this epistle, it also apes the fundamental basics of Gnosticism, and that’s what we are going to do:

1John 1:1 – That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. [KJV].

The Gnostics taught that it really wasn’t the spiritual Christ that died on the cross. Gnosticism holds to the idea that material is evil and only the invisible spiritual world is good. Gnosticism rejected the idea that the spiritual realm, or godhood can be one with the material. You must understand: the biblical concept of Godman is a direct affront to the foundation of all false religions, or the knowledge of good and evil. It is the idea that true knowledge cannot be one with the material. Knowledge is good, material is evil and is only a shadow of true knowledge. Knowledge of the material is enslaved and dependent on the five senses.

Now, stop right there. Let me simplify this for you. All false religion flows from the religion of the knowledge of good and evil presented to Eve in the garden. This is also the first sentence of the Calvin Institutes and all of the Calvin Institutes flow from the foundation of 1.1.1., first sentence, viz, ALL wisdom is the knowledge of man and the knowledge of God; man is inherently evil and God is inherently good.

Also, the first sentence of the Calvin Institutes is the primary theses of Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation which is the Magnum Opus of the Reformation. All fundamentals found in contemporary evangelicalism can be found in the Heidelberg Disputation and flow from it. Calvin’s Institutes further articulated the former. In contemporary evangelicalism, we hear constantly that true biblical knowledge is “the knowledge of our own sinfulness as set against God’s holiness.” This is also the pronounced fundamental foundation of the contemporary biblical counseling movement as constantly stated publically in no uncertain terms.

Why am I interjecting this? Because even though much of our knowledge concerning first century Gnosticism comes from the writings of the early church fathers and while they railed against Gnosticism, they themselves were also Gnostics. However, in the process of railing against Gnosticism, they confirm unequivocally that John’s letter addressed the Gnosticism of their day; it just wasn’t the Gnosticism that they preferred.

And by the way, according to some church fathers, John was addressing a Gnostic named Cerinthus who was a contemporary of John and a personal nemesis.

Cerinthus was a gnostic and to some, an early Christian, who was prominent as a heresiarch in the view of the early Church Fathers. Contrary to proto-orthodox Christianity, Cerinthus’s school followed the Jewish law, used the Gospel according to the Hebrews, denied that the Supreme God had made the physical world, and denied the divinity of Jesus. In Cerinthus’ interpretation, the Christ came to Jesus at baptism, guided him in his ministry, but left him at the crucifixion.

He taught that Jesus would establish a thousand-year reign of sensuous pleasure after the Second Coming but before the General Resurrection, a view that was declared heretical by the Council of Nicaea. Cerinthus used a version of the gospel of Matthew as scripture.

Cerinthus taught at a time when Christianity’s relation to Judaism and to Greek philosophy had not yet been clearly defined. In his association with the Jewish law and his modest assessment of Jesus, he was similar to the Ebionites and to other Jewish Christians. In defining the world’s creator as the demiurge, he emulated Platonic philosophy and anticipated the Gnostics.

Early Christian tradition describes Cerinthus as a contemporary to and opponent of John the Evangelist, who may have written the First Epistle of John and the Second Epistle of John to warn the less mature in faith and doctrine about the changes he was making to the original gospel. All that is known about Cerinthus comes from the writing of his theological opponents (Wikipedia).

At any rate, the teachings of Cerinthus follow the basic fundamentals of 1st century Gnosticism of which there were two schools of thought unchanged from the cradle of society: intuitive knowledge within versus knowledge outside of man. While both schools held to the strict dichotomy of material being evil and the invisible good, and true knowledge being beyond the five senses, they disagreed on where that knowledge is found and whether or not it is intuitive among all men, or a select few preordained by nature or some supreme being.

Cerinthus followed the philosophical school of Idealism which holds to the belief that the one cosmic mind has an intuitive connection within every individual. Finding that knowledge is often a complex mind-numbing epistemology, but curiously, Luther and Calvin had their own angle that built on the Neo-Platonic teachings of St. Augustine.

This Gnostic bent actually allowed for Christ to be human, or at least some form of humanity. Apparently, God became exasperated with man’s penchant for trying to gain knowledge through the material world, and said in essence, “Ok, since you like to think you can know something and try to gain knowledge through the things that are seen, I am going to send my Son to die on the physical cross, and now all knowledge will only be gained through suffering—there mankind, take that!” This is the essence of the Heidelberg Disputation which is a philosophical treatise, not a theological one by any stretch of the imagination. Luther states plainly in the document that ALL knowledge is hidden in the suffering of the cross. Anyone who thinks they can understand Protestantism without a good grasp of world philosophy is sadly misguided. It is one of the historical necessities of historical grammatical hermeneutics.

Hence, in the Gnostic Protestant construct, Christ and His gospel is the only true objective knowledge and is outside of man. Man is not to seek any knowledge within himself, but all knowledge must be sought outside of him in contemplation of the gospel. All of reality is interpreted by the suffering of the cross. The cross is the epistemology from the material to the invisible, or from the evil to the good.

In contrast, other schools believe the epistemology is intuitive within all men because all men have a spiritual being separate from their material being, and the spiritual part of man is nonmaterial and therefore SINLESS. The material body of man is evil because it is material, but his invisible being is good and has a connection to the cosmic spiritual world that must be cultivated by transcending the material. This was key to the drug culture of the 60’s as LSD trips enabled the individual to transcend the five senses and see into the invisible spiritual world. Supposedly.

Other schools of thought believed that even though all men have a material and spiritual aspect, the spiritual anthropology has classifications in regard to who is able to see true knowledge and who isn’t as determined by the cosmos or cosmic mind; ie., determinism. And consequently, if utopia is to ever be achieved, those with the ability to see knowledge must rule over those who have the inability to transcend the material and are enslaved to it.  How do you reason with people hopelessly enslaved to the material? They either understand that they can’t know reality and get with the program, or you kill them.

According to the Reformers, utopia is achieved by understanding that all reality is interpreted through the cross of redemption. This concept was established by Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and is known as being a “theologian of the cross.” Theologians of the cross are able to know the “cross story,” or interpret reality through the cross, and all others are enslaved to the “glory story” or the story of man. This is the dichotomy of the knowledge of good and evil, or material versus spiritual.

Furthermore, the Reformers believed that the new birth entailed the gift of outward seeing only. All goodness remains outside of man. This is the pious distinction they claim over their fellow Gnostics. Unlike Cerinthus, who would be the modern equivalence of existentialism, no good can be in man, because that does not limit knowledge to suffering and the cross. Even though the early church fathers believed that material is evil and only the invisible is good like all ancient Gnostics, they labeled those heretics who believed that the invisible spirit within man was a connection to the good. That was heresy in their minds. And if you really understand what John Piper et al believe in our day, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

The true Christians of that day had a different metaphysical take: the material realm is NOT evil, it’s weak. Something that is weak can still be good. The born again Christian struggles with sin because he/she is weak, not because the material realm is inherently evil. Christ really did come adorned in humanity in every since of the meaning because the material is not evil. This understanding of being fits together with the true gospel.

But what Cerinthus et al was teaching speaks directly to what John wrote in his first epistle, and we have addressed some of it in John’s introduction. John, in essence, said the following: Christ was 100% humanity and 100% God. We saw Him, we heard Him, we touched Him, we saw Him die on the cross, there isn’t two Christs, there is only one.

What Cerinthus et al taught explains everything John wrote in this epistle and why he wrote it. It not only explains why John wrote what he wrote in 1:9 and 2:1, it sheds light on why John wrote what he wrote in the rest of the book as well.

And that is what we will look at next week. We will do a point by point fly over of 1John while interpreting it according to this historical context of Gnosticism. John will address the definition of sin in contrast, the definition of knowledge and truth in contrast, the definition of the true gospel in context, the definition of love and hate in contrast, and the definition of the new birth in contrast.

See you next week.

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The Home Fellowship Caste System

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 21, 2015

The Home Fellowship Caste System Final

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Tonight on Blogtalk Radio: The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification; Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 20, 2015

Blog Radio LogoDoes Christ continue His work of salvation in heaven to keep us saved? Does sin committed by Christians separate us from grace unless we live by faith alone in the same gospel that saved us? Is our sin ended, or does it need a continuing atonement? Whether people realize it or not, Protestantism’s forensic justification answers all of those questions,”yes,” and 1John is a primary go-to book to make the case. But is this true? Join us tonight at 7PM for this all important gospel discussion.

Clearcreek Chapel Gone Wild: Jesus Keeps the Clearcreek Covenant for You

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 20, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted November 18, 2013

My, my, how different Clearcreek Chapel of Springboro, Ohio is since a pack of New Calvinist wolves took it over shortly after the departure of the founding pastor. The victorious pack, led by Chad Bresson (who for some reason recently left the KoolAid paradise that he built at his former chapel with a creepy adoration for his supposed theological prowess) began infiltrating the flock a couple of weeks before Dr. John Street’s departure.

The undomesticated canine delegation he brought with him from a Baptist church in Dayton, Ohio seemed to be frustrated with their inability to devour at that location. Really old sheep produce a mutton that is tough to chew, and invariably leaves a bad aftertaste.

As far as the “friends” I knew back in that day and their susceptibility to believe Bresson’s outrageous mythology, I never saw it coming.

Apparently, just about any place a thinking person pokes the Chapel these days produces something utterly bizarre. I say this because of what I accidently stumbled onto today. In a recent sermon by Chapel elder Devon Berry, who is a mental healthcare professional (yikes!), he stated that Jesus keeps the Chapel covenant for the “beloved” members. Let me share an excerpt:

Is the Chapel covenant a call to a certain kind of living in the Church? Yes, it is. But beloved, it is a call to much, much, much more than that and it can never be only that. It is a call to the living Christ, our righteousness, our sin-bearer, our life. When you read the Chapel Covenant, reflect on Christ first for it is meant to point us to him – not to ourselves and our own efforts. Then rejoice. He has obeyed for us. He has suffered and died for us. And, he has also enabled us by grace – something we’ve talked around this morning but not mentioned directly.

Let me close by contradicting myself. Earlier I said that you could not keep the Chapel Covenant. I will end by saying that you can keep the Chapel Covenant. Grace, the enabling power given by God because we are at peace with him through the work of the cross, provides all that we need to obey and overcome sin. Hence, the Chapel Covenant is a call to live in the reality of who we are as believers. There is no better place you could live, no more joyful place you could abide, no more beautiful place you could dwell than in the life-transforming reality of the gospel. Believer, be who you are for Christ has given you all that you need.

Clearly, Berry is putting the Chapel covenant on par with the Scriptures. He states that it is more than a standard, it is a “call to the living Christ.” And, the ability to keep the covenant requires the enabling grace of Christ? This is beyond creepy. Moreover, if 2+2=4, Berry makes living by the Chapel covenant via the grace of Christ synonymous with dwelling in the “life-transforming reality of the gospel.” And according to Berry, there is not a place in the world where they could have more joy.

Sorry I am missing all the fun.

paul

Institutional Church Spiritual Caste System

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 19, 2015

Inst Church Caste Final

Acts Lesson 47

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, contributing editor on March 19, 2015

Tuesday Night Bible Study
March 17, 2015

Study of the Book of Acts


Tonight’s Text – Acts 17:22-34

Brief review

  1. The “superstitious” Athenians
    1. Idolatry and “devotions”
      1. σεβασμα (seh-BAS-ma) – something adored. An object of worship
      2. “too superstitious”
        • δεισιδαιμονεστερος (“dice-ee-dah-ee-mon-ES-ter-os”)
          • δειλος (DIE-los) – a sense of dread, timid.
          • δαιμον (“dah-EE-mon”) – a demon, a supernatural spirit.
    2. Paul makes a comparison
    3. The dynamic at work.
  2. Making the “Unknown God” known
    1. God the Creator
      • Needs no man-made dwelling
      • Not worshiped in a “place”
    2. “Unity” of man
      • “out of one blood” rather than the making of one blood
    3. The “offspring” of God
      • Citation of secular literature
      • A philosophical appeal, not theological
  3. Paul’s argument for God’s existence
    1. God is not defined by the material/physical
      • because His offspring are not defined that way
    2. God is aware of man’s ignorance
    3. God is ready to deal with ALL men EVERYWHERE
      • repentance from ignorance
      • warning of coming judgment
    4. Assurance by the testimony of Jesus Christ
  4. Results of Paul’s discourse
    1. Some mocked
      • “throw out the lip” – compare with Psalm 22:7
    2. Some believed
      1. Dionysius the Areopagite
      2. Damaris
      3. Others

The Protestant Twisting of 1John; A Clarification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 19, 2015

Blog Radio LogoDoes Christ continue His work of salvation in heaven to keep us saved? Does sin committed by Christians separate us from grace unless we live by faith alone in the same gospel that saved us? Is our sin ended, or does it need a continuing atonement? Whether people realize it or not, Protestantism’s forensic justification answers all of those questions,”yes,” and 1John is a primary go-to book to make the case. But is this true? Join us Friday night at 7PM for this all important gospel discussion.

Show Link: The Protestant Twisting of 1John; a Clarification

Acts 10: Reformed Theology and the Problem With Cornelius

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 19, 2015

Originally posted October 3, 2012

I was asked recently what I thought the primary key to discernment is. I answered this way: one of the major keys is daily Bible reading. If nothing else, read through the Scriptures and get a general idea of what is going on.

When you do that, you discover that things you hear from the pulpit may need a little bit more consideration and thinking.

We know the Reformed drill. Man is totally depraved. He can’t do anything to merit salvation. You’re either chosen, or not chosen. We can’t do anything to please God—all of our works are as filthy rags before God, and so forth.

So, as you are taking my advice, drinking some morning coffee and reading through Acts 10, you’re stopped dead in your tracks and immediately realize why Luther hated reason so much.

We read the following there:

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”

Um, is it just me, or does this kinda throw a monkey wrench in the whole “all of our works are filthy rags before God” routine? Now, heretics like Paul David Tripp would quickly step forward and say, “That text needs to be seen in its gospel context.” Oooookay. So, somehow, in the “gospel context,” “memorial” really means “filthy rags.” Right.

Furthering the complexity leading to a need for more consideration is the question of whether or not Cornelius was officially saved when the angel made this statement.

Watch out for neatly arranged theological systems. Especially Reformed ones.

And read your Bible daily.

paul

Camp on This: The Problem with Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 18, 2015

Steve Camp is a Reformed leader and contemporary Christian music icon. In fact, while still blinded by the ways of Protestantism, I was a huge fan of Camp and have probably purchased every CD he ever recorded. He recently posted a comment on his Facebook page that is an almost perfect thumbnail of Protestant heresy and churchianity in general.

Steve Camp

Let’s unravel this invitation to go to hell in a handbasket one idea at a time:

As I read FB and Twitter each day, it saddens me to read Christians posting for help with basic needs in their lives. When you see this, it’s proof positive that they are not part of a local church.

Oh really? Home fellowships are in a much better position to help people because of expendable income not going to the Protestant temple tax. As a former Reformed elder, I can tell you what percentage of tithe goes to infrastructure and it ain’t pretty. Not only that, there are always strings attached to any help you get from a Protestant institutional church. One such church offered to pay for my education in fire safety engineering. I said no because I knew it was a control move. In fact, because of what was going on at the time, their motives were so obvious I was embarrassed for them. Home fellowships accomplish EVERYTHING we are called to do at a fraction of the cost.

May I encourage you today to get plugged into a gospel-centered church.

Being interpreted: a church that continually “shows forth” the same gospel that saved us. That’s Protestantism: a return to the same gospel to maintain forgiveness for “present sin.” Calvin taught that sin in the Christian life “removes us…from grace” (“grace,” ie., justification) and reforgiveness of such sin can only be found in formal Protestant church membership.

Be taught God’s Word; worship the Lord Jesus; celebrate the Lord’s supper; fellowship with other believers; pray; serve; give; help meet the needs and bear the burdens of another; develop and use your Spirit given gifts; grow in grace; share your faith; glorify God.

In this list are the Protestant, and don’t miss this, “means of grace.” Stripping this term of its nuance, it is better stated “means of justification.” Notice towards the end of the list we read, “grow[ing] in grace” which is more truthfully rendered “growing in justification.”

Sitting under the teaching of seminary certified philosopher kings, taking the Lord’s Table, being faithful to the church, tithing, etc., “imparts grace” (justification) and are the “means of grace” (justification).

Also notice that instead of worshiping God in spirit and in truth wherever we are because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and not some “local church,” “worship” only takes place when we meet corporately in the local expression of the “holy mother Church” as Calvin enjoyed calling it.

paul

Forgiveness After Forgiveness?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 18, 2015

By Jay Adams at Institute for Nouthetic Studies blog:

The Lord’s Prayer is confusing. I have understood that once forgiven by Christ, you don’t need to be forgiven again. But in that prayer, we are to pray for forgiveness of our trespasses. And in the footnote to it, we are told that if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven. How come?

That the prayer is for believers—once-for-all-forgiven people—is clear: they are to pray to God their Father. They are His children.

What’s with this asking for forgiveness, then? Read more

Understanding God Requires an Exodus From the Institutional Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 18, 2015

I have been on a spiritual journey for eight years now. It started in 2007, and continues to this day. I was saved in 1983, and by the time 2007 came, I had lost hope that I would ever be part of a church that made a real difference in people’s lives. Indeed, as a new believer who was very zealous, I immediately found myself at odds with the institutional church on many levels. I am far from being part of a few that share this testimony.

The hardest part? Feeling alone amidst the compromise. By 2010, all of my mentors were no longer my mentors. The ones I knew personally threw me under the bus. However, I never lost hope in God. I always knew God wasn’t the problem; I knew church was the problem.

“Church” is a very valuable term. It is the common name of the institutional church which began to emerge in the 4th century. It made a distinction between itself and the Jewish model of home fellowships. Replacement theology not only proffered the idea that the Gentiles had replaced Israel as God’s chosen people, it also proffered the idea that institutions predicated on spiritual caste replaced the home fellowship model. The institutional church, or simply “church,” began with the Roman Catholic Church and its many offshoots including Protestantism.

Ancient paganism and mythological religions have always been temple based and Judaism was always the exception. I know what you are thinking, but please remember that there was always ONE holy temple that was obviously too small for corporate worship purposes. Now, each and every believer is that “temple” in which the Holy Spirit dwells, and there was only one place in the temple where God’s holiness could dwell—in the inner room, the most holy place, the Holy of Holies. God in us, the hope of glory, and if our bodies are God’s temple, then our bodies are the Holy of Holies. That is the only place God dwells in the temple.

Worship is not a place, it’s the person who is God’s temple. The institutional church makes worship a place—this is unavoidable in every regard.

Brick and mortar temple worship has always brought man low and made him the disdain of angry capricious gods, and church is no different. The undisputed hero of Protestantism, John Calvin, stated that men are but worms that crawl upon the earth. Luther and Calvin created the institutional model that thrives today among most denominations. Like all pagan gods before, the Protestant god created man for his self-glory and self-love, a god that created evil in order to glorify himself by contrast.

The most pious of Protestants beg and weep for mercy while not daring to have any promise of eternal life, but only the eternal torment they deserve. Yea, even the Christ who died for certain men will personally torment the ones he did not choose for eternity.

Though not all Protestants embrace this extreme, they pick and choose from the same orthodoxy resulting in lesser fears clothed in confusion and the debating over words.

When one believes that he/she really has the anointing of the Holy Spirit, when one turns off the Christian radio, when one makes the Bible the only authority for truth, as the seeking unfolds, a much different God emerges. What emerges is a God that is near us and in us. What emerges is a God who will leave His home in heaven and dwell among men. He is a God who created man from the dust, but became one with man in order to redeem him. God responded to sin by making man more than a creation—he responded by making man His very own family. He responded by casting our sin away into an infinite distance, and using that same infinite distance to measure His infinite oneness.

To remain a part of church is to trade God’s love for being a worm. It is tantamount to rejecting the new birth that makes God your literal Father. It rejects the gift of holiness for a weeping sinhood that falsely accuses God and appoints him with mythological tyrants.

John Piper once said that God entered history through Jesus Christ. Not so—God entered man through Jesus Christ and made it possible for man to be His literal eternal family in the here and now. We are not sinners, we are brothers with Christ and He is not ashamed to call us such.

Come out from among them and be separate. Seek to please the God who has made us family. Come to the realization of who you are as Christ’s brother and a citizen of God’s kingdom. And your brother is the king of the eternal kingdom, and He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.

We are heirs and not worms—come out from among them.

paul

“< Tweet, Tweet: Wormhood or Family?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 18, 2015

Are Christians Truly Righteous? Yes, Because Jesus DID NOT Die for All of Our Sins

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 17, 2015

The weak sanctification/kingdom living among Christians is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the new birth. Once again, I was involved in a debate last week with several professing Christians who understand the new birth to be an idiom for our sins being covered rather than ended. Rather than being made, or recreated righteous, we still have sin that separates us from grace and requires an “imputation” of an “alien righteousness.” Our sins are only covered and we remain fundamentally unchanged.

Per the usual, the debate included Baptist pastors and missionaries which of course is completely terrifying. Wonder why your little Baptist church is dying a slow death? A false gospel perhaps?

Ask many professing Christians if Christ died for our present and future sins and they will look at you like it is the stupidest question they have ever heard in their whole life, but this is indicative of the overall ignorance concerning the true gospel among professing Protestants.

Christ came to end the law, and where there is no law there is no sin. Christ only died for sins that are under law. When you are saved you are no longer under law—there is no penalty to be paid for any sin that is not under law.  That is the legal aspect, but it is also the reality of being.

The new birth puts the old person to death with Christ. A dead person is no longer under law. And where there is no law there is no sin. All sin is against the law; that is, the law of sin and death. That law no longer applies to the believer for two reasons: Christ ended it on the cross, and a dead man is no longer under the law. What happens when the Police find out a suspect is dead? Case closed. This is along the exact same line of argument Paul makes in Romans 7.

But there is also a resurrection. Even though the body of sin has been brought to nothing, and those who have died have ceased from sin, the soul of the believer is quickened (regeneration) and now is free to “serve another.” Who is the new person now free to serve? His/her new master, the law of the Spirit of life. The law is now our guide to love God and others—it cannot condemn us. We were indifferent to the law when we were under it and it was condemning us, but now we love it (see Psalms 119).

If Christ died for our present and future sins, we are still under the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death is not ended—we are still under it, and in fact, Christ’s death needs to be applied to any present or future sin we commit—we are therefore not under grace.

This denies the new birth. We have not ceased from sin because we never really died with Christ. The sin we presently commit is not merely family sin that can bring chastisement from our Father—that sin can actually condemn us. There is still condemnation for those who love God.

A verse often quoted to refute the literal new birth and the ending of the law of sin and death is 2Corinthians 5:21.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (KJV).

The idea in citing this verse is that the only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Christ not only came to die for our sins, but instead of ending the law of sin and death, he came to obey it perfectly so that His obedience (righteousness) can be credited to our account because we are not literally righteous and fall short of obeying the law of sin and death perfectly. 1John 1:9 is often added to 2Corinthians 5:21 to make the case.

Moreover, this perfect obedience and His death must be reapplied to any new sin we commit against the still active law of sin and death. Hence, any obedience to the law done by us can only bring about death—we are not free to serve the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2).

So, we have no righteousness of our own, and are not recreated righteous. We only have the righteousness of God, who is also Christ, so being interpreted: we are not righteous or recreated, but merely covered by the righteousness of Christ. “In Christ” means that the righteousness of God and the righteousness of Christ are the same thing.

This idea not only turns the true gospel completely on its head for a number of reasons, but 2Corithians 5:21 is saying the exact opposite.

“In Christ” means that Christ made it possible for God to recreate believers as truly righteous beings through the baptism of the Spirit. Christ died on the cross so that we could die with Him and no longer be under the law of sin and death. Christ died for us so that we could die with Him. Christ was then resurrected by the Spirit so that we could be resurrected with Him as new creatures that are truly righteous. This is what 2Corithians 5:21 is saying.

The two words translated “made” in said verse are two different Greek words. The first in regard to Christ being made sin is the word poieō which, for the most part is the idea of assignment or appointment. The meaning has a wide use and is ambiguous. Not so much with the word ginomai used in regard to us being made the righteousness of God. The word means to make something, or create something completely. For example, this is how the word is used in Matthew 4:3…

If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.

“Become” is the same word, and how it is used is obvious. Satan wasn’t demanding that Christ declare the stones to be loaves of bread in some kind of forensic declaration, he was demanding that Christ recreate the stones as bread. Nor was this going to be a gradual process of transforming the stones into bread, but would have been a final complete act. Get the picture?

2Corinthians 5:21 is simply stating that Christ made it possible for God to recreate us to be the same righteousness that defines our Father because we are truly born of Him—that’s the gospel.

paul

The Love Downgrade: How Orthodoxy Dumbs Down the Love of God

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 17, 2015

PPT HandleAccording to Protestant orthodoxy, God set the plan of salvation in motion to restore the original covenant He had made with Adam. God also, as the story goes, seeks to restore paradise and the former glory of creation.

Once again, the traditions of men obscure our vision in regard to the glory of God and His astounding love for mankind. We do not love a God that merely restores, we love a God that never ceases to amaze. Protestant orthodoxy is full of boring ideas and an underwhelming view of God’s majesty.

God did not send Christ to merely restore mankind; He came to make mankind God’s very family. Stop settling for mere salvation, you have been remade into the very kin of God—you are His literal family member.

I am not sure when the Bible begins to posit the motif of Father and Son, but it is all part of God’s plan to make man His literal family. You are not merely restored, you are family. Christ, the Son of God is your literal brother, and God is your literal Father.

The plan of God made the new birth of man possible. God injected Himself into the procreation process of fallen man. This goes way beyond renovation—this is complete recreation. The seed of Adam could not make mankind a literal member of God’s family—it would take the seed of God through Christ born of a virgin.

Orthodoxy and its errant eschatology has robbed us of the marvelous truth that God will actually move from heaven to earth in order to dwell with mankind. But it doesn’t stop there, it also robs us of the new birth and the fact that we are God’s true children. It makes our kinship a mere idiom.

paul

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz – Full Documentary Movie

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 16, 2015

We are ALL Calvinists. Yes, You Too

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 16, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted August 22, 2014

Why has the Neo-Calvinist movement all but completely taken over the church? Because we are all Calvinists to begin with.

“What! I don’t believe in election! I’m not even a one-point Calvinist!”

See what I mean? Christians believe Calvinism is defined by the sovereign grace issue. No, Calvinism is defined by the plenary inability of man issue. Calvinism completely owns the prism in which Western Christianity interprets reality and the Bible. This was their goal from the very beginning, and I must give them credit for the excellent job they have done.

I catch on slow, but apparently, I eventually catch on. For years I have been sending emails to the who’s who of the Not Reformed among us stating the following:

“Uh, guys, Calvinism holds to a blatantly false justification, and this is simple theological math. If people of your stature start talking about this—they are done.”

Not one reply ever, except from a well-known evangelical that told me what I should have already known:

“We all believe the same gospel.”

Yep. What has become obvious to me is that the academics on both sides feed all of the drama to keep the dumb sheep distracted from the real issue: Protestantism is a false gospel. Arminians and Calvinists have the same gospel at stake and all of the money that goes with it. Catholicism and Protestantism both are institutions that collect a tax, and foundational to any religious institution is the idea of human mediators. In other words, religious institutions must have a spiritual caste system.

This confuses body life with authority, and the purpose of the body of Christ. The body of Christ and institutions are mutually exclusive. This is what all of the academia on both sides of the Calvinism/Arminian debate don’t want the herd to figure out. The called out assembly of Christ was based on the fellowship of likeminded believers in one mind, or one truth. It’s based on conscience and not authority. Get into the New Testament and find an institution construct that resembles what we have today in any regard—good luck. That’s not to say there isn’t organization; there most certainly is, but that’s not the same as institutional caste.

A religious institution must have one particular gospel in order to survive: a linear one; specifically, the “golden chain of salvation” (eerily similar to the “golden chain of philosophers” or the “golden chain of Platonic succession”). It isn’t complicated; justification/salvation isn’t finished and you need the religious scholars to help you make sure you finish it correctly. Come now, look around. We don’t find our own understanding in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, we listen to men. Christian academia is a multi-billion dollar a year business. While we say, “The Holy Spirit is my counselor and He uses the Scriptures which I am called on to study,” that’s not how we function at all. The idea that salvation is not finished dominates the American institutional church.

“But I believe that my salvation is finished!”

No you don’t. You believe that YOUR part of it is finished while Jesus is finishing your salvation for you, lest it be by works. This is why Calvinists and Arminians only stop arguing about election long enough to say in unison, “But for the grace of God there go I.” And, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” Calvinists and Arminians teach the exact same inability in sanctification gospel. Why? Since salvation is an ongoing process in their minds, any ability on our part in sanctification suggests a co-laboring in our justification. Martin Luther taught the following: if any good work done by a Christian was “attended to with fear,” God would not consider it a mortal sin. The contemporary version of this is the often heard, “I didn’t do it, the Holy Spirit did it.” Indeed, Christians caught doing a good work even in our day must plead their case.

If salvation is truly finished, and we have ability to pursue our gifts because the only possible motive is love, that obviously decentralizes the need for authority. In contrast, the steroidal introspection continually called for in the institutional church Sunday after Sunday, after Sunday is clearly on display.

The institutional church is that research foundation looking for the latest and best way to work by faith alone so that Jesus will not be angry. You need them, and they need your money to research the best way to let Jesus finish your salvation for you, lest your part is a work that is really a work and you find yourself in hell. People will pay big money for that information, and obviously do. We have a name for all of the theories that come out of this research: Denominations. This is nothing more or less than different theories on how to live our Christian life by faith alone.

The placard below is what inspired this post; it is indicative of the Protestant gospel that encompasses all of the various denominational labels, but what they all have in common is faith alone in sanctification because justification isn’t finished. Note that each statement is a blatant contradiction to many different Bible verses. Rather than the Bible being a tool for aggressive obedience in sanctification, it is a tool for reminding us how weak we are, even in the new birth, and reminding us of how much we still need the same gospel that saved us lest we try to help Jesus finish our salvation.

paul

Carol Wimmer

You a Calvinist? Good Luck in the Final Judgment

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 16, 2015

How Christians Change: Biblical Dynamics of Change in Sanctification; Part 3, Doing the Christian Walk

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 14, 2015

Blog Radio LogoGood evening, everyone. Welcome to Blog Talk Radio False Reformation. This is your host, Paul Dohse. If you would like to call in and add to the lesson tonight, the number is 347-855-8317. You will hear me say, “You are on the air. This is your host, Paul. What is your question or comment?” and just start talking. Identifying yourself is optional.

Per the usual, we’ll be checking in towards the end of the conclusion of our presentation and try to get a conversation going with Susan about the topic at hand to kind of round everything out.

This is our third part in the series, “How Christians Change: Biblical Dynamics of Change in Sanctification.” In the first part we defined the enemy; in the second part we defined the Christian, and now we are getting into the actual nuts and bolts of Christian living. How, yes, how do we walk in the Spirit or according to the will and desires of the Spirit? These are also our desires because we are born of God.

Again, this series is designed to address the core basics of sanctification and we trust that folks will add to their understanding through independent Bible study. We must remember, for more than 500 years, Protestantism has focused on justification while making sanctification a subjective outflow of salvation. Christian living is therefore a vast untapped knowledge.

Taking the first two parts together, we understand that the Christian is not only declared righteous by God, we are in fact new creatures who are holy. Perfect sinlessness is not the issue, change of direction is the issue. We have examined why sin in the Christian life does not exempt the Christian from being truly righteous and why that is not “legal fiction.”

This is important: the only soteriological imputation spoken of in the Bible is our sins to Jesus. Righteousness is not imputed to the Christian nor does the Bible state that anywhere. Christians are MADE righteous by the new birth. There is no so-called “double imputation.”

Romans 6:4 – We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

The righteousness of God is not merely imputed to us, the new birth has made us the righteousness of God because we are His literal offspring. This is important to know if we are to live a sanctified life as kingdom citizens.

In order to adequately tap into the vast riches of sanctification via the Scriptures, it is essential that justification and sanctification not be confused. Regardless of what English translations seem to say, “gift” and “reward” cannot be confused. Salvation is a gift, sanctification, or the Christian walk involves rewards. Anything spoken of in the Bible as a reward CANNOT refer to salvation.

This part is going to be a summary on some of the methods of change for Chrsitians. Let’s start with the basic ones and move on from there. First of all, we are disciples, or learners. Gaining wisdom in sanctification is critical.

It is also critical that Scripture is your authority. Therefore, for all practical purposes, that means independent study and not a total dependence on teachers who are a help, NOT an authority. The only authority is Scripture (Acts 17:11).

Also, the method of interpretation should be grammatical historical as illustrated by the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus prescribed a learning and applying in order to have a life built upon on a rock. The audience was the uneducated peasantry of that day. The Bible is to be interpreted according to its plain sense of the words and how they are arranged in sentences. Historical context and rules of grammar should be observed as well.

Never forget this: all rules for interpreting the Bible are found within the Bible itself. Also, always remember to interpret a passage in context of justification or sanctification.

Do you know who you are as a Christian other than a holy one? You are a disciple, or learner. One of your primary objectives is to continually gain wisdom for Christian living. That’s sanctification.

1Thessalonians 4:1 – Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

In the first two studies, we looked at how sin uses desire to make its appeal. Sin’s goal is to sell you on obeying its desires. Unbelievers, as we just read, are marked by obeying their desires.

Romans 6:12 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

As born again believers, we are going to have desires like those of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

Galatians 5:16 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

 Again, our members, or mortality is not inherently evil. When Paul wrote “the desires of the flesh” that refers to when the flesh is being used in service to sinful desires. We have firmly established that our members can also be used for holy purposes. We also looked at the fact that our bodies are the Holy of Holies where the Holy Spirit resides. When we were “under law” we were enslaved to sinful desires and free to do good, but as ones “under grace” we are enslaved to righteousness and unfortunately free to sin.

It’s a reversal of overall direction predicated mostly by a love for God’s truth versus indifference to God’s law. That’s the glaring difference between a lost person and a saved person; though the unregenerate might be moral and practically wise in many areas of life, there will be a marked indifference to God’s opinion about things. People under grace love the truth:

2Thessolonians 2:9 – The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Wisdom teaches that Christians must discern between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of sin. I assume sinful desires will usually have pleasure as their goal, while godly desires will often look beyond pleasure to some higher goal. This can get pretty complex and would be a vast field of study in and of itself. Greed, taking shortcuts in dealing with life, and many other considerations would come into play.

At any rate, we learn of an extremely important principle in Romans 6. We become slaves to whatever desires we obey.

Romans 6:15 – What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When someone comes to you with an addiction, they have become addicted because they have become enslaved to that desire by obeying it over and over again. Whether believer or unbeliever, we become enslaved to what we obey. When we don’t feel like doing something that perhaps is an obligation like going to work, and we obey that feeling, the feeling becomes stronger and stronger to the point where it dominates us.

People who are lazy are enslaved to a certain feeling. And feelings talk, right? In this case, the feeling is saying, “I don’t want to go to work.” A lazy person must stop obeying that feeling.

Then you have stuff like pornography. People can be what we call “attractive.” So, whether men or women, we want to avoid soft porn. If you begin by obeying a desire to view soft porn, it’s just going to escalate from there. This is why I stay away from the magazine racks at grocery stores. It’s saying no to soft porn. If you say no to soft porn and set boundaries, it will always be easy to say no—the desire is weak. Saying yes makes you a slave to whatever you need to be saying no to.

And porn is dangerous because it can intermingle with the reality of an innocent recognition that there is attractiveness among people. Some people are easy on the eyes, other people not so much. This is reality. But wisdom comes into play here as well. There is an inner beauty and outer beauty which is a subject worthy of a whole book in and of itself.

Another thing we learn from Scripture is the principle of life and death. This is an active principle in both the believer and unbeliever. People either choose life or death. What we obey in life either brings about death or life. When we obey a sinful desire, it brings about some sort of death which in many cases is an extremely subtle form of death. In the life of an unbeliever, the overall direction in various degrees is death leading to ultimate death. That’s why there are degrees of eternal punishment. The end of a believer’s life is going to be eternal life, but that can look pretty sad in many cases.

More on this later, but it is clear in Scripture that a believer wallowing in anemic sanctification can sin unto death. I don’t think Ananias and Sapphire were struck dead because of their onetime act of hypocrisy, I think it was the final straw in a long succession of choices leading to death.

This is where we might plug in another sanctification dynamic. In regard to justification, we should have no fear. There is no condemnation for those who believe in Christ. But, we are commanded to have fear in sanctification throughout the New Testament. Why? This life and death dynamic in regard to what we obey. This is heavily emphasized throughout the New Testament.

1Peter 4:17 – For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Before we build on this life and death construct, let’s look more at desires. It is important for Christians to know that they can put sinful desires to death in their lives. And sinful desires can take on all sorts of forms. Among unbelievers who are under law, you name it: a desire to murder. What happens when someone obeys that desire? They become a what? Right, serial killer. What about a desire to have sex with animals? What about thrill-seeking which can take on all kinds of manifestations? See, believers don’t understand these dynamics. Sin manifests itself differently in different people through different desires. Unbelievers can only be freed from these desires by dying:

Romans 6:6 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Oh my, what a wonderful evangelism tool! Offering the good news to people that they can die with Christ and be resurrected with Him in Spirit baptism which will free them from sinful desires. Homosexuals do not have to be hounded by that desire the rest of their lives. They may also learn they are called to singleness. Because of lack of wisdom, I think some unbelievers reason that if they don’t desire the opposite sex, they must be homosexual. Also, be sure of this: not saying no to sexual desire might lead anywhere. Most homosexuality begins with unfettered sexual desires with the same sex as well as sexual fantasies of all sorts. In a passage we read, it speaks of drunken orgies that would have involved group sex fueled by alcohol, and undoubtedly, anything goes in those settings. Point being: obeying sexual desires of all sorts can lead to anything and the slavery thereof.

Those desires can be put to death.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Sinful desires can be put to death. How? By disobeying the desire, and robbing the desire of provisions:

Romans 13:14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The word for “provision” is pronoia; it means to give forethought in caring for something. We are to cut off anything that gives a thought to the desire. No, if you are a former homosexual, you don’t associate with homosexuals. No, if you are a former alcoholic, you don’t associate with people who drink. And no, you don’t keep alcohol in the house for any reason.

If you have repented of gluttony, you don’t keep excess amounts of food in the house, and if you are on a diet, you keep certain foods out of the house. Many more examples could be used—you get the picture. You don’t feed the desire because desire is what sin uses to make its appeal, and strong appeals make it harder to say no.

As we look at this further, INCENTIVE is so huge in all of this. Note 2Timothy 2:15.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Note the use of the word “worker.” The same Greek word is mostly translated “laborer” elsewhere. This couldn’t be talking about salvation. Paul isn’t telling Timothy to earn his salvation. This not only means that a Christian can be ashamed, but that their entry into heaven can be a foggy and fearful affair:

2Peter 1:5 – For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

If adding these things listed to our lives can result in a rich entry into heaven, I have to believe that a not-so-rich entry is also possible. Every indication here is that one can go to heaven shrouded in doubt. Peter could not be telling Christians to make every effort to finish their salvation—that’s not what is in view here. Paul described his own rich entry:

2Timothy 4:5 – As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Key to the rich entry is “fulfill your ministry.” As we read in one of the many passages cited here tonight, EVERY Christian has been granted gifts for the purpose of the ministry they are called to. Fulfill that ministry. At least for Paul, the ability to stare death in the face without even flinching is tied to the fact that he fulfilled his ministry, and I strongly suspect it is no different for us. And let’s face it, we know how much emphasis there is on individual gifts in the institutional church.

Not only that, the only ministry that is taken seriously is performed by those who purchased a degree from a seminary. In a home fellowship, the gifts of the individuals in that small group are right in front of you every week. Individual service is the focus—not all of the distractions of an institution bewitched by authority. Leaders of a home fellowship are focused on individual gifts—not all of the drama that goes along with an institution.

Wise sanctification is rewarded richly in this life and the life to come. You can have eternal life, and be miserable in this life. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Hey, you’re here, while you are it you might as well love life.

1Peter 3:10 – For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (Psalms 34:12).

Is it fair to say that depressed people don’t love life? Is it fair to say that depression is a form of death? Remember when I told you that choosing death or making death choices can be very subtle? Well, many times a series of subtle death choices can culminate into depression and often people will have no idea where the depression came from. This is where we get into people thinking depression is a chemical imbalance etc. Now look, depression can be medical, so definitely go to the doctor, but also be sure to take a hard look at your life—do both.

Susan and I are involved with a young person right now that can’t tell the truth about anything. I don’t know a whole lot, but I know this: if that person doesn’t repent they aren’t going to love life and see good days. If for no other reason, please start a home fellowship for the sake of our young people. Why? Because the institutional church is not going to teach this stuff to our children. No, no, that would be making them Pharisees. So, what do we see coming out of the institutional church in regard to our youth? Death, and death more abundantly unto death. Weak sanctification delegates God’s people to death, period.

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Mark 10: 28 – Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Luke 14:12 – He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

What is missing in Christianity is a whole new way of life defined in kingdom living. We are merely ambassadors here, and are to live as sojourners and aliens (1Peter 2:11). Neglected is a body of knowledge that encompasses kingdom living from how we think to citizenship.

Missing is this whole concept of incentive for kingdom living. Obviously, when salvation is emphasized, and sanctification is looked at as an endeavor to keep our salvation, life more abundant in the here and now is not going to be emphasized. Our individual calling is not emphasized, keeping our salvation is emphasized.

This is the great calling of the home fellowship movement: an emphasis on sanctification and kingdom living. I was going to have several other parts to this series until I started researching; then I realized that I would be doing nothing but this till the second coming and none of our other projects would ever get done. So this is it. Next week we move on to something else. But I do believe that the Scriptures hold the answers for life’s most difficult problems, and it is up to us to find those answers in the Scriptures.

However, I am doing another series that is a critical supplement to this study; the whole issue of the “race of faith.” Part one, What is the Race of Faith? Justification or Sanctification? Or Both? A Biblical Evaluation, Part 1: First Letter of John 1:7-10 is complete and posted on PPT. Yes, this whole idea of perseverance that fuses justification and sanctification together. Is salvation in part a reward? Is salvation the reward for persevering, or is salvation strictly a gift?

Protestantism clearly states that salvation is a gift, but also a reward for persevering. This fits perfectly with their progressive justification construct. We contend that even though the English translations seem to indicate salvation as reward, that in the overall consensus of Scripture, mixing gift and reward is absolutely impossible—the two MUST be kept separate. I believe that a Christian can throw in the towel, but that doesn’t mean he loses his salvation—it means he loses reward in this life and the life to come. The idea of losing eternal reward is difficult for me to grasp, but losing rewards presently—not so much. It’s hard to love life when you have no hope. An example of eternal reward follows:

Daniel 12:3 – And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

That sounds pretty cool, but then there is this:

1 Corinthians 3:10 – According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

This is pretty clear, no? Saved people will suffer loss of reward. The “through fire” part is a little unsettling, and it should be, but nevertheless, gift and reward cannot be confused. ANY passage that speaks of gift apart from spiritual gifts for service MUST refer to justification/salvation. ANY passage that speaks of reward MUST be speaking to Christian living. And when you start reading your Bible that way, it makes sense. For instance, James 1:12.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

So, if life is about Life and death choices, wouldn’t it make sense that one of the eternal rewards is for someone who persevered well in the Christian life? Specifically, a crown of life? Note what else James writes in the very next verse and following:

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Look, we all make choices in life that brings forth some sort of death, but that doesn’t mean we lose our salvation. Yes, yes, I know how the Reformed get around the accusation of Christ plus perseverance; already not yet which means that perseverance is merely a manifestation of who God has already elected. Well lovely—that just overfloweth with hope.

So, your assurance is only as good as your response to the next trial. And by the way, I heard John MacArthur Jr. say that. In fact, it was said to me by a Reformed counselor during a hard time that I was going through; I had to persevere through the trial in order to show myself approved.

Ok, so that’s it, part three of our series and next week we move on to something else.

Addendum: (more…)

“Godly” Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, contributing editor on March 14, 2015

andy-profile-1I used to be in the camp that views “philosophy” as “worldly”, “man-centered”, “evil”; all of those things as juxtaposed with “Biblical wisdom”, or “scriptural”, or “God’s Wisdom”.  After all, it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion when confronted with verses of scripture like:

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:20-28

What you choose to believe is a philosophical statement about what you believe about reality. Everyone has a philosophy whether they realize it or not. You cannot escape it. So to say that “philosophy is evil” is really a philosophy itself. It therefore unwittingly becomes its own metaphysical statement about man. If philosophy is evil, then man is evil because man has no relevance apart from his beliefs about reality. It should come as no surprise then that reformed theology holds such a metaphysical view of man with regard to its doctrine of total depravity. But that’s another topic altogether.

It is ironic that I had to get out of the church before I finally began to better understand just what the apostle Paul was addressing here with the Corinthians. Religious despots don’t see themselves as having “worldly wisdom”, but yet they are the very ones that Paul is criticizing. Religious orthodoxy is the epitome of “man’s wisdom”; crafted by the scholars and academics and elites who spend their years in seminary and other institutes of religious training for the so-called “right” that they think they have purchased for themselves in order to rule over the unenlightened.

I have come to realize that the notion of philosophy being evil is nothing more that organized religion’s attempt to keep man beholden to it; to keep him enslaved; to keep him from thinking. Those of us who call ourselves “Christians” must begin to shed this false notion of philosophy. Philosophy deals with things such as reality and the nature of existence. To believe God and what He tells us in His word is our own philosophical statement. It stems from our rational, thinking mind; a mind that is part of a creature made in the very image of God, made for the purpose of thinking and reasoning and coming to rational conclusions. I implore believers everywhere to consider what God Himself has told us: “Come, let us reason together.”

Andy

Bible Interpretation, the Rapture, and the Problem with Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 13, 2015

Children of the Reformation are crippled in their ability to understand the Bible because of the Reformation’s salvation/justification prism. In other words, we have a very strong tendency to interpret every verse through the prism of eternal salvation. This makes weak sanctification/kingdom living part and parcel with Reformation history. In fact, the Reformation gospel makes sanctification a mere extension of justification. There is justification, and that “experienced subjectively” (sanctification) and then “final justification.” Their words, not mine.

Hence, in the Bible, rewards in context of sanctification are seen as the reward of salvation. The attempt to make the reward salvation while claiming salvation by faith alone becomes a convoluted theological mess. Complicating the matter are many Bible passages that, in fact, seem to say that we obtain final salvation through perseverance. This is because our minds have been trained to interpret Scripture through a singular salvation prism.

“Singular salvation.” That is a point in and of itself. How many Christians think there is only ONE salvation? All save a few. How many think salvation and redemption are the same thing? All save a few. Salvation is the new birth; redemption is the salvation of the body when Christ comes to claim what is His. Seeing the two as the same thing creates a plethora of interpretive problems, and there are many other examples that could be cited.

And far from being the least of these interpretive problems is the idea that salvation is both gift and reward. The Reformed get around this by categorizing works into two categories: faith alone works that aren’t really works per se, and works that are really works. Yes, salvation is a gift, but it is also a reward for doing your part to obtain salvation via faith alone works. Key to understanding this concept is the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. By doing gospel works, or faith alone works grounded in the “salvation event,” the works of Christ are imputed to your sanctification and “subjective justification” is kept properly on track until “final justification.”

Doing your part to keep your salvation isn’t works salvation because it is a prescribed faith alone work. If you do A, Christ will do B, and you get to keep your salvation. In Reformed circles that usually includes partaking in the “means of grace.” Since it is “the means of grace” it is not works. This usually includes formal church membership, “putting yourself under the authority of godly men,” sitting under Reformed preaching, partaking in the Lord’s Table, and “deep repentance” for sins that separate you from grace, etc.

The result is a missing, and massive kingdom living construct. Also missing is an understanding of any kind of gravity concerning kingdom living. How we participate in sanctification has no implications other than salvation. Until the recent resurgence of the Reformed gospel that makes final salvation the consequence of sanctification, kingdom living was relegated to mere fire insurance.

So, what is the point of this post? Christians must relearn and cultivate an understanding of incentives regarding kingdom living. One is present life more abundantly, peace, assurance, and blessings. The eternal ones are a little bit more difficult to understand, but sound pretty cool:

Daniel 12:3 – And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

This is some kind of eternal reward for the soul winner. Other such eternal rewards can be found in the seven letters to the assemblies in Revelation. But like I said, the present rewards are easier to understand and have immediate benefits. At any rate, again, this is a body of wisdom that needs cultivation.

Let me SUGGEST another one. Not that it will do any good, but let me state that this is just an idea I am putting out there for consideration. Here, I will repeat it again, knowing that the attempt is futile, but nevertheless,

THIS IS JUST AN IDEA I AM PUTTING OUT THERE FOR CONSIDERATION.   

con·sid·er·a·tion

kənˌsidərˈāSH(ə)n/

noun

Careful thought, typically over a period of time. “a long process involving a great deal of careful consideration” synonyms:   thought, deliberation, reflection, contemplation, rumination, meditation;

NOT DOGMA.

Here is my thought. The rapture is a reward for suitable kingdom living. When the rapture happens, not everyone left behind is lost. Is that screaming I hear in the distance? Probably. What in the world would give me such an idea? Let me share:

Revelation 3:10 – Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. [Present reward?] 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. [Present reward?] 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. [Eternal reward?] Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Obviously, the hour of trial coming upon the world is the tribulation period. Here, being saved from that hour seems to be a reward (crown) for perseverance. You have two choices here: the reward is either the rapture or salvation. No? What am I missing? It wouldn’t be the first time that rapture was reward and didn’t include all of the saved (see “Enoch”).  Also, Paul spoke of a reward for those “who have loved his appearing.” This is the “righteousness” crown (2Timothy 4:8).

What about all of the indifference among Christians concerning the rapture? What about all of the indifference regarding the New Testament call to be continually looking for the Lord’s unexpected and imminent return? Could this indifference stem from a fundamental ignorance in regard to sanctification?

There are many Christians in our day who reject the rapture, so should they expect to be a part of it? Is it some kind of secondary truth that is optional?

This is an attempt, perhaps a lame one, to get Christians to think more deeply about kingdom living and our present calling. Just food for thought. We need to challenge each other to think beyond orthodoxy. We need to set our kingdom living on fire.

paul

Revised Control Diagram Used By New Calvinists

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 12, 2015

Control Chart 2

John Piper’s Gospel of Begging for Salvation and Hoping for the Best

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 12, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted August 6, 2013

The Reformed gospel is really a begging for salvation and then hoping for the best. “Election” only qualifies you for the drawing where “final justification” is determined at a one, final, justification judgment. Calvinist views on assurance are shrouded in an ambiguous “already not yet” terminology. You’re for sure saved, but it will be “confirmed” at the final judgment. By the way, there is clearly more than one judgment and one resurrection in the Bible. This is just another example of Calvinists interpreting the Bible any way they please.

One way of confirming this assertion is an examination of John Piper’s Christian Hedonism theology. In his book Desiring God, Piper makes joy absolutely synonymous with salvation:

“Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, ‘Believe in the Lord,’ but, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord’?” (Desiring God page 55).

“The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an ‘extra’ that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your ‘faith’ cannot please God. It is not saving faith” (Desiring God page 69).

“We are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy” (Desiring God page 66).

“Something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith which pleases God, a new taste has been created. A taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!” (Desiring God page 67).

But then, Piper continually prefaces that with the idea that joy is strictly a gift from God. He is adamant that we can do nothing to obtain the experience of joy. For those who can’t find joy, all they can do is pray and hope all turns out well because where there is no joy, there is no assurance of salvation. Just one of many examples is in Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God:

In obedience to God’s word we should fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings. But when and how they come is God’s to decide, not ours. If they delay, we trust the wisdom of our Father’s timing, and we wait. In this way joy remains a gift, while we work patiently in the field of obedience and fight against the weeds and the crows and the rodents. Here is where joy will come. Here is where Christ will reveal himself (John 14:21). But that revelation and that joy will come when and how Christ chooses. It will be a gift.

Throughout the book, on nearly every page, Piper describes methods for seeking the joy that is in fact our salvation:

Heaven hangs on having the taste of joy in God. Therefore, it might not be so strange after all to think of fighting for this joy. Our eternal lives depend on it.

So, those who want to keep their salvation fight for joy. It is all incredibly ambiguous. In contrast, the apostle John wrote that we can “know” that we are saved. “Fighting for joy” is conspicuously missing in John’s instruction. The good John, not Piper.

paul

Ministering to a Lawless Church and Society

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 11, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published October 15, 2014

“The Under Grace bus going to heaven does not have Under Law as a passenger.”

“A single dimension law is a false gospel. It produces works that are anti-law. It replaces love with the traditions of men in Jesus’ name.”   

I could write a dozen posts about what has transpired in my life and those close to me in the past couple of weeks, but I think I can stay on-topic and write about the primary subject from which all of these events flow.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus didn’t participate in a large field of theological issues? If you examine Christ’s primary concerns, His positive message was the gospel of the kingdom, and His primary negative concerns were two and two only: the traditions of men and lawlessness.

The present-day church is completely indoctrinated and saturated with lawlessness which results from the traditions of men. The stage is set for the exact same play that was taking place when Jesus was ministering—only the props are different because of technology. The institutional church of that day is the exact same institutional church of today—only the names are different.

Yes, in fact, there is a heretic behind every bush. Yes, in fact, the sheep are without valid shepherds. Yes, in fact, the VAST majority of what comes out of the mouths of Christians is mindless dribble leading to death. We are confused, ignorant, failures in life building, without answers, but yet…

… “Christianity” has never been bigger. Christian movies abound in the secular market; Christian musicians abound in the secular top 40; and dynamic Christian teachers are hanging on trees everywhere in a seemingly utopic evangelical Garden of Eden. “Revival” is in the air. Holy hands are lifted up to GeeeeJussss everywhere. When you ask any Christian anything, they look at you with those glazed-over eyes and psychotic grin while saying, “GeeeJussss.”

And so it was when Jesus was ministering. The religious culture was awash in orthodoxy. What is more obvious than the fact that when Jesus showed up, He completely ignored the institutional leaders of that day and went to the common people? His Sermon on the Mount was a shocking indictment of the orthodoxy prevalent in that day: “You have heard it said…but I say….” The orthodoxy of our day is the same lawless orthodoxy of that day, and Christ deconstructed it point by point. The religious leaders of that day had redefined every word used to convey the thoughts of God.

And so it is today: Christians have a fundamental misunderstanding of every word used to convey spiritual truth. We are so mentally handicapped in our thinking that discussion over “What is the gospel?” is just another discussion. We are not completely undone in sackcloth and ashes that we are still asking that question 2000 years later, but we should be. Think about it: though an astute preserving of the law was a Jewish tradition, when Jesus showed up, the people understood little of it. Why? Orthodoxy, that’s why. Please think about what Jesus said to the who’s who of religious leaders in that day: “You do error concerning the Scriptures and the power thereof.” People observed in awe as the deliberately informally educated Jesus publically rebuked the spiritual brain trust of that day.

Hence, Pastor Jesus brought true revival, and true revival in our day will not happen to the glory of God until we stop listening to men and start listening to Jesus. One man, one Bible. It starts there…because the most innocent of those who lead in this day are simply regurgitating the raw sewage flowing from the broken cisterns of orthodoxy.

I suppose now I can keep my sanity by hating the orthodoxy, but loving the lawless sinner. After all, I am guilty myself of propagating its satanic filth as a former Reformed pastor. I myself helped to create the monsters I despise. I myself quoted the heroes of orthodoxy to make myself look smart as the hordes of hell applauded.

As you read all of this, you might think I have had a rough couple of weeks. You might think it has caused me to ponder. And it has. But I am a very busy man, and it behooves me to discuss the least common denominator here. In my stricken soul what are the words that I want to cry out to the world? What do I want to scream out in love to some and defiant rage towards others? Here it is…

Law is love.

Law is not far from us that we must have the arrogant ascend to heaven in a rocket ship built by their own visions of grandeur to bring it down to us. Law is very close to us, it is in our mouths, and we are able to do it. It is life to us, and its justice even holds all of our sin in escrow. The record is cancelled by the cross, and now, closeness is measured by distance: God’s love for us can only be measured by the distance from the east to the west. The departure of our sins are as infinite as the closeness of God’s love. There is no condemnation from the law of justice—only love. In the huge void that was once our guilt we cry out it in desperation: How can we love such a merciful God! Is there now nothing we can do with the burden removed? Please tell us! Is it wrong to try to please you with our whole being? And then the clamorous storm is calmed with these simple words,

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Christ is no longer a Lord of justice to us, He is a Lord that wants His subjects to fulfil His kingdom law of love without condemnation.

Sometime in the cradle of society, the redefining of law by religious minions was hell’s finest hour. They redefined law as having a single dimension, that of justice only. Orthodoxy has but one theme; death. Mankind is enslaved to the condemnation of the law’s perfect standard. The law, for the unbeliever, presently condemns while promising life.

“The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.”

Orthodoxy only tells the story of the law’s death, and conceals its herald of wisdom and life:

“ I set before you this day life and death, choose life!”

Law is justice and death to the unbelieving, but life, blessings, and love to those who rightly believe the gospel. Justice is death to the unbeliever, but to the believer—it is an act of love. One thing we mustn’t forget is that Arminianism is part of the Reformation’s orthodoxy. Therefore, it shares the same Calvinistic belief that “Christians” are still under the possible condemnation of the law. Love becomes tricky. But love isn’t tricky—it’s apart from any possible condemnation whatsoever. The loving Christian now experiences the life that the law promises. If you doubt that, read Psalm 119.

So, how do we minister to a lawless church and society? We start by incessantly defining law to God’s people. That’s where it starts. We must say, “You have heard it said, ‘the law can only condemn,’ but we say, ‘the law is the way of love and gives life.’” We must cry out to professing Christians to remove themselves from being under the law and its condemnation. We must also expose the traditions of men and their orthodoxy that sells a false road to heaven while under law. “Under grace” is not salvation while being under law, the two are mutually exclusive. The Under Grace bus going to heaven does not have Under Law as a passenger. The Under Law passenger trying to get on the Under Grace bus with an orthodoxy ticket is like the man who showed up at Christ’s feast without a wedding coat. Such will be rejected.

A single dimension law is a false gospel. It produces works that are anti-law. It replaces love with the traditions of men in Jesus’ name. The traditions of men, whether religious or secular is the only thing that can fill the void where there is no love. ANY thought that replaces an accurate assessment of God’s law is “anomia” a word often translated “lawlessness” in the Bible.

“BECAUSE of anomia, the love of many will wax cold.”

Though a single dimension law speaks of love and “many wonderful works in Jesus’ name,” they are works proffered by lawless orthodoxy defined by the traditions of men. And on one wise, no more slaughter of men has taken place by any other name than orthodoxy’s use of Jesus’ name, and the full measure of wrath slumbereth not accordingly. Be certain that you do not stand in such a camp actively or passively.

In orthodoxy, condemnation remains with the law. It is not enough to proclaim the law good, we must profess that without it we cannot love God and others. We must embrace it as the sum and substance of our own lives. When our precious Lord of love returns, we must offer Him the Holy sacrifices of our members offered up in love, not the body that cancelled the law of sin and death. Why would we offer back His own body and deny Him the sacrifices that we were purchased to perform? Try to dig His body up from the grave as an offering if you will, but it is not there, HE has risen! And if you have not died with Him and left the law of sin and death behind, and embraced the law of the Spirit of life that is your love…your works, or lack of them, will condemn you. Your love does not save you, and your lack of it does not condemn you, it merely shows that you believe that you are still under the condemnation of the law of sin and death—that’s a false gospel that is defined by a one dimensional view of the law.

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Love is defined one way, and one way only: a grammatical plain sense interpretation of the law and its life application.

We are all guilty, and thereby suffer the torment by those we have helped to create. We have listened to men and offered a confused gospel that will not produce blessed lives. We are heinous cowards who do not really believe that such a man as Noah really existed. We offer fellowship offerings to the god of orthodox majority—his human credentials intimidate us, and thereby show that we spend little time with Jesus. Our cowardly offerings recognize their use of facts in the commission of treason for fear others will think ill of us.

This is where true ministry to a lawless church and society must begin, with one man and one Bible resulting in one love—the love Christ has called you to fulfil.

Will you be that man or not?

paul

The Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness Denies God as Father

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 10, 2015

PPT HandleOne of the most popular truisms in our day is the often-heard “righteousness of Christ” mantra. “We have the righteousness of Christ,” “The imputation of Christ’s righteousness,” etc. The mantra is indicative of the rampant last-day’s false gospel propagated by the institutional church.

The Bible never states that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us or covers us, but rather states that we have the righteousness of God. Why is this seemingly technical difference all-important? Because the notion distorts the identity of the Trinity. God is no longer a father, and Christ is no longer our brother.

Have you ever wondered why God is called the Father? Because a father is able to give life—the same kind of life that makes up his own essence; in this case, righteousness. Because we are fathered by God through the Holy Spirit via the new birth, we are not merely declared righteous, we are MADE righteous. Therefore, the Reformation’s forensic justification gospel denies the Trinity and the new birth.

The idea that we can’t really be righteous and are only declared righteous further denies that God is a true father. How? It denies that we are truly born of God because we fall short of keeping the law perfectly. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul argues that this replaces the seed of God with the law and actually makes the law a life-giving seed. Paul states that only one seed was promised to Abraham and his offspring (Christ), not two, and “God is one.”

The primary point of Galatians 3:10-20 is that God the Father is the only one who gives life, He is the one seed. “The promise” spoken of is the promise of the new birth through the one seed. If you note the passage carefully, “the promise” was made to Abraham and Christ. No law can give life, nor can an “intermediary” (verse 20) which probably speaks to Moses or the angels or both.

Christ’s role was/is that of Brother.

“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (NIV).

“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers” (ESV).

The “one source” is God the Father, and because of Him, Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Christ died for us, and God’s promise to Abraham and Christ was that many would be raised to glory with Christ. The impartation of righteousness was not Christ’s role in salvation—His role was to pay the penalty for our sins.

Notice in the aforementioned citations from Hebrews 2:11 that we are “made” holy and “are” holy. If that is negated by an inability to keep the law perfectly, that makes the law a co-life-giver with God the Father. But there is only one God and only one seed.

What makes a believer holy is the regeneration of the heart through the new birth. The saved person is literally born of God’s seed (1John 3:9). Because of our mortal state, this results in a change of direction, not perfection. The Bible describes it as a reversal of slavery and freedom (Romans 6:20). But at any rate, Christ came to end the law for judging our holiness (Romans 10:4). If it wasn’t for the weakness of our mortal bodies, we would not sin and therefore we long for resurrection (Romans 7:23-25).

The idea that Christ kept the law perfectly so His righteousness can be imputed to us makes the law a co-life-giver with God, makes Christ both father and brother, denies that the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead per “the promise,” and makes the law part of the Trinity.

It’s a really, really bad idea and an egregious false gospel. God is one, not many. There is only one life-giver, and that’s why we call Him “Father.”

paul

How Close Are We? An Apostolic Call to Discernment in the Last Days

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2015

Blog Radio LogoListen to audio or download file: How Close Are We? An Apostolic Call to Discernment in the Last Days 

Good evening and welcome to False Reformation Blog Talk Radio. I’m your host, Paul Dohse. If you would like to join the discussion tonight and add to what we’re learning, as you can see on your screen there, the number is area code (347) 855-8317. And remember to mute the speakers on your laptop or PC so that we don’t get annoying feedback. And, by the way, if you want to ask a question or comment on a previous show, that’s all right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on point. When I answer, I’ll say, “Hello. You’re on Blog Talk Radio. What is your comment and question?” Just start talking. Identifying yourself is optional. And also, if you want to shoot me an e-mail during the show, I have my e-mail right here in front of me if you want to send me a little message. Maybe a question, maybe you don’t want to call in, but you have a comment or question. That would be mail@ttanc.com. And per the usual, we’ll be checking in with Susan towards the end of the show and see what her input is as well.

Well, tonight we’re going to ask the question, “Are we in the last days?” And also an apostolic call to discernment. So that’s what we’re going to look at tonight, a little bit of Bible prophesy, actually a lot. And starting out, let’s talk about the fact that the Christian landscape is indeed pretty interesting, if not confusing. As you’re driving around, you can’t help but to notice all of the different churches everywhere with all kinds of different names. If you’ve ever been in a Christian bookstore, good grief, just a lot of different stuff in there. Summaries and comments of friends of mine on Facebook reflect the kind of confusion and questions bouncing around in our heads. One friend of mine recently posted a note on Facebook that said, “Doesn’t anybody have any discernment anymore?” Another friend of mine wrote an e-mail recently in the same tone of exasperation. I just do not understand why theologians today are always looking for a new twist rather than a true interpretation of each passage, just allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Yet another friend showed frustration at God himself and asked, “Why can’t God make things simple? Why is everything so confused?” So what’s the deal? How can there be so many takes on, as Jude puts it in his letter, the one faith delivered to the saints?

Well, I’m here to tell you that God is not a God of confusion. Perish the thought. Neither does God want us to be confused about the above questions. God doesn’t want us confused. The Reformed crowd, some guy in the Reformed crowd actually wrote a book recently entitled Perplexity, and one of the theses of the book is that we’re just pathetic, totally depraved, confused people, and perplexity is to be expected. In a way in the book he says that us being perplexed gives glory to God because it makes us needy and dependent and always going to him for the answers and not anything we could figure out, God forbid, so our perplexity in essence gives glory to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is not a God of confusion. He does not want us confused. And of all books, tonight we’re going to see in the Book of Revelation where that’s verified, in fact, that God is very plain in the Book of Revelation and, in fact, does not want us to be confused about anything.

True, there are things that are just God’s mysteries and I’m not sure if we ever will know them. But the fact is that one of the verses – one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Deuteronomy 29:29. Let me paraphrase it for you. Let me give you the gist of it: Yeah, there are mysteries, and those belong to God, but as far as stuff we can know, which is really the vast majority of Scripture, we’re responsible to learn those things to be good disciples, to be good learners and apply those things to our lives. God doesn’t want us to be confused about not only the questions we just looked at in our introduction. He wants us to understand – oh, and this is a big focus tonight. He wants to understand the landscape that we are dwelling in and why things are the way they are. Tonight we will look at what the Scripture says in regard to these vital questions. But first in order to understand the landscape of our day, we need to understand where we are at in the scheme of history. Why? That is the prism that the Scriptures use to describe what we should expect and look for in this time and therefore not be surprised or confused about it.

Things happen for a reason. This is helpful in figuring out life, and John Immel brought this up in the first conference. Again, let me give you like a thumbnail. In one of John’s talks, he talked about the fact that people don’t just do things. Their actions are driven from their logic. You can push the easy button and say, “Oh, well. They’re just nuts. They’re just crazy.” That’s very rare. When people do things, it flows from something, primarily logic. And, by the way, our Paul’s Passing Thoughts moderator has made a page there on the widget on paulspassingthoughts.com where we have posted John’s first session of the 2012 TANC Conference, and I recommend you go there. It’s real good basic things that Christians need to know in really building a decent foundation for their worldview.

So God doesn’t want us confused about what’s going on in our world and especially the Christian realm. So not only that, the Scriptures also outline a course of action as well. So we’re not only to know what’s going on in our realm, we, you know, he not only wants us to know, understand what’s going on. He also wants us to know what to do about it, and we’re going to talk about that tonight as well.

So let’s start out in Hebrews 9:26, and I’m going to read Hebrews 9:26, and here it goes: “For then he would have had to suffer,” that is Christ, “repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all,” listen, “at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” So let me ask you a question. Are we in the last days, and how do we know? Because of some book someone wrote? No, we know that we are in the last days because Hebrews 9:26 says the last days are marked by the coming of Christ to die for our sins. What we are going to see is that the coming of Christ in the flesh to die for the world plays in a specific time period that has a beginning and an end. Then we are going to look at the characteristics that come with this age.

Before we go on, we see that this age is marked by the first appearance of Christ of as a man. It is the last age among ages since ages is in the plural. All of the major and the most used versions along with the Greek Interlinear reflects this. This is also reflected at the beginning of Hebrews as well in the first chapter, first couple of verses. Here’s how it reads: “Long ago at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, and he appointed the heir of all things through whom also he created the world.” The beginning of this specific time period is open for debate. Really, you could make an argument for the beginning of the Lord’s ministry being his baptism by John, the resurrection, the ascension or Pentecost. However, it is clear that the beginning is sometime during the coming of Christ and his ministry through the disciples who later became the apostles. It doesn’t much matter where it begins. We know for certain that we are in that time period.

Now, next, this specific time period has its specific end. Let’s look at that. So first, we’ve looked at the fact that the second coming of Christ marks the last days. So, yes, we know that we’re in the last days. You say, “Well, that’s a long last days. That was like 2,000 years ago.” Well, true. We are in the last days. We just don’t know how long the last days are going to last. And as we’re going to see, what is huge in understanding Bible prophecy and also really a big chunk of justification is the fact that the age that we are in now which is actually the time of the Gentiles and the tribulation period is very distinct.

Okay. Let’s look at the fact that the time period that we’re in now will have a specific end. The end is determined by the total gathering of all those God has foreknown. Actually, long story short, the complete bringing in of gentile believers and Jewish believers during a very specific time period in the Bible called the Times of the Gentiles. So let’s read Second Peter 3:3-10. Here we go. “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” Stop right there. I wrote a post on this last week. A lot of people distort the Scriptures because – well, see where it says following? That’s probably better “obey.” The Bible has a lot to say about the definition of the flesh and what causes us to sin. It’s sin within the flesh, and as Christians, we have a choice. We can obey what the Bible describes as sinful desires or we can just obey, period, what pleases the Lord. Sometimes desire goes along with that and sometimes it doesn’t, but what’s interesting is – and, by the way, sanctification is just like a wide open frontier for Christianity. It really is. But what’s interesting is the Bible gives us the wisdom for building godly desires into our life. Christians are to learn to love and to learn to hate. We’re to learn to cling to what is good and despise or ignore that which is evil. So basically, it’s like relationships in general. If you want to be indifferent to somebody and don’t really want to care for them that much, what do you do? You ignore them. Christ said where your heart is, your treasure will be there also or your treasure will be where your heart is or vice versa. What we make our treasure, what we make a priority in our life is the beginning or the focal point. Desires will follow. You can phrase it like this if you want to: Right doing leads to right feeling, if we’ll read Philippians chapter 4.

So people twist Scripture. People won’t respond to the truth because they’re obeying their own sinful desires, and if they obey Scripture, that’s going to be an about face from following the sinful desires that they want to follow. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? Forever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they…” Look at this. “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of the water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word, the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the Day of Judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,” all right? Note that. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

Notice we have two separate events here: the last days and the day of the Lord. And the day of the Lord isn’t literally one day. The day of the Lord is really the tribulation period. It’s what it is. We’re in the last days now. The tribulation period is the day of the Lord. The present age will continue until all that God foreknew are saved. The way Peter puts it, the Lord is patiently waiting for all of his children to be saved, not willing that any perish. Others mistake this for the Lord being slack or he is not coming back at all because it’s been so long or it’s been such a long time since Christ came.

Another text that speaks the difference between the last days and the day of the Lord is Second Thessalonians 2:1-7, so let’s read that. “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness,” actually that’s the man of anomia or antinomianism in English.” is revealed, the son of destruction.” And what I want to make you note here, when you’re reading your Bible, take notes of phrases like “the rebellion.” Notice the definitive, the rebellion. What’s that? Don’t overlook those phrases, the rebellion, the son of destruction. Those phrases are keys to understanding your Bible.

“So the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? Watch and you know what is restraining him now.” So the Thessalonians had been taught that something is specifically restraining events or else the Antichrist would already be revealed and doing his thing, and the rest of it says, “So that he may be revealed in his time.”

So this is another key that I just want to throw in here as an aside. Predestination in the Bible is really more along the lines of God’s intervention. I’ve come to believe that what a lot of people refer to as predeterminism is really God intervening in free will. God guarantees, God made a plan for the salvation of man and a happy eternal ending. God isn’t the cause of what evil men do, but he does intervene to guarantee a certain ending. So the more I look at these issues and study these issues, really, the more I don’t see very much predeterminism on the part of God. And besides that, predeterminism is just old shoe. We are taught that predeterminism and determinism is a rarity with the Reformers. Not at all. From the cradle of civilization until now, all there has been is determinism. What is actually unique – and this is where we need to change our thinking, what is actually unique is the idea of free will. And that primarily came about not until after the Enlightenment. Before then, determinism either by God or the forces that are was a given.

So what we want to do here is we want to back up a little bit. We want to look at something in this Second Thessalonians 2:1-7. We want to look at this word “temple.” When we see that word – and I did an interesting word study on this today. When we look at that word “temple,” we primarily think the whole big Temple Mount, the second temple and that huge thing, Temple Mount, The Court of the Gentiles, the actual temple itself in the middle of all that. Well, this is a word that’s used widely through the – I think 39 times in the New Testament. But for the most part, the word means the Holy of Holies. For the most part – like, for instance, I remember Zachariah who got struck with blindness and they were wondering what’s taken him so long to come out of the temple. Well, where was Zachariah? He was in the Holy of Holies doing the Day of Atonement thing where I guess they tied a rope around their ankles so if they did something at least a little bit wrong, they would have to them out of there, and they would have to do this certain kind of washing of the whole body and everything before they went in there. But primarily this word refers to the Holy of Holies. Notice you can see that right here in Second Thessalonians 2:1-7, this son of destruction god, the Antichrist who will oppose all and exalt himself against every so-called god or object of worship so that he – listen, he takes his seat in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God. Well, we know from other Scriptures where specifically does he take his seat. It’s in the Holy of Holies. So you see that? So that refers primarily to the Holy of Holies.

Now, what’s my point in bringing this up? Well, we don’t know how long – we know that we’re in the last days. Fair enough. And what we’re going to look at next is the fact that the return of Christ for us in this time period is marked by an imminent return of which we don’t know the day, and it’s a meeting of Christ in the air, which is totally different from his visible Second Coming. So what’s my part in bringing up the temple? Well, there’s this big question. We know that one of the things that, you know. Okay, there’s really very few signs that we’re near to the end of this age and the day of the Lord. One of the primary signs, of course, needed to be Israel becoming a state again. But then the question becomes how long is Israel a state? So there are very few signs because how long is Israel a state before God actually comes back? I mean, Christ’s return is, you know, the Bible says in a day that we think not. So if you want a valid sign, one of the very few valid signs that there are is look around if there’s a general attitude that the Lord is not coming back, and if he is, it’s going to be a long time. That’s as good a sign as any that we’re near. But at any rate there’s this whole conversation about the building of the third temple because obviously in the Book of Revelation, which is the day of the Lord, obviously, there needs to be this third temple that’s built so everybody is looking for this third temple. And as you know, the Muslims have built this big, gaudy, ugly thing called the Dome of the Rock right on top of where the actual temple was and the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in the overall Court of the Gentiles.

So how is this all going to take place? We know that Jews are preparing for it, and there’s all of this conversation about, you know, is there going to be an earthquake that’s going to destroy the Dome of the Rock? And, you know, what’s going to happen? Well, this is key. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, and we’re going to be reading – let me see here. We’re going to be reading in Revelation 11 very shortly. Let me start by saying this. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, all this temple needs to be is a fancy tent because you remember the tabernacle in the wilderness and how that was all set up to be mobile and everything? This is actually what’s referred to – and as we’re going to see in Revelation 11, we’re going to see the Ark of the Covenant come out of the temple which is more than likely than not the temple in general but the actual Holy of Holies. Well, hold, you know, stop the tape. In the second temple, the Ark of the Covenant wasn’t even in the Holy of Holies to begin with. So look, there doesn’t need to be some big highcaflutin temple built, and the Dome of the Rock doesn’t have to be moved. All it needs to be technically is the Old Testament tabernacle. And guess what? The old covenant tabernacle was what? Mobile. Okay? It wasn’t in any specific place. The Holy of Holies to be the Holy of Holies doesn’t have to be exactly where the Holy of Holies was on the Temple Mount.

And you say, “Well, what about the Court of the Gentiles and all that?” Well, let’s read in the Book of Revelation. “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise up and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.'” Remember the altar of incense and all of that? The table of shewbread and all of that was outside the Holy of Holies. So measure that. So we’ve got the altar here and those who worship there. Verse 2: “But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” This whole business with “and they” you’re saying, “Oh, so there won’t be a Court of the Gentiles associated with the temple because the gentiles are going to trample the holy city for 42 months.” No. Remember this encompasses what Jesus called the time of the Gentiles. That’s what that’s referring to.

So what’s my point? There’s not going to be a Court of the Gentiles in the tribulation third temple. Don’t measure it. Leave it out. It’s given to the gentiles. So there isn’t going to be a Court of the Gentiles. I present to you that this temple can be an elaborate tabernacle like was in the wilderness, and they can park that puppy anywhere they want to and do their thing. It may not even be on the Temple Mount. And if you look at all of that, if you look at diagrams and everything, the Court of the Gentiles was huge. Depending on what scholar you talk to, you’ve got Solomon’s porch, and all of that stuff is all around the Court of the Gentiles. So that’s my point there.

Now, I want to make another point in Revelations 11. Okay, to kind of drive a stake in that point, do we need to look for some kind of earth-shaking event where it paves the way for the Jews build this temple? No. I mean, the Jews could be up and running with the tabernacle set up next year. There’s just not much standing in the way. I’m sure if they go that route, it’s going to be a very nice tabernacle, this, that and the other, but with the building capabilities that we have today, they could build a pretty nice tabernacle in a couple of months, that is, if they haven’t already built the parts and they’re laying around somewhere in Israel as we speak. So that’s the point there.

But let’s keep on reading in the Book of Revelations. You note that, but he says, “Do not measure the court outside the temple. Leave it out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city,” watch this, “forty-two months.” That’s three and a half years. “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth.” Note, watch what the Holy Spirit does in writing the Scriptures. This is so deliberate. He specifies a three-and-a-half-month period two different ways: 42 months and 1,260 days. Is that clear enough? Any questions?

Then he goes on to say, “These are two olive leaves and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth, and if anyone will harm them, fire pours out of their mouth and consumes their foes.” So you’ve got these two witnesses witnessing in Jerusalem in the first three and a half years of this seven-year period. So this desolation of the Holy of Holies takes place right after the end of their ministry. And so basically, at the beginning of the tribulation period; it lasts seven years. But at the very beginning of the tribulation period, first you’ve got the rider on the horse that’s got a bow, no arrows. But what you’ll notice about the opening of the seven seals, what you’re going to notice there is right away it’s a big “Uh-oh.” The world pretty much knows the gig’s up, and then – so right after that it’s a long, terrifying seven years. So these guys are prophesying and preaching in this first three and a half years. And if anybody hassles them, fires comes out of their mouth and consumes their adversaries. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed, pretty plain. They have the power to shut the sky that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they desire. Does all this sound familiar? Very much like the plagues when Moses extracted the people out of Egypt.

And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottom of the pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt. So we have symbolically – see – look, you know, when the Bible wants something to be symbolic, notice how the Bible tells you it’s symbolic. See that? The street of the great city. What’s the great city? Well, it’s symbolically called Sodom and Egypt. Okay. It’s symbolically called that, but where is it? Watch the following words. “Where their Lord was crucified.” Any questions?

Look, the Book of Revelation isn’t hard to understand. Don’t let anybody fool you. Read the Book of Revelation and just let the words say what they say. It’s not hard. You don’t need these so-called scholars to tell you what your own Bible says. All of this stuff with Christian academia and the seminaries and all these guys with six [SOUNDS LIKE 0:43:56], several titles after their name, you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of – you watch the State of the Union address, and then you’ve got these talking heads telling you what the President said as if you’re too stinking stupid to know what the guy who just gave the speech was saying. And during the elections when you’re watching the conventions, same thing. Somebody will give a speech, and then the stinking talking heads would tell you what the guy just said. It’s the same thing. Somebody pick up a Bible, read it and just interpret the words. Andy is going to be talking a lot about this in this year’s conference coming up, but I’m really looking forward to all of that.

Now, Verse 9: “For three and a half days, some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze upon their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.” So these guys are laying down these plagues all over the earth. The whole earth sees them lying in the streets of the Jerusalem, and the [UNINTELLIGIBLE 0:45:41] also aware that the water being turned to blood in Georgia is because of these two yayhoos that are wreaking havoc in Jerusalem. There’s only one way all of this can be possible, and that’s satellite technology, satellite TV. So here you have the Bible speaking to future technology.

All right, Verse 11: “But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.” I imagine. And that will be on satellite TV. It will be very interesting to hear what the talking heads and the spin doctors, how they spin all that deal. Yeah, whether it be Tom Brokaw or whoever, right? Yeah, tell us what we just saw there. “Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here!’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.” So basically, you have this resurrection of these two guy take place, and the whole world is watching. And if they thought they were in deep doo-doo at the beginning of the day of the Lord, now they know things are really getting intense. “And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell.” So there’s an earthquake. And  check this out, 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to God in heaven. So there’s this earthquake right after these guys are resurrected, and everybody sees it. There’s this giant earthquake; 7,000 people are killed, and guess what? A whole bunch of people give their life to the Lord.

Okay. So verse 14: “The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.” Verse 15: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.'” Stop right there. Susan and I talked about this, Potter’s House, last Sunday, God’s kingdom is not on the earth. Gospel contemplationism is not manifesting a gradual dominion of God’s present kingdom on earth by the Holy Spirit because of collective gospel contemplationism. No, teachings like that are what makes John Piper, et al, the flaming heretics that they are. Notice that the kingdom of God is not presently on earth, and that’s key.

Verse 16: “And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for the rewarding your servants…'” Those two deals right there are critical to understanding justification. You have the dead that are going to be judged, and you have the rewarding of your servants. You got that? For all practical purposes that’s the difference between justification and sanctification. Those who are justified will not be judged. Depending on what they’ve done in their sanctified lives, they will be rewarded.

“The prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the world.” 19: “Then God’s temple,” listen. Check this out, verse 19: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened.” Basically, the front doors of the temple weren’t open or the drapes or whatever. It’s the Holy of Holies that’s open. Then God’s temple right there, the rendering of the temple there refers to God’s Holy of Holies. God’s Holy of Holies in heaven was open and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple or the Holy of Holies. That’s where the Ark of the Covenant was. It wasn’t in the temple proper. It was in the Holy of Holies. So basically, there were flashes of lighting, rumbles, peals of thunder and earthquake and heavy hail.

So why do you see so much symbolism of angels in the tabernacle in the Old Testament? Because again, read the Book of Revelation. So we have God wanting to make Israel back in that day a holy nation of priests, and the Israelites don’t do so well in holding up their end of the bargain, so God makes the new covenant. But what we have here in the Book of Revelation – and this is why there is so much angelology in the Old Testament and the giving of the book of the covenant on Mount Sinai and all that apocalyptic scene there where you have the angels accompanying God when he came down on Mount Sinai because in the Book of Revelation God comes in and he enforces that original covenant that he wanted to with Israel. He enforces it, and in the process a lot of Jews get saved and probably gentiles too. But as mentioned in a few places in the Bible, the angels are the enforcers of the covenant, and that’s what they’re going to do. They come in. The angels come in, and they say, “We’re here to do business, and whether the world likes it or not we’re ushering in God’s kingdom. His covenant with Israel will stand,” and so on and so forth. So that’s Revelation 11. I hope we learned a few things breezing through that chapter, and I hope that I made the points that I wanted to make there.

So let’s move on. So the end of the last days will be preceded by the full gathering of God’s children and precedes the appearance of the antichrist and the day of the Lord according to the apostle Paul. Also, the end of the last days’ time period will end with an unexpected resurrection of many believers that are still alive. So let’s look at this, First Corinthians 15:52: “Paul said, ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery…'”

Oh, and we’re going to get into – okay, one of the points that I didn’t make in Revelation 11, before we move on, is here’s the thing that you want to know in the Book of Revelation. You notice three and a half years this, three and a half years that the antichrist will do what he does right smack dab in the middle of the tribulation period. The first three and a half years are the tribulation. The last three and a half years are the great tribulation. Here’s my point. The time that we’re in now, the return of the Lord is imminent. In the Book of Revelation nothing is imminent. If you aren’t part of the rapture and you’re in the tribulation period, when you see Israel sign their covenant of death, as Isaiah put it, a covenant of death that will not stand, when you see the Antichrist make the covenant with Israel, you will be able to go to your calendar and via your understanding of the Book of Revelation, which will read just like the headlines during that time, you will be able to go to your calendar and mark the very day that Christ splits the sky open and comes down with myriads of warrior angels. You’ll be able to mark the day. We’re not in those days. Christ said that no one knows the day that he will return for his gathering, what the first century saints knew as the gathering. It’s imminent, a time when we think not. Over and over and over again in the New Testament it said that Christ will come like a what? Thief in the night. The difference between the last days that we’re in and a separate tribulation period is as plain as the nose on your face. The Book of Revelation is just time-stamped. Everything is time-stamped. All through the Book of Revelation, it tells you exactly when what is going to happen, specifically how many people die in the events and so on and so forth. So Paul said in First Corinthians 15:51 and 52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” And then we’ve got – so this happens in the twinkling of an eye. We’re not all going to die and we’re, you know, this is the rapture, okay? And this is very different from in the Christ and the second coming splitting the skies open and coming down to earth to subdue the earth with myriads of warrior angels and like one of them slew 20,000 Assyrians. So as far as the earth goes and the army, good luck with that.

Anyway, let’s go on to John 21:18-23. “Christ said to his disciples, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.’ This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God, talking to Peter. And after saying this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at the table close to him and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’ So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not going to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?'” This is a reference to the rapture. Peter didn’t like the news that he got from Christ and basically what he’s asking Christ, “Well, what about John? Is he going to die like me, or is he going up in the rapture?” Christ pretty much said, “You worry about your own business that you’re called to do for me and follow me.”

So let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,” so this is a Revelation that they got directly from the Lord, “that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and then the sound, the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” So do I think that when the rapture happens that it will be accompanied by this huge trumpet blast that the world will hear? Probably.

Continuing on: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” You see where this is a sudden catching up of up in the clouds are those who are alive. They’re resurrected up with the Lord. Now, when the Lord returns in the Second Coming, he doesn’t take anybody up with him. He comes down and sets up his kingdom on earth, so nobody goes up. There’s only a coming down. The rapture in the last days, at the end of the last days that we’re in, that’s a going up. When Christ comes and returns to the earth, nothing is going up. It’s all coming down.

Also keep in mind that this resurrection, otherwise known as the rapture, is what we call imminent. I’ve mentioned that several times. In other words, it is likely to occur at any time without warning. Watch this, Acts 16:1, 6 and 7: “So when they had come together, they ask him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” Now, this right before he ascended and, he had been teaching them for something like 40 days, privately, I believe, something like that. And notice that when they say, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “Dude, what did we just get done talking about all these days? What are you talking about?” So he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times of the seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” So the day is not known. In the Book of Revelation, again, the day is known. All through the Book of Revelation, the days are spelled out in no uncertain terms. In case you missed it, the Holy Spirit says three and a half years two different ways–42 months and 1,260 days. He does everything but write it on a chalkboard for you and bring it down.

So the Lord restores the kingdom to Israel at the end of the day of the Lord. The beginning of the day of the Lord marks the end of the last days. Christ also states the following in Matthew 24:36-44: Christ said, “But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As it were in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as it was in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. So will it be, the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

So what we have, we have perfect imagery here. We have the rapture. People are working in the field. One is taken. The other is left. Then we’ve got just like it was in the day of Noah. Life was going on per the normal marrying, giving [UNINTELLIGIBLE 1:07:19], business as usual, life as usual. Then it starts raining, and everybody goes, “Uh-oh.” So it’s the same kind of deal. Everybody knows it’s the beginning of the end. So the whole issue of imminence separates the last days in the day of the Lord and because if I’m a believer in the day of the Lord otherwise known as the tribulation period, I know exactly when the Lord is coming back to the day. And let me demonstrate that. Let’s go to Daniel 9:27, and I’ll read that as well. And it says: “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for a week, a week, seven days, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.” So in Daniel 9:27 what we have here is weeks of years. So one week is actually seven years, and for half of the week, he shall put an end to the sacrifice and offering. So for the second half of the week, he puts an end to the offering. That’s when he goes into the Holy of Holies and proclaims himself as God. “And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

The tribulation period has designated times and not much on the imminent side is going on during this time. If I’m a believer during that time, I know that the Lord’s return is seven years from the date of a treaty made with Israel by the Antichrist and from several other Scriptures and three and a half years from the abomination of desolation spoken of in Second Thessalonians 2:4. So basically, if you’re living during the tribulation period, when you see the abomination of desolation, you can go to your calendar and recalculate and say, “Yup, three and a half years from now is that date right there.” Basically, you’ll be able to mark the very day that the Lord is going to split that sky open and come down with his angels to subdue the earth and do what the disciples asked about before he ascended and once again establish the kingdom of Israel.

Now, we’re not even going to get in tonight how the Lord decided to do a seven-year tribulation that goes back to the Lord warning Israel in the original covenant that they would be punished, I believe, times seven for violations of the Sabbaths. And I believe what they violated was every seven years they were supposed to give the land a rest. They didn’t, so he warned them that if they did that that they would be punished seven times over. Anyway, all of that calculates out to 490 years before the transgression is finished. And if you follow that in the timeline, it’s 490 years from the time that God makes the decree to the time that the Messiah is cut off. Well, if you do the calculation, it’s 483 years. It’s 490 years to “finish the transgression.” You calculate everything out until the beginning of that 490 years to when Messiah is cut off. It’s 483 years. So there are seven years missing. So you can study all of that on your own, or if you want to, I can send you the information mail@ttanc.com. Actually, I think we did a Potter’s House on that that I can send you, but listen, here’s the point I want to make. It all fits together. Forty-two different authors, a Scripture that’s written over a collective time period of 1,600 years, and it all fits together perfectly.

So let’s move on, shall we? I’ll try to hurry up and finish up here so we have time to take some calls if there are any and see if Susan has any input on all of this. So there you have it. This is the age that we’re living in, the last days. So what does the Bible say these days will be like? What should we expect?, well let’s go to 2 Timothy 4:2 and 3. Now we’ve talked about the days that we’re in. They’ve been identified. Now we’re going to look at what they’re like and what we should do about it, so Second Timothy 4:2 and 3. This is from the NIV. Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit,” their own – what? There it is again, desires. “They will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

Men will not only be seekers of a truth rather than the truth. They will not tolerate sound doctrine. When you go into a teaching situation in many cases, they just aren’t going to reject your teaching. They aren’t going to tolerate you, and really some of us here have had our share of the horror stories. Really, in the age we live in, there are three kinds of churches–churches that are driven to follow the truth at all costs, churches that will follow the truth as long as it doesn’t cost them anything, and churches that the apostle Paul said would be indicative of the age. They seek a truth that feeds the evil desires of their heart with a rabid intolerance of truth tellers.

Now, let’s go to 1 John 2:16. Here’s what John said. “Dear children, this is,” what? “This the last hour.” Was he saying it was the last hour they were going to be there way back when he wrote this? Of course not. Again, we see we’re in the last days. And as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. So these last days that we’re in are going to be marked by the Antichrist. Well, you know, what is an Antichrist? Well, 1 John tells us specifically what an Antichrist is. There will be many who deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or that he was truly man.

Hey, I got an e-mail from a lady who goes to a conservative evangelical church, like all of them are New Calvinist, but she said, “Hey, Paul. The guy was teaching that the flesh that Christ was in was a different kind of flesh that we’re in.” And if you know what New Calvinists believe about justification and what Old Calvinists believes about justification but don’t know that’s what they believe, they don’t know that that’s what their daddy, John Calvin, actually believed, it makes sense that that would be the case. And I’m not going to get down the rabbit track with all of that, but just put it this way. I was not surprised that that was taught in her church.

So primarily, an Antichrist – and remember, the Antichrist is also called the man of Anomia. But apparently, whoever this guy is, he will be antinomian and he’ll also specifically deny that Christ came in the flesh. So those are antichrists. There’s going to be a bunch of those guys around. You see the reference here to the future day that will be the time when the antichrist appears, but the apostle says many of his forerunners will be active in this age. As a matter of fact, it’s how we know that we’re in the last stage. Incredibly, the apostle was saying many antichrists will mark this age.

Now let’s go to 1 John 4:1. I’ll read that for you. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” So now we have many false prophets even way back then when 1 John. So John is running down the list here. First, he says many antichrists. Now he’s saying many false prophets. This is a different group than what John spoke of earlier. There are also many false prophets in our age. Many antichrists and many false prophets will mark the age we live in.

Additionally–we’re not done–there are also many false apostles among them. Turn with me to Second Corinthians 11:13. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” Okay. So should we assume that this masquerade is like a really bad acting job? I think we do assume that. I contend that no, these are not bad acting jobs. Christ said that in this age, the deception will be so deep that even God’s elect will be deceived, if that were possible. Revelation 2:2 also speaks of false apostles, and there was even a problem with fictional letters being sent out as if the apostles telling the saints that they missed the rapture. That’s 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. So in the 1st century, there were these guys writing letters. They were even writing letters and saying Paul wrote them. They’re not much different from bogus translations of the Bible like the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation and so on and so forth. It’s kind of the same thing.

So in the New Testament of the 27 books that make up the canon, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude deal primarily with error and false teaching as a theme. All other New Testament book contain portions that deal with false or erroneous teachings. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 of the – about the seven churches, five of the letters contain and tolerate false teachers and are warned by Christ accordingly. So five of the seven letters, there’s a huge problem with heresy being tolerated and heresy being in the churches. As a matter of fact, the specific charge is that they tolerated false teaching. Really, when it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, only one of the seven churches were commended by Christ. The 1st century church, always looked at as the ideal model, was entrenched in constant, vicious warfare to protect the truth. When the disciples asked Jesus what the sign of the end of the age and his coming was going to be, the first thing that he said was what? “Be not deceived.”

Well, maybe things have gotten better since then, right? Not according to the apostle Paul and what he promised Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul said, “Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” What are the last days? This time period that we’re in. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful – oh man, Susan and I were talking about this the other day, the ugly spirit of unthankfulness. Unthankfulness is going to mark this age. What else? Unholy. Friends, remember to be thankful. Don’t take God’s graces for granted. Count your blessings one by one. One of the few good sanctification songs that – no matter what’s going on in your life, and I know life can be very hard, but always look for the good in the land. So they’re going to be unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – look at this, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

So there’s going to be many antichrists, many false prophets, many false apostles. They won’t tolerate sound doctrine. They’re going to be self-loving, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. And it’s all going to be wrapped up in this wrapper: having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Listen to these so-called pastors running 99% of the churches out there in our day. We can’t change. We don’t change. “Pastor” James MacDonald wrote a post that went viral on the Internet. He is resigned from fixing people. We hear of this all the time. I get sent articles by my readers all the time where you have these, especially in women’s ministry, people aren’t fixable. Don’t waste your time fixing stuff. Good news for tired mommies: Stop trying to fix yourself. Stop trying to be better. Stop trying to fix your children. Just show them Jesus, and God is going to do whatever he’s going to do. Paul said have nothing to do with them.

Now, again Paul says in Second Timothy 3:13: “While evil men and impostors will grow from bad to worse, deceiving itself.” This was all going on big time in the 1st century. And guess what. That was 2,000 years ago. And the apostle Paul said it’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse. You got that? So think of this whole package. Do I need to go through this whole big list in this whole show being run by many antichrists, many false prophets, many false apostles? And this has been progressively getting worse for 2,000 years. Now listen to me. Let me throw a shout-out to the few guys I know of out there that have pulled their family out of the institutional church and are teaching their family at home. I know it’s tough, but you’re doing the right thing. What you saw in the institutional church that caused you to do what you did was not your imagination. If we believe Scripture, it was not your imagination.

Once you view the present Christian landscape through Scripture, it’s not very confusing at all. The church was engulfed in warfare for the truth from its conception, and the powers of darkness have had 2,000 years to perfect their schemes. Neither have they retreated. Hardly. However, I am not challenging you to pass judgment on anybody. I am challenging you to be a Berean like those talked about in Acts 17, the ones that the Holy Spirit called honorable. The Bereans would not even give the apostle Paul a pass without searching the Scripture to confirm what he’s teaching.

And let me tell you something. Thinking about tonight, you look at all of this, the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel and all of these New Calvinist networks and all this stuff, these huge conferences that are going on, all of these books that are being written, this whole idea that there are awesome teachers hanging on trees everywhere, not reality. Just not reality, not even close. These are the days of Noah. And what’s glorious, we have the opportunity to find people like-minded who believe and understand what the Bible is saying about the days that we’re in, and we have an opportunity to gather each other together in our homes and fellowship together and have beautiful rich fellowships amongst people who really love the Lord and look forward to his coming as the days grow near and so on and so forth. But somehow, we want to spend all of our time scraping around in the junkyard of the institutional church finding something worth praising. Why do we want to do that? Why do people want to save Augustine’s institutional church? Why do they want to do that? It was hard enough in the 1st century keeping error out of the home fellowships. So we should not give any teacher in this age a pass on what they teach. Christ made it clear that the way of destruction in this age would be a wide road while the way of life would be narrow.

I was once sitting in a Sunday school class where the teacher made this statement: “You need to run to the bookstore and get this book.” And we got way too much of running down to the bookstore to buy this book and the other book and people running down the aisles and doing their Baptist absolution and all this, that and the other, way too much of that going on. Listen, I don’t run to any teaching. I move in slowly with binoculars while hiding behind rocks and trees as I go, and you should too. Why are there so many denominations, as I am closing here, okay? Why are there so many denominations, -isms and teachings represented in these pithy book covers? Because we live in an age that will not tolerate sound doctrine. There is no middle ground in this world. You either stand with darkness or you stand with light. The choice is yours.

Now, with that said, I’m not seeing our Susan calling in, and we have about 25 minutes left in the show. No callers and I don’t see Susan calling in. We do have a pretty hefty listening audience, and I’m thankful for that. I would be probably very nervous to teach a Sunday school that large. And a lot of people are coming to the archives at Blog Talk False Reformation, and I appreciate that as well. If there’s any way that I can do better here or if you have any recommendations at all, again, mail us at mail@ttanc.com. And blessings to everybody listening tonight, and go with God and have a wonderful, thankful, God-pleasing week. And we’ll see you next Friday at 7:00. God bless.

Take a Bite Out of Orthodoxy

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2015

TANC Publishing catalog of heterodoxy:

 

Steve Lawson Sloppy Hermeneutics: Will Christ Personally Torment Unbelievers in Hell for Eternity?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 7, 2015

Lawson-PreachingOriginally published January 2, 2014

Something has been on my mind for some time that I have never written about. During the 2009 Resolved conference, “Pastor” Steve Lawson preached a sermon on the Great White Throne Judgment. In that message, Lawson claimed that Christ Himself will “be in hell”… “personally inflicting the wrath on unbelievers” for eternity. I know that Calvinism is heavily predicated on fear so I wasn’t surprised that Lawson said it. Rob Bell committed the unpardonable sin among New Calvinists by removing the fear factor in his book “Love Wins.” Calvin himself taught that fear and terror of judgment was efficacious to the mortification and vivification process that enables Christians to stand in the final judgment (CI 3.3.3-7). Bell didn’t merely violate Scripture, he dissed a Reformed mainstay: fear and its kissing cousin control.

Hell, in and of itself, is sobering enough, but apparently Lawson thought the reality of it needed some embellishing. The idea that Christ Himself will be in hell inflicting the punishment personally is a bit unsettling to me. It seems to picture Christ as a hateful God whose wrath never ceases. Instead of punishment being meted out in a hell prepared for the devil and his angels, we have Christ in hell inflicting the torment personally for all of eternity. Christ always spoke of hell as a PLACE of torment, and any idea of Him being the personal tormentor is conspicuously missing. Lawson used the following passage from Revelation for his proof text:

Revelation 14:10 – he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

This is really sloppy hermeneutics for many reasons, but let me discuss a few. The context of Rev 14:10 is the tribulation period. Revelation 14:6ff. predicts the final wrath of God being poured out upon the earth. This is preceded by a final warning heralded via three angels. The first proclaims the gospel; the second announces the final judgment of Babylon the great, and the third announces the primary woe that will befall those living in Babylon—this is specifically what Rev 14:10 is about. That verse describes the specific woe that the inhabitants will suffer in the presence of Christ and the angels; i.e., fire and sulfur.

This is exactly what happens when the judgment is executed upon Babylon:

Revelation 18:9 – And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

…And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?”

In verse 11 of Revelation 14, the angel also warns that the inhabitants of Babylon will seal their eternal fate by accepting the mark of the beast. That verse begins with the transition And which adds information. In the same way they are burned with fire when Christ and the angels execute judgment on Babylon, they will suffer for eternity. But the point is the following:

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The judgment in the presence of Christ and the angels regards the judgment on Babylon during the tribulation period, verse 11 speaks of their eternal judgment as a consequence of accepting the mark of the beast. And apparently, they are warned beforehand by the third angel not to do so. This is the theses of the third angel’s message and it has two parts: receiving the mark of the beast will lead to a present judgment by Christ and the angels upon Babylon, and a sealing of their eternal fate:

Revelation 14:9 – And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

Hence, verse 12 calls for the endurance of the saints because not receiving the mark of the beast will cost them their lives. Verse 13 promises a blessing for those who die in the Lord thereafter. Right before the judgment on Babylon, God calls for his people who have not received the mark to come out of Babylon before the judgment (Rev 17:4,5).

Furthermore, the subject is clearly not EVERY person who will be condemned to hell, but rather those who receive the mark of the beast. Any other conclusion from the context is presumptuous at best.

A suggestion: make the Bible your authority and not men. Such a rendering of Revelation 14:10 constructs a certain image of Christ in our minds. And it is not a good idea that such images are founded on iffy interpretations of God’s word.

Moreover, there is no other verse in the Bible that supports this view by Lawson. His manly academic credentials do not trump common sense.

paul

Susan and Paul Discuss Catholicism and Protestantism: Why are Both False Gospels?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 6, 2015

Tonight at 7PM

Link to Radio Show: http://tobtr.com/s/7397239

Bible as Story? Have We Lost Our Minds?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on March 6, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published February 6, 2013

Here at The Potter’s House we do family readings. Right now, we are reading through the novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. The book is what we call a historical novel. These are fictional books that attempt to convey the experience of historical facts. Historical novels attempt to put you into the historical event experientially.  So, historical novels aren’t “just facts,” but attempt to enable you to understand how people in said historical event experienced it.

This is done well in Speare’s Blackbird Pond. You feel Kit’s angst as she peruses the Puritan shoreline of America for the first time. She senses the abysmal aura as set against the colorful structures in Barbados. And for anybody who knows Puritan history, Kit’s suspicions that something is culturally array in the new land is truly chilling. You want to say, “Run!” But, of course, it’s just a story. Historical novels “put you in the story.” The counterpart is academic history which focuses on facts and is not concerned with personal experience.

Vestiges of the concept can be found in mythology and Plato’s concept of Genre which Aristotle and others helped him develop. The concept was integrated into biblical hermeneutics circa 180AD. The idea of Bible as historical narrative was eventually dubbed Biblical Theology by Johann Philipp Gabler (circa 1785) and further developed by Geerhardus Vos in the 19th century. It was known as Redemptive Historical Hermeneutics in the Dutch Reformed churches during the 1940’s. In the secular realm the debate rages as to which approach educates more effectively (http://goo.gl/zo7zp).

And here we are today. The propagation of Bible as a history narrative is in Blitzkrieg mode. The Bible is not to be researched grammatically, but is to be approached like a novel; our goal is to enter into the “unfolding drama of God’s redemptive story.” Those are the words that are actually used. With any novel, it is the writer’s burden to draw the reader into the plot; in this case, the Holy Spirit. All that is necessary is to approach the Bible as gospel narrative, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. In fact, many Reformed teachers assert that the Holy Spirit will not teach unless you are reading your Bible as a gospel narrative:

That which makes the Bible the Bible is the gospel. That which makes the Bible the Word of God is its witness to Christ. When the Spirit bears witness to our hearts of the truth of the Bible, this is an internal witness concerning the truth of the gospel. We need to be apprehended by the Spirit, who lives in the gospel, and then judge all things by that Spirit even the letter of Scripture.

I want you to feel the truth and depth and wonder that awaits your lifelong labor of love in pondering the inexhaustible portraits of Jesus given us by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Nothing can raise those who are spiritually dead or continually give life to Christ’s flock but the Spirit working through the gospel. When this happens (not just once, but every time we encounter the gospel afresh), the Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image (Quotations noted by Paul M. Dohse: The Truth About New Calvinism pp. 99, 100).

Recently, I made some observations  about Wade Burleson’s blog Istoria Ministries:

“If the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and it is, be sure that he will also reveal how he wants his word to be interpreted. Fact is, the Bible has built-in rules for interpretation throughout. ANY rules of interpretation for a text must be validated by the Bible itself. So, what about Bible as story or narrative? After an exhaustive study on what the Bible would state about this interpretive model, it begs the question: where is it?”

On that note, let’s start with a blog named “Istoria Ministries” by Reformed teacher/pastor Wade Burleson. The subtitle reads as follows:

Istoria is a Greek word that can be translated as both story and history. Istoria Ministries, led by Wade and Rachelle Burleson, helps people experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ so that their story may become part of His story.

Burleson is right, it is a Greek word, but is it in the Greek New Testament? After hours of research, I cannot find it anywhere. In fact, Hebrew or Greek canon words that project the English idea of history, narrative, or story are either extremely scarce or nonexistent. The closest idea is the word “parable” which is a story that helps define truth. It’s a teaching tool. But in every case where a parable is implemented as a teaching method, the Bible plainly introduces it as such beforehand. It doesn’t appear that parables in the Bible are meant to be stories that explain the story.”

The next day, Burleson changed the subtitle to the blog as follows:

“I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Greek: istoria) with Cephas.” Paul’s words in Galatians 1:18.

Only thing is, the word is not “istoria,” it is “historeo.” Istoria seems to be a word that, in fact, can be interpreted as story and history both, but is primarily a Greek word of contemporary origin. Not only that, according to Spiros Zodhiates, historeo appears in the Greek New Testament ONCE; specifically, the verse Burleson cites in his revised subtitle. A Strongs number search with Olive Tree software confirms such as well.

We don’t obey novels. We don’t obey narratives. We don’t obey stories. And the Lord wants us to experience what we learn in the Bible by applying it to our lives (James 1:25). Parables in the Bible are teaching tools that aid us in understanding the primary points—a history parable is not the sole interpretive genre that makes the Bible what it is.

You do not build a life on a rock by reading novels—you do it by putting what the Lord teaches into practice (Matthew 7:24). If Christ wanted us to read “these words of mine” as a story why would He have not plainly said so? If we live by the redemption story, why wouldn’t Christ plainly state that instead of, “every word that comes from the mouth of God?” If it’s a story, why would Christ call it “all that I have commanded”?

Have we lost our minds?

paul

Catholicism and Protestantism: Why are Both False Gospels?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 5, 2015

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Join the discussion at 7PM tomorrow night. The centerpiece of  the discussion is this video:

 

Show link: Catholicism and Protestantism: Why are Both False Gospels?

Line in the Sand

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 5, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

I believe the home fellowship network that we are attempting to start draws a line in the sand between two distinct gospels. I believe it is the difference between a true new birth and progressive justification. I also believe progressive justification is part and parcel with an institution by necessity. Progressive justification has no feet in a New Testament model of fellowship. At issue is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Home fellowships believe that justification is a finished work and completely separate from the works of the believer in the Christian life. One is a gift, and the other is a reward for diligently exploiting the gifts given to us by God for the building up of the body of believers. We are free to aggressively love without fear of condemnation. We are made just by the new birth which is a onetime event completely separate from the Christian walk of sanctification.

Institutions are framed to oversee passage to heaven on God’s behalf and circumvent the priesthood of all believers. Institutions will always, at least, function like progressive justification while perhaps denying it.

We believe that we are not merely declared righteous, we are righteous, and we are made righteous by the new birth. The new birth is not a status; it makes us the literal offspring of God. We have this treasure in earthen vessels.

We also believe that the laity is the mark of God’s chosen, not academia. The credentials of men invariably rob God of glory (1Cor 1:26).

It is time to stand up for the true gospel of Jesus Christ and rediscover the rich fellowship of God’s holy nation of priests. And this we will do with God’s help.

paul

Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic – A Classic Example

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, contributing editor on March 4, 2015

andy-profile-1I came across an “interesting” blog article the other day. It appeared in my Facebook newsfeed because someone on my friend list commented on it when one of his friends shared it. Of course, since I am not friends with the one who originally shared it, I was unable to add my comment, thus the inspiration for this article today.

The title of the blog article in questions is, “If we sin, do we lose our salvation?” That mere fact that such a question is still posed in Christianity is indicative of just how biblically illiterate most Christians are. The fact that authors such as this one still address this question in the manner that he does is even more disturbing.

Before even addressing the issue of whether one can lose one’s salvation, the author begins his article by citing Jesus’ example of the two house builders found in Luke chapter 6. Let’s take a look at this passage ourselves before we move on.

47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Luke 6:47-49

Clearly, Jesus is using a metaphor, but to properly understand the metaphor we must ask ourselves, what is the context of this passage? It should be apparent that the context is a contrast between two kinds of individuals. One kind is an individual who hears AND does. The second kind is an individual who hears only. The parallel passage in Matthew 7 goes even further in marking this contrast.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:24-27

The individual who hears AND does is considered wise. The one who hears only is considered foolish. Herein is the point of this whole passage: the emphasis on hearing AND doing, which is considered to be wise. But please notice what the blog author chooses as his focus:

 Building a house is very similar to one’s experience as either a Christian believer or an unsaved nonbeliever. That is why Jesus drew a comparison between the two (Luke 6:47-49). If you start out with a good foundation that is level and built on solid ground, you can confidently add on walls and flooring and a roof and every other component that makes up a house, and be certain that, because the foundation is sound, the house will be sound. But if you lay a poor foundation that is uneven and shaky, the rest of the house will follow and all the components that are built on that poor foundation will be compromised. To have a soundly constructed house, you must have a good foundation; to have a rock-solid Christian faith, you must build it on foundational truth.”

This is one of the most intellectually incompetent and dishonest uses of the two builders that I have ever seen! This example from scripture has nothing to do with “foundations”. It has everything to do with wisdom and sanctification. The author completely ignores the part about wisdom in both hearing and doing and instead engages in what I call “spiritualizing the analogy”, making it about justification instead. He has interpreted this passage in the so-called “proper gospel context”. This is what happens when you interpret scripture using a redemptive-historical hermeneutic. Spiritualizing the analogy makes a false application of a metaphor that was never intended. It is a logical fallacy. Let’s examine what I mean by this.

If I am given the logical premises that A=B and B=C, I can logically conclude that A=C. This is the logic of the example of the two house builders.

A = B      Hearing and doing = a wise man
B = C      A wise man = building on a rock (a good foundation)
   therefore
A = C      Hearing and doing = building on a rock (will make one strong; i.e. aggressive sanctification)

The same holds true for the foolish man.

A = B      Hearing only = a foolish man
B = C      A foolish man = building on sand (a poor foundation)
therefore
A = C      Hearing only = building on sand (will make one weak; i.e. little or no sanctification)

A metaphor makes no sense in and of itself. It has no relevance outside of the initial truth that it represents. If Jesus had only said, “Make sure you build on a rock foundation and not a foundation of sand,” that would have made no sense whatsoever. But Jesus clearly stated that hearing and doing is wise, and He further emphasized that point by using the analogy of building on a rock.  Notice also that a correct logical progression in thought results in the proper application of the conclusions.  One can reasonably conclude that this not a salvation passage but rather a sanctification passage for believers.

That is the proper meaning and intention of this passage. Contrast that with what the author did in the article. He took the metaphor all by itself and made it say whatever he wanted it to say in order to make his case.  And what is his case?

“If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and turn to God in repentance of your sins, then you will be saved… This does not mean that after this occurs, you will never sin again, or even that you will not commit the same sin repeatedly. It means that your heart has been changed toward sin so that you can now see it for what it is… Fortunately, for Paul and for you and for me, that question has a definitively glorious answer: ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’”

Plain and simple, this is progressive justification. Notice it is an ongoing deliverance, not a onetime deliverance. So, then the question remains, what do we have to do to keep the deliverance going? Well, we repent, and that saves us, BUT we still sin.  So what?  Well, the “so what” is that we need perpetual saving by Jesus.  This is what Paul David Tripp and Tim Keller and John Piper call a “daily rescue.”  This is Luther’s theology of the cross, a perpetual mortification and vivification.

This is the very reason why the emphasis on the hearing AND doing is ignored. For us “to do” would be works, at least in this construct, if this were a passage on justification and not sanctification. We must live by “faith alone” and not build on the wrong “foundation.” We can only “experience” what it is to have the right foundation, because for us to try and work and build is building on the wrong foundation which is the reformed definition of the “unsaved”. But justification is a finished work. There is nothing we can do to add to it. Because it is finished, we can aggressively “do” the things we “hear” taught to us in the Word. Time and time again, the scriptures equate for us doing good with life and doing evil with death. Good = life = wise. Evil = death = foolish. When it comes right down to it, this really isn’t that hard to figure out.

Andy

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