Paul's Passing Thoughts

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 17, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.”

An item of particular interest in regard to the Reformed use of Romans 8:29,30 for the ordo salutis (order of salvation or the golden chain of individual salvation) is that sanctification is missing from the process. Sanctification is not in Romans 8:29,30. Let there be no doubt about it when the least common denominator is front and center: this issue concerns two different gospels. One gospel states that sanctification is not mentioned because it is the same thing as justification; the other gospel states that sanctification is missing because justification and sanctification are totally separate.

And obviously therefore, one states that salvation is a finished work while the other sees salvation as a process that the individual experiences and lives in while the process is ongoing. This is why Protestantism has ALWAYS been characterized by weak sanctification and lack of assurance. If justification and sanctification are the same thing, there is going to be an over emphasis on justification; if we are in the midst of the justification “process” and our salvation depends on whether or not God chose us to believe, and our individual election will not be verified until the “tribunal,” assurance will be lacking.

The Bible is clear. Assurance is based on two things: confidence in the FINISHED election process preordained by God, and the ability to work out the gifts given to us with our finished and final salvation being of no consideration in regard to our works of love. In other words, one of the purposes of election is to radically separate justification and sanctification leading to assurance and aggressive sanctification. The Reformed order of salvation uses election to fuse justification and sanctification together resulting in that train wreck we call “Protestantism.”

This is why I think Romans 8:29,30 is in the past tense; it concerns justification ONLY as a finished work. Yet, the Reformed use it to make a case for a salvation that is yet future; in other words, the Reformed throw out grammatical considerations regardless of whether it is in the English, Hebrew, or Greek. While they claim deep knowledge of the languages are efficacious to valid understanding of the Scriptures, they rape and ravage normative grammatical rules unfettered. While using knowledge of the languages to intimidate the great unwashed, they say, “good grammar makes bad theology” as if there are no rules of grammar in the Greek and Hebrew. But there are, and the rules are fairly consistent in all languages. Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is oversold for purposes of control. More relevant than anything is a good working knowledge of grammar.

Romans 8:29,30 speaks of a group, or classification of people who were pre-loved, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. However, not all who are called within the group answer the call, but rather reject it. Those who accept the invitation of the calling are part of the elect group. In the same way, Israel was elected, but not all Israelites accept the invitation. Therefore, God also preordained the Gentiles for salvation in order to make the Jews jealous. In part one, I cite Matthew 22:1-14 to make this case in regard to the “called”, and would also like to add Romans 11. The “remnant” can also be considered an elect group as well, and any Jew can be saved by becoming a part of it IF they believe individually (Romans 11:23).

Throughout the Bible, people are called to believe and are warned that they will be judged if they don’t. The means of salvation being elected rather than individuals, and those individuals being called on to become part of the elect group excludes the need to relegate the gospel to paradox. God is not a God of confusion. If the “called” are not distinguished from the definition of “elect,” the Bible becomes utterly confusing. Nevertheless, Matthew 22:1-14 seems to end the argument altogether; many are called but few are elect. The elect are the ones who accept the invitation to the wedding feast.

Admittedly, this is a working hypothesis for consideration among the laity, but the following is certain: the Protestant gospel of a progressive order of salvation must be rejected with extreme prejudice for many, many definitive reasons. And Biblicism knows the following concretely in regard to its alternative gospel: justification is a finished work by God alone and the saint is free to love aggressively without fear of condemnation. We leave the cross and move on to maturity in love. Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.

At any rate, the idea that a group is elected for a certain purpose without all in the group being saved is far from being unbiblical, and Israel is the primary example (NASB):

Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Exodus 19:4-6

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Psalms 135:4

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 45:4

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Amos 3:2

“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

In Romans 11:2, the apostle Paul even writes that God “foreknew” Israel. This is the election and foreknowledge of a group of which all are not saved. God calls all of those belonging to the group, but many within the group reject the call. Again, note Matthew 22:1-14. If they answer the call, they are elect because they are part of the group that was elected. It is plain that election is not defined by individual pre-selection alone, and in fact, specific verses that seem to indicate the election of individuals are not only rare, but ambiguous at best while the former are ample and concise.

Let me throw a couple of thoughts in here that would be prompted by reading almost anywhere throughout the New Testament. First, if individuals are pre-selected, the Scriptures pass on the opportunity to make that clear over and over again. For example:

Luke 16:27 – And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No,father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

If the issue is pre-selection, why wouldn’t Abraham merely say so? Why is the source of information that would persuade the rich man’s brothers the issue rather than God’s choosing? Individual pre-determinism makes the Bible an illogical convoluted mess, not to mention a god that is playing head games with mankind.

Secondly, if there is no future purpose for Israel, or the “church” has taken Israel’s place, which is an idea firmly embedded in Reformed tradition via amillennialism and supersessionism, does that not deny a true link in the election chain? Does it not make some aspects of election temporary? Why not? In part 1 we discussed John Calvin’s interpretation of the “called” as those who are temporarily chosen and therefore relegated to a greater damnation in the end.

So, what is the true golden chain of salvation? We begin to explore that in part 3.

paul

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Why Every Self‐Respecting Premillennialist Isn’t a Calvinist

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 16, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published April 9, 2014

“One’s eschatology will be consistent with their view of justification—unless you’re John MacArthur.”  

At the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference, Pastor John MacArthur gave the opening message titled, “Why Every Self‐Respecting Calvinist Is a Premillennialist.” The message caused a hyper hissy fit among the authentic Geneva style Calvinists that used to associate with MacArthur. Most of the hysterical reviews were whining rants about how the message was an “ambush.” They came to the conference to hear solid fatalistic Reformed doctrine while enjoying sweet fellowship among philosopher kings, and instead were personally dressed down at the very beginning of the conference that they attended with hard earned parishioner money. It just ain’t right.

No doubt, the message left amillennialism naked and freezing outside in the cold. Well, sort of, depending on your understanding of Calvin’s election construct. This is why the various responses danced around the real issue and were in bondage to MacArthur’s fundamental misunderstanding about what Calvinism is while calling himself one. Paul warned the Corinthians that elitist academia is not the venue that God works from, and this fiasco is just one good example among many as to why that is so. The Geneva popes could not expose the fact that MacArthur’s fundamental premise is wrong—that would expose what Calvin really believed about election—a truth that the totally depraved artisans can’t handle.

MacArthur said this during the message:

“But bottom line here, of all people on the planet to be pre-millennialist it should be Calvinists; those who love sovereign election. Let’s leave amillennialism for the Arminians. It’s perfect! [laughter] It’s ideal. It’s a no-brainer. God elects nobody and preserves nobody. Perfect! Arminians make great amillennialists. It’s consistent. But not for those who live and breathe the rarified air of sovereign electing grace. That makes no sense. We can leave amillennialism to the process theologians . . . The irony is that those who most celebrate the sovereign grace of election regarding the church, and its inviolable place in God’s purpose from predestination to glorification, and those who most aggressively and militantly defend the truth of promise and fulfillment, those who are the advocates of election being divine, unilateral, unconditional, and irrevocable by nature for the church, unashamedly deny the same for elect Israel. That is a strange division.”

Ok, so MacArthur highlighted one of the assumed positive notes that can be taken from the idea of Calvin’s election: Once saved always saved. And, absolute assurance of salvation because it is God’s work alone—we can’t mess it up. And, how can you proffer election for the individual and ignore the fact that Israel was elected? This put the Geneva popes in a tough spot because they know that this apparent contradiction fits perfectly with Calvin’s doctrine of election.

Calvin believed in three categories of election: the non-elect, the called elect, and the chosen elect. This necessarily denies assurance because the called elect don’t know for certain whom among them have been chosen. Calvin stated this in no uncertain terms:

Let us, therefore, embrace Christ, who is kindly offered to us, and comes forth to meet us: he will number us among his flock, and keep us within his fold. But anxiety arises as to our future state. For as Paul teaches, that those are called who were previously elected, so our Savior shows that many are called, but few chosen (Mt. 22:14). Nay, even Paul himself dissuades us from security, when he says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” (1 Cor. 10:12). And again, “Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee,” (Rom. 11:20, 21). In fine, we are sufficiently taught by experience itself, that calling and faith are of little value without perseverance, which, however, is not the gift of all (CI 3.24.6).

You can be called, and you can have faith, but that doesn’t seal the deal, said Calvin:

The expression of our Savior, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Mt. 22:14), is also very improperly interpreted (see Book 3, chap. 2, sec. 11, 12). There will be no ambiguity in it, if we attend to what our former remarks ought to have made clear—viz. that there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation. Besides this there is a special call which, for the most part, God bestows on believers only, when by the internal illumination of the Spirit he causes the word preached to take deep root in their hearts. Sometimes, however, he communicates it also to those whom he enlightens only for a time, and whom afterwards, in just punishment for their ingratitude, he abandons and smites with greater blindness (CI 3.24.8).

So, this fits perfectly with Calvin’s eschatology; Israel was temporarily elected just like many individuals are temporarily elected. The logical conclusion of Calvin is that God’s word did in fact fail (Romans 9:6). Moreover, and in direct contradiction to 1John 5:13, authentic Reformed doctrine has always denied assurance. This is reflected in many contemporary authentic Calvinists:

There is danger on the way to salvation in heaven. We need ongoing protection after our conversion. Our security does not mean we are home free. There is a battle to be fought (John Piper: Bethlehem Baptist Church Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Elect Are Kept by the Power of God October 17, 1993).

Words mean things. Piper is clearly saying that our battle in sanctification is a battle for justification. If you really understand the Reformed view of justification, you know: that battle is against our supposed propensity to gain favor with God through works in sanctification (“please/love God” changed to: merit for salvation). There is no separation of justification and sanctification, so works in sanctification must be sanctified with a faith alone formula. It’s salvation by Christ plus not doing any works in sanctification (Christ + antinomianism to maintain our salvation). We must be sanctified the same way we were justified so that we can properly finish justification. Therefore, Calvin believed that sins committed in the Christian life separate us from grace, and a continual repentance, the same repentance that saved us, is needed to maintain our salvation. Unless we live by faith alone in sanctification, Christ’s blood will not be applied to the new sins we commit. This is the battle Piper is talking about. Said Calvin:

…by new sins we continually separate ourselves, as far as we can, from the grace of God… Thus it is, that all the saints have need of the daily forgiveness of sins; for this alone keeps us in the family of God (John Calvin: Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles; The Calvin Translation Society 1855. Editor: John Owen, p. 165 ¶4).

And, guess what? It just so happens that your local Reformed elder, via the Reformed power of the keys, has the authority to forgive those pesky sins that take away your salvation. Whoever would have thunk it?

To impart this blessing to us, the keys have been given to the Church (Mt. 16:19; 18:18). For when Christ gave the command to the apostles, and conferred the power of forgiving sins, he not merely intended that they should loose the sins of those who should be converted from impiety to the faith of Christ; but, moreover, that they should perpetually perform this office among believers (The Calvin Institutes: 4.1.22).

Secondly, This benefit is so peculiar to the Church, that we cannot enjoy it unless we continue in the communion of the Church. Thirdly, It is dispensed to us by the ministers and pastors of the Church, either in the preaching of the Gospel or the administration of the Sacraments, and herein is especially manifested the power of the keys, which the Lord has bestowed on the company of the faithful. Accordingly, let each of us consider it to be his duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Of the public reconciliation which relates to discipline, we shall speak at the proper place (Ibid).

Calvinism is an egregious false gospel being flaunted in broad daylight by academic elitists who are in reality clueless, which brings me to my second point. This is where the vast majority of American Christians are functioning Calvinists…among many other ways while vehemently denying Calvin. Specifically, the whole idea that eschatology is a “secondary issue.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Eschatology is gospel; you cannot separate the cross from eschatology. One’s eschatology will be consistent with their view of justification—unless you’re John MacArthur.

The number of resurrections and judgments, and who stands in those judgments, are indicative of a particular view of justification, and election in particular. MacArthur’s dispensationalism coupled with naming the name of Calvinistic soteriology, which really isn’t Calvin’s soteriology to begin with, is a dumbfounding contraction that leaves one without words to fully explain. Calvin’s eschatology calls for one resurrection and one judgment at the end of time where everyone sweats it out while waiting to find out if they were antinomian enough. Some of the books at the Great White Throne Judgment are the books of the law that will be used by God to judge the works of those standing in that judgment. As one aspect of Christian security, we will not stand in that judgment because we are not under the law. Furthermore, we don’t wait to see if our antinomianism sufficiently utilized the “doing and dying” of Christ to cover our sins—our sins have been completely eradicated.

The number of resurrections and judgments speak to our view of what part of Christ’s works on the cross are finished and not finished, the separation of justification and sanctification, the new birth, election, and future Israel. Eschatology is gospel.

That’s why every self‐respecting premillennialist isn’t a Calvinist, and why MacArthur isn’t a Calvinist, but he thinks he is a Calvinist. As stated by Richard Muller,

There is every likelihood that John MacArthur’s “Calvinism” would probably not be recognized by Calvin himself.

It’s all simply pathetic.

paul

The Truth About the Lord’s Table

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on December 17, 2014

PPT HandleOriginally published February 7, 2014

The Lord’s Table was never meant to be an institutional solemn ceremony administered by church hierarchy. Neither was it ever intended that the Lord’s Table impart additional grace. Clearly, especially with the present-day resurgence of medieval religion embodied in New Calvinism, church is a filling station that keeps the gospel gas tank full until we get to heaven. If you don’t partake in the daily fillings consummated by the topping-off on Sunday, your race car self will not finish the “race of faith” alone that requires a perpetual application of the same death, burial, and resurrection that saved you.

The Protestant Reformation was Catholicism Light, and continues to be so today. In the early days, both were harlots drunk on the blood of the saints. Protestants would have slain as many saints save their distraction in warring with their harlot mother. Money is thicker than blood, and there is big bucks in the salvation business.

The first battle over sacramental salvation pitted the Anabaptists against the Catholics and the Protestants. Both tortured and executed the Anabaptists with the same vigor. This is conspicuous history that is inconvenient truth. Later, Protestantism morphed into an exception regarding infant baptism called “Baptist” which rejected the idea that baptism itself imparts salvation, but retained Reformed soteriology (see the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith). Over the years, because it is the same soteriology, Baptists have come to function like their harlot mother while denying the Protestant foundation of salvation through the institutional church.

The Reformers believed that the institutional church held the “power of the keys” which is the authority to forgive sins on earth. Calvin, as well as the rest of the Catholic Light crowd, believed that sins committed as Christians separate us from our original salvation. Hence, a perpetual reapplication of Christ’s death and resurrection must be perpetually applied through the institutional church to maintain salvation (CI 3.14.11 among many other references: see It’s Not About Election available on Amazon and free reading @ 7questions.org).  People wonder why New Calvinism is taking over Baptist churches like a wild fire and Baptists seem defenseless against it. The answer is simple: they have functioned like their harlot mother for centuries and New Calvinism is merely helping them to come out of the closet muttering, “Had we been alive during the times of our Protestant fathers we would have not murdered the Anabaptists.”

And that is not a pretty historical sight. Among other examples of cruelty on steroids, Protestants liked to toss Anabaptists in some deep body of water enclosed in sacks while mockingly asserting that they were merely rebaptizing them according to the desire of the Anabaptists. Protestants by and large condoned this cruelty because they believed there was only one thing more terrible: denying infants salvation through the authority of church bishops. Moreover, to suggest that Baptists came from the Anabaptists is a cruel joke; historically, Baptists have always held fast to the institutional salvation of Protestantism. This explains, in every instance, the behavior of Baptists that I have observed over the years:

1. 10% of the members do 100% of the work: it’s not about discipleship; it’s about being saved via membership.

2. Faithful members, on average, comprise 25% of the membership roles: this speaks for itself.

3. The Alter call is Absolution Light.

4. The Lord’s Table is a solemn ceremony and a time of self-examination: see #3.

The list of examples could be much longer, but you get the point. New Calvinists are merely suggesting that a deeper commitment to the local church is needed; whisper: “to get into heaven” who can argue with that?

Baptism has remained as the onetime act that represents the beginning of justification in Protestantism. The Lord’s Table represents the perpetual need for the same gospel that saved you in order to keep yourself saved. It’s New Calvinist Transubstantiation Light. When a New Calvinist states that this “sacrament …imparts grace,” what they are really saying in broad daylight goes right over our heads; you think “grace” means help in sanctification while by “grace” they really mean salvation. We are saved by Jesus, and the Christian life is an endeavor to get more and more Jesus until we can stand at the final Judgment full of grace. And of course, we can only get grace installments through the local church. New Calvinists say this continually in public and outright. Yet, no one can stop the New Calvinist tsunami. Why? Because when it gets right down to it—that’s who we are.

What is the Lord’s Table? First, it is a Jewish tradition. The Lord’s Table must be seen through its Jewishness or it will not be understood. The Lord’s table is a remembrance in regard to a covenant that God made with Israel. God did not make that covenant with anyone but the nation of Israel. By faith, Gentiles are included, they are invited to the Jewish feast, but it is a Jewish feast. Gentiles are invited to the Sabbath rest, but it is a Jewish rest. New Jerusalem’s foundation bears the names of the 12 apostles—that’s future, and the names of 12 Jews. One of the earliest epistles was written to the 12 tribes of Israel because that’s all there was in the beginning of the church.

What is the New Covenant, and who was the covenant made with? Let’s see:

Jere 31:31 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

When will the covenant be fully executed?

Jere 31:38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

What will the people there be like?

Jere 31:33 – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Will this covenant ever be voided because of something Israel did?

Jere 31:35 – Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name: 36 “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.”

This is why Christ first and foremost went to the cross for the Jews; because the covenant was made with them:

Acts 5:31 – God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins…13:23 – Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised…28:20 – For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”

The setting from which the Lord’s Table comes is no different from the original model set forth during the Exodus. The tabernacle was obviously not made to facilitate regular corporate meetings, and the rest was ordinary tent structures among the people. Small groups met under the leadership of elders for teaching and fellowship. The tabernacle was not for discipleship. During the time of Christ, this is the same model: discipleship took place in homes. The Lord’s Table is not a temple ordinance—it is a remembrance tradition within the venue of discipleship and fellowship.

It is also VERY informal. Christ initiated the fellowship tradition of remembrance (not a “church ordinance” or “sacrament”) during the Passover meal and while all were reclined at the table (Matt 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13-17?). This event was typical of the house meetings that took place in the lay synagogues. The meetings were in the upper rooms, involved a fellowship meal, a lesson, and a departure by the singing of a hymn. This particular meeting’s lesson/teaching may be completely detailed in John 13-17 which would have been a pretty hefty study. According to the book of Acts, Paul taught a lesson where a disciple fell asleep and plummeted to the ground from the upper room.

The Lord’s Table initiated by Christ involved one cup and eating from one loaf. Christ was very deliberate in using one cup, and the apostle Paul later confirms that the eating from one loaf was the tradition carried forward (1Cor 1:17). This points strongly to the intended relevance of this tradition taking place in a small group. Could it be that the Lord’s Table is the only argument one needs for the home fellowship model as a total replacement for the institutional church? On the one hand, it is a solemn ceremony that should be done with all reverence, but on the other hand, the setting is one that circumvents one of the main points of the remembrance.

But most of all, the fact that the Lord’s Table represents the New Covenant made with Israel is circumvented, and also, the fact that the finalization of the covenant is future. Christ said that He would not drink of that cup again until He could drink of it again in the kingdom. That is a day when all of national Israel is saved (Rom 11:26). Christ inaugurated the New Covenant with His death, the kingdom will be the full consummation of God’s covenant with Israel. The Gentiles have been included in the common wealth of Israel (Eph 2:11,12).

Hence, the true significance of the Lord’s Table has been stripped from Protestantism in the same way that Protestants skewed the true significance of baptism. And likewise, in the same way that the Anabaptists defied Protestant whoredom in their home fellowships—the same needs to be done today in regard to the Lord’s Table. We have little to fear in our day as opposed to the Anabaptists—the New Calvinists can only replace the burning stake with musings of running us over with buses (Mark Driscoll) and throwing us into death with human catapults (James MacDonald). The true spirit of the Baptists is revealed by the fact that they still follow those who espouse such wishful thinking by the thousands.

Each and every Christian is now the temple in which the Spirit dwells permanently. Each and every Christian is a priest. Each and every Christian is a citizen of Israel’s holy commonwealth. This should be remembered informally and in a joyful fellowship as we watch for His coming when Christ the Lord will join us in the lifting of that cup,

Holy be His name, our Glorious King.

paul

The Truth About the Lord’s Table

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 7, 2014

ppt-jpeg4The Lord’s Table was never meant to be an institutional solemn ceremony administered by church hierarchy. Neither was it ever intended that the Lord’s Table impart additional grace. Clearly, especially with the present-day resurgence of medieval religion embodied in New Calvinism, church is a filling station that keeps the gospel gas tank full until we get to heaven. If you don’t partake in the daily fillings consummated by the topping-off on Sunday, your race car self will not finish the “race of faith” alone that requires a perpetual application of the same death, burial, and resurrection that saved you.

The Protestant Reformation was Catholicism Light, and continues to be so today. In the early days, both were harlots drunk on the blood of the saints. Protestants would have slain as many saints save their distraction in warring with their harlot mother. Money is thicker than blood, and there is big bucs in the salvation business.

The first battle over sacramental salvation pitted the Anabaptists against the Catholics and the Protestants. Both tortured and executed the Anabaptists with the same vigor. This is conspicuous history that is inconvenient truth. Later, Protestantism morphed into an exception regarding infant baptism called “Baptist” which rejected the idea that baptism itself imparts salvation, but retained Reformed soteriology (see the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith). Over the years, because it is the same soteriology, Baptists have come to function like their harlot mother while denying the Protestant foundation of salvation through the institutional church.

The Reformers believed that the institutional church held the “power of the keys” which is the authority to forgive sins on earth. Calvin, as well as the rest of the Catholic Light crowd, believed that sins committed as Christians separate us from our original salvation. Hence, a perpetual reapplication of Christ’s death and resurrection must be perpetually applied through the institutional church to maintain salvation (CI 3.14.11 among many other references: see It’s Not About Election available on Amazon and free reading @ 7questions.org).  People wonder why New Calvinism is taking over Baptist churches like a wild fire and Baptists seem defenseless against it. The answer is simple: they have functioned like their harlot mother for centuries and New Calvinism is merely helping them to come out of the closet muttering, “Had we been alive during the times of our Protestant fathers we would have not murdered the Anabaptists.”

And that is not a pretty historical sight. Among other examples of cruelty on steroids, Protestants liked to toss Anabaptists in some deep body of water enclosed in sacks while mockingly asserting that they were merely rebaptizing them according to the desire of the Anabaptists. Protestants by and large condoned this cruelty because they believed there was only one thing more terrible: denying infants salvation through the authority of church bishops. Moreover, to suggest that Baptists came from the Anabaptists is a cruel joke; historically, Baptists have always held fast to the institutional salvation of Protestantism. This explains, in every instance, the behavior of Baptists that I have observed over the years:

1. 10% of the members do 100% of the work: it’s not about discipleship; it’s about being saved via membership.

2. Faithful members, on average, comprise 25% of the membership roles: this speaks for itself.

3. The Alter call is Absolution Light.

4. The Lord’s Table is a solemn ceremony and a time of self-examination: see #3.

The list of examples could be much longer, but you get the point. New Calvinists are merely suggesting that a deeper commitment to the local church is needed; whisper: “to get into heaven” who can argue with that?

Baptism has remained as the onetime act that represents the beginning of justification in Protestantism. The Lord’s Table represents the perpetual need for the same gospel that saved you in order to keep yourself saved. It’s New Calvinist Transubstantiation Light. When a New Calvinist states that this “sacrament …imparts grace,” what they are really saying in broad daylight goes right over our heads; you think “grace” means help in sanctification while by “grace” they really mean salvation. We are saved by Jesus, and the Christian life is an endeavor to get more and more Jesus until we can stand at the final Judgment full of grace. And of course, we can only get grace installments through the local church. New Calvinists say this continually in public and outright. Yet, no one can stop the New Calvinist tsunami. Why? Because when it gets right down to it—that’s who we are.

What is the Lord’s Table? First, it is a Jewish tradition. The Lord’s Table must be seen through its Jewishness or it will not be understood. The Lord’s table is a remembrance in regard to a covenant that God made with Israel. God did not make that covenant with anyone but the nation of Israel. By faith, Gentiles are included, they are invited to the Jewish feast, but it is a Jewish feast. Gentiles are invited to the Sabbath rest, but it is a Jewish rest. New Jerusalem’s foundation bears the names of the 12 apostles—that’s future, and the names of 12 Jews. One of the earliest epistles was written to the 12 tribes of Israel because that’s all there was in the beginning of the church.

What is the New Covenant, and who was the covenant made with? Let’s see:

Jere 31:31 – “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

When will the covenant be fully executed?

Jere 31:38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

What will the people there be like?

Jere 31:33 – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Will this covenant ever be voided because of something Israel did?

Jere 31:35 – Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord of hosts is his name: 36 “If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” 37 Thus says the Lord: “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.”

This is why Christ first and foremost went to the cross for the Jews; because the covenant was made with them:

Acts 5:31 – God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins…13:23 – Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised…28:20 – For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”

The setting from which the Lord’s Table comes is no different from the original model set forth during the Exodus. The tabernacle was obviously not made to facilitate regular corporate meetings, and the rest was ordinary tent structures among the people. Small groups met under the leadership of elders for teaching and fellowship. The tabernacle was not for discipleship. During the time of Christ, this is the same model: discipleship took place in homes. The Lord’s Table is not a temple ordinance—it is a remembrance tradition within the venue of discipleship and fellowship.

It is also VERY informal. Christ initiated the fellowship tradition of remembrance (not a “church ordinance” or “sacrament”) during the Passover meal and while all were reclined at the table (Matt 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13-17?). This event was typical of the house meetings that took place in the lay synagogues. The meetings were in the upper rooms, involved a fellowship meal, a lesson, and a departure by the singing of a hymn. This particular meeting’s lesson/teaching may be completely detailed in John 13-17 which would have been a pretty hefty study. According to the book of Acts, Paul taught a lesson where a disciple fell asleep and plummeted to the ground from the upper room.

The Lord’s Table initiated by Christ involved one cup and eating from one loaf. Christ was very deliberate in using one cup, and the apostle Paul later confirms that the eating from one loaf was the tradition carried forward (1Cor 1:17). This points strongly to the intended relevance of this tradition taking place in a small group. Could it be that the Lord’s Table is the only argument one needs for the home fellowship model as a total replacement for the institutional church? On the one hand, it is a solemn ceremony that should be done with all reverence, but on the other hand, the setting is one that circumvents one of the main points of the remembrance.

But most of all, the fact that the Lord’s Table represents the New Covenant made with Israel is circumvented, and also, the fact that the finalization of the covenant is future. Christ said that He would not drink of that cup again until He could drink of it again in the kingdom. That is a day when all of national Israel is saved (Rom 11:26). Christ inaugurated the New Covenant with His death, the kingdom will be the full consummation of God’s covenant with Israel. The Gentiles have been included in the common wealth of Israel (Eph 2:11,12).

Hence, the true significance of the Lord’s Table has been stripped from Protestantism in the same way that Protestants skewed the true significance of baptism. And likewise, in the same way that the Anabaptists defied Protestant whoredom in their home fellowships—the same needs to be done today in regard to the Lord’s Table. We have little to fear in our day as opposed to the Anabaptists—the New Calvinists can only replace the burning stake with musings of running us over with buses (Mark Driscoll) and throwing us into death with human catapults (James MacDonald). The true spirit of the Baptists is revealed by the fact that they still follow those who espouse such wishful thinking by the thousands.

Each and every Christian is now the temple in which the Spirit dwells permanently. Each and every Christian is a priest. Each and every Christian is a citizen of Israel’s holy commonwealth. This should be remembered informally and in a joyful fellowship as we watch for His coming when Christ the Lord will join us in the lifting of that cup,

Holy be His name, our Glorious King.

paul

Death by Good News: Living the “Gospel-Driven Life” Isn’t Really About Living “by” the Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 14, 2010

“The cross-centered gospel and cross-likeness are not an exact replica of discipleship activity.”

“At any rate, advocates of this doctrine go undetected because of their mastery in presenting the vertical realities of truth minus horizontal responsibility, and the application to life thereof, i.e., obedience. Can we have an abundant, God honoring life in Christ without our own effort being involved? I doubt it. In fact, such a way will rather lead to death.

I could start this post by complaining about the lack of Scooby-Doo’s  inquisitive “er?” among God’s people  in regard  to some concept of  “living by the gospel” *every day,* but we’re way past that in our day and age. We have rather gone to the other kind of dogs; the one frantically running for the bacon flavored “Kibbles and Bits” while chanting, “I love bacon, I love bacon, I love bacon.” If it sounds good, it’s bacon baby. Never mind some possible chemical reaction taking place inside the cranium area that would insight a small, still voice saying: “Wait a minute here. We are saved by the gospel, which is a fairly narrow concept; how does one also live by that same narrow concept every day? Not only that, believing the gospel gets us into the kingdom, once in, why do the saved still need it?” I don’t know if I will ever get remarried or not, but certainly, if I were ever on a date and the lady asked such a question, it would be a sure sign from God.

But actually, I can answer that question. Yes, there is a sense in which we should live by the gospel every day. When we forgive somebody we are forgiving them in the same way that we were forgiven:

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

There you go, that’s living by the gospel, and we should most certainly practice that every day if necessary. What about patience towards others in the same way God was patient towards you until you surrendered your life to him?:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Again, this is living by the gospel. Yet another example, perhaps the most viable, is a daily dieing to self:

Matthew 10:38
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 14:27
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Mark 8:35
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Furthermore, daily service to others is living by the gospel:

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Pity though, this is not what proponents of the “gospel-driven life,” or Christocentric  theology,  or Christ centered (you fill in the blank), or gospel centered (fill in the blank), or cross centered (you fill in the blank), and Gospel Sanctification have in mind. But hold that thought. Even if they did have this in mind (which would be a good start), here are three major reasons why Gospel Sanctification would still be a fraud:

1. It’s a part of  being a disciple and not the whole thing. We are not only called to live a cross-like life, we are also called to “follow” him:

Matthew 10:38
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

For example, we are to follow Christ who also pleased God the Father in many other ways other than obedience to the cross. Before Christ went to the cross, here is what the Father said of Him:

Matthew 3:17
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Christ said of Himself:

John 5:30
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

John 8:29
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

All of these statements are before the cross. Walking as a disciple is more than cross-likeness, it is also observing “all that I have commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

2. The cross-centered gospel and cross-likeness is not an exact replica of discipleship activity. For example, we obeyed  the gospel unto salvation by faith and repentance. As believers, we still repent daily, but it’s not the same kind of repentance that saved us, there is a difference. Specifically, it is the difference between repentance that justifies  and repentance that takes place during sanctification. Jesus made it clear that there is a difference:

John 13:10
Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

Christians have clean bodies (salvation); they now only need to wash their feet daily. Gospel Sanctification clearly teaches that we need the same gospel that saved us every day. This is impossible because to satisfy a connection with the gospel daily, we would need the same repentance, which is no longer needed by the believer. Not only that, the faith is not the same either. The gospel requires a faith alone. As  J.C. Ryle rightly notes in his 20 letters on holiness, though the Scriptures say specifically that we are justified by faith alone, they never say we are sanctified by faith *alone.* In fact, James clearly states that the blessings of sanctification come “in” obedience (James 1:25) and not faith alone. Here is what J.C. Ryle said accordingly

“It is Scriptural and right to say faith alone justifies. But it is not equally Scriptural and right to say faith alone sanctifies.”

Simply stated, faith and repentance differ between  justification (gospel) and sanctification. Therefore, we can live by the gospel implicitly as believers (note above examples), but not explicitly because the body has already been washed. The gospel can have serious implications to our lives as believers, but it is our goal to rather live out the commands of Christ as explicitly as we can. This is the second reason that Gospel Sanctification is a fraud.

3. To begin with, the gospel is not about the cross in totality. The gospel means “good news.” Though the cross is very, very, good  news, it is not the only good news Jesus spoke of. In fact, the herald of the beginning of His ministry was the following:

Matthew 4:23
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

The good news was not just the cross, it was also the kingdom. As a matter of fact, the kingdom was a dominate theme in the presentation of the gospel throughout the book of acts, and in some cases, mentioned as separate from Christ in the same presentation:

Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 14:22
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Acts 19:8
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 20:25
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Acts 28:23
They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

Acts 28:31
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even in the latter days just prior to the return of Christ, He said Himself,

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The “good news” is not only concerning God’s Son (Romans 1:9). The gospel (good news) of His Son, is also the good news of the kingdom. It begs the question: have Reformed teachers frantically erected a cross-only “good news” in fear that a future kingdom with Jewish implications will be discovered in the Scriptures? Is the constant drumbeat of  a cross-only  gospel building a scriptural Dome on the Rock? But more to the point, wouldn’t a *living by the kingdom*  be much more applicable than living by a narrow (but none the less profound) cross-only *good news*? In fact, a *living by the kingdom* seems to be the dominate theme of the Sermon on the Mount. If we are going to live “by” something, or “according” to something daily, why would it not be a kingdom mandate rather than a once and for all washing of the body? After all, Christ’s mandate for the church was not to make disciples who observe the gospel everyday, but rather those who observe “all that I have commanded” which is much more indicative of kingdom living than the continual revisiting of the death, burial, and resurrection, which is often spoken of as a foundation that we build on, and other times we are even exhorted not to continually lay the same foundation:

Romans 15:20
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:10
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:12
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

Hebrews 6:1
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

So, it is a pity that proponents of Gospel Sanctification do not at least propagate an implicit living *by* the gospel because it at least approaches Scriptural semblance. But then what does Michael Horton, Paul Tripp, John Piper, Tim Keller, and others mean when they speak of  “living *by* the gospel”? It is simply the following:

1. The gospel is confined to the cross and finished work of Christ, there is no other  *good news.*

2. We are sanctified by the “same” gospel that saved us.

3. We cannot not think that we are saved by “the gospel,” and then we can “move on to something else” [and I will give you three wild guesses as to what the “something else” is].

4. The Bible is a gospel narrative (only) that gives us the ability to continually  revisit the gospel daily. As Jerry Bridges often says: “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.”

Therefore, there will be a strong emphasis on teaching and preaching that focuses on the glory of God in the gospel only. Supposedly, meditating on various forms of the gospel and God’s glory from Scripture will change us “from the inside out.” There is no room here  to discuss all of the various theories in regard to our supposed passive (obviously)  participation in the sanctification process, but I can tell you that the teaching and preaching will be almost entirely vertical; and, all but completely void of practical application of biblical precepts. Think about it; what could you do to be saved? Well, if that same gospel sanctifies you, what can your participation be in the sanctification process? Not much. An excellent example of this is a book written by J.F. Strombeck in the forties entitled “Disciplined by Grace.” I believe that Jerry Bridges wrote a similar book entitled “The Discipline of Grace.” Strombeck’s book was a masterful work concerning the gospel of Christ and the glory of God, but the thesis of the book was that the realization of this is what disciplines us, not our own efforts. I would contend that it is both. At any rate, advocates of this doctrine go undetected because of their mastery in presenting the vertical realities of truth minus horizontal responsibility, and the application to life thereof, i.e., obedience. Can we have an abundant, God honoring life in Christ without our own effort being involved? I doubt it. In fact, such a way will rather lead to death. I will often hear Christians rave about a certain teacher or preacher,  and inform me that I “must run now and get this book.” On several occasions, I have told them to point out practical application of biblical precepts as taught in the book, and if they can, then I will buy it. Per the usual, their initial response is an emphatic “no problem.” But later, they come back surprised that the book is void concerning hands-on instruction.

So what? Well, the following from Luke 6:46-49 is the “so what?”:

46  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

47  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them  into practice.

48  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

First, we see that Christ expects to be Lord (master) in any legitimate relationship with Him. His question is obviously rhetorical. Because GS teachers despise any notion that we can colabor with God in sanctification, you can bet that they will not tolerate any inkling of what they perceive as self effort in justification. Therefore, repentance will often be conspicuously missing from their gospel presentations. As a result, you could well argue that they teach a false gospel based on this point alone:

Romans 10:12
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, [you must call on Him as “Lord”].

Acts 5:31
” He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 17:30
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Acts 20:21
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus [note they “must” have faith and repentance both].

Acts 26:20
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Secondly,  under “so what?“;  Christ was also clear as to the ill effect on believers in regard to neglecting the art of applying God’s word to life in obedience:

“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:49).

Therefore,  those who sit under GS teachers receive a steady diet of the sweet stuff. It’s like the name of my favorite desert  at Chilies: “Death by Chocolate.”  Round-up a bunch of toddlers and feed them nothing but chocolate for two weeks and see what you get. It’s what the Neo-Reformed movement is looking like more and more as they are fed the unbalanced diet of the vertical only. Michael Horton’s favorite reference regarding biblical imperatives is,  “it‘s just more bad news.” Really? To the contrary, an unbalanced diet of  monergism in the sanctification process is really death by good news; what Jesus called a “complete destruction.”

paul

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