Paul's Passing Thoughts

TANC 2019 Paul Dohse Session 3 Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 25, 2019

The Contemporary Church Wars

I have written extensively on contemporary church wars between those who discovered what Protestantism really is hundreds of years later, thanks to an Adventist, and those who were the norm: Protestants waxing eloquent about a Protestantism they knew nothing about and charging people trillions of dollars to learn their misinformation. In illustrating this, we will let our fingers go walking through the book publications that mark the wars. First, other than the theological journal I mentioned published by the Australian forum, there is this book,

The Shaking of Adventism by Geoffrey J. Paxton, one of the core-four of the Australian Forum. Several “gospel recovery” movements came out of the Australian Forum, but I am going to focus on the major ones that are the trunk of the tree.

The first major movement to come out of the Forum was the Sonship Discipleship movement. This movement doesn’t start making waves until the 90s and the pushback can be represented by this book, “Biblical Sonship, An Evaluation of the Sonship Discipleship Course” by Jay Adams. John “Jack” Miller was the father of this movement and most of the New Calvinist movement comes out of Miller’s disciples including Tim Keller. The biblical counseling movement also comes out of this movement. I will get back to this movement shortly, but because this movement is the most significant, not actually the first. The first movement to cause a war was fathered by another core-four member of the AF, Jon Zens, the father of New Covenant Theology. The pushback by Protestants that didn’t know what Protestantism is, viz, Protestants who believe that Protestantism has some semblance of sanctification, can be represented by this book, “God’s Righteous Kingdom” by Walter Chantry. This kerfuffle happened among Reformed Baptists and is well documented in the aforementioned book that founded this ministry.

Back to the Sonship kerfuffle that took place in Presbyterian circles. Jack Miller was a professor at Westminster seminary at the same time Dr. Jay Adams was there teaching. Adams was brought to Westminster to start a biblical counseling curriculum. I document the beginning of the biblical counseling movement in “Clouds Without Water” (TANC Publishing 2015). Jon Zens. one of the core four of the Australian Forum, was also a student there where several students and faculty were influenced by the Forum’s “Present Truth” theological journal. Bottom line: the brain trust of Westminster invited the Forum there to discuss the gospel much to the consternation of Adams which I document in TTANC.

Long story short, Adams was developing a counseling program heavily predicated on a misunderstanding about what Calvin taught concerning sanctification. The movement that came out of Westminster because of the Forum…not so much. As a result, disciples of Jack Miller began to develop there own counseling construct based on authentic Reformation soteriology while covertly pretending to be in league with Adams. From the beginning, it was a deliberate covert movement. It started with Jack Miller, and those he mentored, David Powlison and Tim Keller, and those Powlison mentored, primarily, Paul David Tripp and Timothy Lane. These were covert opponents of Adams from the beginning.

The two movements grew together under the guise of being one until things started getting controversial and confused circa 2006. Until then, especially in the 90’s, Adams’ construct ruled the biblical counseling world and Adams saw the Sonship issue and counseling constructs as totally unrelated. Please note, everyone in Presbyterian circles thought the Sonship movement had been conquered by 2000, but it hadn’t, it simply relabeled and went underground in the biblical counseling movement while Adams was completely clueless as to what was going on. In 2010, the inner contention came to a head and Adams started looking for answers.

Herein is the crux of one of my major points overall: Adams would not find any answers at all within Protestant academia. In searching the earth high and low, his ministry director, Donn Arms, had to get answers from the laity. Period. As the famous refrain from the ELP song goes, “there it is.” As my favorite employee used to say, “there it go.” Please, please, please, stop looking for the one credentialed theological expert who gets it, he’s not out there.

So, here is where this covert movement got a name: “Gospel Sanctification” first coined by this ministry in 2010. Previously, this same movement had been coined “New Calvinism” in 2008 via Collin Hansen’s book in which he falsely rewrote the beginning of the movement, but nobody connected that movement with what was going on in the biblical counseling movement. In fact, it was this ministry that made the connection.

The spearhead of the revelation came through a request from Adams’ ministry for me to write a review of Paul David Tripp’s book, “How People Change” in the “Journal of Modern Ministry.” The editorial board had a fit because I didn’t have a Ph.D in at least basket weaving, yet, I am the only one who could make any sense at all about what these guys were teaching. So, basically, actually, more than basically, Donn Arms published the article and put his name on it with the full blessings of the editorial board, they just didn’t want my name on it.

But don’t miss the crux, as explained on page 82 of TTANC, according to David Powlison himself, the contention between the two camps was a contention over two different gospels…period. In other words, some 2000 years later, in the upper echelon of Protestantism, after hundreds of years, trillions of dollars, and incalculable drama and political intrigue, there is no clear consensus on what the gospel is.

Right, go to church, do that, they are still trying to figure out what the gospel is. Brilliant. Go to church if you will, for whatever reason be it stuff for your children to do, finding a new boyfriend, whatever, but please don’t insult my intelligence by saying you are there for the gospel…church doesn’t even know what the gospel is, and that’s historical fact.

You have a choice. You can believe that the Christian life is a salvation process, or you can believe that your salvation is finished, and you must now move on to maturity and love. But you can’t have it both ways; one is necessarily a law-based gospel while the other depends on a righteousness apart from the law. If your salvation is not finished, only law can fill the void. Righteousness and law are mutually exclusive.

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One Response

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  1. lydia00 said, on August 25, 2019 at 6:23 PM

    The amount of damage determinism has done the truth of our Lord is incalculable.

    Like


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