Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why the Protestant Gospel Cannot Save: Todd Friel Defends Josh Duggar

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 24, 2015

f2f8c-wreTodd Friel is a Reformed radio host and also MC for some very prestigious Reformed conferences. The name of Friel’s radio show is simply “Wretched.” The title is predicated on authentic Protestant soteriology: the new birth ONLY changes a person’s ability to see how wretched they are.

It’s not that the person doesn’t change per se; their ability to see the depths of their depravity improves. However, the saved person possesses no righteousness; ALL righteousness remains outside of the saved person. This is Martin Luther’s alien righteousness.

Because Protestantism is a super-cult that uses deceptive communication for the sole purpose of deceiving, Luther’s alien righteousness is often framed as “having no righteousness of our own.” Hence, the hearer is allowed to assume that “our own” denies that the means of righteousness originated with the believer. The biblical definition of the new birth is therefore deliberately skewed. The gift of new life is framed as an ownership issue rather than a supernatural embodiment of new being. To believe we are righteous is to make ourselves equal with God.

At any rate, and via many truisms, Protestants seek to keep the new birth in an ambiguous light. To say that we have “the righteousness of Christ” can be interpreted many different ways in regard to the new birth, and that is the idea. The goal is to keep people in a sliding mode of assumption until they are fully indoctrinated. This is Cult 101. For example, the assumption that Protestant pastors talk about the gospel every Sunday “because there might be some lost people present or members who are self-deceived.” Eventually, this assumption leads you to where they want to take you—you need the gospel every day to keep yourself saved and the gospel is only legit in the institutional church.

Another favorite deceptive truism is the idea that we focus on our depravity so that we will appreciate our salvation more, and then all obedience is sanctified and flows from “gratitude.” This seems perfectly logical, but wait a minute, what is the nature of the obedience if we are totally depraved to begin with? If a totally depraved person can obey, doesn’t that make them at least partially righteous?

Very good question, but most Protestants have been conditioned to not think that deeply, and are temporarily satisfied with such an answer until they are fully indoctrinated.

The citations from Friel’s defense of Duggar speak to what I am saying above. Yes, the disaster here, according to Friel, is not that the Gentiles have cause to blaspheme God because of the molestation of children, but rather…

There are two groups of people who should not be shocked to discover that a member of the Duggar family is a sinner: Christians and non-Christians. Surprisingly, both camps seemed to be surprised by this revelation.

That is what makes the Josh Duggar story a disaster.

Remember, this guy is not a Reformed lightweight by any stretch of the imagination, and often partakes in ministry projects with the likes of John MacArthur Jr. and RC Sproul.

He continues…

Based on his own admission, Josh sinned, repented and got saved. Why in the world would Christians be appalled to discover an unregenerate 14-year-old boy acted wickedly?

According to Josh himself, “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life.” Sounds like a pretty typical conversion story to me.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (I Cor.6:9-11).

Have we forgotten that the Apostle Paul was a murderer before God saved him?

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (I Tim.1:15-16).

Stop right there. Notice how Friel proffers an angle that we would all agree with: what the guy did was horrible, but it led to his salvation. He even cites verses that speak of the behavior in the past tense. But then watch what he does in the very next sentence,

Josh is no worse than the Apostle Paul. Josh should not be shunned by Christians; he should be comforted by Christians who are just as wicked and just as forgiven as he is. Josh is nothing more, and nothing less, than a story of God’s amazing grace.

See how he slides from the past tense to the present tense without a transition? Something changes, but obviously NOT our nature. People are left to assume what the specifics of the changes are. Folks, this is classic cultic communication.


This might be the bigger tragedy of the Josh Duggar story: unbelievers consider it a bombshell when it is discovered that a Christian has a shameful past. This ought not to be.

If we Christians were doing our job proclaiming that the Gospel is for sinners, of whom we are the foremost, the world would yawn when it discovered that Josh was a hound dog.

If Christians were as loud about the Gospel as we are about being the moral majority, I suspect there would be five results:

  1. Unbelievers would not see Josh Duggar as a hypocrite; they would see him as a typical born-again believer who is forgiven by an amazingly gracious God.
  1. Unbelievers would not see Christians as a mere special interest group that seeks to impose values on other people.
  1. The Gospel would be shining brightly.
  1. Somebody might get saved.
  1. Josh Duggar and his family would be going about their business today as a typical Christian family saved by grace alone.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that any of those things are happening. I don’t blame the world; I blame us.

Is it possible we have become so obsessed with imposing our values on unbelievers that the world sees us as self-righteous Pharisees and not as blood-washed sinners?

Have we been so consumed by the culture wars that we have failed to engage in the spiritual battle for souls?

Notice again how Friel confuses the past condition of Christians with the present. A difference is delineated, yet it’s not defined; the change that takes place is ambiguous, and the logical conclusion cannot assume an actual ability to be righteous. Really, it boils down to a mere positional status rather than an actual change of being.

However, in his closing paragraph, Friel leaves no doubt as to the identity of believers in Reformed soteriology:

Josh tendered his resignation to the Family Research Council and they accepted it. While none of us know all of the details, if Josh were in my employ, I would not have accepted his resignation.

I would have shouted from the rooftops, “If you think Josh is wicked, you should meet the rest of us! That is why we are Christians! We need forgiveness for being wretched, vile, wicked rebels. If you are a rebel too, Jesus died for you! Run to Jesus! Join the wretched club.”

Let’s not squander this opportunity to share the great good news that Jesus died for perverts, liars, thieves, drunkards, abortionists, Wall Street fat cats, skid row bums, suburban housewives, blue collar workers and every sinner who will come to Him in repentance and faith.

Josh Duggar’s story is more than a Gospel tragedy; it is a Gospel opportunity. Don’t waste it.

This gospel cannot save, and will only attract those who do not want to undergo the radical change of new birth. It will only attract those who think they can sin all the more so grace will abound.


13 Responses

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  1. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 25, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    The savor of life and death of which both glorify God. It’s a doctrine of fear, BUT, remember, your local Reformed elder has been given authority by God to bind and loose on earth. Regardless of the doctrine that drives people to the institutional church in a fearful frenzy, the elders are the trump card; if they say you are saved–you’re in. Ever wonder how there could possibly be a church every 2.5 miles apart with a $500,000 dollar annual budget? That’s why, people will pay big bucs for their salvation.


  2. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 25, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    The apostle Paul said love does not rejoice in evil, but the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification clearly teaches that recognition of evil results in joy. That’s called, “grace.”


  3. johnimmel said, on May 25, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    So, I guess I’ve gone back and forth in my head on this a hundred times.

    If I may…. set aside the despicable theology being advocated . . . I struggle to condemn a 28 (?) year old man for the actions of a horney 14 year old boy raised in the sexually repressed Reformed Theology household. I ask myself this question: If the father had reported his sons actions to the police . . . (an action that I think most fathers would sweat blood to do) and the “authorities” threw the book at this boy and he got the maximum penalty under civil law . . . said 14 year old boy’s legal records would have been sealed. Who would have known? What would there have been to know? Would that change our outrage? If he got his comeuppance would he have ever been “qualified” to be a preacher?

    If no, then does that mean that 14 year old actions are universally disqualifying . . . from preacherhood? From any other occupation?

    Is it because he is a “sex offender” that we rage? BTW the wonderfully specious crime of “sex offender” can be gained by taking a leak against a tree. Do you know how many trees I peed against when I was 14? Me and my friends?

    Anyway . . . IDK… like I said, I struggle to condemn a man for the actions of a boy. Now if it comes to light that he has been groping kids ever since then I think he should be . . . well, I’ll leave you to invent justice for that.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 25, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      The controversy arises with the lost having angst over people who proudly proclaim themselves to be the “chief of all child molesters” while calling the gay community a threat to society for not recognizing the depths of who they are. The children are not spared–that’s not the point, the point is that all events whether bad or good “show forth the gospel.” The damned unregenerate, and even professing Christians just don’t understand, “grace.” In all of the defenses of this guy, an argument for the new birth is conspicuously missing.


  4. johnimmel said, on May 25, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Yea… there is loads of hypocrisy in the theological disaster known as Reformed Theology AKA Calvinism. That is not in dispute. In my mind the leading (maybe only reason) there is a scandal is that Christian leaders like to play both sides of the moral fence. They are in leadership because they are paragons of moral virtue UNTIL they are caught with their hands in the moral cookie jar. Then we are all just sinners and how dare you condemn our immorality.

    And for the most part the “lost” don’t really give a good rip one direction or the other . . . except maybe to point out the philosophical inconsistency.

    But I guess I am struggling to condemn the actions of a 14 year old kid and label the man (almost 15 years after the fact) “Chief child molester.”

    I was a rather accomplished little thief at 13 and 14 but as an adult I’m morally hard pressed to take someone’s pen. Should I be condemned as a “chief thief” as an adult? I hope not.

    Certainly there are teenagers that are dangerous. And those teenagers are morally culpable for their actions. But what is the line between developmentally bad behavior and morally condemnable recidivism?

    I’m honestly struggling to land on the right principle . . .


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 25, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      I think this all speaks to the world’s intuitive expectations in regard to those who name the name of Christ. They rightfully expect a higher standard. Regardless, the world will not tolerate certain sins and are totally unforgiving for them which is hypocritical as well and robs people of hope; i.e., your life should be over because you did this, that, or the other. Again, instead of the right gospel making the criticism an opportunity to share the gospel, the name of Christ is dragged through the mud further while Protestants try to cram their Platonism down the throats of the collective world.


  5. Oasis said, on May 25, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    John, the 14-year-old sex offender’s “actions” are serious crimes. Premeditated crimes committed upon valuable human beings, repeated over many months. Please keep this in mind as you sort through the fog.


  6. johnimmel said, on May 25, 2015 at 11:47 PM

    yes . . . and like i said, let us assume that his actions had been penalized as a crime . . . meaning civil authorities brought force to bear . . . does that change the outrage? Does it change his qualification for professional endeavors as an adult? had he been turned over to the police and he served out whatever penalty … his juvenile record would have been sealed. Would there have been anything to know? did he pay for his crime? Or is it the fact that he didn’t pay for his crime that has people bothered? and now as an adult he should suffer?


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on May 26, 2015 at 6:07 AM

      As someone who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and got in with the wrong crowd as a teenager, I totally see John’s point. Let me add this consideration: this is a child-centered culture, and the unpardonable sin is abusing children. I mean, in some states you can get life in prison for possessing child porn–that is, the mere possession of it. And how much of this is…”here we go again” in the Protestant ranks. Bottom line: Christians can try to shirk the reality of higher expectations via their gospel-driven sanctification, but the world isn’t buying it–especially when it involves what they consider cardinal sin. The Duggars were/are part of the homeschool/Patriarchy subculture and heavily promoted Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard who were both outed for sexual misconduct. I think Josh Duggar’s association with that subculture which is also ISIS Light in regard to the education of women etc is/was NOT helpful.


  7. Albert J Wrigglesworth said, on May 27, 2015 at 1:01 AM

    According to Josh and Anna’s official web page Josh received Christ at the age of 7, therefore making him a regenerate in Christ, yet everyone seems to go with the unregenerate comment when he was 14. Which is correct? Was he saved at 7 or 14? If at 7yrs of age then Hebrews 6:1-8 would kick in would it not? Has Josh crucified Christ twice? If this is true then this would be holding Christ in contempt. Here lies the rub in the fact I have a hard time believing in a regenerate 7 yr old, but if their church and family has accepted that then he is guilty of holding Christ in contempt. If in truth he was not regenerate at 7 then he has lied, still holding Christ in contempt.

    When we are regenerate in Christ it is Christ who lives in us, yes even though our body may want to sin, but we have the mind of Christ to overcome. I find this would be difficult in a 7 yr old child though because they would not have the understanding. This is why most denominations wait till the child is around 12 or 13 yrs of age for the child to confess their belief, and even then it is when Christ would call them.


  8. lydia00 said, on June 21, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    “But I guess I am struggling to condemn the actions of a 14 year old kid and label the man (almost 15 years after the fact) “Chief child molester.”

    Late to this topic. John, If my 14 year old brother (I was about 6) had snuck into my room at night and done this, there would have been hell to pay. There is a deeper problem here. He had absolutely no respect for girls. His inclination was not to protect them but USE them? At 14? Please tell me you don’t for one minute believe he could not have understood how wrong this was. Entitlement mentality? My brother got in trouble for coming into my room or even touching my stuff and visa versa. We are either taught to respect human privacy. All humans and not take advantage of the more vulnerable..

    Now, fast forward. NO ONE WOULD CARE NOW if not for the fact his family puts themsevles forth in media as the perfect Christian family. They make money off being a model Christian family. (More iike a freak show to me)

    They made themselves fodder.

    Your responses to this sound incredibly close to what I am hearing from many patriarchal circles: Boys will be boys and he was just experimenting. Fact is, he was very creepy as a 14 year old. Did he grow out of it? Who knows but he won’t be babysitting my kids.


  9. Andy Bachand said, on May 25, 2018 at 11:34 PM

    Andy Blachand
    Your comment was removed because it does not meet PPT moderation requirements.


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