Paul's Passing Thoughts

Addendum: Dear Church Pastor…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 20, 2019

A follow-up to a previous post which contains the extended e-mail exchange between Paul Dohse and a pastor of a church somewhere in Central Ohio.


Mr. Dohse,

I am aware of you because on two occasions, your, “Do you believe a true gospel? A Gospel Test” tracts have been placed in our church literature rack (and men’s restroom) without our approval. In both cases, I have removed them. I don’t know if you or someone associated with you is placing these tracts, but I have a few questions:

(1) Why would someone place tracts in a church without the permission of that church’s leadership?

(2) I am unclear what the goal of the tract is. I went to 3questions.weebly.com, and I found it to be confusing to even me (I was seminary trained).

Please give me a call at 111-111-1111 x ext.1111. If you’d rather not talk, that’s fine. In that case, please just stop placing tracts in our church without approval.

In Him,

[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,

The “3 Questions” tract is widely distributed by our ministry and I have no idea who placed them in your church. However, it seems likely to me that it is someone who attends your church in some capacity. Thank you for the offer to talk, but I prefer written correspondence in this case.

You pose question one as if common decency was somehow violated, but I am not surprised by that. Though your parishioners pay for your salary and the maintaining of your institutional infrastructure, you are incredulous that anyone would distribute information without the permission of leadership. This, of course, is indicative of the hierarchical, top-down, truth-as-authority caste system that is church. While parishioners pay your salary, and probably paid for your seminary degree as well, you have the authority to take away their eternal salvation if they don’t obey God’s anointed, or as Al Mohler stated it, those “preordained by God to save his people from ignorance.”

Of course, I think all of that is laughable and am delighted to find out some attending church dare to think for themselves. Thank you for the note of encouragement.

Secondly, I am not surprised the tract confuses you. In no way does your seminary degree cast doubt on the clarity of justification by new birth as opposed to justification by faith, but rather brings about an expectation of confusion. Many examples could be given regarding your ignorance about salvation (an ignorance that you are paid well for), but I will only cite one. On your website, you state: “The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy. That’s the gospel.”

Yet, while stating that there is NOW NO condemnation, you state in other places on the website that “Christians” are still in need of the gospel daily. That’s because justification by faith is a progressive justification that calls for a perpetual returning to the gospel for “present sin.” Obviously, if there is present sin, there is present condemnation. Obviously, if Christians still need to be saved, they are presently under condemnation. It is apparent that the leadership of your church follows John Piper who states in no uncertain terms that Christians continue to need salvation. And, of course, this necessarily requires the “ordinary means of grace” that can only be obtained through church membership.

It is one thing to believe a false gospel, but it is something else altogether to be leading many others in the false gospel of justification by faith as well. Not only is your own blood on your hands, but that of all of your parishioners. You would do well to reexamine the tract and make every effort to understand it.

If you have any questions concerning the gospel, by all means feel free to call.

Paul Dohse


Update as of 2/20/2019:

Mr. Dohse,

It’s funny.  Virtually everything in your email is wrong.
If you want to have a constructive conversation about the gospel, I’m game.  Here is how I play…

  1. Let’s define our terms as we go so we can be efficient and communicate well
  2. Something cannot be both true and not true at the same time (editor’s note: pay attention to this point.)
  3. The plain reading of God’s Word in its context rules
  4. The less-clear passages are explained by the more-clear passages

Fair enough?  When is a good time to call you?[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,

Before we proceed please answer the following question: are you a Protestant in the Reformed tradition, and what Confessions or other documents accurately profess church orthodoxy and the biblical gospel?

Paul


Mr. Dohse,

  1. I am a Protestant
  2. By nature of being a Protestant, I am not Roman Catholic, so to the degree I am not Roman Catholic, I am Reformed, but not part of any Reformed tradition
  3. I am technically a Dispensationalist
  4. The only document that accurately professes anything on my end is the Bible and our church constitution, bylaws, and statement of faith.

Your ‘justification by new birth’ statements are novel to me.  The concept and actual words, “justification by faith” occur in God’s Word.  I’m sure we will get to that in due time.

[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,

So, there are many problems here out of the gate. For one, there are no fundamental differences in the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism. Beside the fact that Luther and Calvin never left the Catholic Church, BOTH Catholicism and Protestantism hold to progressive justification, and both claim authority over salvation on earth by God’s proxy. It took me literally 5 minutes to find your position on that as stated in the sermon you preached on 5/7/17.  In that message, you even quote Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks who has a very hardcore position on church authority. Bottom line: the church is God’s authority over salvation on earth. In that message, you state unequivocally that the only way to enter God’s kingdom is through church baptism and submitting to the church’s authority. This is a Protestant/Reformed position to a “T.”

In regard to salvation via church authority, Catholicism and Protestantism bare no differences. Also, I don’t play the Protestantism versus degrees-of-being-Reformed game any more than the various points of Calvinism game. Protestantism came from the R-E-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N. You will not find escape from your error by making a distinction between the two. You, and your leadership follow and cite those who are of the hardcore Reformed tradition constantly. To present a pretense of distance between you and that tradition is dishonest. In regard to your parishioners, you believe you have authority over their salvation. Again, I find such a notion not only outrageously arrogant, but laughable. But, I suppose it is good work if you can get it, and a pretty big power trip to boot.

Aristotle has identified your contradiction

Secondly, while offering your church’s statement of faith and order as a point of discussion and also saying that something can’t be true and false at the same time, your church’s statement of faith is full of things that are both “true” and false. For example, a Christian is not under condemnation, but still needs daily salvation. You are either under condemnation and still need the gospel or saved with no further need of the gospel. Both cannot be true. More than likely, most of your parishioners don’t really understand what the Protestant gospel is.

According to the Protestant gospel of justification by faith, justification is strictly a “forensic declaration” while in fact, the “believer” does remain condemned. Sure, there is no condemnation executed on your parishioners as long as they stay under your authority. But technically, according to the justification by faith gospel, they are still under condemnation. Hence, also according to your church’s statement of faith, they retain a “sin nature.” Obviously, your church follows John Piper. I have Piper on record saying that the gospel doesn’t “get you saved,” but rather, the gospel must be used to obtain “final justification.” When I confronted Piper publicly about the idea that people can be presently saved while yet needing a final justification, he indicated that both are true and that it is “complicated.” So, what’s all this emphasis by you about things not being both true and false at the same time? Pardon me, but this isn’t my first rodeo with you guys.

No, not interested in talking to you over the phone privately, but willing to debate you publicly at your church, or on a public media setting. What a wonderful opportunity for you to defend the justification by faith gospel. What do you say?

Paul Dohse


Mr. Dohse,

When people read your literature, hear your talks, and buy into your way of thinking, how do they end up living?  Do they just stop going to church, reject the Bible, love God and go to heaven when they die?

I’m very curious.
[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,

I’m not selling anything in the same way church is selling salvation. So, people who listen to what we have to say are not “buying into” anything. Nor do people pay us a temple tax commonly referred to as ”tithing.” In most cases, people who find us find a clarification for what they already knew but didn’t know how to articulate it. Interesting how you make love for God’s truth via the Bible synonymous with going to church. Sorry, that’s not reality; one can love God and His truth while rejecting church totally because church is a lie. That’s why I, along with another author, wrote The Church Lie and the Biblical Alternative.

The better question is how people who trust the church for their salvation live. Do you read the papers or listen to the news? Chapter 7 of our book explains in detail why there is so much evil in the church, you might want to read it. Actually, those who partake in the Home Fellowship Movement are faithful to the word of God and godly living. Their only authority is Christ, the ONE head of the body. In the end, they alone as individuals are accountable to God according to their own conscience and what they understand about His word. Therefore, why would they submit to mere men when they alone are responsible for the sum and substance of their own lives before God?

Paul Dohse


Mr. Dohse,

After watching some of your videos, I’ve noted that one of your techniques is to say something shocking, then backtrack and explain. So, when you say, “church is a lie” (fair to say a shocking statement), do you mean that the word ‘church’ is a lie (as opposed to the word ‘ekklesia’, which is an English transliteration of the Greek word), or do you mean that the concept itself is a lie (like believers are not supposed to gather regularly)? Perhaps you mean to say that the church as it is currently thought about in 2019 is a lie. Could you clarify? Clearly there are passages in 1 Timothy and Titus that speak of the qualifications of elders and deacons, right? There are clear passage that command the elders to shepherd the flock and the flock to submit to their leaders. I don’t know what you’re talking about a ‘tithe’. That’s OT Israel. The NT standard is to give whatever the Lord lays on your heart (2 Cor 8).

In Him,
[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,
I reject the Churchian presuppositions that form the basis of your questions; one specifically, that “church” equals the biblical mandate to gather together. Furthermore, as discussed in the first chapter of the book, there is no valid reason whatsoever to replace “ekklesia” with “church.” The word “church” denotes a formal place with institutional cogitations while ekklesia is a group of people called out from one identity to another for a specific purpose. Where they meet could take place anywhere; location has no part in the primary definition. In contrast, church is a formal place where certain things take place according to, supposedly, a God ordained mandate. Church, by definition, is a salvific institution.

There is only one location that collaborates with a secondary definition of ekklesia; a private home, or a “household of faith.” Ekklesia is made up of God’s literal family, God’s ambassadors in this foreign land, and a nation of holy priests. It is also a body that functions like a literal body and not a caste system. Meeting in homes as God’s literal family is not merely a mode of operation, but is a statement concerning what we believe about the gospel and a literal new birth that is way more than a “forensic (legal) declaration” and speaks to a totally new state of being. Another major demarcation of a biblical new birth is the true believer’s relationship to the law. In Protestantism, that relationship does not change, as often staed by pastors and the who’s who of church, “Christians” are still “under the righteous demands of the law.” Think about that one for awhile. As stated in the book, when one stops to think about it, church error concerning soteriology is shockingly elementary. You could start with a “legal declaration” supposedly being a righteousness “apart from the law.”

Moreover, the ekklesia meets to encourage one another unto good works, not to remain covered by the imputed righteousness of Christ obtained at church through the sacramental “means of grace.” By the way, Catholic much? Protestantism teaches a double substitution for sin and works because its subjects remain under the righteous demands of the law. This is the “objective gospel experienced subjectively.” In other words, Churchians only experience the imputed righteousness of Christ and remain justified by “working hard” at the “ordinary means of grace” found only in the church. We insist that the gift of righteousness, like all gifts, is now owned by the believer which does not mean that God’s righteousness originated with us. The new birth makes us truly righteous as a state of being. Yes, we do have a “righteousness of our own” because we accepted the free gift of God and do not claim that we can rebirth ourselves. Our goal is to be more like our Father, not an endeavor to realize how far we are from God through “gospel preaching” to make the cross bigger. How dumbed-down are Churchians? Someone like RC Sproul can state that Christ obtained His righteousness through perfect law-keeping and no one even blinks. That’s absolutely amazing.

We reject justification by sanctification with prejudice. The purpose of sanctification is to learn how to control our weaknesses through the wisdom of God’s word and to fulfill the law through our loving actions towards God and others. We are free to aggressively love God and others with no fear of condemnation. We do not partake in a so-called, “lifestyle of repentance,” but rather a lifestyle of love. We do not ask, “Did you sin today?” but rather, “Did you love today?” And by the way, you can’t sin while you are loving anyway, and love “covers a multitude of sin.” Chastisement by our loving Father is another subject I will not address here, but said chastisement is due to a failure to love, not a failure to fulfill the law through obedience to church sacraments.

No, neither elder nor deacon are authoritative, salvific, institutional offices but gifts like all other gifts given to the body, and they function like a body functions. No, just because Christ is a shepherd, it doesn’t mean elders are sub-shepherds with his same authority by proxy. Members of the body (not a church) who don’t have a special gift of teaching are to be persuaded by those who do IF they are teaching truth which is to be confirmed by the individual believer (Galatians 1:8). In regard to the rest, I think the introduction to the book on the back cover is instructive:

Everything you thought church is—it isn’t. The belief that church is the body of Christ, the true gospel, the assembly of Christ, God’s people, the elect of God, the kingdom of God, a light for God in a dark world, the bride of Christ, the love of God, and guided by the Bible are given assumptions that go without saying…until now.

In fact, church hijacked Christianity long ago. In “The Church Lie,” Paul Dohse and Andrew Young deconstruct ten major presuppositions that define church.

Today’s church has no real doctrinal or historical connection to the New Testament assembly of Christ. Church doesn’t appear in history for more than 300 years after the birth of Christ’s assembly at Pentecost.

So, what does the real assembly look like? And how do we return to its true gospel and family mode of operation? And what should we expect if we do?


Update: Added 2/20/2019 8:10 PM

Mr. Dohse,

I really think we agree on more than we disagree, but your bombastic style seems to assume we stand apart rather than seeking to find where we are together.

Hypothetical question: If your teaching were to wander into error, who would be allowed to correct that? A fellow believer? An elder? Just curious. I wonder if, since you are under not authority by Christ, you will need to wait until glorification to be corrected or can other believers come to you? If you and the other believer disagrees on what the Bible says, who settles the matter among those you with whom you fellowship? Without elders, won’t there be ecclesiastical anarchy?

In Him,
[A Church Pastor]


Dear Church Pastor,

Um, the goal here is not to find agreement for the sake of agreement. Again, note how you take liberty with presuppositions, viz, I am under no authority at all because I believe the ekklesia is a body with members who only answer to the one head, Christ. Again, what does Paul appeal to in Galatians 1:8? If, in the opinion of the individual, Paul, or even an angel from heaven preaches contrary to the gospel they originally received, they were to consider him or anyone else accursed. The individual alone judges, and the individual alone stands before Christ to give an account. Unity is based on agreement around the ONE mind of Christ.

Home fellowships are determined by those who fellowship together. If there are disagreements that are strong enough to warrant separation, you cease to fellowship with that fellowship. It’s not complicated. No drama, no financial infrastructure to fight over, no power trips or power struggles. You encourage those who strongly disagree to start their own home fellowship and bid them God’s speed. It’s persuasion and leadership, not authority. If it’s authority, leadership and persuasion aren’t needed; you tell people what to do, and they do it just because you said to do it. And, in particular, it’s truth because you say it’s the truth. Point in case: how can James MacDonald do and say what he does and still preside over 8 mega-churches? Answer: truth as authority, that is, whatever the big dogs state as truth.

Ecclesiastical anarchy without authoritative elders? Do you keep up with what’s trending in the church? How’s that workin’ for you? So, once upon a time, I built a house from the ground up along with some friends of mine. Nobody was in charge; no one was boss, and the house went up just fine. It’s called a “cooperative effort.” The presumption that a house can’t be built without someone being in charge speaks to a false presupposition regarding mankind which is a subject I am not going to delve into here, but just think, “total depravity.”

Fact is, neither the apostles nor Christ applied authority during their ministries but rather persuasion and leadership. The Bereans judged Paul on their own assessment of the Scriptures. Paul himself told the ekklesia to only follow him as they perceived that he followed Christ. And here is the V8 moment: at what church council did Christ appear and appoint the church as his salvific authority on earth? And by the way, Luther, Calvin, and any other Protestant reformer worth their salt believed that elders have authority to forgive sin. That’s black and white Protestant orthodoxy. And again I ask, “Catholic much?” When you start paying attention to this stuff, what you hear is shocking, like the time John MacArthur agreed to ask God to forgive a person on their behalf while they were present. He also has stated that salvation can only be obtained by a person placing themselves “under the authority of godly men.” He then posed the following question: “Does that mean I have to do what the elders say?” to which he answers, “yes.” And obviously, any person who wants this authority only needs to purchase it at any given seminary.

Again, we profess that the notion is laughable.

Salvation By Church Membership Rears Its Ugly Head

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 19, 2019

The meme below prompted the discussion on Facebook which follows.  I really do feel bad for the dear woman in this thread because she really did end up “stepping in it”.  See, if you keep churchians talking about it long enough, eventually they cannot help but reveal that salvation by church membership is their intellectual assumption.

~ Andy

The Church Lie: The 11 Theses Review #4

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 1, 2019

 

As I see what is trending in Churchland of late, I find myself interrupting my busy schedule to write an article or post a video because it oftentimes is just too rich to pass up. However, in every case, in the back of my mind, I am saying, “That’s chapter…in the book.” The book is meant to be very comprehensive, and what we missed will be included in the next addition. Therefore, I will be conducting a reading with commentary of our new book. Hope you can join me.

The Church lie 11 Theses Channel

 

The Church Lie: The 11 Theses Review #3

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 31, 2019

As I see what is trending in Churchland of late, I find myself interrupting my busy schedule to write an article or post a video because it oftentimes is just too rich to pass up. However, in every case, in the back of my mind, I am saying, “That’s chapter…in the book.” The book is meant to be very comprehensive, and what we missed will be included in the next addition. Therefore, I will be conducting a reading with commentary of our new book. Hope you can join me.

The Church Lie 11 Theses Channel

 

Houston, We Have A Problem…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 27, 2019

This article was prompted by a reader’s comment on a recently published article here at PPT.  The comment follows:

“I was always taught that per 1 John 1:9 all Christians are to confess their sins to God on a regular basis. How does that fit in with your studies? If we are no longer able to sin because we aren’t under the Law then how does that passage make sense? You have alluded to the fact that we believers still don’t love perfectly and still do things that are forbidden under the Law. Do we still need to confess our sins regularly to maintain a right relationship with God?”

This is an excellent question and one that bears addressing.  The reader brings up a valid point.  I have often addressed this question in the past with other people in various forms of social media with varying degrees of success; success being determined by how much that person clung to church orthodoxy being the authority that determined his version of truth for reality.  But I don’t think I have ever addressed the question in an actual blog post.

First, I think we have to acknowledge that if we take 1 John 1:9 alone without any supporting context we have an immediate problem because we have a glaring contradiction with 1 John 3:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9

Contradictions (paradox,”mystery”) occur whenever we have incompatible assumptions.  The way church orthodoxy handles this contradiction is to re-interpret 1:John 3:9 and insert the word “practice” which is not the word used in the manuscript.

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9 (ESV)

Notice that because of the church’s orthodox assumption of righteousness by perfect law-keeping, the ESV interpretation holds out the possibility for believers to keep sinning and thus the need for continual forgiveness of present sin as referenced in 1 John 1:9. I have written a comprehensive article on this subject here.

But the proper way to handle contradictions such as this one is to evaluate our assumptions and determine which one is false.  Whenever we are evaluating passages of scripture there are a few things we need to take into consideration:

  1. The immediate context of the passage
  2. The overall historical context during which time the passage was written
  3. To whom it was written
  4. Grammatical structure.

While John is writing to believers, he is addressing a larger issue, specifically, a sect of gnosticism that had made its way into the assemblies by some false teachers. This particular brand of gnosticism divided man into spirit and flesh and that any time man “sinned” he only did so in his flesh, but his spirit was unaffected. 1 John 1:9 is only part of a larger argument John is making to refute this idea. Paul addressed this historical context in this series of articles beginning here.

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The apostle John is actually presenting a series of rhetorical arguments against this brand of gnosticsm. A close inspection of the grammatical structure of verses 6 through 10 reveal the hypothetical nature of his arguments. At right, here is a screen shot from my interlinear Bible software.

Notice that in the Greek, verse 6 begins with the conditional word “εαν” and the accompanying verb in the “subjunctive mood.”  You don’t need to know the technical details of all this, but what is important to know is that this structure is called a 3rd Class Condition.  In Greek, 3rd class conditions are used to present rhetorical or hypothetical arguments.

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If you look at the grammatical structure of verses 6 through 10 you will see they all begin with this same structure for a 3rd class condition.

So in this case, verses 6 through 10 deal with true biblical JUSTIFICATION set against the gnostic idea of justification.  John is not saying that this is something that believers need to do all the time.  He is not stating that this is the present state of believers.  In other words, “we” is not a reference to believers but rather “we” in a general, non-specific sense.  He is showing why the gnostic idea of justification is false, and he is doing so in a very methodical, logical argument using these five rhetorical statements.

Understood in this context, this passage no longer contradicts 1 John 3:9. Having presented the need for justification and how it compares to gnostic doctrine, John goes on to make the case that believers are justified because they have been born again. John understood that because the new creature is God’s offspring, righteousness is not a matter of sinning or not (ie. Law). Righteousness is a state of being by virtue of the fact that they are born of God!  Sin has to do with condemnation.  Believers don’t “sin” because they are no longer under the law’s condemnation. Where there is no law there is no sin.

~ Andy

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