Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Las Vegas Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 21, 2018

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“The new birth turns the church completely on its head. The transformation is fivefold…”

Can Christians lose their salvation? Once saved always saved? There is a lot of confusion over this question among the churched and those who have left church. And ponder this: 2000 years later, why is anybody asking this question and many others  you would assume to be settled by now? With all of the high and mighty splendor of church academia and its massive institutions, what do we have to date? Massive confusion and something like 10,000 different denominations.

The answer to these questions is simple: with the passing of the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, and the apostle to the Jews, Peter, the Gnostic theologians of the day created a power/authority/control vacuum. A war ensued between elder led home fellowships and the idea of apostolic succession. Unfortunately, at least in Western culture, the institutional church “authority” won the struggle. The argument was for “apostolic authority,” but the apostles never functioned according to authority to begin with. Clearly, they used persuasion to lead, and most of their letters and treatises were addressed to the assemblies at large and not mandates to church authorities to be handed down. As I have said before, elders are specifically spoken of in the New Testament something like four or five times. Pastoral authority? Where is it? In all of the key passages that speak to submission (that is, a submission to needs), elders are absent, and in other stand alone verses, “rule” is not a proper translation of the words used.

However, if authority is the issue, and it is, no authority has any teeth unless it can be enforced. Church, which became a reality in the 4th century, enforced its authority by two primary means: the state, and authority over individual salvation. Christ said to fear Him who can destroy the body and soul both, the church claims that God gave it the same authority over body and soul as God’s representative and managing authority on earth. And if you know anything about church history and its behavior in this day, you know they take this delusion and subsequent visions of grandeur seriously.

So, supposedly, the church has been given authority by God to not only destroy your body, but to declare you saved or unsaved. That’s church orthodoxy whether Protestant or Catholic and always has been. In fact, before the church state, it was the pagan state going back to day-one after man was banished from the garden of Eden. Of course, the American Revolution robbed church of its state enforcement option for the most part, but the church has always hung tightly to the salvation option because it’s all it has left to enforce its orthodoxy. That is, if you buy into all of that.

But in the same way that the apostles did not implement authority, neither does God in this age to begin with. So, this authority that church claims is not only a lie, but there is no practice of authority in this age to even be passed down by proxy. The basis for a lot of this theology comes from the idea that God’s kingdom is presently on earth and represented by the church. This makes the church little more than a political party. Our business here on earth is saving others from this present age, and in addition, personal godliness, not seizing control of the culture, or even changing the culture for that matter because it’s not our kingdom culture to begin with. We are in the business of changing individuals as we persuade them according to their own consciences.

All of this necessarily requires a rejection of the new birth, or at least the reinterpretation of it by the church. If we are literally reborn into God’s family and made His literal children, all bets are off; you can’t be unborn. At that point, what do we need church for? The new birth turns the church completely on its head. The transformation is fivefold: In regard to individuals, literal children of God. In regard to religion, our bodies are now the temples and we are the priests of that temple, and dwell there with the Holy Spirit. We are now citizens of God’s kingdom, and are little interested in transforming this present kingdom that will be overthrown when Christ returns. We are a “holy nation of priests.”  Our relationship to God’s law is changed from condemnation to love. And lastly, we serve the firstborn of the royal family, Christ, and our wages can only be life to a lesser or greater degree, and not the other master which pays only death wages to a greater or lesser degree.

In contrast, the scam is pretty basic. The new birth is only in a “manner of speaking.” Our justification is only a “declaration.” Present sin, and present righteousness must both be substituted by Christ on an ongoing basis because we still sin…against the law. In other words, we are still under law. In order to obtain this ongoing “atonement,” we must be faithful to the church. Sin is only covered (atonement), not ended. It’s clearly salvation by submission to church authority, and if you pay attention, you see it everywhere. Point in case; watch church signs.

Playing off of Vegas infomercials, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” we read, “What Happens in Vegas Is Forgiven Here.” No, if you are born again, there is no law to judge what you did in Vegas. The so-called “righteous demands of the law” were nailed to the cross. Look, if you need present forgiveness, you are still under law. And note where you get the forgiveness; right, church. Any questions? Below is another church sign, actually where Susan used to attend, propagating the same idea.

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So, what about sin post new birth? The Bible rarely speaks of Christian sin, but when it does, it is not in a condemnation sense because there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ. The Bible calls for the child of God to repent of “sin” and reminds us that such “sin” grieves the Spirit who indwells us. I am not going to launch into the treatise here, but what is called “sin” regarding a born again Christian is really a failure to love. “Sin” must be interpreted in context.

For the true child of God, failure to love can happen because of the weakness of mortality, and there are consequences presently and in the future. We can suffer loss in our religious standing and chastisement from our Father. Church clearly calls for a repentance that prevents condemnation and the loss of salvation while the Bible calls for a repentance from sin to love, and the prevention of chastisement. As far as our religious standing, the temple we are priest of may be destroyed. Yes, depending on our failure to love and foolishly becoming entangled once again in some sort of habitual sin as if we are still under law,  our Father may take us out of this world to our home. Sin, for the believer, can bring different forms of death presently and death of the body also, or God may let the natural consequences of sin do the work according to His plan.

This is why where we gather for fellowship displays the gospel we believe. Because we are transformed by the baptism of the Spirit, it’s unlikely we will want to go to Vegas, but if we do, and fail to love by what we do there, we didn’t break the law of sin and death, we failed to love. And while love covers a multitude of sin, the Bible makes it clear that “judgement begins in the ‘household’ of God.” If you belong to God, He will deal with your failure to love him and others, but there is no condemnation to be atoned for.

paul

2 Responses

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  1. Matt said, on March 21, 2018 at 12:12 PM

    The entire chapter of Galatians 5 speaks about how Christ has made us free (v1).
    Those who are justified by the law are fallen from grace (v4).
    We have been called unto liberty to serve one another in love (13).
    The law is fulfilled in one word…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (v14).
    If we are led by the Spirit we are not under law (v18).

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    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on March 21, 2018 at 7:07 PM

      And as we will see in Galatians justification by the law is always the keeping of a handful of rituals that supposedly fulfills the rest of the law. Paul says nope, if you want to be justified by the law you are obligated to all of it. This is exactly what is going on today; if one is faithful to church ritual, Jesus will keep the law for us.

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