Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Perpetual Recrucifixion of Christ by Calvinism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 27, 2014

“Therefore, Hebrews does violence to the Reformed notion of a ‘lifestyle of repentance’ (Paul David Tripp). The lifestyle of a true believer is a lifestyle of aggressive love without fear of judgment while a ‘lifestyle of repentance’ is ‘crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.’” 

Many false religions perpetually reapply the crucifixion of Christ in an atonement colaboring. They acknowledge that Christ only died once, but propagate a needed reapplication of that death and resurrection in order to keep ourselves saved by “faith alone.” Yes, the cross-work of Christ is “finished,” but the APPLICATION of the work is NOT. And since we believe in the death and resurrection by faith alone, and since our ongoing faith is a gift, the reapplication of Christ’s atonement for sin is an act of FAITH ALONE, not works.

And that’s Calvinism in a nutshell. We keep ourselves saved by faith alone which is defined by a perpetual re-visitation of the same gospel that saved us. Hence, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Hence, “The same gospel that saved us also sanctifies us.” Though they deny it, this makes sanctification a progression of justification. Reformed theology has a large corpus of lofty doublespeak that attempts to get around this foregone conclusion. My favorite is already, but not yet. Yes, you are already justified, IF you are justified, and you won’t know for certain until the final judgment; so, not yet. However, there is a trump card: Calvin’s power of the keys; if your local Reformed elders like you, and they say you are in, you are in.

But, more than likely, the elders are not going to proclaim you justified unless you partake in the Reformed…Vital Union. What’s that? That’s staying connected “to the vine” (Christ) by faith alone. How do you do that? Well, first, they would correct us on our use of verbs here; it’s not a doing because it’s of faith alone. The list of what you do to stay connected to the vine, what the Reformed call, “new obedience,” and “obedient faith” (obedience to faith acts is not really obedience because it focuses on the one act of faith) follows:

  1. Faithfulness to the institutional church.
  2. Regular partaking of the sacraments which “impart grace.”
  3. Sitting under the preaching of preordained elders which also “imparts grace.”
  4. Putting yourself under the authority of the institutional church.
  5. Reading the Scriptures with “an eye for all of the saving works (plural) of Jesus in all of the Scriptures” (gospel contemplationism).
  6. Partaking in “deep repentance” which results in “new obedience.” A deeper realization of how sinful we are results in a re-experience of the “joy of our salvation.” This is the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification which is “reliving our original baptism.”

This list is not comprehensive, and for all practical purposes would include anything added to it by the authority of local Reformed elders. Many Calvinists such as John Piper have stated on numerous occasions in no uncertain terms that the gospel did not just save us once, but continues to save us. Most stripes of Protestants would scream in protest against this idea, but the fruit doesn’t fall far from the Protestant tree; the same will often be heard saying, “Sanctification is the growing part of salvation” [salvation does NOT grow], “We are all just sinners saved by grace” etc. Others promote the idea that Christ was raised form the dead to confirm that He was the suitable sacrifice for sin which has connections to the Reformed idea of double imputation.

What’s that? In short, Jesus died for our justification and lived for our sanctification. When we “revisit the gospel afresh,” we are once again forgiven for NEW sins committed in our Christian life, and Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law is imputed to our Christian life thus keeping us justified. We keep ourselves saved by revisiting the same gospel that saved us. The Reformed get cover for this because it is assumed by many that they are merely stating that we are best sanctified by appreciating the sacrifice of Christ, and indeed, that is how it is often framed by the Reformed, but in fact, it is a construct that is a prescription for “keeping ourselves in the love of God” (CJ Mahaney). Many assume that this means, “keeping ourselves in the experience of God’s love while we grow as Christians.” No, this is keeping yourself justified by revisiting the gospel.

As an aside, let me quickly mention how the Reformed use all of this to avoid the accusation of antinomianism. They define antinomianism as rejecting all use of the law (the Bible). Because they believe the Bible has a use, viz, gospel contemplationism, they aren’t antinomians. Biblicists define antinomianism as a rejection of the Bible for instruction in righteousness and the many-faceted applications thereof in the Christian life. In short, Biblicists define antinomianism as the fusion of justification and sanctification which distorts the true application of the Bible’s  imperatives to life. Biblicists define antinomianism as any distortion of the Bible’s general application to justification and sanctification, and those specific distinctions. Biblicists object to any doctrine that obscures an aggressive obedience to Scripture without fear of condemnation, and would deem it antinomian. This is obedience unto salvation versus obedience unto love. Justification versus sanctification. Antinomianism makes obedience unto salvation the same thing as obedience unto love, and makes Christ the only one performing any act of love. Hence, a commandment to love is not really anything we do, but we only experience the love Christ performed in our stead as we contemplate His salvific acts in “all of the Bible.” ALL of the Bible is about justification, and ALL of the acts of God through Christ for that purpose. Yet, Ephesians 1:3ff. states the following:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Antinomianism denies the purpose of God that we ourselves will be righteous according to a proper understanding of the Bible’s (law) relationship to justification and sanctification. Herein is another possible definition of antinomianism:

Antinomianism misrepresents the law’s proper relationship to justification and sanctification according to God.

With all of this said, we will now examine how Calvinism, in essence, re-crucifies Christ and exposes Him to open shame. This is done by acknowledging that Christ only died once, while stating that the onetime death must now be continually re-applied to keep ourselves saved. The Bible is merely a tool for that return, and not instruction for loving God and others, and discerning good from evil and truth from error. Let us proceed:

Hebrews 5:11 – About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

There is no new thing under the sun. What the Hebrew writer was railing against is present-day Calvinism and Catholicism to a “T.”  We could spend a year examining this text, and it would be a joy to do it, but for purposes of this post, we will only address the major points that serve our subject at hand.

The Hebrews being addressed were guilty of parking on, or revisiting the basic fundamentals of justification. This resulted in them being undiscerning, and in general, spiritual infants. They didn’t leave the basics and move on to the “meat.” TANC, as an educational institution has operated fulltime for about four years, but the fact of the matter is, we are still laying doctrinal foundations—the meat of true biblical doctrine is a wide-open frontier. What the Hebrew writer explained is exactly what has been going on in Protestantism for more than 500 years, and they got it from the Catholics. We are in a Protestant Dark Age, and it will take a rising up of what the called out assembly of Christ was from the beginning: a laity movement. This doesn’t exclude academia, but they should definitely be the tail and not the head. Christ, His word, and the Spirit should be the head. Academia in our day has led to a woefully dumbed down assembly, and in Christ’s day, “sheep without a shepherd,” and backdoor “hirelings” that abandon sheep who don’t feed their gluttony.

What were the basics that they had not left?

  1. Repentance from dead works: this is a return to the original state of repenting of works that cannot please God. The works of the “believer” are still dead. It is a focus on repentance from fruits of death. The “believer” must continue to repent of the only thing they can do: dead works. This requires a continued covering of “new sins” committed by the Christian. In order to stay saved, a reapplication of Christ’s death must be applied via ongoing repentance for “new” sins committed.
  1. Faith towards God: faith without works because works in the Christian life are no different from works under the law.
  1. Instruction about washings: the idea that justification requires more than ONE washing.
  1. The laying on of hands: probably refers to rituals that transfer the sins of “believers” to something else, such as an animal that was set loose or sacrificed. It could also signify the laying on of hands by someone who supposedly has the authority to forgive sins.
  1. The resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment: fear of possible eternal judgment. The idea that “believers” will be present at one massive judgment following one massive resurrection that confirms the eternal fate of all people. Christians are not to fear a final judgment that determines one’s eternal destiny. That fate has already been determined and settled:

Ephesians 1:13 – In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

If I may have one more aside, I am slowly, but surely getting my mind around the concept of God’s purposes for a group being elected, and not individuals. Individuals become part of the elected purpose for a group or classification by believing. “Us” does not mean “you” specifically as far as election goes. If you believe on Christ, you become part of the elected group and its predetermined destiny. Hence, by believing, your destiny is predetermined. In that sense you are among the elect chosen for specific purposes. This may be so obvious that we miss it. When I became a Christian, I assumed that I was going to heaven. What would make me assume such? Because God has predetermined that all Christians go to heaven. This doesn’t mean that he chose each Christian individually; it means that he chose the means of salvation and the destiny of those who believe. Part of the “good news” is that the group you are joining has a predetermined destiny. We see a hint of this in the following passage:

Ephesians 2:11 – Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Notice that being separated from Christ is tantamount to being “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise.” The means of salvation, the purposes of salvation, and the promises (covenants) of salvation have a predetermined outcome which benefit those who believe. By believing, our fate and purpose is predetermined and sealed. In contrast, the idea that God preselects individuals for salvation and damnation creates massive confusion in regard to understanding the rest of the Bible.

These thoughts of mine are definitely transitional at this point and not dogmatic as more study is needed. But with that said, we do well to note that the source of deterministic orthodoxy; i.e., Calvinists, are definitively wrong in regard to justification and the gospel. This demands a complete rethinking of election with the complete disqualification of Christian academia as they have had 500 years to make their case and have failed. This is the sum of the matter: the gatekeepers of predeterminism have been found as propagators of a blatant false gospel and completely wanting.

Now, in regard to the Calvinist construct, I believe that we can apply the principles proposed by the Hebrew writer to refute the notion of a continued repentance and forgiveness for “new” sins committed by “believers.” Note what the Hebrew writer stated:

4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance,

If Christians fall away via “new” sins committed “in time,” it is “impossible” for them to partake in a VALID  saving repentance—that kind of repentance is impossible because…

since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Yet, this ministry has documented numerous quotations by Calvinists, and John Calvin himself that state in no uncertain terms that new sins committed by Christians must be forgiven in order to maintain salvation. The Hebrew writer stated that as “impossible” because a redundant repentance cannot save. Why? It infers that the person has not really experienced the sealing of the Holy Spirit and the power of the age to come. This particular repentance of the justification class can only happen once and must be differentiated from sonship repentance. The latter restores a sense of joy and peace when the relationship between a father and son has no unresolved issues.

Therefore, Hebrews does violence to the Reformed notion of a “lifestyle of repentance” (Paul David Tripp). The lifestyle of a true believer is a lifestyle of aggressive love without fear of judgment while a “lifestyle of repentance” is “crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”

Also stated as impossible by the Hebrew writer is the possibility that a continued return to the basics of salvation can produce life:

7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

One last point before we close this post. In verse 10, the author states the following: “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” This is an astounding statement. It is saying that God would be “unjust” to overlook our “work” and “love.” If that would make God “unjust,” that means these works are both righteous and earned by us. Our works of love in kingdom living deserve some sort of recognition by God. This could NOT be speaking to justification.

And that’s why we must move on from that which justified us to that which sanctifies us. We must move on to maturity and love.


2 Responses

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  1. markmcculley said, on August 28, 2016 at 11:58 PM

    Sorry to see that you deny God’s unconditional lover for specific indivdual sinners. The ultimate way we can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you” is to tell them that the gospel they MUST believe excludes even their believing as the condition of salvation. The only condition of salvation for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. Unless you teach that Christ died only for the elect, you will end up encouraging people to make faith into that little something that makes the difference between life and death!

    I am not looking looking for something ambiguous enough for influential people to sign in some “alliance” or “coalition”.. I am asking us if we believe that the glory of God in the gospel means that all for whom Christ died will certainly be saved. Or has this doctrine become too “rationalistic” for us?

    Would that doctrine perhaps take the grace of God out of the hands of those who hand out the “means of grace” and locate grace with the Father who has chosen a people and given them to Christ? (Romans 11:4-6) Would the doctrine of effective atonement take the starch out of those who thank God for how much changed their “hearts are? Not being depraved anymore shows that we believe the gospel, but it does not prove that we are now “moral” (without “too much” sin)

    Election of individuals is God’s love for individuals When the Bible talks about God’s love, it talks about propitiation. I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”It’s not enough to add on that God sent His Son to purchase faith for those indviduals who continue to believe the gspel. . The nature of the cross as a propitiation will not be proclaimed. Instead a James Boice (sermons on Psalm 22) will turn the gospel into law, and tell sinners that the atonement was for them but they “ruined” it for themselves.

    A propitiation for the elect which is also the same and enough for the non-elect, amounts to nothing. Does the Neo-Calvinist love the gospel of election, or does he hate the doctrine and suppress it? Yes, Christ loved the church, but is the church the Norman Shepherd church of elect who become the non-elect? The Shepherd false gospel starts with the idea of talking about “covenant” instead of “election”, and then talks about water baptism instead of about regeneration.

    The New-Calvinist does not talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. He won’t even talk about Christ not dying for those who don’t put faith in Christ . The New Calvinist wants you to give yourself to Christ without knowing anything about election.

    The New-Calvinist will even defend this non-election gospel as being the only perspective possible to us. We have to know we believe, before we can know if we are elect. I agree that knowing our election before we believe is impossible. Knowing our election is NOT our warrant to believe. (See Abraham Booth’s wonderful book against preparationism– Glad Tidings). But this is no excuse for leaving the Bible doctrine of indidvudal election out of the doctrine of propitiation by Christ’s death there and then on the cross. We can and should teach the doctrine of election. The Bible doctrine of election does not teach unbelievers that they are elect, nor does the Bible doctrine of election teach unbelievers that they can find out if they are elect without or before believing,


    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on August 29, 2016 at 9:14 AM

      The conclusions drawn by your comment are moot because they begin with a faulty premise regarding your assumption of what “election” is. Faith must be grounded in a rational argument. Belief therefore requires man to make a choice to accept an argument based on a rational cognitive exercise of the mind. If faith is not of man, if man cannot make a volitional exercise of will to believe the gospel, then there is no rational need for evangelism. The entirety of the Bible is one giant contradiction.


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