Paul's Passing Thoughts

Identity

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 5, 2015

TANC M2TANC Ministries is presently working on a book project leading up to our 2016 conference in August. I guess my name will be on the book as the author, but the book is really a group project. Maybe the author should be “TANC Ministries.”

Why this project? I will cite some excerpts from the project objective:

“Those who are disillusioned with Christianity, but haven’t given up on God and are looking for answers, often ask, ‘Where do I start?’ Such people who come to PPT, and are overwhelmed by the mass of information often ask, ‘Where is the best place to start?’ Andy Young recently remarked about the multiple layers of misinformation and the question of where this ministry should start with people on our end of the question…The target audience are those looking for real and truthful answers amongst the confusion; they are those trying to make sense out of life in the confusion of Christianity as we know it in our day. The book will have a theological and philosophical bent. Protestants and Catholics alike are dumbed-down by design, think that the Reformation was a theological debate, are confused about basic elements of metaphysics and being, and need a place to start on their truth journey. Those who buy the book will have this in common: they assume reason is a necessary pathway to finding truth.”

At first, it looked like the project was off to a fast start, but what seemed like great ideas were shot down by the group, so it was suggested that I start submitting free-writing articles to the group based on the usual ministry themes, and this will result in an articulation of objectives that the group agrees with. This article is one such submission to the group.

I am not crazy about Facebook, but on the other hand, it is valuable to our ministry, and yesterday was no exception. I am not going to copy and paste the whole debate here between myself and a couple of Catholics, but I am very tempted to think that it will be the crux of our project. The excerpt that encapsulates the main point follows:

“You act as if the Pope speaking ex cathedra or the council of Bishops as an authority of truth is so absurd. I understand that you disagree with it, and you are entitled to the right to disagree. But the concept in and of itself is certainly not absurd. I have to say, if it comes down to which is less absurd, a church authority instituted by Christ is much more plausible than Jesus giving us a Bible and telling everyone they can discern truth completely (error free) by themselves. (Not saying we are completely void of discerning truth, but we will never be perfect at it). Look around you: if everyone could perfectly discern truth for themselves, then why do non-catholic churches continue to split up each and every day? I think there are like over 30,000 denominations now? We are not trying to attack you, Paul M. Dohse Sr. We are just trying to get to the truth. And I have felt misrepresented by your points, so I have to ask the tough questions.”

To me, this absolutely says it all; perhaps the project group will agree. It boils down to man’s (mankind) identity and his ability to interpret reality. Universally, the goal is man’s well-being.  Is the key to well-being a proper identity? What does man’s identity have to do with evaluating truth? EVERYTHING. Suppose you identify man as a being that cannot know truth? I think that makes the point.

Now, this necessarily involves a discussion about philosophy and its four major tenets: metaphysics (state of being), epistemology (how we know), ethics (the moral application of how we perceive reality), and politics (how the ethics are communicated). But what about the Bible? From my own perspective, I see the Bible as God’s philosophical statement to mankind. If you are able to defend God’s truth, or the Gospel, you must know what the Bible states about these four tenets of philosophy. No? Really? Consider the following fact: this stream of conversation on Facebook was extremely long, and complete with Scripture stacking and citation wars, but to no avail. Why? Because truth is interpreted through the philosophical prism. A Chinese person might as well be attempting to convince an English person that Chinese is better (anything Chinese) while arguing in their perspective languages. The example that astounds me the most follows: people who seek counsel and assume the counselor shares their view of reality. No wonder so few people are helped by counseling accordingly. Another example makes its own point because few Christians will even know what I am talking about. Pastors in our day view reality from two different perspectives, redemptive or grammatical, and most parishioners are clueless in regard to where their pastors stand on that issue. They assume they know what the pastor is teaching from the pulpit, but really they are clueless.

What is the philosophy of the person that I was having the discussion with? Metaphysics: man cannot know truth PERFECTLY. Epistemology: “ex cathedra or the council of Bishops as an authority of truth.” Ethics: prevention of chaos. Politics: expected obedience to authority. Words mean things, so lets examine his words carefully. The issue with man, according to this person, is he cannot know truth “perfectly.” That’s key. So then, what is the ethic? Christ has appointed an authority on earth to prevent chaos because no man can know the truth perfectly.

But wait a minute, neither can the men whom Christ appointed as an authority; likewise, they cannot know the truth perfectly because they are also men, so what gives? This is what gives: authority for the sake of UNITY is the goal, not truth per se. In fact, UNITY defines truth itself. And where does that come from? Yep, P-l-a-t-o. Among most of the classic sophists, unity itself was truth. At least in Plato’s case, this was the definition of social justice as well. Does that ring any bells in regard to churchianity, or Western society in general? Let me further the point. What was this person’s primary argument for the authority of the Catholic Church? Right, to prevent the chaos of “30,000 denominations” the inevitable result of men being free to discern truth for themselves.

But it gets better when one considers biblical metaphysics. Again, via this person’s own words, the issue is INDIVIDUAL interpretation. But wait a minute, I thought a believer is a totally new creature indwelled by the Holy Spirit? What a minute, I thought the Bible said that the Spirit will lead us in ALL truth. So, why would members of one body with one mind in Christ, and striving for that one mind in Christ be lacking in unity? Why is such a notion “absurd.” Answer: because Catholics and Protestants both fundamentally deny the new birth, that’s why. And consequently, we also hear things from Protestant pastors such as Mark Driscoll saying, “Just keep your damn mouth shut and obey.” As Pastor Chad Bresson is fond of saying, Whether an elder is right or wrong is irrelevant to unity. For those who have the audacity to question an elder, Pastor James MacDonald suggests that they be tied to a catapult and “launched into the next county.” Why are they so passionate about being agreed with? Because obedience to authority is what unifies, not truth—authority is truth.

Moreover, with Believers, “perfection” is not the issue, but LOVE is the issue. Law as condemnation versus law as love is also the difference the new birth makes, but enough said for now.  I will see if any of this gets some traction with the project group.

paul

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One Response

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  1. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on October 6, 2015 at 8:27 AM

    I guess it depends from which angle. Mine is noun/verb. But from an application perspective, I see your point. To me, this is the crux; it comes directly from the heart of someone who converted from Protestantism to Catholicism in the face of plain history. WHY is spiritual abuse tolerated in the church? This is it. This is it. Authority replaces truth. And authority replaces truth because of of propaganda concerning state of being.

    Like


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