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 paulspassingthoughts on October 7, 2013





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Index of Essays on Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts 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 paulspassingthoughts on October 4, 2013

Mark Dever: Church Membership is First Category of Church Discipline

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 28, 2015

Dever_bwApparently, if you are in a Calvinist church, the pastor’s job-one is training you up in the way you should go so you won’t be brought up on church discipline. I have known for some time that Calvinists consider counseling the first step of church discipline, but must admit I was unaware that they also perceive church membership as a first phase of discipline.

According to Dever, all teaching is discipline, and seen as preventative medicine against “corrective” church discipline. So be advised: when you are sitting under the teaching of your local Calvinist pastor, listen carefully and take heed so he will not have to deal with you as a wayward adolescent in the future.

In the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, yet another Neo-Calvinist translation in addition to the ESV, Dever states on page 1649 that there are “two categories of church discipline.”

Aside: there isn’t even one to begin with. Nowhere does the Bible teach a discipline carried out by the church that affects salvation status. For the seven biblical procedures to resolve conflict in the church download this free ebook.

Another aside: there isn’t a one size fits all “church discipline” procedure as practiced by Reformed churches. The commentary by Dever is adjacent to Matthew 18 in the study bible. Matthew 18 is treated as a protocol for handling ever wayward situations when the Bible describes six other procedures for dealing with conflict within the church.

Dever frames all church teachings and examples set by the leaders as “formative discipline.” Think about how these guys perceive you! You are such a spiritual loser that the only thing that will keep you from getting excommunicated is training you up in the way you should go. You are not being taught as a fellow heir, you are perceived to be a petulant little sinner poised to wreak havoc on the church at any moment. Everything modeled and taught to you is “preventative.”

This is Dever’s attitude towards people who work like dogs to pay his salary. Unbelievable, but hardly uncommon among the Reformed.


“< Tweet, Tweet: Saved by Church Membership?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 27, 2015

A World Philosophy and Church History for Home School

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 26, 2015

Home School coverFor some time, I have received requests from homeschool moms for something substantive on world philosophy and church history.  Well, I put something together from our TANC conferences. It is my opinion that this is information you would pay thousands of dollars to receive at a seminary or Bible college if they offered it, and they don’t. If I was homeschooling, this is what I would use hands down. You may download it for free here.

Hope this helps,


Outraging the Spirit of Grace by Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves Everyday

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 26, 2015

There is no new thing under the sun—just different variations of the same thing. Sure, a company in Israel has developed a car that can run on water, that seems to be new, but they stole the idea from fish.

Likewise, man is heck-bent on either being owned to quiet his fears derived from presuppositions or being one of the elite owners of men. The argument most used for this cause is the biblical Old Covenant. Hence, there will always be various and sundry variations of a priestly class ruling over the great unwashed masses.

It goes something like this: the Old Covenant sacrifices were a shadow of Christ who offered himself once for the sins of man. Everybody agrees, but the devil is in the details; was Christ’s death a modification of the Old Covenant covering that still needs to be repeated albeit a different way? Did the Old Covenant sacrifices cover sins, or take them away? Did Christ present a variation of atonement (covering), or did He end atonement? Sure, Christ only died once as opposed to the repetition of the Old Covenant sacrifices, but must we continually return to the one time offering of Christ in order for our sins to be continually covered?

According to this construct, we remain the same except for a continual return to the sacrifice of Christ in remembrance for the forgiveness and covering of sin; after all, we still sin, right? Present sin must still be covered, no? So, instead of offering animal sacrifices, we continue to remain covered or atoned for by “remaining” faithful to the New Covenant.

How do we do that? It’s pretty clear: faithfulness to the local church through formal membership, obeying the New Covenant priests, tithing (and don’t forget “offerings” as well, and the building program, and…), baptism, sitting under elder preaching of the gospel, and especially the Lord’s Table which is one of the “grace imparting” ordinances of the church. We ALL still need grace, right?

But here is the money question: What is meant by “grace”? It can mean “help,” or it can refer to salvation. In this construct, trust me, it’s the latter.

Here is the second money question: is the New Covenant a covering of sin or a taking away of sin? “Paul, it’s only a covering because if our sins were taken away we wouldn’t sin anymore.” One of the most popular rhetorical questions in our day for someone who dares think that Christians no longer need “the gospel” (in a salvation sense) follows: “Did you sin today?” As one commented on PPT, “Well, I would hope we have forgiveness for present sin!” Hence, present sin would condemn us if we don’t continue to receive a covering for our sins. And, this covering can only be obtained in the institutional church through the “ordinances that impart grace.” You still need grace don’t you? “Are you saying that you don’t need grace?”

Therefore, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” “The same gospel that saved us also sanctifies us.” “You need the gospel just as much today as you did when you were saved.” “The gospel is not the ABCs of the Christian life; it is the A-Z.” “The gospel is not a rung on the ladder, it’s the whole ladder.” “If you leave the gospel and move on to something else, you lose justification and sanctification both.”

What does the Bible really say about all of this?

Let’s start with the Old Covenant which was, in fact, a covering for sin, but spoke of an actual ending of sin (taking away) and saints made presently holy regardless of sin.

In Leviticus 16, we find the regulations for the Day of Atonement (covering). The sacrifice included one bull, one ram, and two goats. Only the High Priest, Aaron, could perform the part of the ceremony that involved entering the Holy of Holies or the “Holy Place.” This was the inner chamber of the tabernacle separated from the entry chamber by a veil where the Ark of the Covenant was located. The fact that only the High Priest could enter the inner chamber is very significant. There was only ONE priest that executed that function. While other ceremonies only required hand washing, this ceremony required the complete washing of the body.

Laxness in regard to any ceremony connected with the Holy Place directly or indirectly resulted in instant death. This is what happened to Aaron’s two sons. The Holy Place was VERY inaccessible. The terror of the Old Covenant was for the express purpose of drawing a contrast between the Old Covenant and New Covenant.

The one priest, the inaccessibility to the Holy Place, the washing of the whole body, and the two goats are what we want to focus on in order to meet the objective point of this post. We have covered the first three, let’s consider the two goats. One was sacrificed. In regard to the sacrifices for sins, Aaron had to wash his whole body and sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat of the Ark in the Holy Place. In regard to the other goat, Aaron laid his hands on it and pronounced the sins of the people upon it, and then turned it loose into the wilderness. So there is a death resulting in a complete washing and the taking away of sin.

Now let’s go to Hebrews to find out how this all applies to the New Covenant. The Hebrew writer, probably Paul writing on behalf of the Apostles, is dealing with the same age-old problem of covering versus ending. That is the mere covering of sin versus the ending of sin. This also defines who the Christian is. If our sins are only covered we are only declared holy, but are not personally holy.  If our sins are taken away, we are personally holy and possess the righteousness of God. “But Paul, we still sin!” I will get to that.

Also, if our sins are not ended, continued atonement is needed as well resulting in a system that accesses that continued atonement. For the Hebrews, that was easy because Old Covenant Judaism was alive and well. In our day, that has been replaced with some sort of system that returns us to Christ’s sacrifice for sins. Or in other words, a return to the same gospel that originally saved us.

The glaring problem with this is the fact that Christ only entered the Holy Place once to offer one sacrifice for all time, and made the Holy Place accessible to all people. That’s the coup de grace for all of these types of systems; if what Christ did is only a covering, the Holy Place would not be open to all. Christ would still be the only one who could enter the Holy Place on our behalf like Aaron did for the Israelites:

Hebrews 10:19 – Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

We ourselves have access to the Holy Place without the representation of a High Priest walking on holy eggshells lest he is struck dead. There is only one way we can enter that Holy Place—if we are truly holy. If we are not truly holy, and our sins are only covered, only Jesus would have access to the Holy Place—not us. Notice also that we have full access with our bodies completely washed from sin—the sins carried into the wilderness by the other goat.

Curiously, most English translations interpret the Holy Place in Heb 10:19 as “holy places.” Plainly, in the context that is an anomaly, but it should be noted that the KJV (“holiest”) and the Complete Jewish Bible (“Holiest Place”) have it correct.

So, how is it possible for us to have access to the Holiest Place while we in fact still sin? One thing and one thing only: belief in Christ’s death and resurrection resulting in the new birth or the baptism of the Spirt of grace. Legally, we died with Christ and are no longer under the condemnation of the law (Roman 6,7), and Spiritually, our minds are renewed (Ibid) and we have the very seed of God within us (1Jn 3:9). Even though we still reside in a mortal body where sin can harass us, our mind is regenerated and we are enabled to use our bodies as holy sacrifices unto God (Rom 12:1).

Christ offered one sacrifice to set us free from sin’s slavery, and we are now free to offer holy sacrifices to God in sanctification. The flesh is weak, but not inherently sinful. In fact, since the Holy Spirit permanently indwells us, it is His temple:

1Corinthians 6:19 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Unfortunately, sin still dwells in our mortality, but sin’s power comes from its ability to condemn. Christ died on the cross to end the law and its ability to condemn (Rom 10:4, 1Cor 15:56), but that’s only one side of the coin; on the other side is the reality that the Holy Spirit also raised us to new life with Christ. This means we are no longer under the slavery of the law and its condemnation (we were bought with a price from the slave master), and free to serve the Spirit of God (Rom 7:6).

Before we were saved, sin was able to use the law to provoke us to sin through desires of various kinds (Rom 7:5), this is when we were “living in the flesh” because sin was our master and had the upper hand (Rom 6:20). Now, that same sin wars against us and the Spirit who dwells within (Gal 5:16, 17, 1Pet 2:11). The “lust of the flesh” refers to when sin uses our body to bring about fruits for death; it does not mean the flesh is inherently evil. The flesh, like creation, is presently “weak.”

All in all, we must define present holiness the way the Bible defines it. But the denial of our personal holiness also denies the new birth and denies us access to the Holy Place. In that case, only Christ can enter in. Christ has not sat down at the right hand of the Father, but rather still offers the daily sacrifice (Heb 10:10-14). So, instead of our focus being…

Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

…and faith working through love (Gal 5:6), keeping yourself saved through a perpetual need for atonement is the focus.

That denies the new birth and outrages the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29). A return to the same gospel that saved us suggests that we are still under law and did not die with Christ; and additionally, not free to serve in the new way of the Spirit via being resurrected with Christ—Christ must continue to stand in the Holy Place and continue to offer His blood daily. He has not sat down at the right hand of the Father.

This is how preaching the gospel to ourselves every day outrages the Spirt of grace.


Predestination and Fatalism: “How Much?” is the Question that Only Leaves Two Choices

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on January 26, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Originally published May 30, 2014

“This speaks to conditional and unconditional promises by God, cause and effect, and hope. What is at stake is our very understanding of reality itself.”

“What am I saying? A am saying that predeterminism is not a paradox in and of itself, I am suggesting that we consider the idea in our study that predeterminism is a slippery slope to making all of life a paradox. In other words, it makes objective truth unknowable.”        

This is part 6 of our series on predestination. We are in the process of evaluating predestination from the viewpoint of love, promises, judgment, cause and effect, hope, commandments, obedience, fear, foreknowledge, freewill, choice, ability, total depravity, evangelism, the gospel, Bible doctrine, paradox, and salvation. In most cases, determinism creates a strained understanding of what some of these words mean to us in real life.

For instance, if God loves the world and man does not have the ability to choose, why does God choose some and not others? He is impartial, no? Why will God judge those who never had a chance to escape judgment? Would God really command us to do things that He knows we are not able to do? How is God’s love really defined? Paradox is a reality, but to what extent do we except paradox as a replacement for the common understanding of life concepts and the words that describe them? Are the simple concepts of commands, love, and choice really a paradox in spiritual matters but necessarily taken literally in the milieu of life? Does whosoever will really mean whosoever has been chosen? And if it does, why doesn’t God simply state that accordingly?

In part one, we established an important starting point: the doctrine of predestination has always been primarily framed and assimilated by Reformed theologians. That’s a problem because they had/have the gospel wrong. This is a matter of simple theological math; they were on the wrong side of the law and gospel. Therefore, the doctrine must be reexamined.

In part 2, we examined God’s will in regard to the lost and the relationship of evangelism and paradox. Evangelism is another word that becomes paradoxical in light of predestination. Obedience is a paradox, love is a paradox, judgment is a paradox, and evangelism as well because the legitimacy of the offer of salvation is called into question. Whosoever will becomes whosoever has been elected. If election is a paradox, all of the concepts connected to it are paradoxical as well.

In part 2, we established that God does not desire that any person perish. He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Which brings up another paradox: does God plead and exhort man to be saved while knowing that he is unable to respond? When God states, “come, let us reason together,” is he saying that while knowing that man is unable to reason?

At any rate, we concluded in part 2 that God does not desire the death of the wicked—He desires that all would be saved.

In part 3, we established that predestination was not unique with the Reformers. In fact, determinism is an ancient concept that has dominated human history. We also examined the historical bad fruit produced by its ideology, and biblical contradictions as well.

In part 4, we looked at the means by which God seeks man. Man is created with intuitive knowledge of God, man begins life in the book of life and must be blotted out if he/she perishes, and Christ died for all men, not just the elect. Though not in the study, the fact that all sins are imputed to the Old Covenant, and belief in Christ eradicates the Old Covenant and all of the sin imputed to it, it implies a readiness and desire of God to vanquish one’s sin. The imputation of all sin to a covenant is sort of the opposite of starting life in the Book of Life; God wants to keep you in the one book and get rid of the other one.

Moreover, God sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and the judgment to come while the works of God’s law are already written on the heart of every person. On the one hand, God has set up a gargantuan infrastructural reality to facilitate the salvation of man, but in all of this, who enters in is ultimately predetermined by Him. Why all the drama? Why all of the paradox? Why all of the confusion? Yet, another paradox that could be added is the Holy Spirit’s warning in regard to judgment along with all of God’s prophets; why offer this incentive to escape judgment to those who are unable to respond? This speaks to conditional and unconditional promises by God, cause and effect, and hope. What is at stake is our very understanding of reality itself.

In part 5, we begin to answer the question, “How much?” Let’s say that man is unable to choose God initially, but what about post new birth? Is man then able to make choices? Curiously, the Reformers say, “no.” We looked at the Reformed redemptive-historical hermeneutic that interprets all reality as a gospel metaphysical narrative. We simply put ourselves in the narrative by believing everything in life points to a truth about Christ and is predetermined. We called this plenary determinism. Also, while discussing this, we introduced the possibility that certain things are predetermined by God, while other things are not. We used the following chart to illustrate this:

Election Final Draft

Granted, we want some things to be predetermined by God. We want a happy ending. We want justice. We want the good guys to win. We want everyone to live happily ever after. In times of danger, we want our fears tempered by knowing that God is control. In the book of Revelation, for certain, the opening of the six seals will make it seem like the earth is in complete chaos and spinning out of control, but the fact will be that God is in control of every bit of that. Will that temper the fear of those who know that at the time? Sure it will.

But is everything predetermined? Does man have any role in reality at all? The main source for predestination doctrine has always been the Reformers, at least in Western culture, and they disavow choice in both the saved and unsaved state. Consequently, from an eschatological view, there is only one judgment in which both believers and unbelievers stand in to determine one’s eternal fate. Opposing eschatological views posit a separate judgment for believers and unbelievers, one for reward (believers), and one that condemns (unbelievers).

Obviously, the idea of reward strongly suggests that the reward is for something earned by making a right choice. In Reformed circles, rewards spoken of in the Bible are attributed to salvation (the reward[s] is salvation), but now we have yet another paradox because it is not really a reward that we get for something that we did! What am I saying? I am saying that predeterminism is not a paradox in and of itself, I am suggesting that we consider the idea in our study that predeterminism is a slippery slope to making all of life a paradox. In other words, it makes objective truth unknowable.

However, the Reformers state that truth can be known, and that there is no paradox at all: Man and history were created to glorify God. Everything that happens is predetermined by God (cause), and everything that happens is for God’s glory, and in fact, does glorify Him (effect). Hence, man has no ability to choose in being the cause for anything that happens. Judgment reflects God’s glory alone in simply revealing what God has preordained via good or evil. If this is not true, then how much choice does man have? That must be determined. If true, then how much choice does man not have? This must be determined as well.

At the T4G 2008 conference, John MacArthur stated the following:

The sum is that man is evil and selfish, unwilling and unable because he is dead. He loves his sin. He loves the darkness. He thrives on selfish lust. He’s happy to make a god of his own, manufacturing and convinced himself that he is good enough to satisfy that god. He may see his sin in his sin, but he does not see his sin in his goodness, and he does not see his sin in his religion, and it is his sin in his goodness that is most despicable for there is the deception and it is his sin in his religion that is most blasphemous because there it is that he worships a false god…

The contemporary idea today is that there’s some residual good left in the sinner. As this progression came from Pelagianism to Semipelagianism and then came down to sort of contemporary Arminianism and maybe got defined a little more carefully by Wesley who was a sort of a messed up Calvinist because Wesley wanted to give all the glory to God, as you well know, but he wanted to find in men some place where men could initiate salvation on his own will. That system has literally taken over and been the dominant system in evangelical Christianity. It is behind most revivalism. It is behind most evangelism. That there’s something in the sinner that can respond.

Notice how MacArthur combines ability with goodness. Ability is made to be a moral issue. Why does an ability to choose something, or make a wise choice, or desire to have something that is rooted in anthropology, have to be an issue of inherent goodness? If unregenerate man can make wise choices, or at least correct choices, and certainly he can, why couldn’t one of those wise choices be that of salvation? Yes, certainly the Bible teaches that man’s inclination is away from God, but once God seeks him out and confronts him, does he have the ability to be persuaded? Why is man able to choose to stop at a red light (cause) to prevent an accident (effect), but unable to choose God?

Throughout the same message, MacArthur asserts the following like points:

Wesley wanted to give all the glory to God, as you well know, but he wanted to find in men some place where men could initiate salvation on his own will.

Here, MacArthur makes an ability to choose equal with initiating the means of salvation and initially seeking God. Our previous lessons assert that man doesn’t initially seek God, but once God seeks him by various means, man has the ability to choose. Man has many abilities that are morally neutral, even in his weakness, why can’t the ability to choose be one of them when he/she is aided by God and convicted by the Holy Spirit? In Scripture, we have instances of men being nearly persuaded (Mark 12;34, Acts 26:25-32); what are we to surmise from this, that man has the ability to be partially persuaded, but not the ability to be fully persuaded? James suggested that some men can believe in God, but fall short of believing in a saving way (2:19). This means man has an ability to believe in God intellectually, but is unable to understand saving truth about God and make his own choice? Why would man then have the ability to believe in God at all?

According to MacArthur,

A new wave followed as people struggled to hang on to human freedom which said that Adam’s sin had “in some measure” affected and disabled all men, but sinners were left with just enough freedom of the will to make the first move of faith toward God. And then God’s grace kicked in. But sinners made the first move, and that’s what became known as semi-Pelagianism. Some would call it prevenient grace. There’s a component of grace in all human beings that gives them in the freedom of their own will the ability to initiate salvation. The idea is that depravity is real, but it is not total. Saving grace from God then becomes a divine response rather than the efficient cause of our salvation. This view is denounced, as you know, by several councils starting around 529.

How does an ability to choose equal the initiation of salvation? How does an ability to choose, or the freedom of the will to choose equal us making the first move? We by no means made the first move! Clearly, God made the first move by supplying the means of salvation, and the second move by calling all men unto salvation. After this, how does our abilty to choose constitute the “first move”? It’s not the first move, it’s a response to God’s love. And in regard to the point of our first lesson, throughout his message, MacArthur validates his points by citing St. Augustine; that is very problematic in and of itself. MacArthur then moves on in the same message to make the new birth synonymous with our ability to choose. If we have an ability to be persuaded, that is supposedly like giving birth to ourselves:

When the Bible speaks about the condition of the sinner, with what words does it speak? Well, when the Bible speaks of the sinner’s condition, it is usually in the language of death, sometimes darkness, sometimes blindness, hardness, slavery, incurable sickness, alienation, and the Bible is clear that this is a condition that affects the body, the mind, the emotion, the desire, the motive, the will, the behavior. And it is a condition that is so powerful no sinner unaided by God can ever overcome it… John 3, you are very familiar with it, Nicodemus, and no one is going to be able to see the kingdom of God unless he’s born again, Jesus said in verse 3, very interesting. Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” He is not stupid. He’s a teacher in Israel. He’s speaking metaphorically. He’s picking up on Jesus’ born again metaphor and asking the question, how does that happen? How does it happen? You can’t do it on your own. You can’t birth yourself. That’s his point. He gets it. He understands that man has no capability to bring birth to himself. Jesus follows up by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit,”

First, MacArthur’s concession, perhaps unwittingly, that “it is a condition that is so powerful no sinner unaided by God can ever overcome it” is exactly what we are saying, and not by any means that man can choose God solo. God supplies the means of salvation and seeks after man with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the word of God. But in the end, man is able to neglect this great salvation, and to his own eternal detriment. Also, the new birth is part of the means of salvation totally out of man’s control; the new birth is a promise to those who believe, and obviously not man giving birth to himself.

When you start thinking about these things apart from Reformed orthodoxy, some observations become interesting. MacArthur used the following proof texts to make one of his points:

But let me just work you through John for a minute, John 1:12-13. “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God even to those who believed in his name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of men, but of God.” That is unmistakable. Unmistakable. Salvation being the work of God.

First, notice that man’s role is simply to receive, and then man is “given” the “right” to become the children of God. Then MacArthur bemoans the following:

It is behind most revivalism. It is behind most evangelism. That there’s something in the sinner that can respond. And this is sort of like the right in a free country. You have to have this right. This wouldn’t be fair if God didn’t give the sinner the right to make his own decision so that the sinner unaided by the Holy Spirit must make the first move. That’s essentially Arminian theology. The sinner unaided must make the first move. And God then will respond when the sinner makes the first move.

This is exactly what the proof text that MacArthur stated says, that those who receive Christ do in fact have the “right” to become part of God’s kingdom. Also, in stating his Reformed logic in another way, he suggested that hearing the gospel message and receiving it was the same thing as preaching ourselves:

What can remedy that? We do not preach ourselves, verse 5, we preach Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. We preach the gospel of Christ as lord and ourselves as slaves. And what happens? Verse 6, God who said light shall shine out of darkness, that’s taking you back to creation, God who created, who spoke light into existence is the one who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Aside from the fact that having the ability to be persuaded is not preaching ourselves rather than Christ, note that MacArthur equates creation with the gospel which insinuates that the fall was built into creation itself. This is part and parcel with the supralapsarianism that we discussed in previous lessons.

But the thrust of this lesson centers on the “how much” when it comes to any role at all for man in salvation and the logical end of it, and in the final analysis how God’s love is defined. This is a sobering consideration. In both the 2013 Shepherds’ Conference and T4G 2008, MacArthur presents the idea that John 3, regarding the new birth, is something that is done to the individual without any participation on the part of the believer. The clear message in both cases was that any decision or belief on the part of the believer was excluded also. It was very much like the following rendition of the same text:

When we consider the great teachings of Scripture, they are not there just to give us information and they are not to teach us what we can do in our own strength. In Musings 34 ( we looked at how believing that the doctrine of justification is true is not the same thing as being justified. The new birth was also mentioned at the end. In the passage above (John 3:3-5) Jesus speaks pointedly and with power in a way that reflects on the issue being mused on here. Jesus did not tell Nicodemus that he must know the truth about the new birth in order to enter the kingdom. Jesus also did not tell Nicodemus that he must believe the truth about the new birth in order to enter the kingdom. Instead of that, Jesus told Nicodemus that he must actually be born again in order to enter the kingdom. There is a huge difference between believing what is true and what is true actually happening to you.

If we take this as a picture or even as an example of the teachings of Scripture, we can view what it means to believe something with different eyes or with a different perspective. Neither Jesus or Paul declared that a person must believe the facts about justification in order to be justified, but simply that a person must be justified (God Loves Himself .wordpress .com: Musing 35; February 10, 2014).

So, if reality is a prewritten metaphysical narrative for the sole purpose of glorifying God in all that happens in the narrative, it only stands to reason that God is motivated by self-glorification and self-love as the highest purpose for all that he does:

Perhaps this concept that Edwards gives just above cannot be stated too strongly or emphasized too much since all true Christianity depends on the truth of it. If God is not centered upon Himself and He does not do all for His own glory, then God Himself is not holy and acts against the perfection of His own nature, wisdom, holiness, and perfect rectitude. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not keep the same standard that He commands all others to do. If God does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself, then the both the great Commandments and the Ten Commandments are not a transcript of the character of God. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do what He requires of others in the first three petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do all in His own name as He requires others to do so. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do all for His own glory which He requires others to do (God Loves Himself .wordpress .com: Edwards on the God Centeredness of God; 11 December 7, 2013).

Add yet another paradox in regard to love. God didn’t send His Son to the cross because he loves mankind, he sent His Son to the cross because He loves Himself. The list of commonly understood words in a grammatical reality that have been redefined by the doctrine of determinism is now very lengthy. Why indeed did God even bother to write the Bible in a grammatical format? No wonder that Rick Holland, a former associate of John MacArthur has stated that good grammar makes bad theology. No kidding? Add yet another paradox: the idea that God is not a God of confusion. Of course, the Reformed would say that there is no confusion at all—ALL things are predetermined for God’s glory and completely out of our control—end of story.

Let’s pad this point a little more with some quotes from John Piper:

I would like to try to persuade you that the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself forever. Or to put it another way: the chief end of God is to enjoy glorifying himself.

The reason this may sound strange is that we tend to be more familiar with our duties than with God’s designs. We know why we exist – to glorify God and enjoy him forever. But why does God exist? What should he love with all his heart and soul and mind and strength? Whom should he worship? Or will we deny him that highest of pleasures? It matters a lot what God’s ultimate allegiance is to! (Desiring God .org: Is God for Us or for Himself?; October 23, 1984).

Actually, the Bible states that the chief end of man is to obey God, and that God takes more pleasure in obedience than sacrifice (Ecc 12:13,14 1Sam 15:22). I am not sure that the Bible ever states any “chief end” of God. Really? God’s life has a primary purpose that we can understand? And its narcissism?

Though there seems to be many Scriptures that bolster determinism, it requires the redefining of many commonly understood word meanings, and inevitably leads to an unavoidable illogical outcome. If the doctrine of predetermination in and of itself was the only paradox, that would be different, but the problem we see here is that it makes all of reality a paradox unless you accept the mythological Reformed metaphysical narrative.


“< Tweet, Tweet: Pastors

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 25, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: I'm Nuts?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 25, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet @ Johnny Hunt

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 24, 2015

Indicative of What Ails the SBC: Johnny Hunt Denies the New Birth at Ohio Men’s Summit

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 24, 2015

“Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, ‘Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.’ This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was ‘under law,’ and where there is no law there is no sin.”

Not that I get paid for it, but I will inform any SBC pastor who cares to know why the SBC is a dying unregenerate cesspool. You can hide the fact by squeezing out the smaller churches and pointing to the emotional orgies at the megachurches, but the numbers do not lie. And listen, the praise and worship format that is presently redistributing the sheep will eventually get old—this ministry is already seeing sharp declines in megachurch attendance.

The present-day SBC Neo-Calvinist surge is the same movement that has come and gone exactly five times since the Protestant Reformation. My guess is that it will die again. Susan and I recently visited churches that were on the cutting edge of this movement back in the 80’s, and the deadness that we experienced was explained this way by our teenage son: “That place is just creepy.”  The energy once associated with the format is waning because there is no underlying substance and the novelty is passing. Yet, the format continues without the energy which projects an almost surreal creepiness experienced by those who visit. For the longtime members it’s a slow leak going unnoticed, for visitors it’s a blowout.

Aside: Was all of the recent Mark Driscoll drama just cover for the fact that the Mars Hill campuses were in decline? I wonder.

Another aside: The Catholic Church has bought the defunct Crystal Cathedral. It would seem that the Catholic Church is the only institution with the money to buy defunct Protestant campuses. Why does the Catholic Church have so much money? Answer: because it has always been upfront about its salvation by institution gospel. Will the Neo-Calvinist movement begin to be more out-of-the-closet about that approach in order to save the movement? It already is. People will pay big bucks to be saved by merely giving at the office (see, “Roman Catholic Church”).

Johnny Hunt would deny that he is a Neo-Calvinist and that is probably fair, but what I heard him say at last night’s Men’s Summit at Urbancrest Baptist church in Lebanon, OH is indicative of the problem. If there is confusion among Southern Baptists regarding the role of the Holy Spirt in Christian living, and there clearly is, that should explain everything, and it does.

Look, I don’t have the mp3 yet, but a slight paraphrase of a particular sentence spoken at the summit by Hunt goes like this: “The righteousness of Christ is the only thing that gets us into heaven.” Here we have a former president of the SBC, and a premier SBC pastor for something like thirty years, and that statement is just really bad theology if not an outright false gospel.

I keep saying it and will continue to do so: the Bible never states that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us. Though you can take a leap from one logical point to another on a few verses, why the steroidal emphasis on Christ’s righteousness when the Bible clearly states that it is the righteousness of God the Father that we possess? Is this emphasis important? It is if the Bible emphasizes the righteousness of the Father, and it does. Why not emphasize what the Scriptures emphasize?

But the concern goes way beyond semantics. In his Friday sessions, Hunt peppered that concept with the often heard idea that we don’t possess a righteousness of our own. Come now, would any of us still be working if we had a dollar for every time we heard that in SBC circles? But what is it saying?

First, if we ONLY possess the righteousness of Christ, fire insurance is the only gift and not righteousness. Follow? When you receive a gift, you take possession of it…no? Is the idea that we possess no righteousness of “our own” a backdoor way of saying we have not been made righteous and possess no personal holiness? Yes, I think it is. And by the way, forget all of the fuss about election—that idea is Calvinism in a nutshell.

Secondly, while one properly concurs that our sins were imputed to Christ because the Bible states that specifically, is it correct to say that righteousness has been “imputed” to us? I contend that this is NOT correct, and in fact is a denial of the new birth. Why? Because righteousness is not imputed to us, we are MADE righteous through the new birth. The whole “our own” business is a red herring deliciously favored at the table of demons. We don’t tell people we have no life of our own because we were born of parents. That’s just plain silly. “I have no life of my own; it was imputed to me by my parents.” No, you are alive just like your parents because they gave birth to you. In the same way, we ARE righteous because we were given life by a righteous Father through the Holy Spirit.

Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, “Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.” This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was “under law,” and where there is no law there is no sin.

The idea that Christ died for our sin post salvation, at the very least denies the death part of the Spirit’s baptism and keeps the “believer” under law (see Romans 7:1ff). In not sparing any confusion in his lame presentation of the gospel, Hunt concurred that God chastises us for sins we commit as Christians which means God chastises us for sins Christ already died for. Hence, why wouldn’t God also chastise us for sins committed before we were Christians?

Therefore, Hunt, like most SBC pastors, flirts with John Calvin’s double imputation. This is the idea that Christ died for our justification, and lived a perfect life to fulfil the law so that His perfect righteousness can also be imputed to our sanctification. This is exactly why the “righteousness of Christ” is so strongly emphasized. The Bible is clear: this is a justification by the law that leads to antinomian living (see “a typical life in the SBC”). Why? Because we only have the righteousness of Christ and no righteousness of our own which is nearly a verbatim quote by Calvin from his Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.14.11).

This is an outright denial of the new birth and keeps the “Christian” under law. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, even if the law was kept by Christ in our stead, it is not another seed that can give life (Galatians 3:15-21). We are like Christ because He is our brother by birth, righteousness was not imputed to us—we are MADE righteous by the new birth. We are literally new creatures, and ALL things are new.

But, if we have no ownership of righteousness through the new birth, if only our standing is exchanged and not our lives, Christ’s righteousness must be perpetually imputed to our “Christian” lives because we are still under law and not under grace. This would require a return to the same gospel that saved us in order to receive perpetual forgiveness for sins committed under the law, and this is exactly what is behind the viral mantra of “We must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” running amuck in the SBC. Forbid that we would lose our gratitude for salvation and only limit its remembrance to the Lord’s Table for we still supposedly need that forgiveness.

And this is exactly what John Calvin believed; that new sins committed as saints removes us from grace and perpetual forgiveness must be sought which can only be found in the institutional church where we continually “revisit the gospel afresh.”  Yet, the who’s who of the SBC continually affirms that the issue with Calvinism in the SBC is a secondary issue unworthy of parting fellowship. It’s cluelessness on steroids. Calvin advocated the belief that necessarily goes hand in glove with progressive justification; and,  sanctification is the Old Testament Sabbath rest. If we do any works on our sanctification Sabbath, it’s the eternal death penalty. As a result, Christ’s perfect obedience to the law must be imputed to us. This is where antinomianism and justification by law are the same thing; a perfect keeping of the law, which we of course can’t obtain so we must let Jesus obey for us lest we have a “righteousness of our own” becomes another seed other than Christ.

At the end of one session Hunt suggested that those who made a profession of faith follow up with the elders at Urbancrest concerning their “new relationship” with Christ. New relationship? Really? It’s not just a new relationship—it’s literal death and rebirth. We don’t just add Jesus to our still under the law lives for fire insurance or as Hunt put it, in essence, daily rescue. It’s not a daily rescue because we long for the one future rescue by Christ from this mortal body where sin still resides, but our inward man has been literally raised with Christ and free to love God and others through obedience to the same law that once condemned us.

It has been suggested to me that institutional religion and the new birth mix like oil and water: “Paul, if believers are truly born again and endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, why would they need an evangelical industrial complex?” Indeed, that may well be the money question. I have been at two institutional church gatherings this week, and in both cases pastors were held up as upper strata of spiritual caste. At Urbancrest, the emphasis was totally over the top and downright shameful. Other than handing out freebies to the pastors who attended, the senior pastor at Urbancrest talked of a program of sorts through which parishioners could show their pastor that, “I have your back.”

So, is the new birth a threat to religious institutions? Can Holy Spirit empowered ministries thrive in an institutional setting? We will not know until pastors stop denying the new birth. But nevertheless, this is a gut check for every SBC pastor and Hunt in particular. What would be the result of a poll in most churches where the following question is asked?

“Are you only positionally holy in Christ, or are you a holy person?” I fear most would answer, “I am only positionally holy because I still sin.” Yet, pastors who continually wax eloquent about Christians not having any righteousness of their own somehow expect decent behavior from their parishioners.

To his credit, Hunt did advocate obedience, but anyone who was listening closely would have found that confusing. Hunt also emphasized “finishing strong.” He even said that all of his accomplishments in ministry would be worthless if he didn’t finish well. Here is what pastors need to understand: finishing well may mean you end up pastoring a church of 25 people because you stood for the truth. It is high time that pastors draw a line in the sand and definitively define the new birth in no uncertain terms. Please tell your parishioners who they are—are they positionally holy, or are they personally holy?

Did they exchange one “standing before God” for another one, or did they exchange their old life for a new one through the baptism of the Holy Spirit?



The “Legalism” Myth and Why Antinomianism and Justification by the Law are the Same Thing

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 24, 2015

Good evening everyone welcome to False Reformation Blogtalk radio. This is your host Paul Dohse. This is a special live presentation for tomorrow night’s episode because I will be out of town attending a conference.

Therefore, tomorrow night’s weekly Friday episode will be prerecorded here tonight. If you would like to add to the show or ask a question call 347-855-8317.

Per the usual, I will say “This is your host Paul. You are live on Blogtalk what is your comment or question?” With that, just start talking—identifying yourself is optional. Also per the usual, we will be checking in with Susan to get her feedback on tonight’s show.

Now, on to our topic. Let’s summarize the commonly accepted narrative of our day. The Reformation’s justification by faith saved Western civilization and stands in stark contrast to its two primary nemeses: “legalism,” and “antinomianism,” with antinomianism being the lesser evil by far.

Legalism is attempting to be justified by the law, and antinomianism is the belief that there is no use for the law—it only condemns. In other words, Christians are not obligated to the law in any way, shape, or form. The word means literally, “anti-law.”

This is the theses for tonight’s show:

Point 1: There is no such thing as legalism.

Point 2: Antinomianism is really justification by the law—they are the same thing.

Point 3: The Reformation’s justification by faith is really justification by the law.

Point 4: Therefore, Protestantism is both justification by the law and antinomianism because the two are the same thing.

Point one, there is no such thing as “legalism.” Without a doubt, this is proffered as kingdom enemy #1. However, the term is found nowhere in the Bible, nor is the concept found anywhere in the Bible. What is it? What’s the technical definition according to Protestant orthodoxy?

So-called legalism is the idea that Christians can do a good work. Legalism is closely associated with the Reformed truism, the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. The primary criticisms of legalism are “it jumps directly from the command to obedience.” This is also known as “fruit stapling.”

Closely associated with the legalism myth is the anti-legalism truism, “all change comes from the inside out.” That’s yet another truism among Christians that is accepted as absolute gospel out of hand. But what does it mean? I’m not saying that there is no truth in the statement, but what do they mean by it?

Listen carefully; I want to interject a principle of deception. Readily accepted truisms that sound good and not subjected to scrutiny are stepping stones that take you to a place of other people’s choosing. They know where you are going, but you don’t. No person anywhere or at any time ended up in a mass grave apart from this concept. No person was ever duped out of their lifesavings apart from this concept. No person has ever wasted years gifted to them apart from this concept. This concept applies to every strata of life.

So, what is meant by this anti-legalism myth truism? It is the idea that all good works must be filtered through the inner person before they appear outwardly. This dissects the role of the believer, if the dreaded legalism is to be prevented, into two categories: active and passive. The active is understanding only, and the passive is the actual manifestation of the outward work.

This necessarily requires an understanding of what is meant by “heart change.” Heart change is your capacity to see only. It defines faith as something that only perceives outwardly. So, the ONLY active role of the Christian is to SEE reality in a kingdom of God way, or at least what they define that to be. This is known as, watch it—we here it all the time: “a Christian worldview.”

So let’s pause for a summation thus far: in order to prevent the dreaded legalism myth, we must know that the only active role of the Christian is to have a proper worldview, or a proper perception of reality. This is faith, and the growth of faith is heart change. Got it?

This results in works being separated from the Christian and manifested by Christ. This prevents “legalism” which is the supposed errant belief that Christians can perform a good work, and thus, watch it, here is another one, “possessing a righteousness of our own.”

Are you getting this so far? So, in less than 700 words so far, we have defined: legalism; fruit stapling; faith; heart change; and Christian worldview. The Christian’s active role is to see according to the right worldview, his passive role is to WATCH…here is another one…here it comes…”what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

Let’s now add this: typically, those who are supposedly guilty of legalism will only believe that Christ died for our sins, while denying that Christ lived a perfect life to fulfil the Old Covenant law for us. This is the Protestant/Lutheran/Calvinist formal doctrine of double imputation. Christ died for our justification, and lived for our sanctification so that His perfect obedience to the law of Moses can now be applied to our life through faith alone in our sanctification, or Christian living if you will.

That’s the “indicative,” viz, all works are grounded in what Christ did, not anything we do. Therefore, when you see a command in the Bible, it must be seen in its quote…”gospel context” of double imputation. The imperative shows us what we cannot do, but rather what Jesus has done for us. Hence, “the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event.” Supposedly, when Jesus commands us to be perfect, He is driving this point home that perfection is the standard and we cannot be perfect.

Side note: What Jesus is really doing is telling us to be who we are, viz, perfect. “But Paul, we sin!” Hold that thought, we will address that.

Another side note: Christ didn’t have to obey the law perfectly in order to prepare our works for us, the Holy Spirit did that before the foundation of the world:

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

1 Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you. 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.

The works were prepared by God and sanctified by the Holy Spirt before the foundation of the world, and Abraham was justified 430 years before the law of Moses—Christ did not have to obey the law for us and clearly, we are the ones who “walk” in the pre-prepared works sanctified by the Holy Spirit before the world was ever created. The more you study election, the more you realize it’s just another angle on trying to get it into the heads of Christians that law and justification are mutually exclusive.

So, in the closing of our first point let us define so-called legalism: it is the belief that a Christian can do a good work. See, among myriads of examples, the Calvin Institutes book 3, chapter 14, sections 9-11 and Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. “Paul, the Heidelberg Disputation has 28 theses, which one?” Answer: All of them. Pick one.

Now let’s define antinomianism. That’s actually in the Bible. That’s actually a biblical word. What does it mean? “Antinomianism is the English transliteration of the Greek word, “anomia” which means “anti-law.” As we have discussed on this program before, “law” is a biblical word that really just refers to the full counsel of God. Antinomianism for all practical purposes is “anti-godly wisdom.” As we will see as we move along, the best meaning is “anti-love.”

In the biblical sense, antinomianism has no reference to justification. Because law and justification/righteousness/salvation are mutually exclusive, the bible would actually endorse an antinomian view of justification. The only biblical reference point antinomianism has regards sanctification, or the Christian life. Antinomianism is the absence of law in sanctification.

Curiously, the Reformers, both past and present, define antinomianism as the absence of law in justification. Remember, in Protestantism/Calvinism/Reformed soteriology, law is justification’s standard. This is a segue right into the definition of antinomianism according to the Reformed.

This is where the Reformed pound the pulpit against antinomianism and vehemently deny that they are antinomian. Some Reformed guy even wrote a book titled “Friends of the Law” expounding on the Reformed virtue of upholding the law of God. But of course, why wouldn’t they? They think law is the standard for justification! No law, no justification.

But here’s the dirty little secret: justification, which according to them is synonymous with perfect law-keeping, is justification by faith alone right? So, if the perfect demands of the law have to be maintained in order for there to be any justification, Christians cannot remain justified in sanctification unless the demands of the law continue to be met. Right?

That creates a problem: how can the perfect demands of the law continue to be met in sanctification, or in other words: the Christian life? The dirty little secret is that justification by faith alone (also known as simply “justification by faith”) also pertains to sanctification also.

Aside: Some in the Reformed camp, actually many, claim that antinomianism is a misnomer because mankind is helplessly enslaved to chronic self-justification. Someone who believes in throwing the law away so that grace may abound is a description of someone who is an anomaly. Elyse Fitzpatrick wrote an article advocating such a view that went viral. According to the view, man’s natural bent is to attempt to justify himself through law-keeping.

Aside to that aside: This teaching can be particularly cruel and confusing to many born again Christians because the new birth results in a desire to obey the law. Fitzpatrick et al are now charging that such a desire to please God is sin. Follow?

Well, how does one live by faith alone in their Christian life? That is the money question; that is the lynchpin in this study, and now moves us to the biblical definition of justification by law. This is a very biblical concept that saturates the Scriptures.

What is scriptural justification by law? What is the specific definition? Here it is: justification by law (JBL) makes law the standard for justification. The law’s perfect demands must be fulfilled at all times in order for anybody to be considered righteous. There is only one problem; obviously, no person can keep the law perfectly. So, what to do?

Answer: faithfulness to a ritual or authoritative tradition is added to the law as a qualified faith-act that fulfills the law for man. JBL is NEVER an attempt to keep the law perfectly because everyone knows that’s impossible; hence, faithfulness to a system that appeases the law is implemented. In the case of the JBL that drove the apostles nuts, it primarily came from the Jewish culture that was heavily influence by Philo.

Let me demonstrate from Scripture how this worked:

Galatians 5:2 – Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Herein is the biblical definition of JBL: clearly, it is a ritual or tradition that replaced the necessity for being justified by keeping the whole law. It is a faith-based ritual that appeases the law. In this case what is it? Right, circumcision. Paul said “no,” if you want to be justified by the law you are obligated to keep the whole law because the law is not appeased by ritual. Circumcision, so they thought, was atonement for sin certified by the authority of leaders and their established traditions.

More than likely, circumcision was the ritual that got you in, and then you had to follow other traditions in order to keep the law satisfied:

Galatians 4:9 – But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

Get it? The law is replaced and dumbed down with easy-to-keep rituals, customs, and traditions as a way of fulfilling the whole law and apparently atoning for sin according to whatever system you have signed up for. In some cases, it may be believed that these customs inaugurated by the authority of men actually abolish the law rather than fulfill it. But whatever it is matters not—the results are the same.

This brings us to the inevitable problem with such systems: the finer points of the law are disregarded because the ongoing demands of the law must be met to keep yourself saved. Besides, the law can’t be kept perfectly anyway, and focus on the accepted customs is what keeps you saved.

This is why JBL is antinomianism, because it voids the law by the traditions of men in sanctification in order to appease the law for justification. Let’s look at a prime example of this:

Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Why would one relax the law in their Christian living? Because in justification by law the law isn’t for sanctification it’s for justification. That’s almost too obvious when you state it that way. And in regard to where this passage comes from what is the Sermon on the Mount about? Right, sanctification. The cross or justification is nowhere in that sermon. It’s a message about Christian living. Also, the dominate theme of the message is a warning against replacing the law of God with tradition. How many times in that message do we read, “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”?

Let’s look at some other examples:

Romans 2:17 – But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Galatians 2:17 – But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Side note: many in our day in-fact say that we are found justified in Christ by professing that we are what? Right, “sinners.” We hear it all the time!

Next, let’s look, as promised, at how antinomian justification by law leads to anti-love. This is because one biblical definition of love follows: love is an endeavor to learn God’s law and truthfully apply it to life:

Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14: 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

There is no surprise then that the Bible links antinomianism with lovelessness. It is impossible to love God and others without obedience. If there is law in justification that must be continually appeased, we must fear the motives for our obedience in sanctification, we are still enslaved to the law and its demand for perfect law-keeping. But if there is no law in justification and justification is a finished work, we are free to aggressively love in sanctification without fear that our justification will be harmed. Motives for obedience are a non-issue because law-keeping does NOTHING for our justification—the two are mutually exclusive. The only motive left is love. This is why justification by law is antinomianism leading to lovelessness:

Matthew 24:11 – And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

The word for lawlessness in this verse is “anomia.” Love will grow cold because of anomia. Why? because love and obedience are mutually inclusive and there is only obedience in sanctification—not justification. Elsewhere we read:

Psalm 119:70 – their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.

Lastly, why is Protestant justification by faith really the justification by law resulting in loveless antinomianism that the Bible warns us about? Because law is the standard for justification, its demands must be continually met during the Christian’s life, and “faith alone” ritualism fulfills the law on behalf of the Christian.

In the 1st century it was circumcision, now it is a baptism into church membership where we can find a continuing cover for sin. If we are faithful to the local church and disavow any “righteousness of our own,” the righteousness of Christ will continue to satisfy the law in our stead. It’s really the same justification by law resulting in loveless antinomianism that has plagued God’s people from the very beginning. In fact, we even hear notable Calvinists like John Piper in our day claim the following:

If you are not being accused of antinomianism, you are probably not preaching the gospel.

Why are they right about that? Because it is antinomianism—it replaces our obedience, and frankly our love as well, with the obedience of Christ. Also, it is supposed that justification and law are mutually inclusive because Jesus keeps the law for us. However, the Bible continually states that we justified APART from the law and “apart” means “totally separate.”

Who keeps the law is not the issue; the law period is the issue.

“< Tweet, Tweet: The New Birth

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 24, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: Justification

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 23, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: LOVE

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 23, 2015

Let Us Remember: This IS Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 23, 2015

Calvinists think their elders should wear the triple crown tiara of the Pope and control Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, and any other realm that may exist if any more be found

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 23, 2015


This is Calvinism lest we forget.

Originally posted on Nerdy stuff from David Brainerd's brain:

I want to comment on an article that was brought up at PPT in this post Calvinism and the Cultural Spoon Feeding of Control and Tyranny.  There an article by Jonathan Leeman that used to exist on the 9marks webpage is mentioned.  The article used to be hosted at (link doesn’t work now; it gives you a “Page not found” page).

Basically what the article amounts to is some Calvinist philosopher kings arguing that the Roman Catholic conception of the power of the keys is right, but that rather than belonging to the Roman Catholic priesthood by apostolic succession, it belongs to the Calvinist elders of every “local church.”

I’m guessing that Paul D didn’t have the full article anymore when he wrote his analysis at PPT, and that he only had a few quotes that he copy-and-pasted before it was taken down. Why? Because I resurrected the…

View original 1,015 more words

Calvinism and the Cultural Spoon Feeding of Control and Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 22, 2015

potionI inadvertently stumbled upon the fact that Mark Dever’s 9Marks blog has pulled down their post on John Calvin’s power of the keys. The article was an accurate rendition of the Reformed doctrine, but apparently not nuanced enough. One of the classic marks of cultism is truth on the installment plan or a bite at a time. You don’t actually show the pie in all its glory, you feed the pie to folks in truism-size bites until they become the pie without realizing it. It matters little to Calvinists if you understand how you are controlled, just so you are controlled.

Said another way, you never see the bottle of Christocentric potion, you only open wide and let Mark Dever et al spoon-feed it to you. So, as a service to enquiring minds that want to know, I dug up an article that I wrote about the overly overt Calvinist article. Enjoy.

9Marks Keys

Leeman’s article supplies the Cliff Notes to his book and explains something that I have seen among New Calvinist groups for a long time: they believe elders have the authority to determine/declare the salvation of a person. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant, God will honor it. I have seen firsthand how this teaching enables New Calvinist leaders to control parishioners. You see, I only write articles like “New Calvinism and Hotel California” to keep my sanity, but there is more truth to it than I like to admit. Unless you want to lose your salvation, you’re not leaving a New Calvinist church unless they say you can. And contending against their doctrine, well, that’s not for the faint of heart.

Leeman states the following in the article:

If the sinner still does not repent, round 4 ensues, which involves removing the individual from the covenant community—treating him like an outsider. Sometimes this is called “church discipline” or “excommunication.”

Jesus then invokes the keys of the kingdom again: whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever the church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven. And Jesus is not addressing the apostles or the universal church here. He’s envisioning a local church. The local church, it appears, has been given the apostolic keys of the kingdom. As a result…

The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.


Jesus has authorized the local church to stand in front of a confessor, to consider the confessor’s confession, to consider his or her life, and to announce an official judgment on heaven’s behalf. Is that the right confession? Is this a true confessor? It’s just like Jesus did with Peter.

And, when do new Calvinists have the authority to do this? According to Leeman:

Matthew 18, which is filled with even more earth and heaven talk than Matthew 16, presents a crystal clear picture of this authority in the context of church discipline. But the ability to remove someone from membership presupposes an overarching authority to assess a person’s gospel words and deeds and to render a judgment. This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.

In case you missed it: “This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.” Told ya. In a New Calvinist church, they think they have authority over you whether you’re a member or not.

And what if they are wrong about their declaration? According to Leeman:

Will the local church exercise the keys perfectly? No. It will make mistakes just like every other authority established by Jesus makes mistakes. As such, the local church will be an imperfect representation of Christ’s end-time gathering. But the fact that it makes mistakes, just like presidents and parents do, does not mean it’s without an authoritative mandate.

Oh well, stuff happens, right?

Leeman ends the piece, like all New Calvinists do with a back door of escape in case somebody who matters calls them out on such outrageous teachings:

Does all this mean that what a local church does on earth actually changes a person’s status in heaven? No, the church’s job is like an ambassador’s or an embassy’s. Remember what I said about visiting the U.S. Embassy in Brussels when my passport expired. The embassy didn’t make me a citizen, it formally affirmed it in a way I could not myself. So with a local church.

This statement completely contradicts everything he said prior. If Christ binds it in heaven, WHY WOULD IT NOT CHANGE THE STAUS OF THE BELIEVER? Is it bound or not?

Of course, the message he wants parishioners to get is the authority part and the supposed fact that an elder declaration concerning a person’s salvation carries some hefty weight. But his contradiction makes my point. In Matthew 18, there is no such authority even being discussed, that’s why Leeman necessarily contradicts himself. By the time you get to the fourth step, several people are involved in what’s usually a messy situation. Several different scenarios could be in the mix here. Why did Jesus go from telling it to the whole church to discussing two or three people? I believe that Jesus is saying that heaven will honor the ones in the situation that are conducting themselves truthfully—even if it is only two people. I don’t think Jesus is assuming that church discipline always goes well.

Regardless of how weak you think that argument is, clearly, the salvific status of the person is not in view here. Only fellowship status is in view; they are to be treated “like” an unbeliever, NOT DECALRED AN UNBELIEVER. How do we know this? Because in the situation at Corinth regarding the guy that committed a sexual sin of the baser sort, Paul assumes that he is a believer, even in the midst of his excommunication:

1 Corinthians 5:5

Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

If one examines the Scriptures carefully, there is really no such thing as “church discipline” to begin with. There is self-discipline and the Lord’s discipline. We change a believer’s fellowship status so that the Lord will discipline them, but the church does not do the discipline. This point is much more than mere semantics and keeps so-called “church discipline” in proper perspective. There is much woe in the church because many elders think they do the discipline and not the Lord.


“< Tweet, Tweet: Tonight's Show on Blogtalk Radio

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 22, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: Definition of Anomia

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“< Tweet, Tweet @ Elyse Fitzpatrick

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“< Tweet, Tweet: Election

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“< Tweet, Tweet: Truisms

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Six Characteristics of the Protestant Anti-Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 22, 2015
  1. Progressive Justification. The Protestant Reformation turned every aspect of the true gospel completely upside down. “Justification by faith” is really justification by faith alone in sanctification (the Christian life). What they call “sanctification” is the progression of justification to a final justification.
  2. Dualism. It deems the flesh (body/members) as inherently evil and something that cannot be indwelled by holiness. The contemporary expression of that is the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us. This is based on Martin Luther’s alien righteousness. Therefore, the new birth must be denied along with any personal holiness associated with it. All righteousness must remain completely outside of the believer.
  3. Law as Justification’s Standard. The Reformers made law the standard for justification (see the Calvin Institutes 3.14.9-11). Therefore, the law has a single dimension and can only judge/condemn. This keeps “Christians” under law (instead of under grace) which is the very definition of a lost person. In contrast, law and justification are mutually exclusive.
  4. Redefinition of the New Birth. The Reformers made the new birth a change of realm rather than a literal transformation of the person. The “believer” is given the ability to “see” the kingdom, but not participate in its good works.
  5. Lovelessness. The ability of the Christian to love is circumvented because the law is only a standard for justification and must be kept perfectly to obtain any merit. The Christian is not free to use the law to love without fear of condemnation because the law can’t be kept perfectly by mortals. Hence, any loving act by a Christian cannot have merit.
  6. Two Seeds Instead of One. Since law is the standard for justification according to the Reformers, if fulfilled, it is a second seed that can give life (Gal 3:16). So, the promise was not only to Abraham and his offspring, but also to the law.

“< Tweet, Tweet: Holiness

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 21, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: Gospel Centrality?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 21, 2015

Like John Street, Like Stuart Scott: A Celebration of Mystic Despotism

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 21, 2015
Will Speak at Clearcreek Chapel's 2015 "Family Enrichment" weekend.

Will Speak at Clearcreek Chapel’s 2015 “Family Enrichment” weekend.

Scott“Hence, and don’t miss this, justice is not the point. The concept of justice and fairness digresses from Reformed Calvinistic dualism.”

“….six months after Luther’s 95 Theses launched the Reformation, the true magnum opus of the Reformation was written, his Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order. The document reflects Luther’s utter Platonist disdain for humanity.”

“Now, let’s take this information and evaluate why Scott et al are completely indifferent to suffering and injustice.”     

Once again, Stuart Scott will break bread with the elders at Clearcreek Chapel (Springboro, Ohio) as he is the featured speaker at this year’s “Family Enrichment” Conference. Clearcreek Chapel having a family enrichment conference is like the Nazis sponsoring an endowment for Judaism. It’s a mockery; the Chapel has ravaged innumerable families and Christian lives since its orchestrated takeover by Russ Kennedy and aided by former Clearcreek elder Greg Cook. Cook brought in a group from another Baptist church which included present Clearcreek elders Chad Bresson and Dr. Dale Evans.

Their attempted takeover of the church they left failed, but their endeavor at the Chapel succeeded—the spiritual carnage notwithstanding. Cook, as director of  Clearcreek’s  counseling program, was giving wives the green light to divorce husbands who had “ruined the family finances” while he himself was just under $200,000.00 in due and owing debt. It is unclear as to whether this revelation led to his stepping down as an elder, or not. Probably not since hypocrisy is a requirement for eldership in our day.

Other present Clearcreek elders have been forced to step down in the past, but have been reinstated; specifically, Mark Schindler who was re-baptized after his prior eldership. Apparently, not being sanctified by justification was the prior cause of his disgrace. Whatever it was specifically, his wife gave testimony that she never considered divorce and was determined to make the marriage work. It’s a pity that such wifely resolve that saved Schindler’s marriage is not encouraged among wives in the counseling rooms of the Chapel in this day. But one must remember that such resolve is only honorable in regard to saving the marriages of New Calvinist philosopher kings.

It all seems insane until you realize that people act from their logic. Why would Scott give credence to such a camp? Why would he ignore the pleadings of the oppressed? Why is he, like all New Calvinists, utterly indifferent to justice? We get a clue from his book The Exemplary Husband on page 72. He states the following:

God uses everything in our lives for His perfecting (growing) purposes (Romans 8:28-29; James 1:2-4). As we learned earlier, our growth as Christians toward Christ-likeness is a life-long process, often referred to as sanctification. Because God is so intent on sanctifying us, we know that He will certainly use our most important human relationships to do this.

Right. As I have worn out multiple keyboards emphasizing here on PPT, New Calvinism is a dualist philosophy. Let’s go over this again. Below is THEIR illustration, NOT mine:


Note first that regardless of their verbiage, they don’t believe we really grow, it’s the cross (what it represents) that grows. That’s obviously job one. The endeavor thereof requires a primary focus on two goals and two goals only: a deeper and deeper UNDERSTANDING of our sinfulness, and absolutely nothing else, as set against God’s holiness. Part and parcel with this is also the idea of worthlessness on our part.

The cross represents bigger and bigger salvation which must be manifested more and more until the day when our “final justification” is “revealed.” This occurs as we are sanctified the same way we are saved, by partaking in the realizing of our sinful worthlessness before God and His holiness. The more we understand the difference between the two, the more our salvation is manifested. We don’t change, only the greatness of our salvation changes in order to glorify God. Of course, this obviously redefines the new birth and denies it.

As propagated in the satanic treatise “How People Change” by Paul David Tripp, ALL tragic and sinful events in life serve the bottom of the cross chart, and ALL good that occurs in our lives serves the top of the chart. As we contemplate the gospel narrative, the goodness of God is manifested which contributes to more understanding at the top of the chart. Goodness is not our fruit, its God’s fruit only for the purpose of aiding us in understanding His goodness—not ours. Hence, and don’t miss this, justice is not the point. The concept of justice and fairness digresses from Reformed Calvinistic dualism.


Scott Illustration

The next point is that in the neo-Calvinist gospel schema, the Scriptures serve as a Cross narrative to help us see this dualism in a clearer way. In the mind of the neo-Calvinist, the Scriptures do not define what is right and fair; the Scriptures define Luther’s “cross story.” Here is what the vast majority of Christians do not understand: six months after Luther’s 95 Theses launched the Reformation, the true magnum opus of the Reformation was written, his Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order. The document reflects Luther’s utter Platonist disdain for humanity.

In Luther’s Disputation, all reality must be seen through the cross story; i.e., the cross illustration at hand here, and ALL else is the “glory story” or anything at all to do with us—our glory, not the cross story that makes God bigger and mankind smaller. To any degree that we are in the equation, the cross story is diminished.

Now, let’s take this information and evaluate why Scott et al are completely indifferent to suffering and injustice. What did the Clearcreek elders do that is wrong? Nothing because the purpose of the Bible is not to judge the authority of Reformed elders, it is to show forth the cross story, not our story, and injustice is an Us Story kind of thing. Have former parishioners at Clearcreek suffered unjustly at the hands of the elders? Well, that’s a good thing! That suffering shows us the bottom of the chart. And besides, “justice”? If we got what we all deserved, there wouldn’t be any grace! Is this like Paul’s protest in Romans against propagating more evil that grace may abound? Yes, I think so.  To the contrary in the minds of neo-Calvinists, we should bow down and thank God for bringing such abuse into our lives.

This is the gospel construct that rules the majority of biblical counseling in our day and is taking over the church in this country. It is a Platonist world view that set Europe on fire for hundreds of years with unspeakable horrors. And it is a story that is playing at a local church near you.

And this weekend, Stuart Scott brings his version of the show to Springboro, Ohio. A celebration of suffering in the name of Christ. But I have news for Scott: the sins of the Clearcreek elders does not cause grace to abound. And his appearance there has nothing to do with grace or love.

If there are any parishioners at Clearcreek (who may be reading this) who are presently there against their will for fear of public humiliation or things revealed in counseling —in your desperation, don’t slip Scott a note—he’s one of them.


“< Tweet, Tweet: Why is Antinomianism and Legalism the Same Thing?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 21, 2015

American Christians Are All Calvinists

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

PPT HandleOriginally published April 11, 2013

“Calvin didn’t believe in election. The assumed absurdity of the statement testifies to the traditions of men that saturate the American church.”

There is no new thing under the sun. When Christ came and began His ministry with the proclamation of the kingdom gospel, Israel was steeped in the traditions of men. And Christ didn’t call it “legalism,” He called it antinomianism. Whether Arminian or Calvinist, both came from that same stock. They claim to be different, but both celebrate their parents as heroes of the faith: the Pilgrims. The unregenerate even get in on the act during the holiday season of Thanks Giving and Christmas.

But the Pilgrims were Puritans. And the Puritans were rabid Calvinists. They brought with them the first Bible to ever see American soil: the Geneva Bible which included Calvin’s play by play commentary. They came to start a theocracy modeled after Calvin’s Geneva, and succeeded. And what followed was the same heartless brutality they brought with them from Europe. The Pilgrims were merciless tyrants and were put out of business because they hung too many Quakers for disagreeing with them. Like Calvin and Luther, they were endowed with superstition and mysticism clothed in European orthodoxy.

The reverence of Puritans as spiritual giants and pioneers is grounded on pure myth. They were communistic, and lacked the rugged individualism that founded this nation. Regardless of the vast, unmolested resources they found when they arrived here, Indians had to teach them how to survive. The Puritans were not innovators, and invented little to overcome the environment they found themselves in. Their presuppositions concerning man and mystical approach to life did not serve them well. These same presuppositions run deep and wide in the American church.

But what about Calvinism versus Arminianism and the election issue? There is no disagreement there either. Calvin didn’t believe in election. The assumed absurdity of the statement testifies to the traditions of men that saturate the American church. Calvin believed that we are sanctified the same way we were saved, by faith and repentance alone. He also believed that this saving duo of faith and repentance were necessarily perpetual, and could only be received in the formal church institution. Luther believed this as well. You keep your salvation by being faithful to the local church, or “new covenant.” One must remain “faithful to the covenant” by seeking perpetual reconciliation in the church. So-called election is being elected to be in the covenant, but then you have to keep yourself in the covenant. You run the “race of faith” by “faith alone” in order to stay justified in sanctification.

God then sorts out who was able to do that at a single, last judgment. Hence, Augustine, a forefather of the Reformation, believed that eternal life wasn’t determined until the final judgment. I document these assertions in “False Reformation” and the mini-booklet “New Calvinism for Dummies” (  However, this may be helpful as well:

The fact that Reformed theology rejects election can also be seen in Supersessionism. This is the belief that though the nation of Israel was elected, they lost their election because they didn’t stay faithful to the covenant. So, once elected doesn’t necessarily mean always elected. Though Revelation makes it clear that God will dwell with man ON EARTH for eternity, the American emphasis is eternity in heaven. Why? Because God tabernacling with man on earth =’s Israel. That’s why. The very purpose of election cannot be denied as stated by Paul in Romans 9—anything at all that we do is separated from justification. Therefore, Calvinists deny the purpose of election.

Arminians are no different because they come from the same stock. They also deny election, and seek comfort in church membership. I can’t even tell you how many Southern Baptists that I have visited who trust in their church membership for salvation. To suggest they be removed from the church roles because they have not attended in several years is tantamount to removing them from the book of life. This is a common mentality in Baptist churches and I have witnessed it first hand on many occasions. Also throw in the obvious overemphasis on salvation in Arminian Baptist churches because like their Calvinist counterparts, the same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you.

Because of the traditions of men, we are all Calvinists. And we are so steeped in tradition that we don’t even know it. There is no new thing under the sun.


Book Review: Facing Up To John Immel’s “Blight In The Vineyard”

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

blight-in-the-vineyard-cover-5-meg-reduced3-199x300Originally published June 19, 2012

Barb Orlowski, D.Min, and author of states the following in an introduction to said blog:

Every year dedicated Christian people leave churches because of spiritual abuse [this is epidemic in our day]. What factors contribute to dedicated and active believers in Christ leaving their churches and becoming exiting statistics? The stories of people who left their home church because of a negative and hurtful experience [more often they are shown the front door] paint a picture of a widespread occurrence, which beckons consideration by church leaders and church congregants alike.

John Immel saw the picture that Dr. Orlowski describes and even experienced it firsthand. I don’t know what his experience was exactly, and he doesn’t know much about mine either; as he said to me over dinner: “I think we are both past that now.”   Which brings me to something else Orlowski wrote in a recent article:

The church should lead the way in uncovering any of these dark behaviors.  The local church has an opportunity to be part of the solution and not part of the problem regarding these covert and dysfunctional issues in the church today.

As more people understand what spiritual abuse is and what it is not, then there can be an army of people who are able to help in clarifying many of the confusing topics that get intertangled with this issue (Dr. Barb Orlowski: What Spiritual Abuse Is and Is Not).

I dare say that John Immel has seen the picture (which is hard to miss in our day), considered it, and discovered the root cause. He has also articulated the cause/root in a way that invokes a Monopoly-like motto: “Do not pass understanding; do not collect 200 issues.”  Now all that’s left is to educate and raise the army.

Immel has clarified the issue in Blight In The Vineyard: Exposing the Roots, Myths, and Emotional Torment of Spiritual Tyranny (2011 Presage Publishing). Therefore, the solution is easy: promote education that will lead to a rejection of the root cause. Yes, it can be complicated, but it can also be simple; when you follow and support certain philosophies, either “wittingly” or unwittingly— bad things happen. A certain philosophy, or maybe better said, idea, has always spawned the same results from the conception of Western culture. A counter idea has always yielded dramatically different results deemed favorable by those disposed towards happiness. I have come to believe that America was founded on the counter idea. Consider what Immel writes in the introduction  to Blight In The Vineyard:

Blogs made it possible for people to compare notes and connect dots. Suddenly, the pixelated events result into high definition and the picture shows a breathtaking consistency. The stories contain striking uniformity in pastoral conversations and actions. They contain profound similarities in the emotional, spiritual, and psychological pain of those who have suffered.

That set me to thinking. How was it possible that from state to state, even country to country, people could recount similar life events with stunningly consistent conversations, outcomes, and backlash? What ideas could produce such underlying fear, anxiety, and spiritual frustration?  What ironclad logic could cause masses of people to act out similar conduct that produces such invasive outcomes? What thoughts that lurk under the titles of authority would lead average men to believe they wield unchecked control over people’s lives? How could a denomination reproduce such unswerving reproducibility?

Many today ask the same questions. A reader of my blog named Charles posed the same question this way:

Have noticed this for a great many years, and my wife and I always wondered…. “What text book on abusing the sheep are all these guys reading from,” because they all acted the same.

Right here in this review we see some of what Charles is referring to. Orlowski, Immel, and Charles have never met, but note the similarities in their descriptions and even use of the same words. Nevertheless, here is where I depart for a spell and will return a little later. My perspective has been radically changed by Immel’s book and interacting with him in the arena of ideas. In fact, I have made his book required reading in the Dohse household, and have already led family devotions based on the book’s major theme. I now share my perspective based on additional study/research prompted by Immel’s assertions.

The least common denominator is the debate over the competency of man verses the incompetency of man. I believe the basic philosophy of Plato is vastly relevant to this debate. Plato saw man as utterly incompetent save those who understood that reality must be ascertained by means other than the senses. In other words, reality, goodness, and truth could not be surmised by observation of matter. He believed that the few who are able to see reality should rule over the ignorant masses who are enslaved to mere shadows/forms of the truth.  Remember also that Plato lived in a culture inhabited primarily by slaves who served the elite. Some historians estimate that 90% of the Greek citizenship during the time of Plato were slaves.

It is my contention that Augustine (a Catholic Saint) integrated Plato’s ideas with theology and more specifically, Neo-Platonism which later spawned multiple forms of Gnosticism that plagued the 1st century church. The most notable Reformers were followers of Augustine, but the backbone of their theology was the underlying assumption that man was utterly incompetent whether regenerate or unregenerate. I believe that Augustine merely exchanged Plato’s concept of reality with “gospel.”  Hence, today we have the elitist gatekeepers of the gospel ruling over the totally depraved.

Now we can return to Charles, and my reply to his comment:


John Immel answers that question in his book, “Blight In The Vineyard.” It’s a philosophy that yields natural results, so it’s like they all read from the same playbook. The basic philosophy sees freedom of ideas as a danger to civilization and the church. Initially, many buy into it for fear of chaos, but the results are always bad according to history. Ideas are very powerful, and almost always tempt the individual to act upon them. Freedom to interpret reality is a kissing cousin to freedom of ideas.

The ideas that rule the day also rule the world. Hence, the Reformation was really a spat between Rome and the Reformers about who was going to control the ideas. Both Rome and the Reformers believed that one’s freedom to interpret reality was nothing that should be tried at home by the common people. When man is seen as utterly incompetent to contribute to his own destiny, love as determinism is the only solution. Visit any of the spiritual abuse expose blogs–the trouble started when people questioned doctrine, or even spoke in way that would enable others to think for themselves. Immel uses happenings at SGM [a denomination of Reformed Charismatics] to illustrate how this philosophy plays out naturally in real life.

Later, John Immel contributed some thoughts to Charles’ comment:

Charles… I think the answer to the question is … yes, they are reading from the same book. Pastors the world over are pulling from the same intellectual traditions. They don’t pastor in a vacuum. They pastor with the whole history of Christianity hanging in their heads like a fog.

Very few people want to reinvent the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or maybe better said very few people have the ability to challenge peanut butter and jelly orthodoxy, so they tend to review what has always been said, and emulate those foggy ideas.

While very, very few people consider themselves Calvinists… (or even know what he really preached, or practiced) with striking consistency they accept many of the Calvinist assumptions, which is to say they accept Augustinian presumptions about life, and spirituality what God intended the “gospel” to mean.

I have said this in many places… for all of Protestantism’s presumption that they are the authentic real version of Christianity that Catholicism screwed up…. at the end of the day, post Reformation Christian doctrine is metaphysically Catholic, which is to say we are foundationally committed to Augustine’s presumptions.

The ‘abuse’ is merely the logical outcomes of those foundations. The reason we are circling back around the tyranny of the ages, is because for the first time in American history, our doctrinal thinkers (en mass) without any hesitation, with full ‘moral’ clarity, are advocating the historic ideas that justified the tyranny.

So yes… they are all reading from the same book…

Today’s church can stop spiritual tyranny. But it will require agreement on the root cause. And the root cause is Reformed theology. Wherever and whenever it has been tried, despotism and despair has followed: in Calvin’s Geneva; in Colonial Calvinism; in Confederate Calvinism; in the empty promises of the SDA 1888 conference and the Awakening Movement of the 70’s; and finally, in the present-day Neo-Calvinism  Resurgence—a sectarian beast resurrected by the Reformed theological dream team of the Australian Forum.

Just like its non-religious philosophical counterparts, classic Calvinists (the original article as opposed to my “sanctified Calvinists” and Immel’s “convenient Calvinism”) think it’s a good idea that has never been done the right way. The philosophy of determinism, fatalism, and the incompetence of the common man is foisted upon the unregenerate by irreligious despots, and by Reformed elders among the saved.

Immel’s book puts feet on these generalizations. The solution is to shun the philosophy; bad things happen when bad philosophy is followed. And through education, we can raise up Orlowski’s army.

Whether Geneva Calvinism, Colonial Calvinism, Confederate Calvinism, SDA Calvinism, or Neo-Calvinism, it always has, and always will die a social death due to its gangrenous despotism. We can hasten its rightful death in our day, and prevent future rediscovery movements with the present-day “picture” following. We can give others another way to follow…

…If we can face up to the blight in the vineyard.

Paul M. Dohse

Author: The Truth About New Calvinism: Its History, Doctrine, and Character

“< Tweet, Tweet @ Pastor Matt Higgins

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 18, 2015

PPT Called Out By Pastor Matt Higgins, and I Totally Accept the Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 17, 2015

HigginsI have been called out by the pastor of Calvary Heights Baptist Church in Martinsville, IN, and I intend to answer his challenge fully, personally, and expeditiously. In a recent post written by him, two of my articles were cited as examples of “discernment” blogging. For the other bloggers cited, see the endnotes.

Said pastor, Matt Higgins, defines “discernment bloggers” in this way: stalkers (trolls) who partake in witch hunts, and spend all of their time searching the internet for pastorate error to write about. The catchall nomenclature used by these bloggers is “heretic” which is a word Higgins claims they don’t properly understand, yet his corrective definition of “heresy” is something that I will address in this post. Also, according to Higgins, they seek to destroy ministries and force pastors to resign. Furthermore, according to Higgins, discernment bloggers are busybodies who have no right to address heresies taught in local churches they are not members of; they are sticking their noses in other people’s family matters. Moreover, according to Higgins, they are cowards who aren’t accountable to anyone and don’t have to face the pastors they criticize. They “hide behind” their PC monitors. Lastly, Higgins is calling on me to repent along with all other discernment bloggers. All in all, the crux of this probably boils down to his view of elder authority. 

Since I do not desire to be a coward, perhaps Higgins and I can meet together along with the elders or deacons at Calvary Heights Baptist Church. Since they pay his salary and have enabled him to falsely accuse me publically on the World Wide Web, maybe I will make the three hour drive out on a sunny Sunday afternoon and confront the whole lot of them. While we are at it, I could make sure the leadership of the church understands what this YRR type really believes. For certain, I am going to make sure the congregants thoroughly understand his soteriology. Trust me, especially in Southern Baptist circles, on average, 90% of a given SBC congregation has no real idea what these guys coming out of Southern or SW really believe.

First of all, let me define for Pastor Higgins what a discernment blogger is and why PPT is not discernment blogging. If he is going to bash discernment bloggers, he should know what one is.  A discernment blogger seeks to save the Protestant institutional church from harm and error. I do not believe the Protestant church is worth saving, and I can prove it was founded on the false gospel of progressive justification. I write about pastors to make that point, and could care less how many people follow them and whether or not they remain employed. However, I do believe people should have truthfully informed choices. For example, let’s make sure Higgins’ congregation really knows what he means when he speaks of the new birth just in case there may be a misunderstanding.

Secondly, if Higgins wants to bash discernment bloggers for using the word “heretic” while not knowing what it really means, he should also know what it really means before he criticizes others. The biblical definition of “heretic” follows: it is a person who belongs to a sect that divides with errant doctrine, or “sectarianism,” not the definition Higgins offered in his lame effort to correct others.

This brings to mind some things that his congregation may be interested in. I suppose it’s possible that Higgins may not qualify as a New Calvinist, but from what I gather so far, I seriously doubt it. New Calvinism is a super-sectarian movement that has split innumerable churches and families since 1970 and slowly integrates dictatorship-like leadership into local churches. The present emphasis on church membership and small groups at Calvary Heights Baptist is an all too familiar step to the iron fist control eventually demanded by New Calvinist pastors. Here is a schematic of how it works. Perhaps this is looking familiar to some at Calvary. Ironically, the discernment blog culture that Higgins decries skyrocketed in 2009 as a direct result of the New Calvinist movement which is based on gospel contemplationism and Calvin’s Sabbath Rest salvation whether the New Calvinist label is rejected or not.

Thirdly, notice how criticism of pastors and possible harm to the local church is the bottom line with Higgins and not the substance of the complaints. Why is that? Probably because like most YRR types that come out of Southern or SW, he believes the local church and the body of Christ are synonymous; ie., you’re saved by church membership and submission to “men of God.” Depending on what octane of YRR he is, he may also believe in elder absolution in the form of Calvin’s “power of the keys.” Basically, church discipline, not confined to public sins of the baser sort but rather anything that the elders deem sin, is a process that actually blots you out of the Book of Life upon elder authority.

People being excommunicated for merely asking too many questions is now an epidemic in SBC churches accordingly. If you are at Calvary and feeling pressure to become a formal member, and have not yet signed on the dotted line, you better pause and get educated as to what is going on in the SBC right now.

Note the double standard: Higgins, in the post being addressed here, bemoans discernment bloggers sticking their noses into the business of local churches, but yet, what happens if someone is excommunicated from a local SBC church in a given association? Right, they notify the other churches that the person is under discipline. See the double standard? Heresy charges against teachers who teach publically is a local issue, but grievances against parishioners who commit local sin is public? Really?

Another assertion by Higgins that didn’t make my introductory list is the idea that discernment bloggers claim infallibility. This is just more irony as Higgins argues from the standpoint of the Nicene Creed and Reformed orthodoxy in general. I doubt discernment bloggers claim infallibility, but I know they do reject Al Mohler’s assertion that Reformed elders are preordained of God to save God’s people from ignorance. If someone at Calvary can do it without being brought up on church discipline, they may simply ask Pastor Higgins, “Are you preordained by God to save me from ignorance?” If Higgins denies it, a good follow-up question would be, “So, you completely disagree with Al Mohler on that, right?”

A book could be written here if I addressed every creepy red flag raised by Higgins in his single post, but one may simply take note of his idea that pastors are ONLY accountable to “Christ and Scripture.” Calvary would do well to think about that statement and what it reveals about his mindset.

But my dog in the fight is not my disdain for the run-of-the-mill New Calvinist tyranny running amuck in the SBC (I am perfectly content to let the dead bury their own dead),  but that he came into my locale looking for a fight. His parishioners may excuse his bullying and cower under it, but I will not. He has zero authority.

So, is this what Calvary pays him for? To police discernment bloggers?

Dear friends, if he has a problem with discernment bloggers that he doesn’t even know, who apparently have not even talked about him until now, what will become of those at Calvary who dare to express an opinion?



Church Health Survey? What Do You Think?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 17, 2015

What are your thoughts about this church health survey? www-surveymonkey-com

Seven Questions That Would be Answered “Yes” by John Calvin

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on January 17, 2015

1. Do we keep ourselves saved by preaching the gospel to ourselves every day?

2. Do sins committed in the Christian life separate us from our salvation?

3. Do we need to be reconciled to God daily  in a saving way?

4. Are Christians totally depraved?

5. Are Christians still under the law for Justification?

6. Do pastors have the authority to forgive your sins?

7. Do you believe that the New Testament Christian life is the Old Testament Sabbath; i.e., if we do works in our Christian life we will die spiritually?

“< Tweet, Tweet: Mind Reading

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“< Tweet, Tweet: Your Life

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“< Tweet, Tweet: Seminary Degrees

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“< Tweet, Tweet @ Dr. Russell Moore

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

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

PPT HandleOriginally posted February 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Let’s be Honest: Does God Really Want Christians to “Live by the Gospel” Every Day?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on January 15, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published December 21, 2011

“The application of the gospel in regard to the saints is clearly stated here. It is a ministry of reconciliation that we preach to the world, not to ourselves. We are already reconciled. This would seem evident.”

It was maybe a year ago in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I showed up for morning service to find a huge cross assembled at the altar with a couple of hundred white ribbons draped across the horizontals. At the beginning of the service, red ribbons were passed out to all those in attendance. The message was on Isaiah 1:18;

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”

As the pastor preached a gospel-centered message on “Though Your Sins are as Scarlet,” everyone  was holding those red ribbons, a great reflective tool while listening to the message. At the end of the message, everyone went up front and exchanged their red ribbon for a white ribbon, laying their red ribbon on the cross  and taking a white ribbon. The sight of hundreds of people doing that was very moving. As we then held our white ribbons, he closed.

Till this day, I still have that white ribbon in my Bible. Though I had already decided I was going to start visiting other churches, and I knew where the message was coming from in the whole scheme of that particular church’s doctrine (gospel sanctification), I was extremely glad for the message. Why? Because I love the gospel and grieve the fact that the mantle of its splendor often fades as I wade through the milieu of life.

How could I not be continually exhilarated by this unfathomable sacrifice? The message left me with an awesome feeling. I felt very close to the Lord and was full of joy. When I stopped for gas on the way home, did the clerk not see the very joy of the gospel on my face? In such a state is one not ready and willing to serve the Lord with joy and without a moment of hesitation? Who then would dare say that we should not continually dwell on the message of the gospel?!

Well, among many: Christ, the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, and the Hebrew writer. I’m right there with you, having that experience makes you feel pretty darn spiritual. Who wouldn’t want that every day? That day I was glad for the reminder of what Christ had done for me, but the apostle’s question should always be before us: “What does the Scripture say?”

Hang on as you read the following run-on sentence, it’s a long one:

Of course to some the following argument is dead on arrival because every verse in the Bible is about the gospel and you have to see all Scripture through that prism and therefore everything must come out gospel and by the way that should be great news for me because if I find the gospel in every verse I can have the same experience I had that day in Fort Wayne and obey the Lord without effort and with joy so what’s my stinking problem and why am I writing this essay?

Does the “Gospel” Need the Truth?

…….because I love something more than my own experience; even the one of that day in regard to the gospel, the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

One day Peter experienced the glory of God through Christ and went on to say that we have a “more sure” testimony. Namely, the word of God (2 Peter 1:16-21). I must pause here to make a point before I move on to answer the primary question of the title and some closing comments about the gospel. All of the contemporary mantras speaking of worshiping Christ as a person with the gospel being synonymous with his personhood, rather than through objective truth, is an affront to our Holy God. Why? Because all knowledge of Him goes through what He says, period! To bypass what He says specifically and objectively for a subjective worship of his “personhood” via an eisegetical interpretation of the Scriptures, is grave error. Christ had a run-in with a person who should be the poster child for subjective worship. He threw a bucket of cold water on her worship of Him, right there in front of everybody:

“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’” (Luke 11:27,28).

When it came to the worship of Christ as a person, He pointed the woman right back to what He says, and insisted that it be obeyed. That’s where the blessings are (“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”). All roads go through what God says about Himself, and many in our day should take caution as to whether presuppositions of any sort have usurped that process. Besides, in obedience to His word is where blessings reside (James 1:25 also).

Does True Worship Need Instruction?

In Psalm 138:2, King David says the following:

“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”

God is well aware of how majestic He is and doesn’t need us to remind Him of it. Our worship of Him is in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23). All of the talk about “gazing” on His glory “through the gospel” is all well and good, but it had better be an objective gazing and studious thinking on His truth with application accordingly. So says God Himself. King David received good life lessons in regard to this as recorded in chapters 7-12 of 2 Samuel. David’s propensity for subjective worship caused him trouble more than once. As a matter of fact, many today would say that his desires were “properly oriented.” Nobody possessed a stronger desire to worship God than King David and this was often expressed through singing, dancing and exalted praise. But in chapter seven, David went to Nathan and complained that God lived in a tent while he lived in a cedar house. Basically, he was looking for Nathan’s approval and got it. Later in the same day, God came to Nathan and said the following:

“Go and tell my servant David, “This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’”

There is only one way God could ask such a rhetorical question of David using the history of Israel; He was referring to the written revelation available at that time. In essence, He was saying this: “David, where do you find it in Scripture that I want a house built for myself?”

In the following verses, we have God reminding David of where He brought him from and where he is going to take his descendants (also known as the Davidic Covenant), all without David’s help. David’s subjective love for God was steeped in arrogance. When it’s not based on truth, our own flesh will most certainly fill the void.

David gets the message and begins his responsive prayer with the following in 2 Samuel 7:18:

“Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”

Subjective love usually leads to arrogance and sometimes worse. Let me share what God said was at the heart of David’s murderous adultery with Bathsheba:

“Why did you despise the word [emphasis mine] of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites” (2 Samuel 12:9).

God knew David did not despise Him personally, but a lack of attention to the word (what God says) led to sin against God Himself. The constant mantra we hear today, “Christ is a person and not a precept” (or the negative synonyms they choose to make a point: “rules, do’s and dont’s,” etc. etc.), is a subjective mentality that will lead to arrogance or worse.

Where would one even stop to comprehensively compile all there is in Scripture to further this point? In 1 Samuel, chapter 15, every indication points to the fact that King Saul’s attempt to worship God had good intentions except for one thing:

“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice [emphasis mine] of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’”

Of course the Lord delights in our worship. But what did Samuel say God delights in more? It’s not His personhood, It’s the following of His voice: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

What is the Gospel, and Do We Really Live by It Every Day?

The word means “good news.” There is much talk concerning a definition of the gospel. Every time I turn around in Reformed circles you read or hear that question. My missionary son-in-law says it’s because Reformed theologians spend all their time torturing simplicity instead of sharing the gospel they are always researching and debating. He may have a point. However, the question itself has always confounded me because the good news seems to be expressed in a many faceted way (in the Bible) while being one central truth. Basically, my answer is the following: “The gospel is the good news concerning how God reconciled man to Himself.” How God did that and why He decided to is kind of a long story. Study all the various presentations of the gospel in the Bible; they are far from cookie cutter. I am going to use one biblical definition by the apostle Paul in regard to the gospel being called “reconciliation.” It is from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21;

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

The gospel’s relationship to the saints is clearly stated here. It is a ministry of reconciliation that we preach to the world, not to ourselves. Obviously, we are already reconciled. We are not ambassadors to our own country, but rather ambassadors to the world. This would seem evident. Also, “good news” implies something not heard before. You know, the “news” part. It seems somewhat oxymoronic for daily use in regard to Christians.

Were Christ and the Apostles Poor Communicators?

“Then Jesus came to them and said,  ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:19,20).

This is our Lord’s mandate to the church. Making disciples and baptizing them is the ministry of reconciliation. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded” is obviously our role in the sanctification process. If living by the gospel every day is our paramount role in the sanctification process, how could this passage be constructed or worded in this way? Certainly, for Christ to instruct obedience to all that He commanded, implies a variety of information as opposed to the single good news of the gospel. Why would Christ not rather say, “Teaching them to observe the gospel”? If Christ wanted the gospel observed every day, why would He not simply state that accordingly? Also, if Christ “is the gospel” and the gospel is He, why did He command baptism in the name of all three? If all of Scripture is about Christ and His gospel, here is a grand opportunity to drive that point home. Furthermore, if we are to live by the gospel every day, why not baptize everyday as well? Why not? It’s a New Testament picture of the gospel. If all of Scripture is about the gospel, what verse would exclude this notion? (Mark my words, this will soon be coming to a church near you).

Furthermore, John chapter 13 (note verses 9 and 10 specifically) contains the account of Christ washing Peter’s feet. Peter at first declines until Jesus tells him to agree in order to have a relationship with Him. Peter then tells Christ to wash his whole body. In return, Christ tells Peter that he who has bathed, only needs to have his feet washed. All the major Bible commentators agree that this refers to the salvation / sanctification relationship in regard to forgiveness of sins. Why would Christ use that example if we need the full effect of the gospel every day?

Was Peter a Poor Communicator?

If we are to live by the gospel every day, Peter did not get the memo in the worst way. 2Peter 1: 3-17 encompasses a teaching Peter thought was most important before his departure from this world (see verses 14 and 15) and it wasn’t the gospel. What was that message? The message was a call to diligently add eight practices to the foundation of our faith (see verses 5-8). Peter then says adding these virtues to our  faith results in assurance of salvation:

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall” (verse 10).

To the contrary, proponents of living by the gospel everyday teach that assurance comes from “preaching the gospel to ourselves every day.” That is clearly contrary to what Peter said.

In verse 3, Peter says that God’s power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Why wouldn’t he rather say that God’s power has given us all things that pertain to the gospel? Or better yet, why would he not say that we have all things that we need for life and godliness through the gospel? In verses 12-15, Peter expresses his concern that they may forget to diligently add these qualities after he was gone. This is an unreasonable disconnect if in fact the paramount role of the believer is to live by the gospel every day. It just doesn’t make sense!

Was Paul a Poor Communicator?

In 1Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul says that we build upon the foundation of Christ. He even says that we will be judged by Christ according to how we build. Therefore, living by the gospel (and Christ being the gospel according to advocates of GS) daily would then be a rebuilding of the foundation every day. It turns Paul’s metaphor completely upside down.

Furthermore, in Romans 15:20, Paul makes it clear that the gospel is a “foundation,” and said he would not go where Christ had already been named because that would be building on the foundation of others.

Was the Hebrew Writer a Poor Communicator?

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 5:11- 6:3).

The Hebrew writer says that spiritual immaturity is the result of not putting God’s word into practice, not a failure to live by the gospel every day. Again, somebody didn’t get the memo. Also, even though 6:2 most certainly refers to Old Testament practices, a reference to doctrines of Christ in 6:1 is irrefutable. Therefore, it seems to be in direct contradiction to a living daily by the gospel approach. An exclusive, daily focus on the glorious, but foundational gospel, is antithetical to what the Hebrew writer is prescribing.

I contend that I am in good company here. Jay Adams uses this same argument from  Hebrews 5:11-6:2 (as I do) to refute Biblical Sonship (pages 38-41 “Biblical Sonship,” Timeless Texts 1999). Biblical Sonship, like gospel sanctification, advocates an everyday living by the gospel:

“Certainly all of us may frequently look back to the time when we became sons and rejoice in the fact, but there is no directive to do so for growth, or even of an example of this practice, in the New Testament. And surely there is nothing to support the ritual act of repeatedly doing so as a technique of growth! Something so prominent as the prime practice in the Sonship movement ought to have a corresponding prominent place in the Bible. The true reminder of the good news about Jesus’ death for our sins is the one that He left for us to observe, the Lord’s supper (‘Do this in remembrance of Me’).” ( Jay Adams, page 41, “Biblical Sonship,” Timeless Texts 1999).

Living By the Gospel.

We should most certainly live out the gospel each day by being faithful to our call as ministers to the “ministry of reconciliation.” However, we are ambassadors to the world, not ourselves. Sure, in some respects, we mirror the gospel with our lives every day. We should forgive like Christ forgave us. We should sacrifice self as Christ did, and daily. We also still repent and do so daily. But it is clear that we are to continue to build on our faith from the word of God. Gospel Sanctification is a nebulous concept that focuses on subjective worship and disregards the plain sense of biblical mandates.

At the beginning of this essay, I supplied a good look into the mentality of Gospel Sanctification; every sermon, every Bible lesson, and every daily reading of the Bible should focus on the gospel. In doing so, we are changed from glory to glory, supposedly. Experiential sermons like the one I attended in Fort Wayne sells the theory well, as does John Piper’s emphasis on “exultation” during his sermons. Basically, it makes everything about what God did, instead of what God says. Buyer beware, God has not only exalted His name above all, but His word as well (again, Psalms 138:2).


“< Tweet, Tweet: Protestantism

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 15, 2015

“< Tweet, Tweet: Membership Has Privileges

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 15, 2015

Advice to Clearcreek Chapel Members Being Held Against Their Will: Don’t Slip John Street a Note

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 14, 2015

streetRegardless of unresolved conflict with many Christians and documented outrageous behavior by the leadership of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio, the Professor and Chair of the graduate program in biblical counseling at The Master’s College and Seminary, John Street, will conduct the Chapel’s annual “Family Enrichment Weekend” (1/23, 24/2015).

I would equate that to chickens having a celebration of life conference at a KFC processing plant. The Clearcreek Chapel leadership has devastated many families, and the idea of a “family enrichment conference” hosted by them is an absurd mockery. Regardless, the biblical counseling community insists on sending troubled people to their counseling center and endorsing them overall.

Clearcreek Chapel, referred to by many in the area as “Cloudy Creek Chapel” and “Clearcreek Cult,” has a storied past of bazaar teachings from the pulpit and outright creepy behavior by the elders. They also hold a suffocating control over parishioners and their instances of church discipline matches that of churches several times their size. The Chapel has brought people up on discipline for insufficient tithing, nonattendance, and asking too many questions. Congregants have also been disciplined for vacating membership without the approval of Chapel elders. Members can also be disciplined for visiting websites that are unapproved by the elders; e.g., it was announced that visiting any website authored by moi is “sin.”

Devon Berry, one of the present elders, preached a sermon that propagated the following idea: spiritual growth can only come from the word of God if heard coming from an elder. In another sermon, Berry promised the congregation that Jesus would keep the Chapel by-laws for them. He also stated that the Chapel membership covenant has equal authority to the Bible.

A former elder who recently left the Chapel for undisclosed reasons used to lead a yearly pilgrimage to the gravesite of Geerhardus Vos, a Reformed mystic who died in 1949. In the last known Pilgrimage, said elder read from one of Vos’ books graveside while weeping. You can’t make this stuff up.

However, the hallmark of Chapel leadership is holding people hostage there under some kind of threat; usually, loss of reputation through church discipline. In fact, counseling, formal or informal, is considered the first step of church discipline by default. The counselees are rarely aware of this. The Chapel then uses information gathered in counseling to control people. Though Street is clearly aware of all of this along with the counseling organizations that support the Chapel, they continue to robustly endorse the Chapel with no hesitation. Basically, they are referring hurting people to a classic cult.

I am not sure when these types of endorsements became closure for me, but they are. The topic Street will be delivering is an example of this: The Gospel-Centered Marriage. So, John Street is going to the Chapel with New Calvinism’s Christocentric calling card. He is officially New Calvinist. In regard to no one in the Reformed camp that I was a part of for 20 years holding the Chapel accountable, I am totally ok with it because none of them were ever my friends. I was never a New Calvinist, but apparently, all of my “friends” were.

Nevertheless, I can give some advice to those being held hostage there by some means. I know what you are thinking: when Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown, some of the members slipped him a note asking for help. I strongly advise against that when Street arrives. He is one of them, and he won’t help you.

In addition, neither can his Christocentric progressive justification help you. Gee, sorry you have to go, but I am sure it is required since you are under “heavy counseling.”


Franklin Graham’s Cluelessness Concerning American Culture is Indicative of Most Evangelicals

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 14, 2015

FRANKLIN GRAHAMSecular bad; Christian good. How did Christians come to think this way? And why are they willing to pay people like Franklin Graham so much money to protect us from the secular boogey man? Graham, like the vast majority of evangelicals, gets his information from other people. No people group can pass superstition and folklore from generation to generation like evangelicals and their information networks established by seminaries and local churches. Truly, the evangelical brain trust of our day must marvel that they can continue to get away with this in an information age. Nevertheless, the likes of evangelical superstar Dr. Albert Mohler often bemoan the evils of internet access. All of this is a long version of saying I think Protestants are brainwashed.

This post is about the Protestant mainstay of secular evil; Christian good. It was once again shoved in my face, as it is daily, and this time by an article in Decision magazine typed by Franklin Graham. The article was picked up and summarized by Michael Chapman @

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelical preacher Billy Graham, said that America is increasingly embracing a “culture of death” that echoes what has occurred in Europe, and which stems from a “sinful, godless worldview that rejects Christ.”

A further problem in America, he added, is that “Christianity is constantly under siege from the halls of government and education, which seek to suppress any public expressions of faith.”

“In places like Europe, where Christianity has been in decline as the deceptive forces of secularism and materialism have spread across the continent, it’s not surprising to find the practice of euthanasia so entrenched,” said Rev. Graham in a commentary for the January issue of Decision magazine. “Earlier this year, Belgium became the first country in the world to allow child euthanasia with no age limit.”

“I’m concerned that America is not far behind,” said Rev. Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.  “The euthanasia movement—disguised now as ‘death with dignity’—is gaining ground in a number of states. And for every 1,000 live births in the United States, 219 pregnancies end with a murdered child, through abortion.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this rise in the culture of death in our own country coincides with the embrace of an immoral, sinful, godless worldview that rejects Christ,” he said.  “Christianity is constantly under siege from the halls of government and education, which seek to suppress any public expressions of faith.”

Sigh. Ok, let’s take this a paragraph at a time. We like to say that America was founded by Christians who fled Europe for religious freedom, right? That’s the foundational premise of the American Protestant myth. First, the Pilgrims were Puritans who were Calvinists who were also Augustinians like Luther who were Platonists. So let’s clear that up to start with. Secondly, they didn’t come here for religious freedom—they came here to start their own socialist theocracy based on Plato’s The Republic. Thirdly, the foundation of their Protestant orthodoxy was/is death.

So, if Graham wants to say America was founded on European Christianity, he cannot also say that “America is increasingly embracing a ‘culture of death.’” Excuse me, the foundational document of the Protestant Reformation in regard to doctrine was the Heidelberg Disputation written by Martin Luther. It is a doctrine of death. In fact, Luther stated in the document that all true knowledge must be obtained by suffering. And being a Platonist, he rejected the idea that the common man can reason because of his addiction to the material realm. Luther merely made Christ Plato’s trinity; the true, good, and beautiful, and made the suffering of the cross the epistemology to obtain wisdom from the invisible realm. Luther’s “theologian of the cross” is Plato’s philosopher king.

Ok, so Graham also states that America is becoming more and more like Europe in this regard; well, ya think? That’s where it came from. Duh! And…

America is increasingly embracing a “culture of death” that echoes what has occurred in Europe, and which stems from a “sinful, godless worldview that rejects Christ.”

No, no, no. The Pilgrims, who were Puritans, who were Calvinists, and also Lutherans, who were Augustinians, who were followers of Plato, who was the father of Western socialism, made death the Christocentric epistemology of the church—it was by no means a rejection of Jesus, or at least their version of Him. This is why an instrument of death, the cross, is the regnant icon of the Protestant church.

The next statement by Graham lends opportunity for further clarification.

A further problem in America, he added, is that “Christianity is constantly under siege from the halls of government and education, which seek to suppress any public expressions of faith.”

“In places like Europe, where Christianity has been in decline as the deceptive forces of secularism and materialism have spread across the continent, it’s not surprising to find the practice of euthanasia so entrenched,”

“Christianity,” viz, Protestantism, has been in decline in Europe, um, where it started, and we are becoming like them, and guess what? The authentic version of Protestantism displayed in New Calvinism straight from the Heidelberg Disputation has been all but totally running the show in American evangelicalism for twenty years. Graham needs to look in the mirror if he wants to see the real problem.

And to further clarify, America was founded on political secularism—NOT European Protestantism. Excuse me, but the American colonies were originally socialist theocracies on steroids. Many of our founding fathers were motivated to act by the Puritan tyranny they experienced growing up. For the first time in human history, a government was formed that separated force from faith. The American Revolution was against European tyranny, but that same tyranny expressed itself in colonial Puritanism which was also tied to Europe politically in many cases. Ten years after the American Revolution, the Puritans tried to weasel their way back into control and James Madison had a total conniption fit over it. Keeping Platonist mystic despots out of government was what the American Revolution was all about. The Puritans were part of American history as enemies, not friends of freedom.

And this statement by Graham reveals the unfortunate and mostly unknown DNA in every Protestant:

…the deceptive forces of secularism and materialism have spread across the continent, it’s not surprising to find the practice of euthanasia so entrenched,”

The deceptive forces of secularism and materialism? Note how secularism is deemed as inherently evil. If it’s not Protestant, it’s evil. Be sure of this my friends: this idea is rooted in ancient dualism that deems the material (or “materialism”) as evil and invisible as good. It is also one of the philosophical pillars of Platonism and Gnosticism which wreaked havoc on the apostolic church.

Furthermore, we must remember that Protestantism was clearly founded on anti-reason which put the Puritans at odds with the founding fathers. Yes, many of the founding fathers were good Christians, but they were Christians who emerged from the Enlightenment Era. They were (not all) Biblicists who rejected dualism and also embraced empirical reason. This is where the discussion falls egregiously short when we discuss the Christianity that this country was founded on: Plato or Aristotle? If you think you can understand and partake in American cultural discussion without understanding these philosophies, you’re sadly mistaken. And please, don’t be like Graham—keep your mouth shut because you don’t know what you are talking about.

If you want to finally get a grip on these realities, I refer you to the university level lectures that John Immel has done in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 TANC conferences. This is world philosophy as it relates to contemporary American Christianity. We offer his lectures online for free, and trust me; this is an education that you would pay thousands of dollars for at a Christian college, and most of it would be orthodox myth to boot.

As Christians, we don’t think enough about what is exactly meant by “secularism,” and how it supposedly distorts our worldview. Also, when talking-orthodox-heads use the word “materialism” we should not assume they are talking entirely about hedonist money-lust; and moreover, when they subtly connect materialism to the “American dream” it should ignite fear of the socialist god within us. Dissing the American dream without qualification is presently in vogue among the New Calvinists who control at least 90% of American evangelicalism.

This is why atheism is on the rise bigtime in America.  American Christianity is now totally defined by the Puritan ethic which disavows the material world expressed in quality of life and the average person’s ability to reason. Without the iron fist of a sanctified central government, chaos will supposedly ensue.  For the Puritans who really understood what they were about, musings of self-governance was the epitome of folly and arrogance. The New Calvinist movement has successfully defined Christianity in this way resulting in a cultural pushback that rejects a reason-hating god who demands that all knowledge come through suffering. As a Christian thinker, I often seek dialogue with atheists, but find that I am rejected out of hand in every case. Why? Because “Christian” has become synonymous with spiritual oligarchy, and perhaps rightfully so, for what well-known Christian fails to speak well of the Puritans?

In addition to what is cited in this post from Graham’s editorial, one may ask Graham: why wouldn’t secular governments push back against the Neo-Puritan movement expressed in New Calvinism? Their dominion theology is well documented. By their own pronouncement they seek to dominate the world!!! Constantly we hear Mike Huckabee et al espousing the need for “Christian government” coupled with events like New Calvinist John Piper in Dubai  proclaiming that Christianity is going to bring down the Burj Khalifa tower!

Really, am I here right now? Secular government is pushing back against a semblance of theocratic Puritan resurgence? Ya think?

Lastly, what about the fruits of death culture that Graham is speaking of? Throughout history, the bulk of death culture has always come from collectivism. What’s that? It starts with the idea that man cannot reason. And by the way, dear Christian, you can wuv somebody with your entire faith-filled intellectual thimble until the cows come home, but if they catch wind that you think they are unable to interpret reality—see ya—you’re history.

Since man is unable to reason and needs those with the gnosis to rule over the masses for the collective good, man is not only perceived as property of the state whether the state is religious or otherwise, man’s worth is defined by his ability to contribute to the greater societal good. In other words, to sing the praises of Puritanism while fustigating the evils of death culture is an oxymoron. Either way, whether secular or Protestant, both feed the death culture. Protestants don’t like voluntary exit strategies because who’s to say you won’t become one of them in the future; atheists simply have no hope because the only Christianity they see is jihad with some sugar on top.

Graham et al remind me of race-baiters like Al Sharpton. With Al, the boogey man is the white man; with Graham the boogey man is the secular materialist out to destroy his definition of Christianity. However, in regard to Graham, I think most of his mentality in this regard comes from ignorance, for many others like John Piper and Al Mohler—not so much.

In the same way liberals think we should ask, “Why do terrorists hate us,” Christians should ask why we are deemed a threat to secular society. We don’t need to ask the terrorists that; we know they believe that Sharia law is the key to world peace. But an answer to our question to those evil material secularists might be revealed in a snippet of Graham’s editorial not cited above:

Life is short. Eternity is long. Do not tarry for you do not know when you will die. Choose sin and you will face eternal damnation, said Rev. Graham. But choose God and you will gain eternal life.

This also applies to our institutions, our laws, our society.  “Wherever Christianity flourishes, there is a vibrant culture of life, not death,” said the reverend. “When the precepts of the Christian faith are faithfully taught and followed, there is an abundance of selfless, sacrificial living and giving.”

Do you hear the intellectuals running away as fast as they possibly can? You should. Protestant theocracies have a track record of a “vibrant culture of life”? Oh my, are you kidding me?

Let me explain something. Not long after the Renaissance, Platonism split into a secular expression that later became Marxism. Until then, collectivism was primarily a religious animal. From there, remnants of collectivism have always defined political underpinnings one way or the other. In contemporary America, we bemoan the nanny state mentality found primarily in the Democratic Party. Self-governance? They don’t even think we can choose the right way to wipe ourselves or buy lightbulbs. Often we ask when they make absurd statements, “Do they think we are stupid?” Well, not exactly, it’s just that they don’t think you can properly interpret realty.

Likewise, does Graham think we are stupid? And does he really think we can reach the lost with statements like this that are first degree felonies against reality in broad daylight?

Ya, follow us, believe in Jesus, our idea of a “vibrant culture of life” is Calvin’s Geneva and the Salem Witch Trials. John Piper even went to Geneva to proclaim the next phase of his ministry. During the promotion, he proclaimed the coming of Calvin’s Geneva as “Post Tenebras Lux”—“After Darkness… Light.” Geneva was an early version of communism that just didn’t work, and it didn’t work for colonial America ether.

Yes, trust Franklin, these contradictions only seem outrageous because you don’t comprehend reality—let Graham et al do the thinking for you. Stop supporting abortion and the like—burning witches is much better. “Besides, even though we think the Puritans were absolutely wonderful, if you put us in power, we won’t be like them in every regard. Really, we promise.”

Any takers?


Take a Bite Out of Orthodoxy with the TANC Booklet Series

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 14, 2015

The TANC Library of Heterodoxy

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 14, 2015

Re: Lecrae; Dear Spiritual Peasantry, Please Help Me Understand

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 13, 2015

I would like the spiritual peasantry to help me understand why they keep doing it: tithing hard earned money, and not forgetting “offerings” to boot, forfeiting time with family because the “doors of the church are opened,” ignoring nature’s way of telling you something is wrong (conscience) because “the elders are close to the situation and know all of the intimate details” that somehow trump the obvious, listen to a different variation of the same gospel message every week, etc., when the orthodoxy only applies to you and not leaders.

Why are you obedient to leaders who apply the rules to you only, or continue to endorse those who practice this brazen double standard? What am I referring to? Well, poke the Googleberg Press anywhere for examples, but what is the latest drama that has provoked this post? I’m glad you asked.

Below, there are two short vids of John MacArthur bemoaning the increased unwillingness of the spiritual peasantry to “put themselves under the authority of ‘godly men.’” I chose these two because what MacArthur states in these vids echoes what we hear daily from the who’s who of evangelicalism.

Now enter the latest institutional church drama: the father of holy hip hop, Lecrae, also the toast of the New Calvinist elite, appears to be totally off the orthodox reservation. “Old” Calvinist Joel Taylor posted on this latest drama here. Also see this, and this.

So far, his numerous elitist New Calvinist mentors are silent. Taylor might be a little miffed since he left the movement because Paul Washer wanted his blog to be vetted and overseen by his elders. Like they are overseeing Lecrae? Hardly. Side note: the Westminster Confession calls for media oversight by the clergy, so Washer’s elders were only doing, bless their hearts, what Calvinists do.

Why does the evangelical peasantry continue to put up with this double standard? Really, I now confess, it’s a rhetorical question; they put up with it because they have been sold on the idea that the institutional church is the only way to heaven. Supposedly, we have no direct access to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. Pastors speak for Christ on earth—it’s called the “power of the keys.” It’s a formal Reformation doctrine.

But there is an alternative. Read the New Testament. Christians met in homes, and nowhere is it stated that there is anything insufficient about that or the idea that home fellowships were a transitional stopgap. In addition, though not the ideal, it is clear that some apostolic era home fellowships DID NOT have elders. Eldership DOES NOT legitimize a home fellowship. Furthermore, EVERY believer is accountable to Christ individually (the priesthood of believers 1Pet 2:9), and what some evangelical brainiac told you to believe will not be an excuse. You, and you alone have the responsibility to not be deceived by yourself or others.

Just stop and think about what you are paying good money for and submitting to. And by the way, seminaries don’t legitimize fellowships either—there weren’t any seminaries in the first century and eleven of the twelve apostles were not formally educated. What has Christian academia done for us? Go to any Christian book store and peruse the mass confusion displayed in all of its aesthetic majesty. Ask five pastors to define the words, “law” and “gospel” you will get five different answers for each. That’s what academia has done for us: zilch.

Lecrae will not be called out until he breaks one of the unpardonable sins of the New Calvinist inner circle. Then (barf alert), he will be used as an example to demonstrate the high standards of New Calvinist aristocracy. We only know what two of these codes are: don’t deny the existence of hell (that takes away the ability to control people through fear, see “Rob Bell”), and don’t lack nuance in your teaching lest the peasants figure out the crux of what Calvin really believed (see, “Tullian Tchividjian”).

We may never know the real reason Mark Driscoll was kicked to the curb with pious indignation, but trust me, it had nothing to do with the same rampant abuse that goes on in New Calvinist churches daily not excluding criminal activity. It is fairly well documented that James MacDonald partakes in the same serial abuse that marked Driscoll’s ministry, but whatever Driscoll did, MacDonald hasn’t done it yet, and neither has Lecrae.

How long will the peasantry put up with this blatant double standard? Lack of theological education is not an excuse for being a fool, and being taxed for it to boot.


Available at a Church Near You: Christocentric Potion

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 13, 2015


“< Tweet, Tweet: Gospel Centrality?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 13, 2015

A Discussion About Law and Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on January 13, 2015

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