Paul's Passing Thoughts

Tragic Grace Saved Him From Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 7, 2021

I have written many times about the man who led me to a relationship with God. His name was Mark Cline, and you can read about him here. No matter who you are and what your relationship is with God, He intervenes in your life. That is how I define God’s sovereignty. Life is largely determined by our own self-will, but influenced and dictated at times by God’s sovereign interventions. Be sure of this: though we rarely know what God is up to; He is always up to something. Sometimes, it may be 40 years later before we understand what His purpose was in some event; that’s what this post is about.

“Grace” is one of those words that Protestants throw around without really understanding what it means. Again, there is a huge disconnect between what Protestants believe intellectually and how they function. Americanism totally confused the church for the better after the American Revolution. Intellectually, it led to a closer understanding of the new birth, which Protestant orthodoxy rejects according to its Augustinian Neo-Platonist roots. However, the order of traditional church worship, which speaks to the “ordinary means of grace,” remained intact and has paved the way for a return to authentic Protestantism via the New Calvinism movement. Here, please note the functioning definition of “grace” according to Protestant orthodoxy: it always means “salvation.”

Hence, clearly, church order of worship is a continuing means of salvation because ones salvation is a process, according to church orthodoxy, and not a one-time finished work in the individual. The latter is very bad for recurring monthly revenue. Church, whether Catholic or Protestant, claims that Christ’s passive and active obedience to God was a one-time finished work, but that one-time finished work must be continually applied to the “believer’s” life in order to maintain salvation. Accordingly, does this not mean the focus is a maintaining of salvation rather than an outward focus on loving God and others? Of course it does. Watch the church testimony in general; any questions?

Though I would not have applied the following truth to the situation I am getting ready to share, it is apropos to the writing at hand. But first, what is the biblical definition of the word, “grace”? Simply stated, it is love in action. In every Bible verse where the word “grace” is used, you can replace it with “love” and it will work in the sentence. And of course, salvation was the ultimate act of love by God. Love, salvation, and grace are synonymous words with the intended use determined by context.

When I was a young pastor, I was called on by a mentor to accompany him to visit a young couple who had just lost their three-year-old son in a tragic accident. He was accidently struck by a vehicle driven by the father’s best friend. My mentor, in an attempt to comfort the couple, stated that God might have used the tragedy to save the child from a worse fate that God knew was going to happen. Of course, yes, I agree with you, the assertion in that particular case was a colossal fail. My mentor at the time was speaking of tragic grace, or God using a tragic situation as an act of love. The notion of tragic grace has merit; let me share such a case.

Mark Cline was a devoted member of the world renowned Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, TX during the 80’s. He was 20-something, single, and the epitome of what every father would want for a son-in-law. Like many at Prestonwood, he adored the celebrity pastor, Bill Weber. As an alcoholic womanizer, I was also drawn to the charismatic preacher and would rarely miss one of his Sunday morning sermons regardless of suffering from severe hangovers. Mark had brought me to a point of believing in God, but I was unwilling to relinquish the life I was living to follow God. You see, the knowledge that salvation is synonymous with a new life initiated by God is intuitive within every living being with a conscience. A mandate to make changes in your life in order to be saved is an idea that misses the point entirely; people know that if you want to become a child of God, and ask him accordingly, he will remove the desire and enslavement to your present life. People don’t want to change the desires. They don’t want to change masters. I was told by the Prestonwood deacons that I didn’t have to make any changes in my life to say the sinner’s prayer and be saved qualifying me to become a member at Prestonwood. A commitment to changes, they said, as a prerequisite to salvation, was salvation by works. Even as an unregenerate narcissist, I knew more about the gospel than they did. I knew that if I wanted to become God’s child, he would change my heart miraculously, and subsequently, desires. I didn’t want to lose those desires that drove the things in my life that I loved. I didn’t want to love other things, and I knew that change was an initiation by God, not me. That doesn’t mean we are not participants, it means we participate as new creatures recreated by God.

Fact: church orthodoxy denies recreation of the individual. That would diminish sin, and as a business that survives on the principle of supply and demand, sin is the supply side of the economic package. The logical conclusion of church orthodoxy follows: degree of sin is directly related to degree of growth. Therefore, church orthodoxy redefines the new birth as mere joy experiences in the salvation process and not a change in one’s state of being. A “sinner saved by grace” is yet a “sinner,” which is biblically defined as unregenerate.

Nevertheless, I saw Prestonwood as a sanctuary city when I was ready for a new life in Christ. I had it all planned out: I would wait till I was too old to party and then give my life to Christ. I would give Christ the leftovers of my life, and I thought that was even a good deal for God.

I was definitely a project in Mark’s life. For every ten times he would invite me to do something, I would accept the invitation. Yet, he never relented in pursuing a friendship with me. He called to inform me that he had obtained tickets to the Cowboys/Redskins game of that year. He may or may not have been a football fan but knew I was a football fanatic. He mentioned that he was having minor surgery, but would be fully recovered for our trip to Arlington Stadium for the game. He would never recover from the surgery; the surgeon, who had worked 18 hours before Mark’s surgery without a break, made a critical error that killed Mark on the operating table. Mark was put to sleep for the surgery, and awoke in glory right on time, but far too soon for the world’s sake.

Mark was one of those people who is an exemplary picture of health. So, it kind of blew my game plan out of the water regarding salvation on my time schedule. If Mark’s exemplary life was unpredictable, how much more was mine? His death served that purpose in my life, but was a small residual outcome of the massive impact Mark’s life had on others. Many lives he had impacted showed up for his funeral resulting in a traffic quagmire for several city blocks around the funeral home. Bill “Billy” Weber delivered the eulogy.

During that very time, behind the scenes, and only known to a few people who kept silent, Bill Weber was living a secret decadent life. The stunning hypocrisy of it was masterfully documented in a “D Magazine” article published in 1989. Even more telling was the familiar story of how fallen pastors expose the church for being a mere salvation-selling marketing machine that only serves the religious elitist crowd on the backs of the working laity class. True to the Protestant Platonist tradition, pastors are the philosopher kings, elders and deacons are the warrior class, and the laity are the producers. The church is the antithesis of the one body in Christ biblical picture. Instead, it is a picture of Plato’s Republic.

One cannot venture to even imagine how badly this would have devastated Mark. The scandal was revealed shortly after Mark’s death. I thank God he didn’t live to see it. I thank God that his testimony wasn’t relegated to someone who was foolishly deceived by a snake oil salesman. Mark’s death is the perfect picture of a tragedy that is also grace, and…

…salvation from church.

paul

Passover is About the End of Sin Not Atonement

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 3, 2021

Tomorrow is so-called, “Easter Sunday.” Many people who do not normally “do church” will put on their Sunday best and make an appearance. It is ok that they do not really know why they do it because the ones who normally attend church don’t know either. This is not to say church-goers don’t think they know, but they don’t. In addition, this is not to say they wouldn’t have some canned answer to the question, but it wouldn’t lineup with their functioning religiosity.

Passover is about the end of sin; Easter Sunday is about atonement, or a mere covering for sin. Here is the problem with understanding the Bible: it is not too deep and mysterious, it’s too simple. Let’s start with the term, “family of God.” If you simply understand that “family” really means “family,” You know more than most Bible scholars already.

To be saved is to be a child of God. You know, like a child that is a member of a family. And, that child is born into that family. The concept of family is indicative of the true gospel and how Christians should function as Christians. Biblically, and historically, Passover is a family affair; the church had to make it an institutional affair. This is the difference between being free from the condemnation of sin because you are born of God, and a weekly atonement (covering for sin) via temple worship. If people understand they are free from sin, they don’t need to purchase weekly salvation. This is why church is big business regardless of its dreadful testimony. The grocery store in town may be owned by the mafia, but if it’s the only store in town, you are still going to buy your groceries there. After all, no one wants to starve to death. As the saying goes, “sex sells,” but nothing sells like no fault eternal salvation.

Imagine if Easter Sunday was something people celebrated at home in recognition of how God made the new birth possible. The institutional church couldn’t have that as it obviously wouldn’t be good for the salvation market. And, the idea that someone is permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit suggests they are capable, which speaks to individualism as apposed to collectivism, and that is a disaster for the salvation industry. In essence, it completely destroys supply and demand. The more sin, the more demand for necessary salvation. Without sin, the church is out of business. Think about it; church has a vested interest in sin, and the headlines show that clearly.

As a young zealot, and among other young zealots, the question was always: “How can we return to the power of the first century church?” Problem was, we were looking for the answers within the context of institution. Christianity is a family and functions as a family. Functioning as a literal family is not a preferred mode, it is a living statement concerning the true gospel. Christians functioning as family speaks to the ending of sin and justification by new birth, church speaks of atonement and a need for progressive salvation. To attend church is to identify with a false gospel. It is a covering of sin; not an ending of sin. It is not an exodus from slavery. You can only belong to one master or another; Christ or Egypt. These are the only two state of beings in reality.

Therefore, indeed, the family of God should recognize the Passover, and the fact that we are partakers of the exodus from slavery, and what made that exodus possible. We know the early assembly of Christ recognized the Passover for at least 200 years or longer until the church intervened.

Again, it is too simple. The apostle Paul spent his whole ministry fighting against “justification by the law.” The new birth changes our relationship to the law. The new birth is a “righteousness manifested apart from the law.” Sin is defined as a violation of the law. This is also part and parcel with condemnation; to be “under sin” is to also be “under condemnation.” “Under law,” “under sin,” “enslaved to sin,” and “under condemnation” are interchangeable terms for the exact same thing. “Under grace” is NOT remaining under law with grace being a covering for sin. That’s church, and that’s a false gospel. “Grace” is God’s love in action; you are under the jurisdiction of God’s love in action, not the law. The same law now informs our love for God and others without any condemnation.

Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8 explain this in detail. Being under grace doesn’t mean we are under no law, it’s just a law without condemnation; it is not a “ministry of death.” God uses it to sanctify us, not to convict us of “sin and the judgement to come.” It is best stated that Christians do not sin, but rather fail to love. We fail to love because we are weak, not because we are still enslaved to sin. We are rather “enslaved to righteousness.”

We partook in the exodus out of Egypt. And indeed, we should recognize that yearly. But not in church.

paul

Protestantism is Anti-Apostle Paul

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 11, 2021

The Apostle Paul spent his whole ministry fighting a doctrine of salvation exactly like Protestantism. Paul was primarily an opponent of justification by law. Clearly, Protestantism defines righteousness as perfect law-keeping. That’s not a righteousness apart from the law (Romans 3:21). Protestantism gets cute with its justification by law, deceptively calling it, “justification by faith,” by claiming that Jesus kept the law perfectly and through faith alone his perfect law-keeping is imputed to our Christian life in order to keep us saved. This is the doctrine of “Double Imputation.” But you see, who keeps the law is not the point; the point is the law period. In Protestantism, perfect law-keeping defines righteousness, and again, that’s not a righteousness apart from the law.

Also note that in Protestantism’s primary doctrine of salvation, double imputation, Jesus’ perfect law-keeping must be imputed to sanctification in order to complete salvation. Therefore, to deny that the logical conclusion of double imputation is a progression of salvation is nonsensical. Furthermore, if salvation is not finished during the life of a “believer,” the so-called believer must do something or NOT do something with intentionality in order to stay saved. Abstaining from something, like an attempt at good works, is doing something. This is where the traditions of men come up with formulas to impute Jesus’ perfect law-keeping to the Christian life. This is exactly what the Pharisees were guilty of, and Protestantism is just another version of the same thing. The whole idea that men want to try to justify themselves through perfect law-keeping is not something the Bible even addresses, it’s a pink elephant. Justification by the law is really defined by the replacement of God’s law with the traditions of men.

God’s law has two definitions in the Bible and two definitions ONLY: One; a law that can only condemn, or a “ministry of death,” and two; the use of the law to inform love towards God and others. The whole concept of men trying to earn salvation through perfect law-keeping with antinomianism being the so-called antitheses is a false and deceptive idea. In reality, and according to the Bible, justification by the law is defined as antinomianism in totality. Why? Because the law of God is replaced with the traditions of men. The key to understanding this is the Holy Spirit’s two uses of the law: to condemn, and to sanctify (Romans 8:2, John 16:8, and John 17:17). Why would Jesus come to keep the law perfectly for purposes of imputation when all it can do is condemn? Also, Paul said there is no law that can give life. In the Bible, law-keeping is defined as love. Protestantism deceptively delineates between “good works” and love. While its doctrine of double imputation denies that men can do good works of any kind, on the other hand, it tells people they should go to church where people “love you.” Nay, if all of their works are as “filthy rags,” so is their love. You cannot separate love from good works. If you can’t do a good work, neither can you love. But, the following can also be noted: they do couch the language in things like, “Come to church where you will find the love of God.” Note that it is God’s love, and not necessarily the love of the parishioners. Get it? Yes, when you get into how Protestantism applies double imputation to real life, you must consider realm manifestation; the idea that God’s love is only experienced by people, but not performed by them. Some Protestant scholars are fond of saying that “sanctification is done TO you, not BY you.” Get it? This is a concept that Americans have a hard time getting their minds around because we are not taught world philosophy growing up in school. Protestantism uses this ignorance to deliberately deceive parishioners by allowing them to assume what things mean while manipulating them into functioning according to salvation through church membership.

In a nutshell, double imputation teaches that Christ died to pay the penalty of our past imperfect law-keeping, and presently imputes his perfect law-keeping to our lives in order to keep us saved IF we partake in the “ordinary means of grace [ordinary means of salvation]” found only at church. What are those ordinary means of grace? Stuff you do at church; ie., the traditions of men. This is Paul’s definition of justification by the law; loving God and others by obeying scripture is replaced with the traditions of men. Perfect obedience is not the standard; a desire to obey the whole law is a love that fulfills the law while falling short results in a loss of reward, not condemnation. Clearly, the doctrine of double imputation keeps Protestants under the law and thereby under condemnation as well.

So, if the law is not the basis of righteousness (justification), what is? Answer: the new birth (Romans chapter 6 and 1John chapter 3). The seed of God being inside of us through the new birth is what makes us righteous and nothing else. This eternal seed of God results in us loving the word of God with our human mortality being a hindrance. We are not sinners under condemnation; we have this treasure in earthen vessels and fail to love because of weakness. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. And yes indeed, Protestantism has railed against the new birth and spoken against it since its conception and declared it a false gospel. The clarion call of Protestantism decries “infused grace.” Viz, infused righteousness; viz, infused salvation. Get it? So, how does Protestantism get around the obvious scriptural claim that God’s seed is permanently within us forever? That would be the doctrine of the “Vital Union” also known as “participation in Christ.” The vital union only takes place during the vivification part of the Protestant doctrine of “Mortification and Vivification.” Now, if you are inclined to believe that few confessing Protestants even know what these doctrines are, you would be absolutely correct.

Protestantism replaces the biblical new birth with the doctrine of mortification and vivification. What is it? It is a PROCESS of perpetual re-justification and re-salvation. “Present sin,” according to John Calvin and Martin Luther, continually “removes us from grace [read, ‘salvation’].” Hence, we must “revisit our original salvation.” Going to church is really about doing the doctrine of mortification and vivification every Sunday. Few Protestants understand what church is really about, which is not commendable. What did you do to become saved? You repented. That’s the mortification part of mortification and vivification. It’s what Protestant hacks like Paul David Tripp call a “lifestyle of repentance” because you are still under condemnation and present sin removes you from grace or the loving actions of God. Grace is love in action by God or a person. Of course, the ultimate act of grace was the death of Christ on the cross.

According to this doctrine, once we repent and confess our sins to God, we EXPERIENCE another new birth which is a temporary union with Christ that is a re-visitation of the joy experienced in our original salvation. This is the vivification part of mortification and vivification and is stoked by church music. Biblically, the new birth is a onetime and for all-time transformation into new creaturehood that cancels the condemnation of the law. The goal of the real Christian is to gain and not lose eternal rewards; the goal of a Protestant is to worship at the alter of traditions and beg to keep their salvation. Of course, Catholicism is little different as well but more honest about the fact.

This is why Protestantism calls justification a mere “legal declaration.” Pray tell; how is a legal declaration a righteousness apart from the law? According to the Bible, saved people are righteous as a state of being because they have the life of God infused into them. Protestantism claims that this is the same as “having as righteousness of our own.” But if salvation is a free gift from God, does the receiver not take ownership of the gift? If righteousness is a gift, but we don’t possess it, how was it ever a gift?

The apostle Paul railed against those who promoted sin so “grace may abound.” But this is exactly what the doctrine of mortification and vivification does. Sin is the supply side of Protestantism’s salvific supply and demand. Without ample sin, the cross is made smaller. The more sin, the more salvation. The more repentance, the more joy that is experienced in the re-visitation of salvation.

Paul also said that love does not rejoice in evil, but this is exactly what Protestantism proffers: mortification results in the joy of vivification. Martin Luther argued that a focus on repentance and the sin under the sin would not lead to depression but the joy of vivification.

Paul said that we were saved so that we could put sin to death in the body. That would put Protestantism out of business. The goal of Protestantism is to make salvation bigger by finding more and more sin.

Protestantism is a mockery of Pauline theology while claiming Paul as its primary doctor of soteriology. Likewise, demons present themselves as angels of light and Protestants, like the Pharisees, will travel land and sea to make people twice the children of hell that they are. That’s what justification by the law does.

paul

 

 

The Church’s War Against The Holy Spirit

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 7, 2021

Originally Published November 25th 2014

“Church” is a word that should be associated with institution and NOT body. Much will be said in this book about the need for a body to be organized, but much will also be said about authority and attempts to invoke life from a so-called body via a spiritual caste system. Though many will find the title of this chapter shocking and absurd, the institutional church’s war against the Holy Spirit is well-defined. If Christ’s called out assembly is a body of Spirit indwelled members, and it is, that could pose significant problems for a top-down institutional authority, and it does.

We will begin where chapter three ended with the rise of the Catholic institutional church that waged all-out war on home fellowships through academic intimidation. Finally, after a nearly 300 year effort, the church at Rome married with the state in order to enforce its orthodoxy upon the masses. Constantine The Great (AD 272-AD 337), the first Roman emperor converted to “Christianity,” consummated the marriage and his rule began the epoch of force and faith in Western culture.

Constantine was the consummate double-minded man, and like the bishops of Rome, integrated paganism with Christianity. What Victor could only verbalize at the first church counsel in AD 193, Constantine made law in the first ecumenical church council (First Council of Nicaea AD 325); that is, the recognition of Passover versus Easter. The reason this is key follows:

“This marked a definite break of Christianity from the Judaic tradition. From then on the Roman Julian Calendar, a solar calendar, was given precedence over the lunar Hebrew Calendar among the Christian churches of the Roman Empire” (Wikipedia: Constantine The Great…citing, Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVIII by Eusebius).

The adoption of “church” nomenclature, as we shall see, was also very deliberate in marking that departure, but for purposes of this book, we would be errant to focus primarily on anti-Semitism; a major problem was the Jewish focus on body versus institution. Like all nations – and of course the Jews were and are a nation – institutions are relevant and needed, but religiously, the Jews always functioned as a body with heavy focus on the individual. A person is normally concerned with their own body parts in equal measure. If Christians are members (as in body parts) of one body, and they are, there should be equal concern and care for each member. This is much different than institutional membership. What the world needs are more functioning body members versus church member-ship. The teachings of Jesus, as well as Jewish traditions, are saturated with a focus on the individual life. When we think of Jewish worship, our minds, unfortunately, gravitate towards the formality of temple worship, but the temple was only a focal point of a broader interpersonal sharing of the faith.

The best example of this is the tabernacle during the exodus. Obviously, the small dwelling was not a central meeting place for millions of Jews who were part of the exodus. Even then, there were elders who led small groups among the people in the learning of the word, prayer, and fellowship. Seventy of these elders were summoned to meet with God on Mt. Sinai with Moses (Exodus 24:1,9). As we know, the temple was not always available for the Jews, and was never the central place of fellowship around the learning of the word, or discipleship, but rather a place of ritual sacrifice. Historically, that was always the norm. Even when the temple existed, the Passover meal was experienced in private homes (Matthew 26:14,15). This is also indicative of the 1st century home fellowships that met together for discipleship and mutual edification. There was fellowship around a meal, a teaching and sharing from the word of God, and singing of hymns.

There are many reasons for anti-Semitism, but one of Judaism’s foremost threats is against spiritual caste systems that have always dominated world history. Judaism emphasizes the authority of God’s word, and the ability of the individual to understand it:

Deuteronomy 29:29 – “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 30:11 – “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Herein is a major distinction between individualism and collectivism.[9] In collectivism, there is in fact an hierarchy that must “ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it… go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it.” The word, or truth, is not near to the individual, it must be brought to bear by others who are “specially gifted” to understand. Historians believe there were about 400 synagogues in Jerusalem alone during the ministry of Christ.[10] These were mostly small groups meeting in private homes. These groups were focused primarily on the reading and study of God’s word.

This is where we begin to examine four ways in which the institutional church of Rome began to wage war on the Holy Spirit. Primarily, the newly appointed religion of the Roman Empire 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, New Testament Scriptures were a far less problem 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. 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:

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 themselves 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.

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.

We will make this point here, but will revisit this issue in a later chapter because the rendering of “assembly,” “synagogue,” and “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, 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. No citations will be noted here due to the immense common knowledge of it. Contemporary Reformers constantly strive to outdo each other in quoting Augustine at every opportunity, but 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, but the fourth is what separates the Catholic from the Protestant. 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 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. As we discussed in the first two chapters, Rome is not shy or ambiguous about this idea. Yes, Catholicism and Protestantism alike hold to an unfinished progressive justification. Again, this was addressed in some detail in chapters one and two.

Protestants 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.

So, what are the specific differences in this fourth aberration of the Spirit’s work, and what are the specific differences in their progressive justification constructs? In addition, how does authentic Protestantism explain away the new birth, and how is the new birth redefined by them?

In the next chapter, these questions are answered in detail.

Endnotes:

  1. Collectivism defines the worth of an individual by their ability to contribute to the common good. That adds up to the “collective good” which determines the overall wellbeing of a society.

  2. Talmud: Bavli Ketubot 100a; there were 394 synagogues in Jerusalem. Yerushalmi (Ketubot 8:1); there were 460 synagogues in Jerusalem. Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:1); in Jerusalem, there were 480 synagogues.

The Church Lie, Chapter 1: The Church is Not the Body of Christ

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 5, 2021