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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TANC 2019 Paul Dohse Session 3 Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 25, 2019

Paul’s notes/transcript: do not match video exactly. 

Recovering Sanctification; More History, The Church’s War Against the Holy Spirit

Theses: the church wages war against the Holy Spirit through; 1. The separation of God’s word from His people. 2. The separation of Jew and Gentile. 3. The institutionalization of God’s family adding additional mediators other than Christ (church, not assembly). 4. Denial of the new birth, or infused grace. 5. Progressive justification dependent on submission to the church. 6. The eradication of worship and love in exchange for obtaining final justification. This circumvents the Spirit’s purpose to sanctify. 7. The execution of God’s election is transferred from the Spirt to the church.

Let’s examine seven ways the early church began to wage war on the Holy Spirit and how these traditions continue in our day.

First, the newly appointed religion of the Roman Empire (the institutionalization of Christ’s assembly, or “church”) under Constantine sought to remove the private interpretation of the Bible from the common people. Let us remember, the word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17) and what the Spirit uses to sanctify (John 17:17).

At that time, the endeavor to hinder private interpretation was a far less problem regarding the New Testament than Old Testament Scriptures which were painstakingly preserved and canonized by the Jews. The Old Testament Hebrew had also been translated into Greek (the Septuagint) circa 250 BC. Greek and Latin were the most common languages during the Roman era, but Latin was the language of bureaucracy, law, and the military.

This is when two primary theologians of the Roman church emerge and seek to demonize the people of God making a strong distinction between the Jews and Christianity. Remember, one of the primary objectives of the Holy Spirit was to make Jew and Gentile ONE body in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:11-22). This is/was one of the primary objectives of the Holy Spirt. The church’s two foundational theologians in its 4th century infancy were St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Jerome. Both were Saints and Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. And…

“Church Fathers like St John Chrysostom, St Ambrose, St Jerome and St Augustine (second only to St Paul as a Christian authority for the Western world) had by the end of the fourth century AD crysallised a demonic image of the Jew who combined superhuman malevolence with total spiritual blindness…The monkish, ascetic St Jerome, embittered by the spectacle of successful missionizing in Antioch by the large Jewish population, denounced the synagogue in theses terms: ‘If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul…you are still saying less than it deserves’” (Robert S. Wistrich: Anti-Semitism|The Longest Hatred; Pantheon Books 1992, p. 17 ). “This theology is for the first time institutionalized in the fourth century AD, when Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire” (Ibid p. 19).

To divide Jews from the body is an audacious throwing down of the gauntlet against the Holy Spirit. One of the primary objectives of the new birth is to unite Jew and Gentile into one body, scripturally, this is also known as “the mystery of the gospel.” But Jerome and company were far from going to war with the Holy Spirit on that front alone. Jerome set out to translate the Bible in the bureaucratic language of the empire and make it inaccessible to the laity and common people via the Latin Vulgate. Eventually, Rome made it against the law to translate the Bible or even teach from it unless accredited by the Church upon pain of death. This was Rome’s mandate for about 1000 years. And remember, Rome is the first “church” which is historically irrefutable:

Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”

Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned…”

Proclamations at the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1415 C.E.: Oxford professor, and theologian John Wycliffe, was the first (1380 C.E.) to translate the New Testament into English to “…helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.” For this “heresy” Wycliffe was posthumously condemned by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury. By the Council’s decree “Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift River.”

Fate of William Tyndale in 1536 C.E.: William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. According to Tyndale, the Church forbid owning or reading the Bible to control and restrict the teachings and to enhance their own power and importance.

~ Source: Huffington Post .com: Why Christians Were Denied Access to Their Bible for 1,000 Years; Bernard Starr, Ph.D. 5/20/2013.

The Church also took it upon itself to establish the formal canon of the New Testament which was only in the form of letters written by the apostles and others. There were many copies of these letters circulated among the laity and commonly accepted as Scripture:

2 Peter 3:15 – And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Colossians 4:15 – Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

1Corinthians 14:37 – If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

Therefore, the idea that there was no agreed upon collective Scripture for New Testament era believers is unfounded, and the body of Christ hardly needed Gnostic academics to tell them what was inspired and not inspired. Nevertheless…

The Council of Nicaea called by the Emperor Constantine met in 325 C.E. to establish a unified Catholic Church. At that point no universally sanctioned Scriptures or Christian Bible existed. Various churches and officials adopted different texts and gospels. That’s why the Council of Hippo sanctioned 27 books for the New Testament in 393 C.E. Four years later the Council of Cartage confirmed the same 27 books as the authoritative Scriptures of the Church.

~ Source: Huffington Post .com: Why Christians Were Denied Access to Their Bible for 1,000 Years; Bernard Starr, Ph.D. 5/20/2013.

And…

In 382, Pope Damascus therefore commissioned Jerome (c. 347-420) to translate the Bible into Latin, a task which took him twenty years to complete. This Bible came to be known as the versio vulgata (common translation) and became standard for the Western Church.
~ Source: gbgm-umc.org: Three Early Biblical Translations.

Many would argue that keeping the word from God’s people is a church sin of the past, but this is not the case at all. Initially, the church taught that the laity was unable to understand the word of God except for using it to better understand one’s total depravity and total inability (historical-redemptive hermeneutic), plus censorship of the Scriptures was the law of the land. Deprived of its ability to enforce censorship through the state, the church’s ability to persuade the laity to relinquish all understanding of the Bible to church authority has proved adequate. State force is no longer necessary as the laity has been sufficiently intimidated by the church’s claim over salvation by God’s proxy. You either agree with the church or you believe a false gospel and are going to hell.

Attempting to obstruct the Spirit’s work in baptizing the Jews and Gentiles into one body, and confiscating the sword of the Spirit from the laity was manifested in a third way. In translating the Bible into English from the Septuagint (LXX), and for the most part not the original Hebrew, the English translators substituted the word “assembly” for “church.” The Greek word for assembly is “ekklesia” as translated from the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal, or edah.

This is a very significant fact in the transition period that produced another version of the institutional Catholic Church, Protestantism. These are merely two sides of the same institutional church that waged the exact same war against the Holy Spirit and continues to do so in our day. As aforementioned, it was against the law to translate the Scriptures without the permission of the Catholic Church, but this happened anyway because of the “Lollard movement, a pre-Reformation movement that rejected many of the distinctive teachings of the Roman Catholic Church” (closed quotation from Wikipedia).

In the early Middle Ages, most Western Christian people encountered the Bible only in the form of oral versions of scriptures, verses and homilies in Latin (other sources were mystery plays, usually conducted in the vernacular, and popular iconography). Though relatively few people could read at this time, Wycliffe’s idea was to translate the Bible into the vernacular, saying “it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence”.
~ Source: En Wikipedia .org: Wycliffe’s Bible.

Although unauthorized, the work was popular. Wycliffite Bible texts are the most common manuscript literature in Middle English. More than 250 manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible survive.

The association between Wycliffe’s Bible and Lollardy caused the kingdom of England and the established Catholic Church in England to undertake a drastic campaign to suppress it.
~ Source: Ibid.

However, by no means did the Protestant Reformation abandon the core fundamentals of the institutional Church’s war against the Holy Spirit which was a devotion to the separation of Judaism from the body of Christ, and academic authority in regard to private interpretation of the Scriptures. Though the Protestants presented themselves as commendable for the distribution of Bible translations to the common people, they never believed the laity could interpret it for themselves, nor did they ever state such. To the contrary,

“The Protestant Reformers in leaving Rome did not leave all Romanism behind them. In particular, they brought with them the prosecuting principles of Rome, and worked them freely and vigorously in support of the Reformed faith. They changed the Pope but not the popedom… Persecution is the deadly sin of the Reformed churches, that which cools every honest man’s zeal for their cause, in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive—Hallam… Rightfully and nobly did the Protestant Reformers claim religious liberty for themselves; but they resolutely refused to concede it to others” (William Marshall’s The Principles of the Westminster Standards Persecuting (William Marshall, D.D., Coupar – Angus. Edinburgh: William Oliphant & Co. 1873).

The English translators did something in the English translation of the Bible that Rome did not even do in the Latin Vulgate. They translated “assembly” as “church” which had no validity whatsoever. The Greek word for assembly and the Greek word for church are two entirely different Greek words with completely different meanings. The Hebrew words for assembly and the Greek word for assembly allowed for a connection between the Judaism of the Old Testament and the Christianity of the New. The word “church” puts forth the idea of a completely different program and plan of some sort. In the like institutional core fundamentals, the Catholics kept the Bible from the laity, while the Protestants skinned the cat a different way by taking liberty with translation. Tyndale was much more virtuous on this wise, translating assembly as “congregation,” but unfortunately was executed by the Catholics for the effort.

The rendering of “assembly,” “synagogue,” as “church” in Protestant translations of the Bible present an egregious distorted dichotomy in regard to the Jewishness of God’s overall plan for the ages. It is best to delve into this while discussing the fact that the 1st century home fellowships were merely a continuation of the Jewish synagogue, and that word seems to suggest some sort of institution, or temple-like mini-institution.
To the contrary, some sort of substructure or mini temple version would have been a blasphemous notion to the Jews. Furthermore, for the most part historically, the Jews have had little choice to do anything other than worship in the privacy of their own homes. Moreover, synagogues were of the laity and far removed from any priestly authority whatsoever. The intended model for Christian fellowship and assembly has never changed since the exodus and before. It is a body and ground-level family unhindered by the musings of bureaucratic control. It is not a machine controlled by men, it is a body that lives and grows.

The Protestants never sought to separate from the Catholic Church and indeed they did not. It was a protest, and an attempt at reform, not a revolution by any stretch of the imagination. Institutional accreditation was vital to the Protestants, and critical to their credibility. This means they NEVER left the Catholic Church. Protestants retained solidarity with the Doctors of the Catholic Church for this reason, particularly St. Augustine. The most prominent fathers of the Reformation, Luther and Calvin, were avowed Augustinians till the day they died. Contemporary Reformers constantly strive to outdo each other in quoting Augustine at every opportunity, and God’s people are completely unmiffed by the exaltation of this serial anti-Semite Platonist. Why? Because what happens under the roof of an institutional church is mostly inconsequential; it is the depot that punches your ticket to heaven.

There are four primary ways that the institutional church wages war against the Holy Spirit, and this is a joint effort that includes Catholic and Protestant alike. We have examined three of them: the separation of God’s word from His people, the separation of Jew and Gentile, the institutionalization of God’s family adding additional mediators other than Christ (church, not assembly), but the fourth is what separates the Catholic from the Protestant. The accusation of this war is not as absurd as it sounds, for the permanent indwelling of the Spirit suggests ability on the part of the individual. Both sides endorse the incompetence of the individual and need for enlightened mediators between the great unwashed masses and God; in other words, an efficacious soteriological caste system.

This fourth war strategy involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the new birth. The Catholic Church acknowledges the indwelling of the Spirit and the new birth, but insists that this only enables the salvation candidate to cooperate in the finishing of the salvation process; primarily by faithfulness to the Mother Church. Rome is not shy or ambiguous about this idea. Yes, Catholicism and Protestantism alike hold to an unfinished progressive justification which requires the mediation of the church to complete. Both are a progressive justification.

Protestants, that is, Protestants who know what Protestantism is, deny the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the new birth all together. Let’s think about this: if the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the believer, salvation MUST be FINISHED, there is simply no way around that. A permanent indwelling of the Spirit makes a progressive salvation dependent on the church completely unnecessary.

In Protestantism, the “new birth” is redefined as a perception or ability to understand the total depravity of man as set against God’s holiness, but the “believer’s” state of being remains unchanged. That is why Protestantism describes salvation as a mere “legal declaration” in which a righteousness that remains outside of the believer must be progressively imputed to the believer until “final justification.” And, this can only be obtained by faithfulness to the authority of the church.

Catholicism believes in an internal righteousness, or “infused grace,” (infused righteousness), but this only enables one to colabor with the church for a final salvation. Both are salvation via an additional mediator, viz, church, and both advocate progressive justification. Many scholars believe this was the solidary issue that sparked the Protestant Reformation. Previously, Catholic scholars held to a strict Platonist dichotomy between righteousness and humanity, but began to be influenced by Thomism circa 13th century. The Protestant Reformation was really a debate concerning Plato versus Aristotle, and both churches have sought to hide this fact from the great unwashed, particularly the Protestant stripe. It was by no means a biblical debate, but a philosophical one. The idea that the Protestant Reformation was predicated on scriptural debate is an audacious rewriting of history and rank propaganda. Simply stated, the authority for truth among medieval church theologians was the philosophers primarily and the Scriptures secondarily, and stated such in no uncertain terms.

Hence, in revisiting a prior point for clarification on the first four theses, the retranslating of God’s family function to “church” invoked the idea of authority and additional mediators other than Christ. This was the institutionalization of first century Christianity. Authority as truth: this amounts to a gospel of authority; ironically, the choosing of an authority according to one’s preference. All religions and denominations claim their own authority gospel, but it is up to the individual, at least in the post American era, to choose which authority they think will save them.

Church necessarily has a problem with individual worship. If the individual can please God with personal worship (which is biblically defined as the practice of truth), what do we need church for? However, the church makes so-called “corporate worship” efficacious to a right standing with God. Christ said,

believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

The coming of the New Covenant and the “mystery of the gospel” which is the baptizing of Jew and Gentile into one body emphasizes an individual worship in the sanctified body of the believer. This makes all of life, worship in general, and the goal of worship, love, in particular. Church actually redefined worship as a corporate salvific endeavor and not an individual endeavor to use truth to love God and others. This circumvents the Spirit’s purpose of sanctification which is redefined as the progression of salvation.

Lastly, the church wages war against the Spirit’s purpose of fulfilling God’s elected means of salvation. God’s elected means of salvation does not include the authority of men as the church asserts. There is only ONE mediator between men and God and ALL authority has been given to that one person, and that person is the ONE seed. The church cannot give life, only the Word, who is Christ. Church makes itself a major element of God’s elected plan of salvation.

According to church orthodoxy, which makes election a concern of salvific preselection, whether one perseveres in the faith or not is defined by faithfulness to church. If one perseveres to the end, they are shown as preselected by God. The verse they adore reads, “Those who are no longer among us were never of us.” Hence, one can really elect God’s election by staying faithful to church which focuses on justification and not the Spirit’s purpose of sanctification.

Love isn’t the highest priority, keeping yourself saved is the highest priority.

TANC 2019 Paul Dohse Session 3 Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 25, 2019

The Contemporary Church Wars

I have written extensively on contemporary church wars between those who discovered what Protestantism really is hundreds of years later, thanks to an Adventist, and those who were the norm: Protestants waxing eloquent about a Protestantism they knew nothing about and charging people trillions of dollars to learn their misinformation. In illustrating this, we will let our fingers go walking through the book publications that mark the wars. First, other than the theological journal I mentioned published by the Australian forum, there is this book,

The Shaking of Adventism by Geoffrey J. Paxton, one of the core-four of the Australian Forum. Several “gospel recovery” movements came out of the Australian Forum, but I am going to focus on the major ones that are the trunk of the tree.

The first major movement to come out of the Forum was the Sonship Discipleship movement. This movement doesn’t start making waves until the 90s and the pushback can be represented by this book, “Biblical Sonship, An Evaluation of the Sonship Discipleship Course” by Jay Adams. John “Jack” Miller was the father of this movement and most of the New Calvinist movement comes out of Miller’s disciples including Tim Keller. The biblical counseling movement also comes out of this movement. I will get back to this movement shortly, but because this movement is the most significant, not actually the first. The first movement to cause a war was fathered by another core-four member of the AF, Jon Zens, the father of New Covenant Theology. The pushback by Protestants that didn’t know what Protestantism is, viz, Protestants who believe that Protestantism has some semblance of sanctification, can be represented by this book, “God’s Righteous Kingdom” by Walter Chantry. This kerfuffle happened among Reformed Baptists and is well documented in the aforementioned book that founded this ministry.

Back to the Sonship kerfuffle that took place in Presbyterian circles. Jack Miller was a professor at Westminster seminary at the same time Dr. Jay Adams was there teaching. Adams was brought to Westminster to start a biblical counseling curriculum. I document the beginning of the biblical counseling movement in “Clouds Without Water” (TANC Publishing 2015). Jon Zens. one of the core four of the Australian Forum, was also a student there where several students and faculty were influenced by the Forum’s “Present Truth” theological journal. Bottom line: the brain trust of Westminster invited the Forum there to discuss the gospel much to the consternation of Adams which I document in TTANC.

Long story short, Adams was developing a counseling program heavily predicated on a misunderstanding about what Calvin taught concerning sanctification. The movement that came out of Westminster because of the Forum…not so much. As a result, disciples of Jack Miller began to develop there own counseling construct based on authentic Reformation soteriology while covertly pretending to be in league with Adams. From the beginning, it was a deliberate covert movement. It started with Jack Miller, and those he mentored, David Powlison and Tim Keller, and those Powlison mentored, primarily, Paul David Tripp and Timothy Lane. These were covert opponents of Adams from the beginning.

The two movements grew together under the guise of being one until things started getting controversial and confused circa 2006. Until then, especially in the 90’s, Adams’ construct ruled the biblical counseling world and Adams saw the Sonship issue and counseling constructs as totally unrelated. Please note, everyone in Presbyterian circles thought the Sonship movement had been conquered by 2000, but it hadn’t, it simply relabeled and went underground in the biblical counseling movement while Adams was completely clueless as to what was going on. In 2010, the inner contention came to a head and Adams started looking for answers.

Herein is the crux of one of my major points overall: Adams would not find any answers at all within Protestant academia. In searching the earth high and low, his ministry director, Donn Arms, had to get answers from the laity. Period. As the famous refrain from the ELP song goes, “there it is.” As my favorite employee used to say, “there it go.” Please, please, please, stop looking for the one credentialed theological expert who gets it, he’s not out there.

So, here is where this covert movement got a name: “Gospel Sanctification” first coined by this ministry in 2010. Previously, this same movement had been coined “New Calvinism” in 2008 via Collin Hansen’s book in which he falsely rewrote the beginning of the movement, but nobody connected that movement with what was going on in the biblical counseling movement. In fact, it was this ministry that made the connection.

The spearhead of the revelation came through a request from Adams’ ministry for me to write a review of Paul David Tripp’s book, “How People Change” in the “Journal of Modern Ministry.” The editorial board had a fit because I didn’t have a Ph.D in at least basket weaving, yet, I am the only one who could make any sense at all about what these guys were teaching. So, basically, actually, more than basically, Donn Arms published the article and put his name on it with the full blessings of the editorial board, they just didn’t want my name on it.

But don’t miss the crux, as explained on page 82 of TTANC, according to David Powlison himself, the contention between the two camps was a contention over two different gospels…period. In other words, some 2000 years later, in the upper echelon of Protestantism, after hundreds of years, trillions of dollars, and incalculable drama and political intrigue, there is no clear consensus on what the gospel is.

Right, go to church, do that, they are still trying to figure out what the gospel is. Brilliant. Go to church if you will, for whatever reason be it stuff for your children to do, finding a new boyfriend, whatever, but please don’t insult my intelligence by saying you are there for the gospel…church doesn’t even know what the gospel is, and that’s historical fact.

You have a choice. You can believe that the Christian life is a salvation process, or you can believe that your salvation is finished, and you must now move on to maturity and love. But you can’t have it both ways; one is necessarily a law-based gospel while the other depends on a righteousness apart from the law. If your salvation is not finished, only law can fill the void. Righteousness and law are mutually exclusive.

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TANC 2019 Andy Young Session 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 25, 2019


Recap from session 1.
Acts 18:4-17

4And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”

This was Paul’s standard MO. Any time Paul went to a new city, he would seek out a Jewish synagogue. Now we are often lead to believe that Paul’s ministry was to Gentiles. That is true to some extent. We can read in the new testament that is was Peter who was know to have a ministry to the Circumcision, or exclusively Jews, and particularly Jews in Jerusalem, and that Paul’s ministry was to the Un-circumcision, or the Gentiles. But when you study the books of Acts, you will see that this not entirely true. Paul always went to the Jews first, and when they rejected him, as they eventually would, only then would he turn his focus to the Gentiles.

Notice it says that he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath. And as we’ll discover later, this was not the only synagogue in Corinth. We’ll find that there are at least 3 different ones mentioned in this text tonight. So Paul is once again, look at this word, “reasoning” in the synagogue. Not scripture stacking, not proof –texting; reasoning. And again, obviously his reasoning is based in scripture, but he is using scripture in a very logical, methodical manner, forming his arguments with sound reason. And it says he persuaded both Jews and Greeks. And notice we see Greeks, or Gentiles, in this synagogue. Probably proselytes converted to Judaism.

This word persuaded, this is the Greek word πειθω “peitho”. If you look at Hebrews 13:17, this same word is mis-translated “obey”. But it is the same word in both places. This is a perfect example as to why it is wrong to translate the word “obey”. Here in Corinth, Paul did not compel the Jews and Greeks to obey. He persuaded them. He convinced them by his argument. And that same understanding fits with Hebrews 13:17 as well. It is not “obey your elders,” but be convinced by them by sound reason. And please notice, that within that context, it also puts the burden back on the elders. The elders have the responsibility to make sure that their arguments are sound and reasonable within the context of scripture. They must provide a sound argument. Not by force or coercion, not by appealing to authority, but convincing by argument.

Alright lets read on. Verse 5

“5And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.’”

Now, it’s a little hard to discern what’s going on here. From what we first read it seems like Paul is having some success with the Jews in this first synagogue he visited when he first arrived. This is where he met Aquilla and Pricilla. So now Silas and Timothy rendezvous with Paul. If you recall they had stayed back in Berea. After the uproar in Berea they put Paul on a ship and sent him to Athens. Then when Paul landed in Athens he sent word back with the ship to have Silas and Timothy join him. So now Paul is in Corinth, and now we see that Silas and Timothy have finally caught up with him.

The verse says Paul was pressed in the spirit. This is the word συνεχω “soon-echo”. …The feeling you get with this word, imagine being in a large crowd of people, people packed tightly together, and you have all these bodies pressed up against you, and you can’t really go where you want to go, and you almost have to move with the crowd….That’s the idea you get here, this is how Paul is feeling, only instead of a crowd of people, he is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit moving him. There seems to be a sense of urgency here. It’s almost as if Paul’s teaching intensifies. We already know that he has been teaching the Jews, but now Silas and Timothy are here, and that seems to embolden Paul, and now he feels very empowered by the Holy Spirit and he kicks things up a notch. And it seems that now he is ministering to a larger number of Jews at this point. His ministry there in Corinth is growing, and now he starts to encounter resistance. What does that look like?

  1. It says they opposed themselves.
    αντιτασσομαι (anti-tass-oh-my) – “anti”, against.
    τασσω (tass-oh) – to arrange in an orderly manner

How to understand this…there is another word in the NT that uses the same root.
υποτασσω (hoo-po-tass-oh) – to submit; to place yourself under; to subordinate.

1Timothy 3:4
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”

Romans 8:7
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

Romans 10:3
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

This word in our text is
anti-tasso-my: Acting riotous. Acting against an orderly manner

They blasphemed. To speak evil about. The spoke evil about Paul. They verbally attacked him. (ad hominem).
Now look at Paul’s response. He shook his raiment. This is a very symbolic, very Jewish tradition. You can think back to the gospels, during Jesus’ ministry, when he sent out the disciples by twos, and He gave them instructions…shake off the dust off you feet…traveling Jews returning home…the symbolism would not be lost on the Jews when the disciples shook off their feet. Here, Paul isn’t just shaking off his feet. He’s shaking off his clothes! There’s a lot of intensity here. This is especially significant…not only shaking off dust…the completeness of this…his whole body…I am clean of your blood! Your blood is not on me. Your blood is on your own heads! Not only is Paul symbolizing his cleanness from their uncleanness, just as a Jew wanted to be pure and clean from a Gentile, and shaking off the dust of the feet symbolizes that, Paul is showing them their own uncleanness, but also their guilt. He is not going to be held guilty for their condemnation for rejecting Jesus. For rejecting the Son of God. Jesus said he didn’t come to condemn, because He that believeth not on the Son is condemned already. These Jews in Corinth are responsible for their own condemnation. And I’m sure that must have just outraged them even more. You can really appreciate Paul’s boldness here.

One other thing I want to interject here, regarding Paul’s statement that he would go to the Gentiles. I think more than anything this was simply a statement to provoke them to jealousy. Paul didn’t give up on the Jews altogether, as we will see shortly. But he was a student of scripture, and we know how the scriptures testified that God would use the Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy. So I think Paul’s statement here is merely emphasizing that, calling their attention to it. Remember what God said? He would provoke you to jealousy with a people that wasn’t a people, and so forth. I think that was Paul’s intention.

Alright, reading on, verse 7.

“7And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

Alright. I only want to point out a couple of things in this paragraph. Notice that wherever Paul had been speaking (synagogue, market, some other gathering place) after the Jews got all riled up, Paul left there, and now he’s gone to another location. This is now the third synagogue he’s visited in Corinth. And now we see this man named Justus. Now we don’t know if Justus was a Jew. We do know that his house was next to this 3rd synagogue. And actually the way this reads, it appears as if Justus’ house was part of the same building. The two building were joined together, ok, they shared a wall. So you have Justus’ house, and right next to it, as part of the same building, you have the place where the Jewish synagogue meets. Now let’s not assume this is by coincidence. I have no doubt that the primary reason that Paul sought lodging with Justus was because of the proximity to the synagogue. This gave him the opportunity to teach. So notice, as I said, despite Paul’s statement about going to the Gentiles, he hasn’t given up on the Jews at all. He’s still looking for opportunities to reach them.

And then we’re told that the elder in that synagogue, a man named Crispus, he became a believer! And not just him. His whole house. Now what does this tell us? When we studied the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 we spent a lot of time on this word house. It can mean the actually dwelling, it can refer to his family, it can even be a general reference to your regular social group, the people you associate with.

In this case here I think you can make the case for all three. First his actual house. I think it’s clear by the context, that this synagogue was actually held in Crispus’ actual house, his dwelling, his home. I think this speaks to one of the qualities of an elder, being given to hospitality, since the synagogue model as we see here was hosted by the elder. Secondly, if this was his house, then certainly the reference here includes his family. His wife, children, maybe his elderly parents, any servants in the home. They would all be considered family in that culture, and therefore, part of his house. So you have that reference to family. And Thirdly, since his home was the location for the synagogue, the word house can also be a reference to all the Jews and prostelytes who gathered there with them for fellowship and teaching. So I think you can see the broad scope of this word house, and the number of people who heard Paul teach about Jesus and then believed and were baptized.

So Paul is becoming more bold, and you have Jews and Gentiles hearing the word and believing. You have the Jews once again being provoked to jealousy and now they’ve got their sights set on Paul. And so everything that has happened up to this point is a set up for what is going to happen next. Paul is having some success here in Corinth, but trouble is also brewing, and I think he knows it, because then we read this. Look at verse 9.

“9Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.’ 11And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

Please look closely at the sentence structure of verses 9 and 10. There is an unfortunate verse division here because it breaks up the entire thought. It is one whole sentence, but look closely, and what you have is one main thought with a subordinate clause, and that subordinate clause has its own subordinate clause. If we take this apart you’ll get a better understanding of the Lord’s point. The assumption here is that this is Jesus speaking directly to Paul. Verse 9 says it was in a vision. This was not a dream. This is the Greek word “hor-am-ah”, and it refers to something gazed upon. To see with the eyes. So if this is Jesus, He is actually appearing to Paul, and Paul sees this with his eyes, and Jesus speaks to Paul.

Jesus says, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:” Colon. That is the main clause in this sentence. There are two imperatives, two commands that Jesus gives to Paul. Not to be afraid. “Phobos”. This is literal fear. Don’t be afraid. The second command is to speak. Now I want you to see this. The usual word for talking or saying is the word “lego”. “Lego” has to do with laying forth a reasoned argument. A systematic discourse. You have this idea of a conversation going back and forth. But here in verse 9 the word is “la-leh-oh”. Now “la-leh-oh” can also mean to talk or to utter words, but when you compare it with “lego”, “la-leh-oh” is more one-sided. Listen to this definition, when compared with “lego”, “la-leh-oh” means an extended or random harangue. Do you know what it means to harangue someone?

Harangue – lengthy and aggressive speech. To lecture at length in an aggressive and critical manner.
I think it’s funny that so often when we are trying to debate the finer points of Protestantism with someone that we often get criticized about our tone. You know, they say we are coming across unloving. Well, Jesus himself told Paul to harangue these people. To talk aggressively with them. To lecture them sternly and be very critical.

Jesus told Paul, don’t be afraid, just keep on talking. Just keep saying what you’re saying. And as if Paul needed any further clarification, Jesus restates this command by saying, “and hold not thy peace”. Keep talking and don’t be quiet. The same idea stated two different ways. This is a definitive statement of approval of Paul by Jesus. This is Jesus affirming to Paul, you are doing the right thing and I am pleased with you. Keep up the good work!

Now watch this. This is where we get to the meat and potatoes of this passage. Verse 12.

12And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia (Province where Corinth is located), the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 13saying, “This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.” 14And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 15but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.” 16And he drave them from the judgment seat. 17Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Now protestant/reformed tradition doesn’t have much good to say about Gallio, particularly with regard to that last statement at the end of verse 17. I’ve usually seen Gallio presented as someone who is indifferent to the gospel, and because of that he is a wicked man and is just indicative of someone who is totally depraved and all that nonsense. And if we took this paragraph by itself we could probably make that case and it would make a nice little sermon on a Sunday morning and we could all remind ourselves about just how wretched we all are and by God’s grace and all that. And we’d all leave with a firm reminder about how we just need to return to the cross and focus on Christ and His work.

But contrary to what has traditionally been taught, what we will see here is that Gallio is actually an honorable and just individual. He is really a man of integrity. And even his actions at the end of this paragraph in verse 17 are indicative of his sense of justice and integrity, and NOT, I repeat, not indifference.

But why did Luke include this little paragraph in the narrative? What is Luke trying to show us? How is this event significant? It is only significant within the context of this whole passage, the previous paragraph in particular.

Look at this. Here we have the Jews once again causing trouble for Paul. Nothing new there. Please take note of this. The Jews are causing trouble. They stirred up an insurrection against Paul. They want to silence Paul. But Paul, as per the instructions he got from Jesus in the vision, he’s still talking. He’s still going around preaching about the gospel of the Kingdom. He’s not being quite about it. So the Jews incite and insurrection and they take Paul to the judgment seat. The Greek word is “bema”. Now Gallio, it says he’s the deputy of this entire province of Achaia. The word here indicates that he is the highest ranking Roman official for this region. So he is a man of authority. So the “bema” or judgment seat is the place where he exercises his authority over all matters of state. It can refer to the specific chamber itself, the building, or the general location. (elaborate, use counties as example) Wherever he rules from. Keep that in mind as we examine this.

Notice that it’s the Jews who take Paul before Gallio. They want Gallio to make a judgment against Paul. But look at the accusation they bring. “This man persuades men to worship God against the law.” Now, we ought to see right away just how irrational this claim is, not from a philosophical standpoint but as a matter of governmental power. The Jews are trying to use the power of the state to enforce their own orthodoxy onto Paul. Why in the world should Gallio make a legal judgment about what a religion teaches? That’s not his jurisdiction. And that is precisely what he says. Look, Paul is just about to defend himself, and Gallio interrupts him. “If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:” Is this a civil matter? Did Paul break any Roman laws? If he did, then it would be perfectly reasonable for me to hear your case. Verse 15, “15but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.” I’m not going to be a judge of your religious matters. This is not my jurisdiction. Get out of my chambers! And he throws them out. Don’t waste my time with this.

Now consider this in light of the previous paragraph. Don’t be afraid Paul. I’ve got your back. Look at the way that Gallio thwarted the attempt made by the Jews to have Paul silenced. Not only silence him but possibly do him harm. They had no case. And they weren’t going to be able to use the force of government to carry out their desires. To my way of thinking, Gallio seems like a pretty stand-up guy. He’s got some integrity when it comes to the rule of law. He was not going to allow his authority to be used for the wrong purposes. But it doesn’t stop there. Look at what else happens.

After the Jews are thrown out of the judgment hall, the Greeks get hold of this man named Sosthenes. Now if you look up Sosthenes in your Greek NT dictionary, or in Strongs dictionary, it says that Sosthenes was a Christian. But that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t take much to figure out, just by reading our text that Sosthenes must have actually been a Jew. Not just any Jew, but a chief ruler of the synagogue. We’re clearly told that much. More than likely Sosthenes was with the Jews who brought Paul before Gallio. Now it appears that all this happens right after throws the Jews out of the judgment hall.

Now look, we have this clear distinction made between the Jews and the Greeks in our passage. Ok we’re not talking about Helenized Jews that were part of the synagogue who took one of the Christians. It is clear that there are Greeks, gentiles who take the chief Jewish leader, Sosthenes, right after he’s been thrown out by their Governor, after he’s tried to incite an uprising, and they decide to teach him a lesson. They beat him. And they didn’t take him into some back alley and work him over. It says they did this before the judgment seat. Probably right outside the justice building in front of the main entrance. The implication here is that they did it out in the open where everyone could see them do it, especially Gallio.

Does this not look like retaliation for what the Jews tried to do by inciting an insurrection? You want to start trouble? Not in our city you don’t. You need any more indication that’s the case? Gallio cared for none of those things. Why? Was he indifferent? No. He saw the people of Corinth retaliating against the Jews. They took care of the problem for him. This sent a strong message to the Jews there in Corinth. This is what happens when you try to start trouble. We’ll take care of it, and Gallio isn’t going to do a Jewish leaders.

Now lets fast forward a few hundred years. We get to the age of Enlightenment. We get John Locke. We get Adam Smith. We get a George Washington and a Thomas Jefferson and a James Madison and quite a few others. These men sit down and they design a system of government that does not allow for the marriage of faith and force. A government that recognized the danger of a State-sponsored religion that has the power to use government force to compel church orthodoxy, just like the Jews in Corinth wanted Gallio to do with Paul. Just like Calvin did in Geneva. Just like the Puritans did in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Now think about the abuse of power that takes place in churches today….(think of some examples)
Think about the religious tyranny that runs rampant in churches. Do you really think that these guys today wouldn’t try the same thing if they had the force of government behind them. Remember the progression of thought. Assumptions drive behavior. What are the collectivist’s assumptions. And how many times throughout the course of history have we seen that same pattern repeated over and over?

So, I have one more example to show you, and I hope you will enjoy it. And I hope you come back for session 3.

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TANC 2019 John Immel Session 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 24, 2019

TANC 2019 Susan Dohse Session 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 24, 2019
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