2016.ttanc.com is under construction.
Why TANC 2016 Will Emphasize a Dark Theme
If there is anything that this culture doesn’t need, it is a further emphasis on the glorification of death. Of course, self-sacrifice is honorable; unless it comes from a worldview that despises life.
It is increasingly evident that the Neo-Calvinist movement is a significant catalyst for a culture of death. If mankind, as John Calvin said, is nothing but “worms crawling about on the earth,” there is no reason why the Protestant cannot join hands with the Nihilist. Christ warned us that the last age would be marked by cold-heartedness.
Moreover, the Neo-Calvinist movement has an increasing and significant influence among our youth. The triannual Neo-Calvinist Cross Conference targets and attracts Christian youth worldwide. If this movement is not exposed, what should we expect our future culture to look like? And if it cannot be stopped, what can we do to prepare God’s people for its onslaught?
Major themes for TANC 2016:
- Protestantism’s Dark History
- Escaping the Protestant Culture of Death
- Escaping the Protestant False Gospel
- Escaping the Protestant Culture of Spiritual Abuse
- Escaping the Presuppositions of Protestant Orthodoxy
- Examining the Contemporary Fruit of Protestantism
- The Politics of Protestant Dominionism
- The Gospel and Protestant Eschatology
- Foe NOT Friend: Shining the Light of Truth on the Protestant Definition of “Death”
Following are videos for your consideration. While sounding pious, what do they say in regard to the value of life itself?
Initial comments below regard the TANC 2015 conference.
In 1983, I became saved and attended seminary not long after. Until 2010, I was a crippled Christian in the agony of doubt. Why? Because I knew justification was by faith alone. But, in everything I did for God, how could I be sure that my motives were to please my Father only? How could I possibly know for certain that I wasn’t really trying to justify myself? Hence, all of my works for God were tainted with fear and doubt.
In 2010, I got rid of my vast library of Protestant books and prayerfully embarked on a word by word study of the book of Romans. I prayed, “Father, I am done, I only want to hear you now. You are not a God of confusion, please help me to let these words simply say what they say. Your Son promised that we will find you if we seek you, and I believe that promise with all of my heart. Our wonderful brother John said that we can KNOW that we are saved, and his testimony is true and I stake my life on it. Please help me.”
And here is what I found: we are born again by faith alone, and the old us that was under the condemnation of the law died with Christ. He died to end that law, and where there is no law, there is NO sin. I am not under law, and there is NO condemnation. Instead, as one who has passed from death to life, I am under grace, and the Spirit’s law of liberty. Why is it called that? Because it sets us free to aggressively love without fear of condemnation. The law (Bible) is our manual for loving God and others without fear. I have no need to question my motives because all that is left is love. There is no other incentive. Is my love perfect? No, but so what? What law will condemn me? Nay, Christ died a horrible death to end it.
This is what I have found and want others to have. I want them to pin their ears back and aggressively love without fear because, “there is no fear in love, but fear has to do with condemnation.” You can think of me what you want, and so can everyone else, but let me tell you something about me and my spirit bears witness with the Holy Spirit: I am free. I am free. I am free. At last I am free.
Indicative of the under law gospel of the institutional church is the everything Jesus gig, aka Christocentric this, and that, and the other. It’s not at-all complicated; the overemphasis on Christ is directly related to the false gospel of the institutional church. In this false gospel, “Christ” partners with the law to cut out God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In this false gospel, Christ is central, and the other two members of the Trinity play supporting roles. In fact, supposedly, according to many well known evangelicals, Christ came to save us from God; the God of grace, Jesus, saving us from the God of wrath. So, right off the bat, the Father is defined by wrath and not love. That identity is subtly shifted to Christ. But again, all in all, these distortions of the Trinity seek to slip the law back into the good news.
To the contrary, it was God the Father who elected the means of salvation AND the Son. Furthermore, it is God the Father’s righteousness that is imputed to us because we are born of Him—that’s what makes us righteous, and nothing else. Think about what the church did: it made Christ’s obedience to the law the standard or definition of righteousness, not the fact that we are born anew by our heavenly Father. This imputation of Christ’s obedience to the law cuts the Father out of the salvation equation.
We are therefore, according to the church’s under law gospel, only declared righteous through the imputation of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law, and not MADE righteous through being born anew by the Father. We are righteous because of the infusion of God’s seed within us (see 1John chapter 3). Moreover, Christ was called on to die so that the Spirit could be promised to him, that is, Christ, Abraham, and all of Abraham’s children. That’s right, the promise of the Spirit was to Abraham and Christ. It was a promise that the Spirit would not leave Christ in the grave, but would resurrect him and make him the first fruits of many.
Galatians 3:16 – Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
The promise was made to Abraham AND Christ by the Father, and executed by the Spirit when He resurrected Christ from the grave. The idea that we are righteous because Christ obeyed the law for us, and by believing on him we have the “righteousness of Christ,” makes the law a co-life-giver with God the Father. This is the exact same false gospel that Paul was arguing against in Galatians 3:
Galatians 3:17 – This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
If the law has anything to do with the gospel at all, the promise is voided. Hence, you see how egregious double imputation is; this whole idea that Christ not only died for us, but also came to keep the law in our stead. The law has NO part of the promise at all. Christocentric soteriology makes it possible to include the law in the promise. In effect, it is a righteousness by the law in contrast to being made righteous via the family we are born into—that’s what makes us righteous—not law regardless of who keeps it. We are reborn as a particular species: righteous, like our Father who gave us life.
We see this in how the church defines the word translated “perfect.” It is defined as perfect law-keeping. Take note of that, this is almost too simple: that’s a righteousness by the law; that’s NOT a righteousness “APART” from the law (Romans 3:21). The church’s definition of righteousness voids the promise.
So, you see, this is why Christ is the whole thing according to the church and the other two members of the Trinity become out of sight and out of mind—they are replaced by the law. Christ died to pay the penalty of sin against the law, but also “fulfilled the righteous demands of the law,” and frankly, continues to do so.
But in reality, the work of the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise apart from the law. By faith, we “receive the Spirit.”
Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Here, we see the two different roles of Christ and the Spirit and both exclude the law. When the law is included, so is the flesh in regard to the use of our members for unrighteousness. Why? Because the new birth is replaced with ritual. Christ was crucified to end the law, not obey it for us because it is the definition of righteousness for justification. The Spirit’s baptism puts the old us to death with Christ, and resurrects us in the same way He resurrected Christ, and that’s what makes us righteous:
Romans 4:18 – In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
The constant thread is the Spirit’s miraculous births throughout the ages, culminating in our new birth, made possible by raising Christ from the grave. The law cannot give life (Gal 3:21) and has nothing to do with justification at all. The law is for sanctification only, and to the extent that we fuse justification and sanctification together, we usurp the new birth. The everything Jesus motif is for the express purpose of fusing justification and sanctification together, or in other words, fusing the law with justification via Jesus while devaluing the roles of the Father and Spirit.
But in the final analysis, if there is any gospel centrality at all, it should be the centrality of the promise made possible by the Spirit who gives life apart from the law. He resurrected Christ because Christ ended the law so that life in the Spirit can be by faith alone.
Tuesday Night Bible Study – LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 66 – November 24, 2015 (click here to listen)
Join us each Tuesday night at 7:00 PM as the host, Andy Young, leads a verse by verse exegetical study of the Book of Acts.
Paul and company have escaped safely to the island of Melita where Paul demonstrates the power of the name of Jesus that is able to save a man from his sin as well as heal the sick.
Tonight’s Text – Acts 28:1-15
Here we go again: after every tragedy like the Paris massacre, an even worst tragedy follows: Christians start talking. Like everything else in life, Christians have no answers and the world would be better off if they would just keep their mouths shut. And it would help if Christians knew the gospel and stopped attending the ULC, or “Church Under Law.” This doesn’t lead to the dreaded “legalism,” but really bad behavior of every sort. In reality, under grace honors the law through love. In the former, Jesus keeps the law for us, and from the world’s standpoint, He’s not dong a very good job. And after all, if He kept the law for us perfectly, we wouldn’t know that we are sinners, right?
And then there are Jesus’ rulers on earth who think for us. Irregardless of how illogical or antithetical to the Bible, we must not “touch God’s anointed.” We must not criticize, “The Man of God.” Gag, gag, gag. Jim Jones weeps from the grave that he doesn’t live in our day.
So, here we go again…“If we don’t let go of our anger, if we don’t forgive the way we have been forgiven, we are in bondage to ‘bitterness.’” Yes, yes, “if we don’t forgive, we will be the ones that are destroyed.” I even heard something this week like, in essence, “Ok you rapist, you got my virginity that I was saving for that one special man, but you are not going to get my hatred.”
Um, really? Actually, the reason I am so passionate about this is because our ministry is contacted from time to time by people who have been trying to make this work for like, twenty years. And, they think it’s not working because something is wrong with them. They think they are not saved because they “can’t forgive others the way they have been forgiven.” And you know, “If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you.” So, in addition to the tragedy that took place in their lives, they also doubt they are saved because they are not “experiencing the joy of the gospel.” Basically, like the vast majority of evangelicals, they are in bondage to bad theology and the under-law false gospel of the institutional church.
I have written many, many articles on this issue with “that-there highfalutin deep thee-ology that Christians use to sheeeew how learned they are.” Oh, my, we can’t have no learnin’ in Christianity, and trust me, we don’t, so let me try another approach. Yes, let’s have, instead, an agreement. Let’s agree that logic is not relevant here. Let’s agree that regardless of what the Bible seems to plainly say, the only thing that matters is what the “Men of God” say.
So first, I will use a really, really basic biblical principle to make my point, and then we can agree that it doesn’t matter. Fair enough? Isn’t agreement wonderful? Here it is: true biblical forgiveness is also fellowship. If you have really forgiven someone, you fellowship with them. You see, that’s why we have fellowship with God, because He has forgiven us. Soooo, if we forgive others “the way we are forgiven,” we have fellowship with those whom we have forgiven. You absolutely CANNOT separate true forgiveness and fellowship.
See the problem here? Not that it is the only, um, sorry, theological problem, but it is one. Here is another one: if we forgive everyone, we wouldn’t have any enemies. So, what I am saying is this: there is a difference between granting forgiveness and loving our enemies, and it has to do primarily with the revenge issue.
Now, I understand this is why I am enjoying all of the “forgiveness” that I am presently experiencing from the Christian community for challenging their “Men of God,” you know, “God’s anointed” even-though the emails seem to be a little hateful.
But it’s ok, run along now to your pastor and he will tell why this biblical commonsense is all wrong, and you will be spared the agony of thinking for yourself. And don’t worry, you will not be held accountable for aiding and abetting the bondage of others, you will only be judged on how well you obey those who “have the rule over you.”
That’s what the Bible plainly says, right?
If you believe Christ died for our present and future sin—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe Christ came to obey the law for us—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe saints have NO righteousness of our own—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe sanctification is the growing part of salvation—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe you are a “sinner,” you are a sinner and you need salvation—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe that justification is merely a legal declaration—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe weakness is sin—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe the same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you—you believe a false gospel.
If you believe your sins are merely covered, and not ENDED—you believe a false gospel.
If you preach the gospel to yourself everyday, you still need salvation—this would seem evident.
If you see no need to interpret Bible verses in context of justification, or sanctification, or redemption…
you believe a false gospel.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Key to our discussion is how one interprets the word “law.” In the first model of change, “law” is a realm…like, “law of gravity.” I once heard the well-known evangelical Paul David Tripp say the following about Christians: we can’t overcome sin anymore than we can overcome hitting the ground by jumping out of a second story window (paraphrase). Now, Tripp said this at a major Southern Baptist seminary chapel session to the echoes of many “amen”s. This is by no means fringe stuff; in fact, the first model here is the most common.
Before we go further, let me emphasize the gravity of this issue, pun intended. Please, if you forget everything else, don’t forget this: a person’s view of Christian change is indicative of their gospel. That’s what the parable of the talents is about. We tend to think that justification and sanctification are separate, and indeed they are; yet, a person’s view of sanctification reveals their gospel.
So, in this first model, what is the salvation construct or the definition of the new birth? The new birth is defined by a mere ability to “see the kingdom.” The new birth is mere perception. The “Christian” now has the ability to see the Spirit realm and the sin realm. As the so-called saints see both realms in a greater and greater way, they experience an increasing level of joy. This is their definition of new birth which takes place many times over the course of their lives. The more they see their own sin and God’s holiness, the more gratitude they have for their original salvation. Joy, regardless of what is going on in the realms, is the goal. You can see how this looks and sounds spiritual.
But what changes? Only your ability to see, leading to a deeper and deeper joy. Physical change that is experienced is not really being done by you. How does that work? Let me share how this supposedly works according to say, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, et al. The sin realm is passive and the Spirit realm is active. Let’s consider the physical realm, or sin realm. Let’s consider a 2x4x8 piece of lumber. You can see it, feel it, smell it, and if you would like, taste it as well. No problem here, the 2×4 is real. But, it is passive; that 2×4 sits there and does nothing until somebody picks it up. But you say: “Paul, your analogy breaks down here because the material workman is playing an active part; so, he is also active, and not just passive.” Not really. If you have read any of my wife’s stuff on the Puritans, you know that ideas precede all actions, and God is the creator of all ideas. So right, the workman picked up the 2×4, but only because of God’s will—God initiated the act through the action of “the first, or beginning idea (Edwards).”
Now listen, most Christians would write this stuff off as philosophical nonsense, but here is the problem: it’s how they function, and it’s how they talk. Want an example? “I didn’t do it! Jesus did it through me!” See how this works? You did it, but ONLY because it…was/is “God’s will.” Let’s be honest; we talk like this all the time, and it is exactly why “10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work.” But more importantly, it’s their gospel. Their sanctification paradigm defines their definition of the new birth. Listen to what a Christian lady said to me about two weeks ago: “I want people seeing Jesus, not waist deep in theology.” She may not realize it, but what is she really advocating? What drives a statement like that?
Here is another variation, “yielding.” This is the second model, and we will get to the third one shortly. This proffers the idea that when we are “saved,” we are moved between the Spirit realm and the sin realm. Both put pressure on us, and at any given time we “yield” to one or the other. But again, the only reason we yield is because God gives us the will through the first idea. Let’s move on to the third model.
In this model, the “law” is not a realm, it’s the word of God. Both words in this verse for “law” are the same Greek word (nomos). By the way, the Greek word for “realm” is a totally different word (vasíleio). Let’s also define what we mean by “law.” When we use this word, we are simply speaking about the Bible, or Scripture—the words are used interchangeably. There are many, many examples of this, but one is Galatians 3:21-23. And while we are in Galatians 3, here is a related thought that will not be unpacked in this message, but is relevant and put forth for your pondering pleasure: if Jesus kept the law for us so that we can be justified, Jesus isn’t the only seed, the law is also a seed and a giver of life. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, it can’t give life. We are justified by the new birth, not the law. This is Paul’s EXACT argument in Galatians 3. But what about Matthew 5:17, right? That’s what somebody is going to ask. Well, we aren’t going to unpack that either, but the answer is right here in Romans 8, and you can ponder that on your own time as well.
But here we are in Romans 8:2, faced with the consideration of two laws and what does this mean? There is only one Bible, right? Of course, but here is where I plug in the issue I often hear pastors complain about: passiveness in the church. Most pastors attribute it to “fear.” And what are they afraid of? They are afraid of condemnation because they don’t understand Romans 8:2 and the Spirit’s two uses of the law. They do not know the difference between under law and under grace in Romans 6:14. You see, the first part of Romans 8:2 is the first part of Romans 6:14 and also the second parts respectively.
Of course 10% of the people are doing 90% percent of the work because Jesus is doing the other 90%, and he would be doing 100% of the work if the 10% weren’t confused in a good way about sanctification. You see, Christians don’t work because they are afraid, and they are afraid because they are still under law. They fear that their motives for serving, somewhere deep, deep in their hearts is an attempt to justify themselves, and that would be works salvation. Therefore, by golly, if Jesus doesn’t tell them to do something, and thus signifying that it is actually him doing it, they must “wait on the Lord.” It sounds so pious, no? And of course, you can cite any number of Bible verses that would seem to support that.
And how is that working for us? But let me tell you what it is: it’s antithetical to “faith working through love”(Galatians 5:6). And what’s that? Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Jesus did not say, “Love me by letting me fulfill the law through you so I can love myself.” I hate to be blunt, but if you didn’t do the love, but rather Jesus loved Himself through you—you didn’t do any love. Though this would seem evident, I direct you to what Paul wrote in Galatians right after 5:6… “You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Any questions? If Christians do not understand the Spirit’s two uses of the law, they will not run well, but will rather partake in John Calvin’s Sabbath sanctification rest salvation which we are not going to unpack at this time.
So, what are these two laws? It’s pretty simple: for those under law (unsaved), the Spirit uses the law for one thing and one thing only, to condemn, and if they don’t repent, it will be used to judge them on the day of the white throne judgment. But, for those who give their life to Christ, they die with Christ literally (Romans 6), and are no longer under that law (Romans 7). Because they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they not only die, but are literally resurrected to new creaturehood (Rom 6 also) and are under grace which means they serve the new law of the Spirit for purposes of love only. What is that law? It’s the same Bible, it’s also the “perfect law of liberty.” Why did James call it that? Because here is what you use it for: you use it to set people free to aggressively love with NO fear of condemnation. Loving Christians who understand the new birth understand that no loving act they do can effect their salvation because there is no law to judge them—all obedience is a pure act of love. In fact, the Bible says one act of love fulfills the whole law.
Christians who love aggressively without fear of condemnation show that they understand the true gospel because of what they understand about sanctification: Christ didn’t come to merely cover sin, he came to end it and free his literal brothers and sisters from its judgment… “there is NOW NO condemnation” for those who are in Christ because He came to END the law (Romans 10:4) of condemnation, and free His siblings to serve the law of love which they also love because they are born anew. Here is another nugget for pondering: our flesh, or body, or “members” are/is NOT inherently evil, but rather “weak.” The idea that our flesh is inherently evil is part and parcel with the first two models. This is why we still sin, but it is family sin, not sin that condemns us. For those who really believe and understand the gospel, the only motive is love. There is nothing else left but love.
Set people free to love without fear with the true gospel.
In part one of this series, we examined the notion of the “church” being the “bride of Christ” and how this is a false doctrine. We examined from scripture that the “Lamb” does indeed have a “wife”, but the “wife” is actually the New Jerusalem come down from heaven, according to Revelation 21. We also compared two parables which portrayed elements of a traditional Jewish wedding. These parables reveal that the assembly, which is made up of converted Jews as well as Gentiles from every nation, is not the “bride”, but they are the “guests” at the wedding.
This would seem pretty straightforward. Despite the fact that a simple search of scripture reveals that the expression “bride of Christ” is nowhere to be found, this doctrine continues to breathe life. Contributing to this is the existence of several New Testament passages that seem to refer to the “church” in “spousal” terms.
I’ll tackle the easy one first. But this one also requires the most exegesis and so it will require the most space in this article. It is probably also the most familiar and widely used to support the “bride of Christ” doctrine.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Now, the first thing I want us to do is for us to read this passage with the correct terms. So, read through that passage again, and in each place where you see the word “church”, replace it with “assembly”. Believe me, this will have a tremendous impact on the way you understand this passage. “Church” connotes building, place, institution. “Assembly” connotes “body”, for that is the meaning of the word. It is a “called out” body of individuals. It is also a secular, political term. A political body of individuals called together to accomplish a specific task. Moreover, this assembly is the “Body of Christ”, and that is especially significant in this passage.
Paul reinforces this idea at the end of verse 23 when he says “and he is the saviour of the body.” This is not a stand-alone statement. And it is not a reference to your physical body or mine. It is a parenthetical clause that further establishes the main clause just prior to it. Notice the colon that appears at the end of the previous clause.
“Christ is the head of the [assembly, ‘called-out ones’]:”
The very next clause modifies this statement.
“- and he is the saviour of the body”
This is the actual Greek word for “body”, σωμα (“soma”). The structure of the end of this verse is interesting. The word “and” is the Greek word και (“kai”), and it is used as a joining word, just like a conjunction creates a list or connects words or clauses or ideas. It is also used to show equivalence or parallel thought. This kind of writing style is common in Hebrew writing, especially in poetry, this parallelism. And you can see Paul’s Hebraic style of writing in the parallelism in this verse. Paul is stating that Christ is the head of the assembly, and furthermore, not only is He the head, He is the Savior of the whole body of the assembly. In this one verse, Paul has established that the assembly is the body and Christ is the head. Paul is not establishing a husband/wife relationship, he is establishing a head/body relationship. Keep this relationship in your mind because I’ll say more on this in a bit.
Now, when someone wants to make the case that the “church” is the “bride of Christ”, they usually go right to verse 24 and pull this one particular phrase out of context:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church,…”
Their reasoning goes something like this:
“Husband” is to “wife” as “Christ” is to “church”
Christ = husband
church = wife
The church is the bride (wife) of Christ.
And while that may seem to be a reasonable logical conclusion, it fails because it is beginning with the wrong premise which results from failing to understand the context of the entire passage. Paul is instructing men on how to love their wives, but he is not using a metaphor of a husband/wife relationship. He is using the metaphor of a head/body relationship. The reasoning of the metaphor is better understood like this:
Husbands are to love their wives
– How do they do that?
Well, no man hates his own body.
Man loves himself (i.e. his body).
Therefore, love your wife in the same way you love your own body.
This is the context of the entire passage. Period. Nothing more. It’s that simple. Now Paul goes on to elaborate on that point by giving examples of how one loves their own body. He says that man shows that he loves his body because he feeds it and nourishes it and cherishes it. Thus, men thus show love to their wives by treating them just as they would their own body, by feeding, nourishing, and cherishing. Obviously he means from an emotional standpoint.
To further emphasize his point about loving one’s own body, Paul draws a comparison to Christ and the assembly. Christ is the head, and the assembly is the body. Just as a man loves his own body, Christ also loves His own body, which is the assembly. Christ also shows his love towards His body/assembly by feeding, nourishing, and cherishing it. And Paul is also quick to point out that Christ gave himself for His body/assembly. More than that, He also sanctified and cleansed it. How? With the washing of water by the word. These are the very same words that Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth!” once again showing that the believer is sanctified by the law.
This whole portion of the passage regarding Christ and the assembly is actually a parenthetical thought apart from the main thought. The main thought of the passage, as already pointed out, is about how men are to love their wives. But Paul digresses into this parenthetical aside as an illustration- man loves his own physical body; Christ also loves His body, the assembly of believers. It appears that Paul even recognizes that he has digressed from his main point. At the end of verse 32 there is one particular clause that sticks out,
“but I speak concerning Christ and the assembly,”
and in the very next verse we read,
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so [thus, in this manner] love his wife even as himself;”
Here in verse 33 Paul brings his readers back to his main point by offering a final summarizing statement: love your wife as you love your own body. To take this passage and make it a treatise on how the assembly is the “bride of Christ” is reading more into the illustration (eisegesis) than Paul intended.
There are a few other passages in the New Testament that need to be dealt with where the writer seems to be addressing the assembly in “spousal” terms, such as Romans 7:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:2, but for the sake of time, I will deal with those in part 3.
A few weeks ago my family sat down together and watched Fiddler on the Roof. It is a rather long movie for young children to sit through (there were several “potty breaks”), but the little ones enjoyed the songs, and the older ones gained an appreciation for the historical context. One scene in particular depicts a traditional Jewish wedding. Please take a moment and watch the brief clip below:
Traditionally, Jewish weddings were arranged between the fathers of the proposed couple. Keep in mind, there are many details here that I am leaving out because I am trying to be brief. After the parents have come to an agreement to the marriage, the couple is considered “espoused”. This is a formal legal contract into which the couple has entered, and for all intents and purposes, the couple is considered “married” even though the marriage has not yet been consummated. This espousal period can last for up to a year. During this time, the man returns home to make preparations for his bride, and the bride-to-be prepares herself for becoming a wife. Her fidelity to her bridegroom is on display during this period as well.
On the actual wedding day, the bridegroom leads a procession of his friends through the streets of the village to go and meet the bride. This usually occurs between sunset and midnight. There is much pomp and celebration that occurs along the way, and as the procession continues, people exit their homes, bringing a torch or lamp along with them to help light the way, and so the “wedding party” grows larger and larger as more and more “guests” join in celebration with the bridegroom. The bridegroom then receives his bride, and the two, along with the entire party of friends and guests return to the bridegroom’s house where the wedding ceremony occurs with a grand feast and celebration following.
One of the major tenets of Protestant/Reformed/Catholic orthodoxy is that the “church” is the “bride of Christ”. This doctrine can be traced as far back as Augustine. But while originally a Catholic doctrine, evangelicals and fundamentalists still cling to this teaching to this day. You cannot go into any institutional church of any denomination where you won’t hear this taught or not find it in its “statement of faith”. However, what they fail to conveniently mention is that the phrase “bride of Christ” is found nowhere in the Bible. Let me repeat that – the phrase “bride of Christ” is found NOWHERE in the Bible!
This brings me to the point of this article: the doctrine of the “church” being the “bride of Christ” is a FALSE doctrine. Why is that? Because the Bible tells us who the Bride is specifically, and it is not the church! A plain grammatical interpretation of Revelation 21 reveals exactly who the Bride is.
Revelation 21:2, 9-10
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, ‘Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God…”
Here in plain terms, the Bride is clearly and explicitly shown to be the New Jerusalem. The angel says, “I will show you the Bride”, and he shows John, not a body of people, but the New Jerusalem. The remaining verses of chapter 21 go on to give in great detail a description of what this city looks like. Notice that nothing is said about the inhabitants of the city. The focus of the chapter is the actual city itself. Not only does the angel tell John that this city is the Bride, but in case there was any doubt, he reinforces that fact by stating plainly that this city is the “Lamb’s wife”. So while the Bible never uses the expression, “bride of Christ”, it does use the terms “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife”. But that title is clearly given to the New Jerusalem and not the “church”.
Moreover, even the nation of Israel is not referred to as the “bride”. So if the “church” is not the “bride”, and Israel is not the “bride”, there where exactly does the church and Israel fit in to all of this? Again, scripture tells us plainly. Elements of the Jewish wedding tradition are clearly visualized when Jesus described the “Kingdom of Heaven” in the parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22), and the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25). Let’s begin with the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22.
“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.’ ”
It should be fairly obvious that, as Jesus points out right at the beginning, this parable is used to describe a particular aspect of the Kingdom. In this parable, He is using the metaphor of the traditional Jewish wedding, with the wedding feast being the focus. Of course, this would have been a familiar metaphor to His audience since they were all Jews.
The theme of this parable revolves around two particular groups of people. The first group is made of those who already had invitations to participate in the wedding feast. These were the King’s special invited guests. They received their invitations first. One would think that since these people have been given such a special invitation from the King that they would not hesitate to respond. But notice what happens. On the day of the feast, none of them show up. They reject the gracious invitation. They view it with an attitude of indifference and make all kinds of excuses why they cannot attend. Some even killed the servants who were sent to them to tell them that everything was ready for them to attend the feast.
This first group is a description of national Israel. This is the very nation whose God was Jehovah, but who rejected every prophet that God sent unto them to bring them unto Himself. Stephen accused them in Acts 7:52 when he said, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers?” accusing them of killing Jesus, their Messiah. And for this God judged them with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. And in His wrath, God will pour out His judgment upon national Israel during the period of the Great Tribulation.
But there is a second group mentioned in this parable. Since the King made all these preparations, it was his desire to have the feast furnished with guests. So he instructed his servants to go out and issue an invitation to anyone, as many as they could find. This second group represents the nations of the world, or the Gentiles, those whom God would redeem by the blood of the Lamb out of “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9, 14:6) I think it is important to note that this second group would also include repentant individuals from the first group, or converted Jews.
Nevertheless, the point to take from all of this is that neither of the two groups in this parable are the bride. They are guests, and this is important. What we have is a body of individuals that make up the “church”, or using the correct Biblical term, the εκκλησια (“ekklaysia”), the “called out” (invited) assembly that makes up the Body of Christ. In this parable they are not the bride, but they are clearly the guests at the wedding.
Take a look at the second parable in Matthew 25.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Now the point to make here with this parable is not to determine who the foolish virgins represent and who the wise virgins represent. The point is to show that all of these “virgins” represent those who would go out to join the procession of the wedding party as the bridegroom goes to meet his bride and return with her to his father’s house for the wedding feast. Refer to the video clip at the beginning of this article and you will notice all of the people who accompany the groom on his way to pick up his bride. As the procession goes through the streets of the village, more and more people come out of their houses carrying a candle or “lamp” and join the procession. Notice that this happens at “midnight” or more literally, sunset, as portrayed in the video clip. The young girls in the parable are not going to the wedding to marry the bridegroom. The bridegroom already has a bride. The young girls are simply guests at the wedding.
This is not the first instance that scripture posits this notion of wedding guests. Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, and Luke 5:34 use the term “children of the bridechamber”, referring to Jesus’ disciples – those who were called by Christ to follow Him. That would include not only the twelve, but all those who would be saved by faith in Christ, the “ekklaysia”. In John 3:29, John the Baptist referred to himself and any others “which standeth and heareth Him as a “friend of the bridegroom”.
So in terms of the picture of a traditional Jewish wedding, all believers, members of the Body of Christ, are referred to as “guests” and “friends of the bridegroom”, but they are NOT the bride. They go out joyfully with the Bridegroom as He goes to receive His Bride. But clearly from a scriptural standpoint, the wedding guests cannot be the Bride.
Now there are questions that remain. For example, how can Christ “marry” a city? And if the “church” is not the Bride, then what about all those New Testament passages that seem to refer to the “church” in “spousal” terms? These are all valid questions, and I will seek to address them in part 2.
pdf Trifold: Gal 2.20 trifold
A passive approach to Christian living has not served the Western church well. Few will disagree that Protestantism is predicated on the idea that the Christian life should be lived out in the same way we were saved, by faith alone. By far, the most popular proof text for this is Galatians 2:20;
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (ESV).
On its face, the verse does seem to say that we are dead and unable, and Christ is living out our lives for us and through us. The English Standard Version, a Neo-Reformed translation, adds to the idea by excluding the following words that are underlined:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (KJV).
The apostle Paul is saying that there is a sense in which we are dead, but also alive. How can we be both alive and dead? The crux of the problem in interpreting Galatians 2:20 is a Protestant propensity for confounding justification and the Christian life. Galatians 2:20 is not addressing the Christian life, it is addressing justification. This should be evident because Paul addresses the subject of justification specifically in the immediate context several times (three times alone in Galatians 2:16, Galatians 2:17, 2:21, 3:8, 3:11, 3:24, 5:4). Note what Paul states in the verse immediately following verse 20:
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
The word for “justified” (dikaioō) and the word for “righteousness” (dikaiosynē)mean the same thing. Paul’s point is that Christ “died” in vain if justification is by the law. By “law,” Paul is not referring to an astute observation of the finer points of the law, but the traditions of men that propagate salvation by some ritual, and a dumbing down of the finer points of the law for maintaining salvation through additional rituals (Gal – 2:3, 2:12, 2:17, 2:19, 4:10,11, 4:21, 5:2, 5:3, 5:6, 5:11, note 5:2-5:5 as a summary of these ideas).
Paul is not saying that Christians are dead in the Christian life, and it is Christ alone living through us, he is saying that Christians are dead to the law for justification. Christians died with Christ, but are also resurrected with Christ. Hence, Galatians 2:20 begins with… “I have been crucified with Christ.” Christ died to end the law’s ability to condemn us (Rom 4:15, 5:13, 6:8, 8:1,10:4). We are no longer under its jurisdiction (Rom 7:1-6).
In regard to our justification only, we are, and remain dead while Christ lives, but this does not include the Christian life in which we are alive and new creatures. The usual rendering of Galatians 2:20 makes justification and the Christian life the same thing. Justification is a finished work, while we are continually separated from our old self by learning God’s law and obeying it. That’s commonly referred to as “sanctification.”
Gal 2:20 is ONLY talking about justification. Making Gal 2:20 about the Christian life is tantamount to rejecting half of the gospel pictured in baptism:
Romans 6:3 – Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
And frankly, it also keeps the believer under law instead of under grace (Rom 6:14). If we are not now able to keep the law as a way of loving Christ and others, the law of the Spirit of life has not set us free from the law of sin and death:
Romans 8:2 – For the law [nomos] of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law [nomos] of sin and death.
The law now becomes the Spirit’s instrument of changing us (Jn 17:17, Gal 5:7 Rom 6:6). Our death with Christ stripped the law’s ability to condemn us for we are no longer UNDER it, but what many miss is the fact that being under grace means that we are now able to obey the law in order to please God (Romans 8:1-8).
To be under grace is to be under the law of the Spirit of life. The aforementioned rendering of Galatians 2:20 makes the law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death the same thing, and rejects the freedom from the law of sin and death made possible by the new birth (regeneration, or quickening).
This is why Galatians 2:20 is rendered that way accordingly: the “Christian” is still under law (being yet dead), and Jesus must therefore keep the law of sin and death for the believer. This is what drives the idea that Galatians 2:20 applies to the Christian life, BUT the law of sin and death has been ENDED by our death with Christ. We are no longer under its jurisdiction (Rom 7:1-4)—Christ does not need to fulfill the law of sin and death for us, that law was ended by Christ (Rom 10:4). Said rendering turns the gospel completely upside down and rejects the new birth. If the law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death are the same, “Christians” are still under the law of sin and death.
Moreover, take note as well that Paul doesn’t say the Galatian error was trying to be sanctified by the law; the error is an attempt to be “justified” by the law (5:4). If Paul’s primary issue with the Galatians was an attempt to apply the law to sanctification in order to justify themselves, why wouldn’t he simply state it plainly?
The real issue in Galatians was a justification by ritual, and a ritualistic dumbing down of the law in order to maintain salvation. This is necessary when the law of sin and death is not properly understood as ended, and replaced with the law of the Spirit of life.
The real issue in Galatians is a justification by ritual, and a ritualistic dumbing down of the law in order to maintain salvation. This is necessary when the law of sin and death is not properly understood as ended, and combined with the law of the Spirit of life.
In fact, the law of the Spirit of life is redefined as something done by Christ instead of the Spirit using the “perfect law of liberty” to change us (James 1:25, Matthew 7:24-27).
The Protestant Pot Calling the Catholic Kettle Black
Saturday 11/21/2015 @ 4pm. Podcast Link: Utterly Delusional: John MacArthur’s Assessment of Roman Catholicism part 2
Paul will evaluate a sermon preached by John MacArthur Jr. in 2005 against Roman Catholicism. While this sermon serves as a typical Protestant rebuttal against Catholicism, it also serves to show how Protestantism is guilty of the exact same biblical anomalies not excluding the gospel. Paul and Susan will be addressing MacArthur’s evaluation in light of documented Protestant orthodoxy, not the typical misunderstanding among Protestants regarding its true documented beliefs. Paul will be referencing the Heidelberg Disputation and the Calvin Institutes throughout.
The audio and transcript of the sermon can be found here: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-291/the-pope-and-the-papacy?Term=Are%20Catholics%20saved
Let me clarify something in the beginning of this post: The Paris terrorist attack was NOT God’s will. Secondly, God didn’t use ISIS to judge Paris or France in general. Thirdly, stop praying that God will spare America from an attack if “it be thy will.” Trust me, it’s not God’s will that anyone dies ever. God hates death, period. And lastly, but by no means leastly, stop warning America to repent lest it suffer the same judgment from God. Westboro Baptist church much?
Why do Protestants, Baptists, Catholics, and evangelicals in general pray like this? Well, I could push the easy button and say it’s because we are among the most ignorant misinformed people on the face of the earth, and that would be true, but the fact is that these prayers reflect the worldview and doctrine of the Protestant forefathers.
What was that worldview? Simply stated, the material world is evil, and of course that includes material beings. Like all pagan religions founded on the garden disputation, the goal is freedom to perceive well-being without any real participation in it other than the disparaging of all things material. If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know Luther believed that ALL spiritual perception comes through suffering. Ignorant evangelicals deny this theses out of hand because purist Reformation ideology has been watered down over time, but they at least function according to the original principles because as the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Hence, these prayers are grounded in the ancient idea that all things material are evil, and to the point that it is destroyed, goodness is perceived and experienced though not effected by any act of the homosapien, e.g., “I didn’t do it! The Holy Spirit did it!” Sound familiar?
Therefore, knowing that it is our “natural” inclination to avoid the suffering that would do us good, we take “not my will Father, but your will” (which is supposedly suffering) completely out of context and invoke it into prayer such as the aforementioned. It was certainly God’s will that Christ suffered, but that doesn’t make suffering a good thing, nor does it make suffering the primary epistemology. This bypasses God’s just character and His demand for justice in the world. So consequently there is little justice in the church accordingly, and it is replaced with “forgive others as Christ forgave you,” also taken out of context. Injustice is tolerated in the church for three simple reasons: 1. It’s God’s will 2. Suffering dissuades focus on worldly things and forces us to focus on God (Luther/Calvin) 3. Only suffering leads to increased spiritual well-being. So, yes, what happened to you when you were raped by deacon Don in the hallway closet was absolutely horrible! But…it is God’s will for you to suffer, we should forgive others the way we are forgiven, and if this event becomes public the church will be harmed, and per the Reformers as well, the church is the only way to heaven. If you don’t suck it up and forgive deacon Don, “people will go to hell and their blood will be on your hands.” Sound familiar?
As I am well reminded in my present research for the TANC 2016 project, the undisputed Doctor of the Church for both Catholics and Protestants is Saint Augustine who was an unabashed Platonist. It’s just this simple: Protestantism is fundamentally a Platonist religion, this is simply unambiguous history, and though most Protestants are unaware of this, the fact is often revealed in their mindless truisms, viz, stuff that happens really isn’t done by us if it’s a good work, God preordains death and disaster because everyone deserves hell and anything short of that is “grace,” and a general indifference to justice accordingly. Furthermore, this can also be seen in the average parishioner’s aversion to knowledge as unspiritual. This is a consummate Platonist principle; mankind cannot comprehend reality, and needs preordained gifted mediators to lead others unquestioned. In other words, knowledge is arrogance and refuses to “submit itself to God’s anointed.” This is right out of Plato’s philosophical playbook.
Take note of something if you will: while the present-day evangelical church is hellbent on following the Neo-Calvinist movement, note carefully their commentary on all things ISIS. Have you noticed the lack of outrage? In fact, how many posts would you like to be referred to that actually have a hint of endorsement of ISIS from the who’s who of the Neo-Calvinist movement such as John Piper and Al Mohler? Why is this? Because the fundamental worldview is the same: 1. The material world is evil 2. God preordains seers to obtain unity 3. Unity is based on the submission to authority granted to the seers by God 4. To enforce the orthodoxy of the seers is “just war.” Listen, whether Catholic or Protestant, history shows that enforcing orthodoxy by the sword has always been the policy of both. Read the Westminster Confession for yourself rather than taking the pastor’s word for what’s in there. Besides, he’s only telling you what Al Mohler and John Piper told him.
And look, enforced orthodoxy is not only a Platonist fundamental, but has always been, and always will be a Protestant fundamental principle of orthodoxy. The American Revolution screwed that up, and hence, the Neo-Calvinist disdain for American nationalism. Yes, yes, I know the shtick, we have made Americanism a god, blah, blah, blah, but that is entirely disingenuous. Protestantism, like ISIS, is totally all about enforcing orthodoxy through the state, and ALWAYS has been, and ALWAYS will be. The tension between its church-state lust and filthy America is heard in this prayer…
“Hey America, you better ‘repent’ and turn to God (orthodoxy) or he will judge you! See, see, see what happened on 9/11? You guys better listen to us and do what we say!”
Yes, in the minds of the Neo-Calvinists, and they have as much said it outright, 9/11 was a backdoor enforcement of Protestant orthodoxy akin to the long lost glory days of the Protestant church-state under Augustine who they claim as “the one who returned us to the ancient faith” (B.B. Warfield). Indeed he did. And yes indeed, if America doesn’t start letting God’s anointed run the show, we can expect terror attacks in the future. Read their posts carefully; what did Al Mohler mean when he said “one man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot”? Creepy much?
ISIS and evangelicals make strange bedfellows, but nevertheless, the tie that binds can be heard in their prayers.
Per the usual in these situations, we see a call to pray, but not for anything in particular. I do pray for Paris; specifically, that they will repent of their insane politically correct policies that lead their people to the slaughter. So, this refugee thing; news is already coming out that these guys came from Syria. Listen, guilt over privilege is no reason to sacrifice our children; ie., we have to let these people in because they aren’t privileged and we are. Really? The conditions of these countries are a cause and effect issue. You worked to be “privileged” in a government philosophy/system that many have given their lives for. Elections have consequences, and political philosophies are not mere opinions, they are matters of life and death. Unfortunately, as one expert noted last night albeit crassly, many more people will have to yet die before people get a grip. However, many, even in our culture, think that we deserve terrorism because of our “privilege.” This is just lovers of death trying to con the lovers of life to embrace their worldview. Pray for that; pray that Paris will begin to choose life.
And this has a personal application as well. Christians call for prayer in difficult situations without any concern for truth and consequences. This is primarily rooted in a worldview that sees God as tolerant of evil, and prayer beckons for Him to do something good that we don’t deserve. It’s a fatalistic mindset. There is no truth or consequences—there is no choosing death over life.
But, in fact, we must continually choose life over death, and do our part on every level of life experience.
Saturday 11/14/2015 @ 4pm. Live Link: Utterly Delusional: John MacArthur’s Assessment of Roman Catholicism
Call in and talk to the hosts: 1-347-855-8317.
Paul and Susan will evaluate a sermon preached by John MacArthur Jr. in 2005 against Roman Catholicism. While this sermon serves as a typical Protestant rebuttal against Catholicism, it also serves to show how Protestantism is guilty of the exact same biblical anomalies not excluding the gospel. Paul and Susan will be addressing MacArthur’s evaluation in light of documented Protestant orthodoxy, not the typical misunderstanding among Protestants regarding its true documented beliefs. Paul will be referencing the Heidelberg Disputation and the Calvin Institutes throughout.
The audio and transcript of the sermon can be found here: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-291/the-pope-and-the-papacy?Term=Are%20Catholics%20saved
Citing the “serious sins” of its leader, a Texas-based ministry that promotes home schooling and “male patriarchy” has been shut down by its board.
Doug Phillips wrote on Oct. 30 that he would step down as president of Vision Forum Ministries and stop his speaking engagements after acknowledging an extramarital relationship.
His public admission proved to be a fatal blow for the ministry he headed. Vision Forum was geared for a segment of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who profess a traditionalist understanding of Scripture, sexuality and gender roles.
“In light of the serious sins which have resulted in Doug Phillips’s resignation from Vision Forum Ministries, the Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of all involved to discontinue operations,” according to a statement on the Vision Forum website.1
What happens in reality continues to disprove the doctrine of the Catholic Church and its offspring, viz, Protestantism and its various stripes thereof. Between the two, Protestantism offers the more glaring contradictions and confusion.
Let’s just take Vision Forum as a prime example. Doug Phillips was often fond of referring to himself as a “sinner.”2 Likewise, Tullian Tchividjian, who also recently resigned due to marital infidelity,3 once boasted that he has never done one good work and stakes his assurance of salvation on that fact accordingly.4
Just how insane is church? People give their whole lives to the church and its sinners saved by grace gospel. This is the message they come to hear week in, and week out; yet, when a leader sins, he must resign to save the ministry’s credibility and subsequent financial support. What in the world is going on?
What is going on follows: the institutional church has been trying to save humanity from reality for over 2000 years. The problem with reality is mankind is basically good. Now, please note: I didn’t say that man’s basic goodness will save him, but nevertheless, man is wired for basic goodness. Why does this surprise us? Perhaps because of our Christian insanity. On the one hand, we are created in the image of God, a fact that Christians verbally toss about frequently, but on the other hand we are totally depraved? Which is it?
The case for basic goodness is stated plainly by what’s trending of late: the lost nor the saved will ultimately tolerate sinning leaders in the church or politics. This is because the world pins its hope on basic goodness. That’s a problem for the institutional church; if man is basically good, he doesn’t need the institutional church to find God and have a relationship with Him, and the church needs to be needed. If man is basically able, he doesn’t need institutional religion as an additional mediator other than Christ. That’s bad for business.
Let’s pause for a reality check; clearly, there is evil in the world, but if man is basically evil, what would the world really look like? And in context of this post, if the function of parishioners was consistent with the message that they pay good money to support, no sinning leader would need to resign, and no ministry would lose support. There is a clear disconnect between reality and the “amen” echoed from the church pews.
And frankly, at pastors conferences and closed-door elders meetings, I think this disconnect is seen as the problem. The institutional church is trying to sell a difficult package, but nevertheless, it is a package they believe in. Resignations are primarily fiscal considerations that sometimes fail to save a given part of the institutional church industrial complex. Many church leaders, whether Catholic or Protestant, see resignations as indicative of the hard work that yet remains in striving for saints to really “understand grace.” However, progress is being made; one example would be the ministry of Pastor Jean F. Larroux, III5 in Presbyterian circles with perhaps the best example being Jack Hyles in Baptist circles:
“What better example than pastor Jack Hyles who remained in the pulpit till his death in 2001. Hyles pastored the largest Baptist church in the US, boasting a membership of 100,000 and Sunday attendance approaching 20,000. Till this day, the Sunday School operates 250 school buses. Hyles was the personification of the first gospel wave that emphasized getting people saved and had very little emphases on life changing discipleship. And then there is this:
‘Hyles had also become known for his alleged immorality, specifically his behavior with his secretary (the wife of a deacon in the church)…. Besides Hyles’ own church and schools being scandalized with immorality and pedophilic activity (numerous FBCH men have been charged or convicted of child molestation), Hyles spawned a number of “ministries” (there are approximately 200 independent Baptist churches nationwide that hold Hyles and his teachings in high regard) that have been scandalized in the same manner. For example, seven Hyles-affiliated churches from 1984-1993 were rocked by child molestation scandals.
David Hyles, Jack Hyles’ son, had affairs with at least 19 different women at Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, during the time he pastored there. (He was dismissed when a janitor found photos of Hyles having sex with a deacon’s daughter.) Back in the Chicago area (Bolingbrook, IL), and after David’s divorce from his wife, David was cohabitating with a woman by the name of Brenda Stevens. Brenda posed for pornographic pictures in Adam and Chicago Swingers magazines (in an advertisement for group sex) during the time she and David were living together. After David married Brenda, Brenda’s 17-month-old son by a previous marriage was found battered and dead at the Hyles’ home. The police still consider the case a murder and continue to view David and Brenda as prime suspects.’”6
This post is an idea for TANC Ministries’ 2016 project and is not meant to be an in-depth look at this hypothesis, but I want to close with another thought that is related: ministries that are fed by the following of men. Vision Forum is one example among many. So goes the man, and so goes the ministry. In contrast, the Bible makes it clear that any ministry founded on the following of a man has no credibility whatsoever and is false on its face value. Yet, most Protestant denominations are founded on some man’s teachings. Baptists would seem to be the exception except for those who claim a “bloodline” to…you guessed it…John the Baptist.
Project 2016 seeks to explore the extreme cognitive dissonance of the institutional church, and we hope to have the final product of this research available at the TANC 2016 conference in August.
6Paul M. Dohse: The Truth About New Calvinism; TANC Publishing 2011, pp. 128, 129.
Call in and talk to the host: (347) 855-8317
Do we persevere in a finished work?
Evangelicalism in general is theologically illiterate and totally confused about salvation. The home fellowship movement should grasp the following reality: Catholicism and Protestantism are both vast mission fields. In addition, I think thousands attending the institutional church would leave tomorrow if they had an alternative.
This particular program was inspired by Andy Young’s Tuesday night Bible study out of Acts, specifically his notation on Acts 27:31, “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Really, when it gets right down to it, the way this passage is often used denotes the official doctrine of the Protestant Reformation and its perseverance of the saints; the idea that one must abide in something to keep themselves saved. Evangelicals either proclaim this outwardly, our unwittingly function that way.
The message I am going to cite tonight from a Reformed blog is a prime example. I have chosen it because this pastor cites many, many Bible verses that indeed seem to bolster the official Protestant doctrine of perseverance. I want to take the opportunity to address these verses one by one.
“Christians” need to understand church isn’t what it used to be. It was ok for about a 100 years due to a mixture of Scriptural truth and Protestant orthodoxy, but once again, the church is returning to authentic Protestantism—Protestantism was ok when it was misinformed by grammatical vestiges of Scripture, but those days are gone; Protestantism is returning to the original article at breakneck speed.
And few misinformed sanctified pastors of the old school are standing their ground; yes indeed, everybody is doin’ it.
The likes of John Piper and John MacArthur Jr., who clearly represent mainline evangelicalism, have said in no uncertain terms that being a church member is synonymous with being part of the body of Christ (8:25 mark). Ministries like 9 Marks aka Mark Dever make it clear that church leaders, according to them, have authority over salvation on earth via John Calvin’s “power of the keys.” TANC Ministries has written on these facts extensively with accompanied citations numbering in the hundreds.
Also in vogue by church leadership is bringing people up on church discipline for not tithing. This is heavily endorsed by the who’s who of the Southern Baptist Convention like Al Mohler and David Platt. Church discipline is the Catholic version of excommunication. It’s their way or the highway, and in this case, a highway to hell according to them. While attending a local SBC pastors conference some time ago in Springboro, Ohio, I got into a serious tiff with one of the workshop teachers over tithing cash. In other words, somebody who merely puts cash directly into the golden plate or sacred basket without personal identification. His argument at the time to me follows: “That’s not being accountable to the church leaders.”
As a longtime SBC pastor, let me share the paramount SBC pastor fib: “I don’t know what the members tithe.” And the same SBC pastor hacks that would tell you that will also stick out their chests and say, “I am on my way to the hospital to visit ________, God put him there to extract the tithes he has been robbing from God.” In the past, half pregnant Protestant pastors used fear, the kickback of prestige, and the allurement of tax deductions to get the tithe, now in keeping with a more accurate Protestantism, they will take away your salvation if you don’t pony up. Shockingly, many evangelical churches require a financial statement in lieu of membership, and people actually cooperate accordingly.
How can this be? While the populous is becoming more and more irreligious, the church infrastructure that continues to be supported by private funds defies belief in light of the church’s steroidal hypocrisy and indifference to justice. One example among myriad follows: while the church doth protest abortion contentiously, statistics show that abortions are higher in number among evangelicals than those of the secular realm. Regardless of outrages perpetrated by both churches, Catholic and Protestant, the money keeps pouring in. There is only one answer that makes any sense at all: the church brokers salvation. And the linchpin of the deal is good ole’ fashioned forgiveness of “present sin.”
Whether Protestant or Catholic, the brokerage of forgiveness knows no bounds. In medieval times, Catholics could purchase forgiveness for premeditated murder before they committed the act in case fate would prevent one from making it to the parish after the deed was accomplished. The price list for Catholic indulgences is fairly easy to find online via Google. TANC possesses some actual cash receipts for indulgences from the 1940’s. Actually holding them in one’s hand and reading them is downright creepy. The concept certainly gives new meaning to the truism, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
Protestants are a little bit more discreet in brokering forgiveness for “present sin.” The idea here is that justification is defined by fulfilling the “righteous demands of the law” instead of new birth into the literal family of God. Think about it: if we are once born again always born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit until redemption, what do we need the institutional church for? Trust me, merely being better informed on how to love God and others does not raise the stakes high enough to support four million dollar aquariums in the church lobby; no my friends, it is our very salvation that must be at stake—that’s what brings in the big greenbacks. In an envelope with your name on it of course, and studiously recorded lest you not get a tax deduction (wink, wink).
But should I pay the 10% temple tax on net or gross income? According to everyone, gross, who knew? When you give saint to saint you give from net income because that’s all you have realistically to contribute to a specific need, but when it comes to tithing so the church can decide how to use your money to “meet need,” it’s based on gross income. Go figure.
Luther and Calvin both were huge on the present sin going against our justification gig, and forgiveness of present sin, according to them and Protestant orthodoxy, can only be found where “God has assigned it,” namely, your local Protestant church. So, is this nothing more or less than a Catholic indulgence? The rhetorical answers follow: Did you sin today? Will you sin tomorrow? Is forgiveness only found in the church? Can the church take away your salvation? Can you be brought up on church discipline for not tithing? Or the short version: Does a bear poop in the woods?
Justification has NOTHING to do with “present sin.” We can suffer present consequences for sinning against our father in regard to family sin, and such sin is not love as articulated in the Bible, but in regard to sin against justification, there is NO law and no sin accordingly which means we don’t need the church for any reason whatsoever except to support the egos of the rich and famous.
All we need is like-minded fellowship that encourages us unto good works and the giving of our money to N-E-E-D, not institutions. We are a holy nation of priests with ONE authority ONLY: Christ the King. Our unity comes through agreement on the truth we love—not shameless Protestant orthodoxy. We are guided by the indwelling of the Spirit, not lovers of filthy lucre. We are slaves to no man save Christ…
…come out from among them and be free.
Tuesday Night Bible Study – LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 65 – November 3, 2015 (click here to listen)
Join us each Tuesday night at 7:00 PM as the host, Andy Young, leads a verse by verse exegetical study of the Book of Acts.
In tonight’s lesson, Paul is in the middle of a hurricane, and we recount the events that lead to his shipwreck on the island of Melita.
Tonight’s Text – Acts 27:27-44
What I have come to learn is the lost world understands more about the gospel than professing Christians. The longer a professing Christian goes to church, the less they know about the things of God. I am not saying they don’t know things and learn a bunch of stuff, it’s just that none of it is biblical.
As a born again Christian in 1983, I was totally full of joy and on fire for God, and then church happened. And worse yet, I added to the calamity by going to seminary. What followed was a long dark path of doubting my salvation, being unnecessarily enslaved to sin, and total confusion in regard to what the Bible clearly stated as set against what happens in church. I went through periods where I just threw in the towel and said, “Just keep your mouth shut and serve the church; obviously, I am the problem, all of these people couldn’t be wrong.” Then the stupidity would once again become more than I could bear, and I would start asking questions again.
Finally, I got too good at asking questions in 2007 and the church folks put a full court press on me. After being cast outside of the camp, I sat alone save a few, but there was only one thing that I could see: the promise that “If you seek me you will find me.” And so the journey began at the place where I came from, the joy of my original salvation, but this time with the addition of real knowledge. I believed the promise, and I would find the truth in this life or run out of time and find it in the next—either way was fine with me at that point.
This post is about one of the things I have learned in the journey. People don’t say no to the gospel because they are “totally depraved and have not been shown the kingdom by God’s divine providence,” they say no to the Evangelical gospel because they know it’s not the gospel. Actually, they say no to the Evangelical gospel for the same reason evangelicals say yes to their own false gospel; neither want to lose their own lives to find it.
That’s right, unbelievers don’t want to lose their present life, and they know being saved means exactly that. For the most part, they know this intuitively because the “works of God’s law” have been written on their hearts as with everyone born into the world. As an unbeliever, I said no to many evangelicals who told me that I only needed to believe, and it had nothing to do with anything regarding behavior as that would be “works salvation.” As an unbeliever, I agreed with the basic framework of the wording, but knew that wasn’t the gospel. A demand to cease from the present things that I enjoyed was not the issue, I knew that those things would no longer be part of my being. I would indeed lose my present life, and would be launched into a life that would be something totally new apart from what I had lived with all of my life.
What is it that I didn’t like about the Evangelical gospel? Basically, no new birth. You remain the same, and maybe God will change you and maybe he won’t—it’s totally by faith alone. I knew do’s and don’ts wasn’t the issue, I knew it was a faith alone gospel without the new birth. They plainly told me that any change that would occur in my life was totally up to God because it’s faith alone apart from works, but I intuitively interpreted that as no new birth. Granted, I wasn’t ready to change, but if I ever was, I wanted real change/salvation. They plainly stated, and we hear this today, all of the time, that CHANGE isn’t the issue, but rather “seeing more Jesus.” I interpreted that as no new birth, though I wouldn’t have used that terminology. They were selling a no loss of present life gospel. It sounded tempting; you can keep your present life while merely seeing more Jesus, but I knew it was a pipe dream. I knew what the true result of believing is: new birth; the loss of present life and a future completely entrusted to Christ.
This is why evangelicals say no to the true gospel of new birth and embrace the idea that justification is nothing more than a “legal declaration.” If justification is a legal declaration, new creaturehood doesn’t justify us, a mere declaration does. Skeptical? Let me prove my point with “waist deep theology” rather than Jesus seeing. Evangelicals further state that the declaration alone would be “legal fiction.” Why so? Well, because we are in essence unchanged, but yet God is calling us “justified.” What to do? Their solution is a double denial of the new birth known as double imputation. Supposedly, Christ came to not only die for us, but to keep the law perfectly in our stead. If we continue to live by faith alone, Christ’s BEHAVIOR is also imputed to our account totally apart from any behavior we have. We hear it all the time: “It’s not about anything we do—it’s about what Jesus has done.” Obviously, this makes a real and literal new birth completely unnecessary. OUR behavior is completely irrelevant… “We proclaim the gospel, we don’t try to be the gospel.” If you’re an evangelical, you can have your cake and eat it to. And look at the church accordingly; any questions?
As a new believer, I assumed the church did not deny the new birth as a whole, and that I would find bliss on earth frolicking about with God’s new creatures. Chuckle. Oh the naivety of youth. I took the new birth so seriously, that as I began to live out my Christian life, the fact that I still sinned dismayed me. I searched for answers within the church in regard to reconciling present sin with the new birth. Of course, I wasn’t able to find satisfactory answers because the evangelical definition of new birth is not the biblical definition. Hence, I wallowed in weakness and confusion for years. And sadly, in every church I was ever in, I was one of the leaders! It would be hilarious if not so utterly pathetic.
The home fellowship movement is the freedom and hope believers need. It holds forth the true gospel of new birth. It is the literal family of God, and that’s why we worship where we live. A false gospel has no authority. Come out from among them and be free.
I will post a video at the end of this article that elicited the following response from those who posted it on the social network where I watched it:
“Not sure what one could add to or take away from what we have just seen. I am reminded of Matt. 24 when Jesus says that because of lawlessness the hearts of many will grow cold. “Just do it” and laughter throughout the time is just beyond me. Heather was in tears. I wanted to throw up. Beyond disgusting.”
The key to understanding the cold-bloodedness that they observed is in their mention of Matthew 24:12, and the two key words are BECAUSE and LAWLESSNESS. Christ said that “because” of “lawlessness,” love would “grow cold.” The source of this lawlessness is described by Jesus in the previous verse: “many false prophets.”
Now we would do well to examine what Christ meant by the word often translated “lawlessness” and “wickedness” in our English Bibles. These words posit the idea of bad behavior, but that’s not what the actual word that is used by Christ means at all. The word is “anomia.” The “a” is a negative article prefix that means “anti” and “nomia” or nomos, refers to God’s law specifically. The idea of sinful behavior is an entirely different word altogether. Among many used is “hamartia,” or “sin” and these two words are specifically contrasted in 1John 3:4. Sin is defined by any aberration of God’s standard.
In Matthew 24:12, as well as many other passages, an anti-Bible agenda is in view propagated by false prophets.
The world in general becomes cold-hearted by rejecting the law of God written on their hearts and administered by the conscience—either excusing or accusing their actions (ROM 2:15,16). The conscience can eventually be seared if continually violated and ignored (1TIM 4:2). Christians are to keep a clear conscience before God (Acts 24,16 1Peter 3:16, 1TIM 1:5, 3:9, 2TIM 1:3). Keeping a clear conscience before God is obviously behavior focused as judged by the Bible.
One of the monumental misnomers of all time is the idea of “legalism.” This term was formulated by false prophets who really want to steer us away from nomos. Misguided obedience has never been the church’s primary nemesis; it has always been anti-word of God. When the apostle Paul warned those who wanted to be justified by the law, “law,” is in a manner of speaking; Paul was referring to what false teachers purport to be the law, not an actual sincere love for truth and a desire to live by it. This is why James stated that anyone who wanted to be justified by the law had to keep all of it, not a standard of their own choosing (James 2:10). Supposed law-keeping is also often connected to salvation by mere ritual as well. This point cannot be better made than to cite what Paul wrote to the Galatians:
5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
We see here, clearly, that Paul was confronting a belief that being circumcised according to law excused them from a truthful obedience to the law. In other words, justification by law-keeping is ALWAYS a dumbed-down version of the law to make adherence for salvation feasible. Paul contrasts this with true obedience to the law in sanctification:
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
Justification by law-keeping is NEVER an endeavor to obey the truth; it is ALWAYS the replacement of God’s law with the traditions of men—making the law of God “void.” The Pharisees, the supposed poster children for “legalism,” or “living by the law,” were not guilty of trying to obtain salvation by a sincere obedience to the truth, but rather replaced the law of God with their traditions and made that the standard for salvation (which has no law standard to begin with):
Matthew15:1 – Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
Matthew 23:16 – “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
And what were the Pharisees full of “within”? “[L]awlessness” which is the word “anomia.” The English translation is “anti-law” or “antinomianism.” That’s what the Pharisees were full of within—not “legalism” which is a concept not found in the Bible anywhere by idea or word. There is obedience to truth or anti-truth—no in-between.
“Legalism” fosters the idea that Christians can unwittingly try to please God by obeying the truth as a way to earn their justification. The idea was hatched by the Reformers and is a Neo-Calvinist doctrinal mainstay in our day. The favorite illustration is the Pharisees who supposedly were really, really good at keeping the law and obeying the Bible in an attempt to earn their justification. This is a ploy to create confusion in regard to the law’s relationship to justification and sanctification. The Reformers created immense fear among Christians by making the law’s relationship to justification the same as sanctification. In justification, law has no jurisdiction in regard to the Christian. The Christian is transformed from a status where the law is the standard to be justified (and impossible) to a status where the law informs our sanctification totally separate from justification. So, the law is a standard for sanctification, but in regard to the Christian, the law no longer has jurisdiction over his/her salvation. In Calvinism, the law remains a standard for justification IN salvation that must be maintained until the final judgment.
Because man is created to do works, this makes sanctification very tricky with our eternal destiny hanging in the balance. Calvinists therefore assure Christians that if they live their Christian lives by faith alone—they are playing it safe. As one New Calvinist told me: “If I let Jesus do all the work, He can’t fault me for anything when I stand before Him.” Of course, living in a way that imputes the works of Christ to our Christian walk is very complicated, but be assured: New Calvinists will teach us how to “practice obedient faith” so we can arrive at the final judgment covered by “what Jesus has done, not anything we do”….in our Christian walk. This confounding of the law’s relationship to justification and sanctification makes the Christian walk a minefield with constant danger of “making sanctification the ground of our justification.” We must therefore seek out the Reformed for their secret formula for living the Christian life by faith alone. “Sola Fide” is for justification and sanctification both—that’s the dirty little secret. The Reformed couch the language in terms like “obedient faith.” The Reformers saw faith as a neutral conduit that God uses to impute the perpetual works of Christ to the believer. In other words, Christ’s atoning work is not yet finished for salvation: though accomplished in one period of time, it must be continually appropriated to maintain our just standing. The maintenance of our salvation is in view. Hence, we must “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.”
But this brings us from fearful hearts to cold hearts. Reformed theology will heap its share of cold-hearted mentality on humanity “because of anomia.” It’s just more anomia dressed in religious garb. This brings my point back to the video that was posted. It is cold-heartedness on steroids regarding the abortion issue. Therefore, the following should make perfect sense to us:
According to the National Right to Life, the total number of abortions in the US is down-33% from its peak in 1980/81- and the greatest decrease is among adolescent girls and young women. Good News!
But if we look further into these statistics, we find disconcerting news for the Church: The abortion rates among professing Christians are commensurate with the rest of the population!
Approx. 560,000 for Protestants (43%)
Approx. 350,000 per year for Catholics (27%)
13% of abortions (approx. 170,000 per year) are performed on self-described “Born Again” or Evangelical Christians (Alan Guttmacher Institute and Physicians for Reproductive Choice, “An Overview of Abortion in the United States,” 2003 and 2008)
Even more disturbing is the fact that these percentages have NOT dropped, even though the number of abortions have in recent years!
These statistics reveal that actually MORE women who profess Christianity are having abortions.
This is what Reformed theology has always done to society. Despite the traditions of men that claim otherwise, the Reformation did not bring light to darkness, it brought more darkness. Post Reformation brought little more than chaos and turmoil to Europe—more than it had ever seen before. It brought tyranny to America in the form of the Salem witch trials, and its contemporary resurgence has resulted in an unprecedented level of abuses in the American church.
It is the epitome of a primary concern of Christ during His ministry: the replacement of the law by the traditions of men resulting in anomia. While waxing eloquent about the Pharisees, Neo-Calvinism is in fact a return to what plagued the apostolic church. To say that Calvinists vaunt the opinions of a litany of past Reformers as authority is an understatement of the most dramatic sort. Even Charles Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers” did little more than regurgitate Reformed tradition. Recently, one Reformed conference was based on the writings of twenty-five Reformed icons. The popular Resolved conferences hosted by John MacArthur highlighted the traditional teachings and legacies of Reformed men of years gone by.
With all of the harping about the Pharisees by Calvinists—they are the Pharisees, and they propagate the same kind of cold-heartedness with it.
Their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
Where to start in all the ways that this meme contradicts Scripture and denies the new birth and true gospel? Let’s start with a few blatant contradictions.
Our faith does NOT rest. Our faith WORKS through love (Gal 5:6). Faith is a GIFT, but that doesn’t mean we don’t put the gift to work. In fact, the belief that our faith doesn’t work suggests that we must continue to keep ourselves saved through “rest.” Spurgeon, like most lying Calvinist heretics, held to the Reformation’s Sabbath Rest Salvation. It holds to the idea that the Old Testament Sabbath rest is New Testament sanctification and we must continue to live by faith alone in our Christian lives to keep ourselves saved. This, according to Calvin, happens through receiving continued forgiveness for “present sin” through church membership.
And remember, Spurgeon once said that Calvinism isn’t “just a nickname,” but “is the gospel” itself.
True faith doesn’t rest–it works. There is no true love in a faith that rests.
Secondly, the Bible makes it clear that we grow spiritually through obtaining knowledge; what’s up with the idea that knowledge doesn’t define who we are as believers? Frankly, I don’t care how many people think this guy is a spiritual icon–you know, kinda like the Bereans who held Paul accountable to Scripture.
Thirdly, the idea that who we are doesn’t point to the legitimacy of our faith and is therefore not a resting faith contradicts a vast number of Scriptures and Hebrews 11 in particular.
Fourthly, how we feel is most certainly important because the Bible says that faith not working in love will cause the believer to be full of fear.
Why is it ok for Spurgeon to blatantly contradict Scripture? Because Baptists have a longstanding tradition of being man-followers, that’s why.
Furthermore, note that we supposedly rest in the idea that who we are is NOT who Christ is! HUH!!!! Say what???? If Jesus is your big brother because you are literally born into the same family, you had better be like Him or you aren’t born again (see 1John).
And finally, note that we rest in what Christ has both DONE and is DOING. This is the Reformed doctrine of Double Imputation. It teaches that Christ came to secure our salvation by both dying for sin and keeping the law in our stead. It teaches that justification is based on perfect law-keeping rather than the new birth. Jesus could die for us because He lived up to the standard of the law, and presently keeps the law for us if we are “resting” in what He has “done and is doing.” This is a blatant contradiction to Galatians chapter 3. This is the very idea that Paul is refuting in that chapter.
This makes the law a co-life-giver with God and promotes an additional seed (offspring), but their is only ONE SEED (see Gal 3). In essence, Paul was arguing that this very idea makes the law a fourth member of the Trinity. And in fact, Calvinists state this openly when they say that “the empty hand of faith presents the doing and dying of Christ to the law and the law is satisfied.”
So, instead of God electing the means of salvation, Christ dying to end the law, and the Spirit fulfilling “The Promise” of resurrection and baptism to Abraham and Christ, we now have that added fourth element of the law being the standard for justification instead of new birth obtained by faith alone in The Promise. The contrary view of this meme keeps the so-called believer under law rather than under grace, and that’s supposedly ok because Jesus keeps the law for us.
But this also keeps the believer from performing the purpose of the law for sanctification, faith working through love. Instead, we must rest because Jesus is the only one that can keep the law perfectly as the law supposedly gives salvific life when fulfilled. In contrast, the Old Covenant kept sin captive until Christ came and ended it. The law was ended by Christ’s death in regard to its ability to condemn, and we are now free to serve the law in regard to love (Rom 7 and Heb 6:10). The Old Covenant still holds all sin captive that is committed against it (“all sin is against the law”) until a person believes in Christ resulting in the law being ended for condemnation and the person being set free to “use the law lawfully” (1Tim 1:8ff.) for purposes of loving God and others. Those who do not believe on Christ will be condemned by the law, but there is “NOW NO condemnation for those in Christ.” Rather, true believers are free to fulfill the law in aggressive love for God and others (Rom 8).
For the outcome of Spurgeon’s “rest” see the Parable of the Talents. Resting in love that Christ supposedly fulfills for us evokes this response from Him: “You lazy, wicked servant.”
Thank goodness your mother didn’t give birth to you and leave you unborn! Such is the logic of this meme because those who hold to progressive justification do not understand the new birth. The new birth ends sin—there is no sin to be left in or to deal with in regard to justification. Christ does not finish justification through sanctification. The new birth justifies completely apart from the law whereas sanctification needs the law (Jn 17:17, Matt 4:4). The weakness of the flesh yields no condemning sin that Christ could theoretically “leave us in.” There is NO “your sin” as that sin died with the old you. Your so-called “present sin” is not the same sin that once condemned you. The new birth ends condemning sin and you cannot be unborn.
Determinism is a lazy and cowardly approach to life. It is a god of the lazy person’s own making. Determinism finds its articulation in the Protestant Reformation and its historical-redemptive hermeneutic. It supplies an easy one-size-fits-all explanation for life events and brashly characterizes God without fear. It eats and drinks from life with no emotional investment and deems life as having no value other than God’s glory. Every detail and life event is predetermined by God for His own purposes, glory, and self-love. It is a worldview that hates life under the nomenclature of pious worship.
Tuesday Night Bible Study – LIVE on Blogtalk Radio!
Lesson 64 – Listen Live at 7:00 PM, October 27, 2015
Join us each Tuesday night at 7:00 PM as the host, Andy Young, leads a verse by verse exegetical study of the Book of Acts.
In tonight’s lesson, Paul begins his journey to Rome where he will appeal his case before Caesar. But all does not go as planned during the journey.
Tonight’s Text – Acts 27:1-26
Listen to the podcast or download audio file: The Heidelberg Disputation: Part 13; Theses 24, 25
Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, part 13 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation – Theses 24, 25.
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 over your cellphone. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. 347-855-8317.
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 email@example.com. That’s Paul @ Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat .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.
So, tonight is pretty major. It’s major because we are involved in a book project that I want to be wrapped up in time for our 2016 conference. I’m going to run the conference and have this book available. At this point, it looks like Sean Williams of OWP will be taking my place as far as speaking and I will be the MC and kinda running the show. But at any rate, the theses we will be covering tonight fit perfectly with the objective of the project. The theses we will be covering tonight really say it all.
Let me lay some groundwork. After eight years of grueling labor, TANC Ministries has kind of come full circle. It has answered the question: “What’s wrong with church?” The answer…here it is: a false gospel. But you say, “Come now Paul, not all churches preach a false gospel.” Oh really? Where do you get your information on that? Here is the problem with the American church: it was founded on a false gospel, and the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Over the years enough churchy people have read their Bibles for themselves and become confused enough to be saved, but for the most part, those groups function by the traditions of the original false gospel. They believe enough of the right things to be saved, barely, but practice the traditions of the original article. In other words, they do church according to the original traditions of the church fathers.
The fact that this false gospel depended very much on the institutionalization of God’s people by the 4th century is also major because that is known as, and labeled as, “church.” That presents an awesome opportunity because this label represents the institutionalization of the gospel. “Church” is properly defined as the institutional false gospel. The meeting together of God’s FAMILY for mutual encouragement and edification was never meant to be an institution. Why? Because the new birth is so critical to the true gospel and its family ties to God so literal, that it must be represented in true homes of everyday people in a true family setting. New birth means new family, and that family is the very family of God who is the literal Father that gave His only Son in order to bring many more sons and daughters to glory.
An institution has no lot in this affair because it is a family affair, and thus you now understand the gravity of a phrase we read often in the New Testament: “The household of faith,” or “The household of God.” That’s one literal household expressed in many households that are truly in God’s family. Hence, meeting in private homes is actually making a statement about the new birth and literal family inheritance. It’s a family not a stinking institution. Even churches that encompass saved groups function by the traditions of the ancient church and therefore suffer from chronic sanctification anemia. Church has always been predicated on progressive justification with little emphasis on sanctification or wise empowered Christian living. Come now…who gives no testimony that church is about nothing but the gospel week after week after week after week.
So this is where I am: when people contact our ministry for counseling, I have been telling them straight up: “Here is your problem; you’re a Protestant and you go to church.” So, to fill in the dead silence that invariable follows, I will say something like, “C’mon now, you have known for years that something was wrong with church, but you have never been able to put your finger on it. Well, here it is: it’s a false gospel.” Then you get to talking to these people who have been solid evangelicals for years and they don’t even know what the new birth is! And why is that? Because the institutional church denies the biblical definition of the new birth and replaces it with Martin Luther’s definition of the new birth as he states it in one of the very theses that we are looking at tonight.
Full stop. I didn’t make the rules. Who is it that lifts up Martin Luther and John Calvin as the gatekeepers of the supposed true gospel of the Reformation? Viz, justification by faith. Just this year at John MacArthur’s Shepherds’ Conference, who were the one’s lifted up as the heroes of the Protestant faith? Words mean things. I didn’t make the rules. And excuse me, but I must ask what the founders of the church said and taught as the founding doctrine. What they did isn’t my fault; the facts are the facts.
Now, I decided to do this project that seeks to boil everything down to the crux, and thank God that I have a bunch of people helping me, and we are really chewing the fat trying to figure out where to start with this project as far as the primary hypothesis. And, with John Immel’s help, this is going to be a serious publication—no playing around with self-published stuff, this is serious. And at this point, as far as the primary hypothesis, here is my two cents worth:
Church is the problem with church because it is founded on an errant worldview dressed in Bible verses. Justification by faith is the lamb costume disguising the Platonist wolf. Sola Scriptura is a lie; the Protestant Reformation was never about the Bible; it was a kerfuffle over metaphysics. How do we know this? Because as often taught, not by me, it’s not my fault, the 95 Theses launched the Reformation. But, and history is not my fault either, that was a moral disputation; the very founding doctrinal statement of the Reformation came a mere six months later in the form of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order. Very little of what happens in church fails to find its foundations in this document because its central worldview and theory of being forms church soteriology (the doctrine of salvation).
And we see that explicitly in the theses examined tonight. But there is a rather significant obstacle that I am certain we will overcome, but nevertheless it is what it is. If the Protestant Reformation was really founded on a theory of being and reality, what we call metaphysics in the realm of philosophical study, and it was, and Luther then made the Bible fit that theory eisegetically, and he did, then we must necessarily bring people to an understanding of that worldview. Unfortunately, that must be first. But guess what? Martin Luther is going to help us with that, so let’s get to it.
Theses 24: Yet that wisdom is not of itself evil, nor is the law to be evaded; but without the theology of the cross man misuses the best in the worst manner.
Indeed »the law is holy« (Rom. 7:12), »every gift of God good« (1 Tim. 4:4), and »everything that is created exceedingly good«, as in Gen. 1:31. But, as stated above, he who has not been brought low, reduced to nothing through the cross and suffering, takes credit for works and wisdom and does not give credit to God. He thus misuses and defiles the gifts of God.
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.
So I ask, what is Martin Luther’s definition of the new birth in this thesis? It is a raising up with Christ as a result of a death. Next, what is that death, and how does it happen? Luther describes it as being brought low by the cross not to exclude any suffering that God may bring into our life through circumstances. At any rate, the goal as stated by Luther is self annihilation. Now, we must next ask, “Is this a onetime death, or several deaths? Answer: several deaths because while we suffer we are no longer doing “works” (plural) and in contrast God “works” (preset-continuance tense). So, this is an ongoing death process that excludes our works and replaces them with God’s:
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.
This obviously refers to an ongoing process after conversion. The so-called Christian focuses on death so that God will work in his/place so long as we are “suffering” or experiencing, “death at hand.” But what is that? How do we bring about death at hand? Let’s go back to some of the prior theses to see:
For this reason we are so instructed-for this reason the law makes us aware of sin so that, having recognized our sin, we may seek and receive grace [more salvation]. Thus God »gives grace to the humble« (1 Pet. 5:5), and »whoever humbles himself will be exalted«(Matt. 23:12). The law humbles, grace exalts. The law effects fear and wrath, grace effects hope and mercy. Through the law comes knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), through knowledge of sin, however, comes humility, and through humility grace [more salvation] is acquired (Thesis 16).
This is clear from what has been said, for, according to the gospel, the kingdom of heaven is given to children and the humble (Mark 10:14,16), and Christ loves them. They cannot be humble who do not recognize that they are damnable whose sin smells to high heaven. Sin is recognized only through the law. It is apparent that not despair, but rather hope, is preached when we are told that we are sinners. Such preaching concerning sin is a preparation for grace, or it is rather the recognition of sin and faith in such preaching. Yearning for grace wells up when recognition of sin has arisen. A sick person seeks the physician when he recognizes the seriousness of his illness. Therefore one does not give cause for despair or death by telling a sick person about the danger of his illness, but, in effect, one urges him to seek a medical cure. To say that we are nothing and constantly sin when we do the best we can does not mean that we cause people to despair (unless we are fools); rather, we make them concerned about the grace [salvation] of our Lord Jesus Christ (Thesis 17).
It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ. The law wills that man despair of his own ability, for it »leads him into hell«and »makes him a poor man« and shows him that he is a sinner in all his works, as the Apostle does in Rom. 2 and 3:9, where he says, »I have already charged that all men are under the power of sin.« However, he who acts simply in accordance with his ability and believes that he is thereby doing something good does not seem worthless to himself, nor does he despair of his own strength. Indeed, he is so presumptuous that he strives for grace in reliance on his own strength (Thesis 18).
Therefore, the sole purpose of the Bible, according to this construct, is to bring one low in order to receive grace, or additional salvation. This also comes along with a resurrection experience. So, we seek to bring ourselves “into hell” through the use of the Bible (death) resulting in a positive resurrection experience (“whoever humbles himself will be exalted”). This takes place over and over again and is actually defined as the new birth as stated by Luther. The contemporary Reformed nomenclature is mortification and vivification. This is a formal Protestant doctrine that defines the new birth, and it originated right here in the HD. The new birth is NOT a onetime event that transforms us from darkness to light, but is a ritual that seeks to impart an increased salvation.
Thesis 25: He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.
For the righteousness of God is not acquired by means of acts frequently repeated, as Aristotle taught, but it is imparted by faith, for »He who through faith is righteous shall live« (Rom. 1:17), and »Man believes with his heart and so is justified« (Rom. 10:10). Therefore I wish to have the words »without work« understood in the following manner: Not that the righteous person does nothing, but that his works do not make him righteous, rather that his righteousness creates works. For grace and faith are infused without our works. After they have been imparted the works follow. Thus Rom. 3:20 states, »No human being will be justified in His sight by works of the law,« and, »For we hold that man is justified by faith apart from works of law« (Rom. 3:28). In other words, works contribute nothing to justification.
Therefore man knows that works which he does by such faith are not his but God’s. For this reason he does not seek to become justified or glorified through them, but seeks God. His justification by faith in Christ is sufficient to him. Christ is his wisdom, righteousness, etc., as 1 Cor 1:30 has it, that he himself may be Christ’s vessel and instrument (operatio seu instrumentum).
This isn’t much complicated. Starting in the 29th disputation, and throughout the rest of the Disputation until it ends at thesis 40, Luther puts forth his argument for Plato versus Aristotle. Why does he do this? Because starting in the 12th century, the Catholic Church began to be influenced by the integration of Aristotleism into theology as apposed to the Platonist principles that the Roman Catholic Church was founded on. So, by the time Luther is hanging around in 1518, this debate came to a head. Note,
He who wishes to philosophize by using Aristotle without danger to his soul must first become thoroughly foolish in Christ (thesis 29).
Aristotle wrongly finds fault with and derides the ideas of Plato, which actually are better than his own (thesis 36).
The mathematical order of material things is ingeniously maintained by Pythagoras, but more ingenious is the interaction of ideas maintained by Plato (thesis 37).
I just want you to think about this—this is the first and foundational doctrinal statement of the Reformation, and it is first and foremost a metaphysical debate. What is more obvious? This is why the HD gets little press in the church; because church cronies do not want you to know that. So I ask: how much discussion happens about the founding document of the Protestant church in the church? And why not? Here is the why: because they want to lie and say the Reformation was about the Bible…sola scriptura…that’s a big fat lie, and frankly, they know it.
Obviously, in Luther’s mind, the founder of the Protestant Reformation, the Bible must be interpreted through the right understanding of reality and the state of being. And we all know who he thinks is the judge of that. Remember? He stated it in the introduction to the HD. It’s Augustine who he cited as the apostle Paul’s interpreter. Viz, none of us can understand the apostle Paul without Augustine who by the way was a Catholic and never ceased from being a Catholic. Augustine, one of the original Doctors of the Catholic Church, was an avowed Neo-Platonist. In the 12th century, you have Saint Thomas Aquinas coming in and corrupting the Catholic Church as much as it could be corrupted relative to its wickedness with the philosophy of Aristotle. And by the way, this is conspicuous historical information that lacks the subtlety of somebody throwing a brick through a picture window. This controversy comes to a head in the 15th century and results in the Protestant Reformation…so-called.
So here is our dilemma concerning the new project, and this is unavoidable: in order for people to understand why the church teaches what they teach and why they do what they do, the worldview that created their orthodoxy must be understood. Whoever controls the definition of words controls realty, and whoever controls reality controls the world. Churchianity must not be allowed to co-opt the grammar or the history of which they have done both. There is no escape from the bondage of church without understanding the fundamentals of creation and its reality. And the church pundits know this, and this is why Maximilien Robespierre well said,
The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
Now you tell me that Protestants are not the most ill-informed people walking the earth. It’s so bad that Calvinists don’t even know what Calvin believed. Throughout church history when real Calvinists show up on the scene, you have these big controversies. In our present day, you have the argument as to whether New Calvinists or old Calvinists are truly Reformed. Why do people follow these confused scholars who don’t even know who they are? In the book, False Reformation, I painstakingly detail the Sonship Theology controversy of the 90’s that took place in the Presbyterian church. I show how Sonship was actually true Calvinism to a “T,” but caused a serious civil war in the Presbyterian church. But here is the problem: Christians just don’t have the theological wherewithal to decipher the differences and my friends that is by design.
So let’s get back to the crux of this thing. In this thesis, Luther states…
Therefore man knows that works which he does by such faith are not his but God’s. For this reason he does not seek to become justified or glorified through them, but seeks God.
Obviously, as Christians, there is still a seeking for justification by faith alone that doesn’t involve any work that we do; it is really God doing the work and not us—it only seems like we are doing the work, but it is really God doing the work. Well, how does that work? This is where people get confused and assume nothing iffy is going on in the institutional church. Certainly, they are not saying that we really aren’t doing anything when obviously we are, but that in fact is the case.
The confusion comes in here: if a truly biblical prescription is followed in regard to living for God, there is absolutely no cause whatsoever for anybody to control you. If your salvation is complete, finished, final, and sealed, what do you need an institution for? If you are able to understand reality and make your own way in the world, what do we need oligarchy for? I had a real eyeopener today. I got caught up in a debate on Facebook with a couple of Catholics. Wow. Such an eyeopener. And by the way, oh my, to the “T” in regard to being EXACTLY like debating a Neo-Calvinist. And actually, my eyes are way more opened to how we might meet the objective of the new project. Here is what seems to be the grand crux of the matter: A; It starts with the idea that others are specially gifted to know truth you cannot know. I am not talking about facts, I am talking about ethics per se. B; Those people have been given authority by God to rule over you. C; This excludes individual reasoning, and makes facts totally irrelevant. Now let’s plug this into Luther; he hated reason, right?
This is a communication issue. You cannot help someone unless they believe they have an ability to reason. Catholics nor Protestants, for the most part, believe they have an ability to reason. How do I know? They say so all the time—that’s my first clue. Take today for instance in regard to the aforementioned FB episode:
Paul M. Dohse Sr. David Ingram, if the Catholic Church has become David Cowden’s authority, your reasoning according to the facts is futile. The Catholic Church, and in many cases the Protestant church, is a mediating authority predicated on the idea that specially gifted people understand things that the masses cannot understand. Except the Catholic Church is waaaayyyy more honest about that than most Protestants. I see that David Cowden has responded to you after I just got done typing this and guess what his question regards? Yep, “authority.” Until David understands that the individual is personally culpable before God and has been given the ability to understand truth apart from any other mediator than Christ, You are spinning your wheels. Notice that your citation of Catholic dogma is dismissed as a mere grammatical argument via copy and paste as if typing the words out with your own hands would have lent it virtue. Why is that? Because the meaning of words is not the issue, interpretive authority is the issue.
Debbie Alderman I absolutely trust the authority of the Church that has endured 2,000+ years, despite all the attacks on it, and I trust it way more than a denomination that branched off of Catholicism because they didn’t like what the Church taught. I’m not insulted by the fact that my knowledge pales in comparison to 2,000 years of theologians, church doctors, and scholars. There is nothing in Catholic Church teaching that contradicts Scripture. Did you read the post by David Anders?
Paul M. Dohse Sr. Debbie Alderman, no argument at all from me as you agree with my thesis in broad daylight. You don’t trust your “own knowledge” as set against ancient orthodoxy. This despite the indwelling of the Godhead bodily. Which, apparently, only enables you to agree with the Catholic Church. Bingo.
Paul M. Dohse Sr. By the way Debbie, there is an interesting dichotomy in the words that you use. All of the knowledge that you have is EITHER your “own” knowledge OR the Church’s knowledge. Examine your own words carefully, that’s what you stated. We call this Either/Or Epistemology. All knowledge fits into 2 categories only: good/evil.
Paul M. Dohse Sr. Irene Studer Alderman, “YOU believe in the authority of the Catholic Church- otherwise what you call scripture is nothing!” Well said Irene–we agree on the premise. Your authority is the Pope, and not reason. When God said, “Come, let us reason together” He assumed the Pope would be present. Look, life is about choices–it’s between you and God.
Debbie Alderman Paul M. Dohse Sr.Yes, Jesus is the ONE sole mediator – but that doesn’t mean there can’t be other (lower, subordinate) mediators who, through grace, were sent forth to also mediate (intercede, teach, represent).
Paul M. Dohse Sr. Debbie, Look at what you just wrote: Jesus is the ONE mediator, but there are others as well. And authors somehow equal authority, and then their authority was passed on to the popes because a bunch of popes say so. Really? look Debbie, I am not your judge. Everyone one will give an account for their own choosing.
Again, this is an eyeopener big-time. When truth is married to authority, the facts don’t matter. The Protestant Reformation was founded on the authority of Plato’s Republic, and the theology followed. Next week, we will look at how we work without working, why that was important to the Protestant Reformation, and how it developed into progressive justification and it’s traditions.
Let’s go to the phones.
Originally posted on Paul's Passing Thoughts:
PAUL DOHSE: Welcome, truth lovers, to BlogTalkRadio.com/False Reformation. This is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, part eight 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 855-8317. I failed to put the area code in there. That’s (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. And again that number, just dial direct from your Skype account is (347) 855-8317. Per the usual, we will…
View original 18,759 more words
The Reformation is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on mankind. On Reformation Day, October 31, 2015 @ 4pm, Paul and Susan will discuss the historical roots and false gospel of the Protestant Reformation. Its impact on current church culture will also be discussed. Call in and join the conversation.
Live Link to the Program: The Reformation LIE: Exposing the Myth on Reformation Day
The Differences: Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology, Dispensationism, and the Covenant of Promise
10/24/2015 @ 2 pm Live Link:
Listen to archived podcast at your convenience at same link.
If there is an area where the laity is very confused, it is in regard to biblical covenants. Listen in and join the conversation.
Notes for program, actual program material will vary.
Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, another Paul Dohse parenthesis in our Heidelberg Disputation series, “The Differences: Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology, Dispensationism, and the Covenant of Promise.”
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 over your cellphone. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. It’s the same number, 347-855-8317.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s Paul @ Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat .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.
Have you ever wondered what all of these theologies are that Christian scholars talk about, and what the differences are? This is another one of the ironies of the institutional church; these theologies go hand in glove with one’s gospel, but few parishioners know what their pastors believe in regard to this issue. It’s like psychology: people will go to any psychologist because they have the credentials, but there are roughly 200 different metaphysical schools of thought among them. Being interpreted, 200 different views of reality itself. So, people go and pay 85-100 dollars an hour while being clueless as to whether or not the therapist is Rogerian, Freudian, or whatever. They could be, and probably are, taking advice from someone who doesn’t even see reality the same way—it’s absurd.
Let’s start with Covenant Theology. What is it? Let’s borrow some excerpts from Wikipedia to define it:
Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism, Federal theology, or Federalism) is a Calvinist conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology. The standard description of covenant theology views the history of God’s dealings with mankind, from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Consummation, under the framework of the three overarching theological covenants of redemption, works, and grace.
These three covenants are called theological because, though they are not explicitly presented as such in the Bible, they are thought to be theologically implicit, describing and summarizing the wealth of Scriptural data. Within historical Reformed systems of thought, covenant theology is not merely treated as a point of doctrine or a central dogma, but the structure by which the biblical text organizes itself…
The covenant of works (Latin: foedus operum), also called the covenant of life, was made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam who represented all mankind as a federal head. (Romans 5:12-21) It promised life for perfect and perpetual obedience and death for disobedience. Adam, and all mankind in Adam, broke the covenant, thus standing condemned. The covenant of works continues to function after the fall as the moral law.
The term foedus operum was first used by Dudley Fenner in 1585, though Zacharias Ursinus had mentioned a covenant of creation in 1562. The covenant of works became common in Reformed theology by 1590, though it was not adopted by all, and some members of the Westminster Assembly in the 1640s opposed it. While John Calvin had spoken of a probationary period for Adam, a promise of life for obedience, and the federal headship of Adam, he does not speak of a covenant of works.
Though it is not explicitly called a covenant in the opening chapters of Genesis, the comparison of the representative headship of Christ and Adam, as well as passages like Hosea 6:7 have been interpreted to support the idea. It has also been noted that Jeremiah 33:20-26 (cf. 31:35-36) compares the covenant with David to God’s covenant with the day and the night and the statutes of heaven and earth which God laid down at creation. This has led some to understand all of creation as covenantal: the decree establishing the natural laws governing heaven and earth. The covenant of works might then be seen as the moral law component of the broader creational covenant. Thus the covenant of works has also been called the covenant of creation, indicating that it is not added but constitutive of the human race; the covenant of nature in recognition of its consonance with the natural law in the human heart; and the covenant of life in regard to the promised reward…
The covenant of grace promises eternal life for all people who have faith in Christ. He also promises the Holy Spirit to the elect to give them willingness and ability to believe. Christ is the substitutionary covenantal representative fulfilling the covenant of works on their behalf, in both the positive requirements of righteousness and its negative penal consequences (commonly described as his active and passive obedience). It is the historical expression of the eternal covenant of redemption. Genesis 3:15, with the promise of a “seed” of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head, is usually identified as the historical inauguration for the covenant of grace…
The covenant of redemption is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son to become incarnate, suffer, and die as a federal head of mankind to make an atonement for their sin. In return, the Father promised to raise Christ from the dead, glorify him, and give him a people. Two of the earliest theologians to write about the covenant of redemption were Johannes Cocceius and John Owen, though Caspar Olevian had hinted at the idea before them. This covenant is not mentioned in the Westminster Standards, but the idea of a contractual relationship between the Father and Son is present. Scriptural support for such a covenant may be found in Psalms 2 and 110, Isaiah 53, Philippians 2:5-11and Revelation 5:9-10. Some covenant theologians have denied the intra-Trinitarian covenant of redemption, or have questioned the notion of the Son’s works leading to the reward of gaining a people for God, or have challenged the covenantal nature of this arrangement. Robert Letham has criticized the idea of a covenant between the persons of the trinity as a departure from trinitarian orthodoxy and tending towards tritheism, pointing to the historical fact of tritheistic heresy in Presbyterian circles during the generations immediately following the Westminster Assembly.1
Here is the long and the short of it: God made a covenant of works with Adam, which failed, and Christ came to fulfill the covenant of works, through fulfilling the law, for all that believe in him. Let me start off by making this really simple: it’s the same idea that Paul was attacking in Galatians chapter three; It’s salvation by law, not promise. “But Paul! It’s Jesus who fulfills the law covenant, not us!” So what? So what? And, furthermore, so what? What part of “by promise” and “not law” does one not understand? Again, and once again, and moreover, again, it doesn’t matter who keeps the law, the law CANNOT give life, only the new birth can give life, “You must be born again.” This is what Paul is turning himself into a pretzel to try to make clear in his letter to the Galatians, particularly chapter 3. This is the most common theology proffered in the evangelical church.
Before we move on to New Covenant Theology, let’s look a little deeper at problems with CT. The following is taken from a TANC Publishing booklet that I highly recommend, “Biblical Covenants: An Overview and Relevance to the Gospel.” That is catalog #B009, but I have uploaded it to Academic.edu for your free reading pleasure.
God never made a covenant with Adam. How do we know this? Because when God makes a covenant, He states it as such. God never calls any arrangement He made with Adam a “covenant.”
In the Garden of Eden, God calls them “trees” not a covenant. How do we get “covenant” from “tree”? In the six actual covenants, God says, “I will make a covenant.” God’s work arrangement with Adam was never called a covenant. His relationship with Eve was never called a covenant. When God covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness after the fall, He didn’t call that a covenant either. In all cases it’s pure assumption. However, when God says, “I will make a covenant,” that’s not an assumption.
Curiously, Adam is said to have broken the covenant, but the issue is that he disobeyed and ate from the tree of good and evil which is a separate issue from these other considerations: his task of caring for the garden, being fruitful, etc. Clarifying what this covenant was exactly and how Adam broke it by eating from the tree is speculative at best. Whenever God makes a covenant, He calls it a covenant, He specifies who the covenant is to, and also specifies the terms.
Granted, the tree of life ends up in the New Jerusalem, but what we primarily look for as Christians is the city built by God, not the tree. The tree of life is one of the results of the Abrahamic covenant, but it isn’t THE covenant or even a salvific covenant. The tree is never called a covenant. Those who posit the idea that God made a covenant with Adam must now split that covenant into two different covenants: the Edenic covenant of innocence, or the covenant of works prior to the fall and the Adamic Covenant of grace. This is what happens when you make something a covenant that isn’t a covenant; you have to come up with more covenants to explain the first covenant that wasn’t a covenant. You search in vain for the covenants of innocence, works, or grace.
Ultimately, Christians look for the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant, not some Adamic covenant. Let’s look at some Scripture:
2Peter 3:13 – But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
We aren’t waiting for a tree, we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth.
Hebrews 11:10 – For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Abraham was looking for a city, not a tree.
The definition of a salvific biblical covenant follows: they are NEVER based on anything man does, nor are they predicated on an agreement between God and man. Covenants are predicated on one thing and one thing only: God’s promises. The six covenants are covenants of promise. They are NOT agreements between God and man, they are promises TO man.
Let’s now look at New Covenant Theology. This theology has a fascinating history that is very recent. I am going to borrow from a comment I made on PPT the other day with some editing:
Jon Zens, is one of the core 4 of the Australian Forum which brought the real Protestant gospel of progressive justification back to the Protestant church in 1970. Jon Zens is the undisputed father of New Covenant Theology. What’s that? Well, Zens went to Robert Brinsmead and said, in essence,
“Hey Bob, we have a good gig here with rediscovering the real Protestant gospel, but Calvin missed the boat on the law’s relationship to gospel. The idea that Christ fulfilled the law of Moses so that His perfect obedience can be imputed to the believer will not hold New Testament water. The problem here Bob is that the simple theological math doesn’t figure and somebody is going to eventually figure that out. So, Bob, we need to say that Christ came to totally abolish the law and usher in the New Testament law of love which is defined by however the gospel narrative reveals truth to our conscience. Besides, this is more what Luther had in mind: all reality is interpreted by the gospel, viz, ‘Jesus.’ This is more Augustinian as well”
HOWEVER, in both cases, there is only ONE law which makes both false gospels. The key is the Spirit’s 2 uses of the same law. That’s the gospel: all other gospels are false. I am posting a lengthy post on this tonight that I started working on at 6am this morning which is freewriting for our 2016 project. Under law is the Spirit’s first use of the law and is still in effect for the unsaved. They are “under law.” The second use of the Spirit’s law is for those under grace. It’s the same law, but it no longer condemns, but is used to love God and others. This is where the literal new birth is essential, but only given lip service by the other 2 camps. The old you that was under the law of Moses and its condemnation literally dies with Christ, and then is resurrected with Christ as a new creature under the same law, but stripped of its condemnation which frees the believer to obey God in love and for love–not justification. Under grace doesn’t mean you are no longer under the law, it means that you are no longer under its condemnation. Those under law are not totally depraved and can do good works, but the only wages they can receive are death and lesser condemnation. Those under grace can sin because of the weakness of the flesh, but can only receive life to more or lesser degree. This is what the slave/master construct is all about.2
Let me explain this a little further with another excerpt; this somewhat repeats the previous point but adds some additional points:
It is the idea that the law is the standard for justification. And since that is the case, a perfect keeping of it must be maintained by Jesus THROUGH faith alone by us in sanctification. That’s the simple math of Protestantism’s soteriology of death. Instead of the law being ENDED for justification paving the way for it to be the guiding instruction of the law of the Spirit of life for sanctification, the law is restricted to the single dimension of condemnation, sin, and death.
Hence, sin maintains all of its power over us because its ENDING for justification, or APART from justification, does not exist in Reformed orthodoxy. Clearly, the power of sin and death is the law’s ability to condemn, and “Christians” are kept under that condemnation with the prescription being a COVERING for sin by institutional absolution and the “active obedience” of Christ.
When those who have sense enough to be disillusioned take another look, this simple fact of law and gospel will be obvious to them. And during the resurgence of real Protestantism in the 70’s, a man named Jon Zens knew that this simple math posed a problem for the Resurgence in the future. He was viciously attacked by Reformed Baptists early on like Walter Chantry, but like all of the rest, Chantry was clueless. Zens was only trying to correct the faulty theological math.
What was his solution? It follows: Christ in fact came to end the law, and replaced it with…depending on which New Calvinist theology (NCT) camp you are referring to…the single law of love. Instead of ONE law with two different applications/perspectives/dimensions, two different laws: one abrogated, one ushered in. A helpful book that explains the many variants of this viewpoint is “All Old Testament Laws Cancelled: 24 Reasons Why All Old Testament Laws Are Cancelled And All New Testament Laws Are for Our Obedience” by Greg Gibson. Like all of the Reformed, Gibson is confused and fundamentally full of it, but he does an excellent job of explaining all of the variant positions of NCT. However, in the final analysis, all of it is the same old progressive justification song and dance.3
This is the dreaded nemesis of both CT and NCT. Let’s go back to Wki to get a beginning definition:
John Nelson Darby is recognized as the father of dispensationalism, which was later adopted, modified significantly and then made popular in the United States by Cyrus Scofield’s Scofield Reference Bible. Charles Henry Mackintosh, 1820–96, with his popular style spread Darby’s teachings to humbler elements in society and may be regarded as the journalist of the Brethren Movement. Mackintosh popularized Darby more than any other Brethren author.
As there was no Christian teaching of a “rapture” before Darby began preaching about it in the 1830s, he is sometimes credited with originating the “secret rapture” theory wherein Christ will suddenly remove his bride, the Church, from this world before the judgments of the tribulation. Dispensationalist beliefs about the fate of the Jews and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Israel put dispensationalists at the forefront of Christian Zionism, because “God is able to graft them in again”, and they believe that in his grace he will do so according to their understanding of Old Testament prophecy. They believe that, while the methodologies of God may change, his purposes to bless Israel will never be forgotten, just as he has shown unmerited favour to the Church, he will do so to a remnant of Israel to fulfill all the promises made to the genetic seed of Abraham…
They also gave the dispensationalist movement institutional permanence by assuming leadership of the new independent Bible institutes such as the Moody Bible Institute in 1886, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University) in 1908, and Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University, formerly Philadelphia Biblical University) in 1913. The network of related institutes that soon sprang up became the nucleus for the spread of American dispensationalism.
The efforts of CI Scofield and his associates introduced dispensationalism to a wider audience in America through hisScofield Reference Bible. The publication of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909 by the Oxford University Press for the first time displayed overtly dispensationalist notes to the pages of the Biblical text. The Scofield Reference Bible became a popular Bible used by independent Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in the United States. Evangelist and Bible teacher Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871–1952), who was influenced by Scofield, founded the Dallas Theological Seminary in 1924, which has become the flagship of dispensationalism in America. More recently, the Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, became another dispensational school.
The Grace Movement, which began about 1938 with the teaching ministries of JC O’Hair, Cornelius R. Stam, Henry T. Hudson, and Charles Baker has been labeled “ultra” or “hyper” dispensationalism.4
The last paragraph is really what I wanted to get to. Did the forest ever get lost in the trees with all of the eschatology debate; wow! What a mess! Add it to the election debate as well. Are you pretrib, post trib, premil, postmil, amil, prewrath, postwrath, 1 point, 2 point, 3 point, preterist, Arminian, Palagian, Semi-Pelagian, etc., etc., etc., etc. What should the focus really be here? Yes, aside from the rapture debate, and the future of Israel, what is the soteriology (doctrine of salvation)? And what is dispensationalism? The same old song and dance of progressive justification and its singular perspective on the law.
Enter in the Law Dispensation and the Grace Dispensation, the two primary or foundational dispensations of dispensationalism. If you follow this ministry at all you can see where this is going right away. Dispensationalism goes something like this: God used the dispensation of law to show mankind that it is impossible for him to keep the law…right…“perfectly.” So here comes Jesus to do what? Right, keep the law perfectly for us. Folks, it’s all the same stuff.
So how is the right theology, the biblical theology different, and what is it? It’s the covenant of promise. 5 Note footnote #5, it’s my latest post on the covenant of promise and it goes into a lot of detail. It’s not CT, it’s not NCT, and it’s not Dispensationalism. It is the promise made to Abraham based on one seed and the other promises (covenants) that are part of the one promise. This post explains the covenant of promise, but most importantly, how it is related to the gospel, and how everything else fits into it. Very difficult it was to find a defining paragraph in the article, but here is what I decided to use:
The covenant of promise is a gospel that stands in contrast to all other gospels which make the law of sin and death the standard for righteousness and a co-life-giver with God. There is only one mediator of life. Christ did not come to fulfill the law of sin and death, the Old Covenant, which holds sin captive. He came to end that law for those who believe. Nor did Christ come to be a substitute for that law in the lives of believers for that law is for the unbelieving—not the saved. Instead, Christ came to set the captives free from that law in order to serve the righteousness of the law in loving service with no fear of condemnation. There is no fear in love because fear has to do with judgment (1Jn 4:16-19).
With that let’s go to the phones.
2History of the Australian Forum is detailed in The Truth About New Calvinism vol.1