Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Blog for TANC Ministries

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 19, 2016

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Ground Zero: Pope Gregory and New Calvinist Gospel Contemplationism

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on June 20, 2017

ppt-jpeg4Originally published December 13, 2012

Let’s just take one contemporary example: a Presbyterian church that is now a mere shell of what it was; the remains of a war over the arrival of a New Calvinist pastor who exhibited outrageous behavior and leadership style. Today, some parishioners stand dumbfounded that the Presbytery took positive steps to keep said pastor in place.

As TANC, our newly formed think tank that researches Reformed theology continues to journey into church history for answers, the reasons for present-day tyranny in the church become clearer every day. First, it is driven by the gospel that founded the Reformation. Simply put, it is a gospel that does not believe that people change, but are rather called to contemplate the saving works of Christ in order for His righteousness to be manifested in one of two realms. Whether Baptist, Methodist, or whatever, this Reformed seed, the idea that people really don’t change is at the core of their function though they would deny it verbally. The Western church as a whole buys into this basic concept.

Secondly, the basic concept of spiritual elitists ruling over the totally depraved. You know, the they really can’t change crowd. The Reformation clarion call of total depravity—what’s our second clue if we need one? The spiritual is accessed through the chief contemplationists, and since they have the dope directly from God, they should rule over the totally depraved. Look, I have been a Baptist since 1983, and this is how it works. Again, we wouldn’t verbalize that, but to some degree it is true of all Western denominations because we are the children of the Protestant Reformation. What were we protesting? Naughty philosopher kings; past that, not much.

If we don’t change, the church doesn’t either. Think about that. And we wonder why things are a mess. Apparent growth in numbers is being driven by something else other than a true gospel. And the Reformers deny that while pontificating total depravity. It is testimony to the depth of which this Protestant construct has dumbed down the average parishioner; i.e., the totally depraved change. And nobody blinks. The assumption is that total depravity only pertains to the unregenerate, but that’s not the case according to the Reformed gospel and its time for people to start doing the math on that. The “Nones” and the massive exodus from the evangelical church is taking place for a reason.

I’m not ready to declare Pope Gregory the Great the father of the Reformation and present-day New Calvinism just yet, but recent discoveries reveal some things that should be fairly obvious. We aren’t stupid, just trusting, and that needs to end. Christians need to take advantage of the information age and start studying for themselves as the Christian academics of our day refuse to be forthcoming. They didn’t forget to mention that sola fide is also for sanctification. They didn’t forget to mention the total depravity of mankind AND the saints. They didn’t forget to mention that the new birth is a realm and not something that happens in us—it’s deliberate deception because the Reformed gospel is “scandalous.” The totally depraved are not “ready” for what the enlightened class of philosopher kings understand. By the way, many seminary students will testify to the fact that they are told as much by their seminary professors. Seminaries are where you go to be certified for the purpose of ruling over the totally depraved in order to, in Al Mohler’s words, “save them from ignorance.” Sorry, I prefer to let the Bible and Google save me from ignorance. Thank goodness for the Gutenberg press.

Monks. That’s what we are missing here. Martin Luther. Ever heard of him? He was a monk. What is the very premise of monkism? It’s the idea that the spiritual is obtained by contemplationism. And monkism is not unique to the Catholic Church—it is the link from the Catholic Church to the ancient concept of mystic dualism. Though it pans out in various different ways, it’s the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good. In other cases, it holds to the idea that both good and evil are necessary to understand true reality. Good defines evil, and evil defines good. The more you understand both, the more “balance” you have in the universe. Then there is the goal to birth the spiritual into the physical through meditation/contemplationism. Like I said, there are many takes on the basic approach.

Monks believe that the physical or world realm is a distraction from the spiritual realm. In some cases, they believe that all matter is merely a form of the perfect, or spiritual. Hence, monasteries. Traditionally, monasteries have been clearing houses for the dope from God through contemplationism. And since they have the dope, they should rule the totally depraved for their own good. In some spiritual caste systems, the monks rule directly, in others like the Catholic Church, the monks are the Scribes and Prophets for the rulers; i.e., the Popes.

The fact that monkism would be part and parcel to any doctrine formulated by Martin Luther is a no-brainer. Mysticism is simply going to be a significant factor, and so it is with Protestantism. This becomes more apparent when you consider the core four of the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Augustine, and Pope Gregory the Great. Luther’s 95 Theses was a protest against naughty Popes, but he was completely onboard with the Catholic caste system. When his 95 Theses resulted in the unexpected societal eruption that took place, he presented a doctrinal disputation to the Augustinian Order in Heidelberg. And don’t miss this:

In that Disputation, Luther postulates Pope Gregory’s take on the gospel which is the exact same calling card of present-day New Calvinism. In theses 27 of his Disputation, Luther states the following:

Thus deeds of mercy are aroused by the works through which he has saved us, as St. Gregory says: »Every act of Christ is instruction for us, indeed, a stimulant.« If his action is in us it lives through faith, for it is exceedingly attractive according to the verse, »Draw me after you, let us make haste« (Song of Sol. 1:4) toward the fragrance »of your anointing oils« (Song of Sol. 1:3), that is, »your works.«

There could not be a more concise statement in regard to the New Calvinist gospel. Deeds in the Christian life come from the same acts in which Christ saved us. Secondly, they are not our acts, but the acts of Christ applied to our Christian lives by faith alone. Thirdly, when the works of Christ are applied to our Christian lives by faith alone, it will always be experienced by the exhilarating emotions of first love—this is the mark of Christ’s active obedience being manifested in the spiritual realm through the totally depraved. We “reflect” the works of Christ by faith alone. Even John MacArthur has bought into this nonsense, claiming that obedience to the Lord is “always sweet, never bitter.” Francis Chan states that it always “feels like love.” And of course, poke John Piper’s rhetoric anywhere and this same monkish mysticism comes oozing out.

Moreover, Luther states this same concept from many different angles in his Disputation, and theses 28 is clearly the premise for John Piper’s Christian Hedonism.

No wonder then that New Calvinists of our day sing the praises of Pope Gregory. Here is what heretic David Powlison stated in an interview with Mark Dever’s 9Marks ministry:

Caring for the soul, which we try [try?] to do in biblical counseling, is not new. Two of the great pioneers in church history would be Augustine and Gregory the Great. Even secular people will credit Augustine’s Confessions as pioneering the idea that there is an inner life. Augustine did an unsurpassed  job of tearing apart the various ways in which people’s desires become  disordered. Gregory wrote the earliest textbook on pastoral care. He pioneered diverse ways of dealing with a fearful person, a brash and impulsive person, an angry person, an overly passive person. He broke out these different struggles and sought to apply explicitly biblical, Christ-centered medicine—full of Christ, full of grace, full of gospel, and full of the hard call of God’s Word to the challenges of life.

Powlison points to Pope Gregory and Augustine as the pioneers of biblical counseling using a “Christ-centered,” “full gospel” approach. And what was that approach? It was primarily contemplationism and dualism. In fact, Gregory practically saw “doing” as a necessary evil. In Roland Paul Cox’s Masters dissertation, Gregory the Great and His Book Pastoral Care as a Counseling Theory, Cox states the following:

The overall theme in Gregory’s dichotomies is balance. It is possible that this comes from Gregory’s own struggles in balancing his desire for the contemplative life of a monk versus his reluctant, but active, service as ambassador to Constantinople and pope.“The Regula Pastoralis was in large part devoted to describing how to reconcile the two types of life. He came to the conclusion eventually that while the contemplative life was the better and more desirable of the two, the active life was unavoidable, and indeed necessary in order to serve one’s fellow man.…There could be no better exemplar of the two lives than Gregory himself, but he would have been less than human had he not from time to time mourned the fact that so much of his time must be given over to the active at the expense of the contemplative” [Jeffrey Richards, Consul of God : The Life and Times of Gregory the Great (London ; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980), 57.].

Powlison, in true Reformed tradition, invokes the either/or hermeneutic, or the either cross story or glory story hermeneutic of Luther’s Disputation by suggesting that any denial of this “Christ-Centered” approach is a wholesale denial of an “inner life.” In other words, suggesting that doing something should be emphasized as much as contemplationism is paramount to denying that there is an inner life. Such statements by Powlison are indicative of his utter lack of integrity.

In addition, Gregory’s penchant for mystic dualism is seen in the same dissertation:

Gregory’s view of health revolved around balance. In Pastoral Care 34 dichotomies are given. For each one Gregory discusses how either extreme is detrimental. The following are a few examples of Gregory’s dichotomies: poor/rich, joyful/sad, subject/superiors, wise/dull, impudent/timid, impatient/patient, kindly/envious, humble/haughty, obstinate/fickly, and gluttonous/abstemious. Further, Gregory explains how certain traits although they appear to be virtues are in reality a vice. For example, in describing the dichotomy of impatient and patient, Gregory says the following about the patient: “…those who are patient are to be admonished not to grieve in their hearts over what they suffer outwardly. A sacrifice of such great worth which they outwardly offer unimpaired, must not be spoilt by the infection of interior malice. Besides, while their sin of grieving is not observed by man, it is visible under the divine scrutiny, and will become the worse, in proportion as they claim a show of virtue in the sight of men. The patient must, therefore, be told to aim diligently at loving those whom they needs must put up with lest, if love does not wait on patient” [Pastoral Care: pp. 109, 110].

In other words, self-control is a vice. Unless cross-centered love is mystically applied according to Luther’s Disputation (theses 28), the latter evil of self-control is worse than the former sin of being offended since such offences serve to humble us (LHD theses 21).

What goes hand in metaphysical hand in all of this is good ole’ ancient spiritual caste tyranny. As Cox further observes,

Shortly after becoming pope, Gregory wrote Pastoral Care. In addition as pope, he reorganized the administration of the papal states, he maintained papal authority in the face of encroachments from the Patriarch of Constantinople, he established links with the Frankish Kingdoms, and most importantly (for these English writers), he sent a party of monks, led by Augustine, to convert the Anglo-Saxons.

Gregory was very influenced by the Rule of St. Benedict and Benedictine monks who came to Rome after the monastery that St. Benedict founded was burnt. In some letters, Gregory calls his work Pastoral Rule. “There is every reason to assume that Gregory in conceiving the plan for Liber Regulae Pastoralis [Pastoral Rule] intended to provide the secular clergy with a counterpart to this Regula [the Rule of St. Benedict].

….This culture of rulers and emperors also helps explain why Gregory saw Pastoral Care and Pastoral Rule as one in the same. By modern day standards, Gregory would be considered overly authoritarian.

A culture of “rulers and emperors” had precious little to do with it, but rather ancient spiritual caste systems that answered the supposed preordained call of God to control the totally depraved. With the sword if necessary. While many of these systems were based on mythology prior to the 6th century, Plato systematized the idea and gave it scientific dignity. But his trifold theory of soul consisting of king, soldier, and producer called for a sociological counterpart that was a mirror image to fit the need. Sir Karl Raimund Popper, considered the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, fingered Platonism as the primary catalyst for religious and secular tyranny in Western culture. And Plato’s mystic dualism (shadows and forms) added not just a little to the MO of the Reformers. According to church historian John Immel:

Calvin’s Institutes (1530) is the formal systematic institutionalization of Platonist/Augustinian syncretism that refined and conformed to Lutheran thinking and became the doctrinal blueprint for the Reformed Tradition [Blight in the Vineyard: Prestige Publishing 2011].

Christ promised us that He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The idea that the Reformers rescued His church from the gates of the Roman Catholic Church is both laughable and the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind. The idea that Christ needed, and continues to need the services of Plato’s philosopher kings is arrogance on steroids. Somewhere, God’s church moves forward. Let us shed the Reformed load that hinders and find our place in that true church.

paul

Individualist Republicans Continue to be in Denial Concerning Collectivist Democrats

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 15, 2017

ppt-jpeg4They mean well—prefaced by Speaker Paul Ryan’s speech on the House floor yesterday concerning the assassination attempt of several Republican Representatives who had gathered for a baseball team practice, many Republican politicians are seeing a silver lining in the attack; they hope it will lead to unity between the two parties. After all, the assassin smashed all of the narratives spewed forth concerning an “alt-right” movement representing a clear and present danger to our fragile open society.

This hope defines a grievously misinformed political populous including the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. While it can be said that the issue of sin entering the world is a fundamental pillar of metaphysical understanding, the matching bookend is the freedom of man. Simply stated, this is the idea that man possesses the ability to self-govern, and to the degree that this takes place the best state of societal wellbeing is experienced. This is Individualism.

In contrast, we have the idea that man is unable to self-govern and to the extent that he is allowed to do so, societal chaos will ensue leading to a present-day-existence depicted by the movie Water World. Because, you know, man wasn’t ruled over and melted the polar icecaps. Hence, man must be ruled over by those who possess the knowledge of total inability. This is Collectivism. Without statism, mankind will eventually perish under the weight of its own total depravity.

Instead of the state being an institution that protects man’s freedom (its role under Individualism), the state dictates life to save man from himself. And supposedly, man has a natural inclination to think he is able; this delusion supposedly defines total depravity. As Socrates stated it, a truly wise man knows that he doesn’t know while the totally depraved think they can know stuff. The experts, when it gets right down to it, are experts regarding social engineering that gives us the best life now based on our inability to know. This is knowledge of man’s total inability and total depravity.

A good example, possibly the best, of how people are confused about this is the whole idea that the church is mostly made up of Republicans or the so-called “religious right.” No, this is totally untrue; the uniting principle between the church and Democrats is the total inability of mankind. Historically, the church and Collectivist politicians are the sole proprietors of every torture devise or machine known to man. There is only one thing you can do, in the religious world or the political world when an individual is hellbent on believing they can know stuff and do stuff which is the greatest single threat to the existence of mankind; eliminate them with a slow tortured death for daring to blaspheme expertism.

Nevertheless, it is amazing to ponder the fact that the average Joe in America gets all of this. How do we know? Regardless of Donald Trump’s outrageous and un-presidential behavior, he was elected in an electoral landslide. Why? Because Trump, regardless of what you think of him as an individual, is an Individualist. However, you may also note the Trump deranged syndrome suffered by Democrats at large, and Hollywood entertainers in particular.

And what does their artistic statements call for? Answer: the elimination/assassination of the Donald. This is ALWAYS the Collectivist endgame for the sake of saving humanity from itself. The assassination of a group of Republicans is merely the next best thing apart from killing the Donald. What happened represents the intended results…period. While the Democrats are playing along with the misguided musings of the Individualists, aside from a few notables, you may notice that the Collectivist community at large are relatively mum on the event.

Let me ask you a question; what is the difference between the Collectivist call for individual jihad and what has been going on in the media including the arts? Nothing, and the results are intended, and will continue to be expected.

Democrats are not representing the people and taking it upon themselves to be obstructionists. Of course they are, because they know better than the people they represent. Like the guardians of adolescents, mommy knows best.

And per the usual, some sort of assassination, personal or physical, is the endgame; Collectivists do NOT negotiate with Individualists…that will never happen except for the exploitation of naivety under the guise of compromise. And because those who think they know stuff and can do stuff are stupid, Collectivists will continue to accuse the Individualists of what they are guilty of; namely, extremism for the sake of humanity’s survival and the “collective good.”

paul

Anyone Can Be a Statist Tyrant

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 13, 2017

LGBTIn case you haven’t noticed, PPT doesn’t partake in much debate concerning social issues or more specifically, “trending issues.” And more and more, it would seem that society at large keeps pushing the envelope to invoke debate about a group’s particular stand or lifestyle.

I was provoked to ponder this reality once again when I stumbled across this article about a LGBT parade featuring parents who support their LGBT children. As a born-again Christian person, what do I think about that?

I think I speak about God and not for God. Christianity is not about authority. When professing Christians say God is judging America, here is what they are really saying: “God is judging America because you disagree with our interpretation of truth.” The whole “God is judging America” thing is a claim on God’s authority by proxy. You aren’t following us, so God is going to make you pay.

Claiming to speak for God creates all kinds of drama that distracts from the bottom-line. Life is about choices and freewill; and the fact is, every single human being that lives long enough to have a developed conscience will stand before God ALONE and give an account for their own life. Whatever life or worldview you want to bring to that gig is totally on you…it’s your choice.

Frankly, I am busy enough putting my own case together without meddling in yours. Hence, don’t make your choices about my “bigotry” ect., I am not your judge; God is. Now, if you like something you see about my program, I am more than willing to share, but I will not be making a case against your choices for you to defend…save it for God. And you know, maybe you’re right and I am wrong; ok, let every person be convinced in their own mind. Let every person be accountable for the sum total of their own lives; they are anyway.

More or less, this is Paul’s mindset in Romans 14 for keeping the peace in a home fellowship context. Of course, this also takes into consideration that law/standards/rules/judgement exist in the minds of every living person. However, don’t confuse this with boundaries that every individual has the right to set for themselves.

My right to set boundaries for myself in conjunction with God’s imperative to be happy is not judging you, but I will say this, many who make certain choices for themselves are really protesting about the personal boundaries I set for myself and falsely accusing me of judging them. So, what it ends up being is a demand to affirm their choices or else I am a bigot.

Hence, “amazing parents” who affirm as opposed to those who don’t, and worse yet, those who actually judge their choices. And interesting enough, the protesting and clamoring about for laws that protect against “discrimination.”

Therefore, I am just as concerned about a LGBT-state or any other stripe of statism as I am a church-state. Let us remember, there are a couple of bakers who have had their lives ruined because they refused to bake a cake for a gay couple. In all of this, merely refusing to judge is not enough, you must affirm their choices.

In the history of statism, this ALWAYS holds true; it is not enough to keep your peace and leave judgement to God, the authority always ends up going house to house demanding an allegiance to Caesar.

It’s almost as if silence itself is enough to condemn their choices even without speaking out against them….

…”almost,” that is. People who are comfortable with who they are tend to be silent about it.

paul

Candlelight Vigils

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 13, 2017

Death

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 10, 2017
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