Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Church’s Response to Its COVID Government Shutdown in the New Calvinist Era. A Historical Perspective

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 27, 2020

ppt-jpeg42Sure, you have heard some squabbling here and there from church pastors over the government shutdown of churches because of the COVID pandemic, but a significant fuss is nowhere to be found. Even with some pastors being arrested for practicing their constitutional rights, the rest of the evangelical community remains silent. Even the premiere evangelical pastor of our day, John MacArthur Jr., is calling for “Christians” to quietly submit to the shutdown.

Furthermore, there is little discussion of any churches closing for financial reasons. How can this be? Two enormous church bodies that spearhead the New Calvinist era, the Southern Baptist and the Presbyterian Church of America, are showing little, if any financial strain. How in the world can this be? While I suppose that point could be argued to some degree, certainly, John MacArthur’s Grace to You religious empire and many others are not showing any significant financial shortfalls because of the pandemic shutdown.

This all seems strange when you consider the orthodoxy as well. According to New Calvinist orthodoxy, Church membership is synonymous with being part of Christ’s mystical body, and salvation must be progressed through obtaining the “ordinary means of grace” found only at church.

The fact is, evangelical churches of the 70s and 80s could not have financially survived this kind of shutdown, and the churches of the 50s and 60s would not have stood for it. What happened?

Simply stated, a dramatic shift in ideology because of the New Calvinist movement. Notice I am not referring to a change in doctrine, the doctrine of the church, Catholic or Protestant, has never changed, only the understanding of the doctrine.

Church was founded in a church-state, and was organized for the express purpose of church-state. Church shows up in the 4th century after successfully replacing the pagan-state as Rome’s mistress. The church, after a 200-year effort, finally got its marriage ring from the sugar-daddy it needed to enforce its orthodoxy.

Hence, church history begins, but the ekklesia of Christ was never a part of it. The ekklesia of Christ was never a party to the state in any way, shape, or form. In fact, the church had adopted pagan orthodoxy in order to obtain Rome’s favor, and that means philosophy was the primary authority for truth. The fact that the church fathers demanded the Bible be seen through the eyes of Plato is overt history.

But didn’t the Protestants come along and save us from all of that and return the church to its gospel roots? Hardly. That notion is the paramount historical hoax of the ages. Because of Thomas Aquinas’ integration of enlightenment ideas with Catholic church-state orthodoxy, a rift developed leading to the Protestant Reformation. The crux of the debate was the interpretation of reality and mankind’s role in reality. Augustine represented the Platonist view of reality adorned with Bible verses that drove Catholic orthodoxy for 1000 years. Aquinas was more influenced by Aristotle, and a debate within the church, the total inability of man versus the ability of man, began to fester.

Look, the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, sparked the Reformation with three proclamations: The 97 Theses, The 95 Theses, and the Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order. Two of the three proclamations were biblical treatises from a philosophical viewpoint. Martin Luther and John Calvin were rabid disciples of Augustine who was an avowed Platonist. None of this is obscure church history by any stretch of the imagination. Plato was Augustine’s authority for truth. This is not arguable. But the point here follows: Platonist Christianity calls for church-state; the two are mutually inclusive. According to Platonism, the sole purpose of man is to support the state. It’s collectivism.

The Protestant Reformation defeated Enlightenment Era ideas in the church, though the church remained split between Protestant and Catholic, while enlightenment ideas led to the American Revolution. The American Revolution was NOT a religious revolution; it was driven by ideas concerning the ability of man and his right to be free. For the first time in human history, the relationship between government and mankind was completely reversed, and consequently, the stated purpose of government was to serve the individual endeavors of mankind. Again, this was an idea never defended beforehand in human history.

The result was the confusion of true Catholicism and Protestantism in America. Churches retained worship procedure that reflected the church-state and the rejection of the biblical new birth, while intellectually, Americanism ruled the day. The worship tradition reflected the total depravity of mankind and progressive justification, while the intellectual confession was once-saved-always-saved and ideas of being literally born again, and therefore able to please God.

Hence, things like church attendance and tithing were matters of the heart and devotion, and were not seen as being linked to salvation in any way. Church was a volunteer army. Yet, its structure was still institutional because of its church-state foundation. This individualist mentality versus institutional authority created a tension that was always the elephant in the room at church. Yet, it made church, for the most part, a good thing from the end of the American Revolution to the 1970s. During those years, and due to being confused in a good way with Americanism, it was a force for good.

Then came a doctrinal tension in the Adventist church concerning the relationship between law and gospel. Americanism had caused the church to have some fuzzy idea of what the new birth is. The institutional tradition rejected new birth ideas, but most Churchians functioned according to fuzzy new birth ideas. In other words, and unfortunately, the functionality never surpassed biblical generalities. This resulted in the elephant in the room becoming too big for the room in Adventist circles.

An Adventist theologian, Robert Brinsmead, decided he would get to the bottom of the confusion once and for all by devouring all of the writings of the Protestant Reformation. And he did, and not being an American, he did so without an American worldview. What did he find out? He found TRUE Protestant soteriology. This, at first, started a movement in Seventh-Day Adventist circles, and then spread into Protestant circles, primarily beginning at Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania. This was a return to authentic church-state Protestant orthodoxy. In the 70’s it was known as the “gospel recovery movement.” This caused a severe kerfuffle among Reformed Baptists resulting in the beginning of the Continental Baptist denomination in 1983. Its New Covenant Theology was an attempt to explain the Reformation’s overt error in making the law justification’s standard. In the 80s, it began to be known as the “Sonship Theology” movement which met with severe pushback in Presbyterian circles. The movement then went underground as the “gospel transformation” movement and started making noise again in 2006. It was then dubbed, “gospel sanctification.” In 2008, it obtained its present name, “New Calvinism.”

Consequently, New Calvinism is going to be in agreement with the state, especially its endeavor to control people, and will oppose American ideas. No one has heard one New Calvinist object to the shutdown, nor will you. In fact, they will endorse it, as they have.

Secondly, New Calvinist leaders have solidified their authentic Protestant view of authority over most church members which makes church attendance less important than remaining obedient to church leadership which ultimately saves them anyway. According to Protestant orthodoxy, church hierarchy has authority over salvation (John Calvin’s “Power of the Keys” doctrine).

Thirdly, the money issue. New Calvinists have solidified tithing as an “ordinary means of grace” along with The Lord’s Table etc., so, any significant drop in tithing is probably not taking place while overhead expenses plummet. New Calvinist churches are probably making money, not losing any.

President Donald Trump recently declared churches as “essential.” How essential? Are churches too big to fail? Like its church ancestors, New Calvinism is obviously striving to once again be married to the state. Where church history has been, and where it is going is inevitable, and true Christians have big decisions to make.

Perhaps the confused church was worth saving, but that ship has sailed. The church is going back to where it started. It was formed in a church-state and for the express purpose of a church-state.

paul

 

One Response

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  1. lydia00 said, on June 14, 2020 at 11:34 PM

    The virtue signaling going on out there about not going to church just made me want to go to be a rebel.

    People were told that they are selfish if they had a problem with the government closing churches. The problem was always constitutional. Why does the virus know not to get people at Kroger but not at church? Why are there still government guidelines after the looting and destruction? Because the sheep will follow the rules that’s the special people are exempt from. That’s power.

    Church being closed was never a problem for me. The problem for me was the government closing the church. And you make a great case for why so many pastors got in bed with Totalirarian government’. It’s about that authoritarian pecking order. They want to keep their place in that order. And the good little lemmings go right along. Frankly, to me,it’s chilling.

    Like


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