Paul's Passing Thoughts

How Calvinism Turns Brave Hearts into Cold Hearts

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on November 2, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Originally posted April 29, 2013

I will post a video at the end of this article that elicited the following response from those who posted it on the social network where I watched it:

“Not sure what one could add to or take away from what we have just seen. I am reminded of Matt. 24 when Jesus says that because of lawlessness the hearts of many will grow cold. “Just do it” and laughter throughout the time is just beyond me. Heather was in tears. I wanted to throw up. Beyond disgusting.”

The key to understanding the cold-bloodedness that they observed is in their mention of Matthew 24:12, and the two key words are BECAUSE and LAWLESSNESS. Christ said that “because” of “lawlessness,” love would “grow cold.” The source of this lawlessness is described by Jesus in the previous verse: “many false prophets.”

Now we would do well to examine what Christ meant by the word often translated “lawlessness” and “wickedness” in our English Bibles. These words posit the idea of bad behavior, but that’s not what the actual word that is used by Christ means at all. The word is “anomia.” The “a” is a negative article prefix that means “anti” and “nomia” or nomos, refers to God’s law specifically. The idea of sinful behavior is an entirely different word altogether. Among many used is “hamartia,” or “sin” and these two words are specifically contrasted in 1John 3:4. Sin is defined by any aberration of God’s standard.

In Matthew 24:12, as well as many other passages, an anti-Bible agenda is in view propagated by false prophets.

The world in general becomes cold-hearted by rejecting the law of God written on their hearts and administered by the conscience—either excusing or accusing their actions (ROM 2:15,16). The conscience can eventually be seared if continually violated and ignored (1TIM 4:2). Christians are to keep a clear conscience before God (Acts 24,16 1Peter 3:16, 1TIM 1:5, 3:9, 2TIM 1:3). Keeping a clear conscience before God is obviously behavior focused as judged by the Bible.

One of the monumental misnomers of all time is the idea of “legalism.” This term was formulated by false prophets who really want to steer us away from nomos. Misguided obedience has never been the church’s primary nemesis; it has always been anti-word of God. When the apostle Paul warned those who wanted to be justified by the law, “law,” is in a manner of speaking; Paul was referring to what false teachers purport to be the law, not an actual sincere love for truth and a desire to live by it. This is why James stated that anyone who wanted to be justified by the law had to keep all of it, not a standard of their own choosing (James 2:10). Supposed law-keeping is also often connected to salvation by mere ritual as well. This point cannot be better made than to cite what Paul wrote to the Galatians:

5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.

We see here, clearly, that Paul was confronting a belief that being circumcised according to law excused them from a truthful obedience to the law. In other words, justification by law-keeping is ALWAYS a dumbed-down version of the law to make adherence for salvation feasible. Paul contrasts this with true obedience to the law in sanctification:

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Justification by law-keeping is NEVER an endeavor to obey the truth; it is ALWAYS the replacement of God’s law with the traditions of men—making the law of God “void.” The Pharisees, the supposed poster children for “legalism,” or “living by the law,” were not guilty of trying to obtain salvation by a sincere obedience to the truth, but rather replaced the law of God with their traditions and made that the standard for salvation (which has no law standard to begin with):

Matthew15:1 – Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.

Matthew 23:16 – “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

And what were the Pharisees full of “within”? “[L]awlessness” which is the word “anomia.” The English translation is “anti-law” or “antinomianism.” That’s what the Pharisees were full of within—not “legalism” which is a concept not found in the Bible anywhere by idea or word. There is obedience to truth or anti-truth—no in-between.

“Legalism” fosters the idea that Christians can unwittingly try to please God by obeying the truth as a way to earn their justification. The idea was hatched by the Reformers and is a Neo-Calvinist doctrinal mainstay in our day. The favorite illustration is the Pharisees who supposedly were really, really good at keeping the law and obeying the Bible in an attempt to earn their justification. This is a ploy to create confusion in regard to the law’s relationship to justification and sanctification. The Reformers created immense fear among Christians by making the law’s relationship to justification the same as sanctification. In justification, law has no jurisdiction in regard to the Christian. The Christian is transformed from a status where the law is the standard to be justified (and impossible) to a status where the law informs our sanctification totally separate from justification. So, the law is a standard for sanctification, but in regard to the Christian, the law no longer has jurisdiction over his/her salvation. In Calvinism, the law remains a standard for justification IN salvation that must be maintained until the final judgment.

Because man is created to do works, this makes sanctification very tricky with our eternal destiny hanging in the balance. Calvinists therefore assure Christians that if they live their Christian lives by faith alone—they are playing it safe. As one New Calvinist told me: “If I let Jesus do all the work, He can’t fault me for anything when I stand before Him.”  Of course, living in a way that imputes the works of Christ to our Christian walk is very complicated, but be assured: New Calvinists will teach us how to “practice obedient faith” so we can arrive at the final judgment covered by “what Jesus has done, not anything we do”….in our Christian walk. This confounding of the law’s relationship to justification and sanctification makes the Christian walk a minefield with constant danger of  “making sanctification the ground of our justification.” We must therefore seek out the Reformed for their secret formula for living the Christian life by faith alone. “Sola Fide” is for justification and sanctification both—that’s the dirty little secret. The Reformed couch the language in terms like “obedient faith.” The Reformers saw faith as a neutral conduit that God uses to impute the perpetual works of Christ to the believer. In other words, Christ’s atoning work is not yet finished for salvation: though accomplished in one period of time, it must be continually appropriated to maintain our just standing. The maintenance of our salvation is in view. Hence, we must “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.”

But this brings us from fearful hearts to cold hearts. Reformed theology will heap its share of cold-hearted mentality on humanity “because of anomia.” It’s just more anomia dressed in religious garb. This brings my point back to the video that was posted. It is cold-heartedness on steroids regarding the abortion issue. Therefore, the following should make perfect sense to us:

According to the National Right to Life, the total number of abortions in the US is down-33% from its peak in 1980/81- and the greatest decrease is among adolescent girls and young women. Good News!

But if we look further into these statistics, we find disconcerting news for the Church: The abortion rates among professing Christians are commensurate with the rest of the population!

Approx. 560,000 for Protestants (43%)

Approx. 350,000 per year for Catholics (27%)

13% of abortions (approx. 170,000 per year) are performed on self-described “Born Again” or Evangelical Christians (Alan Guttmacher Institute and Physicians for Reproductive Choice, “An Overview of Abortion in the United States,” 2003 and 2008)

Even more disturbing is the fact that these percentages have NOT dropped, even though the number of abortions have in recent years!

These statistics reveal that actually MORE women who profess Christianity are having abortions.

This is what Reformed theology has always done to society. Despite the traditions of men that claim otherwise, the Reformation did not bring light to darkness, it brought more darkness. Post Reformation brought little more than chaos and turmoil to Europe—more than it had ever seen before. It brought tyranny to America in the form of the Salem witch trials, and its contemporary resurgence has resulted in an unprecedented level of abuses in the American church.

It is the epitome of a primary concern of Christ during His ministry: the replacement of the law by the traditions of men resulting in anomia. While waxing eloquent about the Pharisees, Neo-Calvinism is in fact a return to what plagued the apostolic church. To say that Calvinists vaunt the opinions of a litany of past Reformers as authority is an understatement of the most dramatic sort. Even Charles Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers” did little more than regurgitate Reformed tradition. Recently, one Reformed conference was based on the writings of twenty-five Reformed icons. The popular Resolved conferences hosted by John MacArthur highlighted the traditional teachings and legacies of Reformed men of years gone by.

With all of the harping about the Pharisees by Calvinists—they are the Pharisees, and they propagate the same kind of cold-heartedness with it.

Their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.

~Psalm 119:70


2 Responses

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  1. K M said, on November 3, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    I just read this posting, and I want to say that I used to be a Five Point Calvinist. It all seemed very logical and very consistent. But it never gave me any assurance of salvation. It never made me want to share the Good News with other people.

    I have an understanding of the Word that is largely in agreement with Wesleyanism. I want a “heart-felt” faith that I can share with others.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on November 3, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      Protestantism’s progressive justification is predicated on NO ASSURANCE, and Luther and Calvin both stated such in no uncertain terms. Come out from among them and be free. Partial bondage will not give life.


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