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

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.

View original

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 22, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse ‏@PaulMDohse  30s

Do you really think the church is going to do anything about spiritual abuse while suffering is its epistemology?

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 22, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse ‏@PaulMDohse  39s

Says every Calvinist pastor in his heart: “You didn’t build that; Jesus did, and I oversee it for him.” Tithe or I will blot your name out.

J. V. Fesko Exemplifies Deliberate Calvinist Deception

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 21, 2014

TTANC Vol 2What Dr. Robert Congdon now calls “Classic Calvinism” expressed in contemporary New Calvinism has redefined almost every word used in theological discussion. If the false gospel of Calvinism, the epic supercult of the ages is to be contended against, Calvinists must be exposed for redefining terms and words for the deliberate purpose of deception.

This is difficult to get our minds around; that nicely polished academics would communicate to us while not clarifying what they know is being assumed by most of those listening or reading. For example, “total depravity”— they know the unregenerate as the subject is assumed. However, if they keep talking about total depravity while the subject is Christians, the idea that Christians are totally depraved will be slowly assimilated into people’s minds. This is Brainwashing 101. Furthermore, it’s true, Christians sin; so, if that is all you talk about, the idea follows without it being stated outright: Christians do nothing but sin and cannot please God. If you never talk about the good works of Christians it is assumed that there aren’t any good works without that being stated clearly. This is a deliberate communication construct:

1. Deliberately overemphasizing some realties to the exclusion of others for purposes of a particular outcome. What IS NOT being said is just as important as what IS being said.

2. Talking about subject B while subject A is the context will eventually lead people to believe A=B. For example: talking about justification in a sanctification way; eventually, justification and sanctification become the same thing.

3. Transition manipulation: This takes a number of ideas under one context and manipulates the transitions between the ideas for purposes of a specific outcome. Most Christians are lazy thinkers and don’t pay attention to transitions.

4. The redefinition of words and terms. Example: the “new birth” as realm manifestation rather than new creaturehood.

5. Word splitting. If the normal meaning of a word is a roadblock to what you want to teach, make a case for other meanings, or synonyms, and then proceed with the synonym that fits the objective. This is different from redefinition—this assigns multiple meanings to a word in order to use it for a specific goal. A good example of this is when the definition of the word, “knowledge” becomes a problem for Calvinists. In this case, Bible knowledge. It would seem that for the Christian, Bible knowledge is Bible knowledge. But that creates a problem for Calvinism, so they split Bible knowledge into “fleshly knowledge” and “intimate knowledge.” They then choose intimate knowledge as the only valid knowledge. This is framed as, “knowing the Bible and knowing Jesus are two different things.” They can now make Bible knowledge anything they want it to be. Supposedly, factual knowledge followed by obedience cannot lead to intimacy with God (not so, Peter taught that knowledge leads to intimacy with God as well as our wives); hence, we must seek Jesus in all the Scriptures. The only true knowledge is that of “Jesus’ personhood” while factual knowledge of Jesus does nothing for our relationship with him. By the way, this is the stand taken by the postmodern Emergent church as well.  

6. Metaphysical dogma: Always speak to people from the prism that interprets reality the way you want it to be interpreted. When people are confused by this, the assumption is that they are ignorant and unable to understand true realty. If you persistently communicate with people according to your own view of reality, they will eventually begin to be programmed accordingly. Only your view of reality is recognized as valid.

7. Nuance, and the generic use of words. While redefining some words, and attaching multiple definitions to others, some words are used generically to fill in gaps and connect large leaps in logic. There is no better example here than the word, “gospel.” Nuance is also used to shade or soften the full brunt of what is being said.

In Reformed circles, this is the Either/Or hermeneutic. This is Gnostic epistemology. EVERYTHING must be interpreted via material (evil) or invisible (true). In the final analysis, it is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic.

8. Redefined use of words. This is not the redefinition of meaning, but the redefinition of application; using nouns as verbs, distorted modifiers, etc.

Elitism is used to condone these techniques.  This is the mythological noble lie that teaches truth in story form for the consumption of the great unwashed masses. These preordained philosopher kings understand things that the masses are unable to understand, so they can’t let the normative understanding of words stand in the way of teaching creeds for social unity. As John MacArthur associate Rick Holland once stated: good grammar makes bad theology.

Here, an excerpt sent to this author will be used to make the point. According to the sender,

The Fruit Of The Spirit is…(book written by J. V. Fesko, Westminster Seminary,CA) [Academic Dean, Professor of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology].

If you go to Fesko’s bio on Westminster’s website, he is quoted as follows:

What I Want to Instill in My Students

“A passion to proclaim Christ and him crucified in word and deed and to serve the church to the glory of Christ.”

We may well begin our example here. A proclamation to the unregenerate is assumed, but what Fesko is really talking about is the perpetual proclamation of the gospel within the church. This is because Reformed soteriology holds to the idea that Christians need perpetual re-justification (re-salvation). John Calvin makes no bones about this in his Institutes (3.14.11). Reformed soteriology also holds to the idea that this efficacious re-justification can only be found in the formal institutional church (4.15.4).

The excerpt sent follows:

Unlike Old Testament Israel who had the law written upon tablets of stone, we have the law written upon the tablets of our hearts. We also have the indwelling power of the Spirit enabling us to be obedient, even causing us to walk in God’s statutes, to borrow Ezekiel’s words. This hopefully alerts us to the important point that so many Christians miss–namely, the nature of our sanctification. The law does not produce godliness. The law only condemns. Obedience does not produce godliness. Obedience that is carried out in the power of the flesh fails every time. Rather, only the Holy Spirit produces his fruit in us and enables us to be obedient, to produce good works. In other words, in our sanctification, for our growth in godliness, we must seek the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone is both the source and the power of our sanctification, good works, and obedience.

We must therefore seek the power of the Holy Spirit through God’s appointed means: through the Word, preached, read and meditated upon; the sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and prayer. So often people cut themselves off from the means of grace: moving away from the church, failing to attend church, or even cutting themselves off from the sacraments. To do so is to cut ourselves off from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Much could be discussed here, like the eschatological law/gospel train wreck of the first sentence, but we will move on to…

We also have the indwelling power of the Spirit enabling us to be obedient, even causing us to walk in God’s statutes, to borrow Ezekiel’s words.

First of all, Calvinists who know what they believe do not believe that the Holy Spirit does work within us and through us. They do not believe that the power is “indwelling,” and they know it. “Indwelling” is redefined, and “obedience” is also redefined as what the Reformed call, “new obedience.” What’s that? It is not an action we do, it is an action done to us by the Holy Spirit that we ONLY experience. Calvinism also adds the perfect obedience of Christ to the atonement, and that obedience is imputed to our lives by faith alone in order to keep ourselves saved. Nothing is going on within the believer at all, that would be works salvation because justification and sanctification are made to be the same thing. Yet, they use the “in” terminally in order to not unsettle the herd. Calvinists like John Piper make it clear that Reformed soteriology disavows any work by the Spirit within the believer:

This meant the reversal of the relationship of sanctification to justification. Infused grace, beginning with baptismal regeneration, internalized the Gospel and made sanctification the basis of justification. This is an upside down Gospel…When the ground of justification moves from Christ outside of us to the work of Christ inside of us, the gospel (and the human soul) is imperiled. It is an upside down gospel.

In fact, one of the most popular terms among Calvinists in our day is, “the objective gospel outside of us,” or simply, the “objective gospel.” There is no need to be confused by these concepts; it is simply Gnosticism which teaches that material beings cannot know spiritual truth (the invisible). The manifestations of this philosophy always have an epistemology that births the wellbeing of the invisible world to the material world by way of experience. In Reformed theology, the epistemology is gospel contemplationism.

But the point here is that J. V. Fesko knows grade-A-well that “in” doesn’t mean “in.”

This hopefully alerts us to the important point that so many Christians miss–namely, the nature of our sanctification.

Here, Fesko will now define “sanctification.” This lays the groundwork for the rest of the theses that he wants to proffer. Unfortunately, most Christians do not have the discernment skills that would immediately qualify the definition of sanctification to prevent deception. Instead of drawing conclusions from the definition of the word, and how it is used in Scripture, Fesko wants to talk about its “nature.” The actual definition is skipped, and the word is defined by how it behaves, or its “nature.” Sanctification covers a wide spectrum of action, so Fesko can now attach any meaning to the word that he wants to at this point. He is skipping the actual definition, and making its “nature” the definition, and proceeding with the desired agenda.

This enables him to make an outrageous logical leap with the following:

The law does not produce godliness. The law only condemns. Obedience does not produce godliness. Obedience that is carried out in the power of the flesh fails every time. Rather, only the Holy Spirit produces his fruit in us and enables us to be obedient, to produce good works. In other words, in our sanctification, for our growth in godliness, we must seek the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone is both the source and the power of our sanctification, good works, and obedience.

The primary technique used in the above excerpt is #7, the Either/Or hermeneutic. But again, he skips a biblical definition of law, and its application, and redefines it as something that can only condemn. Therefore, there is EITHER the “power of the flesh,” OR the “power of the Spirit.” Notice how he uses the aforementioned techniques to say that the Holy Spirit obeys for us, and we only experience His obedience through realm manifestation, without actually saying it:

Rather, only the Holy Spirit produces his fruit in us [BY faith which is a conduit that enables us to experience works outside of us] and enables us to be obedient, to produce good works. In other words, in our sanctification, for our growth in godliness, we must seek the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit alone is both the source and the power of our sanctification, good works, and obedience.

Herein, “obedience” is redefined as “seeking.” If we “seek the power of the Holy Spirit,” the righteousness of Christ will be imputed to us by seeking alone (ie, faith alone/gospel meditation alone) and we will remain saved. So, how then do we seek?

We must therefore seek the power of the Holy Spirit through God’s appointed means: through the Word, preached, read and meditated upon; the sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and prayer. So often people cut themselves off from the means of grace: moving away from the church, failing to attend church, or even cutting themselves off from the sacraments. To do so is to cut ourselves off from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Any questions? The church is our gas station for receiving a refilling of our salvation gas tank through formal preaching, the sacraments, and church attendance. To replace seeking with obedience, or forsaking the assembly of the institutional church, we “cut ourselves off from the power of the Holy Spirit.” Fesko deliberately adds the word, “power” to imply Christian living more than actual salvation, but salvation is what’s being referred to for all practical purposes.

Calvinist communication is saturated with ancient brainwashing communication techniques. The discerning Christian does well to be educated in regard to them according.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Potter’s House 7/20/2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 20, 2014

HF Potters House (2)Susan and I will be visiting a home fellowship in Columbus, Ohio today. See you next week!

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 20, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse ‏@PaulMDohse  17s

Paul M. Dohse 23s Capitalism tells people to create their own stuff and leave other people’s stuff alone.

Tagged with: ,

Utopia

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 18, 2014
Tagged with:

When the Truth UnCalvinizes a Calvinist

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 18, 2014

TTANC Vol 2A TTANC 2 Freewriting post and book review of Dr. Robert Congdon’s latest booklet in his New Calvinist series.  

Dr. Robert Congdon, according to his own bio, is an “international Bible teacher, conference speaker, author, and radio commentator on subjects relating to current trends in Christianity.  He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, a M.Div. in theology from Grace Theological Seminary, and TH.D in theology from Trinity Theological Seminary.”

Dr. Congdon, according to him, was compelled to write a series of booklets on the New Calvinist movement because he has observed its ill effects on the church*; specifically, the dividing of churches and families, fear in regard to assurance of salvation, and a fatalistic mentality leading to a mindset of irresponsibility.[1]

Correctly, Dr. Congdon also charges that New Calvinism is “traditional Reformed/Covenant theology that has been repackaged in post-modern ‘wrappings.’” This is true in that both New Calvinism and Postmodernism interpret reality from a narrative standpoint. This is meta-narrative in regard to metaphysical narrative. New Calvinists believe that all of reality is a prewritten gospel narrative. Postmoderns believe the same thing, but there is a distinction in how we “enter into the plot,” or “make the Bible story our story—the story of every believer.” New Calvinists believe you participate by living the Christian life the same way you were saved, by faith alone. You then merely watch what unfolds in God’s pre-written narrative with a focus on how He is glorified by what happens. Life events merely make us better see’ers in regard to what “Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

Faith is an eye that can only see outward. Inner light depends on how we see the world, and the payoff is joy regardless of circumstances because circumstances are part of the narrative that increases our faith as we see what God is doing in the world. Also, inner light is a partial experience of the light we will actually experience in heaven. This philosophical** side of Calvinism will be addressed in volume III of The Truth About New Calvinism series.

The Postmoderns believe that you “enter into the plot” by doing what Jesus would do. Both camps see “entering into the plot” as an act of faith, but this brings a charge of  works salvation by the New Calvinists against the Postmoderns because salvation is seen as a PROCESS and not a finished work, so what people do or believe in the middle between beginning justification and final justification determines justification by faith alone or works justification. The Postmoderns would cry foul by insisting that they are merely participating in works prepared ahead of time in the metaphysical narrative of reality. By participating, they are merely experiencing the works pre-wrought by Christ—the works are being done to us not by us.

____1______________________________________________________

* Throughout this book, “church” is used in regard to the institutional church, not the called out assembly.

** The metaphysic is a plenary progression of all things from the material to the spiritual in time.

New Calvinists believe the same thing. Seemingly, the difference is that Postmoderns believe participation is a choice which robs God of His sovereignty.*

As a short aside, Congdon’s mention of the divisive nature of New Calvinism needs to be addressed. The so-called “factious” man of Titus 3:10 (ASV) is interpreted in all English Bibles as pertaining to individuals [who question elder authority]. Actually, the Bible has little to say about individuals who cause strife. The overarching concern is groups who divide with a particular false doctrine. The actual word for this so-called divisive individual in Titus 3:10 is…

g0141. αἱρετικός hairetikos; from the same as 140; a schismatic:— heretic (the Greek word itself). AV (1)- that is a heretic 1; fitted or able to take or choose a thing schismatic, factious, a follower of a false doctrine, heretic.

Therefore, New Calvinism takes its place among one of the mountain peak concerns of the Scriptures: sectarian groups that divide with false doctrine (See Addendum A).

Congdon qualifies as the quintessential hybrid Calvinist. Often, he refers to himself as grammatical, premillennial, and dispensational. In the latest booklet of his New Calvinist series[2], he reiterates this and describes himself as a former four-point Calvinist. A grammarian interpretation of reality is mutually exclusive from Calvinism which he apparently now realizes because the theses of his newest addition to the series follows:

  • New Calvinism is Old Calvinism.
  • Both are false gospels.
  • He misunderstood what the five points of Calvinism really represented.
  • He is now a Biblicist, not a Calvinist.

His journey into researching New Calvinism has led him to this conclusion:

For many years I thought that I understood what Calvin meant by each of these five points. However, the recent emphasis on this teaching through the New Calvinist movement has caused me to look more deeply into what he actually believed, and I have been amazed to discover that I, along with many of my pastor/teacher friends and acquaintances, have misunderstood his original intent that is now being so strongly promoted.[3]

___2___________________________________________________

* See http://paulspassingthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/emergent-church-ebook1.pdf  online ebook: The Emergent Postmodern Church and New Calvinism by Paul M. Dohse 2012.

This speaks volumes to the problem with church and its orthodox* seminaries versus the free thinking Bereans of the called out assembly. Congdon was misled for “many years” because formal theological certification is based upon Reformed presuppositions and the redefinition of words. It is testimony to the fact that a seminary degree is all but worthless in our day.

However, we mustn’t miss the important significance of Congdon’s journey: “…along with many of my pastor/teacher friends and acquaintances.” Dr. Congdon represents the first notable Calvinist that has been willing to openly admit that he has been led astray by Reformed soteriology, and many others have seen the light as well.

How does this happen? Congdon and others like him misunderstand the foundation of Reformed thought especially in regard to the metaphysical side of it. Most think that the issue is Bible interpretation, when in reality the primary concern of the Reformers was how one interprets reality itself. The Reformation was founded upon a primary concern for metaphysics—not theology. However, meta-narrative is not the normative way to interpret reality. People naturally gravitate to the literal meaning of words; grammatical interpretation is what comes natural to us.

Therefore, what you end up with is a confusion between original intent and the literal meaning of words. Reformed soteriology was a direct result of narrative metaphysics which imbibes passive Christian living by default. You read life, you don’t do life. Even though adjustments are made and some measure of literal interpretation replaces redemptive allegory, the fundamental foundation still produces weak Christian living (sanctification). When weak sanctification pains the church and a solution is sought, it is assumed that the problem is the following: the church has drifted away from the original. In reality, the original peaks (culminating into the behavior that Dr. Congdon describes in his booklets) and therefore dies a periodic social death.

But, what is left is still errant soteriology leading to weak sanctification and lesser ills flowing. This has been the vicious cycle of death and resurgence since Calvin’s Geneva theocracy. New Calvinism is probably the sixth resurgence of what Congdon calls “Classic” Calvinism since Geneva. This book refers to it as authentic Calvinism.

Moreover, there is a logical conclusion that must be drawn here as well: Protestantism itself is a false gospel and has produced its own dark age of ignorance and bad fruit. Congdon’s journey is in fact a journey that most Christians must now embark on—the whole church motif must be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up with the truth of God’s word. Congdon’s aforementioned latest booklet is a good start in that direction, but much work remains.

___3_________________________________________________________

* See Addendum B

If his Biblicist alternative is valid, it must replace a massive theological system that has been under construction for more than 500 years. The inductive study found in said booklet is a start in the right direction, so let us examine it.

Congdon uses the five points of Calvinism to frame and construct his argument. One of his early points is that his prior four point acclamation wasn’t valid on its face because he has come to believe that all five points depend on each other; if one falls, they all fall. This is true because without total inability (the T in TULIP), no case can be made for the other four. Prior to accepting four point Calvinism, he rejected Arminianism because of its apparent tenet of man’s free will to reject God after accepting Him. This circumvents once saved always saved and eternal security in general.

Congdon admits on page 2f. that he had accepted the assertion of many “scholars” that there are only two systematic theologies to choose from: Calvinism or Arminianism.  He had already rejected the latter because…

The theology of Arminianism holds that salvation is conditioned upon one’s continuing in the faith; that is, just as an individual may freely choose to believe and accept the gospel of salvation, he may also choose to turn away in unbelief and “fall from grace,” or lose his salvation.[4]

Congdon initially rejected limited atonement, the L in TULIP, and like many others labeled themselves four point Calvinists. I won’t belabor his reasoning behind rejecting that point as it is a no-brainer for any grammarian. One example of low hanging fruit for the argument against it follows:

2-Peter 2:1- But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves (NIV).

____4___________________________________________________________

Throughout Congdon’s latest booket in the New Calvinist series, he emphasizes that many, many Christians embrace Calvinism based on assumptions and assumed definition of terms; he then begins to make his case starting with the T in TULIP, total depravity, or total inability/willingness. He also emphasizes, and correctly so, that the Reformed unabashedly make the five points of Calvinism synonymous with the gospel itself. Indeed, Calvinism, and therefore Protestantism as well, stands or falls on the five points.

Congdon argues this from the ever taxing order of salvation argument. Is man able to believe the word before the Holy Spirit regenerates him/her? He makes a lengthy argument that man believes first and is then immediately sealed by the Holy Spirit, or born again.

Ephesians 1:13 – In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

He also diagnoses the biblical definition of death to mean “separation” as opposed to the idea that unregenerate man is dead like a stone and completely unable to respond. The argument is lengthy, detailed, and will not be fully expounded on here, but it is indeed an impressive argument. Suffice to say that if man is able to make wise choices in everyday life, it doesn’t make sense that God’s means of salvation would be the one item where he was unable to make a choice. Even if man chooses God in order to escape hell, he is conceding that he deserves to go there.

Mankind is not totally depraved. The book of Romans states the following:

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened (ASV).

___5________________________________________________________

Romans 2:14 – (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; 15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); (ASV).

Mankind in general has the law of God written on their heart and a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them. Also, they knowingly and deliberately suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This strongly implies ability to make a choice. Moreover, the Bible often blames Satan for deceiving people and blinding them. What’s the point of stating that if man has no ability to discern to begin with?

Clearly, man is not totally depraved, and besides, another assumption by many is that total depravity only applies to unbelievers. Elsewhere in this volume we have addressed the Calvinist absurd notion of the total depravity of the saints. Calvinists themselves make these five points the gospel, and all hinge on the first, total depravity. This alone is enough reason to utterly reject Calvinism.

Congdon addresses unmerited election or the U of TULIP in chapter three. He makes the point that election has very little to do with individual salvation. He reminds us that Christ was elected, but obviously has never needed salvation. The angels are elect, but redemption has never been offered to the angels. The nation of Israel is elect, but not every Israelite will be saved. Hence, election has no direct relationship to individual salvation. Says Congdon:

I have concluded that “election” is a term used of specific groups, without respect to salvation.*[5]

And…

Furthermore, one must conclude that those who are not elect are simply consigned to an existence of eternal punishment with no real purpose, service, or goal, apart from them being “props” on the stage of redemptive history.[6]

Exactly. That’s the Reformed metaphysical narrative in a nutshell. We read life, we don’t do it. This is alluded to in said booklet:

In the New Testament, “believe” is always an active verb—something one does, not something done to him.[7]

1 Peter 1:22 indicates the mutual participation of our belief and the Spirit’s regeneration:

Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…

Congdon also comments on what the results of this will be. I consider this to be a major consideration in judging why people follow after such doctrines:

According to this view, one can only conclude that God is a Deity who requires no discernment, decision making, or responsibility on the part of His creation, for humans are merely preprogrammed robots carrying out His decrees.

___6________________________________________________________

* Congdon’s specific definition of election on p. 45: “Election refers to God’s choosing/electing to use a specific group of beings in a unique way to serve Him in order to accomplish His plan and purposes to his glory. The group’s election assures that it will accomplish its God-given tasks under His provision, assurance, and supervision, because He is Sovereign. Election indicates selection of a group for service, not selection of individuals for salvation.”

 

This is one of the reasons why many find New Calvinism to be so appealing today, for if God has predetermined the course of life, they need only “go with the flow,” having no responsibility or accountability. New Calvinism offers a fatalistic view of life. Time magazine, declares that today’s New Calvinist pictures God as “an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity.” One can only wonder then, what is the purpose of the Judgement Seat of Christ or the Great White Throne Judgment? If everyone has been preprogrammed to receive reward or punishment, judgement becomes a mere mockery (Ibid pp. 41, 42).

Not a “mockery,” just a metaphysical narrative that upholds God’s sovereignty. Supposedly, God is glorified in the destruction of man which shows forth His justice, and those saved show forth His great mercy. Though Calvinists speak often of the uniqueness of this “man humbling doctrine” that gives all glory to God, it is far, far from being unique. In fact, mythological predeterminism based on metaphysical narratives have dominated the religious landscape of history from the cradle of civilization.[8] And from another logical viewpoint, this redemptive historical approach demands the reinterpretation and tortured use of many common words. Following are a few examples:

  • Reason: Any inclination that man can be reasoned with must be excluded. Reasoning with someone to obtain a more favorable outcome is pointless; reason has no purpose.
  • God’s Promises: No one can really know if the promise is to them. The legitimacy of the promise for you is ambiguous.
  • Cause and effect: As Congdon points out, man is not really responsible or accountable for any of his decisions because everything is predetermined. Nothing a man does, or chooses to do, can cause an effect—everything is predetermined.
  • Judgement: This is where you are being judged for your predetermined actions. This is where you are judged for being a created being fitted for destruction.
  • Duty: Can’t be fulfilled for any logical purpose.
  • Hope: One can only hope that they have hope.

___7_________________________________________________________

 

  • Love: A little known Calvinist doctrine is that of love being defined by God’s self-love. Think about it, if man is not worthy of love, God must do all for the sake of His self-love.[9]
  • Choice: Man can choose everything but God, but even those choices are predetermined.
  • Commandments: Obedience is predetermined and not executed by the one commanded. This is an actual Reformed doctrine; the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. All obedience flows out of the “Christ event” and is not really performed by the one commanded. The subject only experiences the imputed righteousness of Christ subjectively.[10]
  • Whosoever will: Whosoever is predetermined.
  • Evangelism: Offer not legitimate for all.
  • Good News: …that some have been predetermined for hell and that we will not know for certain who is going to heaven until the final judgement?
  • Reality: A prewritten divine narrative.
  • Rewards: Only condemnation can be earned.
  • Obedience: Fulfilled by the actions of God.
  • Ethics: All definitions glorify God regardless of appearance. For example, tragedy should be a time of rejoicing because it glorifies God.
  • Ability: Man has only been granted the ability to know that he has no ability.
  • We “persuade men”: Apparently we don’t. This is the art of “persuasion” to see if they have been preselected or not.

Later, we will consider Congdon’s alternative to total inability…to choose God, but we must remember that his definitive observations are biblically sound and make Calvinism impossible. His inductive observations have perhaps not yet led to the best conclusions, but in the interim we must consider that the above eighteen concepts make perfect sense as normally understood when under the auspices of his foreknowledge theory presented in the booket at hand. We must remember that we are just beginning to crawl out of the Protestant dark age, and there is much study left to do.

This brings us to the I in TULIP, Irresistible grace. Here is what Congdon states regarding the I:

Underlying the doctrine of irresistible grace is the Calvinistic concept that it is impossible for God to be truly sovereign if He allows His will to be resisted.[11]

He created man in His own image, for He desired to have fellowship with willing individuals, not pre-programmed robots. Since salvation is a gift of God, that gift may be either received or rejected by individuals exercising their free wills. Granting human beings freedom to choose is fully compatible with God’s nature in terms of His grace, mercy, justice, love, etc. Instead of diminishing His sovereignty, God’s decision to grant

___8____________________________________________________________

human beings the freedom of choice actually demonstrates His sovereignty and glorifies Him more.[12]

Instead of forcing individuals to be saved through the irresistible prompting of the Holy Spirit, God uses His Word and the convicting work of the Spirit to confirm its truth in order to bring individuals to the point of decision. It is certainly God’s grace that offers it, but at this point they are free to accept or reject salvation.[13]

Calvinists teach that the Spirit’s offer of irresistible grace is based upon God’s election; it is the “wind” that arbitrarily comes upon preselected individuals and regenerates them, independent of personal choice…. According to Biblicists, however, the Spirit’s part is to confirm the truth of the Gospel and convict individuals of their sin/need so that they may choose to believe or reject it (John 16:7-14).[14]

So, what do we have so far?

  • Man is rebellious, but able to choose. He is not totally depraved. The fact that man did not seek-out God for a reconciliation (in that regard being totally unable) does not negate choice when God grants the gift and calls on man to accept it.
  • God seeks after man to reconcile man to Himself; first, by the death of His Son on the cross for a propitiation for sin, then He pursues men with the truth of His word and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The preached word and the Spirit corners mankind into a decision that they are able to make. Faith comes by hearing the word of God, and conviction of sin and coming judgement through the Spirit.*
  • God only elects the means of salvation and not individuals. According to His foreknowledge of who will believe in Him, He elects certain individuals to be part of the body of Christ.[15]**

Maybe.

We know that Calvinism, and also the whole Protestant Reformation myth must be utterly rejected as false for more reasons than you can shake a stick at, but the American called out assembly has a lot of learning/studying/praying to do in order to build Biblicism in its place. Congdon’s book is a good start and offers valid building blocks, but again, there is much work to do. The first step is to get rid of the bad leaven.

Finally, we come to the P in TULIP, Perseverance of the saints. This is where Congdon makes his strongest points though not entirely correct. This isn’t surprising because Reformed doctrine in general is very problematic on this point. Up to this point in the book (chapter 5), Congdon posits the expected traditional error of the church is the Bride of Christ (it is not, but is rather the guest of the Bridegroom—New Jerusalem is the Bride), and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us (no, Christ died for us, it is the Father’s righteousness that is imputed to us, and yes, it’s an important distinction if you don’t hold to the Reformed doctrine of double imputation). As Congdon journeys farther away from Reformation heresy he will realize that the whole the church is the Bride of Christ thing relates to Amillennialism, and the idea that Christ’s righteousness is

___9__________________________________________________________

* The Bible states clearly that Christ was lifted up to draw ALL men to Him (John 12:32). They are drawn, but ultimately it is their choice to accept the gift.

** Other considerations can be added. In Romans 8:30, God justifies who He calls, but Christ said many are called but few chosen. Obviously, not everyone called believes. Add this to the idea mentioned by Congdon in regard to Arminianism: in the same way you can freely choose God, you can also freely choose to stop believing in Him. This might be where election comes in; it guarantees the outcome of your decision. It doesn’t determine what you will believe by your own choice, but it determines that the end result will be glorification.

imputed to us relates to the very progressive justification that he complains about in chapter 5.

Nevertheless, Congdon calls out Calvinism in chapter 5 for having a “two-part process.” This is huge—this is the Achilles heel of Calvinism. Says Congdon:

In essence, the individual is merely coming to a realization of  what God has already done for him or her.* At this first act of faith, God credits the individual with an imputed righteousness that has not been fully achieved as yet. It is a credit that must be borne out or earned throughout life. Time allows the person to demonstrate their election by obedience or works, such as keeping the moral law of Moses. After death all these works will be used as “evidence” to determine this. If there is sufficient evidence, the person is elect; if not, he or she isn’t elect. According to Calvinism, it is only at this point that individuals will know for certain if they are saved. According to Calvinists, this demonstration will occur at the final judgement, the Great White Throne judgement.[16]

Congdon’s summation here is absolutely correct. Sort of. Calvinism posits a working out of your salvation with trembling and fear to gain assurance that you will “stand in the judgement.” He also makes the apt observation that justification is confused with sanctification (Ibid p.64). Though he doesn’t expound on it further, it should be mentioned that this leads to confusion regarding redemption versus justification (the saving of the soul versus salvation from the body of death), and fear of consequences for ill Christian living as opposed to fear of eternal judgement. Christians live in love, and there is NO fear in love, fear has to do with judgement. Wise fear of being disciplined as a believer is a different matter—Calvinism makes the two the same thing.

On this point, Congdon also flirts with the idea that this makes Calvinist eschatology errant as well (Ibid pp. 61, 64, 65, 70); Christians will not stand in the final judgement to verify their election—that’s a settled issue. But the flirtation is too ambiguous—since 25% of the Bible is eschatology, it shouldn’t surprise us that our eschatology also reveals our gospel. Eschatology is NOT a “secondary” issue—it is the gospel as well. Your eschatology should match your gospel.

As should be expected, Congdon still suffers from residual side effects of the Calvinist disease that has plagued him most of his life. He mentions yielding, gratitude-driven, and obedience via mere natural flow as valid sanctification concepts when these are in-fact ill remnants of Reformed sanctification by faith ALONE and progressive justification.

____10__________________________________________________________

*Many “New” Calvinists call this, “getting used to our sanctification.”

Though his rightful proclamation that Calvinism is progressive justification, is a huge step forward, he is errant in the assertion that Calvinist final justification is earned by perseverance in law-keeping. First of all, in Classic Calvinism/Old Calvinism/New Calvinism, obedience is not performed by the “Christian.” Obedience, viz, Christ’s “active obedience” is imputed to the Christian by FAITH ALONE throughout his/her’s “Christian” life. As the “Christian” preaches the gospel to himself, lives a cross-driven life, and continually lives out his/her’s baptism,* Christ’s perfect obedience is applied to the “Christian’s” life and said person remains justified until the final judgement.

The Bible aids in this because it enables the “Christian” to see the “saving acts”(PLURAL) of Christ “throughout the whole Bible” and not anything “we have done.” Hence, the Bible aids in the Reformed doctrines of double imputation and mortification and vivification. This is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic.

Secondly, the person does not actually perform the obedience, he/she only EXPERIENCES the imputed obedience of Christ. These imputations and the resulting joy (see John Piper’s Christian Hedonism) proffer assurance that the person will be able to “stand in the judgement by faith alone.” But, they won’t know for certain until they get the thumbs-up at the final judgement. Congdon is correct about it being works justification in regard to the “Christian” yet being under law, and the Reformed legal loophole being the following…that’s ok because Jesus keeps the law for us as we meditate on His “saving works (PLURAL) in all of the Bible.” No, we are not under law at all, and there is NO law in justification—we are justified apart from the law. This is the egregious problem with fusing justification and sanctification together.

Thirdly, this is not a two-part justification, it is actually three-part according to Calvinists themselves: definitive justification, subjective justification, and final justification. Or, definitive justification, subjective justification, and objective justification, known as the “objective gospel.”

Fourthly, it’s no whit different from Arminianism except final justification is predetermined according to Calvinists. Both fuse justification and sanctification together while demanding a sanctification by faith alone to keep yourself justified (that is, Arminianism in its purest form). The difference is that the Arminians think you can actually participate in faith alone by not working, viz,

___11______________________________________________________

*This is perpetual death and rebirth through “deep repentance” to keep yourself justified by faith alone in the cross-work of Christ. The formal Calvinistic doctrine is mortification and vivification.

Christ fulfills the law for you if you live by faith alone, while Calvinists believe that you can only work for assurance and vivification joy experiences, but the final outcome is determined by God. Calvinists therefore can lay the charge down against Arminians that they do not believe in the “Gospel of Sovereignty.” Arminians can keep themselves saved by faith alone in the same progression of justification. Because Arminians believe that you do more than merely experience justification, the charge of works is leveled by the Calvinists. Is the gospel a “gospel of sovereignty”? Is the fact that God predetermined some to eternal destruction while saving others, and no one will know for certain who is in and who is out until the final judgement really “good news”?

Apparently not. As Congdon notes near the conclusion of his most recent booklet in his New Calvinist series, many of the Puritans held in Calvinistic historical high regard, laid in terror on their deathbeds.[17] This is not the rich entry into heaven promised by God for those who add loving works to the foundation of their faith (2Peter 1:5-11).

I will close here with Congdon’s call to replace Calvinism with Biblicism:

Another crucial issue is Calvinism’s incorrect teaching on God’s judgments and end-time events that are facilitating Satan’s plan in bringing apostasy into the church and render it ineffective in these critical latter days of the Church age. This topic would fill another booklet. The fact that this aggressive movement is successfully redefining the Gospel of Salvation should be enough to alert earnest believers to the seriousness of the times we are in and our need to contend for the faith…It is vitally important to understand the true gospel as revealed in the Bible by God, not in the thoughts and creeds of men, such as Calvinism. Are your beliefs based upon the Scriptures alone or the philosophies of men? Are you a Biblicist or a 4-point Calvinist? It does make a difference![18]

_____12_______________________________________________________

Endnotes

1. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: New Calvinism’s Upside-Down Gospel; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2012 Greer, South Carolina | Preface.

2. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina.

3. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 4.

4.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 3.

5. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 39.

6. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 40.

7.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 44.

8. Paul M. Dohse: Paul’s passing Thoughts .com;Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey, Part 3; Election and Total Depravity were NOT New with the Reformers and Far from being Unique. Online source April 27, 2014:  http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/04/27/romans-series-interlude-predestination-a-potters-house-journey-part-3-election-and-total-depravity-were-not-new-with-the-reformers-and-far-from-being-unique/

9. God Loves Himself .wordpress.com: Meditations on the God-Centered God;  http://godloveshimself.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/musings-35/

10. Paul M. Dohse: Another Gospel; TANC Publishing 2010 | pp. 152-159.

11.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 47.

12.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 48.

13.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 48.

14.  Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 49.

15. Congdon states this specifically on p.66 of Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist.

16. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | pp. 60, 61.

17. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 68.

18. Dr. Robert R. Congdon: Oops! I Thought I Was a Four-Pt Calvinist; Congdon Ministries International Inc. 2014 Greer, South Carolina | p. 70.

 

Addendum A

What is a Biblical “Sect,” and why should New Calvinism be classified as such?

The Biblical Meaning of Heresy

Discernment ministries serve as a teaching tool by antithesis (finding error often leads to discovering more truth in the antithesis). And here, we have an excellent example, for I would have never known the true meaning of the word “heresy” if not for this ministry. Like most folks, I assumed the word just referred to erroneous teachings by “heretics.” Such is not the case. The word refers to a group of people, or a movement that causes division and controversies by teaching error.

First, the foundation of what sects do is based on the biblical concept that truth unifies and error divides. A call for unity by the apostles is also a call to be of the “same” mind and judgment:

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 9:8

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?

Philippians 2:2

…complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Secondly, the cause of division:

Romans 16:17

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Jude 1:17

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

Ephesians 4:13

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Truth unites, and error divides; therefore, a heretic is described in Titus 3:10:

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,…

The actual word for “division” as translated in the ESV is the English word “heretic[k]” (KJV). It is translated that way because of the following note that is found in some English/Greek dictionaries: “From the same as G140; a schismatic. (“heretic” is the Greek word itself).”

Therefore, in the Bible, those who teach error and are divisive are synonymous.

Division With a Purpose

In the same way that heresy, heretics, and division cannot be separated, the idea that these are always sectarian is also the biblical maxim. In fact, Young’s Literal Translation uses the word “sectarian” in place of “divisive” or “heretic” in Titus 3:10. 1Corinthians 11:19 states the following:

For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

The word in Titus 3:10 is “heretic”, and likewise, the English form of the word in 1Corinthians 11:19 is “heresies.” But most English translations use the word “faction.” The ESV is one example among many. It means “party,” “group,” or “sect.”  In other words, these English words translated from the Greek are all used interchangeably in the biblical text, especially with “heresy” or “heretic.”  This idea that sects, division, and doctrinal error go hand in hand is plainly stated in the Bible:

Acts 20:30

…and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

Acts 24:5

For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

In fact, Christianity was seen as a sect because of the divisions caused by sanctification:

Acts 24:14

But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, (refer back to 1Corinthians 11:19 as well).

Note that the word used in the ESV for “sect” is “heresy,” which is the same word used in Titus 3:10 to describe a heretic. Hence the following reference by others that I found helpful in regards to Titus 3:10:

Some say that in Titus 3:10 ‘a factious [sectarian] man’ should be translated ‘a man who teaches heresy’ and that this expression does not refer to a divisive person. But in Greek this expression denotes a person who holds an opinion or a different doctrine that tends toward division. Thus, the English versions translate this as (1) a factious man—American Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, Marshall’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament; (2) a man who is factious—Revised Standard Version, Amplified Bible; (3) a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions—Amplified Bible; (4) a heretical person causing divisions—Wuest; (5) a sectarian—W. J. Conybeare; (6) a man who causes divisions—R. F. Weymouth; (7) a factious person—James Moffatt; (8) a sectarian man—Concordant Literal New Testament, Berry’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament; (9) a factious person—Berkeley Version; (10) a heretical man, i.e., one given to ‘lift up’ opinions, sound or unsound, and an unstable, unsettled individual who wishes to form sects—Young’s Translation; (11) causing division by a party spirit, factious—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; (12) a divisive person—New International Version.

To say that division over doctrine exemplifies New Calvinism would be the understatement of the century! Throughout the Bible, sectarians are also described as COVERT—another adjective describing New Calvinism that is an understatement on steroids. In fact, they themselves boast that they are divisive because they preach a “scandalous” gospel. Well, that’s exactly what the apostle Paul said sectarians do:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

The word for “obstacles” in this verse is, “scandalon” or “scandal.” So for all practical purposes, New Calvinists admit that they preach a divisive gospel. New Calvinism came forth from its Australian Forum womb drawing away disciples and causing divisions on personal levels and corporate levels to a degree that may be unprecedented in church history.

The Cure

New Calvinism is a super-sect that must be exposed and stopped, and only one cure will work: biblical separation. The apostles described sectarianism as a disease that would quickly spread and wreak havoc on God’s people (“gangrene”). They said that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. Men who gather to “discuss” the symptoms of sectarianism with its proponents show that they do not understand what the Bible teaches about sectarianism. While they feast with these men and discuss “issues,” the gangrene does not wait.

 

Addendum B

When We Use Words, Should We Know What They Mean? Truth, Mythology, Orthodoxy, and Creed

In order to control people, you have to control their minds. And in order to control their minds, you have to control the definitions of words. The meanings of words form what we believe about truth and reality. And, when it gets right down to it, a proper assessment of reality is the foundation of truth (and by the way, you can only control people by force for so long. The key is to control their minds).

Truth is not “fact.” Truth has a moral value to it. Facts are building blocks that can build any theory of truth.

I have written about all of this before, but this short essay was inspired by one of my Facebook friends. She announced that she was using The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Kids to instruct her young child. Why would she do that? Because the WSC is “orthodoxy,” and that word has come to mean…TRUTH. Hence, the opposite of “orthodoxy” is “heterodoxy,” a practice that I am often accused of; meaning: untruth.

Now, the WSC is often spoken of as being “subordinate truth.” And in fact, that is a fact, but let’s think about this: why is a subordinate truth needed? Isn’t truth powerful enough by itself?

“Well Paul, a creed, or confession, or catechism, is just a form of truth that is taught on the common person’s level, it makes truth easier to understand for the average person.”

Exactly.

The assumption is that there is a truth caste system. There are those who understand Truth, big T, and then those who are only capable of understanding a revisal form of truth on a more elementary level.

Orthodoxy is NOT truth, orthodoxy is an elitist interpretation of truth by those preordained by God (or mother nature) to have a special gift for interpreting truth. People merely pick the orthodoxy of preference which ranges from A-Z of world religions. Protestantism, like Catholicism, or for that matter Hinduism, was founded on orthodoxy which has become a word fictitiously associated with the meaning of the word…truth. The title of those who penned the Westminster Confession should be telling: the “Westminster Divines.” What would be our first clue?

Orthodoxy is not truth, orthodoxy is some man’s interpretation of truth. This is what separates Protestantism from the true called out assembly of Christ: the priesthood of believers. Clearly, this states that every human being is capable of understanding truth on their own, and is culpable before God ALONE for the adjudication of that truth. This also assumes that man is created with freedom of conscience. And by the way, the horizontal political expression of this is an idea that we call the United States of America. And by the way, there is a reason why the Pope and New Calvinists alike are brazen Socialists, confused Protestants notwithstanding. Will we be judged individually for following God, or men appointed by God? This should be evident. We only follow men who follow Christ according to our own assessment of truth.

“But Paul! That will lead to Chaos!”

Exactly.

Herein is the rub: reality, and presuppositions regarding man; ability to understand reality, or epistemological caste? That’s it in a nutshell folks. It’s the exact lie first perpetrated in the garden: Hey Eve, you really can’t understand God without a mediator. You need somebody who has special insight into the spiritual, “nay, has God really said…?”And the priesthood of believers versus spiritual caste was a major battlefront in the first century church and a major theme of the apostle John’s writings.

Right out of the gates of the garden came the declaration of the kingdom of darkness: spiritual caste enforced by government, and the ownership of truth by Plato’s philosopher kings. Philosopher, and king, and the divine right of kings. All of human history was saturated with wars over orthodoxy until 1776. The vast number of wars fought throughout human history have been religious civil wars, or more accurately, wars over orthodoxy.

The divine right of kings is responsible for chaos, not kings who protect a reasonable freedom of conscience. This was the crying out of small voices in the wilderness of a European culture drenched in blood.

In ancient times, spiritual caste was expressed in mythology. To see mythology as ancient superstition shrouded in ignorance would be an incorrect assessment. Mythology is merely stories (parables) created by philosopher kings so that the unenlightened masses can understand principles of society for purposes of social justice. For Plato, that was UNITY period. Whatever “truth” unified was the proof in the pudding; unity equals truth.

Mythology is no different than orthodoxy, and the various teachings thereof: creeds, confessions, and catechisms. Of course it is “subordinate truth.”  Of course there is a “higher truth,” but the rub is that the common folks can’t really understand THE Truth…capital T. Hence, you follow the orthodoxy of your choice…presumably to heaven. Pick well; the choices are vast, and the various enlightened choices are better than yours because of the reality that you have accepted: orthodoxy.

The prime example of this in our evangelical day is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic that dominates the institutional church. It is, Bible as story. Bible as “gospel narrative.” This is absolutely NOTHING more or less than mythology itself dressed in uppity European intellectualism.

Christ promised YOU that you would find truth if you seek it. This isn’t a seeking to find the right man to follow, this is between you and God Himself. And this issue goes way, way back in time. It was a major issue with Moses, and the apostle John, and it is a major issue in our day. Therefore, I close with these words from Moses:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law… For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

 

A Conversation Between a Biblicist and a Calvinist

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 17, 2014

Biblicist: So, let me get this straight. A man can choose to make a wise decision like not running a red light, but he can’t choose God?

Calvinist: His choice is self-motivated; he doesn’t want to suffer the consequences of running a red light. Man cannot make a righteous choice, nor can he choose God.

Biblicist: But Christ, as well as the apostle John, called on people to believe in order to escape hell. That’s a good idea, no?

Calvinist: But again, the motive is self-preservation.

Biblicist: But, I thought if a man sees himself as a sinner, he can be saved.

Calvinist: Right.

Biblicist: So, if the motive is to escape hell, doesn’t that mean he knows that he deserves to go there? Doesn’t this belief enable him to make a wise decision/choice accordingly?

Calvinist: You are confusing practical worldly wisdom with spiritual wisdom.

Biblicist: What’s the difference?

Calvinist: One is worldly, one is spiritual.

Biblicist: So, what is practical and wise in the world is completely disconnected from spiritual wisdom? The worldly wise are no spiritual good, and vice versa.

Calvinist: Right, until a man is born of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Biblicist: So basically, two realities?

Calvinist: Right.

Biblicist: And unless God regenerates, worldly wisdom has no benefit. Worldly practicality has no spiritual use or application.

Calvinist: Correct.

Biblicist: That’s Gnosticism. It completely disconnects knowledge in the material world from the spiritual world.

Calvinist: No it isn’t.

Biblicist: How is it not?

Calvinist: I heard Al Mohler say in a conference Q&A that Gnosticism is error.

Biblicist: So, If Al says it’s bad, that eliminates the possibility that Calvinism is Gnosticism?

Calvinist: He has been called the most intelligent Evangelical of this age.

Biblicist: Would that be this world or the other one, and is that worldly intelligence or spiritual intelligence, and from which view was that assessment made?

Calvinist: I don’t know.

Biblicist: Then how do you know that you’re not a Gnostic?

Calvinist: I already told you; Al Mohler says Gnosticism is error.

Biblicist: I see, or maybe I don’t.

Calvinist: If you obey an orthodox leader, that means you see.

Biblicist: Good grief!

paul

 

Tagged with: ,

Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey; Part 8, “What’s in the Word, ‘Perseverance’”? Part 2 on “Perseverance”

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 15, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

“It boils down to a distinction between gift and reward. Is the reward salvation?”

“This is the Reformed gospel to a “T.” Already—not yet. Salvation/justification as a process that includes our present lives is unavoidable.”

“Hence, because past and present Reformers see salvation as a present/future process, the future redemption of the body is applied to an incomplete salvation of the soul. This is VERY problematic…Though this position shocks the spiritual sensibilities of the average Christian, it is in fact the Reformed position on salvation.”

An institutional church to replace Rome was Luther’s idea; Calvin articulated it in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. The Reformation gospel is primarily responsible for sucking the life out of many professing Christians, but that is rounded out by the caste system inherent in most institutions. The Reformation gospel killed our soul while the institution puts us in a straightjacket for good measure.

The Reformation gospel accomplished this by making justification, or salvation, a PROCESS instead of a finished work. The gift of salvation, and the gifts we receive at salvation, are just that, gifts that we cannot earn. However, the Bible has much to say about Christians being rewarded for putting those gifts into practice. When you begin to see the Bible’s emphasis on blessings and rewards for putting our gifts into practice—a very energetic call to action arises.

John Calvin and his wicked wannabe theologians made the various rewards/blessings in the Bible one thing and one thing only: salvation. The reward for running the race of faith is salvation. When justification, or salvation, is a PROCESS, that must necessarily include our Christian lives; so, REWARD cannot be a part of that—the reward must be salvation. And, since no part of justification can have reward, the reward must be living our Christian lives the same way we originally received the gift: by faith alone, or living by the gospel, or preaching the gospel to ourselves, etc.

In contrast, when we see the biblical Grand Canyon that we should see between the finished work of salvation and the call to hard work in our Christian lives, a whole new world of possibilities is seen. Blessings and promises aside, we see that we are very unique individually as Christians. No, we are not merely, “ALL just sinners saved by grace.”  We ALL have unique gifts that distinguish us from other believers by kind and degree of faith. Those who excel at certain gifts will receive a crown that makes that distinction.

Institutional caste is designed to take focus off of the individual. Instead, the institution and its leaders become the focus. In addition, because living by faith alone in order to keep the salvation process moving along correctly is really tricky business, Christians will be understandably introspective about what they do in their Christian lives; i.e., constant fear of “moralism” etc.

It boils down to a distinction between gift and reward. Is the reward salvation? As we discussed in last week’s lesson, the book, The Race Set Before Us posits the traditional Reformed line on this question:

In this chapter we shall attempt to show that our salvation is both present and future (p. 47).

Both the present and future dimensions of salvation should be viewed as two aspects of an invisible whole. Almost inevitably the impression that separable parts are intended will tend to creep into readers’ minds, but we must fix in our minds from the beginning that the wholes instead of parts are in view. The present possession of all the gifts we will ascribe is ours because the eschaton (end time) has invaded history…Salvation is not merely a past reality; it is also our future destiny (p.47).

When we study the New Testament writers, however, we discover something quite surprising. Though they occasionally describe salvation as a present possession of believers, they usually envision salvation as something that will occur in the future. For example, Jesus says, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10:22 NIV; cf. also Mt 24:13). Matthew does not say that the one who endures to the end has been saved or that this person shows evidence that he or she is saved. Matthew says that the one who stands fast and perseveres will be saved, that is, will be saved on the future day of the Lord (p. 49).

This is the Reformed gospel to a “T.” Already—not yet. Salvation/justification as a process that includes our present lives is unavoidable. Notice, as a proof text, that the authors use Matthew 10:22 and 24:13. We addressed this last week: the context of those verses is the tribulation period, and Christ is speaking of the salvation of the body/life, not eternal salvation. Christ instructs those who are living during that time to flee from town to town, and before they run out of towns to flee to, Christ will have returned. This fact should get our attention in regard to this sloppy proof texting.

This necessarily requires a discussion in regard to one of many flaws in the Reformation gospel: the confounding/fusion of salvation and redemption. Salvation is the saving and regeneration of the soul, but redemption is the saving of the mortal body when Christ comes for us. Redemption is guaranteed, and spoken of as a possession in regard to its guarantee (Romans 8:30), but it is a separate consideration from eternal salvation in regard to the saving of the body. Paul clearly spoke of this as a separate and future salvation:

Romans 7:24 – Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

As we have discussed before, the word for “wretched” used in many English translations means “afflicted.” The law of sin and death (the law that we used to be under and enslave to) continually provokes us and wages war against the law of our regenerated minds. The Amplified Bible renders the passage this way:

24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

25 O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Hence, because past and present Reformers see salvation as a present/future process, the future redemption of the body is applied to an incomplete salvation of the soul. This is VERY problematic. “Salvation” to them, ALWAYS means eternal salvation. This also necessarily confounds/fuses gift and rewardGift and reward both are applied to eternal salvation. The race of faith now becomes, The Prize To Be Won: Our Present & Future Salvation (Ibid: title of chapter 2, p. 46). Though this position shocks the spiritual sensibilities of the average Christian, it is in fact the Reformed position on salvation.

We strongly contend that rewards pertain to present and future blessings for the Christian. This is irrefutable by process of elimination. If the gift of salvation is not past tense and complete, it is not a gift, but exactly what the Reformers say it is, a reward, and that in blatant contradiction to the very words of the apostle Paul:

Romans 4:4 – Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

Romans 11:6 – But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: The proposition is put in a general form. Those who base their claim on works have a right to their reward. It is not conceded to them by any sort of imputation, but is their desert.

The reward.—Literally, his wages. The relation between what he receives and what he does is that of wages for work done. He can claim it, if need be, in a court of law. There is in it no element of grace, or favour, or concession.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary: From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

The idea of reward is synonymous with earned wages. “reward” is an official synonym of something earned.

Revelation 22:10 – And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

The word for “recompense” follows:

g3408. μισθός misthos; apparently a primary word; pay for service (literally or figuratively), good or bad:— hire, reward, wages. AV (29)- reward 24, hire 3, wages 2; dues paid for work wages, hire reward: used of the fruit naturally resulting from toils and endeavours in both senses, rewards and punishments of the rewards which God bestows, or will bestow, upon good deeds and endeavours of punishments

For the saved, there are all kinds of various and sundry blessings and rewards for work in the Christian life. In fact, God would be unjust to not remember them:

Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

Why would God be unjust to forget our works in the Christian life? Well, this is radical, but plain in Scripture, and something that Christians must come to grips with: we are owed a reward for our work in the Christian life—God would be unjust to overlook our works. This completely upsets the Reformed applecart. If justification is in-process, it goes without saying that the reward must be made synonymous with a gift. Again, one can add this to the long list of common words that must be redefined as metaphysical anomalies. A reward is redefined as a gift.

But the gift of salvation is ALWAYS spoken of in the past tense within the pages of Scripture, and God’s calling and gifts are without repentance:

Romans 11:28 – But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Clearly, the Reformers DO teach that God revoked Israel’s election and replaced her with the “church. “ Who would deny this? For Christians, the gift of the Holy Spirit is a done and settled issue, Period!

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

The “’gift’ of the Spirit” is a phrase found in the New Testament often, and also the idea that we are “sealed” by the Spirit until the day of redemption and therefore, at times, “grieve” Him when not walking in His ways. Justification is a settled issue. Certainly, part of our reward is the blessings we will receive at redemption, but redemption is not salvation. Salvation is a settled issue, complete, and irrevocable. Redemption, though guaranteed, is future. Rewards include present blessings, future blessings, and recognition by God…in the form of CROWNS.

This is where perseverance is a reward and not the attaining of salvation. One of the rewards of perseverance is a “rich” entry into the kingdom. Perseverance doesn’t reward us with salvation—that’s a gift, the reward is the “rich entry” as opposed to those who have forgotten that they were cleansed and see salvation from afar:

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

For the most part, the word for “crown” in the New Testament is stephanos:

g4735. στέφανος stephanos; from an apparently primary στέφω stephō (to twine or wreathe); a chaplet (as a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally;

The exception is diadēma which is only used three times in the Bible—all in the book of Revelation. Several titles are attached to these crowns regarding rewards, honor, or recognition. Curiously, the Reformed crowd insists that these crowns represent salvation. And seemingly, this makes since. Take for instance the “crown of righteousness” (2Timothy 4:8). Righteousness is a word closely linked to salvation, but it is also attached to the idea of a reward for doing righteousness:

Matthew 10:40 – “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Each crown title is probably a category with its own list of good works. We know that the crown of righteousness is a reward for those who love the appearing of Christ. I firmly believe that Christians with an intense interest in eschatology will receive this crown. But according to what we have just noted from Matthew 10, this could also be a crown for those who help other Christians as a lifestyle. We should all do that, but I believe crowns represent those who excel in that particular spiritual gift given to them.

This brings us to the subject of perseverance and the crown of life:

James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Revelation 2:10 – Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. ‘

Perseverance is one of the building blocks of the Christian life, and those who excel in overcoming, even unto death, will receive a crown. I believe these crowns represent blessings that we cannot presently comprehend (1Corinthians 2:9). However, failure to persevere does not mean that you are not saved. Remember, the apostles abandoned Christ before He was crucified.

But, doesn’t the “second death” in Rev. 2:11 refer to the great white throne judgment? It would seem that conquering is a prerequisite to not being hurt by that judgment. I don’t think conquering is a prerequisite or requirement to escaping the second death, I think what we have here is a statement of fact as a way to encourage. Again, if it’s a prerequisite, salvation is a reward owed to the believer by God and not a gift. I don’t think Christ is stating this as a requirement, but rather a reminder of future blessings in order to encourage.

I realize that the Reformed would be quick to cite this passage as proof that Christians will all be standing in that judgment, but if they persevere they will not be hurt by it. But note Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Those who partake in the first resurrection will not stand in the white thrown judgment at all, so that is an argument they cannot use to begin with. Remember, they believe that the law is still the standard for justification, so there is only one judgment and one resurrection. We discussed this at length last week.

The book of 1John was written so that we can “KNOW” that we have eternal life (1John 5:13). The key to that book is a life of love. Christians who are slothful in the practice of love will doubt their salvation. I also believe that there will be believers that will be ashamed at His coming:

1John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

2Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

These passages address “children” and workers. These are Christians who need not be ashamed at His coming; instead of shrinking back in shame, they love and long for His appearing.

A required perseverance or fruit to finish a salvation process must be rejected—perseverance is a gift among Christians that some will excel at and receive a reward accordingly, but it is a reward for the application of a gift—not a wage owed.

 

Home Fellowships Offer Alternatives to Seminarians and Pastors Looking for True Revival: 1Corinthians 9

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 14, 2014

HF Potters House (2)Home fellowships, the church as it is meant to be, is not a bureaucratic political institution, but it is an organization. There is organization in regard to roles and spiritual gifts though fairly simplistic. Home fellowships combine informality and freedom to pursue gifts along with good organization. This is a powerful concept, but not very Western. Some prefer to call this “organic.” In other words, the endeavor of God’s people takes on a life of its own within truthful confines.

The home fellowship movement must resist authoritarianism as well as a loosey-goosey form of fellowship—things must be done, “decently and in order.” Good organization maximizes the use of money and gifts that usually are expended for institutional infrastructure. Instead of Joe volunteering to paint the church building, he volunteers to help the home fellowship paint the house of an elderly widow living on a fixed income.

If Joe wants to start another fellowship network in a different city, he merely moves there and starts an extension of the fellowship in his new home or the home of someone already living in that city. If a group of Christians in a city want to start their own home fellowship network, but lack gifted teachers, they can appeal to another network that may have elders willing to relocate. Or, they can merely obtain the teaching manuscripts from another network, and have a reading followed by open discussion. Or, they can approach an institutional pastor who is looking to go in a different direction.

In a few home fellowships that I know of, strong organization through elders, deacons, and deaconesses works very well, but those fellowships were started by pastors with a significant following who left the institutional church. Just being free of the institution itself shifts the focus from the institution to individual gifts, but organization is still needed.

Fellowship replaces authority, gifts replace programs, and leadership leads without dictating. If what is happening violates your conscience, vote with your feet, but by all means be sure to join another fellowship or start your own. However, fulfilling Christ’s mandate to make disciples is not a part-time venture, it is worship. Worship is walking in the Spirit in the whole of our lives. For most, that means working with our hands in order to supply the need of God’s people, but for others, it means the “ministry of the word.” If you look around, the attitude that this ministry is a part-time endeavor is evident. Who will deny that Christians by and large are illiterate in regard to sanctification accordingly?

What I am saying is this; in regard to the laity, leadership is seen as a part-time venture because they are not formally accredited by the institutional church. They aren’t worth much investment because they are a mere help to the expert pastors, or the best a small church can afford. Even the “expert” pastors spend little time in the “ministry of the word” because they are also the CEO of the institution. This has always led to weak sanctification and overall ignorance in regard to Christian living. My wife Susan and I makeup 80 years of Christian experience and both agree that we have learned more about God in the past two years since leaving the institutional church than all of the former years combined—this is no accident. Moreover, the institutional church creates all kinds of drama that distracts Christian’s from the great commission mandated by Christ and their own gifts. You would think that commenting on the latest blogosphere controversy was indeed a gift of the Spirit. If it is, we are in the biggest revival since Pentecost.

The “ministry of the word” is not a part-time job. Nor is it administrative. Home fellowship movements must combine freedom with sound organization. Home fellowship movements must rediscover sanctification on their own. They must undo 500 years of Protestant darkness. They must redevelop the true called out assembly model from the ground up. This is not a part-time venture. The days are evil; we must make the best of our time.

In the early church, lay elders were supported full time. 1Corintians 9 makes this clear. There were obviously no seminaries or institutional accreditation, yet this was the case nevertheless. This was according to need, and seeing the ministry of the word as vital. Of course, situations vary along with the freedom for an elder to work, but home fellowships need to be open to fully supporting the needs of a gifted teacher.

The apostles were accused of being in the ministry for money, and this is why the apostle Paul worked though he was a huge advocate for elders being supplied for in full time ministry of the word:

“1Corinthians 9:11 – If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.”

Frankly, a great way to start a home fellowship is to find a pastor who has been totally beaten down by the institutional church and is looking for hope and answers. Home fellowships need to realize that they have something they have always had: the power of the purse. The institutional church has preconditioned Christians to believe that money is only validated within the institution. This is astounding to me because church hierarchy has effectively vanquished the reality among the laity that the institutional church is nothing without laity greenback. I liken it to what happened on some plantations during the Colonial era:

“Hey guys, it just occurred to me; there is one slave master and five enforcers, but seventy of us. And it takes fifteen seconds to reload a musket.”

Orthodoxy has convinced the Christian masses that their money belongs first to the institutional church. Let me repeat that:

“Orthodoxy has convinced the Christian masses that their money belongs first to the institutional church.”

This isn’t true at all, and is part and parcel with the idea that the institutional church owns the truth, and agreement with an institution is all that is required for the laity. In other words, “humbleness,” “submission,” etc., replaces a personal responsibility to be discerning in all matters of life. Discernment has no relevance apart from the institution, and neither does your money. Many Christians would vehemently deny the truth of this, but the institutional church has always mastered the art of getting people to function in certain ways while denying it verbally. Case in point: “The church isn’t the building, it’s the people.” Right. A comparison of investment regarding infrastructure versus people in the institutional church is a stunning discrepancy. Few Christians know the basics of theology, are proud of that, and have total gift unawareness. And “family” is like the Olive Garden; you are only family when you are there—at the building. Ever left a church? When was the last time you heard from anybody there? That’s what I thought.

Christians no longer have to beg the institution to do certain things or not to do certain things while paying good money for the privilege. We are responsible for our own stewardship. There are gifted lay people in the church who should be getting our support—not cronies of institutional orthodoxy.

Christians must start thinking outside of the box in this regard and start putting their money to work for God’s business rather than the business of the institutional church. Home fellowships are where the people really are the assembly. But that does not exclude good organization and expenditure of resources that show the value of the ministry of the word.

paul

 

Potter’s House Live, Sunday July 13, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 13, 2014

The D’Souza Doctrine: Is Anti-Capitalism a Violation of the 10th Commandment?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 12, 2014

Dinesh Joseph D’Souza is a political commentator and author who recently produced the movie “America, Imagine the World Without Her.” I saw the movie, and have been viewing YouTube clips of debates he is having with progressives in regard to the movie.

In one particular clip, he worded a theses of the movie in a way that turned on a switch for me, and I have chosen to coin it the D’Souza doctrine. D’Souza acknowledged that American settlers confiscated land from the Indians, who had previously confiscated it from other tribes, but the point is what makes America exceptional (American exceptionalism).

From the cradle of civilization, conquest to obtain the wealth of others was the predominant politic. America was the first nation in human history to focus on wealth creation as an alternative to conquest. Though America’s history originally involved some conquest activity, the primary ideal was wealth creation. This is what makes America exceptional. Progressives attach residual human behavior to the American narrative while ignoring the core ideal that America grows from. This is why freedom and opportunity for minorities in America continues to be a work in progress. What the progressives are doing is accusing America of theft and labeling capitalism as such when the extreme opposite is true. Capitalism tells people to create their own stuff and leave other people’s stuff alone.

And by the way, because we are good at creating wealth, we have a really cool army that will destroy you if you don’t leave us alone. Why didn’t America just take over the whole world after WWII, being the only nation with the A-Bomb? No, instead we rebuilt the nations of our enemies and gave them their land back. Why? The American ideal.

Hence, when you hear someone pontificate on the evils of capitalism, they are really dissing the only alternative that there has ever been to conquest. Moreover, as we shall see, capitalism is the only practical application that opposes a rejection of the 10th commandment: Do not covet your neighbor’s stuff.

But what led the framers of the U.S. Constitution to believe that their free market idea could create abundant wealth? Answer: “We the People.” The framers of the Constitution were children of the Enlightenment era which proffers individualism and individual competence. The European caste that was part of America’s beginning, but not the core idea, migrated south. But, because slaves do not own anything and are robbed of incentive, production and innovation was anemic in the South while the North prospered.

On an individual level, the apostle Paul stated the following:

Ephesians 4:28 – Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

A mentality of covetousness will lead to various and sundry ways of unrightfully taking what others have. Also, Paul’s assumption, generally speaking, is that the individual can not only supply for himself, but have a surplus of which to help others. When the focus is personal wealth creation, the needy are much fewer, but among those able to help. This ideal has made America a strong force for good in the world. Unfortunately, but wisely, America has agreed to be the world’s policeman to protect the historical anomaly known as America.

And let us not forget, the serpent beguiled Eve into coveting something that belonged to God. Adam and Eve were allowed to have all other trees in the garden but the one, and were to “be fruitful and multiply.”  I am not saying that anti-capitalism is the essence of all sin, but covetousness nevertheless is an applicable point here, and covetousness is the antithesis of capitalism. That’s how sin began, and note carefully how the world as we know it will indeed end:

Ezekiel 38: 10 – “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

The Bible is clear on this point: Armageddon will be sparked by an all out invasion on Israel, and underneath all of the ideological posturing will be the real catalyst for the invasion; to take a plunder…to go and get Israel’s stuff. Israel: that would be the only democracy in the Middle East.

A theme that we constantly hear among the Neo-Calvinists of our day is, “God owns everything, what you have belongs to God, it’s not yours to do with according to your own wants.” But wait a minute, the metaphysical math doesn’t end there. They also say that Reformed elders rule on behalf of God, they “stand in the stead.” They are the succession of Christ, the prophets, and the apostles. Let me interpret that for you…

your stuff really belongs to them. No? Really? Let me remind you that bringing people up on church discipline in Reformed churches for not tithing is now an epidemic. Give them your stuff, or lose your salvation. The institutional church was born in the slough of medieval European socialism and remains there today. The “tithe” has been a Protestant mainstay from the beginning and is nothing more or less than an institutional tax collected on behalf of God. And lest we forget, it is not only the tithe, but “tithes AND offerings.” Ahhmen.

The enemies of the American ideal, a free market driven by individual competence, must destroy from within, and that necessarily requires a false narrative. It is metaphysical caste guided by elitist epistemology resulting in an ethic applied politically by force. The American ideal takes power from the elitists who think they should rule over the great unwashed masses. The progressives tell us that we are unable, that Benjamin Franklin et al perpetrated a most dangerous idea on mankind, that all men are created equal. To a progressive, this is like letting a child play with a loaded gun.

They offer us a solution: let them take care of us while they plunder on our behalf; it’s called wealth redistribution. Yes, a return to the good old medieval days when the the elitists lived in splendor while everyone else lived in “fairness”; i.e., equal squalor. Their wealth is always their just reward for bringing fairness to the masses and eliminating the evils of GREED.

This is why the D’Souza doctrine is also important to Christians. Once again, we see the church trying to reunite with European socialist whoredom. The elder statesman of the Neo-Calvinist movement, John Piper, made it a point to travel to Geneva and announce their agenda; viz, to spread the “light” of Calvin’s total depravity of man doctrine throughout the whole world. We are seeing how this all plays out within the American Neo-Calvinist movement.

In the final analysis, greed will always be a part of man’s fabric, and the poor will always be with us, but American exceptionalism gives us the freedom to be the victim of greed via others or ourselves. Or not. The only alternative is a greedy existence by the end of a gun or the end of a sword. And unfortunately, progressives ALWAYS underestimate the individual principle of “give me liberty or give me death.” Mankind is wired to be free, and progressives will NEVER understand that.

If you learn anything from the 10th commandment, learn this: nothing is for free, and freedom will always cost us dearly because of the progressives. If the war of ideas is lost to the progressives, the shooting will eventually begin, and the D’Souza doctrine is one of the more important weapons of late in that war.

paul

When We Use Words, Should We Know What They Mean? Truth, Mythology, Orthodoxy, and Creed

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 10, 2014

In order to control people, you have to control their minds. And in order to control their minds, you have to control the definitions of words. The meanings of words form what we believe about truth and reality. And, when it gets right down to it, a proper assessment of reality is the foundation of truth (and by the way, you can only control people by force for so long. The key is to control their minds).

Truth is not “fact.” Truth has a moral value to it. Facts are building blocks that can build any theory of truth.

I have written about all of this before, but this short essay was inspired by one of my Facebook friends. She announced that she was using The Westminster Shorter Catechism for kids to instruct her young child. Why would she do that? Because the WSC is “orthodoxy,” and that word has come to mean…TRUTH. Hence, the opposite of “orthodoxy” is “heterodoxy,” a practice that I am often accused of: meaning; untruth.

Now, the WSC is often spoken of as being “subordinate truth.” And in fact, that is a fact, but let’s think about this; why is a subordinate truth needed? Isn’t truth powerful enough by itself?

“Well Paul, a creed, or confession, or catechism, is just a form of truth that is taught on the common person’s level, it makes truth easier to understand for the average person.”

Exactly.

The assumption is that there is a truth caste system. There are those who understand Truth, big T, and then those who are only capable of understanding a revisal form of truth on a more elementary level.

Orthodoxy is NOT truth, orthodoxy is an elitist interpretation of truth by those preordained by God (or mother nature) to have a special gift for interpreting truth. People merely pick the orthodoxy of preference which ranges from A-Z of world religions. Protestantism, like Catholicism, or for that matter Hinduism, was founded on orthodoxy which has become a word fictitiously associated with the meaning of the word…truth. The title of those who penned the Westminster Confession should be telling: the “Westminster Divines.” What would be our first clue?

Orthodoxy is not truth, orthodoxy is some man’s interpretation of truth. This is what separates Protestantism from the true called out assembly of Christ: the priesthood of believers. Clearly, this states that every human being is capable of understanding truth on their own, and is culpable before God ALONE for the adjudication of that truth. This also assumes that man is created with freedom of conscience. And by the way, the horizontal political expression of this, is an idea that we call the United States of America. And by the way, there is a reason why the Pope and New Calvinists alike are brazen Socialists, confused Protestants notwithstanding. Will we be judged individually for following God, or men appointed by God? This should be evident. We only follow men who follow Christ according to our own assessment of truth.

“But Paul! That will lead to Chaos!”

Exactly.

Herein is the rub: reality, and presuppositions regarding man; ability to understand reality, or epistemological caste? That’s it in a nutshell folks. It’s the exact lie first perpetrated in the garden: Hey Eve, you really can’t understand God without a mediator. You need somebody who has special insight into the spiritual, “nay, has God really said…?”And the priesthood of believers versus spiritual caste was a major battlefront in the first century church and a major theme of the apostle John’s writings.

Right out of the gates of the garden came the declaration of the kingdom of darkness: spiritual caste enforced by government, and the ownership of truth by Plato’s philosopher kings. Philosopher, and king, and the divine right of kings. All of human history was saturated with wars over orthodoxy until 1776. The vast number of wars fought throughout human history have been religious civil wars, or more accurately, wars over orthodoxy.

The divine right of kings is responsible for chaos, not kings who protect a reasonable freedom of conscience. This was the crying out of small voices in the wilderness of a European culture drenched in blood.

In ancient times, spiritual caste was expressed in mythology. To see mythology as ancient superstition shrouded in ignorance would be an incorrect assessment. Mythology is merely stories (parables) created by philosopher kings so that the unenlightened masses can understand principles of society for purposes of social justice. For Plato, that was UNITY period. Whatever “truth” unified was the proof in the pudding; unity equals truth.

Mythology is no different than orthodoxy, and the various teachings thereof: creeds; confessions, and catechisms. Of course it is “subordinate truth.”  Of course there is a “higher truth,” but the rub is that the common folks can’t really understand THE Truth…capital T. Hence, you follow the orthodoxy of your choice…presumably to heaven. Pick well, the choices are vast, and the various enlightened choices are better than yours because of the reality that you have accepted: orthodoxy.

The prime example of this in our evangelical day is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic that dominates the institutional church. It is, Bible as story. Bible as “gospel narrative.” This is absolutely NOTHING more or less than mythology itself dressed in uppity European intellectualism.

Christ promised YOU that you would find truth if you seek it. This isn’t a seeking to find the right man to follow, this is between you and God Himself. And this issue goes way, way back in time. It was a major issue with Moses, and the apostle John, and it is a major issue in our day. Therefore, I close with these words from Moses:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law… For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

paul

 

Acts 12:1-23, Lesson 31

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 8, 2014

Why the Institutional Church is Mostly Unregenerate, Dead, and Just Plain Boring

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 8, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

Notes for Sunday July 13th 2014:

Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey; Part 8, “What’s in the Word, ‘Perseverance’”? Part 2 on “Perseverance”

“It boils down to a distinction between gift and reward. Is the reward salvation?”

“This is the Reformed gospel to a “T.” Already—not yet. Salvation/justification as a process that includes our present lives is unavoidable.”

“Hence, because past and present Reformers see salvation as a present/future process, the future redemption of the body is applied to an incomplete salvation of the soul. This is VERY problematic…Though this position shocks the spiritual sensibilities of the average Christian, it is in fact the Reformed position on salvation.”

An institutional church to replace Rome was Luther’s idea; Calvin articulated it in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. The Reformation gospel is primarily responsible for sucking the life out of many professing Christians, but that is rounded out by the caste system inherent in most institutions. The Reformation gospel killed our soul while the institution puts us in a straightjacket for good measure.

The Reformation gospel accomplished this by making justification, or salvation, a PROCESS instead of a finished work. The gift of salvation, and the gifts we receive at salvation, are just that, gifts that we cannot earn. However, the Bible has much to say about Christians being rewarded for putting those gifts into practice. When you begin to see the Bible’s emphasis on blessings and rewards for putting our gifts into practice—a very energetic call to action arises.

John Calvin and his wicked wannabe theologians made the various rewards/blessings in the Bible one thing and one thing only: salvation. The reward for running the race of faith is salvation. When justification, or salvation, is a PROCESS, that must necessarily include our Christian lives; so, REWARD cannot be a part of that—the reward must be salvation. And, since no part of justification can have reward, the reward must be living our Christian lives the same way we originally received the gift: by faith alone, or living by the gospel, or preaching the gospel to ourselves, etc.

In contrast, when we see the biblical Grand Canyon that we should see between the finished work of salvation and the call to hard work in our Christian lives, a whole new world of possibilities is seen. Blessings and promises aside, we see that we are very unique individually as Christians. No, we are not merely, “ALL just sinners saved by grace.”  We ALL have unique gifts that distinguish us from other believers by kind and degree of faith. Those who excel at certain gifts will receive a crown that makes that distinction.

Institutional caste is designed to take focus off of the individual. Instead, the institution and its leaders become the focus. In addition, because living by faith alone in order to keep the salvation process moving along correctly is really tricky business, Christians will be understandably introspective about what they do in their Christian lives; i.e., constant fear of “moralism” etc.

It boils down to a distinction between gift and reward. Is the reward salvation? As we discussed in last week’s lesson, the book, The Race Set Before Us posits the traditional Reformed line on this question:

In this chapter we shall attempt to show that our salvation is both present and future (p. 47).

Both the present and future dimensions of salvation should be viewed as two aspects of an invisible whole. Almost inevitably the impression that separable parts are intended will tend to creep into readers’ minds, but we must fix in our minds from the beginning that the wholes instead of parts are in view. The present possession of all the gifts we will ascribe is ours because the eschaton (end time) has invaded history…Salvation is not merely a past reality; it is also our future destiny (p.47).

When we study the New Testament writers, however, we discover something quite surprising. Though they occasionally describe salvation as a present possession of believers, they usually envision salvation as something that will occur in the future. For example, Jesus says, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10:22 NIV; cf. also Mt 24:13). Matthew does not say that the one who endures to the end has been saved or that this person shows evidence that he or she is saved. Matthew says that the one who stands fast and perseveres will be saved, that is, will be saved on the future day of the Lord (p. 49).

This is the Reformed gospel to a “T.” Already—not yet. Salvation/justification as a process that includes our present lives is unavoidable. Notice, as a proof text, that the authors use Matthew 10:22 and 24:13. We addressed this last week: the context of those verses is the tribulation period, and Christ is speaking of the salvation of the body/life, not eternal salvation. Christ instructs those who are living during that time to flee from town to town, and before they run out of towns to flee to, Christ will have returned. This fact should get our attention in regard to this sloppy proof texting.

This necessarily requires a discussion in regard to one of many flaws in the Reformation gospel: the confounding/fusion of salvation and redemption. Salvation is the saving and regeneration of the soul, but redemption is the saving of the mortal body when Christ comes for us. Redemption is guaranteed, and spoken of as a possession in regard to its guarantee (Romans 8:30), but it is a separate consideration from eternal salvation in regard to the saving of the body. Paul clearly spoke of this as a separate and future salvation:

Romans 7:24 – Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

As we have discussed before, the word for “wretched” used in many English translations means “afflicted.” The law of sin and death (the law that we used to be under and enslave to) continually provokes us and wages war against the law of our regenerated minds. The Amplified Bible renders the passage this way:

24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

25 O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Hence, because past and present Reformers see salvation as a present/future process, the future redemption of the body is applied to an incomplete salvation of the soul. This is VERY problematic. “Salvation” to them, ALWAYS means eternal salvation. This also necessarily confounds/fuses gift and reward. Gift and reward both are applied to eternal salvation. The race of faith now becomes, The Prize To Be Won: Our Present & Future Salvation (Ibid: title of chapter 2, p. 46). Though this position shocks the spiritual sensibilities of the average Christian, it is in fact the Reformed position on salvation.

We strongly contend that rewards pertain to present and future blessings for the Christian. This is irrefutable by process of elimination. If the gift of salvation is not past tense and complete, it is not a gift, but exactly what the Reformers say it is, a reward, and that in blatant contradiction to the very words of the apostle Paul:

Romans 4:4 – Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

Romans 11:6 – But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: The proposition is put in a general form. Those who base their claim on works have a right to their reward. It is not conceded to them by any sort of imputation, but is their desert.

The reward.—Literally, his wages. The relation between what he receives and what he does is that of wages for work done. He can claim it, if need be, in a court of law. There is in it no element of grace, or favour, or concession.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary: From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

The idea of reward is synonymous with earned wages. “reward” is an official synonym of something earned.

Revelation 22:10 – And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

The word for “recompense” follows:

g3408. μισθός misthos; apparently a primary word; pay for service (literally or figuratively), good or bad:— hire, reward, wages. AV (29)- reward 24, hire 3, wages 2; dues paid for work wages, hire reward: used of the fruit naturally resulting from toils and endeavours in both senses, rewards and punishments of the rewards which God bestows, or will bestow, upon good deeds and endeavours of punishments

For the saved, there are all kinds of various and sundry blessings and rewards for work in the Christian life. In fact, God would be unjust to not remember them:

Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

Why would God be unjust to forget our works in the Christian life? Well, this is radical, but plain in Scripture, and something that Christians must come to grips with: we are owed a reward for our work in the Christian life—God would be unjust to overlook our works. This completely upsets the Reformed applecart. If justification is in-process, it goes without saying that the reward must be made synonymous with a gift. Again, one can add this to the long list of common words that must be redefined as metaphysical anomalies. A reward is redefined as a gift.

But the gift of salvation is ALWAYS spoken of in the past tense within the pages of Scripture, and God’s calling and gifts are without repentance:

Romans 11:28 – But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Clearly, the Reformers DO teach that God revoked Israel’s election and replaced her with the “church. “ Who would deny this? For Christians, the gift of the Holy Spirit is a done and settled issue, Period!

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

The “’gift’ of the Spirit” is a phrase found in the New Testament often, and also the idea that we are “sealed” by the Spirit until the day of redemption and therefore, at times, “grieve” Him when not walking in His ways. Justification is a settled issue. Certainly, part of our reward is the blessings we will receive at redemption, but redemption is not salvation. Salvation is a settled issue, complete, and irrevocable. Redemption, though guaranteed, is future. Rewards include present blessings, future blessings, and recognition by God…in the form of CROWNS.

This is where perseverance is a reward and not the attaining of salvation. One of the rewards of perseverance is a “rich” entry into the kingdom. Perseverance doesn’t reward us with salvation—that’s a gift, the reward is the “rich entry” as opposed to those who have forgotten that they were cleansed and see salvation from afar:

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

For the most part, the word for “crown” in the New Testament is stephanos:

g4735. στέφανος stephanos; from an apparently primary στέφω stephō (to twine or wreathe); a chaplet (as a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally;

The exception is diadēma which is only used three times in the Bible—all in the book of Revelation. Several titles are attached to these crowns regarding rewards, honor, or recognition. Curiously, the Reformed crowd insists that these crowns represent salvation. And seemingly, this makes since. Take for instance the “crown of righteousness” (2Timothy 4:8). Righteousness is a word closely linked to salvation, but it is also attached to the idea of a reward for doing righteousness:

Matthew 10:40 – “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Each crown title is probably a category with its own list of good works. We know that the crown of righteousness is a reward for those who love the appearing of Christ. I firmly believe that Christians with an intense interest in eschatology will receive this crown. But according to what we have just noted from Matthew 10, this could also be a crown for those who help other Christians as a lifestyle. We should all do that, but I believe crowns represent those who excel in that particular spiritual gift given to them.

This brings us to the subject of perseverance and the crown of life:

James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Revelation 2:10 – Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. ‘

Perseverance is one of the building blocks of the Christian life, and those who excel in overcoming, even unto death, will receive a crown. I believe these crowns represent blessings that we cannot presently comprehend (1Corinthians 2:9). However, failure to persevere does not mean that you are not saved. Remember, the apostles abandoned Christ before He was crucified.

But, doesn’t the “second death” in Rev. 2:11 refer to the great white throne judgment? It would seem that conquering is a prerequisite to not being hurt by that judgment. I don’t think conquering is a prerequisite or requirement to escaping the second death, I think what we have here is a statement of fact as a way to encourage. Again, if it’s a prerequisite, salvation is a reward owed to the believer by God and not a gift. I don’t think Christ is stating this as a requirement, but rather a reminder of future blessings in order to encourage.

I realize that the Reformed would be quick to cite this passage as proof that Christians will all be standing in that judgment, but if they persevere they will not be hurt by it. But note Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Those who partake in the first resurrection will not stand in the white thrown judgment at all, so that is an argument they cannot use to begin with. Remember, they believe that the law is still the standard for justification, so there is only one judgment and one resurrection. We discussed this at length last week.

The book of 1John was written so that we can “KNOW” that we have eternal life (1John 5:13). The key to that book is a life of love. Christians who are slothful in the practice of love will doubt their salvation. I also believe that there will be believers that will be ashamed at His coming:

1John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

2Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

These passages address “children” and workers. These are Christians who need not be ashamed at His coming; instead of shrinking back in shame, they love and long for His appearing.

A required perseverance or fruit to finish a salvation process must be rejected—perseverance is a gift among Christians that some will excel at and receive a reward accordingly, but it is a reward for the application of a gift—not a wage owed.

 

Capitalism is Next to Godliness

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 7, 2014

The overall wellbeing of the world matters to God. He is not indifferent to injustice whether among the lost or the saved. He allows it to rain and shine on both. God does not disdain His creation though fallen.

Christ told the following parable:

Luke 10:30 – Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Notice that Jesus doesn’t make an issue of whether or not the victim was a Christian or not. God is concerned with what happens in the world. Certainly, salvation is of the paramount concern, but not to the exclusion of every other reality. Jesus called that “compassion.” I argue that the closer people are to a truly biblical worldview, the better off they are overall. And, no circumstance good or bad has the market cornered on leading people to Christ. The gospel is not benefited by the world being in misery.

The fact is; man was born free, capable, and responsible. He was born to work, accomplish, and overcome. If he was a fish, these are the waters that he swims in. God is not indifferent to the state of humanity in North Korea versus America, and Christians should be concerned likewise. Politics are important. Consider the following:

Proverbs 31:11 – The heart of her husband hath trusted in her, And spoil he lacketh not. 12 She hath done him good, and not evil, All days of her life. 13 She hath sought wool and flax, And with delight she worketh [with] her hands. 14 She hath been as ships of the merchant, From afar she bringeth in her bread. 15 Yea, she riseth while yet night, And giveth food to her household, And a portion to her damsels. 16 She hath considered a field, and taketh it, From the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. 17 She hath girded with might her loins, And doth strengthen her arms. 18 She hath perceived when her merchandise [is] good, Her lamp is not extinguished in the night. 19 Her hands she hath sent forth on a spindle, And her hands have held a distaff. 20 Her hand she hath spread forth to the poor, Yea, her hands she sent forth to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of her household from snow, For all her household are clothed [with] scarlet. 22 Ornamental coverings she hath made for herself, Silk and purple [are] her clothing. 23 Known in the gates is her husband, In his sitting with elders of the land. 24 Linen garments she hath made, and selleth, And a girdle she hath given to the merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing, And she rejoiceth at a latter day. 26 Her mouth she hath opened in wisdom, And the law of kindness [is] on her tongue. 27 She [is] watching the ways of her household, And bread of sloth she eateth not. 28 Her sons have risen up, and pronounce her happy, Her husband, and he praiseth her, 29 `Many [are] the daughters who have done worthily, Thou hast gone up above them all.’ 30 The grace [is] false, and the beauty [is] vain, A woman fearing Jehovah, she may boast herself. 31 Give ye to her of the fruit of her hands, And her works do praise her in the gates! (YLT).

In these verses, a free market is assumed; earned self-esteem is assumed, the ability of all to do good is assumed, and truthful/rightful recognition is assumed.

And the folly of worm theology is also assumed.

paul

Tagged with: , ,

Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey; Part 8, “What’s in the Word, ‘Perseverance’”? Part 1 on “Perseverance”

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 7, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

The doctrine of perseverance is a confused mess. In the book, The Race Set before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance  by Thomas R. Schreiner and Ardel B. Caneday, they try to clear up the confusion about the doctrine. However, the book merely toes the traditional Reformed line of already but not yet. What is that?

It’s the belief that those who have already been chosen (already) and predetermined for salvation can have assurance by working out their salvation through obedience. This doesn’t necessarily determine with certainty whether or not you have been chosen, but it can give you the best peace and assurance possible until the one final judgment where God separates the sheep from the goats (not yet). Shreiner and Caneday assert that God uses “warnings and admonitions” as a means to complete the PROCESS (Ordo Salutis) of salvation.

Let’s be clear, the Reformed Ordo Salutis (Latin for “order of salvation”) includes justification (salvation), regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. It’s not semantics about what happens first, second, and maybe third at the point of salvation. Yet, the Reformed crowd insists on being indignant about the accusation of “progressive justification.” Clearly, they teach salvation as a process and not a finished work.

So, as a believer, you merely take part in the means and outcome of what God has already predetermined. If you don’t persevere, that means you were not given the “gift” of perseverance. It’s not works salvation per se, the outcome has already been determined, your work in sanctification is merely the MEANS God uses to complete what He has already predetermined. However, you don’t have any chance at all unless you enter The Race Set Before Us. This same explanation is used for evangelism; viz, you are participating in what God has already predetermined.

This fits perfectly with Calvin’s three classes of persons in regard to election: the non-elect, the general elect, and those who persevere. The non-elect do not enter the race of salvation at all; those of the general call are temporarily illumined, but only those who persevere are the true elect—those who have been given the “gift” of perseverance…

Let us, therefore, embrace Christ, who is kindly offered to us, and comes forth to meet us: he will number us among his flock, and keep us within his fold. But anxiety arises as to our future state. For as Paul teaches, that those are called who were previously elected, so our Savior shows that many are called, but few chosen (Mt. 22:14). Nay, even Paul himself dissuades us from security, when he says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” (1 Cor. 10:12). And again, “Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee,” (Rom. 11:20, 21). In fine, we are sufficiently taught by experience itself, that calling and faith are of little value without perseverance, which, however, is not the gift of all (CI 3.24.6).

The expression of our Savior, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Mt. 22:14), is also very improperly interpreted (see Book 3, chap. 2, sec. 11, 12). There will be no ambiguity in it, if we attend to what our former remarks ought to have made clear—viz. that there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation. Besides this there is a special call which, for the most part, God bestows on believers only, when by the internal illumination of the Spirit he causes the word preached to take deep root in their hearts. Sometimes, however, he communicates it also to those whom he enlightens only for a time, and whom afterwards, in just punishment for their ingratitude, he abandons and smites with greater blindness (CI 3.24.8).

The Reformed gospel is little more than an invitation to enter the salvation lottery. Some Reformed pastors do teach that you can know that you are saved, but the prescription is entering a rest wherein you stay at the foot of the cross rather than picking it up and walking according to the Spirit. Supposedly, doubt is always the result of “legalism” and the cure is a return to faith alone in our Christian walk. It’s about “what Jesus has done, not anything you do.” Nevertheless, proponents of this view say that sanctification is “hard work” because admitting our sin and “deep repentance” is hard for us to do. The essence of all sin is the “pride of life” and “thinking that we have some semblance of good.”

A myriad of Scripture texts are used to support this motif.

Philippians 2:12 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

We are to work out the already salvation, with fear and trembling, because it is God within us that is using the Christian life as a means to complete the work he began in us:

Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

“Fear and trembling” denotes uncertainty, and this is exactly what John Calvin advocated in the Christian life:

Certain learned men, who lived long before the present days and were desirous to speak simply and sincerely according to the rule of Scripture, held that repentance consists of two parts, mortification and quickening. By mortification they mean, grief of soul and terror, produced by a conviction of sin and a sense of the divine judgment. For when a man is brought to a true knowledge of sin, he begins truly to hate and abominate sin… By quickening they mean, the comfort which is produced by faith, as when a man prostrated by a consciousness of sin, and smitten with the fear of God, afterwards beholding his goodness, and the mercy, grace, and salvation obtained through Christ, looks up, begins to breathe, takes courage, and passes, as it were, from death unto life. I admit that these terms, when rightly interpreted, aptly enough express the power of repentance; only I cannot assent to their using the term quickening, for the joy which the soul feels after being calmed from perturbation and fear. It more properly means, that desire of pious and holy living which springs from the new birth; as if it were said, that the man dies to himself that he may begin to live unto God (CI 3.33).

The four words that must be considered here are judgment, salvation, fear, and perseverance. There are two judgments, two fears, two salvations, but only ONE perseverance. Perseverance is not related to justification or salvation. There are two judgments; one pertaining to justification, and another pertaining to the Christian life. There are two fears; one pertaining to the unregenerate, and one pertaining to the saved. And there are two salvations; one is the eternal saving of the soul, and the other is being saved from our present mortality. We must also make a distinction between works of the law and love.

The problem with Reformed doctrine is it makes justification (salvation), sanctification (the Christian life), and glorification (redemption) all one process. That means one judgment; one salvation; one fear that must apply to fear of eternal judgment in the Christian life, and one perseverance that must take place between salvation and resurrection. It must define perseverance as a necessary process to complete salvation, and that’s where many problems come into play.

Calvin states clearly that sin in the Christian life should create fear in regard to the final judgment (CI 3.25.9), but in contrast, the Bible states clearly that Christians will not stand in a judgment that determines our justification. There are two judgments: one for rewards and one for the condemned who will be judged by the law:

2 Corinthians 5:6 – So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

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

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

“Resurrection of the just” seems to be a specific judgment for believers in which they will receive rewards for things done in the body. In contrast, the judgment of those under law is a separate judgment that does not include believers:

Revelation 20:1 – Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This is clearly a separate judgment that pertains to being judged by the law that the unregenerate are under. The redeemed are not under the law, and will not even stand in that judgment. In fact, there are two other judgments; one pertaining to the Gentiles which I believe to be the bema seat, and another pertaining to Israel:

Revelation 20:4 – Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Matthew 19:28 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 20:28 – “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Obviously, this judgment involves multiple judges, i.e., the Apostles, and more than likely at the end of the tribulation period. There is also a judgment of the nations that involves both saved and unsaved who are left living, probably at the end of the tribulation period as well. The final white throne judgment only pertains to the second death:

Matthew 25:31 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

At the end of the Millennial kingdom, just prior to the white throne judgment, the angels do not gather the nations together for judgment, God merely rains fire down from heaven and consumes those who have surrounded Jerusalem. Also, Christ will rule the world from David’s throne and Israel is the head of the nations and not the tail; so, whether or not people helped His people is hardly an issue. These are different judgments, for different purposes, at different times. At this time, I am not sure when the bema seat takes place and who those receiving rewards are, but the judgment of the nations and the judgment of the 12 tribes of Israel probably take place at the end of the tribulation period. It is likely that the bema seat takes place after the rapture and involves the so-called “church” age believers.

So, in our endeavor to examine perseverance, we have laid an important foundation by examining judgment. Let me suggest that justification is not determined by any of these judgments, but rather FRUIT. That would be fruits of reward, and fruits of death:

Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

The judgments determine fruit: degree of reward or degree of death. Justification is not determined by any judgment. Certainly, Christians are called to persevere, but for what purpose? We reject with prejudice any idea that perseverance is part of the justification process. Let’s just look at one example where care in interpretation is called for:

Matthew 24:13 – But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

In the next parts, we will be looking at the various salvations of the Bible. Salvation doesn’t always mean the salvation of the soul, and this is one such case. Note the following text that speaks also of the tribulation period:

Matthew 10:21 – Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Here, Christ is giving instruction for Jews living during the tribulation period on persevering to the salvation of the body. This becomes even more evident if you read Matthew 24 in its full context. Also, notice the colaboring in this endeavor: you flee from town to town, and Christ will put an end to the tribulation period before they can get you. One may also note the significance Christ puts on the saving of life—even that of mortals.

In addition, note the following:

Matthew 10:40 – “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Right here, we have three rewards spoken of. The reward is not the salvation of the soul (justification), but rewards for acts of love in the Christian life. In James, we read the following:

James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The word for “crown” follows:

4735 stéphanos – properly, a wreath (garland), awarded to a victor in the ancient athletic games (like the Greek Olympics); the crown of victory (versus 1238 /diádēma, “a royal crown”).

Now, I know Reformed types mock the concept of “the victorious Christian life,” but is that not in fact exactly what we have here, the “crown of life,” or a crown/reward that denotes victory over trials in the Christian life? Is the reward salvation of the soul, or a reward for persevering in the Christian life?

We have noted that the vast majority of teachings on predestination comes from the Reformed camp, and it is irrefutable that they have the gospel dead wrong. No doubt, predestination is a difficult subject, but our theory is that if we focus on what we know definitively about justification and sanctification, we will be led to a proper understanding of predestination. So we will continue to look at the other aforementioned words next week and how they lend proper understanding to perseverance.

 

 

 

Perseverance: Potter’s House Live Recording 7/6/2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 6, 2014

HD video of same message with transcript will be posted later.  

Does Our Faith Have Humanity?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 5, 2014

a9be02682e660ffaef9bf3ae9a560addAs anybody who reads here at PPT knows, I am being more and more convinced that the present-day Neo-Calvinist resurgence is a return to the same viral Gnosticism that wreaked havoc on the 1st century church. Gnosticism is based on Platonism and assumes many different applications, but the basic idea is that the material world is evil, and only the invisible is good and true. People can scream all they want to, but the Protestant Reformation was clearly based on Neo-Platonism. Much of TTANC volume 2 will be dedicated to a painstaking documentation of this fact.

And once you know what to look for, things said by the premier evangelicals of our day reveal this shocking reality plainly. In a 2010 West coast conference that included John MacArthur, Michael Horton, and RC Sproul, MacArthur stated during the Q and A that his faith was grace poured out, not human, but supernatural. I filtered the statement mentality as mere run-of-the-mill spiritual sounding rhetoric, but latter, the implications of the statement hit me right between the eyes.

Our faith isn’t human? He plainly stated that his faith was “not a human faith.” This means we only “experience” faith that is from another realm; he also in essence, said that during the same line of thought in his answer as well.

That’s just straight up in-your-face Gnosticism stated plainly. The gift of faith granted to us by God cannot be part of our humanity because nothing intrinsic with humanity or the material world can be good. This also denies the new creaturehood of the new birth. Also, in John MacArthur’s coming out of the closet appearance at the 2008 T4G conference, more or less announcing to the Neo-Calvinist resurgence that I am one of you, he stated the following:

Call the sinner to flee from all that is natural and all that powerfully enslaves him.

Does the Bible call us to flee from “all that is natural”? Well, Gnosticism certainly does. And in true Gnostic fashion, MacArthur et al continually fustigate Gnosticism. Hence, if they criticize it, they must not be guilty of it. This approach falls into three categories:

1. Ignorance: MacArthur types actually don’t see the correlation.

2. The Noble Lie: They know its Gnosticism/Platonism, but such terms have negative cogitations and the unenlightened masses only think they understand that such philosophy is errant. They aren’t “ready” to accept the “hard truth” of the “scandalous” gospel. Aristotle had a caste mentality, but he believed man could understand reality; it is curious that Calvinists often criticize Aristotle, but do not mention his antitype, Plato. Shockingly, and in their apparent fear that they haven’t dumbed down the Protestant laity enough, they even criticize the eccentric Aristotelian Ayn Rand. Christians, thinking that they are merely reading theories on capitalism when they read Rand, are often surprised to go to church and hear criticisms of her. What does capitalism have to do with the gospel? Much more than we think.

3. Outright Deception: Redefine Gnosticism and criticize it. This was a mainstay deceptive practice among the Gnostics; redefine the definition of everything.

This is a very ancient concept, and much of the true gospel pushes back against it. Much of TTANC volume 2 will also show the shocking similarities between Calvinism and Hinduism. In fact, the history of Dualism will be traced from the Tower of Babel, to Hinduism, then to Plato, then to Augustine and the Reformation, and also Islam and Communism as well. Christians sometimes ask me what I think of the Marxist leanings of some New Calvinists. I think it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Christ was100% man, and 100% God, and this is by design. I have had readers who attend Calvinist churches inform me that their pastors teach that Jesus’ humanity was not of the same essence as ours. This doesn’t surprise me much.

paul

Why Calvinism and Assurance of Salvation are Mutually Exclusive: 7 minute video

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 4, 2014

Why Calvinism is Wretched in 5 minutes

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 3, 2014

Calvin: Christians Must Keep Their Salvation by Pursuing Perpetual Forgiveness in the “Church”

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 3, 2014

Inquiring Protestants Want to Know: What Does Salvation “Look Like”?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 3, 2014

ppt-jpeg4“In all of the rhetoric by John MacArthur et al, if you observe their specific words carefully, what is missing is the idea that we are in fact righteous beings who DO righteous deeds. This is the same old Gnostic song and dance that has plagued God’s people since the angel blocked access to the garden with a flaming sword.”

“MacArthur et al cannot escape this fundamental Reformed error regarding law and gospel. They can dance around it all year long, but there is ultimately no escape, this is simple theological math”. 

“Ever heard of a dead person being indicted? In our case, being saved, the old us could be exhumed and dragged into court, but even then there would be no law to judge us. This is why Christ died on the cross—to end the law. Glory to His name, and I love to tell this story.”

Presently, I am taking part in a discussion over at Spiritual Sounding Board. It’s one of the more beneficial discussions I have taken part in on any blog. Bottom line: why do we need a commercial building to do church? Who owns truth? What is the true authority structure of the New Covenant? Why are we at the mercy of choosing these answers from a smorgasbord of “experts” who do not agree? Why are we at the mercy of institutional leaders to stop abuse? Why are we begging them to do something about it? And, for the love of mercy, what’s up with the Nones? Think about it, to say “enough is enough” with the institutional church is to quit church altogether. Huh? See the problem here? The Reformers have effectively sold the whole idea of orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. Orthodoxy is a catechism given to the masses to live by from those who were chosen to be enlightened. It’s dignified mythology which is truth in storybook form palatable for the unenlightened masses.

And in order to control us according to European caste tradition, they have effectively dumbed us down. You can’t control an empowered priesthood of believers who have studied to show themselves approved. Weak saints are fleeceable and manageable. Point is case among many: “We know the institutional church is bogus, but we attend so our children can be involved in activities with other children.” Wow, just wow. Saving our kids from boredom is more important than the truth? Really? And then we get on blogs and whine about abuse? Truly, the 500 year campaign to make God’s people weak and manageable has been a grand success. Now, I don’t know if any of us would die for the truth, but why throw all doubt of that to the dogs by making the inbred weak sensibilities of our children more important than the truth? Let’s be honest with ourselves: we have bought the Reformed package that salvation can only be gained in the institutional church.

But in the aforementioned discussion, a question was posed that once again reminds us of the following: 500 years later, and billions paid to Reformed academics by laboring saints later, there is still confusion about what salvation is. This is by design. We are paying philosopher kings to keep us confused. I was sent a link by someone yesterday written by one of the premier Reformed academics of our day, John MacArthur Jr. In the article, he concedes that confusion about salvation is rampant among Christians, but his causal theory is very interesting, and frankly, as old as the hills: Christians want to figure everything out through reason and they don’t understand “paradox.” In fact, the Reformed tradition is littered with pithy truisms that state this very idea:

“Already—not yet.”

“Justification and sanctification are distinct, but never separate.”

“Simultaneously saint and sinner.”

These truisms are expressed in lofty Latin terms for purposes of intimidation. The Protestant psyche is perpetual doubt and fear—this was Calvin and Luther’s very definition of the Christian experience. Fearful people are easy to control, and put their hope in the magical yellow salvation bus driven by Plato’s philosopher kings. I have written of this and supplied specific citations until I have become blue in my fat face. In my book It’s Not About Election, I denote a whole chapter to this fact and cite many references. The title of chapter 5 is, “A Gospel of Works, Fear, and NO Assurance” (PS, my offer to send 10 free copies to 10 people involved in said conversation still stands. Send request to pmd@inbox.com this also includes The Reformation Myth). And as I discuss in the book, the icing on the cake is Calvin’s trump card, the get out of election free card. While propagating fear on the one hand, the power of the keys are propagated on the other. Let me give you the thumbnail: if your local Reformed elder thinks well of you—you are going to heaven because whatever he binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever he looses on earth will be loosed in heaven.  It is the perfect storm of control. That’s why it is important that your children are involved in the institutional church. Come now, look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.

Now, let’s get to this

…very telling question by one using the internet handle, “Waking Up”:

To paulspassingthoughts or anyone else able to answer, what does salvation look like, and act like? How does a saved person live and think about God? Since most of us have been fed various flavors of errors, from Calvin on down, please shed some light.

“What does salvation LOOK LIKE, and ACT LIKE.” Stop right there. This is why Protestants will never have the assurance promised to us by John, Jude, Peter, and Paul. Salvation is something that we can merely look at and observe what IT acts like. This is Luther’s alien righteousness to a T.

“Oh, that means God’s righteousness is a gift given to us when we are saved; such saving righteousness was of course foreign to us before salvation.”

NO! Protestant orthodoxy insists that this righteousness remains outside of the believer. Saving faith is the ability to merely EXPERIENCE “saving acts” done TO US and not done BY US. In all of the rhetoric by John MacArthur et al, if you observe their specific words carefully, what is missing is the idea that we are in fact righteous beings who DO righteous deeds. This is the same old Gnostic song and dance that has plagued God’s people since the angel blocked access to the garden with a flaming sword.  I don’t give a damn what these guys seemingly state, the official contemporary designation for their authentic Reformed gospel is “The Objective Gospel Outside of Us.”

Much could be said about this, but for now, let’s answer the question with definitive theological mathematics. Teacher Andy Young said it well at this year’s TANC conference: the law is for sanctification. There is no law in justification; we are justified apart from the law, and justification ENDS the law for those who believe. Reformed theology keeps the law as an ongoing standard of justification. Where there is no law, there is no sin, so sin is ended, but in the Reformed gospel where law remains the standard for justification after salvation, sin is not ended, it is “covered” by the “saving acts” (plural) of Christ’s life as well as His death. So, according to the Reformed gospel, Christ’s death did not end the law for justification, it was only a perpetuation for our past sin, now the obedience of Christ must be applied to the law in order to keep us saved. And of course, this requires a perpetual reapplication of the same gospel that saved us by faith alone to fulfill the law in order to keep us saved.

MacArthur et al cannot escape this fundamental Reformed error regarding law and gospel. They can dance around it all year long, but there is ultimately no escape, this is simple theological math. There are two salvific relationships to the law: the law of sin and death, and the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). Before we are saved, our mortality is enslaved to the law of sin and death, what the Bible calls being under law and not, under grace. This is the very definition of a lost person: “under law.” Ironically, the Reformed gospel keeps “believers” under law and defines a Christian according to the biblical definition of a lost person. So, there is warfare between two laws within a lost person: the law of sin and death which provokes them to sin, and the works of the law written on their hearts and judged by their conscience which either accuses or excuses. This is why the lost are not even totally depraved, much less the saved.

When a person is saved, they are no longer under the law of sin and death nor enslaved to it. That law is ended. Therefore, for purposes of justification, the believer is PERFECT for two reasons. First, there is no law to judge his/her justification. Second, said person died with Christ, and a dead person cannot appear in a court of law (see Romans 7:1ff). Ever heard of a dead person being indicted? In our case, being saved, the old us could be exhumed and dragged into court, but even then there would be no law to judge us. This is why Christ died on the cross—to end the law. Glory to His name, and I love to tell this story. Sin is not covered—it is ended for those who are justified. The old us is so dead to the law, that our mortality must be kept alive by Christ (Gal 2:20). In regard to the law of sin and death, it is no longer we who live, we died with Christ.

But according to the law of the Spirit of life, that’s a different story. We do live; we not only died with Christ, but we now share in His resurrection. The death part of our baptism is a finished work, but the resurrection life is just beginning. The new us is under grace, and able to please God by walking in the Spirit. And, the Spirit calls on us to learn and obey the law (the Bible); this is what he uses to change us (John 17:17). He promises to help us in our endeavor to please God and lead others to this same life. Yes, all that we do in obeying the law is out of love because we know that there is no law for justification. We have no motive to earn our justification—that’s absolutely impossible—there is no law that we can obey to do that. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” We are under grace and obey the law of Christ for love. As new creatures, it is impossible to attempt to obey any law for justification unless we do so out of ignorance and a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel.

Granted, there is a salvation and a rest yet waiting for Christians: the redemption of our mortal bodies. Until then, the law of sin and death can still provoke us to sin, but it cannot condemn us. It can provoke us, but it can’t judge us (Romans 7:23). It can provoke us, but we are not enslaved to it, but we are rather now enslaved to the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 6;18, 7:25). There is NO fear in the love of the Spirit of life, but yes, in working out the salvation of the mortal body, there is fear, for judgment begins in the house of God. There are present consequences for sin, but not eternal ones for the believer.

Protestantism keeps us under the law of sin and death, and fear, but there is no fear in love. Our obedience cannot have any kinship with justification. Hence, in the same way that one violates all of the law if he/she violates one point while being under it, the Christian fulfills all of the law by one act of love. I love this story. The story of freedom from the law of sin and death.

To all Protestants in the institutional church I say: come out from among them and be separate. Come out from among them and be free from the law of sin and death. Come, love our blessed Lord who died on that cross to free us by obeying the law of the Spirit of life. You are free to aggressively learn and obey—you are free to love your neighbor and God with your labor of love.

To “Waking Up” and all of us I say…

“’Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

 

paul

 

Tagged with:

7 Questions .org Project Will Focus on Warning Youth About Cross Conference

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 1, 2014

2016 Cross Conference

 

 

John Piper: We Participate in God’s “Saving Acts” 3 minute video

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 1, 2014

1. The Christian life is part of the salvation process.  

2. ONE act did not save us, but rather “saving acts” plural. 

3. We participate in the process of saving acts. 

Tagged with: ,

The Gospel of Sovereignty? Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey; Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 30, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

Listen to MP3. 

sov·er·eign·ty  [sov-rin-tee, suhv-] noun, plural sov·er·eign·ties.

1. the quality or state of being sovereign.

2. the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royalty.

3. supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.

4. rightful status, independence, or prerogative.

5. a sovereign state, community, or political unit.

“The sovereignty of God” is a phrase that we hear often in Christian circles; in fact, it is a subject that dominates Christian discussion in our day. Moreover, it is an attribute of God that Christians make intrinsic to the gospel itself. In my contention against progressive justification in our day, the argument I hear most is, “You don’t understand the sovereignty of God.”

And no wonder, one of the premier evangelicals of our day, John MacArthur Jr., had this to say in a message titled, “An Explanation of the Sovereign Gospel.”

So we know it has been laid upon us to be faithful in our evangelistic responsibility. At the same time, sometimes we struggle with this reality of divine sovereignty and what it is that we can do when everything is predetermined by God and worked by the Holy Spirit.

Well, the simple answer to the question is God has not only ordained whom He will save, but He has ordained that we in our faithful evangelism would be the means by which He would save His own. To be useful to Him is the purpose in the fulfillment of His sovereign plan, to be an instrument that He can use, to be a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. To be obedient because that brings, of course, blessing, reward in this life and eternal reward as well (Grace Community Church | Romans 9-11 | September 03, 2011).

Of course, if God has predetermined who will be saved, and uses our evangelism to carry that out, our obedience to evangelism must be preordained as well. As discussed in a previous lesson in this series, this necessarily requires the redefining of the words “obedience” and “reward” as well as many other words and the normative understanding of them. But the main point I want to make here is MacArthur making salvation synonymous with sovereignty which is defined as CONTROL.

Herein is the problem: the word “sovereign” does NOT mean “control,” it means that one has the right to have authority in a given jurisdiction. Even some among the Reformed admit this:

What does it mean to say that God is sovereign? The refrain has become so common, almost clichéd, in Reformed writing and preaching that it sometimes slips away from the reader or listener without lodging meaning in the mind. Worse, we typically hear the phrase to mean something it doesn’t. When Christians affirm that “God is sovereign,” they often mean “God is in control.” Paul Tripp, for example, wrote in his excellent book Lost in the Middle that “God truly is sovereign . . . there is no situation, relationship, or circumstance that is not controlled by our heavenly Father.”

The problem is that the English word sovereignty does not mean control. The U. S. government is sovereign within American territory, but that doesn’t mean the government controls everything within American borders or causes all that happens. If you look up sovereignty in the dictionary you’ll not find control in the definition—nor even as a synonym in a thesaurus.

Sovereignty means “rightful authority.” A dictionary gives “supreme rank” as one definition, and a thesaurus lists jurisdiction and dominion as synonyms. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty tells us God is the rightful ruler of the universe. He has legitimate claim to lordship. His government is just. In fact, justice is defined as his rule. God’s sovereignty doesn’t tell us whether God does in fact rule—just that he ought to, and that we should acknowledge his rule and obey it. (Is “Sovereign” the Best Descriptor for God? Paul D. Miller).

Miller goes on to say…

Once again, it is true God is sovereign. It’s also true he’s in control of everything that happens and he causes all that happens. But that is the doctrine of God’s providence, not his sovereignty.

Does God CAUSE everything to happen? Perhaps, but that’s not what providence means either.

prov·i·dence  [prov-i-duhns]  noun

1. the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.

2. God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.

3. a manifestation of divine care or direction.

4. provident or prudent management of resources; prudence.

5. foresight; provident care.

First, the word “sovereign” appears nowhere in the Bible which should give people pause in regard to the frivolousness of its use in Christian circles. Secondly, it does NOT mean, control, preordination, or predetermination. Certainly, if God wanted to control everything, He could, but does He? Did God know sin was going to come into the world? Yes, so why didn’t he prevent it beforehand? The best answer points to the importance of freewill. God did not cause sin by not preventing it. God tempts no one with sin and is not the creator of evil (James 1:13-18).

When the attributes of God are considered (most theologians name 21 different attributes), absolute deterministic control is not one of them. Even with said attributes, God at times chooses to forfeit the attribute for a period of time. Therefore, if God is predeterminist, He wouldn’t always necessarily choose to predetermine. Some attributes of God are temporarily mutable, and others are NOT ever mutable. An immutable attribute of God is His love towards mankind for all the living. Clearly, an example of an attribute that God has temporarily suspended at times is omniscience:

Genesis 18:20 – Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Mark 13:32 – But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Also, yes, in regard to some things God is immutable, but in contrast, he can be persuaded by prayer:

Isaiah 38:1 – In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

2Chronicles 16;12 – In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians (NIV).

We have established that sovereign would be the wrong word to describe God as causing all that happens, and those things being according to His desired will. It has also been mentioned that the word “sovereign” is not in the Bible. Even if sovereign did mean that all things are predetermined according to God’s pleasure, would it be correct to make that part and parcel with the gospel as most do in our day? Below is yet another version of the infamous Cross Chart that can be applied to this question:

Chart A

 

The Problem is defining the gospel according to God’s sovereignty as opposed to God’s love and the good news thereof. Why would the idea that God preordained people to hell be good news? This also speaks to man’s worth. Did Christ die for humanity because it has some kind of worth to God? We can again utilize the cross chart for this question:

Chart B

 

To the extent that man has worth, the gospel gets smaller and God’s grace, and the degree of His sacrifice are diminished. A gospel based on the sovereignty of God must completely eliminate man altogether, and John Immel’s point made in this year’s TANC conference is well taken: it eventually boils down to Man having no right to exist.

All of this greatly hinders the proper answering of questions people have about the Bible. Take note of John Piper’s answer to the question, “Why was it right for God to slaughter women and children in the Old Testament? How can that ever be right?”

It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die.

God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs.

So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing.

If I were to drop dead right now, or a suicide bomber downstairs were to blow this building up and I were blown into smithereens, God would have done me no wrong. He does no wrong to anybody when he takes their life, whether at 2 weeks or at age 92.

God is not beholden to us at all. He doesn’t owe us anything.

Now add to that the fact we’re all sinners and deserve to die and go to hell yesterday, and the reality that we’re even breathing today is sheer common grace from God.

I could make the question harder. As it was stated, it doesn’t feel hard to me, because God was stated as the actor.

My basic answer is that the Old and New Testaments present God as the one who has total rights over my life and over my death.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). How he takes away is his call. He never wrongs anybody.

~ Ask Pastor John | Desiring God .org | February 27, 2010

In essence, you see the mentality in this answer that man does not have the right to exist, and has no worth. Yet…

Malachi 3:17 – They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

John Piper has been called out many times publicly for making these kinds of statements in regard to tragedies, but no one seems to understand the ideology behind such statements. Some also notice tacit acceptance of terrorism as well, and the lack of justice in the institutional church for those who have been abused speaks for itself. If the president of the flagship seminary in service to the largest denomination in the world thinks that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot,” what are we to expect?

When one thinks of life past the fatalistic prism of the “sovereign” gospel that saturates today’s church and reads the Bible in the same thinking way, much better answers evolve. Unfortunately, life teaches us that terrorists cannot be reasoned with. I heard a retired high-ranking military official state this week that the only way to deal with terrorists is to eliminate them. Keep in mind, this is because they do not value mankind or life because of the same presuppositions that we are discussing.

When Israel was getting ready to enter the Promised Land, it could very well be that God knew certain cultures in the area would continually harass Israel and were completely unreasonable while having no regard for life. Israel’s lack of obedience in following God’s command to completely wipe out certain cultures came back to bite them for hundreds of years—even until this very day. These were cultures very much like ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who are presently wreaking havoc in the Middle East and mercilessly slaughtering thousands. These people, unfortunately, cannot be negotiated with.

Lastly, another problem with a gospel that is based on deterministic fatalism follows. There is only one person spoken of less in our day than the Holy Spirit: Satan. The Bible warns us throughout to be aware of the devil’s schemes, and that he “deceives” the world. Why would this be relevant and how do you “deceive” someone who is already preordained for eternal punishment? The Bible continually places blame on Satan for leading people into condemnation.

In the final analysis, a “sovereign” gospel devalues prayer, God’s promises, evangelism, sin, justice, hope, life value, future reward, and the belief that what we do in this life is relevant. I have come to believe that people will perish because we have been neutralized by ignorance:

Ezekiel 3:16 – And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

John MacArthur claims that Christians should take part in God’s “sovereign” plan, and therefore find blessings in being obedient to evangelism. I have heard this same take from people who equate freewill with an unsovereign gospel/false gospel. Again, God’s “sovereignty” is the attribute that primary drives the gospel and not love. But the following is irrefutable, such obedience must also be preordained and not really of our own volition. Furthermore, the reward is invalid as well.

I have also come to believe that there are no paradoxes in God’s election. I believe the confusion can be eliminated, and people motivated to labor in God’s ministry field with zeal. But I believe the study will be very hard work.

Nevertheless, let us begin it posthaste.

 

It’s Simple Predestination: Presbyterians will Be Cursed by God

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 27, 2014

ppt-jpeg4I was adopted by a wonderful man named Harry Dohse when I was two years old. I still have the original certificate with my birth name, Paul Martin Stein. Harry had one son with my mother who was born exactly two years from my birthday on September 5th,  Harry Kent Dohse. My older brother David was not adopted by Harry; therefore, his name is David Stein.

David and I were in business together in the 80’s, but rarely revealed that we were brothers, and because of prejudice I was often the point man in business dealings for that reason. In one case, when a person found out he was dealing with a Stein as well as a Dohse, showed us his 38 revolver, and it wasn’t show and tell time.

Throughout our time together as business owners, many railed against my brother to me unawares that we are brothers. He was usually the brunt of money jokes and references to Jewish greed. If you watched our TANC conference last week, you heard John Immel trace this motif about the Jews from Luther to Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party platform. The idea of “greedy Jews” in Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies (1543) shows up again in said platform, and initially got the ball rolling towards Auschwitz. John Calvin also aped the same anti-capitalist rhetoric against the Jews and complained of their detriment to Christian merchants.

As grammatical historical Christians, we affirm that God originally made His covenant with the Jews, promised them a land where they will dwell in peace forever, and made a new covenant with them from which the Gentiles share in the election of Israel. We affirm that God promises blessings for those who bless Israel, and cursing for those who curse Israel. Hence, we affirm that God has promised to curse all who hold to supersessionism or any doctrine that undercuts a grammatical understanding of Scripture regarding promises to Israel.

There is a biblical predestination that guarantees historical outcomes. It guarantees a happy ending for Israel. Presbyterians are big on election until it comes to Israel. However, this is somewhat consistent because they also believe, like their father Calvin, that you can lose your election. According to Calvin et al, Israel lost its election because of sin and was replaced by the church who apparently is unable to lose its election because of sin—regardless of the fact that Protestantism has adorned the soil of earth with more blood than any other movement in history.

Why then are we surprised that the Presbyterian Church recently divested Israel in favor of the Palestinians? Other historical offshoots of Protestant whoredom did the same in 2012. This is not only expected fruit from the false gospel of progressive justification, but we must remember that John Calvin shared the exact same presuppositions about mankind as Islam, Communism, Socialism, and Fascism. The kinship is the belief that man must be governed in every detail of his life to prevent chaos. Protestants are not strange bedfellows with Islam at all—violence will no longer be needed if democracy can be eliminated, and Muslims will immediately beat their swords into plowshares. Right.

I suppose it’s predestined because God doesn’t break His promises: those who curse Israel will be cursed, and Presbyterians have been cursing Israel for 500 years.

paul

 

 

More Musings on TANC 2014: Somebody Has to Do it

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 27, 2014

green-logo3I am swamped with responses from this year’s conference and unfortunately, I can’t respond to all of them. Some people sense that I could use a little cheering up, so thanks for the dog video. Some have offered services, I will get to you at some point, trust me; I don’t forget free stuff. Bless you.

But I was struck by one email that reminds me of why we are here. We are here for those who want to know what is going on in the cognitive dissonance reality created by the Neo-Platonists of our day. Traditionally, for about 500 years now, these Neo-Platonists are otherwise known as “Protestants.”

We are not going to completely upset 500 years of tradition, but it is our intention to be there for people who want to know why church is getting really weird. We want to be there for people who want to learn how the Protestant hierarchy has reinterpreted every aspect of biblical nomenclature that exists. We want to be there for people who are figuring out that Protestantism is nothing more or less than an institutional political organization dressed in Bible verses.

Be sure of this: in the near future, the Neo-Platonists will make a significant move that will bring them closer to closing the gap between church and state. Many conservatives in the Republican Party hold to Calvinistic Dominion/Reconstructionist theology. I believe that a significant move would have already been made by the Neo-Calvinist T4G crowd if the Mahaney scandal hadn’t become public. A new denomination? A political party? I don’t know, but something.

That’s where your money is really going: to help Protestantism go back to its roots, to find the whore that originally gave it birth; the marriage of church and state, the marriage of faith and force, a government that will enforce their orthodoxy. First, and clearly, they tell you that they have the authority to eliminate your just standing (salvation)—Calvin did not mince words on this fact. For those not buying that package, you must be compelled for the sake of the collective. They will not relent on that goal—it’s a control lust that they have never been able to resist.

And fear this: they will side with a Muslim who understands God’s “sovereignty” long before they will side with a half-pregnant grammarian evangelical. In the mass of information that supporters send us, I understand that the Presbyterian Church of America has pulled all of its investments out of Israel in defense of Palestine. Events like this taking place in the church no longer perplex me. In this case, you see the kinship between the Protestant and the Muslim…

…man has no right to exist. We exist at the behest of a god that seeks only the glory that is due him. That’s Plato; that’s Augustine; that’s Luther; that’s Calvin; that’s John Piper et al. And that is all encompassed in the word…

…sovereignty. Much more on that this Sunday: “The Gospel of Sovereignty.”

The direness of the problem was alluded to in the same email:

I don’t know if you ever listen to Janet Mefferd, at JanetMefferd.com, but on her program today, June 26th, she interviewed a Dr. Joel R. Beeke about his new book, “A Puritan Theology.”  It’s a 1,000 page book on the Puritans and he gave a totally different view.  I would love to hear your take on the interview if you are so inclined to listen.

Janet Mefferd represents the mainstream, and Dr. Joel R. Beeke is the contemporary personification of the most radical form of medieval Puritan mysticism. Mefferd is clueless in regard to what she is promoting. And as far as I can tell, no alternatives are being articulated for those who seek something else and love the truth. Again, that’s where we think TANC is important.

Come now, let’s be honest. What’s the difference between this…

iraq-executions-160614

And this…

DyerHanging

I didn’t ask you which of the two sounds better or looks better; I asked you what the real difference is in the final analysis.

paul

TANC 2014 Andy Young Session 1: Anybody Remember Grammatical Historical Teaching?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 27, 2014

Power Points 

Be Ye Holy for I am Holy

Ok, welcome to Session 1 on Understanding Sanctification. (introduce yourself if necessary).

In my opinion, the hardest part about doing any sort of topical study is finding a starting point.  I would much rather take a passage of scripture and teach through that in context, and just let the passage say what it says.  What makes a topical study of the Bible so difficult is that there is always a danger of proof-texting.  We have to always make sure that we are aware that we unconsciously bring a bias with us, wherever that bias comes from, it could be from our parents, what out parents taught us, could be from a particular church denomination that we grew up attending, or maybe our worldview, whatever influenced that.  There are things in our life that shape us and we end up having a particular bias when it comes to interpreting scripture.  So when it comes to studying a particular topic or doctrine, we have this tendency to seek out passages that fit in with our bias.  This is called proof-texting.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with proof-texting.  In fact, many of the scriptural truths we hold dear we can directly site a specific verse or passage that teaches that.  For example, if I were to ask you, what must a person do to be saved, what are some verses that immediately come to mind?

Acts 16:31

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Romans 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-10

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

John 3:14-18

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Now these are all good verses, and the reason these are good proof-texts is because the context is pretty straightforward.  And the big danger with proof-texting is ignoring the larger context.  For example, if someone were to ask me about how to be saved, one verse I would not use as a proof text is Acts 27:31.  Anyone know that verse?  “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” That’s a good salvation verse, isn’t it?  Now I know that’s a silly example, but don’t laugh, I have heard of people teaching on this passage and making all kinds of metaphors out of the ship and trying to turn this into a salvation passage.  But I use this to show you how easy it is to take a verse out of context.  We have to make sure we are very careful to understand and interpret a verse or passage within the larger context.

So in these sessions dealing with sanctification, we’re going to be turning to a lot of scripture.  We’re going to spend a lot of time looking up verses and passages of scripture dealing with sanctification, and I’m going to be very careful and methodical to make sure we keep the context straight, that we understand the larger theme of where these verses fit in with the rest of scripture, and so hopefully we’ll avoid this danger of proof-texting.

In this first session I want to lay the ground work for the other sessions, so I’m going to spend a lot of time defining terms.  That will become our premise for the rest of the study on Sanctification.  It is important to understand the distinction between Sanctification and Justification.  It is important to keep that distinction.  Sanctification is an act that happens to those who are already justified; those who are already declared to be righteous.  No, not just declared righteous, made righteous by belief in God, belief in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the Biblical standard for righteousness; belief in God.  So because Sanctification is subsequent to Justification, I am going to be specifically addressing those who are already saved.  If you have already believed in Christ for your salvation, I am speaking to you today.  These sessions will apply specifically to you.  Nothing I have to say applies to someone who is unsaved.  I am speaking directly to believers.  In other word, little to nothing I have to speak about applies to Justification.  Justification has already been accomplished in your life, now we’re moving on to Sanctification.

So having said all of that, I’m going to use this first session to define our terms.  What is Sanctification?  More importantly, what is a Biblical definition of Sanctification?  Then our second session, we’ll explore sanctification in the Old Testament and it’s relationship to the Law, and I want to consider the idea, that if God wants me to be holy, then why do I still sin?  And then in the last session on Sanctification we will examine the question of, is there any merit to good works, and we will even examine the Biblical source of assurance for the believer.

So let’s get started on some terms.  What is Sanctification?  What does it mean to be Sanctified?  Before we can address those questions, we need to understand what Sanctification has to do with relation to holiness.  We know that God is holy.  The Bible teaches that holiness is one of God’s attributes.  So as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit holiness?  Are believers really holy?  The verse that I’ve chosen to use, sort of as the theme for these sessions on Sanctification is 1 Peter 1:16.  Why don’t we start there.  Go ahead and turn to 1 Peter.  And actually I want to start with verse 14.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [way of life, how you conduct yourselves]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

And this last part here in verse 16 like I said is what I have chosen as the theme for these sessions.  Peter uses the esxpression, “because it is written,” he is actually making reference to the Law.  Peter is actually quoting the exact phrase found in Leviticus 11:44, 45.

Now some things I want you to notice about the grammatical structure of this passage here in 1 Peter.  Please notice all of the verbs in this passage, all of the action words, they are all in the imperative mood.  Imperative mood means it is a command.  An order.  Holiness is not optional.  It is a command.

Secondly, not only are all the verbs, all the actions, not only are they commands, they are in the active voice.  Active voice means that the subject performs the action.  The opposite of active voice is the passive voice.  In passive voice, the subject is the recipient of the action, or the subject has the action performed upon him.  Notice the active voice in all of these commands

do not fashion yourselves – you don’t fasion

be ye holy – you be holy

Notice the subject performs the action.  You.  You are performing the action.  This is different from passive voice.  If these commands were in the passive voice it would read something like:

do not be fashioned – do not allow yourself to be fashioned. Or;

be made holy – allow yourself to be made holy.

Taking this even one step further, if we look specifically at this phrase, “be ye holy”.  This phrase in the Greek looks like this.  It’s pronounced:

αγιοιγενεσθε “hag-ee-oy gin-ess-theh”

The word I have underlined here is the imperative form of the word:

γινομαι – “gin-oh-my” -  to cause to be; to become (reflexive)

This is a linking verb that is the equivalent to our English word “is”, and all the forms it takes- am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.

So not only is this verb in the active voice, the word itself is causative in its very meaning.  This phrase could actually read, “cause yourself to become holy.”  Or, “make yourself holy.”

The third thing I want you to consider from this passage is, who is the audience?  Who is to perform this command to be holy?  Let your eyes go up to the beginning of the chapter.  To whom is Peter addressing this letter?  Who is supposed to be holy?

King James says – the strangers scattered throughout all these regions of Asia Minor.  Who would that be?  In the Greek this would read as pilgrims of the dispersion.  That is an expression that is used other places in scripture to describe displaced ethnic Jews.  These are Jews who did not return to the land of Israel following the Babylonian and Assyrian captivity.  They dispersed, and settled here and there throughout this region.  We also know from reading the books of Acts and from Galatians chapter 2 for example, that Paul’s ministry focused on the Gentiles, and Peter’s ministry focused on the Jews.  Galatians 2 uses the expression the gospel of the uncircumcision vs. the gospel of the circumcision.

So what we have here is Peter writing this letter addressed to these Jews of the dispersion, but what’s more important is that they are believers.  And that is what I really want us to see here.  Peter is writing to believers.  More than that, these commands here in verses 14-16 are issued to believers.  He is exhorting believers to not fashion themselves after their former life.  The believer is commanded to be holy.  The believer is to cause it to happen, actively, make it happen, not to passively wait for it to happen to him.  And I want this to be our underlying theme of these sessions.

As we go through these sessions, keep this in the forefront of your mind at all times, this is what we as believers are commanded to do.  We are not to live our lives the way we used to.  Not fashioning ourselves after the former life.  And by the way, that is the exact same word the apostle Paul uses in Romans 12:2, where he says be not conformed to this world, “soo-scheme-ah-tid-zo”.  This is where we get the word “schematic”.  You’ve probably heard of a schematic diagram.  For electrical engineers a schematic is a pattern to follow.  And that’s what the word means, having to do with a pattern.  We don’t pattern our lives after this world, we don’t follow the pattern of our old behaviors.  As believers we are to be holy as God is holy.

And if God in His word is commanding us to do it, then we must be able to do it, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in a God who would tell us to do something that we can’t do.  And if you don’t believe that, then I’m sorry, then you and I don’t believe in the same God.

Believers are called to holiness.  Now what is holiness?  That’s a word that has a lot of mystique about it.  Very ethereal.  We hear it, we think we know intrinsically what it means and we throw it around, but we have a hard time explaining it.  Well, let’s define these terms.  How does the Bible define holiness?  Let’s start at the beginning.  Surprisingly, the word “holy” doesn’t even appear in the book of Genesis.  The first occurrence of the word “holy” in the Bible appears in Exodus 3:5.

Exodus 3:5

“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

קדשׁ – qôdesh – ko’-desh

Strongs dictionary defines it as a sacred place or thing.  Ok, well, that doesn’t tell us very much.  There is a parallel word for holy in the New Testament.  The first use of the word holy in the NT is

Matt 1:18

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

A couple more places where this is found, and I’m not going to look all of these up, but

Matthew 4:5

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,”

Matthew 7:6

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

This word in the Greek for holy is

αγιος – “hag-ee-oss” – sacred.

Again, still a pretty abstract concept.  Let’s set out to de-mystify these concepts.  Bring it from the abstract to the tangible.   Let’s see if we can nail it down a little more.  To better understand what holiness is, let us examine the opposite of holiness.  In scripture, the opposite of holy is profane.  Now profane carries with it a different meaning than what we understand in our modern usage of the word.  When we hear the word profane we usually think of profanity, like foul language.  So in the modern usage of the word, profane has the idea of evil, or foul, or sinful.  But that is not what the word means as it’s used in scripture.  In scripture profane simply means, common, ordinary, or everyday.  Run-of-the-mill.  No-frills.  Just like all the rest.

Now when you consider profane in this aspect, scripture presents all kinds of contrasts between that which is holy and that which is profane. The Old Testament is full of these contrasts.  Here are just a few of them:

Holy vs. Profane

Leviticus 20:3

And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.

Leviticus 21:6

They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

Leviticus 21:7

They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Leviticus 22:2

Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 22:15

And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord;

Leviticus 22:32

Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,

Ezekiel 22:26

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference [discernment] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel 44:23

And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Amos 2:7

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:

Over and over again we have this contrast presented to us.  So if we understand then that profane is that which is common, or ordinary, or just like all the rest, and we understand that holy is the polar opposite of profane, then holy would be that which is not profane; that which is not common, that which is not ordinary, that which is not every-day, that which is not just like all the rest.

God said to Israel, when you profaned My name among the heathen, you made Me to be just like all the other gods.  When you profaned my temple, you made it like any other ordinary building.  I am no longer holy.  You caused me to be patterned after just like everything else.  I am no longer in that place where I deserve to be, because I am God, I am Jehovah.  I am not like all the rest.  I am higher than all the rest.  In fact, there are no others.  I am the only one.  I am that I Am!  I am the self-existent One!  That’s what My name means.  Do not profane it!  Do not make it just like all the rest!

This distinction between holy and profane is very helpful when it comes to us understanding why holiness is important in the Christian life.  Because if we are believers, then we are the adopted children of God.  If we are believers then we have identified with Christ.  We are righteous as He is righteous.  Sin has been taken away.  So then why would we live a life that profanes our Father?  Why would we live a life, why would our behavior be common, ordinary, why would our behavior be just like everyone else?

God is out of the ordinary, and He wants His people to be like Him.  In fact, He made it possible when He saved us.  Sin was taken away.  Our old man was crucified with Christ, and now we live in newness of life.  Our lives should be out of the ordinary.  Our lives should not be characterized by that which is just like everyone else in this world.

So, after we have gone through all of that, do we have a Biblical definition of holiness that we can work with?

Holy – a place or thing which is distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else.

Now those are words we can understand.  Those are words we can wrap our minds around and sink our teeth into.

Now that begs the question, what determines if something is holy?  What is it that makes something holy?  And this is where the relationship with sanctification comes into play.  If we as believers are commanded to be holy, our holiness then is effected through the process of sanctification.  In fact that could be a good starting place to define Sanctification.  We could say that:

Sanctification – the process whereby the holiness in the life of the believer is effected.

But let’s not leave it there.  Remember, our goal is to have a Biblical understanding of these concepts.  So let’s go back to God’s word and see how the scriptures define Sanctification.

Now while the word holy did not appear until the book of Exodus, the word sanctify appears early on in the book of Genesis.  The first instance of “sanctify” appears in

Genesis 2:3

“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

קדשׁ – qâdash – kaw-dash’ – to be clean; to make, pronounce, or declare clean.

Notice that, the basic definition of sanctification has to do with cleansing.  If you wanted to substitute the word clean for the word sanctify in Genesis 2:3 it would read:

“And God blessed the seventh day, and cleansed it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Now let me put our word for holy back up here for a moment.

Holy – ko-desh

Sanctify – kaw-dash

There is a great similarity between these two Hebrew words.  In fact they are both taken from the same root word.  What we have here is a very close relationship between cleansing and holiness.  The fourth commandment is what, remember the Sabbath day to keep it, holy.  Remember our definition of Holy?  Why was the Sabbath day holy?  Why was the Sabbath day distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else?  It was holy because God cleansed it.

Ok, how about the New Testament?  The first instance of “sanctify” in the NT is found in

Matthew 23:17

“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?”

αγνος – “hag-noss” – clean

Now just like I did in the Hebrew, let me put up the word for holy in the Greek.

Holy – “hag-ee-oss”

Sanctify – “hag-noss”

Again, look at the similarity of the two words.  And just like in the Hebrew, these two words in the Greek are taken from the same root.  The same relationship appears in the Greek between these ideas of cleansing and holiness.

So now that we understand this relationship between holiness and cleansing, we can take the meaning of the word Sanctify, and combine it with the meaning of holiness, and we can come up with what I believe is an accurate, Biblical definition of Sanctification.

Sanctification – the process of cleansing for the purpose of making a place or thing distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else. (or the purpose of making something holy)

So we have our definitions.  We’ve established the ground work, the foundation from which we can build.

If you remember at the beginning of this session I asked the question, as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit God’s attribute of holiness?  I would say that according to scripture, the answer is a resounding, YES!  We are able to.  We are able to be distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everyone else.  We are able to behave that way.  We are able to pattern our lives that way.

So, now that we have a premise to build on, in session two, we’ll take a look at how this all worked out in the Old Testament under the law, and the relationship of Sanctification to the law.  We’ll expand on this idea of cleansing and the relationship between cleansing and Sanctification and holiness in the life of a believer.

Do we have time for any questions or comments?

Tagged with: ,

Why Christian Counseling Cannot Help People: Bad Soteriology

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 26, 2014

American Clergy Brilliance: “The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration”

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 24, 2014

Musings on TANC 2014: Why The Wartburg Watch is Not a Solution, But a Source of Spiritual Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 23, 2014

TANC LOGOPreface: I have heard from most of our strong supporters on the spirited discussion between John and Bo, and the feedback seems to be…good discussion in the Coliseum. That was very encouraging to me as a sign that our supporters understand that TANC is about rethinking churchianity. More on that later in this post.

Dee Parsons is the co-author of The Wartburg Watch blog which reports on cultural trends within the Neo-Calvinist movement. Some Neo-Calvinists get it and have a cordial relationship with “Deb and Dee.” Others see them as arch enemies and the verbiage gets personal. This is disappointing as I prefer to see the masses deceived by clever politics rather than politics of the schoolyard variety. I have become fond of humanity and like to think the best of us. I would like to think that most Neo-Calvinists follow the leadership that plays well with Deb and Dee for a maximum deceptive benefit.

Let me set the table for the case against Deb and Dee.

This is why I no longer watch American Greed on cable television: it’s so disappointing to see all of those intelligent people duped by unimpressive Ponzi schemes. But, I also feel bad for the victims as many lost their entire life savings and have no way to get it back.

Yes, I feel bad for them, which makes me part of the problem as well. More table-setting ahead.

I have grown immensely as a person and Christian via my relationship with John Immel. We consider John our resident church historian and philosopher, not our theologian; that’s my department. John knows where Susan and I stand on Scripture as truth for life and godliness. Where does he stand exactly on that? I’m not sure, but that has nothing to do with TANC. We are a think tank, and our observers expect thinking to take place, not a solidifying of every element that we have believed all of our Christian lives as told to us by others.

TANC is trying to do something about the dichotomy between common sense and Christianity; viz, common sense is “not of faith,” but rather “of the material world.” When it gets right down to the nitty gritty, Christians may assent to the idea that the humanity part of us finds practical nourishment from the same material world, but we don’t function that way.

This is where it is difficult to read John, it would seem that he refuses to discuss the gospel until Christians come to grip with philosophy. Let’s say for sake of conversation that John has a different definition of the new birth than “Christians,” A; look around, few Christians among us can define the new birth biblically. Is the new birth a realm, or new creaturehood? “New creaturehood” you say. Well, that’s strange because easily 75% of evangelical pastors believe the new birth is a realm. B; if our “Christianity” is driven by philosophy that most don’t understand, why would John want to discuss it? Also, the spat was really my fault because even though I have a kinship with Bo’s view of Scripture, I forgot to tell him the following: you never use the word, “authority” when talking with John about truth. Christians by and large give assent to the idea that God owns truth, but clearly function as though God’s anointed own it by proxy.

This is the bottom line and a matter of irrefutable history: Western theological debate, when stripped naked, is a debate between Plato and Aristotle. If you don’t understand that debate, your local evangelical pastor can hang a Bible verse on anything he says and you will believe it. Augustine is the father of Western Christianity, and the fact that he integrated Platonism with the Bible is no big secret. Yet, there are discernment ministries that bemoan the integration of Psychology with… their interpretation of the Bible, which is a Platonist interpretation. Yes, I have read the unwitting treatises of a Platonist interpretation of the Bible, and its indignity against psychological integration which comes mostly from Socrates.

Also, when Jesus arrives on the world scene, Judaism was saturated with the theology of Philo who integrated the Old Testament with Platonism. Do you really think that is unnecessary knowledge for understanding the New Testament? Christ was the personification of the physical and good—this was an in-your-face pushback to the philosophy that has always dominated humankind from the very beginning of time.

What am I talking about? and why do Christians drive John Immel nuts? Well, a test: do you think that creation was representative of the gospel in that God brought light out of darkness? I have heard John MacArthur posit that idea more than once. That’s a Platonist interpretation. And…

…No, I am not going to tell you why that is a Platonist view of the Bible. For the first time in your Christian life, you need to study for yourself, and stop thinking the thoughts of other men. Like thoughts are different from your thoughts, and your faith should be your own, and faith is not separate from intellect.

No, I do not feel sorry for you. You fell into the trap of abuse because you were guided into a place of danger by thinking other people’s thoughts and not your own informed by good information. You are a lazy thinker who is guided by the chemical reactions in your brain ignited by the words of others. You are a vice, not a victim.

No, I am not obligated to recognize facts that lead to the tragedy of untruth. No, I am not obligated to say something good about facts used in the commission of a third degree theological felony leading to first degree bad fruit. No, your “story,” or “experience,” is not useful to me unless you have pinpointed the errant logic borrowed from others that led to your victimization. Yes, you are not much different from the man who attempted to rectify fuel line freeze up by heating a can of gasoline on his stove because his neighbor said it was a good idea. No, regardless of what happened, I am not obligated to discuss the goodness of gas cans and stoves. The goodness of gas cans and stoves does not partially sanctify the bad result. Yes, I will discuss the bad logic that led to the misuse of the gas can and the stove as a way to prevent the explosion of apartment buildings. No, I am not sorry that the man who had fuel line freeze up is dead. No, I will not discuss the fact that many who followed the same logic didn’t die, and were given a new home by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Yes, you are right, you were wrong, and you do owe me an apology. This is why God refuses to cure Stupid with an Apology pill. I do not accept apologies from those who do not fear bad ideas. There is no antidote for stupid, only you can prevent apartment fires.

No, Susan will not apologize for having nothing good to say about the Puritans in her three sessions. No, I no longer feel sorry for those who are led to the slaughter like the dumb oxen.

Yes, I will lay down my life for you if you say the following: “I was formally a mindless fool thinking the thoughts of others and dishonoring God by wasting my mind. I now see that studying to show myself approved is a moral obligation.”

I might even feel sorry for you.

Yet another example: Let’s say that the thousands presently being slaughtered by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Iraq could come back from the dead and tell their stories on the Wartburg Watch. These poor souls, they were lined up in large number and summarily executed with AK 47’s. They would post about that awful experience, and then many would wait with bated breath for Deb and Dee’s profound words of comfort.

I will embellish this motif a bit further: Deb and Dee host an online Echurch and the pastor is a Muslim cleric (actually, it’s the New Calvinist Wade Burleson). But he is a good Muslim cleric who thinks the mass executions are absolutely horrible. Hence, since all Muslims don’t condone mass executions of those who are other than Muslim, also known as infidels, NO connection can be made between the doctrinal logic and the behavior. And here is the crux of their argument:

“We don’t agree with everything they teach.”

If logic is not connected with behavior, no one can be held accountable, or accountability is selective which is the exact case with the Wartburg Watch. And as I will demonstrate, this actually facilitates tyranny. As I will demonstrate, Deb and Dee facilitate tyranny in a way that is as old as the world itself.

And this fact answers the following objective: “But Paul, you and John Immel don’t agree on everything either.” Precisely, and thanks for bringing that up.According to what John and I disagree on, we connect the logic of those elements to probable outcomes, and the probable outcomes are acceptable in context of the endeavor.

Now back to Deb and Dee and my ISIS motif. I want to feel sorry for the victims lined up in front of a row of AK 47’s, but I can’t because too many more lives are at stake. You see, the victims lived in a society accepting of soft Islam with different applications. Obviously, beforehand, mass slaughter wasn’t an application, but another tenet of the same logic was: laws banning the right for the people to keep and bear arms. If you have an armed public, bullies can’t just march in and slaughter people at will. When a logic is bad, many of its tenets can lead to your death. In a spiritual caste system, all of the tentacles lead back to the brain of the octopus. Even if an octopus doesn’t use all of his tentacles, it’s still an octopus, and a lazy octopus can be motivated to full octopusness at any time. The problem is the octopus, not the tentacles unless he doesn’t have any.

“By their fruits you will know them.”

Bad fruit is caused by false doctrine; therefore, bad doctrine will eventually cause bad fruit. In Africa presently, Muslims are killing Christians, but in many areas of Africa, presently, the Christians still burn witches. Why? Both are spiritual caste systems. The same basic logic that drives Christians to burn witches in Africa is the exact same logic that caused Calvin to burn witches in Geneva. Ideology is timeless, you can be sure of that.

This brings me to a discussion that I had with John at the conference. God’s design in regard to the balance of power is this: the people outnumber the government. If the people rise up in unison, the government is toast. This is why dictatorships are so afraid of ideas. Throughout human history, man has typically not connected logic with behavior. The logic eventually leads to fruit that incites the masses to take drastic action. This is a vicious cycle that has repeated itself throughout human history, until America happened.

For the first time in human history, a group of men got together and decided to form a nation that addresses the logic and not the symptoms. The results sometimes referred to as the American dream speak for themselves. There is a reason why there has never been a religious war in the United States. The founding fathers of America grew up under the tyranny of the Puritans, and when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they had the Puritans on their mind. The unseparation of Puritan and state on America’s east coast was duplicating the exact same tyranny that saturated human history up to that point. The framers were adamant in regard to separation of Puritan and state.

In defense of not making logic accountable to fruit,

Dee Parsons referred me to an article written by Roger Olson. Notice that her defense is the thoughts of someone else rather than her own. You can also add this attribute to her propensity for making lazy thinkers and mindless followers victims. At any rate, Olsen attempts to make a case for separating doctrine from behavior. Unlike what Jesus plainly stated, Olson argues for the following: those who teach without adding right practice should yet be regarded highly in the kingdom of heaven. This advocates the irrelevance of fruit in discerning doctrine. This makes a separation between doctrine and behavior. This is not eliminating the stagnant pool of water that will likely breed a disease.

I once knew of a pastor who had some sort of acid poured in his swimming pool by somebody. Every time for a week that his children wanted to go swimming, it rained, eventually resulting in a colored film floating on the surface of the pool. Experts say that the acid would have caused severe burning of the children’s skin and blindness. According to many, the logic of those who poured the acid in the pool is not all that bad because the children didn’t jump in. I disagree. The application of bad logic, for many reasons, does not always come to full volition.

Likewise, soft Calvinism is like cancer that is in remission, or a landmine that has not yet been stepped on. The attributes of the logic are present, and set the stage for a full expression to happen at any time. The tenet that disarms the public sets the stage that makes the full expression possible. In the same way, Deb and Dee proclaim that soft Calvinists provide safe haven for people while these same soft Calvinists remain conspicuously silent in regard to other Calvinists that express a more explicit tyranny.

Brigitte Gabriel of the American Congress for Truth is fighting the exact same problem in Muslim circles in regard to “moderate Islam” versus “radical Islam.” She points out that the ideology of Islam is the problem, and calls out the “moderates” for not speaking out against the fruits of the “radicals.” Political commentator Sean Hannity has said that the silence of those who have supposedly had their religion “hijacked” is…”deafening.”

This same debate is all too familiar in Evangelical circles regarding Calvinism. In addition, the fact that Islam and Calvinism both find their roots in Platonism is far from being obscure and the idea is promoted by renowned scholars past and present. Islam’s threat will continue to grow if the ideology is not rejected wholesale, and spiritual tyranny in the church will continue through Calvinism aided by those who claim to be the cure.

Another tenet:  

In this year’s TANC conference, John Immel explained another tenet of Reformed ideology: socialism and the socialist disdain for capitalism. This is the idea that man doesn’t have the right to own property. John explained how this ideology bred class envy beginning with Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies, and found strong footing in Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Even during the time of Luther, Jews were prosperous, and were referred to as the “greedy Jews.” Oh my, how many times did I hear in the Reformed church that everything I owned didn’t belong to me—it belonged to God (being interpreted: the church by proxy). Per the usual, and without a second thought, I nodded like the Calvinist Bobblehead that I was.

Understand, this tenet of Reformed thought laid dormant under the auspices of mere economic theory for about 400 years, but was the seed that gave full bloom to the holocaust. According to the NSGWP platform, “profiteering” was a crime against humanity and punishable by death. Per the usual, John’s sessions sink in slowly over time with periodic, “Oh my Gosh.”

There is a solution for spiritual tyranny in the church. When you see bad fruit—find the ideology behind it and reject the ideology wholesale. Do not think that some tenets are harmless and therefore worthy of praise, because, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump,” and “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” A note to Roger Olson: that’s Jesus again.

Calvinist elder-despots have a mantra that they use to deflect all accountability: “All the elders do not agree on that point.” Because one of them might be right, the lot of them cannot be rejected. If ideology is not connected to behavior, no one is accountable. The ONLY hope for justice is the secular courts. And let’s talk about that word “secular.” At this year’s conference, the baggage associated with the word “secular” was examined. Even though our founding fathers believed in God, the Constitution of the United States is primarily a secular document that prohibits the promotion of any particular religion. So, the first secular nation on earth also happens to be the greatest. And by the way, look around in our day, justice is only being found for victims of religious tyranny in the secular courts. “Secular” does not equal, “evil,” it just means the separation from any particular religion, and if something has to be religious to be good, which religion? “In God We Trust” doesn’t mean that God thinks practical governing is a bad idea.

Ok, so I could go on and on with this. There are lots of tentacles. The Calvinist idea that “secular” is antithetical to God’s authority has made the high tide of spiritual tyranny a virtual tsunami in the American church. But yet, Deb and Dee are hell-bent on advocating a moderate Calvinism. Their association with Wade Burleson gives the green light to thousands of followers to taste and see if any given Calvinist church is of the moderate form. I have direct association with people who have been double and triple victimized by this mindset. In other words, three churches later…the lightbulb turns on: “It’s the doctrine. It’s the fruit of a bad tree.”

Moreover, Wade Burleson is closely associated with the very forefathers of the New Calvinist movement that is the primary target of Wartburg and dubbed the “Calvinistas” by Deb and Dee. The irony and pure ignorance of it all is stunning.

Frankly, Deb and Dee ministering to the spiritually abused is like Dr. Kevorkian caring for someone who has a 50% chance of surviving some horrible disease. Deb and Dee, giving credence to a moderate Calvinism themselves, have bought into the whole sanctification by justification idea. That’s a slow spiritual death.

Moderate Calvinism will continue to pave the way for more and more misery—it must be rejected in totality.

paul

 

 

John Immel Session Six TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014
Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  now

Live right now: John Immel on Calvinism and the Third Reich.  http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/06/22/john-immel-session-five-tanc-2014/

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014
Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  now

John Immel TANC 2014: “Puritanism is the most disastrous body of doctrine ever perpetrated on mankind.”

John Immel Session Five TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014

Susan Dohse Session Three TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014

Andy Young Session Three TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014

TANC 2014 Potter’s House Home Fellowship and Round Table Discussion

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 22, 2014

Susan Dohse Session Two TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

Andy Young Session Two TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

John Immel Session Four TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

John Immel Session Three TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

Dr. William “Bo” Grissom Session One TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

“< Tweet, Tweet TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

Tanc Talk

If returning to the cross is the emphasis of the Christian life Peter didn’t get the memo. 2Peter chapter 1.

“< Tweet, Tweet TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014
Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  9m

Condoning Neo-Puritanism in the least = steroidal misogyny. You can’t have it both ways.

“< Tweet, Tweet Tanc 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014

Tanc TalkA perpetual return to death to gain life is no different than believing 72 virgins await you in heaven. Musings about different outcomes doesn’t change the logic.

 

“< Tweet Tweet TANK 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014
Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  10s

The belief that man is unable to choose ALWAYS leads to spiritual tyranny.

“< Tweet, Tweet

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 21, 2014
Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  7s

History never fails to repeat itself if Neo-Calvinism is not stopped it will lead to a culture of death.

John Immel Session Two TANC 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on June 20, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 125 other followers

%d bloggers like this: