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.

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 31, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 2m

Y said theme determined by end so gospel=cross/death.Bible begins; tree of life; ends same=I reject Y’r Islamic gospel of death.

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 31, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 45s

Why does the cross have to be the icon? Why not the tree of life? Would that be wrong? Is Christianity only about death?

The Protestant Culture of Death and the Folly of Discernment Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 31, 2014

Begging“So, anti-spiritual abuse blogs are confronting a religion that they remain a part of while that religion looks to suffering as a means of properly understand reality itself. Good luck with that.” 

“This should also be instructive for discernment bloggers; even if you succeed in making the Calvinist abusers guilty what is going to be the result? A return to the foot of the cross and nothing else.”               

When Protestants started rediscovering their real roots in 1970, many “gospel recovery movements” started a “quiet revolution” to take the church back from modern-day “legalistic Pharisees.” Few knew anything was going on until 2006, and even then it was the realization that something was going on, but nobody knew exactly what it was. In 2009 discernment blogs exploded in response to the spiritual abuse tsunami sweeping across the evangelical church.

2014 has ushered in the realization that discernment blogs are pointless because they confront Protestantism and Calvinism in particular about its bad behavior while remaining in the institutional church, and in many cases, Calvinism itself.

The cat is out of the bag. The rabbit is out of the hat. The elephant is out of the barn. However you want to state it, spiritual abuse is happening in the church; and if not abuse, rampant sin, and if not sin; boredom, because Protestantism is the same old ancient doctrine of death ideology as Islam or anything else. There is only one historical difference between Protestantism and Islam in regard to degree of abuse: American rule of law, and the separation of force and faith. Calvinists in our day state plainly that they would “go Old Testament” on dissenters if they were allowed. What is our first clue that something isn’t right? Presently, they are limited to character assignation and having your name removed from the book of life. Openly, they bemoan the loss of days gone by when burning stakes were as common as road signs while the average pew sitter makes no correlation between history and ideology whatsoever. Calvinists like Wade Burleson can actually brag about being a modern-day Puritan while at the same time claiming to be an advocate for the spiritually abused. The disconnect in logic is stunning.

It is extremely important to make a distinction between doctrine and ideology. The same ideology can take on many different expressions of doctrine; biblical or secular. Doctrine is the stated ethic of the ideology which usually comes from what we believe about the state of being. A lot of the debate noise on the internet, if not most of it, is from people with the same ideology either aware or unaware, debating doctrine. They think they have relevant differences because they disagree on doctrine. No, doctrine is the tentacles of the ideological octopus.

Epistemology is the “how” we know the state of being (what is), and perhaps why it is. For original Protestantism, reality is perceived through suffering. Christ came to die on the cross so man could obtain life. That’s true in respect to salvation, but Luther (following the lead of Augustine) made that an ongoing need for understanding reality and experiencing the wellbeing of the invisible. This led to the false doctrine of progressive justification and made understanding reality part and parcel with salvation. This drives a lot of the mentality behind the evangelical homeschool movement. The public schools are evil because unbelieving teachers do not have a proper grasp of reality.

So, anti-spiritual abuse blogs are confronting a religion that they remain part of while that religion looks to suffering as a means of properly understand reality itself. Good luck with that. They have been blogging their guts out for five years now, and where are the results? You are dealing with people who will never be appalled at suffering because it is key to understanding reality.

Let’s look at an example:

The ugly reality of crucifixion looms over the lives of Christ’s followers today, as it did Peter’s life. In the gospel, we are confronted with the unvarnished horror of ourselves—damned and cursed and exiled. We find ourselves ensnared in the curse itself—in Jesus, writhing in torture on a stake (John 3:14).

Gathering each week, we reenact the horror of Jesus’ sacrificial death. In baptism, we see the flood of God’s judgment against sin (1 Pet. 3:20-21). At the Lord’s Table, we swallow and digest the sign of our Lord’s torn skin and spattered blood (Justin Taylor: The Gospel Coalition .org blog; The Gospel at Ground Zero | Sept. 9, 2011).

So, when you go to church every week, for all practical purposes, it is really a celebration of death. And what to do when your conscience bothers you?

And whenever our consciences accuse, the gospel takes us away from denial or preoccupation and right back to Ground Zero—to the Cross (Ibid).

This should also be instructive for discernment bloggers; even if you succeed in making the Calvinist abusers guilty what is going to be the result? A return to the foot of the cross and nothing else. One does not keep a clear conscience before God through obedience, that would be, “trying to be the gospel rather than preaching the gospel.” Hence, the often espoused, “I have no problem with Christ, it’s His followers I disdain” has unfortunate merit. Classic Protestantism is unabashed in promoting a talk instead of a walk—a walk is works salvation—we must let Jesus do the walking for us. “It’s not about what we do—it’s about what Jesus has done.” This mindset is unsalvageable—come out from among them. Unfortunately, once someone experiences a way of life that answers every question with the fatalistic easy-button while vanquishing real responsibly for the sum and substance of their own life, repentance is extremely unlikely unless God intervenes.

What’s the solution? Abandon the institutional church and return to church as it was meant to be. Believers at large are the priesthood, not Protestant academia. There needs to be an exodus to explore the real truth marred by 500 years of the traditions of men.

Why are we begging the institutional church to do what’s right? Why have we been begging since 2009, and to no avail? Why are toothless tigers like Boz Tchividjian heroes for merely crying foul on behalf of victims? Have you noticed how discernment bloggers are constantly clamoring at the doors of the institutional church with bated breath for some notable evangelical to throw them a verbal breadcrumb? It goes viral because some stuffed shirt orthodox lackey states something along the lines of God’s displeasure with pedophilia. It’s pathetic.

Victims need to understand that their suffering is a Protestant epistemology that is deemed not only a necessary evil, but the only gateway to spiritual wellbeing. Hold out your begging cup named justice till the second coming if you must, but you have been doing so since 2009, and you will continue to do so with the same results. Stop suing them and being sued by them, stop begging them, and for crying out loud, stop giving them your money!

Come out from among them and be separate.  Only truth sanctifies. Be honest; what is your real goal in life? Retool and start blogging about the solution; that’s the new spiritual frontier. Stop being enslaved to a spiritual caste system, Christ came to set you free.

paul

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TANC 2014 Uncut: The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism; John Immel

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 31, 2014

 

Click on to enlarge power points: 

 

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TANC 2014: Home Fellowships; Part 1, 2, and Discussion

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 29, 2014

TANC 2014: Understanding the Calvin Institutes and the Reformation Gospel through Martin Luther

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 29, 2014

TANC 2014: Andy Young session 1; Sanctification

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014

Follow the power points: http://tanc2014.weebly.com/

Transcript Link 

TANC 2014: God’s Sovereignty Versus Mankind’s Free Will; Dr. William Grissom

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014

Follow the power points:  http://tanc2014.weebly.com/dr-william-grissom.html

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 56s

God sent sin away as far as the east from the west. His nearness is amplified by that same vast distance. “Alien Righteousness” is a lie.

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 29s

Flee the Calvinist Institutional church to the real God. The God who will leave heaven and dwell among the humanity He loves. Rev. 21:3

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 52s

Anti-spiritual abuse Calvinists are like Dr. Kevorkian attending those who have a 50/50 chance of survival.

Israel as a Nation Cannot be Separated from the Gospel: Revelation 12

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 30s

What the Quran says plainly is the Calvinist interpretation of the Bible.

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Israeli/Hamas Conflict

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014

Hamas

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Israeli/Hamas Conflict: This Says it All

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 28, 2014
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The Church’s In-House Persecution for the Offence of Thinking

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 26, 2014

ppt-jpeg4We hear much ado in our day about Christians being persecuted overseas and in this country as well. However, an often-missed persecution going on in the evangelical church is against their own parishioners for free thinking and inductive thinking in general. Yours truly was ridiculed for years within the institutional church for expanding my religious vocabulary. Often said to me was, “Listen here brother, is this a Sunday school or a seminary?” “Brother, don’t give me big words, just give me Jesus.” These complaints are often lodged by Christians with post graduate degrees in the liberal arts. Why? This is because of the traditional dichotomy between faith and knowledge in Protestantism. “Why is there such a dichotomy?” That’s a great interpretive question that we will pursue, and the answer is not difficult, yet troubling.

Christians being excommunicated for asking too many questions and wanting answers to boot is a literal epidemic in this country. It starts with a simple question in regard to something heard in the teaching, and the non-answer given. This makes the inquisitor suspicious and uncomfortable—making them think something about their church isn’t exactly square. This leads to persistence as a matter of trust, and things escalate from there. From the viewpoint of this ministry, for whatever reason, it is primarily wives who won’t back down. And for whatever reason in our day, Christian women are at the forefront of discernment hands down. This results in men being threatened with church discipline if “you don’t get your wife under control.” Again, this is presently an epidemic in the evangelical church.

Be sure of this: the evangelical church is anti-intellectual, and this is often the valid argument launched against it by atheists. Since my interest in the connection between inductive reasoning and the Bible, many opportunities for dialogue with atheists have opened up to me. I am finding that many of these “atheists” believe that there is a God, but were raised in the church and taught that faith and reason are mutually exclusive; so, being unwilling to part with reason, they reject Christianity altogether.

Where does this belief that is akin to Eastern mysticism come from; the belief that reason and faith are mutually exclusive? It came from the founder and hero of our Protestant faith, Martin Luther. Luther believed that the material world is evil and only the invisible is good. Reason is alright for worldly matters, or matter itself, but reason and faith are mutually exclusive. Luther despised the application of reason to faith calling reason an “ugly whore who should have dung rubbed in her face to make her ugly.” So, rigorous learning regarding the liberal arts is admirable, but such learning applied to faith is spiritual whoredom, and my friends, that is exactly how evangelicals function in our day.

Point in case: some years ago, I knew a very educated Christian who would come unglued when someone used improper grammar. However, the same individual continually complained to the leadership of our church in regard to my teaching; i.e., the use of words like “justification” and “sanctification” that are specific words found in the Bible. To explain what was behind those words (that are in the Bible), was “deep theology” and “50-cent” theological words beyond the understanding of “hurting sheep” who need “relevant food” and “encouragement.”

And what is a Christian’s deepest need? Luther taught that there was only one thing that the material world was good for; its suffering. Man is unable to understand reality, or do any good, but if he increased faith by being a student of suffering, the goodness of the invisible world would be imputed to the material world. Faith can be expanded to an increased wellbeing through experiencing the invisible world regardless of circumstances on earth. For Luther, this necessarily meant a focus on the cross of Christ and His suffering.

Luther believed that this was the sole purpose for God sending His only Son to the cross; that the mysteries of the gospel would be revealed through its suffering. Hence, the cross is an avatar gate to the mysteries of the invisible world. Luther stated that “knowledge of God is hidden in suffering” symbolized by the cross. Christ was a sort of aviator that that set the example of suffering as a way to experience the wellbeing of the invisible. To “take up your cross and follow me” meant the pursuit of suffering for present wellbeing. This is why the cross is the dominate icon of Western religion, it symbolizes the suffering that we should live by.

As a result, inductive Bible study has been shunned for the most part in evangelicalism. The Reformers saw the Bible as God’s tool for a deeper understanding of Christ’s suffering, and suffering in general. This has often brought the charge from the world at large that Christianity is a “bloody religion.” In our usual cluelessness, we assume the complaint is against the onetime sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but it isn’t, the complaint is against suffering as a lifestyle.

This is so ingrained in the psyche of the Western church that church has become all about our guilt for not suffering, and glorying in suffering when it comes as “God’s will.” It even affects prayer life to the point where prayer is rarely about Christian living, but is an extensive laundry list of who is suffering. And, a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who has some kind of problem is no wise excluded from the list. It’s bizarre, after praying for every suffering soul from coast to coast, many of whom we have never met, it’s time for singing joyful hymns, and the “worship” leader is perplexed about why people are down and not lifting their voices up in praise.

Christian counseling is a multi-million dollar para-church business, and why wouldn’t it be when Christians are taught en masse to live a death-centered life? At least secular psychologists live off of whatever the ebb and flow of society produces; Christian culture is in a unique position of producing its own depression. No wonder then that prophets of the positive like Joel Osteen are all the rage—it’s bound to be a cultural pushback against a religious culture of death. The Bible is clear: we are to “dwell” on what is honorable and “true.” Death, failure, and sin in and of themselves do not define a true assessment of life—a death-centered life is simply not true, and we are not called to lead a life defined by death.

Nevertheless this counseling will seem to work because it calls on Christians to view this present material life as worthless. Not only that, it insinuates that the material world is really a worthless illusion. Indifference to the reality of life is then interpreted as being unmoved by the challenges of life; right, because it is a philosophy that causes us to be unmoved by life in general, and that includes compassion.

The most popular method of Bible interpretation in our day is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic which teaches that all reality should be interpreted through redemption, or the cross. It gets right back to interpreting the Bible via Luther’s Theology of the Cross. All life events are predetermined by God and serve to show us our worthlessness as set against God’s holiness which elevates our gratitude for salvation. Therefore, to draw wisdom from the pages of Scripture inductively supposedly circumvents the intended purpose of the Scriptures. Again, a dichotomy is made between wisdom that is suitable for worldly affairs and spiritual considerations, but such practical wisdom is no heavenly good for anything. Hence, using the Bible to obtain wisdom for living life is discouraged. Keep in mind that the following excerpt is taken from a sermon preached in a conservative Baptist church:

So as Paul is addressing them, he says, “Look, your concerns are worldly. You have a worldly vision. And so when you make decisions, what do you do? You make decisions that will help you to pursue this kind of worldly end.” And know what’s been happening in this church. There’s strife, there’s division, there’s quarrelling, all because they are pursuing an agenda of achieving their own ends. Now in this respect, for example, I would consider my father as a wise person. Now my father is not a believer, and he’s not particularly well educated. But when he gives me advice, he understands this is what you really need to do if you wanna accomplish these goals or these ends. And so he’s pretty good at stuff like that. But it’s not a vision of the good that would be considered necessarily a godly vision. But he’s wise in a worldly sense.

So, practical wisdom that is useful in the world is mutually exclusive from biblical wisdom which is the “vision of the good” (a Platonist term by the way). Therefore, the Bible is not to be studied in order to find wisdom, it is merely a tool for gospel contemplationism. Yet another anti-reason statement by an evangelical was sent to me just a couple of days ago by email:

As Americans, we believe in debate…………

In fact, many in the Christian community would do well to understand the risks of a debate structure in answering challenges.  Politics, work situations, community organizations, even families suffer certain risks from debate-structure discussions.

Ultimately a debate is an attempt to convince by reason.  Christian concepts are usually not learned or understood by reason, particularly reason alone.  An appeal to reason in the garden was what got us in this mess in the first place. The serpent simply questioned details of the truth until Eve’s reason took over and made a decision.  When faced with the details or logistics of miraculous events, for example, reason struggles.  We may debate the reality of a world-wide flood in the days of Noah, but when the details of feeding the animals or cleaning the ark, they become troubled.  The mind wants to be able to understand these simple things, rather than release them to the miracle.  Debates give the impression that truth can be rationally discerned, when the Scripture tells us otherwise.

Statements like this from mainline evangelicals should send cold chills running up and down our backs. Moreover, those who believe in utilizing reason to understand the Bible are persecuted outright in the church. The same people who bemoan persecution of Christians disdain those within the church who do not share their mysticism. Perhaps Dr. Robert Condon has best clarified the issue: to know definitively is to be accountable. Will people really stand before Christ and say…“I didn’t know, the only thing I ever knew was the cross and you crucified. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know, I didn’t want to be puffed up and unloving”?

Apparently, it’s likely that will be the case.

paul

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 26, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 53s

Your view is pointless if you remain silent. Silence is not humbleness–it’s unbelief.

All belief in individual election is Gnosticism

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 26, 2014

paulspassingthoughts:

NOTICE: REPOSTS DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE FOUNDATIONAL BELIFS OF THIS BLOG OR TTANC LLC.

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

Calvinism derived its 3 classes ultimately from the 3 classes in Valentinian Gnosticism (see Ireneaus’ five books Against Heresies):

1. Pneumatics (spirituals) – The elect of the elect.
2. Psuchics (soulys) – The average elect.
3. Hylics (carnals) – The non-elect.

Meaning, the Hylics have no chance. As for the Psuchics, they are (as Paul Dohse puts it in his explanation of Calvinism) “entered into the race” but not given “the gift of perseverance.” And the Pneumatics, of course, are elect to the uttermost, meaning nothing they do can damn them.

So long as anyone believes in any form of individual election rather than corporate election (the church or Christ alone is elect, so get in him) they teach a false gospel that asserts that nothing is real, that God is Mr. Rogers, and that we are just sock puppets.
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Protestantism is secularized Catholic monasticism…the proof

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 26, 2014

paulspassingthoughts:

NOTICE: REPOSTS DO NOT ALWAYS REFLECT THE FOUNDATIONAL BELIEFS OF THIS BLOG OR TTANC LLC.

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

A few days ago I began reading a book (on my Amazon Kindle) by Thomas Merton called The Life of the Vows.  Merton was a Roman Catholic monk of the Cistercian Order, and I began reading this out of curiosity about what monasticism is like in modern Catholicism (Merton lived 1915 – 1968).

In reading the book, I’ve found that 29% through it (according to Kindle’s reckoning) I began to notice many parallels in stupid attitudes between Calvinism and modern Catholic monkery. Por ejemplo:

 “The monk, having renounced his own will, having given up the running of his own life and the free use of his body and even of his soul in some matters, unites himself to the monastic community and is placed in a permanent state of victimhood.” (Kindle location 3814, the italics are Merton’s own.)

To see how this fits Calvinism, just replace…

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Fox News Versus Dianna Buttu

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 25, 2014
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Tanc TalkTANC ‏@TancTalk  37m

Read Calvinism and righteous indignation are mutually exclusive. Suffering is Reformed epistemology=NO results.

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Calvinism and Islam: The Tie That Binds; the Doctrine of Death

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 24, 2014

TTANC Vol 3Islam’s penchant for death is well documented and publicized often. In the Quran, the crown of martyrdom guarantees forgiveness of sins and entry into paradise. This is a consistent theme throughout the Quran. If words mean anything, and I think they do, a popular slogan among such groups like Hamas should be telling: “We love death more than the Jews love life.”

And that was Martin Luther’s same problem with humanity in general; the whole loving life more than death sort of thing. His 95 Theses was a morale indictment against the Popes, not the Catholic Church in particular; six months later, Luther hammered out the framework for the Reformation in his Heidelberg Disputation which is clearly a doctrine of death.

In fact, death and suffering is the prism for understanding reality itself according to Luther in his foundational document for the Reformation. This results in Calvinists like John MacArthur Jr. suggesting that Christians doubt their salvation when they don’t suffer enough. Therefore, clearly, Christians should desire suffering. Think about this in context of the fact that 90% of all biblical counseling in our day is under the control of Neo-Calvinism.

In said document that laid the foundation for the Reformation, Luther states the following:

This is clear: He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil. These are the people whom the apostle calls “enemies of the cross of Christ” [Phil. 3:18], for they hate the cross and suffering and love works and the glory of works. Thus they call the good of the cross evil and the evil of a deed good. God can be found only in suffering and the cross, as has already been said. Therefore the friends of the cross say that the cross is good and works are evil, for through the cross works are destroyed and the old Adam, who is especially edified by works, is crucified. It is impossible for a person not to be puffed up by his good works unless he has first been deflated and destroyed by suffering and evil until he knows that he is worthless and that his works are not his but God’s (Theses 21).

As will be discussed in volume 3 of TTANC, the doctrine of death is the basis for most religions of the world, and is grounded in the idea that the visible/tangible is evil and the invisible is good. This was Luther’s assertion as well:

He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross. The “back” and visible things of God are placed in opposition to the invisible, namely, his human nature, weakness, foolishness. The Apostle in 1 Cor. 1[:25] calls them the weakness and folly of God. Because men misused the knowledge of God through works, God wished again to be recognized in suffering, and to condemn wisdom concerning invisible things by means of wisdom concerning visible things, so that those who did not honor God as manifested in his works should honor him as he is hidden in his suffering (Theses 20).

Volume 3 will delve deeply into Dualism which almost always leads to a doctrine of death. Suffering alone, or knowledge about suffering, leads to spiritual awareness with death itself being the final escape from this material world. Why do Calvinists so disdain the doctrine of the Rapture? Because it bypasses death.

The commonality of death-love between Islam and Calvinism will be examined, as well as Calvinism’s other astonishing commonalties with Islam, particularly the “Gospel of Sovereignty.”

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The Middle East Problem

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 24, 2014
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Revised: Six Reasons New Calvinism is Appealing

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 24, 2014

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Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 23, 2014
Tanc TalkPaul M. Dohse@PaulMDohse 26s

Could your hatred of Israel be more obvious?

What is Common Core?

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 23, 2014

ppt-jpeg4“The key is free and true knowledge, not orthodoxy whether secular or religious.”

My wife Susan has been a professional educator for forty years, but knows little about the Common Core education curriculum that is the hot topic in our day among Christians and non-Christians alike. So, for an excuse to get away from our adult children, and finally learn something about this Common Core thing, we went to the Glenn Beck live theater event, “We Will Not Conform” showing here in Dayton, Ohio.

For those of you who know Susan and me, imagine us becoming two extremely grumpy old people on the spot. For me, it was discernment blogging hell. After suffering through this vision of grandeur mission impossible situation room motif for two hours, Susan loudly proclaimed, “I don’t know one more thing about this than when I walked in here.” During the presentation, and with a volume higher than I preferred, she stated, “I want our money back.”

As my grandmother used to say, “That will learn ya,” and it well should—in this information age that we have been blessed with, when will we learn to stop wasting our time with getting our information from personality cults? Or if you will, “experts.”

After we arrived home to the usual interrogation, “Where have you guys been?” I went to Wikipedia and typed “Common Core” into the embedded search engine. Wow. Wiki has an awesome foundational starting point for researching Common Core. The original major players are named with links that lead to more information about them. Basically, Wiki has supplied all of the important dots to get you started. From there, connecting all of the dots may take time, but is not too difficult.

Common Core starts with a really bad idea, the consummate bad idea of the ages: orthodoxy…orthodoxy is dignified mythology. It is flavored with more science-like seasoning than mythology. Myth is then the foundation of social justice and wellbeing; i.e., everyone obeys the myth which equals, “unity.” Peace is the best thing, even among the dead.

The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the states (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Core).

That’s orthodoxy, and it is always a really bad idea. It is a standard dictated to the masses by a minority, and brings free thinking and innovation to a screeching halt. The results of Common Core are well documented; it sets up the student and teacher for failure. Why? Not sure, but it probably has something to do with the same old song and dance: control.

Now, you can dig deeper on your own to ascertain agendas etc., but the primary problem with Common Core is that it foists a set standard of knowledge on the populous at-large by a minority of “experts.” This is a bad idea in secular as well as religious circles. Common Core is a secular version of the Westminster Confession and the Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Be careful. What you have in a lot of these debates is a vying for control of societal mutton. And such is the case with the religious right of our day and their use of the Common Core issue among many other issues. And last night was a good example.

In the midst of the seemingly hysterical fenzy of Beck’s “We Will Not Conform” event, the situation room was manned by the who’s who of Neo-Calvinist Transformative Dominion Theology educators. Their key and creepy phraseology included a call to “return to classical education” and a “taking back of the public schools.” If you tuned into Susan’s TANC 2014 presentations, you know what all of that means.

The public schools were founded by the colonial Puritans, and the same encompass what would be considered, “classical education.” This is not arguable; the Puritans also founded the Ivy League schools. And trust me, if you were a teacher during that time, you taught according to set standards. If you didn’t, you got the water test: if you can’t swim, you will drown. If you can swim, you’re a witch. This resulted in being tied up in a potato sack and retested. Like Common Core assessments, most fail that test.

The key is free and true knowledge, not orthodoxy whether secular or religious. I found out something about history the other day that has defined our ministry here at TANC. In colonial times, you could do anything to a slave but one thing—teach them how to read or write:

Excerpt from South Carolina Act of 1740

Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.

Excerpt from Virginia Revised Code of 1819

That all meetings or assemblages of slaves, or free negroes or mulattoes mixing and associating with such slaves at any meeting-house or houses, &c., in the night; or at any SCHOOL OR SCHOOLS for teaching them READING OR WRITING, either in the day or night, under whatsoever pretext, shall be deemed and considered an UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY; and any justice of a county, &c., wherein such assemblage shall be, either from his own knowledge or the information of others, of such unlawful assemblage, &c., may issue his warrant, directed to any sworn officer or officers, authorizing him or them to enter the house or houses where such unlawful assemblages, &c., may be, for the purpose of apprehending or dispersing such slaves, and to inflict corporal punishment on the offender or offenders, at the discretion of any justice of the peace, not exceeding twenty lashes.

In order to control people, you must control knowledge and truth. Truth education is the key; one way or the other—that’s what sets people free and empowers them. Common Core seeks to control the mutton by dumbing us down; the Christian Reconstructionists want to program our minds with bad information.

Pick your master carefully.

paul

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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?

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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 accordingly.

 

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!

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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.

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Utopia

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 18, 2014
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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

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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

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* 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.

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*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,

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*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]

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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

 

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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

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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

 

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

Posted in Uncategorized by paulspassingthoughts on July 1, 2014

2016 Cross Conference

 

 

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