Paul's Passing Thoughts

Believers No Longer in Protective Custody

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on November 22, 2017

Originally published May 31, 2016

The ancient Greek cultural practice of “pederasty” was the homosexual relationship between an adult male (the “erastes”) and an early-adolescent male. In the city of Athens particularly, pederasty entailed a formal bond between an adult man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family, consisting of loving and often sexual relations. As an erotic and educational custom it was initially employed by the upper class as a means of teaching the young and conveying to them important cultural values, such as bravery and restraint.

Athenian society generally encouraged the “erastes” to pursue a boy to love, tolerating behavior such as sleeping on the stoop of the youth’s home and otherwise going to great lengths to make himself noticed. At the same time, the boy and his family were expected to put up resistance and not give in too easily, and boys who succumbed too readily were looked down upon. As a result, the quest for a “desirable boy” was fiercely competitive. (source: wikipedia – Athenian Pederasty)

Often, fathers who wished to protect their sons from such unwanted advances, as described above, would send a household slave to accompany the boy wherever he went, particularly on his way to school. These slaves were known as “pedegogos”. The word literally means a “boy leader”. The pedegogos acted as a “guardian” for the young boy, to protect him.

It is important to understand the cultural use of this word “pedegogos” in the first century, because this is the word that the apostle Paul uses in describing the relationship between Old Testament believers and the Law.

“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” ~ Galatians 3:22-25

The King James uses the word “schoolmaster”, but it is this Greek word παιδαγωγος “pedegogos”. It is better translated as “guardian”.

But before we examine that word some more, we need to take some time to clear up a reformed miss-conception about this passage. It has to do with this expression “concluded all under sin”. Traditionally this has been taught to mean that the logical conclusion of scripture’s teaching is that all are under sin. We simply need to look at the grammar to see that this is not what Paul is saying. “All under sin” is a group of people that are the focus of his argument. The word translated “concluded” is the Greek word συνκλειω (soonk-lee-oh). It is a compound word made up of the prefix “soon” meaning “together with” and the word “kleio” meaning “to shut up” or “to enclose”. It has the idea of taking something into custody for the purpose of protection.

What Paul is teaching in this passage is that in the Old Testament, the role of scripture (or Law) was to take all of those “under sin” into custody for the purpose of protecting them.   (Please note, that “under sin” is not the same as “under law”.)  This is important to understand, and this protection was the “atoning” aspect of the Law. Because Jesus, “the Promise”, had not yet come to end the law and its condemnation, Old Testament believers were actually protected by the law, because sin was imputed to the law and not to the believer. The law took them into protective custody.

Paul repeats this idea in the very next verse:

“…before faith came, we were kept under the law…”

The word “kept” is the Greek word φρουρεω (froo-reh-oh). It means to be a watcher in advance, or to mount a guard or a sentinel, like a guard in a watchtower. Again, the idea is one of offering protection. Notice carefully that the phrase is “kept under the law” and not kept “under law”.  To be kept under the law means that it is the law that is performing the “keeping” or “protecting”.  This in no way whatsoever means that believers are still “kept (remain) under law” as reformed doctrine would have us believe. It means that the Old Testament believers were protected by the law.

Why was this protection necessary? Because “the Promise” had not yet come. The law, while it did not impart righteousness, in this manner it served as a protection from condemnation. And the law’s ability to condemn would not be ended until Jesus’ crucifixion. Therefore, this protection, this “atonement” was available until that time would come. Paul makes this very point in verse 24.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ…”

Notice that he is NOT saying that the law leads us TO Christ. The reformed interpretation of this is that the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ to show us how much we are in need of salvation, but that is not the case. In the context of the passage, the law WAS (past tense) a guardian (pedegogos) until the time when Christ came. “Pedegogos” is a very provocative word, knowing what we know about its meaning. Paul could have used any other word do express the idea of a guardian or protector. But he specifically chose to use “pedegogos” knowing full well that his audience would have understood the cultural implications behind it. He was obviously wanting to make a very powerful point on the matter!

But what has happened since Christ died? What happened once “the Promise” came? There is no longer any need of a guardian. Why? Because the law is ended. The law can no longer condemn. Believers are not under law, they are under grace. This is a joyous reality! But there is also a sense of foreboding as revealed by the writer of Hebrews.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin…For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” ~ Hebrews 10:16-18, 26-27

When Christ died to end the law, He also ended its atoning work. Not only are believers no longer in need of a guardian, but there IS no guardian, period. That results in fear. If one is still under law the natural response is fear which comes from the reality of condemnation. No more protection from condemnation is available. Also, the only ones who CAN sin are those still “under law”. Those under grace CANNOT sin because they have been born again, and the law is ended. (1 John 3:8-9) A guardian is not necessary because they cannot be condemned.

I think people intuitively know this. I daresay that the reason so many “christians” are in constant fear of losing their salvation (or just fear in general) is because their theology keeps them “under law”. It is the cognitive dissonance produced when they know in their hearts that the law cannot save them, and they know that it can no longer protect them. This is why a proper understanding of the role of the law is so vital to the true gospel. Any gospel that makes law the standard for righteousness is a false one.

Andy

The Songs of Protestantism Say It All – Christians Are Still Sinners in Need of Daily Re-Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 28, 2017

This Sunday while you’re sitting in your local institutional protestant church, take out the hymnbook in front of you and open to any hymn. Read the lyrics carefully and ask yourself why the words talk about saved people as if they are still unsaved.


Nothing but the Blood
– Robert Lowry, 1876

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain:
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

 

His Robes for Mine – Lyrics by Chris Anderson, Music by Greg Habegger; 2008

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

Refrain:
I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “’Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

If you look up the above hymn on Anderson’s Church Works Media web page, you will find the following under the heading “Doctrinal Notes.” I don’t think any commentary is needed from me. The words speak for themselves.  But notice the authentic protestant orthodoxy of Law being the standard of righteousness in direct contradiction to Romans 3:21, 28!

“Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—please consider the following overview of the biblical texts and doctrinal themes behind the hymn ‘His Robes for Mine’:

“The 4 verses focus on 4 major themes included in the doctrine of justification. Verse 1 addresses the hymn’s overriding theme of “The Great Exchange.” Jesus Christ was made sin for us in order that we might be declared righteous in Him. The great doctrine of imputed righteousness and unrighteousness grows out of a number of wondrous texts (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:19-4:8; Philippians 3:9) and is often pictured in Scripture by the exchange of garments (Isaiah 61:10; Zechariah 3; Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 7:9-14). Hence, the theme of the song.

Verse 2 focuses on Christ’s active obedience—the fact that He mastered God’s Law in the place of sinners who could not, thus earning righteousness on our behalf. It was added essentially at the recommendation of my teacher and friend Michael Barrett, who has done a great deal to assist me in my understanding of justification. The key lesson here is that the righteousness imputed to me was Christ’s earned righteousness which He acquired by perfect obedience to God’s Law, not the inherent righteousness which He has eternally possessed by virtue of His deity. The great truth of Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will and the imputation of that righteousness to repentant sinners is taught in Matthew 3:15; John 8:29; 1 John 2:1; Romans 1:17; 2:13; 3:22; 4:4-6, 11b and 5:17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:30, et al.

“Verse 3 focuses on the grand doctrine of propitiation, the fact that God’s wrath was not merely deflected from us by Christ, but was rather absorbed by Him in our place. Jesus Christ bore the infinite wrath of God against sin, satisfying God’s wrath and enabling sinners to be forgiven—and justly so. Isaiah 53:10-11 describes it this way: God looks on the travail of Christ’s soul and is satisfied by it. His wrath has been exhausted on Christ. The doctrine of propitiation is taught Isaiah 53, Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2 and 4:10, et al.

“Verse 4 summarizes the hymn by describing the results of the Great Exchange—Christ forsaken and the sinner embraced by God. The role change of the sinner and Christ is amazing: the beloved Son of God was forsaken (Matthew 27:46) in order that the cursed enemy of God might be beloved (Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-22; 1 John 4:9-14). Though I understand this doctrine biblically, I certainly cannot fathom it. It is astounding. It is wonderful.

“Finally, we added a refrain which expresses our wonder at the cost of our salvation, then responds to Christ’s love with worship and consecration (Romans 6:19-20; Romans 12:1-2; Acts 20:28b). Thus, the song doesn’t really progress from verse 1 to verse 4, but instead moves toward and peaks at the refrain after each of the four meditations. Greg expresses the heartbeat of the refrain wonderfully with a gorgeous melodic line, and I trust that your congregation will delight to lift your voices and proclaim: ‘I cling to Christ and marvel at the cost!’

“As with other projects, our greatest delight would be for the Lord to use this song to point people toward Christ. I pray that it will help you mine the infinite riches of the salvation won for us when Christ donned our filthy garments of sin and provided for us the robes of His own righteousness! What a Savior the Lord Jesus is! To Him be all glory, honor, and praise!”

Isn’t it telling that a man who graduated from seminary and is leading his own church as a senior pastor needs assistance in understanding justification?  So not only are the laity clueless but the leadership is as well, and here is one who comes right out and admits it!

~ Andy

 

Believers No Longer in Protective Custody

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on December 8, 2016

Originally published May 31, 2016

The ancient Greek cultural practice of “pederasty” was the homosexual relationship between an adult male (the “erastes”) and an early-adolescent male. In the city of Athens particularly, pederasty entailed a formal bond between an adult man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family, consisting of loving and often sexual relations. As an erotic and educational custom it was initially employed by the upper class as a means of teaching the young and conveying to them important cultural values, such as bravery and restraint.

Athenian society generally encouraged the “erastes” to pursue a boy to love, tolerating behavior such as sleeping on the stoop of the youth’s home and otherwise going to great lengths to make himself noticed. At the same time, the boy and his family were expected to put up resistance and not give in too easily, and boys who succumbed too readily were looked down upon. As a result, the quest for a “desirable boy” was fiercely competitive. (source: wikipedia – Athenian Pederasty)

Often, fathers who wished to protect their sons from such unwanted advances, as described above, would send a household slave to accompany the boy wherever he went, particularly on his way to school. These slaves were known as “pedegogos”. The word literally means a “boy leader”. The pedegogos acted as a “guardian” for the young boy, to protect him.

It is important to understand the cultural use of this word “pedegogos” in the first century, because this is the word that the apostle Paul uses in describing the relationship between Old Testament believers and the Law.

“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” ~ Galatians 3:22-25

The King James uses the word “schoolmaster”, but it is this Greek word παιδαγωγος “pedegogos”. It is better translated as “guardian”.

But before we examine that word some more, we need to take some time to clear up a reformed miss-conception about this passage. It has to do with this expression “concluded all under sin”. Traditionally this has been taught to mean that the logical conclusion of scripture’s teaching is that all are under sin. We simply need to look at the grammar to see that this is not what Paul is saying. “All under sin” is a group of people that are the focus of his argument. The word translated “concluded” is the Greek word συνκλειω (soonk-lee-oh). It is a compound word made up of the prefix “soon” meaning “together with” and the word “kleio” meaning “to shut up” or “to enclose”. It has the idea of taking something into custody for the purpose of protection.

What Paul is teaching in this passage is that in the Old Testament, the role of scripture (or Law) was to take all of those “under sin” into custody for the purpose of protecting them.   (Please note, that “under sin” is not the same as “under law”.)  This is important to understand, and this protection was the “atoning” aspect of the Law. Because Jesus, “the Promise”, had not yet come to end the law and its condemnation, Old Testament believers were actually protected by the law, because sin was imputed to the law and not to the believer. The law took them into protective custody.

Paul repeats this idea in the very next verse:

“…before faith came, we were kept under the law…”

The word “kept” is the Greek word φρουρεω (froo-reh-oh). It means to be a watcher in advance, or to mount a guard or a sentinel, like a guard in a watchtower. Again, the idea is one of offering protection. Notice carefully that the phrase is “kept under the law” and not kept “under law”.  To be kept under the law means that it is the law that is performing the “keeping” or “protecting”.  This in no way whatsoever means that believers are still “kept (remain) under law” as reformed doctrine would have us believe. It means that the Old Testament believers were protected by the law.

Why was this protection necessary? Because “the Promise” had not yet come. The law, while it did not impart righteousness, in this manner it served as a protection from condemnation. And the law’s ability to condemn would not be ended until Jesus’ crucifixion. Therefore, this protection, this “atonement” was available until that time would come. Paul makes this very point in verse 24.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ…”

Notice that he is NOT saying that the law leads us TO Christ. The reformed interpretation of this is that the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ to show us how much we are in need of salvation, but that is not the case. In the context of the passage, the law WAS (past tense) a guardian (pedegogos) until the time when Christ came. “Pedegogos” is a very provocative word, knowing what we know about its meaning. Paul could have used any other word do express the idea of a guardian or protector. But he specifically chose to use “pedegogos” knowing full well that his audience would have understood the cultural implications behind it. He was obviously wanting to make a very powerful point on the matter!

But what has happened since Christ died? What happened once “the Promise” came? There is no longer any need of a guardian. Why? Because the law is ended. The law can no longer condemn. Believers are not under law, they are under grace. This is a joyous reality! But there is also a sense of foreboding as revealed by the writer of Hebrews.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin…For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” ~ Hebrews 10:16-18, 26-27

When Christ died to end the law, He also ended its atoning work. Not only are believers no longer in need of a guardian, but there IS no guardian, period. That results in fear. If one is still under law the natural response is fear which comes from the reality of condemnation. No more protection from condemnation is available. Also, the only ones who CAN sin are those still “under law”. Those under grace CANNOT sin because they have been born again, and the law is ended. (1 John 3:8-9) A guardian is not necessary because they cannot be condemned.

I think people intuitively know this. I daresay that the reason so many “christians” are in constant fear of losing their salvation (or just fear in general) is because their theology keeps them “under law”. It is the cognitive dissonance produced when they know in their hearts that the law cannot save them, and they know that it can no longer protect them. This is why a proper understanding of the role of the law is so vital to the true gospel. Any gospel that makes law the standard for righteousness is a false one.

Andy

Believers No Longer in Protective Custody

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 31, 2016

The ancient Greek cultural practice of “pederasty” was the homosexual relationship between an adult male (the “erastes”) and an early-adolescent male. In the city of Athens particularly, pederasty entailed a formal bond between an adult man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family, consisting of loving and often sexual relations. As an erotic and educational custom it was initially employed by the upper class as a means of teaching the young and conveying to them important cultural values, such as bravery and restraint.

Athenian society generally encouraged the “erastes” to pursue a boy to love, tolerating behavior such as sleeping on the youth’s stoop and otherwise going to great lengths to make himself noticed. At the same time, the boy and his family were expected to put up resistance and not give in too easily, and boys who succumbed too readily were looked down upon. As a result, the quest for a “desirable boy” was fiercely competitive. (source: wikipedia – Athenian Pederasty)

Often, fathers who wished to protect their sons from such unwanted advances, as described above, would send a household slave to accompany the boy wherever he went, particularly on his way to school. These slaves were known as “pedegogos”. The word literally means a “boy leader”. The pedegogos acted as a “guardian” for the young boy, to protect him.

It is important to understand the cultural use of this word “pedegogos” in the first century, because this is the word that the apostle Paul uses in describing the relationship between Old Testament believers and the Law.

“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” ~ Galatians 3:22-25

The King James uses the word “schoolmaster”, but it is this Greek word παιδαγωγος “pedegogos”. It is better translated as “guardian”.

But before we examine that word some more, we need to take some time to clear up a reformed miss-conception about this passage. It has to do with this expression “concluded all under sin”. Traditionally this has been taught to mean that the logical conclusion of scripture’s teaching is that all are under sin. We simply need to look at the grammar to see that this is not what Paul is saying. “All under sin” is a group of people that are the focus of his argument. The word translated “concluded” is the Greek word συνκλειω (soonk-lee-oh). It is a compound word made up of the prefix “soon” meaning “together with” and the word “kleio” meaning “to shut up” or “to enclose”. It has the idea of taking something into custody for the purpose of protection.

What Paul is teaching in this passage is that in the Old Testament, the role of scripture (or Law) was to take all of those “under sin” into custody for the purpose of protecting them.   (Please note, that “under sin” is not the same as “under law”.)  This is important to understand, and this protection was the “atoning” aspect of the Law. Because Jesus, “the Promise”, had not yet come to end the law and its condemnation, Old Testament believers were actually protected by the law, because sin was imputed to the law and not to the believer. The law took them into custody.

Paul repeats this idea in the very next verse:

“…before faith came, we were kept under the law…”

The word “kept” is the Greek word φρουρεω (froo-reh-oh). It means to be a watcher in advance, or to mount a guard or a sentinel, like a guard in a watchtower. Again, the idea is one of offering protection. Notice carefully that the phrase is “kept under the law” and not kept “under law”.  To be kept under the law means that it is the law that is performing the “keeping” or “protecting”.  This in no way whatsoever means that believers are still “kept (remain) under law” as reformed doctrine would have us believe. It means that the Old Testament believers were protected by the law.

Why was this protection necessary? Because “the Promise” had not yet come. The law, while it did not impart righteousness, in this manner it served as a protection from condemnation. And the law’s ability to condemn would not be ended until Jesus’ crucifixion. Therefore, this protection, this “atonement” was available until that time would come. Paul makes this very point in verse 24.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ…”

Notice that he is NOT saying that the law leads us TO Christ. The reformed interpretation of this is that the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ to show us how much we are in need of salvation, but that is not the case. In the context of the passage, the law WAS (past tense) a guardian (pedegogos) until the time when Christ came. “Pedegogos” is a very provocative word, knowing what we know about its meaning. Paul could have used any other word do express the idea of a guardian or protector. But he specifically chose to use “pedegogos” knowing full well that his audience would have understood the cultural implications behind it. He was obviously wanting to make a very powerful point on the matter!

But what has happened since Christ died? What happened once “the Promise” came? There is no longer any need of a guardian. Why? Because the law is ended. The law can no longer condemn. Believers are not under law, they are under grace. This is a joyous reality! But there is also a sense of foreboding as revealed by the writer of Hebrews.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin…For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” ~ Hebrews 10:16-18, 26-27

When Christ died to end the law, He also ended its atoning work. Not only are believers no longer in need of a guardian, but there IS no guardian, period. That results in fear. If one is still under law the natural response is fear which comes from the reality of condemnation. No more protection from condemnation is available. Also, the only ones who CAN sin are those still “under law”. Those under grace CANNOT sin because they have been born again, and the law is ended. (1 John 3:8-9) A guardian is not necessary because they cannot be condemned.

I think people intuitively know this. I daresay that the reason so many “christians” are in constant fear of losing their salvation (or just fear in general) is because their theology keeps them “under law”. It is the cognitive dissonance produced when they know in their hearts that the law cannot save them, and they know that it can no longer protect them. This is why a proper understanding of the role of the law is so vital to the true gospel. Any gospel that makes law the standard for righteousness is a false one.

Andy

The Reformation Counter-Reality

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 15, 2016

project-2016-logo-4The Reformers claimed, sola scriptura (truth based on Scripture alone). But in every case of any claim made by the Reformers of old or new, what they mean by any given word must be clarified. How did the Reformers define Scripture?

Here we begin to examine the Reformation’s redefinition of almost every word imaginable while allowing the masses to assume the normative definitions during indoctrination. If the people assume “nine,” but you want to bring them to “five,” you only talk about the “two” and the “three.” The nine is out of sight and out of mind. But also, during the process of bringing them to five, you allow them to assume two really means “two” and three really means “three.” In Reformed reality, the two and three really mean something different than the normally excepted grammatical definitions of two and three. Otherwise, both together would not equal nine which really means five in their reality. The goal is to get the masses to agree that nine really means five.

That’s a crass simplification, yet, the general idea. It may also be stated from the onset that this is a classic cult indoctrination technique. The technique deliberately excludes facts detrimental to the thesis and redefines words to collaborate a contrary truth. Nevertheless, this is a staple mode of communication among Reformed academia. Words mean what the Reformed academics deem them to mean, and you are the last to know until you see the world their way and it no longer matters. Those who define the words control how reality is perceived, and perception determines behavior. People act according to their logic.

How do people normally interpret information? And how do people normally process the reality that they are experiencing? Most people find their way in the world through natural assumptions. Few of us are taught anything different. As we grow up and mature, we assume that the world we live in is really as we perceive it, and we accumulate conclusions about life accordingly. When we went to grade school and learned words, we assumed that “cat” really means “cat” according to what we perceive a cat to be. We learned sentences such as, “The cat walked across the street,” “See Johnny run!” etc. When we read a newspaper or magazine and see sentences, we assume reported events really took place whether we were there or not. If the writer is telling the truth, a cat really walked across the street. Perception or understanding of the event is increased with more words; the color of the cat, the breed of cat, the name of the street crossed by the cat, etc. Relevant knowledge is what we use to negotiate the world we live in. This also assumes cause and effect, ability to comprehend reality, and some degree of control over our environment. Some call this, “free will.”

If you are being taught by someone who rejects these normative assumptions in a church venue, it is safe to assume that you have little or no mutual agreement in regard to the words being communicated. The words “two” and “three” are being used, but you assume those words do not add up to nine. The someone is allowing you to assume that they interpret reality in the same way you do. And, this description is the commonplace occurrence in most present-day Protestant churches.

Without getting into the realm of metaphysical theory, the Reformed principle will be stated simply, and then it will be confirmed as the standard mode of operation widely practiced in our day. It will also be established that this mode of operation flows from the historic roots and traditions of the Protestant Reformation.

The Imperative Command is Grounded in the Indicative Event

The Reformed principle is sometimes expressed as, “The imperative command is grounded in the indicative event.” The question now following is… “What in the world does that mean!” It begins by understanding that the Reformed use words that mean things to teach that words don’t always mean things. Let’s parse the statement with words that mean things. “Imperative command” simply refers to commands found in the Bible.1 The “indicative event” refers to Christ’s life and death as a historical event.2 Few realize the gravity of the cute play on words with the definition of the word, “history” as “His-story.” This is, in fact, a thumbnail phrase that expresses a vast metaphysical/philosophical body of thought and theory. It suggests that ALL reality is interpreted through the life of Christ. It suggests, as the only objective presupposition, that all of history and reality are interpreted through the one historical event. It is history as reality, and the Christ event is the lynchpin of the story. History is a story, and the story is reality. This is NOT difficult to understand; the danger is letting the simplicity of it escape you because of presuppositions that assume complexity. What the Reformed have done is used thousands of different sub-concepts to teach this one, simple, primary concept.

The key to understanding this view of reality is a focus on perception. In the Reformed worldview, humans are only able to truly perform one function: they are able to perceive things, or see things. Everything else is mere experience. Again, just follow the meaning of the words used here and put them together for a logical conclusion, this is very simple to understand. Again, the danger is being confused by the simplicity of it due to presuppositions.

According to the Reformed worldview, reality is divided into two categories; active and passive. In other words, there is active reality and passive reality. Humans belong to the passive reality, or realm. The passive reality, or realm, includes things like water; until water is acted upon, it is dormant. Items in the passive realm only operate according to the actions of the active realm. In essence, we are dealing with two realms, and NOTHING happens in the passive realm unless it is acted upon by the active realm. Please note: according to this principle, those things in the passive realm that perceive that an action is being initiated in the passive realm are only experiencing the action, but are not performing it. Though the action is very much experienced as something initiated by the will of the being dwelling in the passive realm, it is an illusion—the action is only being experienced and not performed. Free will, and cause and effect within the passive realm are illusions. Cause and effect is split between the two realms: cause is only possible in the active realm, and all actions in the passive realm come from the active realm.

So, what is the purpose of this seemingly futile worldview? Answer: well-being. Simply, happiness. Isn’t that what we all want? To the degree that we properly perceive the reality of the passive realm, we have well-being; no circumstance can disturb our soul, all events are the will of the active realm which is always good and true regardless of how mankind perceives it. And this brings us to the Reformed/Protestant definition of saving faith: it is a true perception of reality apart from any free will, and the belief that nothing of the active realm exists within. It is like an eye that only perceives outwardly. The perception itself in no way enables anything within to act upon the passive realm, but only perceives and experiences what the active realm accomplishes in the passive realm. Faith alone is perception alone apart from any work. If water freezes, it didn’t decide to freeze itself, and did nothing to contribute to the freezing, it was acted upon by a change in temperature. Hence, as many Reformed teachers are fond of saying: “Sanctification is not done by you, it is done to you.”

Where the confusion exists in attempting to understand this worldview is demonstrated by a question such as this: “But when I am doing something, am I not really doing it?” Answer: no, the doing is also an experience. Let’s say that you are standing in the rain. You can feel the rain and experience the rain and everything that comes with standing in the rain and getting wet, but you have no control over the rain. You did not make yourself wet, you are passive; you are only now wet because you were acted upon by the active realm. However, let’s say that you decide to run from the pouring rain and into some sort of shelter. The assumption is that this act occurred because your own will decided to activate your body for purposes of using shelter. Not so, you are a purely passive being who must be acted upon. The active realm acted upon your thoughts and will. Even though you cannot experience the rain’s active motion, you can experience your own, but in either case, it no more you acting upon yourself than the rain is acting upon itself—in both cases the active realm is commanding the effects seen in the passive realm. A tree does not move itself; the active realm uses the wind to move the tree.

We are now one more simple step closer to understanding the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. Let’s review the critical elements that make up our understanding: passive realm; active realm; history; story; faith; Bible. The active realm acts upon the passive realm to effect a story as expressed in history. Faith is the ability to see the story for what it is, and to understand that you are a passive character in the story. Of course, the story is predetermined by God, and your role is also predetermined. The Bible is a prototype of the story, or a general pattern of the story. It is a tool for helping your faith see your own life reflected in the gospel narrative. Some of the Bible narrative tells the story of other humans who dwelt in the passive realm as a way to understand your own existence in the passive realm, while other parts of the Bible tell the end of the story, what is referred to theologically as eschatology, or end-time prophecy. So, some of the Bible is history specific, and other parts are patterns of understanding exhibit reality and an understanding of it. It may be stated this way: reality is a motion picture exhibited and executed by the active realm and observed by us in the passive realm.

Now, let’s describe what the story is. It is the redemptive story of Christ, and its purpose is to glorify God. Hence, God decided to write this…what we may call a metaphysical narrative, and for the express purpose of His own glory and “self-love.” Also, EVERYTHING in the narrative glorifies God. And consequently, to the degree that we see ourselves as nothing more than characters penciled into the metaphysical narrative plot by God as either vessels of wrath or vessels for glory, we find peace and happiness. After all, reality is just a gospel narrative written by God. Why get uptight about things that we have no control over, or things that ultimately glorify God whether good or evil? And even if your prewritten destiny is eternal destruction, the Bible can help you get so lost in the splendor of God that you would, in fact, rejoice in the opportunity to suffer eternally if it glorifies God. The primary purpose of the Bible is to lift God up, and bring mankind “down to hell.” To the degree that “believers” use the Bible to do this aided by the Holy Spirit, well-being is experienced.

This brings us to a conclusion in understanding the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. There are obviously many commands in the Bible. According to this way of understanding the Bible, ie., according to a redemptive interpretation, God presents many commands to men in order to demonstrate the futility of man obeying any command without fault and to the pleasure of God. According to this narrative prewritten by God in the active realm and displayed in the passive realm, Christ performed a passive obedience and an active obedience in what is known as the “Christ event” (His death and life). Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin, and lived a perfect life in obedience to the law for those preselected by God to receive the salvation supplied by Christ according to the narrative.

According to the narrative: the law, or the commands read in the Bible, are designed to show all people how evil they are. This shows them their need for Christ, but that need doesn’t cease with salvation. Remember, faith is merely a perception, and faith grows as the perception grows. The perception of what? Answer: the depths of, or an ever-increasing understanding of how much we need salvation. Therefore, the imperative commands are not meant for us to obey because we are not able to, but are rather designed to give us an ever-deepening understanding of how much we needed salvation. Said another way, “the law reveals our evil as set against God’s holiness.” Or…they are based on the indicative Christ event.

The imperative commands are NOT grounded in an expectation of man’s ability to obey them, or for some purpose of man’s co-laboring with God, or some means of people loving God and neighbor, but rather they are grounded in the Christ event for the express purpose of God’s glory. Using the Bible/law in this way supposedly increases understanding of our own evil leading to a gratitude for God’s infinite mercy, and subsequent happiness and well-being. This is what the Reformers really meant by sola scriptura. It is perhaps one of the most egregious misrepresentations ever perpetrated on mankind.

It is not surprising then that this use of Scripture is known as the historical-redemptive hermeneutic. Of course, presenting it as an interpretive method, or hermeneutic, when it is really a way of interpreting reality itself, is yet another flagrant deception. Consequently, what would normally be a contrasting hermeneutic, namely, the historical-grammatical hermeneutic, must now be recruited as a contending alternative to the historical-redemptive method of interpreting realty. What is this saying? It is saying that words mean what we normally understand them to mean. It means that the word “command” assumes that the person giving the command did not already obey the command for the person to whom the command is directed. It also assumes that the one giving the command assumes that the subject receiving the command has the ability to obey it. This is in contrast to the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event.

As we will see as we progress, these Reformed ideas are very ancient. They are actually grounded in ancient mythology. The imperative command is grounded in the indicative event is a more contemporary term that was borrowed from like views of secular metaphysics. For example:

It is often said that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”; that is to say, the imperative and the indicative deal with two radically different realms that do not intersect. The realms of fact and duty are like oil and water; they do not mix.3

This is also known as Hume’s law4 and slightly differs from the Reformed imperative/indicative in that the Reformed concur that good can be known in the passive realm, but is not able to be practiced in the material realm by passive beings. Really, it’s the same difference.

In this chapter, the principle elements of the indictment have been presented. In the next chapter, the proof will be presented that authentic Protestantism is guilty of this worldview and its fraudulent presentation. Protestant ideological cross-breeding and confusion can be measured by ignorance regarding the original worldview that the Protestant Reformation was founded on; usually expressed in various and sundry denominations. However, remnants of its ancient principles can be seen in things like let go and let God theology that are eerily similar to…

Be perfectly resigned, perfectly unconcerned; then alone can you do any true work. No eyes can see the real forces; we can only see the results. Put out self, forget it; just let God work, it is His business (Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902) was a teacher of Vedanta philosophy, and one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of Hinduism).

No significant understanding of our present-day church experience can be ascertained without understanding the ideology that produced Protestant orthodoxy. Any suggestion that Reformed tradition and thought was birthed by an exegetical interpretation of the Bible is absurd.

Moreover, it is an ideology that hates life, and will invariably lead to a culture of death, and apparently, happily so. True believers must grasp this, and as a result see what is really behind the lofty sounding theological doctrines it espouses.

3 The Void Within: An Inner Quest for Wholeness, By Arnold C. Harms, Ph.D.

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