Paul's Passing Thoughts

Reformed Masters and Blogger Slaves

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 25, 2012

That’s the consensus. Once again, a situation that is hopeless. A man who stood for what is right came to realize something: the leadership of his “family” church had subtly indoctrinated his wife over time to believe church “polity” and “orthodoxy” trumps his authority in their own home and his wife’s God given ability to think for herself. He never got it, but unfortunately, she did.

“But, they can’t tell her to divorce him, that’s against the Bible!” That’s what I used to say when I still didn’t get it. Now I get it. The Bible isn’t our authority because the masses are not qualified to interpret the Bible for themselves. The spiritual elite must interpret it for us. The agreed upon basic principles by the majority of the elite (certified by a seminary degree in indoctrination) is “orthodoxy.” Church “polity” protects the orthodoxy.

However, most of the spiritually ignorant masses cannot understand orthodoxy, so we have creeds, confessions, catechism, “Daily Bread” devotionals, and of course, books, books, and more books. The totally depraved masses wait at the doors of Christian publishing companies with bated breath for the next divine unction from the who’s who of neo-Calvinism.

On the Protestant side, it’s the “Westminster Divines.” On the Catholic side, it’s popes and cardinals, but there is no difference. The Reformation was a fight between philosopher kings for control of the mutton—nothing more and nothing less. The Reformers saw Rome as immoral philosopher kings. Gee whiz, something had to be done; they were supposedly better suited to rule the totally depraved. The Reformers then came up with a doctrine that was a different twist on the total depravity and utter ineptitude of man. But both parties were, and still are, fundamentality Augustinian in their philosophy.

Where has all of this taken us? Look for yourself. In the South during the pinnacle of slavery, I am sure there was an outcry among the slaves concerning the abuse by masters. How far did it get them? How many masters stood against other masters on behalf of the slaves? I don’t know what the primary conduit for the outcry was in that day, but today, it’s blogging. Where is it getting us in comparison? Look up “same” in the dictionary.

What kind of abuse? Oh, pretty much the same kind we see today: an expectation that you will burn yourself out for the masters, and to the neglect of your family which they will use against you for asking the wrong questions. If a master wanted to break up a slave marriage; done. If a master wanted a slave’s wife; done. If a master wanted to molest a slave’s son or daughter; done. If a master wanted to ruin a slave’s name; done. If a master wanted to deprive a slave of friends; done. If a master wanted to compel a slave to believe something; done. And for certain, if a master wanted a slave to keep their mouth shut; done. In regard to the master controlling what the slave learned and understood; done.

The masters of the South had the law at their disposal to control the slaves. The Reformed masters of our day have to improvise. That’s relatively new for them; in the past, they also had polity with government on their side to enforce the orthodoxy (Google, “Calvin’s Geneva, Inquisition, witch wars, peasant wars, The Thirty Years War, English civil wars 1,2,3, and Salem witch trials” to get you started). Controlling the slaves with polity alone takes creativity, but the Protestants of our day are getting the job done. We are slaves to the formal church by choice through manipulation. And worse yet, unlike the slaves of the South, we are paying good money for it.

And we are slaves. “No we aren’t.” Oh really? Then why do we keep giving our money to abusers and co-abusers who cover for them? Why do we keep going to their churches? “Well Paul, somebody has to be in control.” Exactly. Because somebody “has to be in control,” we are no better off than the slaves of the South—only more pathetic because we are willing participants who pay good money to our abusers. Google, “ABWE Bangladesh Missionary Kids.” As one former member of a Reformed church stated it: “I paid good money to have my marriage destroyed and my family divided.”

It took years, but we have finally been brainwashed into thinking that we need rulers in the church as opposed to leaders. And after all, rulers are never perfect. And after all, if not them, who? And after all, but for the grace of God, there go I. And after all, better that some suffer from elder boo-boos in quietness for the betterment of the whole. And after all, unity and peace are always the best remedy though imperfect in this totally depraved world. And after all, we know it’s bad, but where else can we go? And after all….you fill in the blank.

Far from the psyche of the American church is Christ’s call to value the one as much as the other 99. The Jewish proverb of, “He who saves one life—saves the world” has been replaced with spiritual Marxism and its cult of The Group. Many oppose the cult of group, while holding to the Protestant gospel of progressive justification. Sorry, that doctrine will eventually lead to the cult of group. Some of the Puritans who landed here wanted to shed the oppressive church polity of the Reformers, but retained the same gospel (Google, “Savoy Declaration”)—guess what eventually happened? Doctrine always, in time, dictates behavior; there is absolutely no exception to that rule.

The data that verifies the following formula is not hard to come by: Formula A; God > Bible > Elders > Orthodoxy > Polity > Control > Creeds > Totally Depraved.

Never before in church history has there been more Christian academia in an information age to boot; yet,  never before in church history have the saints been more dumbed down. Ignorance =’s control. This is by intention. This is the Reformed endgame. Susan and I correspond with people all over the world about the doctrine of progressive justification, and the continual roadblock is the fact that most Christians do not know the difference between justification and sanctification. How can this be? Answer: model “A.”

Formula B: this is the biblical model; God > Bible > Saints (led by elders) = Christ’s mandate to the church to make disciples.

If one breaks the bondage we are in today, and reads the Bible for his/her self—some amazing things are discovered. In an irony that I cannot even begin to put into words from a contemporary perspective, Jude began to write to a group of believers about the gospel, but instead addressed something more urgent: false teachers. And take note: the letter, like most others in the Bible, is addressed to the saints and not the elders. The saints were to take ownership of the problem. And this was regarding false teachers who were among them—who had “slipped in unawares.”

As with Peter, the instruction is clear: one way or the other; separate from them. This isn’t rocket science. But why does that not happen? Because Christians, by and large, operate by formula “A” which leaves them no choice. Supposedly. But think about it; if “A” is reality, what are your choices? You can only start your own church under the authority/approval of the same, and quitting church will get you excommunicated (Google, “Mark Dever excommunicates 256 members”). If leaving the authority of the church would put you in disfavor with God, what choice do you have? Hence, it is what it is; we suck it up and “trust the problem to those who are fully apprised of the situation.” Amen. “Just please trust us as we have the whole picture”; ie., there is dirt in the situation that you don’t know about (but probably not).

That wasn’t Jude’s approach at all. Not even close. He instructed the saints directly on how to detect false teachers. We are not to be associated with false teachers in any regard, period. There are no exceptions. And the premier heresy of our day is progressive justification. And progressive justification is the source of the abuse. And we have simply chosen to enslave ourselves to false teachers.

And model “A” is not our authority, and there is simply no excuse for this. We are owned by Christ, not false teachers. We often cling to model “A” because it’s easy and “safe.” Turning a blind eye to abuse is easier and more comfortable then fending for ourselves and others even though Christ has promised to be with us “till the end of the age.” This is a matter of trusting Christ and not vile men with impressive Reformed pedigrees. Is this what Psychologists refer to as “codependence”? Well then, I might have to give them credit for knowing something. Embracing evil as a way to avoid confronting our fears has never been becoming for anyone who names the name of Christ.

Quitting church is not the answer either. Jude totally missed the memo on that one. But it is high time that the discernment/anti-abuse blogosphere stops the whining, it is rather time to get solution oriented. The outcry of Southern slaves who could do nothing else is understandable, but there are many options available to ministries that deal with abuse. And by the way, “having a place to voice your pain” IS NOT getting the job done. The abusers are getting the job done, but not us. I think it is time to ask why that is.

There is only one thing that can stop tyranny: action. What action? The sky is the limit. The Dohse family will begin doing their part this Sunday. We will begin to hold church in our home with pastor Paul presiding. Maybe some of the spiritual orphans out there will join us. Then there are many options in the future if we grow.

Enough whining and psychobabble already. Form a coalition of bloggers who can organize things like a thirty-day tithing blackout. Do something, but for crying out loud….

Stop whining!


12 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on September 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. lydiasellerofpurple said, on September 25, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    “On the Protestant side, it’s the “Westminster Divines.” On the Catholic side, it’s popes and cardinals, but there is no difference. The Reformation was a fight between philosopher kings for control of the mutton—nothing more and nothing less”

    I wish more people would get this. In some ways I see the resurgence of the love affair with the Reformation a grown up version of the Goth cult fad among teens a few years back. Only the grown up one is more dangerous. It ruins lives.

    I do have to disagree about needing leaders. We need more “servants”. The West has co-opted the word leader and made it into something that is not biblical. It is those pesky definitions again. Biblically, the word represents in Koine Greek, “one who has gone before”. We can see this as being one who is going through the fire of sanctification. One who has grown spiritually mature, etc. .


  3. mike and brandy said, on September 25, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    “The Reformation was a fight between philosopher kings for control of the mutton—nothing more and nothing less. The Reformers saw Rome as immoral philosopher kings. Gee whiz, something had to be done; they were supposedly better suited to rule the totally depraved. The Reformers then came up with a doctrine that was a different twist on the total depravity and utter ineptitude of man. But both parties were, and still are, fundamentality Augustinian in their philosophy.”

    sharp, concise and utterly accurate. i’m enjoying your work.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 25, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement Mike.




  4. Argo said, on September 25, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Paul, at the risk of sounding obsequious, each of your posts seems better than the last.

    I love how you point out that the NT letters are usually addressed to the people, not the elders. I hadn’t caught that. Great observation.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 25, 2012 at 7:42 PM


      Thanks for the encouragement. BTW, is John still among the living?


  5. Argo said, on September 25, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Thanks for defining leader in context. That was very helpful, and so true.

    Has been pretty quiet over at his blog. Last I read, he’s working on a novel, I think.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM


      That would explain it. Takes focus.


  6. Argo said, on September 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Oh, yes. Writing is time consuming…writing fiction doubly so. It’s a different animal, and I find it to be a bit more intimidating. I can’t wait to read what he comes up with.


  7. Joey said, on September 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Lydia- Have you any other good books on the Puritans to recommend? I’m almost done with “Creation of the American Soul” and have found it so eye opening I just want to keep reading!


  8. JeffB said, on September 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I’ll try to make this as brief as possible, though it will still be long.

    For over 20 years, I went to a Messianic Congregation – where Jews and Gentiles worship Jesus as Messiah, and where evangelizing Jewish people is a priority. For most of this time, it was relatively healthy, much of this due to a genuine servant-leader. However, almost from the beginning, there was an Elder there who thought that the Congregational Leader was “too easy on people” (his own words). The irony was that the person on whom he was the easiest was this Elder. The congregation was and is an elder-led one.

    After about 19 years, the leader stepped down. Since there was, at the time, no one to fill his position, the Elder, who had been one far longer than anyone else, became the de facto leader. Very soon the change was evident. The ideas of the more gifted people were shot down. Those who were qualified for and desired leadership positions were thwarted in various ways. Blandness and mediocrity took over. Power was centralized in the Elder and one other he had taken under his wing. The third elder was ineffectual.

    Eventually, another Congregational Leader was found. He, confusingly, taught that, though it had nothing to do with sanctification, believers (esp. Jewish ones) were still under the Mosaic Law to obey it, with blessings or curses following. *How* we were to obey it he didn’t say, probably because the vast majority of the commands, even with the exception of the ones dealing with animal sacrifices, are difficult to impossible to obey today because they were meant for Ancient Israel. Of course, I’m excepting the moral laws which are repeated in the NT.

    Because this was so emphasized, some believers began to be unsure of their salvation. The “rabbi” (as he insisted on being called, though he wasn’t one) only said that “it was not supposed to be easy.” He gave lip service to the difference between justification and sanctification, but his teaching greatly confused the two.

    We were heading toward a split, so the Elder and his lackeys voted the “rabbi” out. Also, the Elder plainly resented the “rabbi” for assuming too much power for himself.

    With the “rabbi” gone, the power again resided in the Elder. For over a year, I and others had tried to reason with him privately about what he was doing wrong. He virtually never admitted error. Eventually, he attempted to bully someone to leave the congregation because this person was in his face (privately) concerning his disastrous “leadership.” At this point, I criticized him publicly. Naturally, I was branded by him and his weakling fellow “elders” as a slanderer. I didn’t want to do a “hit-and-run,” so I stayed another 6 months before I left. There was no attempt to discipline me, probably because they knew that I would continue to speak out if they did. Eventually, all of those who knew things were wrong left. Those who stayed were ignorant or cowardly.

    My main point is that things like this can happen in non-Calvinist contexts. The Elder was relatively ignorant theologically, and there were less than a handful of people there who identified as Reformed or Calvinist; none of these had ever been elders. The “rabbi” unwittingly(?) taught progressive justification, but he was removed. However, the *principle of never really questioning those in authority* held fast after the first Congregational Leader left.

    Paul, I think you would agree that authoritarianism can exist apart from Calvinism. Reformed thinking may be more amenable to it (or inextricable from it) than other ways, but it’s not exclusive to it.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM


      Sure, no doubt, but almost always the same philosophy. Doctrines will vary.


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