Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Blog for TANC Ministries

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 7, 2013
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The 2015 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny

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

The Reformed False Gospel of “As If”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 2, 2015

http://paulspassingthoughts.com/Gospel Sanctification is the original false gospel of the Reformation that presently dominates the institutional church. Basically, it is the gospel of New Calvinism. It is often expressed by the truism, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Most people assume this to be a biblical prescription for enhancing our sanctification, or a reminder to be thankful for our original salvation.

In reality, what is it? It is a perpetual return to the same gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved. It confines all obedience to repentance via focusing on our sin. This ongoing need for repentance unto salvation is satisfied by returning to the same gospel that saved us because as many proponents state it: “We never stop needing the gospel.” This is because “Christians” are said to have an ongoing need for salvation.

Dr. John Piper, the elder statesman of New Calvinism, states the position in no uncertain terms:

“We are asking the question, How does the gospel save believers?, not: How does the gospel get people to be believers?… Believers need to be saved. The gospel is the instrument of God’s power to save us. And we need to know how the gospel saves us believers so that we make proper use of it.”  Part 2 of a series titled, “How Does the Gospel Save Believers.”

Obviously, if salvation is not a onetime finished work by God alone, and we have to do something to obtain continued salvation – in this case a return to the gospel for re-forgiveness of sins – that is a form of works salvation. It also denies the new birth which makes us new creatures that have “passed (past tense) from death to life.”

One aspect of this gospel is called “double imputation.” Each time we return to the same gospel that saves us, the perfect obedience of Christ is credited to our account. This is the idea that Christ came to die for our sins (Christ’s passive obedience), and also came to live a perfect life so that His obedience can be imputed to our lives each time we return to the gospel (Christ’s active obedience).

When proponents of Gospel Sanctification speak of the “obedience of faith,” what they mean to say is that Christians only EXPERIENCE the obedience of Christ imputed to us, and are not really performing the act directly. This leads many to believe that proponents are advocating direct obedience by the “believer,” but that is not the case at all.

Therefore, according to Gospel Sanctification, the “believer” is able to live a life of FAITH ALONE, or in other words, a like faith alone that saved him/her. This is nothing new. In his epistle to the Jewish Christians, James refuted a “faith without works.” In reality, FAITH WORKS through love (Galatians 5:6).

Of late there is a new truism roaming about that depicts this double imputation aspect of Gospel Sanctification: “On the cross Jesus was treated as if He lived our life so we could be treated as if we lived His life.” Notice that we are treated “as if” we live a godly life, but we really don’t. We are only experiencing the active obedience of Christ. If we are directly responsible for any act of obedience; that’s supposedly works salvation.

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The Spirit’s Law

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 2, 2015

law 2

Elders

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

elders 2

Love

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

Love 2

The New Calvinism Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

http://paulspassingthoughts.com/The purpose of this post is to merely state the facts—you can draw your own conclusions in regard to motives. As predicted by this ministry several years ago, divorces overseen and endorsed by Reformed churches has now become an epidemic. That’s an understatement.

From several testimonies to us over time, we have concluded that the unfolding of these divorces share an identical storyline.

It all begins with couples seeking to improve their marriage via the formal counseling of the Reformed biblical counseling movement. The consistent testimony that we constantly hear follows: in the milieu of the issues, the counselors gravitate to, and take sides with the spouse who is willing to submit to church authority. Then, the unwillingness of the other spouse to submit to church authority becomes the primary issue and fodder for potential church discipline.

Once the church discipline has been executed, the “unteachable” spouse is declared unregenerate, and the marriage is now a mixed marriage. Usually, the excommunicated spouse doesn’t worry about it all that much because after all, he/she is “pleased to live with the ‘believing’ spouse.”

But not so fast. Protocol doesn’t limit “abandonment” (“if the unbelieving spouse departs let them depart” 1Cor 7:12-15) to a physical leaving; yes, there is also an “abandonment of the heart.” No, the spouse hasn’t left physically, but the actions and words of the spouse show that they are not really “pleased to dwell with the believing spouse and are staying for ulterior motives.” Of course, as ascertained by the “expert” biblical counselor.

The “believing” spouse is now given the green light to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse. The judgement regarding the salvation of either spouse is based on a willingness to submit to church authority. And obviously, there are many words or actions that can be used as proof to deem the other spouse as unpleased to dwell with the other. The judgment is subjectivism on steroids.

As this ministry has documented, the Reformed biblical counseling movement is nonexistent in zip codes where the average income is below $50,000 per year. Because the church where the counseling takes place offers support to the believing spouse in the midst of the decision to divorce, that spouse will almost always join said church and faithfully tithe 10% of the alimony as New Calvinist churches are now routinely disciplining people for not tithing at least 10%. In some cases, the submission of financial statements is part of the membership covenant.

And sadly, the word is out on some of these churches: it’s a place you can go to get sanctified permission to dump your spouse. Somebody play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Simon and Garfunkel.

And even sadder, some of the counseling starts with a couple merely wanting tips on tuning up their marriage and getting the most out of it; a year later they are in divorce court.

This ministry is primarily recommending Marriage Works through the state of Ohio. It’s not counseling, but rather workshops on practical things that improve a marriage. We also reluctantly recommend the Institute of Nouthetic Studies (Jay Adams). Because Jay will not make a complete break with New Calvinist minions such as Lou Priolo and Martha Peace, we recommend extreme caution. Nevertheless, aspects of Jay’s counseling are a major help. Susan and I offer counseling as a third option.

paul

The Potter’s House 6/28/2015: The Gospel of Excuses

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

Reposted from Nouthetic.org: “Love by Life”

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

AdamsPosted on June 29, 2015 by Jay Adams on nouthetic.org

In 1 Kings 3:3 we read,

Solomon loved the Lord by walking in the statutes of his father David (HCSB).

What a clear and explicit statement of how one goes about loving God! These days, there is much confusion about this very point. There are those who would tell us, in near monkish terms, that one loves God by all sorts of personal disciplines and denials. Yet, we find no such things in the life of David—a life, in general, that is mentioned here as exemplary enough to hold up as an example. Of course, David had his faults—which are set forth in the Bible, but for the most part, he was willing to follow God’s commands, and repent when he failed to do so (there are no greater repentance psalms in the Bible than those written by him).

Don’t let anyone tell you that by following man-made restrictions and regulations one best loves God. Col. 2: 23 says it all:

Of course, they have a reputation for wisdom because of their self-imposed worship and supposed humility, and ascetic treatment of the body, but those things are of no value in keeping the flesh from satisfying itself.

God Himself has set forth the terms by which He is served in love. These, here, are termed “the statutes of David.” That does not mean that he set up his own statutes, but that he faithfully followed God’s (for the most part, that is—note the qualification about the high places in this verse).

If you want to love God, you will do as the Lord Jesus (Who never failed to do so) did—you will keep His commandments. Fundamentally, love is not a feeling. Love is giving: “God so loved the world that He gave”; “He loved us and gave Himself for us,” etc. The great commission is explicit: “teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.” These statements all reflect the same activity, namely, giving.

In the passage from 1 Kings, the word “walking” is the usual Hebrew expression for speaking of one’s lifestyle (or, as we also put it, how one conducts himself). So, John says in his two short epistles that he is delighted to hear how the reader’s children “walk in the truth.” That is, they live lives characterized by God’s truth. And, tying all of this together, he speaks in those letters of “love in the truth.”

Acts Lesson 57

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

Acts Series

Tuesday Night Bible Study – Now LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 57 – June 30, 2015 (Click here to listen)

 


Tonight we will examine Paul’s address to the people in Jerusalem as he gives his first-hand account of his conversion on the road to Damascus.

Acts 21:40 – 22:24

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 5

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

Connecting the Dots: Tullian Tchividjian and Luther’s Theologian of the Cross 

Listen to audio or download audio file. 

That’s pastor Tullian Tchividjian…

…welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 5 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

Remember, you may remain anonymous. When I say, “This is your host; you are on the air, what’s your comment or question”—just start talking.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

At the beginning of tonight’s program, you heard an excerpt from a sermon via pastor Tullian. It is an example of what drives other Reformed leaders nuts, but they can complain all they want to, pastor Tullian is a Luther purest. His resignation last week from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church brought me to remembrance in regard to what an excellent example he is of Martin Luther’s application of the Heidelberg Disputation in our day. So, tonight, this is an interlude of sorts that we are going to use to solidify what we have learned to this point.

Tullian lends credence to two accusations that the Reformed fear most: the charge of progressive justification, and antinomianism. I don’t know exactly why, but these are the two accusations that set a fire under their rumps, and along with it, a flood of cognitive dissonance. Yes, we are going to examine the arguments used to refute the charge of antinomianism and progressive justification, and as we will see, the arguments are so pitiful they would be deemed ridiculous by an adolescent which should be telling.

But first, I want to unpack the opening excerpt as a segue into the program tonight. Short excerpt, but packed with Luther’s foundational theology. In that short statement, we see the Reformed doctrines of mortification and vivification, Luther’s Theology of the Cross, deep repentance, double imputation, and total depravity.

Tullian stated first that we, as Christians, don’t merely need help with our walk, but we need to be raised from the dead. Let me pause here for a moment. What we are about to discuss are facts about the Reformation and Protestant soteriology in general that Protestants don’t understand. Fact: 98% of professing Calvinists really have no idea what Calvin believed, taught, and propagated. This is why the New Calvinism movement creates so much division between so-called Old Calvinists and New Calvinists; when the original article was rediscovered, by a Seventh-Day Adventist by the way, present-day Calvinists believed it was a false gospel. I was one of them. I set out to expose the New Calvinists and discovered they are the real Calvinists. I also discovered the fact that the Reformation is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind. The facts are irrefutable. So, is there hope? Of course there is; stop listening to men, turn on the light switch of the brain God gave you for a purpose, and read the gospels, the book of Acts, and Romans for yourself. Read those books, think for yourself, and just let the words say what they say. When the meaning isn’t apparent, don’t immediately run to a book full of someone else’s thoughts, what we call a “Commentary,” do your own independent research.

Why would Tullian say that Christians continue to be raised from the dead? That’s right out of theses 16-18 of the Heidelberg Disputation (HD). As I have stated before, the HD which came about 6 months after the 95 Theses is the foundational document of the Reformation, and then Calvin articulated and expanded Luther’s foundation in the Calvin Institutes. This progressive justification component of dying and rebirthing ourselves into heaven came to be known as mortification and vivification in the Calvin institutes. This brings us to Tullian’s mention of “Christians” being confessors, or the doctrine of deep repentance; that is the mortification component of mortification and vivification. By continually seeing our sinfulness in a deeper and deeper way, and being brought to the point of despair, or what Luther called “death at hand,” we then experience resurrection, or a revisitation of the joy of our salvation. Reformed scholars such as Michael Horton call this, “reliving our original baptism.” Listen, New Calvinist mantras like “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day” do not come from nowhere. This is the source. We get to heaven by perpetually revisiting the same gospel that saved us. Those of you familiar with this ministry are worn out from me citing Michael Horton and Paul Washer on this, so let me change things up a little by quoting a guy that commented on a Tullian article posted on Justin Taylor’s blog over at TGC (The Gospel Coalition).

It’s not that complicated: the ground of all Christian obedience is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Justification occurs EACH time a believer confesses and receives forgiveness for his sins. The pattern of justification is illustrated by Paul in Romans 4. Abraham believes in the God who justifies the ungodly (in this case gentile Abraham), David is forgiven for his adultery and murder. God’s condemnation for sin has reached into history at the cross, glorification has reached into history at conversion where believers experience a foretaste of glory. Neither Old or New Covenant obedience require moral perfection, they both require obedience of faith….so, having been justified from faithfulness we have peace with God!

Indeed it is not complicated. “Faithfulness” to “confession” continually re-justifies us. And, as a result, we experience resurrection/joy/vivification. The confession is mortification/deep repentance/death at hand, the rising from the dead that Tullian is talking about is vivification and re-justification. Tullian’s emphasis on us being no different from unbelievers is based on the following idea: the ONLY difference between the saved and unsaved is the saved start getting saved by confessional faith alone resulting in perpetual re-salvation. Then, at the final judgement, we find out who lived by faith alone well enough to be saved and who didn’t. That’s authentic Protestantism in a nutshell, and the facts supporting this reality are irrefutable. And of course, it’s an in-your-face denial of the new birth as defined biblically in 1John 3 and many other places.

This also speaks to total depravity. Throughout the short excerpt Tullian pounds home the fact of moral equivalency, or the idea that one sinner is not any worse than any other. This comes from justification being defined and based on the law. This is major in the HD, but Calvin articulates this Reformation tenet in 3.14.9,10 of the Calvin Institutes. If you break the law on one point, you are guilty of breaking all of the law. “But Paul, isn’t that what James said in James 2:10?” No, that’s not what James was talking about. James wasn’t proffering a justification based on law as its standard. That concept is really the Achilles’ heel of Reformation soteriology. James was pushing back against the idea that some tradition of some sort replaces the law of love. Only love can fulfill the law. James was pushing back against the idea that justification’s standard is the law. No, there is NO law in justification; law and justification are mutually exclusive. In essence, what James was stating follows:

You can’t live by some orthodoxy devised by men and then live anyway you want to. Whatever your tradition is, it doesn’t fulfill the law. If your justification is based on the law, you break all of the law when you break it at any given point. Only love according to the law fulfills the law. The apostle Paul called this “faith working through love” in his letter to the Galatians. The standard for justification is what? Right, the new birth, NOT law! What is the official Reformed position on justification’s standard? Right, the law. This idea is what Paul spent his whole ministry refuting—this very idea that turns the gospel completely upside down! Clearly, the Reformers redefined justification by replacing its new birth premise with the law. Again, this concept of law/gospel was Paul’s number one nemesis.

This leads us to the question of how we are justified when we are supposedly justified anew. Tullian speaks of this in the excerpt when he alludes to what Jesus has done for us, not anything we do. In the excerpt, he thanks God that the gospel is not about anything we do, but rather only what Jesus has done for us. This is the Reformed doctrine of Christ for us, or, Christ 100% for us, or…double imputation. This is a huge Reformed mainstay.

What is it? This is the idea that Christ not only came to die for our sins once and for all on the cross, but that He  also came to live a perfect life for the fulfilling of the law so that His obedience/righteousness can be imputed to us in vivification. Every time we confess, or according to Luther, “accuse ourselves,” or “visit the gospel afresh” (Michael Horton), the righteousness of Christ obtained by His perfect obedience to the law is imputed to us. Hence, every time we “visit the gospel afresh,” His propitiation and righteousness are both reapplied. This is the exact problem Paul addressed at Galatia. He argued that if the law was the standard for justification, that life is not given by the promise, but by law. He also argued that if law justifies us—there is a law that can give life while only God can give life. Making law the standard for justification is making the law a fourth member of the Trinity. That’s pretty much Paul’s argument.

In contrast, we are forgiven because the old us is dead, and no longer under the law. Look at Romans 7; one who has died is NOT under the law or its jurisdiction. This is why Christ died once: to end the law via us following Him in death. The new us is resurrected with Christ by the Spirit and able to fulfill the law through loving God and others. If perfect law-keeping, even by Christ, is the standard for justification rather than our death and resurrection through the new birth, it is impossible for us to love God and others—Christ must love for us; our love must be substituted by Christ’s love. And that in fact is the meaning of “Christ 100% for us.” Yes, Christ loves for us along with anything else that would be meritorious before God and the “righteous demands of the law.” Consequently, you often see these Reformed written motifs about sinners coming to the law with nothing in their hands but the obedience of Christ. That puts the law on a throne sitting beside the Father and the Son as a co-life-giver. That’s heresy in the extreme and a blatant denial of the new birth.

In concluding on this point, we now come Tullian’s mentioned disdain for “theologians of glory.” What’s that? That’s right out of the HD. It’s the counterpart, or one piece of the two-fold metaphysical theme of the document. The more I learn about this stuff, the more I am annoyed by Protestants who think they know what they are talking about, and we will soon be discussing one of them.

Luther divided the interpretation of all reality into two categories: the cross story and the glory story. Luther saw all of reality as a metaphysical narrative written by God with the cross being the primary epistemology; not only the cross, but the suffering of the cross in particular. Luther believed all wisdom is hidden in suffering. Luther, in keeping with Augustine’s Neo-Platonist worldview, demanded that all invisible things be interpreted through the suffering of the cross. Said Luther in theses 19:

That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the »invisible« things of God as though they were clearly »perceptible in those things which have actually happened«

Thesis 20: He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.

The manifest 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.

Thesis 21: 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 dethroned 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.

Thesis 22: That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened.

This has already been said. Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on. Therefore they become increasingly blinded and hardened by such love, for desire cannot be satisfied by the acquisition of those things which it desires. Just as the love of money grows in proportion to the increase of the money itself, so the dropsy of the soul becomes thirstier the more it drinks, as the poet says: »The more water they drink, the more they thirst for it.« The same thought is expressed in Eccles. 1:8: »The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.« This holds true of all desires.

Thesis 24: He, however, who has emptied himself (cf. Phil. 2:7) through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether God does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3:7, »You must be born anew.« To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand.

Luther’s worldview calls for the condemnation of anything that can be perceived by the five senses, and that would of course include any work by mankind, in exchange for the work of faith that seeks death at hand by self-condemnation and the incessant confession of our own sin. All or any good work performed by us must be disavowed. This is the only work of faith that a Christian is to do; deep repentance that results in vivification. This is Luther’s definition of the new birth. Our only task is deep repentance resulting in only experiencing works that God may, or may not perform according to His own will. It is interesting what I am learning from Susan and her research on Jonathan Edwards. He believed that saving faith is a sixth sense that is able to perceive the works of God. That fits with what we are discussing here. Faith only confesses and then experiences the work of Christ following.

Any notion that man, saved or unsaved, can do anything at all that has merit with God is the glory story propagated by theologians of glory; this is what Tullian was referring to specifically in that sentence, no more—no less.

Before we move on, let me say this: to me, the more I study all of this, the more I am incredulous that congregations are forcing these guys caught with their hands in the cookie jar to resign. Why? It plainly shows the disconnect between the average Protestant’s understanding of their own faith and what their leaders teach. It’s totally inconsistent with the doctrine. “They sinned, well duh, so what?”

However, this is not always the case. Tullian has a close friend, also a pastor, who pretty much was fairly impious in broad daylight and never had to resign. In fact, he was the subject of a whole chapter in a book titled Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace  by Cathleen Falsani. This is where we segue into our second part. As I said, the two accusations that the Reformed camp is sensitive about are progressive justification and antinomianism. And especially in the area of antinomianism, the denial is beyond cognitive dissonance. It’s just borderline childish.

Let’s start by asking where Cathleen Falsani got the title for her book. “Sin Boldly,” do you know where she got that? It’s a quote by Martin Luther. Here is the whole quote from his letter to Philipp Melanchthon:

God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.

Here, we see plainly that Luther saw salvation as ongoing for condemning sin. God does not save imaginary sinners. What is the tense there? That is answered in the next sentence: “Be a sinner.” So obviously, it’s a present continuous idea; it’s progressive. And if condemning sin is present continuous, obviously salvation must be present continuous as well. You must continually deem yourself a sinner in need of salvation. Be a sinner, or else you are denying that you need salvation.

Nevertheless, the arguments we hear against the idea that Protestantism is progressive justification sound like this from John MacArthur Jr.: “Justification and sanctification cannot be separated, but are distinct.” So, the two are distinct because one is progressive and the other is not, but yet, they are not separate. This is an attempt to answer the accusation that Reformed soteriology fuses justification and sanctification together which would of course be progressive justification. MacArthur attempts to deny that Protestantism fuses the two together by stating that the two are “distinct.” But this is like saying that a cat is never separate from its catness, but distinct from its catness when it progresses by walking. A cat is never separate from its catness, but distinct when it is walking; the argument is ridiculous.

In an article I wrote on PPT titled The Gospel According to John MacArthur’s Reformation Myth, I deconstruct MacArthur’s position on this in agonizing detail. Along Reformed lines, he states that justification is solely a forensic declaration that doesn’t change the individual. He then makes a distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism. The former infuses righteousness into the individual, and according to MacArthur, that is the fusion of justification and sanctification together resulting in progressive justification. In contrast, Protestantism disavows this infusion and replaces it with the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and obedience to the believer for sanctification, or Christian living if you will. So yes, justification and sanctification are not separate, but distinct in the fact that one declares us justified while the other is the manifestation of Christ’s righteousness. They can’t be separate because both are a predication on a single dimension of the law, ie., it’s for condemnation only and can only be fulfilled by Christ in our stead.

I am not going to get into the Protestant misrepresentation of Catholicism, suffice to say for now that it is also progressive justification based on Aristotelian philosophy instead of Platonism, but both are progressive justification. However, we can pause here to define the word “antinomianism” according to the Reformed: it is the absence of law as the standard for justification. In other words, that makes me an antinomian according to them. This is in contrast to the true definition of antinomianism from the Bible: the absence of the law for faith working through love. In other words, the use of the law for love is denied. In addition, the biblical dual perspective on the law is refuted and replaced with a single perspective on the law—condemnation instead of the Spirits twofold use of the law: to convict the world of sin and the judgement to come, and for sanctifying the saints. True antinomianism circumvents the law for sanctification and deprives the saints of their calling to love God and others.

If law is the standard for justification, a perfect keeping of it must be maintained by double imputation which calls on the “believer” to use it for gospel contemplation only rather than using it to love God and others. All obedience points to justification instead of love. This is why Christ said that in the latter days the love of many will wax cold, because of an increase of “anomia” which is “antinomianism” according to the English.

It’s ironic, the Reformed camp recently had a hissy fit over a statement made by Joel Osteen’s wife during one of their services at Lakewood Church—the largest Protestant church in America boasting some 25,000 members. Apparently, she stated that we should not obey God to please God, but should obey God to please ourselves. Pray tell, a single focus on deep repentance to keep ourselves saved through double imputation is better? At least Osteen is propagating a many faceted obedience that might lobe some love at somebody. Moreover, isn’t a single focus on sin for purposes of joyful vivification, in fact, delighting in evil? Sure it is.

As some of you know, I got into a little back and forth on Twitter this week with Janet Mefferd. It started with me pushing back against her assertion in a recent article that Tullian isn’t an antinomian. My contention centered on a tweet by Tullian that read…

tt-tweet1-1

Where does that come from? That comes right out of the HD, and if you are keeping up with this series, you see this plainly. Because Tullian sees all of his works as mortal sin, even stopping the blind grandmother from walking out into traffic, all of his sin is therefore venial and can be forgiven by perpetually revisiting the gospel. Mefferd replied with the same old worn out Reformed responses. I am particularly amused by the classic one I call the cat hermeneutic. If Calvin writes in the Institutes that he saw a cat run across the road, Calvin doesn’t necessarily mean that he saw a cat run across the road. You see, you must read the whole corpus of his writing to really know for certain that he intended to say that he saw a cat run across the road. Really? Am I here right now?

Look, I could make the point very well tonight that Mefferd, like most Protestants, is completely clueless. But I think I will close with another angle. Tonight, I have picked this apart from a doctrinal standpoint, but we must remember that Jesus liked to give folks a really simple rule of thumb while they are in the process of learning the doctrine. Here it is: “By their fruits you will know them.” Yes, I am simply going to close with a comment that was posted on PPT today, and then we will go to the phones:

Sean, and others, do any of you know what Janet Mefferd’s background is? Specifically, what is her education? She obviously does not know that Luther advocated the use of state-sponsored violence, torture and murder against the Mennonites and other Anabaptists, that Luther was an anti-Semite, and had horrible demeaning attitudes towards women. On the latter, here are some quotes:

“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.”

Martin Luther, Works 12.94

“Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.”

Martin Luther, Table Talk

“Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.”

Martin Luther, Works 20.84

“God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.”

“We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.”

“No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.”

I could go on and quote his anti-semitic statements too. Oh, and Martin Luther despised reason. Here are some quotes:

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

“There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason… Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.”

Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1963), p. 75

Also, Luther was an advocate of drinking alcohol in excessive amounts. I could go on, but Luther’s quotes make me ill and nauseous. Obviously, Janet Mefferd has studied Christian history well.

______________________

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Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 29, 2015

Rom 5.19One accusation we all want to avoid is partaking in “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” So, when I set out on my journey of discovery, I assumed there was much to salvage from what I had invested in. The goal was to discover the following: after I had wholeheartedly invested 25 years of my life to being a good Baptist Protestant, why would an esteemed group of men set out to utterly destroy my life because I wanted answers about the confusion they had brought into my life? I just wanted to know why all of the rules were suddenly changed. I wanted to know why they were saying things that made no sense to me. No, I didn’t get any answers to straightforward questions. Instead, I chose to believe they were not really saying what they said; what they were teaching was a “radical departure” from the norm, and I had a long way to go before I would even begin to understand it. Therefore, I needed to shut up and obey, or I would be dealt with. Yes, the long lost and true Reformation gospel had been rediscovered, and they were among those blazing the new trail resurgence.

Basically, I assumed they were full of it, and were propagating some sort of false gospel with a new twist. I also assumed that my “friends” in Reformed circles would not stand by and let them destroy my life. When I was shown to be woefully wrong on the latter along with everything else, I had to know why. And, by golly, I would find the answers, expose them, and many Protestants would arise and vindicate me for the sake of God and love for the truth.

Wow, was I ever clueless. What did I think was going on all of my Protestant life which was like living in Peyton Place? Eventually, I discovered the answer to that whispering question in the back of my mind that started soon after I became a Protestant: “There is something not right here; is it me, something with the church, or a little of both?” And though I professed many tenets of the Protestant faith, something never felt right about it. The eventual answer was always too simplistic to be accepted: a false gospel.

Nevertheless, for most of my journey, I functioned on the idea that those rascally New Calvinists are misrepresenting “true” Calvinism and the hallowed traditions of the Reformation. A great example is this resolution I submitted to the SBC convention in 2011. For the most part, it strikes the core problem, but becomes blurred when I cite the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message Statement.

Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes…

Sanctification is not a mere experience. It is not something that is merely “done to us rather than something we do.” You can go back to the oldest Baptist confessions and find this same nuanced language that really boils down to the idea that the Christian life is a mere EXPERIENCE and NOT something we DO. And as I point out in this post, your sanctification doctrine determines your justification doctrine.

In my naivety, I further cited the 2000 confession:

Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.

I have never been comfortable with the idea that justification is a mere forensic declaration by God. But you know, good Protestants confess such things anyway because it’s tradition—that’s what Protestants do. However, the truth follows: justification is a state of being, not a mere declaration. We are not merely declared righteous, we are righteous. Christ not only died for our justification, the Spirit raised Christ from the dead so that we could also be raised from the dead to a truly justified state of being…APART from the law (Romans 4:23-25).

Christ didn’t come to keep the law perfectly so that His righteousness could be imputed to us, our sins were imputed to Him so that we could be resurrected with Him and MADE the righteousness of God the Father. If Adam’s sin MADE us truly sinful by ONE act, then Christ MADE us truly just by ONE act of obedience. You can’t have it both ways.

Nice guys don’t always love the truth as they should because they are too nice to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But it’s a bad Protestant baby.

paul

What Your Sanctification Says About Your Justification: Is Your Gospel True or False?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on June 29, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted February 27, 2015

“The law is the standard for love, not justification. In all of the aforementioned systems of sanctified justification by works, faith doesn’t work because it can’t lest salvation be lost. In the Christian life faith works because it can for the sake of love without condemnation.”

“Knowing that justification is a settled issue that has nothing to do with the law anyway, the true Christian only sees law-keeping as an opportunity to love. Christians not only have the anthropologic law of conscience written on the heart, the new birth writes the Bible there as well. In other words, we love the law.”

“Obviously, those who must focus on faith alone works in order to remain justified cannot focus on aggressive obedience to the law that defines love.”   

What do you believe about salvation? Your Christian life will tell you. Therefore, the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 should not confuse us. The “wicked” servant was not cast into outer darkness because he didn’t put his talents to work, but rather what he thought it meant to be a servant. In other words, in order to be saved, you need to know what a Christian is. That should be fairly evident.

Do you live your Christian life by “faith alone”? That is a statement in regard to what you believe about salvation, or what happened to justify you, viz, justification.

This is not complicated. Don’t complain that I am making your touchy-feely “simple” gospel a theological treatise. I am sure you concur that some Bible words have to be understood in order to be saved. The Bible splits humanity into two categories: saved and unsaved, i.e., “under law” or “under grace” (Romans 6:14).

“Under law” is the biblical nomenclature for the unregenerate lost. Under law means that sin rules you. Not in a plenary sense, because man’s conscience and fear of punishment from civilian law restrains people. Yet, they are under the condemnation of God’s law and every violation is documented. Unless they are saved, they will be judged according to their works in the final judgment. Though some who followed their conscience more than others will receive a lesser condemnation, it is still eternal separation from God. They are under law, and enslaved to sin. The last judgment DOES NOT determine justification; it ONLY determines the degree of eternal condemnation. It doesn’t determine justification; it only determines the wages of sin.

Moreover, sin uses the condemnation of the law to provoke people to sin. Primarily, sin uses desires to tempt people, but sin’s incentive is the law because it condemns. Sin lives for the purpose of condemning people, and uses desire to get people to sin against God’s law. This leads to present and eternal death. Sin’s desire is to bring death. When the Bible speaks of “the desires of the flesh” it is referring to instances when the flesh is serving the desires of sin.

The flesh can also be used to serve the desires of the Spirit (Romans 12:1). The flesh has NO desires; it is used by the dweller for good or evil purposes. We will either use our bodies to serve the desires of sin or the desires of the Spirit. Of course, people have their own desires, but unfortunately, the unregenerate are guided by the desires of sin. They assume sinful desires are their own desire which is true. In contrast, sinful desires are not part and parcel with the regenerate soul.

Said another way: among the lost, the desires of sin are very much the same desires possessed by the individual who are indifferent to the law of God. A desire for God’s law is absent while their life is continually building a death and condemnation dividend. Some of that dividend is paid in this life until the full wages of death are paid at the final judgment.

Under grace is not void of law. The law (same as “Scripture” or same as “Bible”) has a different relationship to the saved, or those under grace. A literal baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place, as symbolized in water baptism, which puts to death the old person under law and resurrects the new person under grace. The saved person is now a new creature created by the Spirit of God. The person under grace is literally born of God—he/she is God’s literal offspring.

Therefore, the old person is no longer under the condemnation of the law in the same way a dead person cannot be brought under indictment for a crime. Consequently, the motivation for sin is gone. The power of sin is the law’s condemnation that leads to death (1Corintians 15:56, 57). In addition, the person under grace has been given a new heart that loves God’s law and its way of life. The book that could only bring death is now a book that brings life. Either way, it is the Spirit’s law; He uses it to condemn those that are under it, or uses it to sanctify those who are under grace (John 17:17).

THEREFORE, how you see the law determines what you believe about salvation. If you believe that you can somehow obey the law in a way that unwittingly seeks to be justified by law-keeping, you are still under law. If you believe justification is defined by perfect law-keeping, you are still under law. Those who believe this also believe they need a salvation system that filters all their works into a category of faith alone. The Christian life is categorized or departmentalized into works that attempt to be counted for justification and faith alone works that qualify as “living by faith alone.” Do not miss the point that this also includes abstaining from certain things that aren’t necessarily sin as defined by the Bible.

Yes, hypothetically, a person would need to keep the law perfectly to be justified by the law, but that doesn’t make perfect law-keeping the standard for righteousness. If that were the case, the law is a co-life-giver with the Holy Spirit, and a death would not be necessary. We are justified APART from the law—law has NO part in justification. The Bible defines justification, but it’s not a standard of justification (Rom 3:21, Gal 2:19, 4:21). Law-keeping by anyone does not justify.

If one is trusting in a system that fulfills the law for justification, particularly if it calls for not doing something in order that the law is fulfilled in our place, that is works salvation through some kind of intentionality whether passive or active. These kinds of systems are always indicative of being under law rather than under grace. One such system that has several variances calls for doing certain things or not doing certain things on the Sabbath which can be Saturday or Sunday depending on the stripe of system. If you follow the system on the Sabbath, all works done by you during the week are considered to be by faith alone.

In Reformed theology, particularly authentic Calvinism, contemplation on your sin leading to a return to the same gospel that saved you imputes the perfect law-keeping of Christ to your life. Notice that a fulfillment of the law is required to keep you saved, but we do faith alone works in order that Christ’s perfect law-keeping is imputed to our account. The problem here is that a fulfillment of the so-called “righteous demands of the law” is the standard for justification. Hence, clearly, this keeps so-called “Christians” UNDER LAW. In addition, a so-called faith alone work is still a work.

Not so with under grace. We are now free to follow our new desire to obey the law out of love without fear of condemnation. The law is the standard for love, not justification. In all of the aforementioned systems of sanctified justification by works, faith doesn’t work (or love) because it can’t lest salvation be lost. In the Christian life (sanctification) faith works because it can for the sake of love without condemnation (Galatians 5:6).

Knowing that justification is a settled issue that has nothing to do with the law anyway, the true Christian only sees law-keeping as an opportunity to love. Christians not only have the anthropologic law of conscience written on the heart, the new birth writes the Bible there as well. In other words, they love the law. Obviously, those who must focus on faith alone works in order to remain justified cannot focus on aggressive obedience to the law that defines love.

This is exactly what the books of James and 1John are about. Faith is not afraid to work because there is no condemnation. Faith without works is dead, “being alone” (James 2:17 KJV).

Are you in a religious system that propagates faith “alone” in the Christian life? Your faith is not only dead, it speaks to what you believe about justification. You believe justification has a progressive aspect and is not completely finished. Secondly, you believe the law has a stake in justification. Thirdly, your system categorizes works as faith alone works (an oxymoron of sorts) or works that are unfiltered in some way and therefore are efforts to “self-justify.”

If you believe the right gospel, you know that it is impossible to unwittingly partake in an endeavor to justify yourself. It’s a metaphysical impossibility—it’s not in the realm of reality. No false religion teaches that you earn your justification by perfect law-keeping—there is always a system that prescribes sanctified do’s and don’ts that in turn fulfill the law for you, otherwise known as “the traditions of men.”

It’s the fallacy of faith alone works for justification. But any work for justification is justification by works whether doing nothing (abstinence is still doing something), something passive (contemplationism or prayer is also a work) or anything active.

Law and justification are mutually exclusive, and true faith is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Faith works because there is no fear in love (1John 4:18). Don’t be like the servant who was afraid and hid his talents in the ground. Christ said it best:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

paul

Hey Bristol, It’s Not About the Law—It’s About Love

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

Bristol_PalinThe present 20-40-something generation indoctrinated by the Protestant institutional church keeps on doin’ its thing. Yes, this is the “sinners saved by grace” generation. These are sinners that love on their own terms.

What brought all this up? My present midlife blogger crisis. In 2009 when I started blogging, a Protestant scandal only came along once a year or something like that. What made that blog worthy is that Protestants are supposed to be one-up on the Catholics as far as righteousness goes. Everybody knows Catholics do anything they want to and then go to confession afterwards. Protestants have always been deemed as above such religious wantonness.

Now blogging has become like children who get chocolate too often. It’s no longer a treat; it’s a common occurrence, and the chocolate just doesn’t melt in one’s mouth like it used to. I have watched trending Protestant scandals increase to bi-monthly, monthly, weekly, and now approaching daily. Yawn, we sit at the dinner table and ask the complaining rhetorical question to momma blogger: “Chocolate again?”

It’s hard medicine, but the only thing to blog about now is the why? The what has run its course. However, what most of us do not realize is that there is a new and exciting trail to blaze in our present day: the art of godly living. But first, we must examine why that is possible in the face of this impossible dream.

It’s possible because Protestant tradition has always made Christian living all about our original salvation. Jesus died on the cross to save us from this horrible world that can be fun at times; Jesus will get us through it, so eat and drink for tomorrow we die. After all, we are all just sinners saved by grace. So, eat, drink, and be merry, and when you get caught, or a bad choice actually yields cause and effect, merely pull out your Woe is me a lowly sinner membership card. Jesus is president of the club.

So what’s the why? The why is because Protestantism with all of its pulpit pounding about justification by faith alone is really about keeping people under the law. We remain under law, and keep it when the opportunity matches our desires or when it is convenient, but all in all, it’s impossible to keep the law perfectly so Jesus came to live on earth to fulfill it for us. When we keep the law, we didn’t do it, Jesus did it “through us.” When we get caught, or a bad a choice yields bad fruit, that’s “disappointing,” but thank goodness that’s why Jesus came to LIVE and DIE.

And that is a lie from the pit of hell. Christ came to end the law, not keep it for us. When we believe on Christ, our past sins are forgiven because Christ ended the law that we sinned against, and in regard to the future, there is no law to condemn us. The law of condemnation has been ended.

How? Because Christ died so that you can follow Him in death, and a dead person is no longer under the law of condemnation. Then, Christ was resurrected so that you can follow Him in resurrection as well. More accurately, when you follow Christ in death, the Spirit comes and resurrects you as He did Christ. That’s the new birth. Now you are free from the law in regard to condemnation, for the old you died and is no longer under the jurisdiction of the law’s condemnation. But…your resurrection to new life frees you to love according to the law of love, not condemnation. Same law—different use. Same law, different state of being.

Oops, I almost forgot, the new scandal. “Which one?” This one: Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin’s daughter, is once again pregnant out of wedlock. The family, members of the New Calvinist Wasilla Bible Church, survived the publicity of the first “disappointing” choice, but obviously nothing was learned from the first incident, the blessings of a child being brought into the world notwithstanding.

I am not going to bore you with what she said on her blog about the news; it is the same old Protestant song and dance. In essence, and for all practical purposes: Oops; me, a lowly sinner, once again has sinned. Per the usual, we all fall short of keeping the law perfectly, but praise God for Jesus—it’s not about what we do, but what he has done.  

That misses the whole point. Jesus didn’t come to keep the law for us; He came to end the law, and set us free to love. Like all Protestants, Palin confuses law and love. Here is the huge problem: if Christ kept/keeps the law for us, He also loves for us. Like most Protestants, Palin dichotomizes law and love in Christian living because she remains under the law of condemnation and is not free to follow the law as love.

Hence, as she pontificated on her blog, she can dishonor her family while still loving them. As far as dishonoring her family and bringing shame upon them, Jesus died for that, but of course she still loves her family.

Listen, whenever love is something different than obedience to God’s law, whenever a failure to truly love is not called out for what it is, that means one thing and one thing only: that person is still under the condemnation of the law that Jesus supposedly keeps for us.

Listen “sister,” it’s not about the law, it’s about love. Google the following and find out who said it… “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  One cannot change until the real problem is diagnosed. Palin failed to love God and her family.

Christ did not come to keep the law for us anymore than He came to love for us—we either love or we don’t love. If we truly understand salvation, “We love Him because He first loved us.” That means He loved us first by dying on the cross to end the law so that we are free to love him through obedience apart from being justified by the law. And as much as we love Him, we love others as well.

It’s not about the law—it’s about love. And that is the new frontier for recovering Protestants.

paul

________________

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Andy Williams to Protestants: Godly Living is Possible

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

Resurrection

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

Tomb 2

Justification

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

Law 7

Connecting the Dots: Tullian Tchividjian and Luther’s Theologian of the Cross

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

TT6The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 5

The Reformed community will hardly shed a tear in regard to the recent demise of Tullian Tchividjian. A consummate theologian of the cross in accordance with Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, his lack of nuance drove other Reformed leaders to distraction.

Tchividjian is the premier example of the authentic Reformed gospel applied in our day. His life and teachings will be compared to what we have learned thus far from the foundational doctrinal statement of the Reformation.

Join the discussion @ 7pm on Friday, 6/26/2015. Program link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/falsereformation/2015/06/26/the-magnum-opus-of-the-reformation-martin-luthers-heidelberg-disputation-p5

A Clarification on my Anti-Reformation, Anti-Protestant Stance

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

AdamsIt is true, I have totally written off every Calvinist that has ever lived in regard to having any value for sanctification or justification except for two, one being Dr. Jay Adams. After all, I don’t want to be extreme.

So, what’s my excuse for excusing Adams? He brings something to the table that isn’t Reformed. Sure, he may argue that it is Reformed, but nevertheless the results are the same: people find a measure of real help in a contemporary church where there isn’t any help. In fact, the consensus is in: people are better off after they leave church. This ministry has witnessed several marriages on their way to divorce court until the couple simply stopped going to church. In fact, I dare say their marriages are getting better.

We are in a Protestant Dark Age. A movement is needed where the wisdom of God found in the Scriptures is rediscovered in Western culture. What needs to be rediscovered specifically? It starts with the knowledge that the Bible is written for the able individual. That’s first.

Secondly, the issue of how we interpret reality must be addressed. The Reformers did not interpret reality literally, and that tradition was passed down to all that followed them. In the church today, by and large, the pastorate does not interpret state of being in the same way that congregants do. The Reformers reinterpreted every word and term according to their own worldview. For example, “God’s glory” really means “God’s self-love.” Stated simply, John 3:16 in reverse.

The Reformers devised an ingenious indoctrination system of sliding metaphysics. They redefined every word and term, and allowed the listeners to assume what they meant by each word and term. In the process of using these words and terms in a certain way, listeners are slowly indoctrinated in accordance with the primary goal of the Reformers: a desired functionality albeit foggy understanding.

Let me give some specific examples. Total depravity. From the beginning in Reformed thought, this included believers. So, while assuming total depravity pertains to the unregenerate only, many are eventually indoctrinated into the original Reformed idea that this also includes believers.

Sola scriptura. The assumption is Scripture alone, but the Reformers knew that few would ask the following question: “What exactly did the Reformers believe about the Scriptures?” Sure, Scripture alone, but for what purpose?

Election. The assumption is that this argument focuses on man’s ability to choose God for salvation, but it goes much, much deeper than that and is directly relevant to what the Reformers believed about reality itself. Few know that Calvin believed in three classes of elect: non-elect, temporarily elect, and the final elect, or those who persevere.

The Reformers believed that reality is a narrative written by God in which mankind is written into the script. Reformers such as Jonathan Edwards believed that man has no will per se, but God preordains every thought that precedes every act of man which makes it seem as if man has a will. My wife Susan will be doing three sessions on Jonathan Edwards at this year’s TANC conference. Many will find her research fairly shocking.

Sola fide. The assumption is faith alone for salvation/justification. By far, this is the one that the Reformers get the most mileage out of. Using this assumption, they continually talk about sanctification in a justification way. Eventually, sanctification becomes justification. Eventually, the Christian life becomes perpetual re-justification which is the Reformation gospel in a nutshell.

Protestantism is truly the super-cult of the ages.

And the institutional church finds itself in a huge dilemma. Traditional institutional worship beginning with the Reformation was tailored for perpetual re-justification down to the alter call routine. The Lord’s Table is a solemn ceremony where additional grace is imparted through repentance. In reality, the first century assemblies met for dinner, and the fellowship meal was supposed to remind them of their fellowship with God and His Son. It was all very informal and not for the purpose of imparting additional grace.

The gatherings were an extension of worshipful living specifically designed for private homes and nothing more. The institutional version is an extension of two pillars of Reformed theology: the doctrine of progressive justification, and the politics of church-state. Hence, traditional institutional worship necessarily circumvents the original intent of Christ’s mandate for His assemblies.

With all of that said, Adams supplies a little help that can be found right now in the institutional church, and at least for the time being, we need to seize upon everything we can get. I am not talking about those who think they are helped by adopting a Reformed worldview of zero-sum-life (viz, “second generation” biblical counseling). I am not talking about those who seem to stand strong in the face of adversity because they see all of life as nothing but a divine prewritten narrative for the sole benefit of a divine self-love. No, here is my reasoning in regard to Adams per a comment I posted yesterday:

God used Jay Adams to save my life. How? Jay emphasized the need for biblical counseling using a grammatical approach to the Scriptures. This approach proffered the idea that seizing upon the literal promises of God in the Bible is curative. Of course, this would seem evident. That gives hope; if I follow God’s instruction on this, God will do that.

In the midst of the hell I found myself in, I could begin to please God. Nothing could keep me from doing so except myself, and in God’s timing, and in God’s way, it would be curative as well.

As someone who prided himself as a knowledgeable, objective evangelical, Jay’s teachings exposed the fact that I was really a functioning mystic that used all of the orthodox verbiage. While I disagree with Jay on many things, this is the powerful approach that he brings to the table.

“Christians” have a choice to make in regard to how they will interpret the Scriptures and reality itself: grammatically, or according to Christocentric Gnosticism. I am not talking about pseudo grammatical interpretation used for a purely redemptive outcome, I am talking about authentic exegetical interpretation, not cross-centered eisegesis leading to the antinomianism of “second generation” biblical counseling.

And, Jay is an example to all of us in practicing our gifts faithfully to the end. There is no retiring from a love for the ministry that you are called to whatever it is.

May the Lord give God’s people many more years of his living sacrifice.

Am I willing to give a Calvinists credit where credit is due? Yes, if he brings something to the table that can give life. If we were in a time when the laity has retaken its rightful place in Christ’s mandate supplying ample sanctification wisdom, would I recommend Adams in any regard? I am not sure, my due to him in this particular age notwithstanding.  But for the time being, we must scrape up everything we can get until the laity obeys its calling, as long as it is truly worth scraping up.

The Reformation has failed. A resurgence of it commenced in 1970. By 2008, it dominated American evangelicalism and continues to do so today. But, the chickens are coming home to roost. Its leaders are dropping like flies. The damage control is now unmanageable. The institutional church is a train wreck while the Nones and the Dones are laying about everywhere on the landscape. The latest trail blazer of the neo-resurgence to fall at the hands of his own gospel sanctification Reformed doctrine is Tullian Tchividjian. He is one of seven of the most visible leaders of the movement to resign for misconduct in less than two years. Others have been the focus of controversial bully-like conduct in the same time frame, along with numerous Neo-Calvinist mega church pastors who have resigned for sexual misconduct, three in the Orlando, Florida area alone.

The answer is NOT Reformation—the answer is a laity revolution. The laity has been conned into investing huge sacrifice in Reformed academia, and to what end? Who will deny that the laity understands less about Christian living than we ever have? Rather than seeking God’s face on our own, we run to orthodox sand boxes like The Warburg Watch and play with the same regurgitated Reformed talking points. This only serves to help the failed Reformation with its damage control. It only serves to send the message that being confused is acceptable.

But we do not serve a God of confusion. It’s time for the laity to stop worshiping Reformed academia and give honor to the one who sanctifies us with truth—not the traditions of mere men.

paul

Acts Lesson 56

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on June 23, 2015

Acts Series

Tuesday Night Bible Study – Now LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 56 – June 23, 2015 (Click here to listen)

 

 

 


Tonight’s Text – Acts 21

A beginning look at Paul’s return to Jerusalem and his ensuing arrest.

A Song I Dedicate to Protestants Everywhere

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

Janet Mefferd in Denial

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 23, 2015
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@ Janet Mefferd

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

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 4

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

Blog Radio LogoListen to Show or download audio file. 

Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 4 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.”

Greetings from the Potter’s House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

Remember, you may remain anonymous. When I say, “This is your host; you are on the air, what’s your comment or question”—just start talking.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Ok, so last week we only covered thesis 7, and as discussed, sometimes these Reformed guys are as clear as mud. Where the confusion comes in regards Luther’s position on mortal versus venial sin. Per Susan’s contribution last week, we know that Luther and Calvin never left the Catholic Church, and Susan assessed the Catholic position on mortal and venial sin. With that said, what was Luther’s position?

Look, here is the same advice I gave Susan in regard to her research on Jonathan Edwards: sometimes, there is just no way of knowing what these guys are trying to say, so you have to look for the places that can be defined and draw conclusions accordingly. The way Luther goes about thesis 7 could be debated until the second coming. So what’s he saying definitively? Well, let’s go to thesis 12:

In the sight of God sins are then truly venial when they are feared by men to be mortal.

This becomes sufficiently clear from what has been said. For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us, according to the verse, »Confess your misdeed so that you will be justified« (cf. Isa. 43:26), and according to another (Ps. 141:4), »Incline not my heart to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds«.

Bingo. That’s pretty clear. For all practical purposes, according to Luther, the deeds of the saved and unsaved alike are all mortal sins. Even if Luther makes room for sins being authentically venial in the subjective Christian life, it makes no difference because mankind cannot do a good deed or any work that would be meritorious before God. In order to be saved, an individual must disavow the possibility of good works and assume every act is a mortal sin.

Susan is in the midst of some very heavy research, and has been sharing some of it with me. At times she will read excerpts from Edwards and there is no way in hades to know what the guy is saying. But, according to the subject, you can draw from what the guy has said in other places and draw your conclusions. And that’s what we are doing here.

While we are on thesis 12, let’s note this:

For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us, according to the verse, »Confess your misdeed so that you will be justified« (cf. Isa. 43:26).

Bingo—that’s the Reformation gospel in a nutshell. You are still a wretched unregenerate sinner, and a perpetual return to the same repentance that saved you keeps you justified. The saving death of Christ is continually reapplied to your life along with His imputed obedience as well. This is what Paul David Trip et al call “A lifestyle of repentance” echo, echo, echo, echo.

And by the way, if you have any complaint at all about the way your church is run, this is what you will probably hear: “Who are you to judge? You should be busy accusing yourself rather than others lest you fall from grace.” And I don’t have a problem with that and nether should you. Why? Well at least they know what Protestantism is about. They are just being good Protestants, it is what it is.

And here’s another thing; I claim a liberty for myself that I think is biblical. I refuse to pass judgement on who is going to hell and who isn’t. Not only is hell a terrible place of eternal torment that I would not literally wish on anybody, but I choose to leave that assessment where it belongs; in the hands of God. Do you know why people want me to draw the hell conclusion from my assessment of true gospel versus false gospel? Here’s why: they want to use that to shut down discussion and subsequent discovery. See, when TANC ministries comes up, they want to say, “Ya, Dohse believes that Martin Luther and John Calvin are burning in hell.” See, that shuts down discussion. But if they tell the truth and say, “Dohse believes the Reformation gospel is progressive justification,” well, now that induces curiosity and discovery.

Listen, who am I to be going around saying that this guy is going to hell and that guy is going to hell? That’s not my place, but the bigger point is that such behavior becomes the topic and not the substantive discussion of true gospel versus false gospel. The former utilizes a jump from presuppositions to conclusion so that the substantive is circumvented. Don’t fall for that garbage.

Let’s now proceed to thesis eight:

Thesis 8: By so much more are the works of man mortal sins when they are done without fear and in unadulterated, evil self-security.

The inevitable deduction from the preceding thesis is clear. For where there is no fear there is no humility. Where there is no humility there is pride, and where there is pride there are the wrath and judgment of God, »for God opposes the haughty. Indeed, if pride would cease there would be no sin anywhere.

This thesis supplies a couple of major hallmarks of the Reformation. But I better pause here to head off a danger at the pass. Don’t be tempted to think that this point by point assessment of the FIRST Reformation doctrinal statement is redundant. It’s not. In all of this, I am becoming more and more appreciative of Luther’s genius. Throughout this document, Luther is not only putting forth a foundational doctrinal statement, he is teaching people how to think and what to think about the finer points of life. Luther isn’t saying the same things in a different way, he is redefining the elements of collective thinking that are possible exits out of the foundational premise. At the end of this study, one could put together a counter disputation, and maybe I will.

Here, he defines “pride.” What is that according to Luther, and frankly every Reformer after him? Pride, according to Luther, is the heart of sin: “Indeed, if pride would cease there would be no sin anywhere.” Here we see two major epistemologies or metaphysical hermeneutics of the Reformation: First, the common man cannot only do anything that would find favor with God, the common man cannot know reality. Second, every truth has a counter truth. Said another way, opposites define each other. In Plato’s theory of forms, reality descends from the immutable objective to the mutable and shadowy subjective. Ascent to the objective begins by finding those things that are immutable in the subjective shadow world.

plato-forms

For Plato, that was math among other things, but along this same line of epistemology is dualism, or what’s called “co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts.” Do you see this in thesis 8? It’s pride and humility. We also refer to this as the either/or hermeneutic. There is no in-between, it’s either/or. There is no taking pride in what you do without being prideful. There is no taking of satisfaction from a job well done; you are either humble or prideful.

And, this is also key, what is humbleness’ key attribute? Right, fear; specifically fear of condemnation…”For where there is no fear there is no humility. Where there is no humility there is pride, and where there is pride there are the wrath and judgment of God.”

Your only chance of getting into heaven in the end is doubts that you will. Luther and Calvin both equated eternal security with damning pride. Tullian Tchividjian once joked that Presbyterians differ from Baptists because Presbyterians don’t call each other “brothers” because no one knows for certain whether that’s the case or not. The joke bought the house down, but as the saying goes, the truth in a joke is what often makes it funny.

Once again, this is also right out of the Calvin Institutes:

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).

As we have discussed before, Calvin’s election construct has three categories: the non-elect, the temporary elect, and those who persevere. No one knows whether they make it or not until they are revealed as such in the final judgement. This is known as “final justification when the sons of God are made manifest.” Apparently, they are made manifest by their “accompanied good works” which were really performed by Jesus and not them. This aversion to eternal security is also demonstrated by the likes of John Piper:

There is danger on the way to salvation in heaven. We need ongoing protection after our conversion. Our security does not mean we are home free. There is a battle to be fought (John Piper: Bethlehem Baptist Church Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Elect Are Kept by the Power of God October 17, 1993).

Of course, the apostle John’s stated purpose for writing the book of 1John directly contradicts this idea. Let’s move on to thesis 9:

Thesis 9: To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God.

For in this way men become certain and therefore haughty, which is perilous. For in such a way God is constantly deprived of the glory which is due him and which is transferred to other things, since one should strive with all diligence to give him the glory-the sooner the better. For this reason the Bible advises us, »Do not delay being converted to the Lord.« For if that person offends him who withdraws glory from him, how much more does that person offend him who continues to withdraw glory from him and does this boldly! But whoever is not in Christ or who withdraws from him withdraws glory from him, as is well known.

Luther here has a problem with the idea that good works can be performed by the unbelieving or believing and such works do not condemn, but are merely dead works that cannot earn merits for justification. This now brings us to what the Reformers believe is the sole purpose for all existence: God’s glory. Any concession that man can do anything good robs God of glory.

Man can indeed do good works, but in regard to the unsaved, it is true that in the end that only results in less condemnation, but Luther isn’t even willing to conceded that. If people can do good works resulting in less condemnation—that robs God of glory. Furthermore, it removes fear of condemnation from some works which also robs God of glory.

This is why Luther’s disputation is said to be the cross story versus the glory story: any glory not given to God is claimed by man; hence, the glory story, or the story of man. It can’t be a story about God and man, All glory must be granted to God. You are either living in the cross metaphysical narrative or the glory of man metaphysical narrative.

Thesis 10: Indeed, it is very difficult to see how a work can be dead and at the same time not a harmful and mortal sin.

This I prove in the following way: Scripture does not speak of dead things in such a manner, stating that something is not mortal which is nevertheless dead. Indeed, neither does grammar, which says that »dead« is a stronger term than »mortal«. For the grammarians call a mortal work one which kills, a »dead« work not one that has been killed, but one that is not alive. But God despises what is not alive, as is written in Prov. 15:8, »The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.«

Second, the will must do something with respect to such a dead work, namely, either love or hate it. The will cannot hate a dead work since the will is evil. Consequently the will loves a dead work, and therefore it loves something dead. In that act itself it thus induces an evil work of the will against God whom it should love and honor in this and in every deed.

This thesis makes another argument against the idea that good works can be performed by mankind, but they are dead works in regard to justification. If mankind can perform a good deed, if mankind is competent, if mankind has some sort of ability, then why would that not include the ability to choose? This speaks to the Reformed doctrine of total inability. The Reformed continually claim this doctrine as uniquely Reformed and contrary to all other religions throughout history. This is not true; in fact, the total depravity of mankind coupled with determinism of some sort has been the overwhelming norm from the beginning of time. We delved into this historical fact in our Romans series (lessons 55-64).

What I would like to focus on in this thesis is Luther’s mention of grammar and the “grammarians.” What is a grammarian? A grammarian is someone who studies world linguistics. A grammarian also studies the connections between linguistics and the interpretation of reality. By and large, a grammarian is going to take a literal approach to interpreting reality; ie., things are as they appear. Another way of stating it: reality can be understood empirically. Hence, man can reason and understand reality.

This is going to be my subject at this year’s conference. The Reformers did not hold to a literal interpretation of realty. Obviously, St. Augustine was heavily steeped in allegory. This is what most Christians don’t understand: the Reformation was about the interpretation of reality itself, and how the Bible should be used for that purpose.

The Reformers didn’t reject biblical grammarianism, but made it secondary to the redemptive view of reality, or the idea that all of reality should be interpreted by “the gospel.” If the use of grammar leads to a redemptive outcome, wonderful. If it doesn’t, you use allegory to insure a redemptive outcome. The Reformed therefore often claim to be grammarians which is blatantly disingenuous. And look, the Reformed camp is not the least bit shy about all of this. We can see in this thesis how Luther was willing to use the grammar for the outcome he desired. In essence, he is saying: look, if the simpleton grammarians even think that something dead cannot contribute anything to life, how much more should we believe it as well?  

And look, the Reformed camp is not the least bit shy about all of this. In his book, “Uneclipsing The Son,” by John MacArthur confidant and rumored heir apparent Rick Holland, he states that “bad grammar makes good theology” (page 39). The who’s who of American evangelicalism endorsed the book, and John MacArthur wrote the forward. As should be surmised by the title, the book is an in-your-face Gnostic treatise. The whole eclipsing the sun motif is a well-traveled illustration in Neo-Platonist/Gnostic circles. In the forward, MacArthur makes shocking statements that include the following idea: the subordination of God the Father and the Spirit to the Son.

If one does not interpret the Bible as a grammarian, all bets are off. While the Catholics made printing the Bible illegal, the Protestants merely took away individual interpretation and made biblical knowledge “the Gnosis.” Also, here is an aside: why did Christ emphasize the new birth to Nicodemus? The guy was “the” teacher in Israel and had never even heard of the new birth. Why? because Judaism was saturated with Gnostic philosophy and the infusion of divinity into a mortal being was unthinkable. The guy’s very name even reflects the Gnostic politic: nico; victory; demus; people; or, victory over the people. The most prominent Gnostic sect of the day was the Nicolaitans which means “victory over the laity.”

Now, next week, we are going to use theses 11 and 12 as an introduction to thesis 13 and following where Luther gets into the foundational position of free will according to the Reformation. We have heard lots of discussion about freewill for many years; next week, we will define the issue.

Church Counsels

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

Church Counsel 2

Zero Sum Life

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

Zero sum 2

John 3:16

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

John 3.16 2

Tax Exemption for Churches – Unequal Treatment Under the Law

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

Originally posted on The Oligarchy White Paper:

One of the most important concepts of the U.S. constitution is the idea that everyone is afforded equal rights and protection under the law. In the last article, we discussed the disparity of treatment that has expanded over many years, providing special privileges for certain groups (and subsequently individuals) in the US. Today churches are among those who receive a decidedly significant advantage over other businesses. And if anyone tries to convince you that church is not big business today, they are most likely a beneficiary of the status as a non-profit or charitable organization.

Originally passed in 1894, the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act was the first law to exempt “any corporation or association organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes, no part of the net income of which inures to the benefit of any private stockholder or individual.” In other words, only those organizations which did not…

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Debbie Didn’t Do It; Keeps Herself Saved

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

The Reformation’s Lifestyle of Fear and Constant Threat of Condemnation

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

Blog Radio LogoThe Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 4

Theses 8,9, and 10. The Reformation’s lifestyle of fear and constant threat of condemnation.

Today @ 7pm. The episode link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/falsereformation/2015/06/19/the-magnum-opus-of-the-reformation-martin-luthers-heidelberg-disputation-p4

Join the discussion!

Children, and the “Gospel of Sovereignty”

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

I Repent of Supporting Calvinism

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

Yes, I have seen the light, and will now repent of supporting Calvinism. It’s funny how one’s search for the truth is highlighted with lightbulb moments here and there along the way. The most recent drama trending among the discernment blogs is the story reported by Fox News here.

When the couple shared what the church did, and the fact that they were looking for a new church, the lightbulb moment occurred. By “exposing” what the church did, and announcing that they were looking for a new church, they are sending a clear message that the problem is with that particular church, and not the ideology that led to the behavior.

In case anybody hasn’t noticed, there is a whole bunch of misbehaving going on in the Protestant institutional church. By focusing on the behavior, which by the way is both similar and rampant, we facilitate the survival of the ideology that is causing the abuse. It would seem that all of these churches are behaving according to the same playbook; that’s because they are.

Said another way: by separating the behavior from the doctrine, the doctrine that is causing the abuse is getting a pass. Like all discernment blogs, I am guilty of this as well. I have two blogs that detail what happened to me and my family at Clearcreek Chapel. I now see that those blogs are actually promoting Calvinism.

How? The blogs point the finger at Clearcreek Chapel and not the ideology. Really, it was all a misunderstanding; I thought I was a Protestant, and really didn’t know what a Protestant is. By thinking I was a Protestant and hanging out with Protestants, I found out the hard way what a Protestant is.

How we underestimate the power in Jesus’ words: “Beware of the traditions of men.” Ya, no kidding.

It’s the tradition, stupid, not the behavior. Stop supporting Calvinism.

paul

Helping People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 15, 2015

http://paulspassingthoughts.com/Obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCD) “is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform.” The common symptom most of us are familiar with is excessive handwashing. However, the experts also associate OCD with hoarding.

That’s interesting. According to the experts, many hoarders smitten with OCD fear that something bad will happen to them if they throw away certain items. I can relate as I will not throw a Bible away. I relate the trash with things that are of no value. When I first became acclimated to the use of computers I was emailing a close friend. I wouldn’t delete his emails because the lingo for the email service I was using was “trash.” I soon learned how to use email folders to store all of his emails. Likewise, I will not throw away cards people send me, especially family. So, I would disagree with the experts that hoarding is completely fear driven. I think other issues are at play in regard to hoarding while not excluding fear altogether from that equation.

Things like excessive handwashing are easier to address because clearly that is fear driven. The Bible is pretty clear on the dynamics of fear. First of all, we know that the works of the law are written on the hearts of all people born into the world. That means valuing life is intuitive. We are wired to love life. And of course, that is one of the many reasons that I have devoted what’s left of my life to exposing the dangers of Protestantism; the doctrine is predicated on the total depravity of man and mankind’s inherent worthlessness. So, what’s up with the anti-abortion movement? Well, with any religion, fewer numbers in the pool of resources is not beneficial, but that is a subject for another time and probably better addressed by Sean over at Oligarchy White Paper.

So, healthy and wise fear defends life; that’s first. Let’s now discuss what gets healthy fear out of whack according to the Bible. This will also explain why Protestantism will be no stranger by any means to OCD. Fear has to do with judgement or CONDEMNATION.

Fear has to do with judgement, or eternal condemnation, and judgement follows death. This is why people fear death: because they know intuitively that judgement follows death. Invariably, death means giving an account to God. The Bible states that the sting of death is the law because the law condemns.

1Corinthians 15:56 – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sin is empowered by condemnation. If you take away sin’s ability to condemn, it has no purpose to exist. Sin is described in the Bible as a “master” that seeks to enslave. It does so through fear of judgement. Therefore, sin is empowered by the law. No law, no condemnation, and death has no sting (fear of the judgement that comes afterward). The crux of unhealthy fear is ignorance in regard to law.

This is an “imputation” that is not discussed nearly enough in Christian circles. ALL sin is against the law. This is the way God set things up. This is reality. As the law was added over the years, sin increased. Nevertheless, this is why Christ died on the cross, to END the law. Christ didn’t go to the cross to die for sins per se, but all sin against the law. When Christ died on the cross, He cancelled the law and all sin against it. He also cancelled any judgement or condemnation; the judge has no law from which to convict.

Keep in mind, there has always been the law of God written on the hearts of every individual that is administered by the conscience, and either accusing or excusing us, but God added the written code for the purpose of imputing sin. All sin is against the law (1John 3:4). The written code was added for the express purpose of holding sin captive (Galatians 3:22).

Let’s take a look at a particular Old Testament passage.

Zechariah 3:1 – Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”

The new garments are NOT Christ. The new garments represent the righteousness of the Old Testament saint as a result of believing in the coming branch that would take away the sins of the world, not just cover them. If anything, other than representing righteousness, the new clothing would represent the law before it would represent Christ. The Old Testament saint, along with his/her sins, was held captive by the law of condemnation until Christ died on the cross to end the law and “set the captives free.”

But don’t get lost in all of the theology. Here is the simple point: those who are under grace are able to keep fear in perspective. There are only two people groups in the world: under law, and under grace (Romans 6:14). The Bible is very specific about the difference: those under law face judgment according to the law and certain condemnation. This empowers sin and puts the sting in death leading to all kinds of unhealthy fear in various and sundry forms.

Where confusion comes, in follows the idea that there is no law in grace. The law (the Bible) is the Holy Spirit’s law; He will use it to convict the world of sin and the judgement to come, or He will use it to sanctify believers. This comes about by believers learning about the Bible and using its wisdom for the sole purpose of loving God and others while knowing that the law’s ability to condemn has been cancelled. For the believer, death is still an affront to their love of life, but death doesn’t threaten to condemn them for eternity. Those under threat of judgement may be given to debilitating fear. “The unbelieving flee when no one pursues.”

Let’s pause to examine a particular verse:

1John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Unfortunately, the English doesn’t do well in accurately reflecting the Greek word “mature” in this verse. Mature love casts out fear. Those who are overtaken with fear are not maturing in love. This verse is better thought of in this way:

There is no law in love, but those who are growing in grace experience a casting away of the law’s condemnation because law has to do with judgement. Those who have a hopeless fear of death are not learning the law and applying it to their lives in order to love God and others. This is what casts out fear.

This is why OCD will be just as prevalent among Protestants as it will be among the under law crowd. Protestantism has a singular perspective on the law: it can only condemn. This results in confusion about law among many professing Christians. Because there is only one perspective on the law, i.e.,  it must be kept perfectly in order to fulfill righteousness, complex soteriologies emerge that seek to fulfill the law via substitutions of all sorts. Think, “various and sundry denominations.”

For the most part, these false constructs replace the pursuit of love via the law with rituals that fulfill the law completely in our stead. In the case of the Galatians, they replaced “faith WORKING through love” with circumcision and the observance of days and dietary laws. They believed this fulfilled the whole law in their place. Whether folks want to face up to it or not, Martin Luther and John Calvin did the exact same thing with the following construct:

If you obey these certain rituals, the perfect obedience of Christ to the law will be imputed to your life, and this will keep you justified positionally.

But that’s still under law. It matters not who keeps the law—under law is still under law.

The fearful person must know that the law cannot condemn them. They must know that there is NOW…NO condemnation for those who believe in Christ (Romans 8:1). Death is indeed unfortunate and sad, but to the one under grace it does not destroy the present life as well through unhealthy fear.

The motives for obedience by the one under grace should not be questioned because obedience for justification is a metaphysical impossibility. The only reason left for one under grace to obey the law is love. But if you will notice…

…the fearful are crippled in their ability to love others, no?

For example, those who have an unreasonable fear of crowds will fail to support loved ones at special events, etc. When you are spending all of your time washing your hands along with all sorts of other preventative rituals, it is obviously more difficult to serve others. And unfortunately, these fears become habit patterns. The body will be trained over time to react to certain situations and fears in habitual ways.

We are created in the image of God and have many of God’s characteristics…but it is never said that God fears as far as I can tell from the Scriptures. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, fear indeed was the very first symptom causing Adam and Eve to hide from God. Death brings us face to face with God.

But those under grace have no need to fear judgement or condemnation from God. The Bible states that this particular fear of condemnation is the source of fear run amuck, and it cripples our ability to love. Christ died on the cross so that we can follow Him in death—this is the Spirit’s baptism. One who is dead is not under the law (Romans 7:1ff). Even if your body is exhumed and taken into court, the judge has no law to judge you with for Christ ended it. You only went to one court hearing after you were resurrected to new life: adoption court where the Holy Spirit stood with you and testified that you have been adopted by God the Father. He knows, He resurrected you with the same power that He resurrected Christ with.

The unbelieving must be born again, and the Protestant must come to a proper understanding of the law. The fearful must follow Christ in the baptism of the Holy Spirit through trust in what both have accomplished for us. In both cases, unhealthy fear is robbed of its power. Death is unpleasant, but not a terror. Slowly but surely, fearful believers who keep reminding themselves that they are not under condemnation will replace fear with love more and more.

Christ came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. It is our duty to call on believers to seize and lay upon the many precious promises secured by Christ on the cross through horrendous suffering. Seize upon the purpose of his death, that is, to give life. Christ died for life, not more death…unless you speak of the former self.

Romans 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

As Christians love more and more, their consciences do not condemn them. The law written on the heart is still operative. If Christians are weak in love, an accusatory conscience can tempt them to believe they are still under condemnation of the law. When Christians violate their conscience whether biblically informed or not, they should seek fatherly forgiveness, but not forgiveness to prevent condemnation. By the way, part of the cure for fearful Christians is to address God as Father in prayer, not just God, especially a god of condemnation. Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.  Also, the Bible is clear: Christians should fear present consequences for sin, but NEVER eternal condemnation.

I know that a popular consensus claims that ALL phobias are a medical problem. Nevertheless, the spiritual aspect should always be addressed. In most cases, the need for medication will eventually vanquish, and with the doctor being in agreement. I must point out that I am aware of situations where medical doctors insisted that medication for such things are an ongoing need for life, and such did not end up being the case at all. In most cases, it is a spiritual problem.

And by the way: counseling that teaches the fearful to devalue life is an ill-advised solution. The fear of death may be gone because life deserves death anyway, but that will hardly lead to a life of love. Obviously.

paul

Protestantism and Love

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 15, 2015

Protestant Love 2

Open Theism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 15, 2015

Open Theism 2

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 3

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

Blog Radio LogoListen to the audio or download the audio file in separate window.

Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 3 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

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If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Let’s start out with an interpretation prism that just struck me this week. Have you ever thought about this? Think about it: all of Reformed doctrine developed during the Reformation presumed a church state. That means the doctrine itself was tailored for an outcome that required oversight by the state. So, if Luther came back from the dead and visited the church today he would be delighted in regard to the doctrine being taught, but would be absolutely aghast that the church is functioning without the state enforcement of orthodoxy. When Luther is showed the carnage of today’s church in this scenario, he says in the modern vernacular, “Duh, there’s no enforcement of orthodoxy. The patients are running the Psych ward!”

In other words, the doctrine presupposes bad behavior necessarily restrained by the enforcement of orthodoxy, and by the way, that’s exactly how Calvin ran Geneva. So, what we have today is a Protestant doctrine designed for a theocracy functioning in a representative republic. Just a thought, now let’s move on to thesis 7.

Thesis 7: The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.

This is clear from Thesis 4. To trust in works, which one ought to do in fear, is equivalent to giving oneself the honor and taking it from God, to whom fear is due in connection with every work. But this is completely wrong, namely to please oneself, to enjoy oneself in one’s works, and to adore oneself as an idol. He who is self-confident and without fear of God, however, acts entirely in this manner. For if he had fear he would not be self-confident, and for this reason he would not be pleased with himself, but he would be pleased with God.

In the second place, it is clear from the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 143:2), »Enter not into judgment with thy servant«, and Ps. 32:5, »I said: I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.« etc. But that these are not venial sins is clear because these passages state that confession and repentance are not necessary for venial sins. If, therefore, they are mortal sins and »all the saints intercede for them«, as it is stated in the same place, then the works of the saints are mortal sins. But the works of the saints are good works, wherefore they are meritorious for them only through the fear of their humble confession.

In the third place, it is clear from the Lord’s Prayer, »Forgive us our trespasses« (Matt. 6:12). This is a prayer of the saints, therefore those trespasses are good works for which they pray. But that these are mortal sins is clear from the following verse, »If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses« (Matt. 6:15). Note that these trespasses are such that, if unforgiven, they would condemn them, unless they pray this prayer sincerely and forgive others.

In the fourth place, it is clear from Rev. 21:27, »Nothing unclean shall enter into it« (the kingdom of heaven). But everything that hinders entrance into the kingdom of heaven is mortal sin (or it would be necessary to interpret the concept of »mortal sin« in another way). Venial sin, however, hinders because it makes the soul unclean and has no place in the kingdom of heaven. Consequently, etc.

Ok, this thesis is about as clear as mud. But in context, this is how I interpret it, and by the way, most Reformed scholars agree: everything a believer does is evil whether it appears good or bad by human standards. Let me get to the crux here: if any person saved or unsaved thinks they can do a good work that God would look upon and say, “That’s a good deed, it won’t save him/her, but the deed in and of itself is a good deed” that’s mortal sin; ie., condemning sin.

Hence, a Christian is in a state of perpetual sin of the mortal type. Believing such, and attending every good work with fear is venial or forgivable sin. Saving faith is the belief that Christians are under condemnation. This is what the Reformed mean by the Christian life being lived out “subjectively.”

Good and bad things happen and we don’t really know what’s really good or bad or who is doing it or what kind of good or bad works they are.

Let me explain: first, as we saw in the other theses, what appears good to man is really evil, and what appears evil is really good. Man can’t even judge good from evil. For example, man sees suffering as bad, but all wisdom is hidden in suffering. Secondly, we have no way of knowing whether God is doing the work or we are doing the work. Remember Luther’s old and rusty hatchet illustration from last week? So, you just kind of live out your life subjectively, and whatever happens is ok just so you realize that anything initiated by you is evil, and what appears to be good might be a manifestation of Christ’s righteousness or one of your evil works by virtue of the fact that you did the work. Either way, you have no way of knowing as you are “living out justification subjectively” or what is known as “subjective justification.” The key is to live your life in fear that you might come to believe that you can do anything that has merit with God.

Do we have examples of this in our day? Sure we do. How often have you heard a professing Christian say, “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it! It was the Holy Spirit who did it!” Often, you can even see the fear in them that someone will believe they did the work. This also relates to other people. I once had a congregant (a financially poor single mother) tell me that a person who gave them a car didn’t really give them the car (and I am talking a new car by the way), but rather it was the Holy Spirit who gave her the car. You see, if you concede that someone else can do a good work, that is also saying you can do a good work, and that’s mortal sin. Here is another one: “Jesus did it THROUGH me.” What’s that? That’s Luther’s old rusty hatchet, right? Like a hatchet, you are completely passive and God just picks you up and starts whacking away on stuff.

Where do people get this in our day? Right here—you are looking at it. The Heidelberg Disputation 1518 practically applied in 2015.

We are going to look at thesis 7 in a little more detail, but first, let’s get another big picture; let’s address this idea of perpetual condemning sin and the traditional Reformed remedy. We are going to call on our good friend John Calvin to help us with this. Obviously, if Christians swim in the waters of condemnation, there needs to be a remedy, so let’s go to a trusty Reformed commentary:

…by new sins we continually separate ourselves, as far as we can, from the grace of God… Thus it is, that all the saints have need of the daily forgiveness of sins; for this alone keeps us in the family of God (John Calvin: Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles; The Calvin Translation Society 1855. Editor: John Owen, p. 165 ¶4).

So, daily we ask forgiveness for mortal sin (that which removes us from grace), and this “ALONE” keeps us in the family of God. But wait, did you know there is only one place where you can get that ongoing forgiveness? Let’s again consult John Calvin to find out where that place might be:

Nor by remission of sins does the Lord only once for all elect and admit us into the Church, but by the same means he preserves and defends us in it. For what would it avail us to receive a pardon of which we were afterwards to have no use? That the mercy of the Lord would be vain and delusive if only granted once, all the godly can bear witness; for there is none who is not conscious, during his whole life, of many infirmities which stand in need of divine mercy. And truly it is not without cause that the Lord promises this gift specially to his own household, nor in vain that he orders the same message of reconciliation to be daily delivered to them (The Calvin Institutes: 4.1.21).

To impart this blessing to us, the keys have been given to the Church (Mt. 16:19; 18:18). For when Christ gave the command to the apostles, and conferred the power of forgiving sins, he not merely intended that they should loose the sins of those who should be converted from impiety to the faith of Christ; but, moreover, that they should perpetually perform this office among believers (The Calvin Institutes: 4.1.22).

Secondly, This benefit is so peculiar to the Church, that we cannot enjoy it unless we continue in the communion of the Church. Thirdly, It is dispensed to us by the ministers and pastors of the Church, either in the preaching of the Gospel or the administration of the Sacraments, and herein is especially manifested the power of the keys, which the Lord has bestowed on the company of the faithful. Accordingly, let each of us consider it to be his duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Of the public reconciliation which relates to discipline, we shall speak at the proper place (Ibid).

This is what the crux of the Reformed gospel is: a perpetual justification for perpetual condemnation. Do we have present-day examples of this? Sure we do; specifically, the interpretation of 1John 1:9 by many in Presbyterian and Baptist circles.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The idea that this verse proffers a continued repentance for “present sin” is fairly common in Protestant circles of all stripes. Of course, this boils down to keeping yourself saved via repentance. How is that not works salvation? But at any rate, it begins with this idea that Christians dwell in constant mortal sin that needs continued forgiveness.

Here is another example from real life: Susan was at the grocery store and ran into an old friend who is a member of a mainstream evangelical Baptist church. Somehow, the subject got onto alter calls, and Susan wondered aloud why churches have alter calls. Here was the lady’s answer: “Well, I guess people have sin in their lives that needs confession.” Why do people need to go to church to get that forgiveness? Again, we may be far away from 1518, but that doesn’t mean the fruit falls far from the tree my friends.

Let’s now look at some of the finer points of thesis 7.

To trust in works, which one ought to do in fear, is equivalent to giving oneself the honor and taking it from God, to whom fear is due in connection with every work. But this is completely wrong, namely to please oneself, to enjoy oneself in one’s works, and to adore oneself as an idol. He who is self-confident and without fear of God, however, acts entirely in this manner. For if he had fear he would not be self-confident, and for this reason he would not be pleased with himself, but he would be pleased with God.

We begin the finer points with misplaced fear. Biblically, there is to be no fear of condemnation; in fact, love and fear of condemnation are mutually exclusive:

1John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Christians do not fear eternal condemnation because there is “NOW no condemnation” for those who believe (Romans 8:1). In contrast, Luther, as well as Calvin, cited fear of condemnation as the primary motivator of the Christian life. Luther has stated it here in thesis 7, but Calvin was a little more to the point:

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 3.3.3).

This quotation by Calvin also revisits the doctrine of mortification and vivification that we discussed in prior lessons. But the main point for citing this text from the Calvin Institutes is to show that THE primary motivator of sanctification according to the Reformers was, and still is condemnation and fear of future eternal judgement.

Just please let that sink in for a while. You can’t chalk this up to a secondary disagreement with the heroes of the Protestant faith, this is the heart and soul of their soteriology. Granted, biblically, Christians are to fear present consequences in this life, and that is one of the motivators for Christian living. This is Moses’ “blessings and cursings’’ that apply to believers and unbelievers alike. However, for unbelievers, while a moral life does lead to blessings in this life, it only results in lesser condemnation in the end. For the Christian, it’s more and more life unto life. Christ came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. But, also, “judgement begins in the household of God” right? Remember Ananias and Sapphira? That event made the assemblies “fear” which actually spurred growth in the assemblies. But this is not a fear of condemnation. That kind of fear stifles love.

So let that sink in as well. Love cannot thrive in the midst of condemnation and the fear thereof. Why is the institutional church so messed up? Are you beginning to see why? Susan and I were talking about something for our grandchild to do this summer and the idea of VBS came up. I shot the idea down; for better or worse, I have studied all of this long enough to know I do not want my grandson anywhere near an institutional church that considers itself Protestant. What’s the alternative? Well, not a lie because it’s the only game in town. Christians need to get busy building true Christian communities.

But this is completely wrong, namely to please oneself, to enjoy oneself in one’s works, and to adore oneself as an idol. He who is self-confident and without fear of God, however, acts entirely in this manner. For if he had fear he would not be self-confident, and for this reason he would not be pleased with himself, but he would be pleased with God.

We could discuss the fact that the Bible plainly states that it is perfectly ok to take satisfaction in a job well done, but the bigger and finer point is the either/or interpretive prism that is a hard fast rule in Protestant teaching. We sometimes call this the either/or hermeneutic. This concept saturates Protestantism. You can’t please yourself and God, you either totally please yourself or totally please God. You can’t be confident enough to do a job well and take satisfaction in it without being arrogant; you either have NO self-confidence, or you are making yourself God—it’s either/or with no in-between. There is no balance.

Of course, this is the Platonist aspect of Reformed theology and is the natural result of the dualism philosophy that Platonism is based on. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that it all flows from the knowledge of good and evil doctrine first presented to Eve. I think that is a whole wide open frontier of research that hasn’t been explored yet.

So, tonight we only covered thesis 7 and will continue with thesis 8 next week.

Line in the Sand

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 12, 2015

Line in the sand 2

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 12, 2015

Blog Radio LogoJoin the discussion tonight @ 7pm. Live link: http://tobtr.com/s/7691945

About six months after Luther posted his 95 Theses on the front doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, he presented his doctrinal disputation to the Augustinian Order in Heidelberg, Germany. This is a timeless document that laid the foundation for Protestant doctrine and its primary principles have never been altered. This document is the very roots of the Protestant tree. The Reformed tradition has never strayed from its major tenets. To understand the Heidelberg Disputation is to understand all of the Reformed tradition.

The Scream of the Damned and “How Much?” Christ’s Descent into Paradise

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 11, 2015

Yesterday, I wrote a post regarding the Reformed doctrine of double imputation. This Reformed doctrine was developed to deny the idea that God infuses righteousness into believers through the new birth. Supposedly, Christ lived a perfect life so that His righteous can be imputed to believers for purposes of living by faith alone in sanctification. As discussed, this begs the question: “How much?” Is that why Christ lived 30 years? Is that what it took to secure enough righteousness to get the elect into heaven? And of course, PPT continually points out why this is sooooo wrong on many levels.

The other side of double imputation suggests that Christ died for each and every sin of the elect only. So therefore, in the same way another question is begged: how much suffering was necessary?

Now enter Christ’s decent into “hell” while He was on the cross as noted by, 1 Pet. 3:18-20, 1Peter 4:6, Ephesians 4:8-10, Acts 2:31, and Galatians 3:21-27. Here at PPT we think it is pretty obvious what these verses refer to. Old Testament saints were covered, or protected by the law until Christ died on the cross. The law was a “guardian” until “faith came.” This is the imputation that is not talked about nearly enough: the imputation of sin to the law because “all sin is against the law.” Sin is “held captive” by the law until one believes in Christ who ended the law. In this way, OT believers were “captives” as the law was a guardian that protected them until “faith came” (Christ).

By the way, that atonement is ended for believers, but not unbelievers. Presently, every sin an unbeliever commits is imputed to the law because all sin is against the law and where there is no law there is no sin. People will either be judged by the law at the final judgement, or they will believe on Christ and have the law ended along with every violation they committed against it. This law also includes the law of conscience written on the heart of every person born into the world. Apparently, those who have no knowledge of the Bible will only be judged according to conscience while the religious who have biblical knowledge will be judged by both.

So, when OT believers died, they went to “the abode of the dead.” According to Christ’s “parable” in Luke 16, it was divided into “Abraham’s bosom” and a place of torment. Yes, I believe Christ’s illustration in that chapter is to be taken literally, and was Christ’s description of an actual event. Christ never earmarked the illustration as a parable per His custom when he utilized parables. Hence, when Christ went to “paradise” to preach to the captives He took the thief on the cross with Him. I would say the thief got one whale of an education on that day. Christ preached victory to His enemies and led the captives free, and took them to heaven. Then, upon arriving in heaven, He poured gifts out on His assembly.

But…when your doctrine is predicated on the false presuppositions of Reformed double imputation, Christ’s descention must now be used in a lame attempt to answer the “how much?” question. The result is the notion that God actually sent Christ to hell for the purpose of adequately paying the penalty for the elect. This includes the idea that Christ emitted a horrific scream on the cross as He suffered in hell for the sins of the elect.

Yes, you too can pay $80,000 for a seminary education where you will be required to believe such things in order to get a job. Ya, do that. Go for it Bubba.

How much? Christ’s death ended the law. His resurrection infuses life. One death for life everlasting. Two single acts, one by Christ and one by the Spirit. That is enough—that secured our salvation.

paul

Rebels

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 11, 2015

Reformation Doctrine

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

The False Protestant Gospel of “How Much?”

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

“At any moment, any lost person can choose to have their sins ended. It is not a question of whether or not they are elected, it is a question of whether or not they are under the law—and they are.”      

The Protestant gospel effectively denies the biblical interpretation of the new birth. Because of its Platonist metaphysical presuppositions, it denies the treasure of God’s seed dwelling in weak vessels. Hence, the new birth is redefined and confined to the ability to perceive realm manifestations apart from any ability to do a good work of any kind. As stated by some, “Sanctification is done TO you, not BY you.”

In the biblical good news schema, Christ does ONE act of obedience as His part in God’s reconciliation plan. There is no question of “how much?” because His death was all that was required.

Now enter the heinous “Reformation” gospel of confusion. A cursory observation of Reformation history reveals that the dust-up between Rome and the “Reformers” was over metaphysics first. The very first and foundational doctrinal statement of the Reformation contained 12 theses of philosophical metaphysics. Luther was miffed that Rome was moving away from its Augustinian/Platonist roots and coming under the spell of Thomism. This shift began in the 13th century via St. Thomas Aquinas and eventually incited the Reformation. The assertion that the Reformation was driven by sola scriptura is absurd.

Martin Luther introduced his metaphysical answer to Thomism and foisted his theses that supported it onto Scripture. The centerpiece eventually came to be known as double imputation. To Luther’s credit, he created a timeless soteriology based on metaphysics that continues to turn the world upside down. John Calvin articulated Luther’s foundation in the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Both were dedicated to returning the church to its Augustinian roots.

What is double imputation? Basically, it’s the idea that Christ’s role in the gospel of first importance (as set apart from God’s full counsel which is also good news) was twofold as opposed to ONE single act. This was necessary as a “biblical” doctrine that keeps the material being of man separate from Plato’s trinity: the good, true, and beautiful, ie., the invisible. The true gospel turned dualism philosophy completely on its head by infusing good into weakness and defining the true definitions of God’s creation and the state of being.

The idea that God infused His righteousness into the being of mankind is repugnant to the Reformed mindset. How repugnant? The colonial Puritans executed Quakers for even asserting an errant view of the idea.

Therefore, distorting Christ’s role in God’s elected plan of reconciliation was necessary. Christ’s redefined soteriological role removes all goodness from mankind proper and “Christians” in particular. Christ not only came to die for the sins of particular persons preselected by God, but He also came to live a perfect life in obedience to the law so that His obedience could be imputed to the “elect.”

Now the questions are begged: “How much suffering was necessary to pay the penalty for sins committed by the preselected, and how much obedience was necessary for righteousness to be imputed to the preselected as well. When a false doctrine is predicated on errant presuppositions, not only do these kinds of questions arise, but the attempted answers give rise to more questions.

And displays of nonsense. An example is the weird and embarrassing ad lib “Scream of the Damned” propagated by John Piper and CJ Mahaney at a conference hosted by John MacArthur Jr.’s Grace Community Church.* The sheer weirdness of it all even raised eyebrows within Reformed circles by the likes of Steve Camp. The premise was an adolescent-like attempt to explain how much? in regard to Christ’s death. Imagining the response from my older than dirt and probably dead father in the faith, Pastor Richard Peacock, put me on the floor rolling around while laughing uncontrollably. Only the thought of thousands of attending pastors supported by the hard work and sweat of the laity watching without a blink shocked me into the horror of reality and put an end to my shameless response.

When are people going to stop and say to themselves, “Wait a minute here; what drives this stuff? This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen for any or no reason.”

Likewise, in regard to how much?, how long did Christ have to live and how much of the law did He have to obey for the elect? Theories abound because the question itself flows from the false presuppositions of Platonism foisted on the Scriptures resulting in the doctrine of double imputation.

Christ did ONE thing to secure reconciliation for mankind: He died. How much? Answer: enough for ALL mankind. How? Answer: by ending the law. How is that possible? Answer: because all sin is against the law and imputed to the law, and Christ died to end it. Sin is not covered by Christ’s law–keeping; no, sin is not covered, it is ENDED. At any moment, any lost person can choose to have their sins ended. It is not a question of whether or not they are elected, it is a question of whether or not they are under the law—and they are.

What else did Christ do to secure our reconciliation? Answer: nothing. But wasn’t He resurrected? Answer: yes, but He didn’t do that, that was the Holy Spirit’s role in God’s plan of reconciliation. The fact that Christ would be resurrected was a promise made TO Christ and Abraham BY God. That surprises many Christians who don’t read their own Bibles for themselves, viz, most.

In other words, this is the gospel: Christ DIED to END sin. The Spirit resurrected Christ as the first fruits of those who would also be resurrected to new life and justification which is NOT merely a legal declaration, but a metaphysical fact. It does of course have a legal aspect, but it is adoption court where the Holy Spirt bears witness with us that we are the children of God. Christ  was “resurrected” for our justification” by the Holy Spirit. “Forensic Justification” does have a legal aspect, but not only in the halls of criminal court, but just as much in the court of adoption with the Holy Spirit appearing as a witness.

Obedience to the law by Christ does not justify us, the new birth justifies us because we are in fact righteous. The resurrection justifies us, not law-keeping by anyone including Christ.

True resurrection with Christ is “under grace,” but that by no means states that we are no longer under a law. It means that we are no longer under a law that condemns us. This is what strips sin of its power. This is what strips death of its sting. We must remember that the law is the Spirit’s law. He will use it to convict the world of sin and warn of the judgment to come, or he will use it to sanctify God’s children. The law is a savor of death to those who do not believe, and a savor of life as we walk in it as God’s children.

The time has come to stop dwelling in the Protestant metaphysical narrative of death, and to follow Christ in our duty to write a narrative of life.

How much? That will depend on OUR obedience as children of God. The Spirit gave us life and opportunity to use His law to love God and others. “Do’s and don’ts” are not the issue, LOVE is the issue. We do not stay at the foot of the cross while Christ loves for us; we will be rewarded for the narrative of life that we write by using the gifts granted to us when Christ sat down beside the Father and rested from justifying all who will believe in Him.

We zealously write our narrative of life without fear of condemnation because of Christ’s love for us. And our love will never be enough because of the freedom we feel. The freedom purchased by His blood that freed us from the condemnation of the law and the Master empowered by it, and the freedom to love by obeying the law of the Spirit—the perfect law of liberty. When God looks at us, He sees more than Christ, he sees one that Christ is not ashamed to call a brother—He sees one of His children. Christ doesn’t cover us, He presents us.

He is not ashamed of us. His death was enough for our life.

paul

* “Apparently, they got the concept from RC Sproul, who used to be rock solid, but now it would appear that senility has opened his mind to the nonsensical theological acrobatics of our day. Likewise, the same consideration might apply to John MacArthur who spoke at the conference and also sponsored it; he is getting up in years as well. I offer this as a possible excuse for both of them though the vision of my heart longs to see them as the gray-haired stalwarts of the faith that I thought they were.  Here is what Sproul said:

‘Once the sin of man was imputed to Him, He became the virtual incarnation of evil. The load He carried was repugnant to the Father. God is too holy to even look at iniquity. God the Father turned His back upon the Son, cursing Him to the pit of hell while on the cross. Here was the Son’s ‘descent into hell.’ Here the fury of God raged against Him. His scream was the scream of the damned. For us’ (Tabletalk magazine, My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? April 1990, p. 6).

Steve Camp, on his blog, wrote a tame but thoroughly convincing argument against such a notion. But the fact that Camp thought such a significant expenditure of effort was needed is indicative of our day; surely, only ten years ago, such a thesis would have invoked a horrendous outcry among God’s people” (The New Calvinist License To Kill: And Did God Really Condemn Christ To Hell?, Paul’s Passing Thoughts blog, Paul Dohse, Sr., September 2, 2011).

Acts Lesson 55

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on June 9, 2015

Acts Series

Tuesday Night Bible Study – Now LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 55 – June 9, 2015 (click here to listen)

 

 

 


Tonight’s Text – Acts 20:13 – 38

Continuing the study of Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders.

A Disturbing Post by John MacArthur

Posted in Uncategorized by Pearl, PPT Moderator on June 9, 2015

JM Road SignOriginally published March 22, 2014

Confusion over sanctification, thanks to the Reformed camp, continues to reign in Christianity. The few who do get it in the institutional Reformed church are not calling out the perpetrators by name, and I think that is a big mistake. A post by John MacArthur is indicative of the horrible confusion being propagated among God’s people in regard to sanctification.

Per the typical, the grave concern is “Counterfeit Sanctification.”  This concept in and of itself is confusing and unbiblical. The overriding concern among the apostles and Christ was counterfeit justification, not a micromanaging of our motives in sanctification. To this point, in vogue among the Reformed is the idea that Galatians is primarily a sanctification concern. Hence, the tone of Galatians is lent to confusing justification and sanctification. The post by MacArthur reflects the reason that paralyzing fear and confusion are rampant in Christianity. Most Evangelicals in our day are ill prepared to lead others to Christ because they are unclear themselves on the difference between justification and sanctification.

Though much of the post is agreeable (no surprise since error always swims in the lake of truth), MacArthur begins to state confusing concepts in the third paragraph:

But that’s not true spiritual growth—it’s counterfeit. If you truly love the Lord, you can’t be willing to move the goalposts on biblical sanctification.

Then in the next paragraph…

There are many varieties of counterfeit sanctification. Some are easier to spot than others, but all lead to the same kind of spiritual shipwreck. Here are a few to be on the lookout for in your own life.

For sure, sanctification is deep waters, but notice the close correlation MacArthur makes between properly understanding sanctification and the separate issue of justification; viz, “If you truly love the Lord,” and “all lead to the same kind of spiritual shipwreck.” And there are “many varieties” with varying degrees of difficulty in ascertaining. But then MacArthur follows that up with warnings about things that the Bible specifically tells us to practice in sanctification!

Restraint is another possible kind of counterfeit sanctification. People don’t always avoid sin in favor of righteousness—sometimes they’re simply afraid to face the consequences of sin. They don’t necessarily have a heart to obey God or His Word. They’re just afraid of pursuing temptation because of the results.

The Bible instructs Christians to “abstain” (2Thess 4:3) from unrighteousness and even posits the fear of judgment as a motivation (2Thess 4:6). When offering an example of “counterfeit sanctification” that is something the Bible instructs us to do, it would seem that further qualification would be in order to prevent confusion. Nevertheless, MacArthur continues:

That fear could be the sign of a well-trained conscience. Maybe the person was raised in a Christian home and has built-in convictions about right and wrong. Maybe he grew up under the moral standard of God’s Word and can’t shake the nagging of his conscience. Rather than face a troubled conscience or the consequences of his sin, he’ll simply not do it.

But again, the New Testament, in many places, commands us to “keep a clear conscience before God.” The New Testament writers had much to say about utilizing and developing the conscience for purposes of spiritual growth. The Bible even speaks directly to a well-trained conscience being the opposite of spiritual immaturity (Romans 14).

My primary point of contention here is MacArthur’s steroidal hypocrisy. While chiding others for not being biblically clear and concise, he warns Christians against specific biblical imperatives with little qualification.

It’s eerily similar to the whole Reformed motif of sanctification being something that we shouldn’t try at home without the infinite wisdom of Reformed thought. Learn and do is a concept that is grasping at shadows without their deep knowledge of God’s word.

paul

Open Discussion: Is This the Gospel? Shouldn’t “Christians” Know What the Gospel Is?

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

On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived your life so He could treat you as if you lived His life.

~ John MacArthur Jr.

Is this the gospel? Why or why not? Post your comments below.

A related article that expands on this statement can be read here: http://www.jesus.org/death-and-resurrection/the-crucifixion/how-is-jesus-our-substitute.html

Double Imputation?

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

Dee Parsons of Wartburg Watch: The Personification of Everything Wrong with Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 8, 2015

Blocked by DeeWhen Paul’s Passing Thoughts .com was started in 2009, the goal was to find out why church turned on me with a vengeance despite my best efforts. Second to that was the question, “What now, where does one go from the point of diagnosing the problem?” You have to properly diagnose the problem before you can fix it.

This article will not wear you out with points leading up to a final conclusion; I will begin by stating what I have found. Church produces the fruit of its ideology. What is wrong with church? Answer: church is what’s wrong with church. Christ’s mandate to his followers was never intended to look anything like church. The solution is to depart from church and pursue Christ’s mandate to His followers. You can’t fix church. There is nothing there that is salvageable.

Let me back up a tad because this post is not the least bit personal, but seeks to sharpen the objectives of TANC Ministries. This is some information that I have not shared before. PPT was primarily a blog for the express purpose of sharing my research. My focus was research. I had to know why—how could dozens of pastors stand by and watch Clearcreek Chapel do to my family what they did?

Clearly, obviously, from a literal interpretive standpoint in regard to the Bible, what they were doing was dead wrong and unbiblical. During the episode, I was even under the counsel of a church that was part of the same fellowship of churches that Clearcreek Chapel belongs to. The pastor, the late Rick Wilson, was a former associate pastor at CCC. The present pastor of the church, Paul Craig, was an elder at the time and according to Wilson found the situation, “unsettling.” Grace Covenant (Beavercreek, Ohio) was obviously stuck in the middle, and was also the recipient of a significant exodus of people from CCC at the time. Though I was clearly under church discipline at CCC, I was allowed to attend Grace Covenant on a regular basis. I even thought about applying for membership which would have forced the Grace Covenant elders into making a judgment regarding the veracity of CCC discipline. I should have; watching that play out would have been priceless.

Eventually, Wilson instructed me to go back and play along in order to get my wife back, but I had already tried that for four months. During that time, I was subjected to cult-like break sessions conducted by CCC elder and Psychiatrist Dr. Devon Berry. The CCC elders knew that I had overcome serious depression in the past, and it was obvious they thought they could use Berry and the circumstances they were bringing to bear in my life to drive me into debilitating despair. It was very apparent to me at the time: that is what they were trying to do.

I want to stop right here and thank God publically for something right now—I want to give Him the glory. At the time, I was working out of town and laid in bed at night before going to work the next day…in perfect peace. My favorite time of the day during that time period was bedtime. Why? I laid there in the quiet darkness, not really thinking about anything except how peaceful it was. I was doing nothing but laying there soaking up the peacefulness. Do I have any theories regarding this experience? One: I had begun a long journey in search for the truth. God is with one on such journeys. That’s my best shot at answering that question. By all reasoning, I should have been a basket case.

Let’s now pause here for some simple clarification. It all boiled down to two things:

AUTHORITY, and how I interpreted reality versus how they interpreted reality.

I have discovered something in my research—research enables you to come to a point more and more where you can explain complex problems in simple terms. In the 2500 + articles I have written on Reformed ideology, you can see the focus move from the what to the why. My first book articulated the what and how it contradicted a grammatical interpretation of reality, though I didn’t understand the latter dynamic. My second book articulated the contemporary history of the Neo-Calvinism movement and added some more data about grammatical contradictions.

My third book and subsequent booklets articulate the grammatical contradictions in regard to soteriology. They also describe the dynamics between the Old Calvinism/New Calvinism question and how the interpretation of reality drives that debate.

Including time spent prior to PPT, eight years later, I can now put all of this in simple terms. It boils down to AUTHORITY vested in the interpretation of reality.

And, the established credential thereof known as “orthodoxy.” What is the premise of orthodoxy? Nothing more or less than the claims of men that people choose to believe. You can put any number of things in place of “naked” in regard to the following question posed by God, “Who told you that you are_____?” Be very, very, very wary of what men say God told you. And that’s orthodoxy. And the place we go to get certified in orthodoxy is called “seminary.” In case you haven’t noticed, God isn’t the dean or an adjunct professor in any of these schools.

PPT Blocked 4Here is something else that should be evident: you, and only you alone will answer to God. Therefore, pick your orthodoxy well. There are no attorneys in God’s court save Christ, “hear ye Him.” “God has spoken to us in these last days through His Son”, not a horde of academics.

So, what do we have in the recent dust-up between PPT and Wartburg Watch? Be advised, I am not going to rehash all of the gory details. Dee Parsons is right and I am wrong because she has college degrees, and holds to orthodoxy. Paul Dohse does not have college degrees, and does not hold to orthodoxy. Paul Dohse holds to a grammatical interpretation of realty, and therefore asks, “How can those who proclaim themselves ‘wicked’ lay claim to salvation?”

Be sure of this: NOTHING has changed since Christ ministered on earth. The primary pushback against Christ was clearly the orthodoxy of the day. Christ deliberately avoided the lauded academia of that day. I just don’t know what is more obvious. In addition, he had to personally reeducate the apostle Paul who was the only religious academic that He used for foundational purposes.

I am weary of documenting the steroidal cognitive dissonance that takes place over at Wartburg and their e-church hosted by the Barney Fife of pastors, Wade Burleson. Regardless of his credentials, from a standpoint of interpreting reality grammatically, his theological snafus are just plain embarrassing. For example, you can’t make the point that a biblical author was teaching something based on the analysis of a word that didn’t exist in the first century. This all takes place in the face of common sense for the same reason I experienced what I experienced at CCC:

AUTHORITY vested in a particular interpretation of reality.

Because one is credentialed in knowing how to lead those who cannot know reality, one should have authority over you for your own good and the common good of people in general.

In varying degrees, CHURCH, established in the 4th century by St. Augustine et al, is the expression of this primary root, and the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Chaos and drama will continue in the church with no solution in sight because of its foundational presuppositions concerning the interpretation of reality and the authority vested in its epistemology.

This ministry’s series on the Heidelberg Disputation focuses on the following fact: at issue with the Reformation was a debate about the interpretation of reality. Of course that spoke to how the Bible is interpreted, but the issue started with how reality itself is to be interpreted. Let me give you the thumbnail:

Words don’t necessarily mean things.     

By and large, there are two kinds of Protestants roaming about, Calvinists and functioning Calvinists. Susan and I often have conversations with people who hate Calvinism, but verbally espouse Calvinism unawares constantly. We don’t even address the particulars anymore because we know a complete reeducation is needed. This is what we are attempting to do with the HD series. This series reexamines the roots of the poisonous tree.

This is why Dee Parsons, in the recent dust-up, insinuated that I am mentally ill. What is the definition of a person who does not properly perceive reality? Hence, the CCC elders involved a Psychiatrist in my situation because they honestly believe I am mentally ill because I interpret reality grammatically. Reformed scholars such as Geerhardus  Vos have stated such openly. Pastor Russ Kennedy told me I was “mad” and begged me to allow them to “shepherd” me. I believe the guy honestly meant well and still does. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Class Act

By the way, I am not talking about grammatical interpretation that leads to a redemptive outcome. I am talking about the interpretation of reality beginning with exegetical presuppositions in the purest sense. I realize Reformed scholars interpret a verse literally when it can serve a redemptive historical outcome…

…that doesn’t make you a proponent of interpreting reality grammatically.

One of the accusations that flowed from the recent dust-up was that TANC Ministries is merely developing its own orthodoxy. Not so. Orthodoxy fundamentally interprets reality according to Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation which was expanded upon by John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. Seminary degrees guarantee that individuals will not do independent research that will reveal the real tenants of orthodoxy:

  1. It is a metaphysical redemptive narrative that interprets all reality through a dualism of good and evil.
  1. It demands the fusion of faith and force for the common good of mankind.
  1. It is predicated on spiritual caste that adds additional mediators between God and man other than Christ.
  1. All of reality progresses as predetermined by manifestations of good completely outside of man.

Dee Parsons’ response to me that “I don’t believe what you say I believe” is most likely due to her ignorance regarding the true sum and substance of the same Reformed orthodoxy that she promotes. Perhaps. While claiming to be an advocate for the spiritually abused, she picks and chooses from orthodoxy what she wants to acknowledge.

The Westminster Confession is just wonderful, but its call to control the free press and execute those who are heterodox is due to the authors being “men of the time.” Of course, their politics and ethics had nothing to do with their ideology. Perish the thought, and no, American Jurisprudence isn’t the only difference between Calvin’s Geneva and the present-day church. It’s absurd to think Dee Parsons would actually have you committed to a mental institution because she thinks you are mentally ill. It’s absurd to think Mark Driscoll would really put you in a wood chipper just because he said that’s what ought to be done. It’s absurd to think James MacDonald would catapult you into the next county, and to your certain death just because he said he wishes he could.

Church is a place where professional clergy interpret reality in a completely different way than most parishioners. Congregants follow the dictates of church leaders while being clueless in regard to their interpretation of reality. They are given elements to follow while being totally unaware as to what those elements are based on. Hence, chaos and confusion reign. Duggar-like drama is paraded before the world constantly like an out-of-control stampede of rats. Yet, that isn’t the madness; the madness is suggesting that we rethink how church is done.  After all, Catholicism and Protestantism have had only 1500 + years to get it right. Not only that, the Neo-Calvinist movement has been in total control of the church for at least ten years. Growing steadily since its conceptual resurgence in 1970, discernment/spiritual abuse blogs exploded in 2009 when the movement shifted into 4th gear. Starting in 2008, a historical phenomenon of mediation organizations to keep churches out of court exploded onto the scene as well.

With all of this considered, I think I have heard the best assessment of Wartburg Watch yet:

Subconsciously or consciously, Dee uses her blog as a means to leverage her desire for a seat at the American church’s authoritarian table. Period. Whether this was an initial objective of her blog or merely a pitfall of unforeseen success, who knows? But the reality is obvious:

Dee creates better soldiers, not better souls. And the irony is thus that the “victims” who frequent her site often become the very image of that which they initially despised: manipulative self-appointed God-proxies who claim that the only legitimate doctrinal discussions are with those whom already concede their reformed hermeneutic (Muff Potter, anyone?).

My point is that the cognitive dissonance, the categorical rejection of reason as a yard stick for measuring reality (the efficacy of existence), makes contending with her an almost perfect waste of time.

So what’s the solution? I believe the solution is an utter rejection of orthodoxy and church as we know it. The immense ramifications of that is not the issue—truth is the issue. The church has had its chance to make a case for hope, and has not measured up.

I believe the task ahead is daunting, but will supply a freedom and joy beyond our wildest imaginations. It is a call for Christians to submit themselves to the one mediator Jesus Christ. It is a call for Christians to stop listening to men, and “hear ye Him.” Orthodoxy has NO authority, ALL authority has been given to Christ and no one else.

Past this, God’s people must gather together for mutual encouragement and edification in the ways prescribed by the Bible and not the traditions of men.

When is the misery and suffering produced by orthodoxy enough to make us question everything?

That time is well past.

paul

Proudly Blocked

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 8, 2015

PPT Blocked 4

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Saved by Dee Parsons

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 7, 2015

 

Ringing Dee’s Doorbell

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 7, 2015

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 2

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

Blog Radio LogoListen to the lesson or download audio file. 

Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 2 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalogue can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

Remember, you may remain anonymous. When I say, “This is your host; you are on the air, what’s your comment or question—just start talking.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Last week we did pretty well; we began with an introduction and completed the first two theses. Tonight, we begin with thesis 3.

Thesis 3: Although the works of man always seem attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.

Human works appear attractive outwardly, but within they are filthy, as Christ says concerning the Pharisees in Matt. 23:27. For they appear to the doer and others good and beautiful, yet God does not judge according to appearances but searches »the minds and hearts« (Ps. 7:9). For without grace and faith it is impossible to have a pure heart. Acts 15:9: »He cleansed their hearts by faith.«

The thesis is proven in the following way: If the works of righteous men are sins, as Thesis 7 of this disputation states, this is much more the case concerning the works of those who are not righteous. But the just speak in behalf of their works in the following way: »Do not enter into judgment with thy servant, Lord, for no man living is righteous before thee« (Ps. 143:2). The Apostle speaks likewise in Gal. 3:10, »All who rely on the works of the law are under the curse.« But the works of men are the works of the law, and the curse will not be placed upon venial sins. Therefore they are mortal sins. In the third place, Rom. 2:21 states, »You who teach others not to steal, do you steal?« St. Augustine interprets this to mean that men are thieves according to their guilty consciences even if they publicly judge or reprimand other thieves.

In this third thesis, Luther declares ALL works of men evil. That includes the works of believers as well. Again, we come to a paramount tenet of the Reformation; total depravity does not only pertain to mankind in general, but also the saints. Even though the works of men appear “good and beautiful” (eerily similar to Plato’s trinity of the good, true, and beautiful), they are evil:

If the works of righteous men are sins, as Thesis 7 of this disputation states, this is much more the case concerning the works of those who are not righteous.

By the way, this is synonymous with the Calvin Institutes 3.14.9-11. Luther hints in this thesis in regard to why all the works of men can be deemed wicked: they are under the law, and no man can keep the law perfectly:

 But the works of men are the works of the law…

This is another way of saying that Christians remain under the law just like unbelievers, and since no person can keep the law perfectly, all bets are off. The Calvin Institutes 3.14.10 is an in-depth articulation of this idea. This is amazing because it’s right here where Reformed soteriology falls completely apart and turns the whole Bible upside down. Right here, you are looking at it. It’s the idea that Christians cannot perform a good work because they are still under the law and the law demands perfect obedience.

Also, amazingly, all of the major tenets of the Reformation gospel are in this one thesis. Let’s begin with Luther’s heart theology that actually laid the foundation for the contemporary biblical counseling movement; at least what came out of Westminster’s CCEF. An illustration can be seen below.

Luther cites Matthew 23:27 and Psalms 7:9 to make the point that the outward works of men are meaningless and God looks upon the heart. In this theology, the “heart” is the seat of faith. Even though the believer can do no good work; the believer’s heart (or faith) can be pure. What Luther proffers as we move along is a purity totally disconnected from works, and purity (faith) that is strictly an ability to perceive, and depending on the Reformed camp, experience the works of God completely separate from anything man does. If we pay close attention, we see these ideas in this third thesis.

For without grace and faith it is impossible to have a pure heart.

We must continue to remember that what Luther is saying about the heart is completely disconnected from man’s ability to do a good work. Why? Because everything man does is under the law and no man can keep the law perfectly. Again…

But the works of men are the works of the law…

Everything man does whether lost or saved is under the law, and since no man can keep the law perfectly; all of his works are condemned. The next part is very important:

Acts 15:9: »He cleansed their hearts by faith.«

The heart is cleansed by faith alone, and as we will see further along in our study, Luther believed that these cleansings needed to be repeated for ongoing present sin. But a little bit of thinking will reveal it here as well. If we are still under the law, we continue to sin against the law which necessarily demands a repurification. Especially since this sin is “mortal sin.” However,

But the works of men are the works of the law, and the curse will not be placed upon venial sins. Therefore they are mortal sins.

It boils down to this: if one thinks they performed a good work or are able to perform a good work, that’s mortal (subject to death) sin. But a faith that separates itself from works is venial (forgivable) sin which must be continually sought to receive ongoing cleansing. Luther elaborates on this more in the latter theses, but note how he uses Psalm 143:2 in this regard:

 »Do not enter into judgment with thy servant, Lord, for no man living is righteous before thee«

To not completely depend on faith alone, and thinking that you can do a good work is being under the curse of the law:

Gal. 3:10, »All who rely on the works of the law are under the curse.« But the works of men are the works of the law, and the curse will not be placed upon venial sins.

So there is no middle ground; one either depends totally on faith or on works. The belief that one can do a good work is tantamount to being cursed.

This third thesis is the very heart of the Reformation: no man can do a good work, and to believe that is pure faith apart from any good works. Again, faith and good works are separated. Now you know why Luther didn’t like the book of James. The premise for this is the supposed fact that believers remain under law which is a glaring contradiction to Scripture. The “heart” is the seat of pure faith apart from any works; faith and works are mutually exclusive throughout the life of the “believer.”

Thesis 4: Although the works of God are always unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really eternal merits.

That the works of God are unattractive is clear from what is said in Isa. 53:2, »He had no form of comeliness«, and in 1 Sam. 2:6, »The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.« This is understood to mean that the Lord humbles and frightens us by means of the law and the sight of our sins so that we seem in the eyes of men, as in our own, as nothing, foolish, and wicked, for we are in truth that. Insofar as we acknowledge and confess this, there is »no form or beauty« in us, but our life is hidden in God (i.e. in the bare confidence in his mercy), finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell, according to that verse of the Apostle in 2 Cor. 6:9-10, »As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as dying, and behold we live.« And that it is which Isa. 28:21 calls the »alien work« of God »that he may do his work« (that is, he humbles us thoroughly, making us despair, so that he may exalt us in his mercy, giving us hope), just as Hab. 3:2 states, »In wrath remember mercy.« Such a man therefore is displeased with all his works; he sees no beauty, but only his depravity. Indeed, he also does those things which appear foolish and disgusting to others.

This depravity, however, comes into being in us either when God punishes us or when we accuse ourselves, as 1 Cor. 11:31 says, »If we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged by the Lord«. Deut. 32:36 also states, »The Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.« In this way, consequently, the unattractive works which God does in us, that is, those which are humble and devout, are really eternal, for humility and fear of God are our entire merit.

Here we have the Reformed mainstay doctrine of mortification and vivification. This is a major Reformed soteriological doctrine along with double imputation and the vital union. But in regard to M&V, here it is folks—right here. This is probably where this doctrine is first introduced.

But first, let’s look at the Reformation’s single perspective on the law also in this thesis. Luther makes it clear that the supposed sole purpose of the law is to bring man down into despair because of his total depravity:

This is understood to mean that the Lord humbles and frightens us by means of the law and the sight of our sins so that we seem in the eyes of men, as in our own, as nothing, foolish, and wicked, for we are in truth that. Insofar as we acknowledge and confess this, there is »no form or beauty« in us, but our life is hidden in God (i.e. in the bare confidence in his mercy), finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell, according to that verse of the Apostle in 2 Cor. 6:9-10, »As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as dying, and behold we live.« And that it is which Isa. 28:21 calls the »alien work« of God »that he may do his work« (that is, he humbles us thoroughly, making us despair, so that he may exalt us in his mercy, giving us hope), just as Hab. 3:2 states, »In wrath remember mercy.« Such a man therefore is displeased with all his works; he sees no beauty, but only his depravity. Indeed, he also does those things which appear foolish and disgusting to others.

Once we use the law, and God uses circumstances to bring us into despair, that is the mortification part, God brings about vivification, or exaltation. As you can see, Luther uses 2Corithians 6:9,10 to make the case for that. This suffering is actually the good works of God as opposed to the evil works that look good to man; ie., good works done by men whether saved or unsaved. Later in this disputation Luther will define that as the story of man, or the glory story, viz, good and beautiful works done by man, versus the cross story, viz, the works of God that look unattractive. As we will see further along, this is Luther’s very definition of the new birth. The Christian life is a perpetual death (mortification) and resurrection (vivification) cycle that continually repeats itself experientially from despair to joy.

This is also the basis of John Piper’s Christian Hedonism doctrine. Joy must be part of the salvation experience because it is the upside of the perpetual new birth experience that keeps salvation moving forward by faith alone. If you only experience despair, that’s a half gospel. Many are confused by John Piper’s Christian Hedonism doctrine until they understand M&V, then it all makes perfect sense why joy must be part of the salvation experience. Contemporary Reformers state it this way:

Progressive sanctification has two parts: mortification and vivification, ‘both of which happen to us by participation in Christ,’ as Calvin notes….Subjectively experiencing this definitive reality signified and sealed to us in our baptism requires a daily dying and rising. That is what the Reformers meant by sanctification as a living out of our baptism….and this conversion yields lifelong mortification and vivification ‘again and again.’ Yet it is critical to remind ourselves that in this daily human act of turning, we are always turning not only from sin but toward Christ rather than toward our own experience or piety (Michael Horton: The Christian Faith; mortification and vivification, pp. 661-663 [Calvin Inst. 3.3.2-9]).

At conversion, a person begins to see God and himself as never before. This greater revelation of God’s holiness and righteousness leads to a greater revelation of self, which, in return, results in a repentance or brokenness over sin. Nevertheless, the believer is not left in despair, or he is also afforded a greater revelation of the grace of God in the face of Christ, which leads to joy unspeakable. This cycle simply repeats itself throughout the Christian life. As the years pass, the Christian sees more of God and more of self, resulting in a greater and deeper brokenness. Yet, all the while, the Christian’s joy grows in equal measure because he is privy to greater and greater revelations of the love, grace, and mercy of God in the person and work of Christ. Not only this, but a greater interchange occurs in that the Christian learns to rest less and less in his own performance and more and more in the perfect work of Christ. Thus, his joy is not only increased, but it also becomes more consistent and stable. He has left off putting confidence in the flesh, which is idolatry, and is resting in the virtue and merits of Christ, which is true Christian piety (Paul Washer: The Gospel Call and True Conversion; Part 1, Chapter 1, heading – The Essential Characteristics Of Genuine Repentance, subheading – Continuing and Deepening Work of Repentance).

Now, the next thesis is fairly interesting. In the fifth thesis, Luther distinguishes between crimes and mortal sins.

Thesis 5; The works of men are thus not mortal sins (we speak of works which are apparently good), as though they were crimes.

For crimes are such acts which can also be condemned before men, such as adultery, theft, homicide, slander, etc. Mortal sins, on the other hand, are those which seem good yet are essentially fruits of a bad root and a bad tree. Augustine states this in the fourth book of ›Against Julian‹ (Contra Julianum).

This is pretty straight forward. Criminal acts are NOT classified as mortal sins. Criminal acts are works that are condemned among men while mortal sins are the good works of man that are really “fruit of a bad tree.” Those of orthodoxy must deny that man does any good work at all that is not condemned by God. The belief that any man can do any kind of meritorious work falls under sin that will not be forgiven. This means that Reformed persons in the know would seek daily forgiveness for every, and all acts performed by them. It pretty much boils down to this quotation cited by a theological journal:

The flesh, or sinful nature of the believer is no different from that of the unbeliever. “The regenerate man is no whit different in substance from what He was before his regeneration.” — Bavinck [Reformed philosopher Herman Bavink] (Present Truth: Sanctification-Its Mainspring  Volume 16 Article 13).

At this point it is fairly easy to draw a watershed conclusion in all of this: the lynchpin idea of the Reformation was that salvation can only be obtained and maintained with a righteousness not our own, but also the exclusion of righteous acts performed by us. At this point, there is only one way forward: a mystical manifestation of works performed by deity; Martin Luther’s Alien Righteousness. This necessarily demanded and still demands a discussion of a philosophical ideology to make manifestation and realm birthing feasible. The Heidelberg Disputation not only does that, but articulates the theoretical life application and how these manifestations are experiences in reality. Luther was very concise in that regard while anticipating future objections.

Thesis 6: The works of God (we speak of those which he does through man) are thus not merits, as though they were sinless.

In Eccles. 7:20, we read, »Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.« In this connection, however, some people say that the righteous man indeed sins, but not when he does good. They may be refuted in the following manner: If that is what this verse wants to say, why waste so many words? Or does the Holy Spirit like to indulge in loquacious and foolish babble? For this meaning would then be adequately expressed by the following: »There is not a righteous man on earth who does not sin.« Why does he add »who does good,« as if another person were righteous who did evil? For no one except a righteous man does good. Where, however, he speaks of sins outside the realm of good works he speaks thus (Prov. 24:16), »The righteous man falls seven times a day.« Here he does not say: A righteous man falls seven times a day when he does good. This is a comparison: If someone cuts with a rusty and rough hatchet, even though the worker is a good craftsman, the hatchet leaves bad, jagged, and ugly gashes. So it is when God works through us.

Luther’s rusty and rough hatchet is an interesting metaphysical illustration. Notice carefully who the “’good’ craftsman” is. That can’t be us, right? Right, we are the rusty and rough hatchet. A hatchet, like all other tools, is a completely passive instrument. It has no life of its own. It only does what the craftsman does with it. Like one Reformed teacher said to me, “The Christian life is done to us not by us.”

Also, the hatchet doesn’t get any credit for the work, but only the good craftsman using the axe. This is Luther’s cardinal point of the thesis. This is a strict metaphysical dichotomy of good and evil with man defining evil and God defining good (The Calvin Institutes 1.1.1.). All manifestations of good on earth must come from above, and no good can be in man or come out of man.

Of course, this makes God the creator of rusty and rough hatchets; ie., sin and evil, but remember, as Luther stated, the good work of the craftsman only appears to be evil to us, right?

Although there is no room in this series to unravel every Scripture text that Luther twisted for his own purposes, I will speak to his use of Ecclesiastes 7:20 to make his point. All that verse is really saying is that man needs wisdom because he is not sinless and is prone to erroneous ways and death without wisdom. It’s not saying that no man does any good work. The idea in the text as noted by translations like NASB follows: no man does only good exclusively.

A thought before we go to the phones for you who are aware of our ministry’s dustup this week with the Wartburg Watch. Some folks from over there came over to PPT claiming that we have no orthodoxed credentials; therefore, apparently, our views are not relevant. Well, two things: if this is not orthodoxy, what is? And secondly, how can people claim to be advocates for the abused when they hold to this doctrine? They are either blowhards that don’t even understand what they are talking about, or they do understand. Which is it? Let’s go to the phones.

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The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 2

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

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About six months after Luther posted his 95 Theses on the front doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, he presented his doctrinal disputation to the Augustinian Order in Heidelberg, Germany. This is a timeless document that laid the foundation for Protestant doctrine and its primary principles have never been altered. This document is the very roots of the Protestant tree. The Reformed tradition has never strayed from its major tenets. To understand the Heidelberg Disputation is to understand all of the Reformed tradition.

Live link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/falsereformation/2015/06/05/the-magnum-opus-of-the-reformation-luthers-heidelberg-disputation-part-2

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