Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Wrong Justification Leads to The Wrong Sanctification: Church is NOT God’s Peculiar People

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 12, 2020

ppt-jpeg4Statistics show the following, and have for some time: there is no measurable difference between secular lifestyles and those who faithfully attend church. The attitude that answering God’s call is a commitment to be different carried some weight in the 50s, but overall, I am not sure it was ever realty.

Let’s talk about two different perspectives; from the secular to the church, and from the church to the secular. From the secular viewpoint, church is a place where you go to get the tools to be a better person in the eyes of God. Intuitively, because of being under condemnation and the conscience’s response to that, some people want to move away from condemnation to a clear conscience before God. They think church is the place to do that.

But it’s not; that has never been a tenet of church orthodoxy ever. However, the church allows this pretense as a form of false advertising. Those in the church who believe that being a Christian is about change have not yet been fully indoctrinated. In fact, in weekly church sermons, deliberate terminology is used to play on assumptions and use these assumptions to indoctrinate “converts” to a “confessional” soteriology. In essence, you are saved by NOT practicing what you preach. In contrast, you confess that you can do no good work and are saved by the imputation of Jesus’ loving works to your church account.

Those being gradually indoctrinated move from thinking behavior matters to realizing that salvation (supposedly) is determined by a “growing knowledge of grace.” Knowledge saves you, not behavior, according to the church. This idea, to begin with, implies that salvation is a process instead of behavior being the mere result of a changed state of being, while the idea of a changed state of being implies that salvation is a onetime finished work by God.

In other words, church discussion of the Christian life (sanctification) is grounded in the false premise of sanctification being a salvation process that can only be found in church authority. Yet, those who don’t get that are allowed to assume the former until they are assimilated into the latter. So, after hearing sanctification being spoken of in a justification way week after week, subjects are indoctrinated into the idea that the Christian life is a salvation process. Curiously, but understandably, this results in Churchians denying salvation by church sacraments intellectually, while functioning that way in life.

In more words yet, the secular understand more about salvation going into the church than they do going out. When it gets right down to it, the knowledge of new birth is intuitive. People who seek out the church know that salvation is a supernatural act of God that changes their state of being. For most people seeking God initially, they seek to be changed by God for the better; they want to be better people. To the church, this is an ignorant notion that offends God. The church seeks to lead such misguided individuals into the “true” knowledge that no person can do a work pleasing to God. Therefore, Christianity is all about confessing the inability of man whether before or after salvation as set against the “sufficiency of Christ.”  To confess that you can actually do something pleasing to God is to proclaim that Jesus needs your help in finishing your salvation. Of course, in reality, your salvation is already finished if you are really saved.

You should be able to plainly see why such a doctrine would lead to no ascertainable difference between secular lifestyle and church lifestyle. The goal is to have a deeper understanding of how far we are from God the Father, and thus increasing the gratitude for our salvation, instead of trying to become more like our Father.

And then there is the church cognitive dissonance that goes along with all of this reality. There is a great controversy presently trending in the church about the acceptance of LGBT while things like people living together out of wedlock, gluttony (and bragging about it at every Baptist potluck dinner), drunkenness, racism, and adultery have been commonplace in the evangelical church for years.

Furthermore, church uses its own decadence to wave a banner calling for a return to pure orthodoxy. The orthodoxy causes the bad fruit, and then the church claims that the cause is a departing from the orthodoxy. It has to be the only scam in human history that supplies its own supply and demand.

This is exactly what happened with the New Calvinism movement (1970 to present). The movement pointed to the failures of the church, and posed itself as the answer via the “gospel recovery movement” when authentic Protestant orthodoxy was the cause to begin with. In doing so, who did they make the enemy? Answer: the aforementioned who are in doctrinal transition and had some fuzzy idea of new birth. The blame was placed on them. One early mover and shaker in the New Calvinist movement even wrote an article bemoaning what evangelicalism had done to the church titled, “The False Gospel of the New Birth.” The article protested the idea that the righteousness of God is infused into the believer. In case you believe this guy represents the fringe element of the movement, you might note that he was invited to Southern Seminary in 2009 to lecture on the Protestant Reformation followed by John Piper extolling the lecture.

Some idea of radical transformation is going to be a belief walking into the church via new converts because it’s what they know intuitively though they wouldn’t know how to frame it theologically. Remember, even though unbelievers are under the condemnation of the law, they still have the works of the law written on their hearts with the conscience either accusing them or excusing them. They know what the crux of salvation is; they know that salvation equals a new life radically different from what they have. Protestant orthodoxy rejects this belief with extreme prejudice, and hostile covert takeovers of churches by the movement demonstrated such. New Calvinism peaked in 2009 resulting in a mass of upstart discernment blogs and “survivor” blogs.

1970 is a pivotal year in church history. It represents two movements that took two separate views of the church’s overt failure to be different. The New Calvinism movement bemoaned the efforts of the church to “be the gospel rather than preaching the gospel.” Too much sanctification that isn’t justification.

Enter in Dr. Jay Adams and his biblical counseling movement. Adams represents those who never transitioned from new birth soteriology to authentic Protestantism. His view of the problem? Not enough sanctification that is separate from justification (salvation). When Adams began to travel around the country promoting his aggressive sanctification expressed in a counseling construct, he was continually met with perplexity from those claiming that he was teaching a “strange new doctrine.” The way he explained it to me follows: “They were perplexed by the idea that Christians could actually do something.” This is telling. The only virtue in the church is what people know intuitively walking in; they do not understand what the church really stands for. Even Adams toes the line that justification is a mere “legal declaration” rather than a change in state of being, but that is not the functionality of his life and counseling construct. His intellectual version of justification is a contradiction to the intellectual statement of his biblical counseling program and individual behavior is strongly emphasized. That is, at least dating back to 2011; I assume it remains the same today.

The time has come. Those who truly follow Christ must now obey his mandate to make disciples that are truly a peculiar people in this twisted generation. We uphold God’s law because the new birth changed our relationship to it—it no longer condemns us but is our manual for loving God and others. It’s time to get busy. We are not merely declared righteous, we ARE righteous, and it is high time we act like it with all zeal.

Let that be our new year’s resolution in 2020.


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