Paul's Passing Thoughts

We are ALL Calvinists. Yes, You Too

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 22, 2014

PPT HandleWhy has the Neo-Calvinist movement all but completely taken over the church? Because we are all Calvinists to begin with.

“What! I don’t believe in election! I’m not even a one-point Calvinist!”

See what I mean? Christians believe Calvinism is defined by the sovereign grace issue. No, Calvinism is defined by the plenary inability of man issue. Calvinism completely owns the prism in which Western Christianity interprets reality and the Bible. This was their goal from the very beginning, and I must give them credit for the excellent job they have done.

I catch on slow, but apparently, I eventually catch on. For years I have been sending emails to the who’s who of the Not Reformed among us stating the following:

“Uh, guys, Calvinism holds to a blatantly false justification, and this is simple theological math. If people of your stature start talking about this—they are done.”

Not one reply ever, except from a well-known evangelical that told me what I should have already known:

“We all believe the same gospel.”

Yep. What has become obvious to me is that the academics on both sides feed all of the drama to keep the dumb sheep distracted from the real issue: Protestantism is a false gospel. Arminians and Calvinists have the same gospel at stake and all of the money that goes with it. Catholicism and Protestantism both are institutions that collect a tax, and foundational to any religious institution is the idea of human mediators. In other words, religious institutions must have a spiritual caste system.

This confuses body life with authority, and the purpose of the body of Christ. The body of Christ and institutions are mutually exclusive. This is what all of the academia on both sides of the Calvinism/Arminian debate don’t want the herd to figure out. The called out assembly of Christ was based on the fellowship of likeminded believers in one mind, or one truth. It’s based on conscience and not authority. Get into the New Testament and find an institution construct that resembles what we have today in any regard—good luck. That’s not to say there isn’t organization; there most certainly is, but that’s not the same as institutional caste.

A religious institution must have one particular gospel in order to survive: a linear one; specifically, the “golden chain of salvation” (eerily similar to the “golden chain of philosophers” or the “golden chain of Platonic succession”). It isn’t complicated; justification/salvation isn’t finished and you need the religious scholars to help you make sure you finish it correctly. Come now, look around. We don’t find our own understanding in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, we listen to men. Christian academia is a multi-billion dollar a year business. While we say, “The Holy Spirit is my counselor and He uses the Scriptures which I am called on to study,” that’s not how we function at all. The idea that salvation is not finished dominates the American institutional church.

“But I believe that my salvation is finished!”

No you don’t. You believe that YOUR part of it is finished while Jesus is finishing your salvation for you, lest it be by works. This is why Calvinists and Arminians only stop arguing about election long enough to say in unison, “But for the grace of God there go I.” And, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” Calvinists and Arminians teach the exact same inability in sanctification gospel. Why? Since salvation is an ongoing process in their minds, any ability on our part in sanctification suggests a colaboring in our justification. Martin Luther taught the following: if any good work done by a Christian was “attended to with fear,” God would not consider it a mortal sin. The contemporary version of this is the often heard, “I didn’t do it, the Holy Spirit did it.” Indeed, Christians caught doing a good work even in our day must plead their case.

If salvation is truly finished, and we have ability to pursue our gifts because the only possible motive is love, that obviously decentralizes the need for authority. In contrast, the steroidal introspection continually called for in the institutional church Sunday after Sunday, after Sunday is clearly on display.

The institutional church is that research foundation looking for the latest and best way to work by faith alone so that Jesus will not be angry. You need them, and they need your money to research the best way to let Jesus finish your salvation for you, lest your part is a work that is really a work and you find yourself in hell. People will pay big money for that information, and obviously do. We have a name for all of the theories that come out of this research: Denominations. This is nothing more or less than different theories on how to live our Christian life by faith alone.

The placard below is what inspired this post; it is indicative of the Protestant gospel that encompasses all of the various denominational labels, but what they all have in common is faith alone in sanctification because justification isn’t finished. Note that each statement is a blatant contradiction to many different Bible verses. Rather than the Bible being a tool for aggressive obedience in sanctification, it is a tool for reminding us how weak we are, even in the new birth, and reminding us of how much we still need the same gospel that saved us lest we try to help Jesus finish our salvation.

paul

Carol Wimmer

7 Responses

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  1. […] We are ALL Calvinists. Yes, You Too. […]

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  2. Carmen S. said, on August 22, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    I googled and found out this placard was first published by the Assemblies Of God.

    I had a facebook ( Assemblies of God) friend recently post that “Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I’m the biggest hypocrite ever. Yes, I’m a mess, but I’m His mess.” platitude. I asked him why he posted it. There’s a difference between the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life for the believer. I’m not a hypocrite. I’m not a mess. I’m a blood-bought child of the one true God.

    “While what you say is true it is something that can only be understood by someone who has already been saved. “Law of sin” and “law of Spirit” are meaningless to the average lost person ( and far too many Christians). The meme, while not totally accurate, relates the truth in a way that the world can understand.”

    When I first tried to ask this friend about the difference between justification and sanctification, he replied back that he doesn’t use those words because no one understands them. ( Does he understand them?) He avoids “Christianese”.

    This anti-intellectual thinking is what drives people to Calvinism. Then you are stuck with reformed theology that tells you the same thing as the meme and the platitude.

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  3. A Mom said, on August 23, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    “There’s a difference between the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life for the believer. I’m not a hypocrite. I’m not a mess. I’m a blood-bought child of the one true God.” Carmen S.

    Say what? Believers have worth? You sound like you have value & self-esteem. That’s a big no-no. Better take it down a few notches, girlfriend. Don’t you mean to say, “I’m profoundly broken.” instead? 😉

    Good thing Calvin isn’t alive, ruling your town & reading you. You’d be in big trouble with a T.

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  4. paulspassingthoughts said, on August 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    David,

    While rejecting what you believe about the Bible, PPT and TANC allow you to comment here to a point because you have some educational things to say now and then. And, we are not afraid of contrary ideas because we have confidence in what we believe. However, I would request that you avoid ALL semblance of personal insult towards the visitors. Many who come here have lost every friend they ever had including family/spouse in search for the truth; please don’t characterize them as those who run from what they don’t want to hear.

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  5. Gail said, on August 23, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Paul, this article brought to mind a teaching that I was taught by a pastor, that our sanctification comes as we abide in the vine. In other words, he explained that peaches hanging on a tree didn’t struggle or strive to be peaches, the fact that they abided in the branch bore the fruit, and thereby we too are sanctified. I understood that all we had to do was rest in the Spirit doing His work in us to sanctify us. Thus, I believed that I was unable.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on August 23, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      Ah, yet more education from readers as we labor on. Yes, the idea that we rest in sanctification is actually a works salvation, and more and more I am convinced that this is the very point that Jesus was making in the Parable of the Talents. To rest in sanctification is to profess that it is attached and is powered by justification. Hence, we must keep ourselves saved by, “abiding.” When justification and sanctification are NOT separate, what is a work and what isn’t a work in sanctification must now be defined. That’s why we supposedly need the Protestant priests.

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  6. Andy said, on August 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Not to mention the fact that the metaphor Jesus used about abiding had to do with a grape vine and not a peach tree. There is a reason Jesus used the metaphor He did!

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