Paul's Passing Thoughts

It’s All About the “O”: Mohler, DeYoung, Lucas; We Own You

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 15, 2012

“You could be in a church that is subtly indoctrinating your family with the idea that they are owned by the government; in this case, church polity.”

Join a New Calvinist Church if you will, but let it be known: they now own you. Newsflash for the husbands: Calvinist elders believe they have the ultimate say and authority in your home. And another thing: the gospel they hold to rejects synergism in sanctification as works salvation. So, guess what? If your wife buys into that, you are now in what they call a mixed marriage. You are now dangerously close to divorce court as the divorce rate in these churches has skyrocketed.

In our recent TANC 2012 conference, author John Immel nailed it—it boils down to who owns man: in the Christian realm; does Christ own you or Reformed elders? In the secular realm, does man own man or does government own man? Recently, our President stated that government owns man. Recently, in a trilogy of articles by three Reformed  pastors published by Ligonier Ministries, it was stated that the church owns Christians, and I will give you three wild guesses as to who represents the authority of the church. That would be the elders.

So it’s all about the “O.” It’s all about “ownership.”

True, elders have authority, but not beyond the Scriptures that call Christians to interpret them according to their own biblically trained consciences. As we shall see, these articles plainly state the Reformed tradition that came from Catholic tyranny. The Reformers never repented of the same underlying presuppositions concerning man’s need to be owned by enlightened philosopher kings. The Reformation was merely a fight for control over the mutton with the Reformers seeing themselves as the moral philosopher kings as opposed to the Romish ones. Their doctrine was just a different take on how the totally depraved are saved from themselves. But both doctrines reflect the inability of man to participate in sanctification.

The three articles posted were: Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Albert Mohler; Where and How Do We Draw the Line? by Kevin DeYoung; and, Who Draws the Line? by Sean Michael Lucas. All linked together for your indoctrination convenience.

Al Mohler states in his ownership treatise that Christians have “no right” to leave one church for another because of preferences. Emphasis by underline added:

Far too many church members have become church shoppers. The biblical concept of ecclesiology has given way to a form of consumerism in which individuals shop around for the church that seems most to their liking at that moment. The issue can concern worship and music, relationships, teaching, or any number of other things. The pattern is the same, however – people feel free to leave one congregation for another for virtually any reason, or no reason at all.

Church shopping violates the integrity of the church and the meaning of church membership. When members leave for insufficient reason, the fellowship of the church is broken, its witness is weakened, and the peace and unity of the congregation are sacrificed. Tragically, a superficial understanding of church membership undermines our witness to the gospel of Christ.

There is no excuse for this phenomenon. We have no right to leave a church over preferences about music, personal taste, or even programming that does not meet expectations.  These controversies or concerns should prompt the faithful Christian to consider how he might be of assistance in finding and forging a better way, rather than working to find an excuse to leave.

Where to begin? First of all, while many New Calvinist churches will bring you up on church discipline for leaving because of “unbiblical” reasons, those reasons vary from church to church. So, not only do the reasons for leaving vary among parishioners, but what constitutes proper “biblical…. ecclesiology” in regard to departure varies as well. Mohler states in the same post that doctrine is a valid reason to leave a church, but yet, one of the more prominent leaders of the New Calvinist movement (CJ Mahaney), who is strongly endorsed by Mohler, states that doctrine is not a valid reason to leave a church. CJ Mahaney substantiated that New Calvinist position and clearly indicated what New Calvinists are willing to do to enforce that position when he blackmailed the cofounder of SGM, Larry Tomczak:

Transcript of Phone Conversation between C.J., Doris and Larry Tomczak on October 3, 1997 pp. 10-11:

C.J.: Doctrine is an unacceptable reason for leaving P.D.I.

Larry: C.J., I’m not in sync with any of the T.U.L.I.P., so whether you agree or not, doctrine is one of the major reasons I believe it is God’s will to leave P.D.I. and it does need to be included in any statement put forth.

C.J.: If you do that, then it will be necessary for us to give a more detailed explanation of your sins [ie, beyond the sin of leaving for doctrinal reasons].

Larry: Justin’s name has been floated out there when there’s statements like revealing more details about my sin. What are you getting at?

C.J.: Justin’s name isn’t just floated out there – I’m stating it!

Larry: C.J. how can you do that after you encouraged

Justin to confess everything; get it all out. Then when he did, you reassured him “You have my word, it will never leave this room. Even our wives won’t be told.”

I repeatedly reassured him, “C.J. is a man of his word. You needn’t worry.” Now you’re talking of publically sharing the sins of his youth?!

C.J.: My statement was made in the context of that evening. If I knew then what you were going to do, I would have re-evaluated what I communicated.

Doris: C.J., are you aware that you are blackmailing Larry? You’ll make no mention of Justin’s sins, which he confessed and was forgiven of months ago, if Larry agrees with your statement, but you feel you have to warn the folks and go national with Justin’s sins if Larry pushes the doctrinal button? C.J., you are blackmailing Larry to say what you want!―Shame on you, C.J.! As a man of God and a father, shame on you!

This will send shock waves throughout the teens in P.D.I. and make many pastors’ teens vow, “I‘ll never confess my secret sins to C.J. or any of the team, seeing that they‘ll go public with my sins if my dad doesn‘t toe the line.”―C.J., you will reap whatever judgment you make on Justin. You

have a young son coming up. Another reason for my personally wanting to leave P.D.I. and never come back is this ungodly tactic of resorting to blackmail and intimidation of people!

C.J.: I can‘t speak for the team, but I want them to witness this. We’ll arrange a conference call next week with the team.

Doris: I want Justin to be part of that call. It’s his life that’s at stake.

C.J.: Fine.

(SGM Wikileaks, part 3, p.139. Online source: http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks)

Of course, this example and many others makes Mohler’s concern with the “integrity” of the church—laughable. But nevertheless, Mohler’s post and the other two are clear as to what common ground New Calvinists have on the “biblical concept of ecclesiology.”

Besides the fact that parishioners “have no right” to leave a church based on preference, what do New Calvinists fundamentally agree on in this regard? That brings us to the article by Sean Michael Lucas :

Because the church has authority to declare doctrine, it is the church that has authority to draw doctrinal lines and serve as the final judge on doctrinal issues. Scripture teaches us that the church serves as the “pillar and buttress of the truth.”

So, even in cases where New Calvinists believe that doctrine is an acceptable reason for leaving a church, guess who decides what true doctrine is? “But Paul, he is speaking of doctrine being determined by the church as a whole, not just the elders.” Really? Lucas continues:

In our age, this understanding—that the church has Jesus’ authority to serve as the final judge on doctrinal matters— rubs us wrong for three reasons. First, it rubs us wrong because we are pronounced individualists. This is especially the case for contemporary American Christians, who have a built-in “democratic” bias to believe that the Bible’s theology is accessible to all well-meaning, thoughtful Christians. Because theological truth is democratically available to all, such individuals can stand toe to toe with ministerial “experts” or ecclesiastical courts and reject their authority.

Creeped out yet? Well, if you are a blogger, it gets better:

Perhaps it is this individualistic, democratic perspective that has led to the rise of websites and blogs in which theology is done in public by a range of folks who may or may not be appropriately trained and ordained for a public teaching role. While the Internet has served as a “free press” that has provided important watchdog functions for various organizations, there are two downsides of the new media, which ironically move in opposite directions. On the one side, the new media (blogs, websites, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter) allow everyone to be his own theologian and judge of doctrinal matters. But because everyone is shouting and judging, the ironic other side is that those who are the most well known and have the biggest blogs gain the most market share and actually become the doctrinal arbiters of our electronic age. In this new media world, the idea that the church as a corporate body actually has authority to declare doctrine and judge on doctrinal issues is anathema.

Lucas continues to articulate the Reformed tradition that holds to the plenary authority of elders supposedly granted to them by Christ:

For some of us, again reflecting our individualism, such understanding of the church unnecessarily limits voices and perspectives that might be helpful in conversation. But restricting access to debates and judgments about theology to those who have been set apart as elders in Christ’s church and who have gathered for the purpose of study, prayer, and declaration actually ensures a more thoughtful process and a surer understanding of Christ’s Word than a pell-mell, democratic, individualistic free-for-all. Not only do we trust that a multiplicity of voices is represented by the eldership, but, above all, we trust that the single voice of the Spirit of Jesus will be heard in our midst.

So, bottom line: the priesthood of believers is a “pell-mell, democratic, individualistic free-for-all.” Still not creeped out? Then consider how they answer the question in regard to elder error:

Of course, such slow and deliberate processes do not guarantee a biblically appropriate result. After all, the Westminster Confession of Faith tells us that “all synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred” (WCF 31.3). Sometimes, entire denominations err significantly as they prayerfully consider Scripture and judge doctrine. Such error, however, does not negate Jesus’ own delegation of authority to the church and set the stage for a free-for-all.

This brings us to another issue that DeYoung propogates in his post: since Reformed elders have all authority, their creeds and confessions are authoritative and not just commentaries. Hence, they declared in the aforementioned confession cited by Lucas that even though they error, they still have all authority. Whatever happened to the Apostle Paul’s appeal to only follow him as he followed Christ?

DeYoung:

Those who wrote the ancient creeds, such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition, were not infallible, but these creeds have served as effective guardrails, keeping God’s people on the path of truth. It would take extraordinary new insight or extraordinary hubris to jettison these ancient formulas. They provide faithful summaries of the most important doctrines of the faith. That’s why the Heidelberg Catechism refers us to the Apostles’ Creed, “a creed beyond doubt, and confessed through the world,” when it asks, “What then must a Christian believe?” (Q&A 22–23).

FYI: If you see something in your own Bible reading that contradicts a Reformed creed or confession, you are partaking in visions of grandeur.

This is the crux of the matter; the question of authority. It is almost crazy that Christians don’t have this issue resolved in their mind before they join a church. You could be in a church that is subtly indoctrinating your family with the idea that they are owned by the government; in this case, church polity.

Let there be no doubt about it, New Calvinists are drooling over the idea of another Geneva theocracy with all the trimmings. And someone shared with me just the other day how this shows itself in real life. “Mike” is a local contractor in the Xenia, Ohio area. He is close friends with a farmer in the area who lives next door to a man and his family that attend a New Calvinist church.

One day, His new New Calvinist neighbor came over to inform him that he needed to stop working on Sunday because it is the Lord’s Day, and the noise of his machinery was disturbing their day of rest. Mike’s friend told him, in a manner of speaking, to hang it on his beak. Mike believes what transpired after that came from the neighbor’s belief that he was a superior person to his friend, and that his friend should have honored the neighbors request by virtue of who he is.

The neighbor has clout in the community, and to make a long story short—found many ways to make Mike’s friend miserable through legal wrangling about property line issues; according to my understanding, 8” worth. It was clear that Mike’s friend was going to be harassed until he submitted to this man’s perceived biblical authority.

New Calvinists have serious authority issues, and you don’t have to necessarily join in official membership to be considered under their authority. A contributor to Mark Dever’s  9 Marks blog stated that anyone who comes in the front door of a church proclaiming Christ as Lord is under the authority of that church.

It’s time for Christians to nail down the “O.” Who owns you? Are you aware of who owns you (or at least thinks so)? And are you ok with that?

paul

15 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on September 15, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.

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  2. Argo said, on September 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Paul,
    Thank you for bringing this narcissism and despotism to our attention. Yes, to answer your question, very creeped out.

    This is why I harp ad nauseam on the blogs about destroying Calvinist doctrine. It must be dismantled. Contrary to what Brent Detwiler thinks, morality and ethics have nothing to do with the tyranny of the neo Calvinist gnostics. By their own admission, the entire eldership and church can be absolutely 180 degrees out of phase with doctrine and reason and the Spirit, and laypeople still have no choice but to shut up and submit. Because obedience is more important than anything else! Being a good Christian means doing what you are effing TOLD to do by the “authority”. This is a blatantly DOCTRINAL issue; it has nothing to do with morality. To tell people that if they are in a wicked church that is going straight to hell and that they have just screwed the pooch as far as their faith goes and, oh well, you gotta submit, is all about doctrine! Immorality is a product of bad doctrine, not the other way around.

    And this, again, not to beat the dead horse, is why we absolutely must question everything they say, even if it sounds so good as “the Bible is infallible”. We must understand that NOT everything in the Bible can be said to have a “clear” meaning. We must understand that the Spirit is what guides us. I don’t care one whit what anyone says about any verse, the Bible simply cannot mean what these Pharisees say it means. We must use our brains! Do we really think that the Bible says that we must put away our Bibles, ignore the Holy Spirit living in us and submit to a bunch of ignoramus high-school dropout, pseudo-intellectual “pastors” that have been “called”, and their nepotistic structures of “authority”? These people can’t even tell the difference between “fiat” and “called” for crying out loud. And we wonder why churches are empty and America is on the path once again to totalitarianism and self-delusion, narcissism and dependence. Our very SOUL, our religion, has become opium, and the dealers are behind the pulpit. Put away your Bibles, stop trusting in the Holy Spirit in you to guide you, snort this crack, and bask in your Christian hedonism while we gather wood for the bonfires. Hey LOOK, we can build the stake in the form of a cross. That way, we can have ourselves a “gospel-centered” witch burning!

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 15, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      Argo,

      BTW, I have been taking wagers on when these churches will start doing re-baptisms.

      Like

  3. Argo said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Paul,

    They already have. It’s called the Church Membership Agreement. And the difference is, once you’re under…you stay under.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:09 AM

      Argo,
      Touche’

      Like

  4. lydiasellerofpurple said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Paul, I am doing a ton of reading about the Puritans and how they lived, what they wrote, etc. All of this stuff coming from Mohler, 9 Marks (Dever), Reformed movement about church membership, covenants, etc, etc is right out of the Puritans! I was reading something just last night and blown away it was almost word for word in Old English what I am reading from pastors on Reformed blogs. It is uncanny.

    The Puritans were murdering despots and hypocrites. All for the Glory of God, of course.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      Lydia,

      Oh ya. And at this year’s conference, we are going to focus on how they are trying to get in bed with the government. Of course, in Revelation, we see the marriage of church and state on steroids.

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  5. lydiasellerofpurple said, on September 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    One of my favorites is when they tell you that if the leader is ever wrong, you should pray for his repentence. Not kidding. It is not your place to correct him or publicly disagree (only his yes men peers can do that) All you can do is pray for him. I heard this from CJ. And it is right out of Puritan handbook concerning magistrates/elders who “God appointed for your good”. (Funny how they ignore the fact that Paul did it to Peter).

    The really big warning to folks is to NEVER ever sign a any membership covenant. In fact, if they have they should send a certified letter revoking their membership when they leave. Then their contacting you will be harassment. Bacause it is now reported that many cannot leave without their permission and they will deal with you harshly if you do, even showing up at your home!. So, they have their membership covenants vetted by legal folk so keep that in mind when they claim you cannot use the civil law against them. They have already used it against you without your knowing it in hvaing their covenants legally vetted.

    These are nothing but petty narcissist who hate it that people have soul freedom. They need followers to feel like big men. Nicolaitans is all they are.

    Make a committment to Jesus Christ. NEVER to mere little men.

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  6. Bridget said, on September 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Lydia –

    You’re right. These covenants are straight from the Puritans. TWW had a link to a Piper teaching from 1993 about covenants. Toward the end of the teaching he starts citing the Puritans and how well the covenants worked for them — YIKES! They worked so well that the Puritans started putting people to death when they thought they were falling away from the faith or lying or whatever else they charged them with as the “authorities.”

    It really makes me angry that these men presupposing that “historical doctrines” are good and worthy of high esteem. Aren’t these same doctrines the ones that led to the Crusades (including children), hangings, burnings, drownings, beheadings, the Inquisitions, and the corruption of the Catholic church? Have they not seen these results? Can they not connect the dots?

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  7. lydiasellerofpurple said, on September 16, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Hi Bridget, They cannot connect the dots because their goal is to have followers….lots of em. I think there is a delusion….the Puritans had it. The church state had it. And throughout history a small minority has stood up to it and been beaten down or fled from them. In fact, if you think about it, their system is very worldly because it is all about man’s power over others. It is the sin that consumes them. and it breeds arrogance and superiority complex.

    I am about to finish, “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul”. It is chocked full of Puritan writings and history. It is one of a long lline of books I am reading about that period in history right now. It is a must read because it is told from the pov of what it was like to live in a church state (England) amd then come to America because you disagree with the church state only to be just as bad as the King and his minions! But their goal sounded worthy. To be a New Jerusalem. To create this moral Christian society “on a hill”. But to do that, they had to resort to evil because you have to control people and that requires force and deceptions. Ironic, huh? They came here to escape the star chamber only to create their own model of the same.

    Guess what their rally cry was? UNITY. We are hearing that all over the place now in Reformed circles. It really means “conformity”. They were so hypocritical it is incredible. You had to go through a rigorous testing to be admitted to the church as a member. HOWEVER, you were also forced to attend church whether a member or not! So what does that mean? They even had people who spyed on homes to make sure they were up very early in the mornings. The amount of micromanaging people was worthy of Calvin’s Geneva where even the amount of courses you could serve at meals was regulated by the state church.

    I won’t even mention the duplicity and slaughter of Indians and burning of “witches”. Some of it in both cases was just to get land. Some women were burned just because they tried to relieve labor pains for another woman by providing herbs. The Puritans practiced evil in the Name of Jesus. And they are being celebrated today by many in the Reformed movement ignoring their evil practices and twisting of scripture to lord it over others.

    We really have no idea how precious the concept of “Soul Libertie” really is until we start really reading the history of this faux Christianity.

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  8. Headless Unicorn Guy said, on September 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Another reason to stay on my side of the Tiber.

    Rome’s yoke is easy, and burden light.

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  9. Headless Unicorn Guy said, on September 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    It is chocked full of Puritan writings and history. It is one of a long lline of books I am reading about that period in history right now. It is a must read because it is told from the pov of what it was like to live in a church state (England) amd then come to America because you disagree with the church state only to be just as bad as the King and his minions! But their goal sounded worthy. To be a New Jerusalem. — LydiaSellerOfPurple

    If I remember right, Lydia, the Puritans saw themselves as a New Israel, on an exodus out of Romish-contaminated England to the Promised Land across the sea. And one corollary of that was casting the local natives as the Heathen Canaanites and Following Scripture regarding the Canaanites who occupy The Promised Land.

    A few months ago at a hobbyist’s meet, I listened to an older Nam Vet and retired schoolteacher who claimed to be descended from Roger Williams tell me some oral-legend anecdotes about the man. How he was denounced as The Devil and had to flee Massachusetts “Because he wore a decorative feather in his hat. That made him Of The Devil.” And how when he founded Rhode Island, he extended the vote and representation to EVERYONE in the new colony, including Catholics, Atheists, and Indians, just to flip the finger at the Godly Righteousness of Massachusetts.

    To create this moral Christian society “on a hill”. But to do that, they had to resort to evil because you have to control people and that requires force and deceptions. — LydiaSellerOfPurple

    Just as the French Revolution (and two centuries of its imitators, from Paris to Phnom Penh) would later do. The Republique of Perfect Virtue, the Perfect Utopian Society whose Perfection and Righteousness justifies any evil whatsoever to bring it about, always beckoning from the other side of the “Regrettable but Necessary” Reign of Terror.

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  10. mike and brandy said, on September 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Reblogged this on Purposeful Pruning and commented:
    So much has been said in various blogs regarding the ‘Control’ and manipulations of some Calvinistic mega-churches in the last year. Some of the articles have been about ‘membership covenants’, ‘sex-focussed’ books written by certain ‘Manly Man’ pastors, and the like. But I think this taste of how ‘long’ it’s been going on and how deeply ‘pervasive’ it seems to have been rooted in the many Neo-Calvinistic Churches that revere CJ Mahaney as elder statesman/Apostle of their movement bears a re-review of the man himself inorder to see the impact of his ‘Integrity’ on those who do so.
    Enjoy, -mike

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