Paul's Passing Thoughts

2014 “Shepherds” Conference: Speaker Jerry Wragg Leads Conference in Either Deliberate Deception or Confusion

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 7, 2014

ppt-jpeg4Laptops are wonderful. I have been running PPT while doing some major remolding on my mother’s house. I have been watching the comments on a couple of recent posts that have stirred a lot of discussion in regard to law and gospel. If it takes a while for your comment to be moderated, I am probably soldering a water pipe.  I have little time right now to jump into the fray, but what a delight to see the laity emboldened to engage this topic. The posts are in relationship to TANC’s latest realization regarding the Reformed view of atonement. I am astounded in regard to the simplicity of the crux: did Christ merely cover our sins, or did He END sin?

Obviously, according to Calvin, Christ died to merely cover sin. We have established firmly that total depravity also pertains to the saints in Reformed thought. Reformed soteriology changes the experience, not the person. This is the official Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification. Also obvious is the idea that covering goes hand in hand with the idea that Christians are not changed in their personal righteousness. If our sins are ended, a completely different soteriology is demanded. This Sunday, I will be further supplementing our Romans series with another look at atonement, and be sure of this, John 1:29 will be mentioned:

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

What of this? Did Christ take our sin away, or did He merely cover it? Is our “just standing” merely a realm change with the same relationship to the law, or does salvation change our relationship to the law? I am awaiting a transcript of David Platt’s view of atonement that I will implement in clarifying this position.

This now brings me to the subject at hand. A brother who I have not talked to for some time sent me a tidbit of information about the 2014 “Shepherds” Conference held annually at John MacArthur’s church. Yes, the quotation marks are of the scare variety. Before I get into the tidbit, he reminds me of a longstanding reality in the institutional church. Brothers and sisters who can think for themselves are always going to be deemed a threat in the institutional church. I don’t know of his present church status, but what a joy to see the Home Fellowship movement setting brothers like him free to practice their gifts.

He reminds me very much of Andy Young who is now free to bless people with his gift of teaching, but like Andy, the gift doesn’t match the recognition and opportunity that takes place in the brick and mortar church. Seminaries are where you go to get your Reformed pedigree and certificate that confirms that you will toe the Reformed line. You pay money to get your certificate, then you can get a job as a philosopher king—that’s how the system works. Conferences reinforce the system, and the laity unwittingly pays for it. It is a sanctified caste system like no other.

Now for the tidbit. He informed me that one of the speakers, a Jerry Wragg, delivered a message at the conference entitled, “The New Antinomianism: Evaluating the Implications of Cross-centered Sanctification.” Ok, we understand that there is a bunch of confusion at The Masters’ Seminary, but is this just more confusion, or outright deception? For the most part, Christians intuitively believe that sanctification is synergistic while justification is monergistic. Even if you believe you have a choice, obviously, God alone made a way to be saved. Let me suggest that if our sins are only covered, soteriology becomes very deep and we need the philosopher kings; if our sins are ENDED—not so much.

At any rate, the herd of heretics in these last days are well aware of the intuition, and therefore merely emphasize justification resulting in the out-of-sight-out-of-mind result of “justification by faith alone” which is really sanctification by faith alone as well. James sternly warned the church against this heresy. But every now and then, this herd of supposed stalwarts of the faith that the apostles predicted would be absent in the last days to begin with, sense that the totally depraved zombie sheep are catching on and it is time for a little doublespeak.

I read the title of the message to Susan, and as she looked at me dumbfounded, I asked, “So, do you think this is confusion, or deception?” Her reply: “deception.” Perhaps, but as I have stated before, I believe many of this year’s speakers at TSC 2014 are the premier heretics of our day who are leading untold thousands to hell, in fact, I doubt hell ever looked better while MacArthur is just plain confused. An example is the maintaining of his dispensational eschatology along with his Reformed soteriology. Antinomianism usually walks hand in hand with one judgment and covering, while the former is consistent with multiple judgments for different purposes and the ending of sin resulting in new creaturehood that is personal and not realm related. It is a righteousness that is personal, not merely an imputed experience.

So, will a review of this message, when it is posted, reveal a sound interpretation of sanctification; ie., Mac-like confusion, or has this speaker been called on to calm the herd with Reformed doublespeak?

Let me close with why the title of his message is spot-on. Antinomianism, an actual biblical word as opposed to Phil Johnson’s favorite unbiblical concept of “legalism,” is both good and bad. Anti-law in justification is good while anti-law in sanctification suggests that we are still “under law” and need a continued “covering.” If our sin is still judged by the law, we need perpetual justification. And if we need a perpetual, “covering” by the blood, that obviously suggests a perpetual return to the cross; ie., “cross-centered” sanctification.

Well, humans are created to work and think both. That’s why space aliens have skinny little bodies and big heads; they create reality in a realm by thinking about stuff, you know, like Phil Johnson’s gospel contemplationism. But reality is tricky when you are created to work: how do we work to please God without it going towards our justification? See, that makes things really tricky; that’s why you need them, and that’s why they have conferences…

…if they didn’t continually remind you of that, they would have to get a real job. And besides, you pay for the reminder.


29 Responses

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  1. Jon said, on March 9, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Can you post the transcript? I must have missed those statements.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 9, 2014 at 7:42 PM

      I don’t have it yet as our transcriber hasn’t sent it back. So, here is what I will do: I will recheck it, and if I am right, you are done.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 9, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Yep, among other places and the suggestion that the “covering” is perpetual, 52:35. See ya, you’re done. I don’t have time for games.


      • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 9, 2014 at 10:56 PM


        Jon may listen here but not talk here. You can post your email for him if you would like to.


  2. Jon said, on March 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM


    You are clearly right about the statement he make at 52:35. He did use the word “cover.” I would have two questions about that. 1. If questioned after the message about whether he believed Jesus’ blood merely covers believer’s sins or takes them away, what would he say? Since I don’t know him, I have no idea? We all say things when speaking that if questioned about afterward, we would wish we had stated more artfully. 2. Would Calvinists as a whole, if asked the same question, agree that the work of Christ merely covers our sins?
    Only if both these questions are both answered affirmatively show you state this a the “Calvinists’ view.” I know it is not mine and I don’t believe, based on what I heard in this video that it would be Platt’s view either. Sorry you feel so insecure about your position that you can’t engage in open discussion with anyone who would disagree with you.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM


      If I gave you multable citations from the Calvin Institutes would that suffice, or would you continue to waste my time with half-ass excuses?


  3. Jon said, on March 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM



    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      And by the way, let it be known that this is the infamous psycho-Calvinist Randy.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Lol, isn’t this like the 7th alias you have come here with?


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Almost 800 total messages between email and comments plus 7 aliases: P-S-Y-C-H-O


  4. Jon said, on March 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    It doesn’t matter to me who you think I am or whether you post my comments or not, but please for the sake of the unity of Christ’s body, take my suggestions to heart.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Oh, it’s you alright SC. That’s PSYCHO-CALVINIST. The lie doesn’t matter, only “unity.” Add chills up back.


  5. Lydia said, on March 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    “Man, I love it when I’m right. I have accused her of being a hypocrite for months. This proves it. She is a full blown Calvinist, and an obvious determinist. I would say she only argues over how much, but if your sin is determined, then how much is ALL”

    Argo, Not sure if determinism or a case of “we cannot help but be sinners after salvation”. Would that be determinism or a degree of determinism? I suppose it is because if we cannot help but sin (and not defining that as imputed guilt where our existence is a sin) then would that not be some form of determinism?

    Perhaps a primer on what sorts of things she is callilng sin that Paul says he is doing all the time after salvation? We know he is not the same sinner as before as he stopped throwing Christians in prison.

    I am a bit shocked some other commenters over there have not questioned her at all on it. Most are agreeing or staying silent. This is one of my pet peeves about discernment blogs. They become group think or folks want to be liked more than discussing the roots of tyranny wjhich is where her interpretation of Paul’s words in Romans, lead. I mean, why have a discernment blog if CJ Mahanay cannot help it and Jesus covered over his sins for him? What is the point?


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 10, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      ^^^^^^^^^^^nothing to add^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


  6. Daniel David said, on March 10, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Paul, did you actually listen to Jerry Wragg’s session? It may be more useful if you could engage the actual content of what he said. I’m getting the impression you’re responding only to the title of his session.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on March 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Yes, as explained in the post, it is exactly that. Now, can anyone find me a link to the message?


  7. […] This morning I noticed a response to a comment of mine over at […]


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