Paul's Passing Thoughts

Are You a “Church” Member of a Little Geneva?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 14, 2012

“Diverting the saints away from a many-faceted application of truth to the narrow mystic prism of Redemptive Historical hermeneutics is the focused and intentional blitzkrieg of the Reformed oligarchy. The sole purpose of this hermeneutic is to stifle independent thought and free thinking.”

“One should note with much ado that ‘sin’ is anything that Reformed elders say it is. Parishioners often assume that Reformed elders define sin worthy of church discipline by a literal biblical definition. While such naivety is adorable, it is far from reality.”

 “And ‘church autonomy’ was not intended to protect either church or state from each other. With Reformed history fresh in their minds, the framers of the constitution sought to prevent cooperation between the two for the expressed protection and well-being of the people.”

“The First Amendment has an ‘ embedded theology’? Really? I will say this as lovingly as I can: if you sign a membership covenant with any church, you need your head examined—the Reformed claim that church membership equals being saved notwithstanding.”  

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TANC, our organization that is in the process of being formed for the purpose of educating the church about Reformed theology, ultimately seeks to have Reformed theology, and Calvinism in particular, labeled as a cult. That is what we will be aggressively propagating with all diligence. And your support is appreciated.

Like all cults, Reformed theology seeks to control their subjects. But why? The reason stems from ancient spiritual caste systems in which an enlightened minority leads the masses. Proponents will include people who merely lust for power along with those with the best of intentions. Initially, governments and religious institutions were one and the same, ruling on earth in God’s behalf. Supposedly. Large numbers of people will buy into this because it offers them some sort of comfort /security, and it is also easy: “I belong to the fill in the blank ; therefore, heaven is guaranteed no matter what I believe or do.”

When these cults are old and survive a long time, they begin to be classified as “religions.” When individuals start religious movements (and ironically) with the exact same elements, they are often labeled, “cults.” Some cults that are poorly managed, and make bad decisions regarding their ancient presuppositions concerning mankind crash with a big bang. Jim Jones’ “People’s Temple” is a good example of this. Others like the Reformed tradition die a social death, but continue on with acceptable adjustments while retaining the same nomenclature. But from time to time the authentic article will resurface as new movements that have “rediscovered” the “true gospel.” This is the exclusiveness claim that is indicative of all cults.

This spiritual caste system always results in tyranny. How cult leaders manage the ebb and flow of comfort versus tyranny determines whether or not their particular brand will reach religious status, or even that of “denomination.” BUT, the same philosophical ideas that drive every cult are always present and operating. In the “success” thereof, the subjects believe that they are receiving something from the religious caste system (cultic religions/denominations) that they otherwise could not receive from God directly. That’s key—direct access to God =’s NO CONTROL.

The proof is in the pudding and John Calvin’s rule over Geneva is well documented and nothing less than Cult 101. The recent “Neo-Calvinism” surge in the church is merely an excellent contemporary study of the same exact elements that drove the tyranny in Geneva. It is a Geneva that the New Calvinists lust for. The only difference is the pesky separation of church and state that exists in many democracies such as the USA. So, they improvise.

Many New Calvinist “churches” pursue close relationships with local authorities with intentionality. A saved policeman that buys into the theology is considered to be a prized possession in Reformed churches. Such individuals can be used to intimidate unofficially, and in some cases, in a construct that is unlawful. For instance, if a Reformed church wants to ban an individual from church premises because of what they know while posing no objective threat to the safety of the parishioners, such a ban may have no lawful merit. And to obtain a restraining order is a due process that may expose the “church” to information that they do not want known. Here is where a phone call from a local police officer, or in my case, someone claiming to be a Springboro, Ohio police detective comes in handy. Churches, in most states, cannot ban members from the premises that do not pose a physical threat to parishioners or create a disturbance (for example, see the Wall Street Journal  report here: http://goo.gl/zgf4R). In-house security details are also becoming popular in Reformed churches. They are used to intimidate and escort individuals from church premises making use of assumed authority by those who submit to their intimidation.

The following are the primary elements of a cult and ever present in Reformed churches as well:

I. Control mechanisms.

A. Small groups.

B. “Accountability”

C. “Mentors”

D. Unearned fast friendships.

a. Part of a reporting structure.

E. Time control.

a. Lots of events scheduled.

II. Love Bombing

A. Love is from the heart and transcends propositional truth.

III. Exclusiveness

A. The “unadjusted,” “underestimated,” “scandalous” gospel.

IV. Authoritative interpretation of truth.

A. The elders are the final authority on what the Bible teaches.

B. Parishioners have no authority to interpret the Bible for themselves.

C. Spiritual growth must include elder preaching.

D. Thinking for yourself is a dangerous stunt that shouldn’t be tried at home.

V. Authority to proclaim salvation status.

A. If the elders proclaim an individual unregenerate, whatever they bind on earth will be bound in heaven.

Reformed theologians control independent interpretation of the Bible through academic intimidation and the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic. To say that most parishioners of our day have been brainwashed into to thinking that they are not qualified to interpret the Bible on their own is a gargantuan understatement. But on top of this, the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic (uniquely of the Reformed tradition) demands a redemptive application for every verse in the Bible. Exegetical propositional truth has been replaced with gospel contemplation and an art (seeing the gospel in every verse of the Bible) reserved for the spiritually enlightened Reformed elders. The totally depraved herd should only be concerned with Jesus saving them more and more each day and not drawing any objective conclusions from the Bible that might disagree with Reformed ideas. Diverting the saints away from a many-faceted application of truth to the narrow mystic prism of Redemptive Historical hermeneutics is the focused and intentional blitzkrieg of the Reformed oligarchy. The sole purpose of this hermeneutic is to stifle independent thought and free thinking.

Yesterday, a reader sent me a review of a new book published from the monstrous New Calvinist propaganda machine which has all but completely polluted mainstream Christianity. A vast majority of Christians now depend on para-Bible information as the “subordinate” truth to live by. While recognizing its subordination to the Bible, they also recognize that they can’t understand the Bible. God’s anointed must interpret it for us.

The email heading was entitled, “Geneva Coming?” Probably not, but only because this is America. However, it is more than fair to say that Calvin’s Geneva was cultish to say the least, and New Calvinists will do everything they can to improvise within the present restrictions. It’s who they are—they can’t help it—they are driven by the same philosophy that drove Calvin. And that is what the new book is about: how to control people with church discipline without getting sued, or at least winning the court case if you do get sued as a church.

This is a necessary book for New Calvinists because what drives their church discipline is not based on a literal interpretation of the Bible—it’s based on controlling ideas and free thinking. Furthermore, non-New Calvinistic churches do not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up against the rampant bogus church discipline plaguing the church. Hence, out of frustration, many seek justice in the civil courts—especially because some of the issues are criminal in nature and not merely civil. In many cases, victims are held hostage at New Calvinist churches; elders disallow departure from membership because the reasons for leaving are “not biblical.” Departure would then result in excommunication. Calvinists believe they have the authority to declare someone unsaved, and whether right or wrong, God will honor it. Hence, to disobey the elders could cause you to lose your salvation. Furthermore, in Reformed circles, to be a member of a church is synonymous with salvation; as one Reformed elder has stated: “Since the church is the Body of Christ, a person cannot be “in Christ” unless he is in the church.” Therefore, to be excommunicated for any reason is synonymous with NOT being “in Christ.” In many states the threat of excommunication to control or stop a decision to leave a church is technically kidnapping. Ohio is a prime example:

Route: Ohio Revised Code » Title [29] XXIX CRIMES – PROCEDURE » Chapter 2905: KIDNAPPING AND EXTORTION

2905.12 Coercion.

(A) No person, with purpose to coerce another into taking or refraining from action concerning which the other person has a legal freedom of choice, shall do any of the following:

(1) Threaten to commit any offense;

(2) Utter or threaten any calumny against any person;

(3) Expose or threaten to expose any matter tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, to damage any person’s personal or business repute, or to impair any person’s credit;

(4) Institute or threaten criminal proceedings against any person;

(5) Take, withhold, or threaten to take or withhold official action, or cause or threaten to cause official action to be taken or withheld.

(B) Divisions (A)(4) and (5) of this section shall not be construed to prohibit a prosecutor or court from doing any of the following in good faith and in the interests of justice:

(1) Offering or agreeing to grant, or granting immunity from prosecution pursuant to section 2945.44 of the Revised Code;

(2) In return for a plea of guilty to one or more offenses charged or to one or more other or lesser offenses, or in return for the testimony of the accused in a case to which the accused is not a party, offering or agreeing to dismiss, or dismissing one or more charges pending against an accused, or offering or agreeing to impose, or imposing a certain sentence or modification of sentence;

(3) Imposing a community control sanction on certain conditions, including without limitation requiring the offender to make restitution or redress to the victim of the offense.

(C) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under division (A)(3), (4), or (5) of this section that the actor’s conduct was a reasonable response to the circumstances that occasioned it, and that the actor’s purpose was limited to any of the following:

(1) Compelling another to refrain from misconduct or to desist from further misconduct;

(2) Preventing or redressing a wrong or injustice;

(3) Preventing another from taking action for which the actor reasonably believed the other person to be disqualified;

(4) Compelling another to take action that the actor reasonably believed the other person to be under a duty to take.

(D) Whoever violates this section is guilty of coercion, a misdemeanor of the second degree.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) “Threat” includes a direct threat and a threat by innuendo.

(2) “Community control sanction” has the same meaning as in section 2929.01 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004

The name of the book that was the subject of the review is, “A Tale of Two Governments” by Robert J. Renaud and Lael D. Weinberger. The review was written by David V. Edling (http://goo.gl/gvPed). Edling is co-author of “Redeeming Church Conflicts”(Baker, 2012) and was the director of church relations at Peacemaker Ministries before his retirement. Peacemaker Ministries was formed to deal with the onslaught of lawsuits resulting from the recent resurgence of authentic Geneva style Calvinism and its tyranny.

The authors and the reviewer bemoan the fact that lawsuits may prevent churches from moving forward with church discipline, and the book apparently offers a clear path to overcoming those fears by implementing protocols that will prevent lawsuits or prevent a negative legal judgment against a church. According to Edling:

While fear of having to interact with the secular courts and fear of man may dampen the zeal to follow the biblical prescription when a church member hardens his or her heart and remains stuck in sin, these authors effectively refute the idea that such excuses hold any validity. The most significant contribution these authors make to life together in the church today is to provide church leaders and members with confidence—confidence that these common fears can be replaced with the knowledge that being biblical is protected by the laws that govern both church and state.

One should note with much ado that “sin” is anything that Reformed elders say it is. Parishioners often assume that Reformed elders define sin worthy of church discipline by a literal biblical definition. While such naivety is adorable, it is far from reality.

Edling continues with the following statement that is chilling to anyone one who knows  the real truth about Reformed doctrine and history:

The foundation for their argument is Scripture. They effectively exegete the relevant passages, including an explanation of how Jesus proclaimed he would build his church by giving men “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:18-19), that is, the unique authority both to open the kingdom (through the preaching of the gospel) and to regulate its internal administration (through the practice of church discipline, binding and loosing sin). Using a threefold approach of (1) church history (specifically a “high point” review of 2,000 years of church-state relations); (2) a concise review of the common law and American jurisprudence (the development of the current legal doctrine called “church autonomy”); and (3) practical theology (how to keep your church out of court), Renaud and Weinberger deftly weave together their “tale” that leaves the reader with only one conclusion: if we are wise, we need not fear the courts or the reaction of our church members as we fulfill the call of Christ to love his people and build his church as he has directed using church discipline to restore, protect, and keep pure that for which he died.

Did Christ give Reformed elders a “unique” authority to “bind and loose sin” on earth? The apostles claimed no such “unique authority,” but rather constantly referred to the authority of Scripture and the ability of the saints to interpret it for themselves (Acts 17:11). The apostle Paul called on everyday saints to judge what the true gospel is for themselves (Galatians 1:8), and to only follow leaders AS they follow Christ. Furthermore, you can be certain that the authors only cover the “high point[s]” of Reformed history as it is saturated with the blood of those who disagreed with the Reformers. In the same way that people pick their noses in their cars and somehow think others cannot see them, Reformed elders think that the bloody oligarchy of Reformed history cannot be read. And “church autonomy” was not intended to protect either church or state from each other. With Reformed history fresh in their minds, the framers of the constitution sought to prevent cooperation between the two for the expressed protection and well-being of the people.

The reviewer continues with the following statement that can only be said to reveal how ignorant they believe the saints are:

What does it mean for the church to “be wise” from a secular legal perspective in light of the many court cases that have been decided over the years? As these authors summarize, church leaders must be aware of legal principles that will protect the church in its practice of discipline. Failure to stay within these boundaries may leave the church unprotected. The “church autonomy” doctrine is built on the First Amendment’s embedded theology that God established two separate but equal governments, but the First Amendment doesn’t necessarily bar all claims that may touch on religious conduct. To protect the legal distinction church leaders must understand that their jurisdiction to practice discipline depends on following the law. Central to understand is the “implied consent” that exists in a truly voluntary relationship between church and member (typically through formal membership), that an act of discipline must be grounded in a church’s doctrinal commitments that have been clearly articulated and are supported by recognized religious belief and practice, and that the church must have a clearly stated policy for the practice of biblical church discipline (usually set forth in its constitution or bylaws). Further, church leaders must help members understand the limits of confidentiality because church discipline, by definition, requires others knowing of the continuing sin in the life of one who fails to repent and change.

Here is the assertion that the church and the state are two separate “governments” with the church having its own “jurisdiction.” This mentality should send cold chills running up the back of any thinking person while running to reread the membership covenant they signed. The First Amendment has an “ embedded theology”? Really? I will say this as lovingly as I can: if you sign a membership covenant with any church, you need your head examined—the Reformed claim that church membership equals being saved notwithstanding.

In his conclusion, the reviewer states the following:

Consider whether your church may be failing to obey God’s appointed means of soul care through the faithful and consistent practice of redemptive church discipline.

“Redemptive church discipline”? What’s that? The Scriptures never use the term “church discipline” let alone the former. That term should alert you that something may not be exactly right. I address church discipline issues in detail via a free ebook available on this blog:  https://paulspassingthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ebook-church-discipline.pdf  and for good measure: https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2012/02/09/new-calvinism-and-hotel-california/

Meanwhile, don’t join a little Geneva. And if you’re in one get out. You’re in a cult. A doctrine/philosophy of control equals cult regardless of the nomenclature.

paul

48 Responses

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  1. lydiasellerofpurple said, on November 15, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    “Whether you like it of not, someone has to take the lead in the church.”

    So, who was the leader of the church in Corinth? Philippi? Corinth had been around for quite some time and no elders are mentioned. We do not have a record of elders being “appointed” in every church. So are we to assume they were there?

    I doubt very seriously if you and I would even agree on what an elder would be like. I believe it denotes the most spiritually mature. These are not the important guys who love their place and position., these are ones who are willing to take the bullet for the others. The SERVANTS. The foot washers. Those who have been refined in the fire of sanctification. They would be appalled to be thought of as “leaders” as we think of leader in this era. They would be more like the word leader as used in scripture: Those who have gone before. They have been tried.

    There IS a leader of the church. His Name is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in members of the Body. It is quite the astonishing thing when you find it. It is RARE, though. All others are SERVANTS in the priesthood since there is no laity in the Body of Christ. Only priests..

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  2. lydiasellerofpurple said, on November 15, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    .” It is the abuse of the practice that is the problem. I am not advocating for abuse of the sheep anymore than you are. I have fought against authoritarianism for decades. Still, the answer is not to get rid of agreements and discipline, but to deal with the real problem.”

    So the point is to find people who do not end up loving their appointed power over others as you have defined it? (yes, you have without even realizing it) Good luck with that.

    Nope, the “system” IS the problem. The Body of Christ was never meant to be “offices” with leaders, etc. It is to be a living organism with believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit and gifted in FUNCTIONS not offices.

    The absolute biggest problem is that people do not grow past the guy on stage talking all week if they are following the “leader”. A true elder would want folks growing past them and moving on. The Body is ALIVE with the power of the Holy Spirit in it’s members. There is no hierarchy in a true Body of Christ. Functions, yes. Gifts, yes.

    Funny how folks think that adults need someone in charge of adults when they have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. In a real Body of Christ everyone would KNOW instinctively who the “elder” is as they woudl be the one who looks most like loserville.

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  3. mike and brandy said, on November 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    lydia, (and randy if you are reading this)
    if you consider randy’s words and tone that he used with me yest and today on my blog, i wouldn’t regard him as any type of ‘spiritual elder’ at all. with respect, he is someone who spent years and decades in ‘ministry’ and schools and is to be commended for his experience and apparant knowledge, but his attitude and rude condecension come far short of the character and demeanor of a loving ‘shepherd’ of God’s sheep.
    i wouldn’t bother trying to get him to understand you. he needs some ‘humble pie’.
    -mike

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  4. lydiasellerofpurple@yahoo.com said, on November 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Mike, Thanks, I am well aware. He has toned it down here from what he used to write in the past. I read him on your blog and he was being the typical “Randy” there. He does this great “you are ignorant peasants” routine that I see the all the time living at ground zero from the NC, YRR, Reformed crowd. The movement is not producing fruit in keeping with Christ. It is producing arrogan, petty little men who want to be “leaders” of people because they have this “truth” the rest of us do not have and cannot understand. See, we need them to tell us what to believe.

    Trust me, I see it all the time. Mohler is cranking them out by the hundreds here and they are like a virus coming into churches and turning them upside down. Not too long ago in another church here where a friend of mine goes, two SBTS YRR volunteers told the pastors kids in front of everyone in a youth bible study their dad did not preach the “true Gospel”. How is that? He does not preach the determinist god doctrine they were taught at seminary.

    The whole movement fits into the cult tactic of “Doctrine over people” if you are familiar with cult tactics.

    BTW: Mike, I thought your comment above was “artful” (wink)

    shhh…..don’t tell Randy but NCT is the same thing without the OT baggage. Seriously, John Reisinger is one of the fathers of NCT. Ernie of “Quiet Revolution” is his brother.

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