Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why Church Can’t Help People

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 18, 2014

My daughter sends me some articles from time to time written by Reformed academics who have completely taken over the institutional church in this country. What’s left of the church doesn’t possess any discernment and feeds off the who’s who of Christian academia. Historically, there have been about five Reformed resurgences like the one we are presently experiencing that always die out, and the reason they die out is very simple: it’s a false gospel. This post addresses the article because it is indicative of why Protestantism is a false gospel, and since authentic Protestantism presently dominates the American institutional church, there is no help to be found in it. To the contrary, it will rob hurting people of any hope they had left because many believe church is Christianity. Church is not Christianity.

Protestantism was founded on the false gospel of progressive justification. That false gospel produced a tradition of worship practices that survived a purist Protestant doctrine, but invariably paved the way for a return to the original article. In other words, Protestants come to a better understanding of the gospel, but continue to practice the traditions that came from the original article, which feeds the weakness of the original back into the church. So, Protestant Light gets blamed for the mundane, and the solution is to “return to our original roots that we have strayed from.” The original article dies out, but again, the traditions that came from the original continue; i.e., solemn observance of the Lord’s Table, alter calls (Absolution Light), “gospel” everything, ungifted pastors who buy their pastorate from institutional seminaries, heretics vaunted as spiritual heroes, the perpetual regurgitation of Reformed orthodoxy as truth, weak sanctification, avoidance of the difficult issues of life, canned worship services, an institution focus, canned gospel presentations, a program for everything, endless committees, little emphasis on individual gifts, the making of saved people and not disciples, doctrinal illiteracy of shameful proportions, etc.,  etc., etc.

In said article from The Gospel Coalition blog, the author proffers a solution for helping Christians who struggle with homosexuality. It is fairly easy to see that his solutions flow from the original Protestant gospel of progressive justification. Salvation has a beginning, a progression, and a “final justification.” Since salvation progresses, what they deceptively call “progressive sanctification,” we must supposedly progress in our salvation in the same way we were saved, by faith alone.

Hence, “desires” like homosexuality are completely out of our control. God may eradicate the desire, and then again, He may not because sanctification is of faith alone just like our salvation. To say that we have a role in change is the same as saying we have a role in our salvation according to the Reformed viewpoint. Remember, according to Reformed thought, the Christian life is a continuation of our original salvation; as we often hear, “Salvation is of grace from beginning to end.” This makes the Christian life part of the salvation process. However, salvation is not a process; it is a onetime event—the Christian life is completely separate.

Therefore, the author’s solution is a community that embraces a “theology of  unfillment.”

This is the normative Christian experience— to live with incompletion, unfulfillment, and an awareness that the gospel’s imperatives will challenge and frustrate our natural impulses in many ways.

If we’re going to summon people to sexual chastity, we should be welcoming one another into a community in which we are all wrestling with unsatisfied desires that will only fully and finally be met in Christ. Such a community will help create a plausibility structure in which our same-sex attracted friends living with daily unfulfillment see that they are not the only ones.

Of course, this contradicts the biblical promise that God will give us the desires of our heart if we put Him first. But moreover, it follows the Reformed tradition of denying the new birth. The gospel is not a mere mental assent to the facts of the gospel, it is following Christ in death and resurrection. The old self dies, and is resurrected as a new creature, “behold, all things are new.” The new Christian will have new desires. Sometimes, the old desires will die off quickly and will be replaced with new desires, while in other cases the old ways will linger.

But, the Bible is clear, if remaining sin provokes us with desires that oppose the Spirit, we are not enslaved to those desires even though it may feel like it. The born again Christian is able to say “no” to those desires. Also, saying no to errant desires will rob the same desires of “provisions.” Obedience to sinful desires will enslave us to those desires, and for the Christian, that is totally unnecessary. In contrast, our inclinations as Christians will be enslavement to righteousness:

Romans 6:16 – Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

This is true because…

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

If a professing Christian has conflicting desires, or a desire to overcome passions that are contrary to God’s will according to the Bible, that is a very good sign, and he/she can do it—it’s a promise from God.  This is why the institutional church cannot help people; it denies the new birth and disregards the Bible’s role in sanctification.


2 Responses

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  1. gricketson01 said, on November 18, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Paul,i came across this article,thought you might be interested…….In other words, Satanism is existentialism and individualism run amok: it is the worship of the self above all other good. It’s a religion of the most American, most secular form: there is no transcendent good, not even a humanist or communitarian one, that supersedes the will of the individual. To use Internetspeak: IMHO, this is the natural end of the Enlightenment project. #humanfail……..


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on November 19, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      This could be the next Gnostic Weekly.


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