Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why Church is Bogus: Its Denial of New Birth Centrality

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 24, 2016

ppt-jpeg4What’s wrong with church? Let’s be honest; you have been going to church with the same group of people for years, but the spectacle of radical change is conspicuously missing. Failure is the big news, not amazing personal growth. Some of the kids who are growing up in your church turn out ok, others end up completely off the reservation. Week in, and week out, everything is about the gospel, the gospel, the gospel. Church community is really little more than sanctified secularism, and in many cases, indicative of things that are unspeakable among the Gentiles. Church drifts from fad to fad, and functions on a steady diet of new books from celebrity pastors and other guru types. Rather than immersing themselves in the word of God, most pastors just tap into whatever is trending in church culture. Those in denial can point to the “rich personal relationships,” but believe it or not, such relationships are found in abundance among the unsaved as well.

When it gets right down to it, the only difference between the secular world and the church is labeling. Oh, but the church helps the poor? So does the world. But the church has strong marriages? So does the world, and the divorce rate is the same to boot. And, the actual differences are not commendable; often, the secular world is far less tolerant of evil.

Why? Starting as early as the 4th century, the apostolic centrality of the new birth was rejected by the church. The reason is simple: new birth is about the individual. If your literal Father is God, and your Brother is the king of the world, and you are God’s literal offspring, you have something to bring to the table in your own right. Shortly after the passing of the apostles, the church usurped the organized body of God’s family and made it an hierarchical institution.

Gospel centrality became, “Christ died for your sins,” not, “You must be born again.” The new birth, as the standard for righteousness, was replaced with the law. Instead of Christ dying to pave the way for the new birth and true righteousness, He was made, not only the substitution for sin’s debt according to the written code, but also perfect law-keeper so that our righteousness can be according to law and not “apart from the law.” The law as written code therefore remains as opposed to the law’s purpose for sanctification among the born again. Christ alone must fulfill the law with love lest you have “a righteousness of your own.”

In the official soteriology of the church, the new birth is neither here nor there because being made better still doesn’t enable you to keep the law perfectly, so the new birth serves no soteriological purpose whatsoever in the church. For all practical gospel purposes, you remain unchanged, and that’s why church is bogus. The apostles fought this same justification by law tooth and nail while they were alive, and as they warned night and day with tears, it would launch an out-out offensive after their departure. It’s called, “the church.”

It’s not complicated; supposedly, we are no longer under law because Jesus keeps/kept the law for us. Note: we are no longer under the law because the old us that was under the law literally died, not because Jesus keeps the law for us. We are either under law or under grace; it’s one or the other—it can’t be both. And of course this leads to the last days religion of antinomianism because you don’t keep the law—Jesus keeps it for you. That’s why the love of many will wax cold in the last days; churchians don’t love God and others by keeping the law, Jesus supposedly keeps it for them lest it be works justification. This is the invariable formula when justification is not a finished work. Hence, we can expect the church to be divided into two primary groups: antinomians and those tolerant of antinomianism.

ANY gospel that proclaims a substitution for fulfilling the law necessarily denies the new birth outright, or at least redefines it in an other-than-biblical way. The often heard idea that Christ was resurrected to confirm His perfect law-keeping is an egregious false gospel that reflects the same justification by law that, and I will say it again, was the primary nemesis that plagued the apostles.

You see, God tried to make this point with all kinds of manifestations of the Spirit during the apostolic period. Unfortunately, these historical events found in the gospels and the book of Acts are relegated to all kinds of mysticism. Christ wasn’t deity in the flesh because of His perfect law-keeping, he was perfect because he was born into the world by the Spirit through the virgin Mary. Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man, or the first fruits of many made righteous by the new birth—not law-keeping. You are righteous because you are born of the Spirit, not because Jesus kept the law for you. To doubt that a believer is literally reborn by the Spirit is to also doubt, or deny, the Spirit’s like work in the virgin Mary. That’s what the Spirit does, He gives new birth. This is why unbelievers push against salvation; intuitively, they understand that who they presently are will be vanquished resulting in an all new person recreated by God. That’s radical unpredictable change that people fear.

True Christians need to begin focusing on new birth centrality. I had an interesting conversation with my five-year-old grandson while running errands in my car yesterday. The following is my best remembrance of the words:

“Papa, why are you happy all of the time?”

‘Because I am born again.’

“What does that mean?”

‘It means I have been born again into God’s family, it means God is my literal Father and Jesus is my literal brother.’

“What about our family?”

‘When you are born again, you have two families; your earthly family and your family in heaven.’

“I was born by my mommy and daddy, I was in my mommy’s tummy.”

‘Indeed you were,’ but when you are born again, you have two fathers, and many brothers and sisters who are also born into God’s family.’

As I waited for the next reply, it didn’t come, but I could tell Blayne was in deep pondering about the conversation which found me totally off-guard and frankly, ill prepared. Of course, I could have made more of the conversation, and I could have worded my responses better, but it is a start. However, a foundation was laid that can now be invoked in more conversion as we go about life. When he sins, I can now use that to revisit our original conversion and build on it. We need to leave church and the foot of the cross behind, and talk much more about the empty tomb—the hope of future glory and present love.

But the church has little need for the resurrected, because the fellowship of the resurrected is a cooperative body under one truth that operates by individual gifts—not authority. The church is a kingdom of this world striving for its stake in world dominance, for the greater good of course. The kingdom of the resurrected is not of this world, our King and brother is in heaven sitting at the right hand of our Father. The church is just another conquest endeavor of this present world among many others. This requires the following of many men, not the one mediator who is Christ.

In conclusion, if you want to pursue new birth centrality, like me, and if you would be so fortunate, you may have to find you confirmation from the mouths of children. When my daughter Heather was Blayne’s age, she wrote an essay for a school assignment that follows:

“My Dad”

My dad has brown curly hair.

My dad talks about the Lord Jesus.

His voice is a happy voice.

My dad is very happy all the time.

My dad works on cars.

I love you dad.

Funny, this is a much different perspective than I have received from church folks most of my life. According to them, I am an “angry man,” “hateful,” “rude,” “opinionated,” “a know-it-all,” “intolerant,” “an abuser,” etc., etc., etc., etc. More recently, I have been dubbed a “cultist of death” and the leader of a “tyrannical regime.” This is what I have come to learn: children see you more for what you are, adults judge you according to how comfortable you make them. In my book, I will die much better with the testimonies of children. However, there may be some merit to the adult version as children really want to simply know while adults often want to protect an agenda which I find very annoying, and no doubt with rudeness following.

In the final analysis, churchians love death and the testimony of misery. If you are a propagator of life in that culture, do not expect things to go well. Like Christ, you will not be found in the tomb of sin and death, and your glory is not a perpetual gazing at the serpent lifted up in the wilderness. You looked upon it but once, and now your tomb is empty.

paul

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