Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Church’s War Against the Holy Spirit

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 1, 2021

Revelation Study Sunday 2/21/2021 @ 11am

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 21, 2021

Pick Two: The Missionary Kids and Ravi Zacharias; Why Church is a False Gospel and a Total Lie

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 13, 2021

Boohoo, another church scandal. These scandals are now trending almost weekly, and still the assumption remains that in no way church itself could be the problem. The church is the people, but when it comes to judging a tree by its fruit, the people are not the church. Supposedly, the church is something above approach that sinful people mess up, because, you know, “grace can be messy.” On any number of doctrines and issues, the church, whether Protestant or Catholic, has it both ways. After all, it’s a “paradox.”

In the latest scandal concerning Christian superstar Ravi Zacharias, I noticed a familiar theme that harkens back to my coverage of the ABWE missionary kids scandal. Regardless of the horrific nature of that scandal, ABWE and the GARB denomination is still alive and thriving. How can this be? First, let me share an excerpt of a report that explains why church still flourishes regardless of its rotten fruit.

One woman told the investigators that “after he arranged for the ministry to provide her with financial support, he required sex from her.” She called it rape. She said Zacharias “made her pray with him to thank God for the ‘opportunity’ they both received” and, as with other victims, “called her his ‘reward’ for living a life of service to God,” the report says. Zacharias warned the woman—a fellow believer—if she ever spoke out against him, she would be responsible for millions of souls lost when his reputation was damaged.

Bingo. Clearly, salvation by church membership. The reputation of the church must be protected at all cost to prevent millions of people from going to hell. This is the same theme I heard constantly while reporting on the ABWE scandal. If ABWE, a missionary society, folded because of the scandal, millions of people would go to hell. In this way, the cover-up was blatantly condoned.

Church has sold itself as God’s institution on earth to oversee and implement salvation, and most people have bought into that hook, line, and sinker.

paul

thechurchlie.net

To Julie Roys: The Church is NOT Savable and NEVER Was

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 8, 2021

Discernment blogging exploded in 2009. This is because the New Calvinism movement began in 1970 and was a covert movement that started making waves in the church circa 2007. The movement was finally labeled in 2008 as the “New Calvinism” movement” and was written about in major publications due to the controversy it was creating in evangelical churches. The movement has all but completely taken over the evangelical church. The movement has also successfully rewritten contemporary church history in order to cover its tracks.

The movement has always been a blessing because it is a return to authentic Protestantism, and Americanism had completely confused the true soteriology of the Protestant reformation. Actually, Americanism embraced a more biblical view of salvation that emphasized the new birth. That is, a new birth that makes believers righteous as a state of being, and not just a “legal declaration.” If you are truly saved, you are not merely declared righteous, you are righteous. John Calvin and Martin Luther believed no such thing.

Secondly, the American church was really big on OSAS, or “once saved always saved.” No, no, the Protestant reformation did NOT hold to OSAS and associated it with the idea that the gospel is “inside of the believer.” Hence, a trending term in the movement was “the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us.” The short version follows: it’s a rejection of the biblical new birth, which John Calvin and Martin Luther rejected with severe prejudice.

American evangelicalism had come to believe that justification is a one-time and for all-time event for the individual through the new birth. Clearly, authentic Protestantism holds to a progressive justification that can only take place through church membership. New Calvinists started infiltrating churches and subtly teaching these soteriological principles and causing controversy accordingly. However, objections were met with a new emphasis on so-called “church discipline,” which resulted in members being expelled from church membership. Here is the bottom line: few Protestants even know what Protestantism is. But, it is church, which is the whole problem.

I hardly write about these issues like I used to as I have been focusing mostly on a nursing career, and trust me, nursing is better church than any church out there. But, a recent article I stumbled upon has compelled me to once again write about church stuff. The article exposes the following: John MacArthur Jr., the blue chip of evangelical preachers, is living large while also preaching against “prosperity” preachers. And golly gee, that’s hypocrisy. Oh my! We can’t have that in the church!

The article is written by a Julie Roys who does an impressive job of exposing bad stuff going on in the church. Never mind Jesus saying a tree is known by its fruit because that couldn’t apply to church because its church. Like all discernment blogs, the purpose is stated on her front page: “Reporting the Truth. Restoring the Church.” It’s a pipe dream and a fool’s errand rolled up into one depending on what your definition of “restoring” is.

Let’s just poke the subject anywhere and watch the foolishness that comes oozing out. The focus is always behavior. The way we restore the church is to get rid of all the bad behavior; in this case, hypocrisy. Yet, in every church, on every Sunday, and in every message, what do we hear? “We are all sinners saved by grace.” “The world is not attracted to our ‘having it all together,’ but they are attracted to our confession that we are a train wreck.” Blah, blah, blah. This “confession” is totally consistent with Protestant soteriology, but some pretense of behavior has to be maintained in order to sell church to the many who are confused about what church is. Dr. Albert Mohler, at a recent SBC convention, even bragged that SBC leadership had successfully reformed the convention with “confessionalism.” What’s that? Our confession, that we have no righteousness of our own, but only the righteousness of Jesus. Yes, that is real Protestantism. It denies that a like righteousness of God is infused into the believer making him or her righteous as a state of being. To say that you have been transformed into a new person BY the righteousness of God because he has given birth to a new you, is also saying that you have a “righteousness of your own.” See the slight of hand there? It denies the new birth and makes salvation a mere declaration about Jesus’ righteousness that your sins are covered with IF you remain in the church’s good graces. Jesus isn’t the “first fruits,” he is the only fruit. Pastors like John MacArthur even call salvation an “atonement” which means our sins are only covered and not ended. Church is a continued covering for sin and efficacious for remaining saved.

The American evangelical church never believed that, and saw church as a fellowship for growing spiritually and a societal force for good. And for many years it was, due to being confused about true Protestantism which was ALL about justification through obedience to the church and defined sanctification as the progression of salvation. Hence, in the American church post American Revolution, there was still an inferior emphasis on sanctification. The emphasis was clearly on salvation, and sanctification was a vague generality. So, the church, unfortunately, was primed for a return to authentic Protestantism. It failed to strike a proper balance between justification and sanctification. I remember myself, back in the day, saying to people as a pastor unwhittingly, “sanctification is the growing part of salvation.” Um, salvation doesn’t grow. Justification is not progressive.

OSAS doesn’t do much for authority, and lack of authority doesn’t do much for power or money. When the last of the apostles died, the issue of apostolic succession arose. This is the idea that Christ is not the only head, and elders (bishops) are not mere members of the body, but the apostles were additional heads of the body and bishops are their successors. However, the apostles, and for that matter Christ himself, never led by authority, but persuasion. When authority is present, leadership is completely unnecessary. I don’t have to persuade or lead by example; you simply do what I say because I said so. It is truth as authority. Truth is truth because the authority says it’s truth; end of discussion. Indeed, church, which doesn’t even show up in history until the fourth century, is a demarcation between the leadership of Christ’s assembly and the church’s self-proclaimed authority. Church is by definition an institution as opposed to God’s literal family functioning as a body. You cannot separate institutional authority from church. It is an authority over salvation that makes the church, that is, all churches, additional mediators other than Christ. In fact, it is indisputable that the Protestant church was formed in the midst of a church-state and for the express purpose of church-state, and denied people within its territories the same civil liberties denied by the Catholic Church.

Worse yet, the whole hot mess is an industry. Some discernment bloggers make a decent living writing about the incessant drama taking place in the church on a daily basis. So much for Paul instructing us to live “quiet and peaceable lives” focusing on loving God and others. Like the ongoing spat between Roys and MacArthur’s Grace to You religious empire, the discernment wars are fraught with a morass of theological debate and civil lawsuits interrupted only by the latest moral failure of a popular church leader. Of late, we now know the Catholic Church did not ever have a monopoly on pedophilia.

Despite the incessant weekly bad press concerning the church, how can there still be a church on every city block or country mile sustaining a $500,000 a year budget if not more? The answer is easy: authority as truth, and that authority also being over salvation on earth as an additional mediator between God and people. They say sex sells, but nothing sells like salvation, especially when you can have your salvation and sex scandals to boot.

Is Roys trying to reform the church as a way to make money, or does she honestly think the church is savable? I can’t say, but I can tell you the onslaught of discernment blogging since 2009 has done nothing to reform the church; it has only gotten worse. And ironically, according to Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross, such revelations glorify God because it shows us our greater need for salvation which makes the cross bigger rather than smaller. Yes, denying our total depravity denies our deep need for the cross. It diminishes Christ’s great sacrifice. This shows the utter confusion of Protestants or at least their lack of communication regarding the real goal: Is the revealing of the church’s dirty laundry making the cross smaller, or bigger according to Protestantism? Is the reform a reduction of bad behavior via exposure, or reform by making the cross bigger? The former has completely failed, and the church seems to be confused about Martin Luther’s approval of the latter to Glorify God.

The church is both confused and unsavable. And it has been since it’s miserable beginning.

paul

 

 

 

Marriage is NOT an Institution

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

Yesterday, we had a little COVID style wedding here at the Potter’s House for Phillip and Harmony. Don’t tell the state of Ohio, but 11 people attended. I think you are only allowed 10. It was decided a little late in the game that I would be the officiant, so I hurriedly collected all of my thoughts about marriage over the years and put something together. The last wedding I did was in 1983. Furthermore, I had a medical episode in the middle of the address that I was able to work through by resorting to memory, so of course, I didn’t end up delivering the address exactly as planned. Today, while reviewing yesterday in my head, I decided that some of what I said yesterday should be articulated and written down. I have also added some thoughts and this is the long version.

I began by noting the following: people all over the world in different cultures, different customs, different ideology, differing politics, different religions, etc., get married. Conservatives get married, liberals get married, atheists get married, gay people get married. Religious and the irreligious get married. Couples that don’t necessarily believe they even need marriage…get married. Why is that? What compels marriage? Why do couples want to go that extra mile and make this commitment to each other? Well, I think we have stumbled upon the answer in the question; it’s about commitment. It would seem that in a relationship, when the two begin to treasure each other, they want some surety, no? Marriage is a commitment. It is one telling another that they are treasured. “You are valuable to me.” That’s what marriage is, and that’s why people do it.

Life. We all have to face it one way or another. There is no escaping that. I don’t want to put life in a negative light because life is a good thing, but, life is definitely a force to be reckoned with. How we deal with life, how we negotiate life, is the difference between happiness and the lack thereof. No one is meant to negotiate life alone. That’s not how God has organized life; the pain of loneliness is testimony to that. We find success in life and victory over life’s challenges, resulting in happiness, through family, and marriage is the beginning of that to one degree or another. Marriage is two people who have coveted with each other to negotiate life together. They are life companions. A family is those two people or more.

Children are wonderful, but they don’t technically define a family in totality. Sometimes the addition of children comes later, but children don’t make the companionship of marriage complete. A number of years later, children depart, and the married couple remain one. They will move on to negotiate life’s next chapter together and whatever it brings.

Those who know me know I am a very practical person that believes every problem has a solution. How wonderful it would be if there was a math book on having a happy marriage. But I must confess, I think there is at least a little bit of magic in love and marriage. Being together is natural. You don’t need a how-to book in order to have a good time. Most people get married because their relationship has that magic. Wanting to be together and being happy, when together, comes naturally. My advice? Don’t ever lose that. I can’t write a book on that, but I can point you in the right direction. Together, you will have to figure out the rest on your own, but that’s what marriage is about anyway. It is your house to build together. I have come to believe that marriage has not become better because of outside experts. There are presently more marriage experts than there has ever been in history, and divorce has never been higher. I have come to believe the key to a successful marriage is the focus on a handful of principles by the couple and the couple deciding themselves how they will apply those principles to their lives. This article is about those principles.

This is an important clarification for me because Susan and I do marriage counseling from time to time. I have always done it in an endeavor to learn more about marriage because I am a good marriage counselor. What makes me good? I admit I have never helped a marriage with my counseling. I have come to believe that in most cases, the fanning of the flame that initially brings two people together is key. I believe love is a mysterious power, natural, and intrinsic within the human soul as placed there by God. Let me offer some objective proof. We have all seen those interviews with old people who have been married 40, 50, or even 60+ years. We all wait with bated breath to hear what the “secret” to their success is. The answer is always very short, and disappointing. The old guy will usually say something like, “Always agree with the wife.” It’s a humorous way of saying, “We really don’t know.”

Well, I do know something: the institutionalization of love, and marriage, is love’s worst enemy. Sometimes, what is natural is best left alone. Institutions, and experts, are all about authority; love is all about being one body. Marriages fail because they are legal. The difference between law and love is a metaphysical understanding that is all but void in our culture; primarily, because of church. Love is a law of wisdom, while the written code is a law of authority. Both have their place, but when the two are conflated, evil is the result. More than not, authority rejects the idea that love is intrinsic within humanity. You see, if all people have love to some degree, or at least most, the masses do not need to be compelled to do good. And, by the way, who decides the qualifications for those in humanity capable of judging such? That is, what love is and how people should be compelled to do it. At what counsel was that decided? Did God appoint a special committee that we are unaware of? And, calling an expert an “authority” on something harkens back to the expectation that you will obey the experts. How often do the opinions of experts cause a division between two married couples? Often. Furthermore, the so-called experts are no more victorious over life’s challenges than most people. Psychologists have a higher rate of suicide than any other profession.

However, the best example of the institutionalization of love and marriage, ironically, is the church, which is called upon in the Bible to be a body. It is far from that; actually, the opposite. Over the years I have been involved in so-called biblical marriage counseling and have paid attention to its newest trends. I hear a popular mantra of late that goes like this: “Marriage is hard work; you must both put effort into making a marriage work.” God help us. Love is not hard work. People don’t even like hard work! Seriously, we don’t have enough jobs? Marriage is just another job in our lives?

We hear about “pre-marriage counseling.” I use to do a lot of it. One of the things they tell you is, “Figure out a budget that you agree on right away because financial problems are the number one stress factor in a marriage!” And thus, we have the primary focus of pre-marital counseling: to prevent the inevitable problem marriage unless you adhere to the sound advice of the experts. No, here is what I figured out eventually, love doesn’t need a rule book for “totally depraved” people trying to have a happy marriage. We even hear this from time to time: “Marriage is two sinners living together.” Yikes! Let me tell you my definition of marriage counseling whether secular or religious: it’s two people with a long list of sins, which presents the case for why one should be in control of the other. But love doesn’t keep a record of wrong for that reason; marriage is not law, it’s love. Trust me, there are a lot of marriages out there held together by law and not love. On the one hand, the couple hates each other, but on the other hand, “Thus saith the Lord, God hates divorce!” How appropriate that a law-based marriage is being held together by the law and not love.

Hence, supposedly, the key to a successful marriage is making a “log list” of your partners offences, and vise versa, and committing to not continuing in those offenses. Like most uses of scripture in the church, Jesus’ “Take the log out of your own eye before your remove a splinter from your brother’s eye” refers to hypocrisy, not law-keeping. And, we are talking about laws that are probably, more than not, spousal preferences to begin with. Church counseling even has a procedure for seeking forgiveness from your spouse for offences, and this forgiveness process is supposedly efficacious for healing the marriage. It is said that a “lifestyle of repentance” is critical for a happy marriage and since marriage is “two sinners living together,” the ongoing process of seeking forgiveness is critical for the success of a marriage. Well, what is the church’s definition of sin? Right, a violation of the law. So, every morning when a spouse wakes up, the goal is not to violate the other spouses law. Things are not done out of love, but merely to keep the peace. As Susan once said, “There is common-law marriage, and common-law divorce.”

At the beginning of your marriage you aren’t going to get up every morning concerned with how not to offend your life companion. No, you are going to get up every day wondering how you are going to love each other because the honeymoon isn’t over yet, right? You wake up wondering what love will bring into your lives. Well, there you go, just don’t stop doing that. It’s not impossible because marriage, in fact, is not an institution based on a bunch of laws; it’s based on love.

Love believes all things. And it is patient. You will need patience, but here is something that will help you with it and it is connected to believing the best about your life companion. First of all, love isn’t always as kind as it strives to be, but it doesn’t need restitution for every failure. Chill out; failure to love doesn’t always require a coming to Jesus meeting complete with a wooden alter and a sacrifice of every kind. Love makes forgiveness easy because you believe the best about the other person. You don’t define them by their failures. That’s what law does, not love. They shouldn’t have to prove they are really the person you married through some restitution process because you know them and their failure to love is not who they really are. They don’t have to say, “I didn’t mean what I said,” you already knew that. Here is the difference: if love prevails, annoyances would be something that you would miss if your spouse was no longer with you. They would be painful reminders that your companion is no longer with you; that’s what you are having patience with. Love can live with your faults because the absence of those faults may also mean the absence of the loved one. The opposite of love delights in evil (literally, “wrongdoing”) because it makes the case for why the other person is an idiot and should therefore be ruled over. The world loves to play that game, but there is no place for it in marriage.

That’s why the opposite of marriage is divorce, which is all about condemnation and restitution, right? And trust me, the condemnation didn’t start at the end. And all too often, it is an attempt to get restitution for every perceived failure during the marriage. The apostle Paul said to only be indebted to each other according to love. Condemnation is a debt that can never be fully paid…keep it out of your marriage. Love is also a debt that can never be paid, and that is a good thing, so focus on that. One tears down, the other builds up. Once, in a marriage situation involving a couple I met with along with their church counselors, one of the counselors stated that our goal was to “Maintain the marriage covenant.” Don’t miss that. It sounds spiritual, but it reveals how the church is totally law-driven and has no real concept of body-life. You love your own body; that’s totally natural, and the whole point.

Let me illustrate that biblically. What does the biblical one flesh mean? It means one body. Let me tell you about a body. Most body functions are what we call, “involuntary.” Cells have bodies and minds of their own, literally. The fact of the matter is, I can’t tell my body to do squat. If I want my arm to raise up, I can order it to do so all day long, but guess what, if it isn’t a healthy arm, it does nothing. Now, I can make healthy choices and nourish my body, and I can edify my body, and there you have it; that’s marriage. It is the edification and building up of each other because you are one body. Paul states elsewhere in the Bible that no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it. There you have it…that’s Paul’s point.

With all of this comes a caution: love is also a law of sorts. Though it never walks with condemnation, life requires wisdom for a return on happiness. Love is about true companionship; the Bible calls it “oneness.” Therefore, love does not keep a record of wrong. It doesn’t ask, “Did you sin today?” It asks, “Did you love today?” It believes the best about others. It builds up, and doesn’t tear down, because no person seeks to tear down themselves. No person seeks to condemn themselves; that is not a happy person. On the other hand, courtship is important because it reveals how well you will be one together. Is the courtship a natural flow of peace and happiness with a few bumps in the road? Then that’s the kind of marriage you should expect.

Love is a bit of a mystery, but always starts out strong. That is, happiness is easy and natural. Then, life starts happening. A married couple must always remember that it is the world against the two of them; the very reason they have come together is companionship and the negotiating of life together as one body. That should be, and is, a boundary, and the world, as well as the church, will arrogantly cross that boundary. There is certainly no problem with a married couple seeking advice on life issues, but that advice should never cause a division in the body of one-flesh marriage.

Marriage is not a department of a church institution or a government institution. And, it is not an institution driven by law. There is no authority in a body; I can wish the best for my body, and I can love it, but I can’t tell it what to do. Love doesn’t use fear for anything, and loves a willful giver. Marriage is not an institution driven by authority and law, it is driven by love.

paul