Paul's Passing Thoughts

TANC 2019 Paul Dohse Session 3 Part 2

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

Paul’s notes/transcript: do not match video exactly. 

Recovering Sanctification; More History, The Church’s War Against the Holy Spirit

Theses: the church wages war against the Holy Spirit through; 1. The separation of God’s word from His people. 2. The separation of Jew and Gentile. 3. The institutionalization of God’s family adding additional mediators other than Christ (church, not assembly). 4. Denial of the new birth, or infused grace. 5. Progressive justification dependent on submission to the church. 6. The eradication of worship and love in exchange for obtaining final justification. This circumvents the Spirit’s purpose to sanctify. 7. The execution of God’s election is transferred from the Spirt to the church.

Let’s examine seven ways the early church began to wage war on the Holy Spirit and how these traditions continue in our day.

First, the newly appointed religion of the Roman Empire (the institutionalization of Christ’s assembly, or “church”) under Constantine sought to remove the private interpretation of the Bible from the common people. Let us remember, the word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17) and what the Spirit uses to sanctify (John 17:17).

At that time, the endeavor to hinder private interpretation was a far less problem regarding the New Testament than Old Testament Scriptures which were painstakingly preserved and canonized by the Jews. The Old Testament Hebrew had also been translated into Greek (the Septuagint) circa 250 BC. Greek and Latin were the most common languages during the Roman era, but Latin was the language of bureaucracy, law, and the military.

This is when two primary theologians of the Roman church emerge and seek to demonize the people of God making a strong distinction between the Jews and Christianity. Remember, one of the primary objectives of the Holy Spirit was to make Jew and Gentile ONE body in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:11-22). This is/was one of the primary objectives of the Holy Spirt. The church’s two foundational theologians in its 4th century infancy were St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Jerome. Both were Saints and Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. And…

“Church Fathers like St John Chrysostom, St Ambrose, St Jerome and St Augustine (second only to St Paul as a Christian authority for the Western world) had by the end of the fourth century AD crysallised a demonic image of the Jew who combined superhuman malevolence with total spiritual blindness…The monkish, ascetic St Jerome, embittered by the spectacle of successful missionizing in Antioch by the large Jewish population, denounced the synagogue in theses terms: ‘If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul…you are still saying less than it deserves’” (Robert S. Wistrich: Anti-Semitism|The Longest Hatred; Pantheon Books 1992, p. 17 ). “This theology is for the first time institutionalized in the fourth century AD, when Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire” (Ibid p. 19).

To divide Jews from the body is an audacious throwing down of the gauntlet against the Holy Spirit. One of the primary objectives of the new birth is to unite Jew and Gentile into one body, scripturally, this is also known as “the mystery of the gospel.” But Jerome and company were far from going to war with the Holy Spirit on that front alone. Jerome set out to translate the Bible in the bureaucratic language of the empire and make it inaccessible to the laity and common people via the Latin Vulgate. Eventually, Rome made it against the law to translate the Bible or even teach from it unless accredited by the Church upon pain of death. This was Rome’s mandate for about 1000 years. And remember, Rome is the first “church” which is historically irrefutable:

Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”

Ruling of the Council of Tarragona of 1234 C.E.: “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned…”

Proclamations at the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1415 C.E.: Oxford professor, and theologian John Wycliffe, was the first (1380 C.E.) to translate the New Testament into English to “…helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence.” For this “heresy” Wycliffe was posthumously condemned by Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury. By the Council’s decree “Wycliffe’s bones were exhumed and publicly burned and the ashes were thrown into the Swift River.”

Fate of William Tyndale in 1536 C.E.: William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. According to Tyndale, the Church forbid owning or reading the Bible to control and restrict the teachings and to enhance their own power and importance.

~ Source: Huffington Post .com: Why Christians Were Denied Access to Their Bible for 1,000 Years; Bernard Starr, Ph.D. 5/20/2013.

The Church also took it upon itself to establish the formal canon of the New Testament which was only in the form of letters written by the apostles and others. There were many copies of these letters circulated among the laity and commonly accepted as Scripture:

2 Peter 3:15 – And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Colossians 4:15 – Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

1Corinthians 14:37 – If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

Therefore, the idea that there was no agreed upon collective Scripture for New Testament era believers is unfounded, and the body of Christ hardly needed Gnostic academics to tell them what was inspired and not inspired. Nevertheless…

The Council of Nicaea called by the Emperor Constantine met in 325 C.E. to establish a unified Catholic Church. At that point no universally sanctioned Scriptures or Christian Bible existed. Various churches and officials adopted different texts and gospels. That’s why the Council of Hippo sanctioned 27 books for the New Testament in 393 C.E. Four years later the Council of Cartage confirmed the same 27 books as the authoritative Scriptures of the Church.

~ Source: Huffington Post .com: Why Christians Were Denied Access to Their Bible for 1,000 Years; Bernard Starr, Ph.D. 5/20/2013.

And…

In 382, Pope Damascus therefore commissioned Jerome (c. 347-420) to translate the Bible into Latin, a task which took him twenty years to complete. This Bible came to be known as the versio vulgata (common translation) and became standard for the Western Church.
~ Source: gbgm-umc.org: Three Early Biblical Translations.

Many would argue that keeping the word from God’s people is a church sin of the past, but this is not the case at all. Initially, the church taught that the laity was unable to understand the word of God except for using it to better understand one’s total depravity and total inability (historical-redemptive hermeneutic), plus censorship of the Scriptures was the law of the land. Deprived of its ability to enforce censorship through the state, the church’s ability to persuade the laity to relinquish all understanding of the Bible to church authority has proved adequate. State force is no longer necessary as the laity has been sufficiently intimidated by the church’s claim over salvation by God’s proxy. You either agree with the church or you believe a false gospel and are going to hell.

Attempting to obstruct the Spirit’s work in baptizing the Jews and Gentiles into one body, and confiscating the sword of the Spirit from the laity was manifested in a third way. In translating the Bible into English from the Septuagint (LXX), and for the most part not the original Hebrew, the English translators substituted the word “assembly” for “church.” The Greek word for assembly is “ekklesia” as translated from the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal, or edah.

This is a very significant fact in the transition period that produced another version of the institutional Catholic Church, Protestantism. These are merely two sides of the same institutional church that waged the exact same war against the Holy Spirit and continues to do so in our day. As aforementioned, it was against the law to translate the Scriptures without the permission of the Catholic Church, but this happened anyway because of the “Lollard movement, a pre-Reformation movement that rejected many of the distinctive teachings of the Roman Catholic Church” (closed quotation from Wikipedia).

In the early Middle Ages, most Western Christian people encountered the Bible only in the form of oral versions of scriptures, verses and homilies in Latin (other sources were mystery plays, usually conducted in the vernacular, and popular iconography). Though relatively few people could read at this time, Wycliffe’s idea was to translate the Bible into the vernacular, saying “it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence”.
~ Source: En Wikipedia .org: Wycliffe’s Bible.

Although unauthorized, the work was popular. Wycliffite Bible texts are the most common manuscript literature in Middle English. More than 250 manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible survive.

The association between Wycliffe’s Bible and Lollardy caused the kingdom of England and the established Catholic Church in England to undertake a drastic campaign to suppress it.
~ Source: Ibid.

However, by no means did the Protestant Reformation abandon the core fundamentals of the institutional Church’s war against the Holy Spirit which was a devotion to the separation of Judaism from the body of Christ, and academic authority in regard to private interpretation of the Scriptures. Though the Protestants presented themselves as commendable for the distribution of Bible translations to the common people, they never believed the laity could interpret it for themselves, nor did they ever state such. To the contrary,

“The Protestant Reformers in leaving Rome did not leave all Romanism behind them. In particular, they brought with them the prosecuting principles of Rome, and worked them freely and vigorously in support of the Reformed faith. They changed the Pope but not the popedom… Persecution is the deadly sin of the Reformed churches, that which cools every honest man’s zeal for their cause, in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive—Hallam… Rightfully and nobly did the Protestant Reformers claim religious liberty for themselves; but they resolutely refused to concede it to others” (William Marshall’s The Principles of the Westminster Standards Persecuting (William Marshall, D.D., Coupar – Angus. Edinburgh: William Oliphant & Co. 1873).

The English translators did something in the English translation of the Bible that Rome did not even do in the Latin Vulgate. They translated “assembly” as “church” which had no validity whatsoever. The Greek word for assembly and the Greek word for church are two entirely different Greek words with completely different meanings. The Hebrew words for assembly and the Greek word for assembly allowed for a connection between the Judaism of the Old Testament and the Christianity of the New. The word “church” puts forth the idea of a completely different program and plan of some sort. In the like institutional core fundamentals, the Catholics kept the Bible from the laity, while the Protestants skinned the cat a different way by taking liberty with translation. Tyndale was much more virtuous on this wise, translating assembly as “congregation,” but unfortunately was executed by the Catholics for the effort.

The rendering of “assembly,” “synagogue,” as “church” in Protestant translations of the Bible present an egregious distorted dichotomy in regard to the Jewishness of God’s overall plan for the ages. It is best to delve into this while discussing the fact that the 1st century home fellowships were merely a continuation of the Jewish synagogue, and that word seems to suggest some sort of institution, or temple-like mini-institution.
To the contrary, some sort of substructure or mini temple version would have been a blasphemous notion to the Jews. Furthermore, for the most part historically, the Jews have had little choice to do anything other than worship in the privacy of their own homes. Moreover, synagogues were of the laity and far removed from any priestly authority whatsoever. The intended model for Christian fellowship and assembly has never changed since the exodus and before. It is a body and ground-level family unhindered by the musings of bureaucratic control. It is not a machine controlled by men, it is a body that lives and grows.

The Protestants never sought to separate from the Catholic Church and indeed they did not. It was a protest, and an attempt at reform, not a revolution by any stretch of the imagination. Institutional accreditation was vital to the Protestants, and critical to their credibility. This means they NEVER left the Catholic Church. Protestants retained solidarity with the Doctors of the Catholic Church for this reason, particularly St. Augustine. The most prominent fathers of the Reformation, Luther and Calvin, were avowed Augustinians till the day they died. Contemporary Reformers constantly strive to outdo each other in quoting Augustine at every opportunity, and God’s people are completely unmiffed by the exaltation of this serial anti-Semite Platonist. Why? Because what happens under the roof of an institutional church is mostly inconsequential; it is the depot that punches your ticket to heaven.

There are four primary ways that the institutional church wages war against the Holy Spirit, and this is a joint effort that includes Catholic and Protestant alike. We have examined three of them: the separation of God’s word from His people, the separation of Jew and Gentile, the institutionalization of God’s family adding additional mediators other than Christ (church, not assembly), but the fourth is what separates the Catholic from the Protestant. The accusation of this war is not as absurd as it sounds, for the permanent indwelling of the Spirit suggests ability on the part of the individual. Both sides endorse the incompetence of the individual and need for enlightened mediators between the great unwashed masses and God; in other words, an efficacious soteriological caste system.

This fourth war strategy involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the new birth. The Catholic Church acknowledges the indwelling of the Spirit and the new birth, but insists that this only enables the salvation candidate to cooperate in the finishing of the salvation process; primarily by faithfulness to the Mother Church. Rome is not shy or ambiguous about this idea. Yes, Catholicism and Protestantism alike hold to an unfinished progressive justification which requires the mediation of the church to complete. Both are a progressive justification.

Protestants, that is, Protestants who know what Protestantism is, deny the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the new birth all together. Let’s think about this: if the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the believer, salvation MUST be FINISHED, there is simply no way around that. A permanent indwelling of the Spirit makes a progressive salvation dependent on the church completely unnecessary.

In Protestantism, the “new birth” is redefined as a perception or ability to understand the total depravity of man as set against God’s holiness, but the “believer’s” state of being remains unchanged. That is why Protestantism describes salvation as a mere “legal declaration” in which a righteousness that remains outside of the believer must be progressively imputed to the believer until “final justification.” And, this can only be obtained by faithfulness to the authority of the church.

Catholicism believes in an internal righteousness, or “infused grace,” (infused righteousness), but this only enables one to colabor with the church for a final salvation. Both are salvation via an additional mediator, viz, church, and both advocate progressive justification. Many scholars believe this was the solidary issue that sparked the Protestant Reformation. Previously, Catholic scholars held to a strict Platonist dichotomy between righteousness and humanity, but began to be influenced by Thomism circa 13th century. The Protestant Reformation was really a debate concerning Plato versus Aristotle, and both churches have sought to hide this fact from the great unwashed, particularly the Protestant stripe. It was by no means a biblical debate, but a philosophical one. The idea that the Protestant Reformation was predicated on scriptural debate is an audacious rewriting of history and rank propaganda. Simply stated, the authority for truth among medieval church theologians was the philosophers primarily and the Scriptures secondarily, and stated such in no uncertain terms.

Hence, in revisiting a prior point for clarification on the first four theses, the retranslating of God’s family function to “church” invoked the idea of authority and additional mediators other than Christ. This was the institutionalization of first century Christianity. Authority as truth: this amounts to a gospel of authority; ironically, the choosing of an authority according to one’s preference. All religions and denominations claim their own authority gospel, but it is up to the individual, at least in the post American era, to choose which authority they think will save them.

Church necessarily has a problem with individual worship. If the individual can please God with personal worship (which is biblically defined as the practice of truth), what do we need church for? However, the church makes so-called “corporate worship” efficacious to a right standing with God. Christ said,

believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

The coming of the New Covenant and the “mystery of the gospel” which is the baptizing of Jew and Gentile into one body emphasizes an individual worship in the sanctified body of the believer. This makes all of life, worship in general, and the goal of worship, love, in particular. Church actually redefined worship as a corporate salvific endeavor and not an individual endeavor to use truth to love God and others. This circumvents the Spirit’s purpose of sanctification which is redefined as the progression of salvation.

Lastly, the church wages war against the Spirit’s purpose of fulfilling God’s elected means of salvation. God’s elected means of salvation does not include the authority of men as the church asserts. There is only ONE mediator between men and God and ALL authority has been given to that one person, and that person is the ONE seed. The church cannot give life, only the Word, who is Christ. Church makes itself a major element of God’s elected plan of salvation.

According to church orthodoxy, which makes election a concern of salvific preselection, whether one perseveres in the faith or not is defined by faithfulness to church. If one perseveres to the end, they are shown as preselected by God. The verse they adore reads, “Those who are no longer among us were never of us.” Hence, one can really elect God’s election by staying faithful to church which focuses on justification and not the Spirit’s purpose of sanctification.

Love isn’t the highest priority, keeping yourself saved is the highest priority.

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