Paul's Passing Thoughts

Smoking Gun: ACBC is a Nationwide Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 13, 2017

OrigEDMinally published July 13, 2015

For a more detailed discussion on this book, check out Susan Dohse’s book review and commentary here

Christ made it clear that what God has brought together NO man is to separate. Does this mean God predetermines every marriage in regard to particular spouses? I doubt it. This probably refers to God’s covenant of marriage and the theology of vows. At any rate, death, unrepentant adultery, and an unbeliever who abandons their believing spouse are the only exceptions.

How does one live happily with a spouse who has become difficult? For Protestants, that is a hard question because the focus has been on justification for 500 years with little emphasis on the biblical art of godly living (sanctification). When you are supposedly sanctified by a perpetual “return to the gospel afresh”… knowledge on how to repair a marriage is going to be what it is today, practically nonexistent. And of course, living by the same gospel that saves us (not saved us) is a very complex matter needing the ongoing “research and development” of gospel-centered experts.

Add to that: Protestants don’t even have justification right. Little wonder then that the institutional church is a train wreck after 500 years of scholarship and trillions of hard-earned laity dollars. What is the answer? The answer is a laity movement that will reclaim the priesthood of believers seized by Gnostic hacks dressed in biblical garb.

The answers will come through one Lord, and one word interpreted by individuals indwelt by the Spirit who gives all knowledge needed for life and godliness liberally. In case we forget the obvious, “I was only obeying the elders” will not cut it when you stand before Christ and His blazing eyes of fire. The Nazis were very good at being “subordinate,” and many were hanged accordingly. I realize Reformed elders claim God gave them His authority to rule on earth, but you may want to rethink that claim.

As predicted, the biblical counseling movement overseen primarily by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) has become a divorce mill via its efforts to build marriages that “look like the gospel.” And the smoking gun is a book written by Leslie Vernick titled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope that is widely used among ACBC counselors.

The obvious problems here are first seen in the title of the book. As Christians, is it really our goal to, “find our voice”? I thought it was our goal to please God in every circumstance. Secondly, the idea of emotional destruction is subjective at best and a ticket to do anything you want at worst. To make the point here, Google “American Civil Law.” In a culture judging anything that causes bad feelings to be abuse, such an approach to “biblical counseling” should give one pause.

Thirdly, why do Christians need a 240 page book written by a serial regurgitator of other people’s thoughts to FIND hope? You would think that by now Christians would be fairly certain about where hope is found.

Chilling is the examination of the 61-question survey found in the book that supposedly determines if one is in an abusive relationship or not. In the hands of a person that is unhappy in their marriage, the outcome will be a foregone conclusion. It’s like asking a chicken if Colonel Sanders is an emotional abuser.

The lynchpin becomes the ACBC’s loose interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:12-16. If the spouse is already an unbeliever, emotional abuse is tantamount to departing from the marriage even if they have not left physically or filed for divorce. Church discipline takes care of the pesky obstacle of the “abusive” spouse being a believer—they can be declared an unbeliever…actually MADE an unbeliever by elder authority supposedly vested to them by God. This paves the way for sanctified divorce.

It boils down to this: whoever is handed the book by the counselor is coronated as the abused spouse. Be sure of this: if both counselees in a bad marriage were handed the book, both would be guilty of the same thing. This is the smoking gun: it depends on who the ACBC “biblical counselor” wants to label abusive for whatever the motives might be.

I think a present situation that I am involved in says it all. I know enough about the situation to know that if the person I am talking with took the book’s survey, the other spouse would be judged as emotionally abusive hands down. The other spouse was handed the book because of who the ACBC counselor wanted to label “abusive.”

This is the niche service that Leslie Vernick now supplies to ACBC counselors.

paul

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Religious Tyranny: A Case Study—Chapter 11, Family, Not Institution; Body, Not Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 28, 2016

religious-tyranny-cover11City Council: Look, we think you should take all the resources you have and concentrate on the killings.

Chief Jesse Stone: I’m a cop. I’ve been a cop for a long time. I’m good at it. I know how to do this. You don’t.

City Council: Damn it, we can fire you.

Chief Jesse Stone: You can. But you can’t tell me what to do.

    Let’s be honest; institutionalized religion; i.e., church, enables power-hungry men to buy authority over the souls of people by seminary accreditation. This isn’t rocket science, and it is one of many reasons that our young people and many other people groups no longer take the whole mess seriously. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of people who will buy into the religious authority motif and believe they can buy their way into heaven through being religious lackeys and tithing. It’s salvation through man-following just because they claim God has granted them authority over the souls of mankind.

    And yes, the question of Which authority? could come to bear, but that is primarily answered by the idea that it doesn’t matter; one will go to heaven if they are “humble,” and that is determined by their willingness to submit all thinking and beliefs to some authority. In other words, the truthfulness of the authority doesn’t matter, after all, the “meek” will inherit the earth. In the world of church, nothing is more arrogant than a person who seeks God according their own understanding and conscience. As mentioned earlier, this was the exact same mentality that saturated German culture during WWII. Simply stated it is the idea that the great unwashed masses cannot know reality and must follow God-appointed seers or knowers to save mankind from itself. Hence, being a knower is very good work if you can get, and many do.

    Have you ever wondered why churches are so focused on numbers of members and building programs? Both of these speak of authority. Impressive infrastructure exudes authority. For the most part, churches don’t build people or their lives, they build buildings. So-called investment in “spiritual growth” is really an emphasis on orthodoxy that demands submission to “godly men.”

    Come now, let’s be honest; in all cases, the measure of a successful church is the size of its membership role and the glory of its infrastructure. And, here it is; the measure of a mature member is, “He/she is here supporting the church every time the doors are open.” Spiritual maturity is measured by the member’s commitment and support of the institution. This will NEVER change unless Christians stop contributing to institutions with time, money, and meetings in institutional settings. Where you meet states who you are and what you are doing there. Families don’t invest in institutional purpose builds; families gather where families live; in private homes.

    From the beginning of mankind after the deception in the garden, humanity’s worldview was dominated by the idea that individualism leads to chaos unless those appointed by the force, the universe, gods, or God rule over the great unwashed. America’s government by the people and for the people changed all of that, and the historical results clearly speak for themselves. By the way, Protestants who know what a Protestant is are anti-American accordingly. A patriotic Protestant is a confused Protestant, and yet preferable, but nevertheless confused. Individualism and authentic Protestant orthodoxy are mutually exclusive. All in all, anti-Americanism is grounded in fear that experts will be less involved in running the world resulting in annihilation of humanity, and until that happens, abject unfairness because of individual privilege of some sort.

    Please note the major concerns that will always be invoked when people return to true Christian fellowship: “What are your qualifications?” And, for the most part, “By what authority do you do these things?” Ironically, another objection often invoked is the idea that Christian meetings taking place in private homes without formal religious accreditation are “cults.” This is ironic because the exact opposite is true; the very definition of a cult is the marriage of authority and faith. Cults come into play after Americanism because the church had to resort to manipulation after it lost the enforcement of its orthodoxy by the state.

    This is why Protestantism formulated a gospel that rejects the new birth: the new birth speaks to the enablement and qualification of the individual. Humanity’s penchant for caste systems (an authority pecking order supposedly based on ability) is probably grounded in the following: one of the primary essences of sin is its desire to control others (Genesis 4:6,7). Furthermore, the new birth also speaks to the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit that seals the believer until the day of redemption (the saving of the body, not the soul). If once saved always saved is the reality, we only need the institutional church for mission and fellowship, and not salvation.

    However, It is the contention of this study that anything less than the obtaining of salvation itself does not have the financial incentive to support the gargantuan infrastructure of the institutional church. This is because people can fellowship in homes, and when it gets right down to it, individual efforts albeit collective and informal are often the most efficient in meeting real needs. If one doubts this, they only need to observe the Go Fund Me .com phenomenon. One could argue that we only have the needy person’s word for the need, but since when has that not been an issue with institutions? Besides, in home fellowship situations, the participants are probably privy to what the need really is; perhaps more so than the needy person.

    What is the biblical model for so-called “church”? First, know this; “church” is the formal term that denotes when the assembly of Christ became an institution. This happened in the fourth century; until then, the model was a body model and not an institutional model. The assembly of Christ or the visible manifestations of Christians meeting together for the purpose of edification and encouragement unto good works took place exclusively in private homes. Fellowship, edification, encouragement, and learning were the primary purposes. Even though the church claims the same thing, its primary purpose is to maintain individual salvation. That has always been its stated orthodoxy.

    Think about this for a moment; if people are busy focusing on keeping themselves saved, how much focus is really going to be on the edification of others especially when there is doubt regarding personal qualifications? What does this end up looking like? It looks a lot like church.

    Institutions function on the caste system and authority predicated on elitist credentials. Christ’s assembly is a true “household of faith” that is a literal family, not an institution, and functions as a body, not according to an authoritative caste system.

    How does a body function? It functions by mutual submission to needs. A body is a complex organic system that works together. When one body part or organ does not meet the needs of the rest of the body, substandard life occurs. Body parts and organs also meet needs in varying degrees, but all meet some sort of need that varies from efficient functioning to no function at all; i.e., death. It’s not a matter of authority at all; it’s a matter of NEED. Love meets need.

    Of course, the church makes “submission” synonymous with “authority.” Like in the case of marriage, the wife’s call to submit to the husband is made to be an authority issue. But all through the New Testament, everyone is instructed to submit to everyone else. In a sense, everyone in the body has authority because the body NEEDS every member to some degree.

    How worthless is authority? When it gets right down to it, authority can punish someone for not following the law, but authority cannot make anybody do anything. A person is often willing to accept the punishment rather than to…love. Love obeys need; not authority. True need is true law; not Protestant orthodoxy. Authority only has fear at its disposal, but love casts out fear; authority is merely the fear of judgment.

    Do you now see the difference between authority and body, and family versus institution? We will look into this deeper in the next chapter.

Religious Tyranny: A Case Study—Chapter 12; The Way Home

 

Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter 10, Clearcreek Chapel’s Super-Charged Tyranny Via New Covenant Theology. REVISED

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 28, 2016

Revision in red print. 

religious-tyranny-cover11  In the previous chapter, we examined Protestantism’s law-based gospel in contrast to biblical justification APART  from the law. Protestantism’s Covenant Theology is also a backdrop for this law-based gospel as well. The ground of true biblical justification is the new birth (1John, chapter 3).

    In keeping with Protestantism’s law-based gospel, Covenant Theology posits the idea that Adam and Eve  broke the original law covenant in the garden, and the gospel restores that original covenant. So, the gospel is all about restoring a law covenant between God and man (specifically, a “Covenant of Works”). The vast majority of Bible apologetics refutes this very idea from Genesis to Revelation. It’s almost, as it would seem, too simple; justification is APART from the law. The law is for condemning the world and sanctifying the saints, NOT justification. These are the Spirit’s two uses of the law, but the Spirit justifies through his baptism. (Galatians 3:1,2).

    As discussed previously, the Australian Forum led by Adventist theologian Robert Brinsmead rediscovered the lost Protestant gospel of salvation by perpetually returning to the same gospel that saves us in order to keep ourselves saved. In this way, Protestants can claim a salvation by faith alone because the gospel saves by faith alone, but returning perpetually to the gospel to keep ourselves saved merely turns a “faith-alone” act into works. If salvation is not finished, something must be done to maintain it; however, Protestants claim that returning to the same gospel that saved us in order to eventually finish salvation doesn’t count as works because it is a faith-alone re-appropriation of the gospel. Supposedly, our work in returning to the gospel imputes the works of Christ to our account through our faith-alone works. So, Christ is the one working, not us. And of course, this faith-alone work is only effective under the auspices of the institutional church.

    Another member of the core four of the Australian Forum, Jon Zens, saw a huge problem with the standard-bearing Covenant Theology. What problem did he see? Basically, the same problem described in chapter nine of this study. In response to his concern, Zens created New Covenant Theology (NCT) which was coined such circa 1981. How does that work? Instead of Christ justifying believers by keeping the law for them, Christ came to end the law completely and usher in a singular law of love.

    But is that not what this book advocates as opposed to authentic Protestant orthodoxy? No.

    Here is the key: NCT abrogates both biblical perspectives on the law while Covenant Theology maintains a singular perspective on the law that remains unchanged for the lost and saved both. It abrogates both of the Spirit’s uses of the law, and adds a third option: revelatory interpretation through the Spirit and confirmed by one’s conscience; i.e., “love.” In other words, Christ not only ended the condemnation of the law, He also ended the law’s use for love and replaced it with one single law: whatever the Spirit reveals to you when you interpret all reality through the gospel.

    Let’s put some feet on this. The Bible, according to NCT, has one purpose and one purpose only: to show forth the gospel, or justification. And, all of life is to be interpreted through redemption. If the Bible is used for practical living, that’s a misuse of the Scriptures according to NCT. Guidance for practical living is to come through the elders who are experts at interpreting reality through the gospel. This is known as “Christocentric hermeneutics.”

    But don’t miss the cardinal point here: elder imperatives are based on this single law of love that is unwritten and totally subjective. A mandate by the elders might totally contradict the plain sense of Scripture, but if the elders agree on a certain course of action and their consciences are clear, that is the final word on the issue and tantamount to God Himself speaking on the issue.

    Not only is the aforementioned Chad Bresson (a former elder at the Chapel) a charter disciple of  NCT, but this is the stated Chapel theology. And, this is exactly how they function. Over, and over, and over again the Chapel elders take courses of action that totally contradict the plain grammatical sense of Scripture.

That which makes the Bible the Bible is the gospel. That which makes the Bible the Word of God is its witness to Christ. When the Spirit bears witness to our hearts of the truth of the Bible, this is an internal witness concerning the truth of the gospel. We need to be apprehended by the Spirit, who lives in the gospel, and then judge all things by that Spirit even the letter of Scripture (Chad Bresson citing Robert Brinsmead on his blog, “The Vossed World”).

[In other words, the grammatical sense of Scripture is completely irrelevant; true interpretation comes from those “apprehended by the Spirit,” viz, the church elders].

    Now consider; in addition to the fundamental Protestant principles already discussed, NCT makes elders a virtual law unto themselves with their self-proclaimed stamp of approval from the Holy Spirit.

    Protestant tyranny has persecuting principles in the Westminster Confession to begin with; the addition of NCT supercharges the tyranny, and what does that look like? It looks a lot like Clearcreek Chapel.

    Before we move on to the final chapter, this study will add one more perspective and clarify what we have discussed so far. The Bible states two uses of the law by the Holy Spirit. He uses it to condemn the lost and to sanctify the saved as they colabor with the Spirit in loving obedience to the law minus all fear of condemnation. The Spirit’s use of the law has changed in regard to the saved because of the new birth (Romans 8:2). The Spirit justifies apart from the law; the new birth is what justifies the believer.

    In Protestantism’s Covenant Theology, the law only condemns, and it is the standard for justification. Because of the law’s “righteous demands” being the standard for justification, and no person lost or saved can keep the law perfectly, the law can only condemn. Hence, Christ came to fulfill the law’s, “righteous demands.” Remember, this is the doctrine of “double imputation.” By the way, this is exactly what the apostle Paul argued against in Galatians, chapter 3. In that chapter, he argues that such a view makes the law an additional life-giving seed, but there is only ONE seed; Christ. Regardless of who obeys the law in order to fulfill its “righteous demands,” it is then the law that gives life. As Paul argues in Galatians, chapter 3, this makes the law an additional member of the Trinity.

    In NCT, Christ came to end all aspects of the law…period. Granted, NCT does not make the law a life-giver like Covenant Theology and Protestantism in general. The law was “abrogated” in totality and replaced with the “law of Christ” or the “one law of love.”  More like the biblical take on justification, one is justified because the law is gone—there is no law in which to judge or condemn a believer. But here is the huge problem with NCT: according to the Bible, there is no real love apart from the law in sanctification. The NCT concept is nothing new; this is why the Bible also states that one is justified by loving obedience to the law. Believers are not justified by loving obedience as cause and effect, but loving obedience shows that they have been justified through the new birth. In fact, NCT’s rejection of an objective grammatical application of the law as a means of love in the Christian life is the very biblical definition of antinomianism.

    So then, it could be said that Covenant Theology necessarily relaxes the law because Jesus keeps it for us, but NCT rejects it altogether for everything. But what is the replacement? Answer: the one, single, “law of love.” What’s that? Whatever the anointed elders say it is at any given time as revealed to them by the Spirit and confirmed by a clear conscience. This is why Clearcreek Chapel is so central to this study; they not only designate NCT as their primary doctrine, this is exactly how they function. And, one is justified by “hear ye Him” via the elders of the church. Hearing the elders is synonymous with hearing Christ, and of course, “My sheep hear my voice.” Again, it boils down to salvation by faithfulness to the church and putting yourself “under the authority of godly men.” And what, in reality, defines a “man of God”? Answer: anyone who has the money to get a degree at a Protestant seminary or in some instances, because Protestant elitists confirm someone who may lack formal education. CJ Mahaney would be a good example of that.

    Yet, there is one more angle on this that we should consider. Some in the Reformation tradition reject double imputation because of its obvious biblical contradictions, especially in the book of Hebrews. So what do they do with the law? Everything is pretty much the same as Covenant Theology, but the law is defined as a church marriage covenant with Christ. We have all heard this, right? The idea that the church is the “bride of Christ.” Hence, the law is our guide to be faithful to our marriage with Christ which also saves us. If we are not faithful to our marriage covenant with Christ, we are not saved, and again, since the church is Christ’s bride, salvation can only be obtained by faithfulness to the church and membership thereof. Sound familiar?

    It’s all the same common denominator; salvation by church membership.

Covenants 2.jpg

Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter 11, The Way Home. Family, Not Institution. Body, Not Authority.  

Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter 10, Clearcreek Chapel’s Super-Charged Tyranny Via New Covenant Theology

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 26, 2016

religious-tyranny-cover11  In the previous chapter, we examined Protestantism’s law-based gospel in contrast to biblical justification APART  from the law. Protestantism’s Covenant Theology is also a backdrop for this law-based gospel as well. The ground of true biblical justification is the new birth (1John, chapter 3).

    In keeping with Protestantism’s law-based gospel, Covenant Theology posits the idea that Adam and Eve  broke the original law covenant in the garden, and the gospel restores that original covenant. So, the gospel is all about restoring a law covenant between God and man (specifically, a “Covenant of Works”). The vast majority of Bible apologetics refutes this very idea from Genesis to Revelation. It’s almost, as it would seem, too simple; justification is APART from the law. The law is for condemning the world and sanctifying the saints, NOT justification. These are the Spirit’s two uses of the law, but the Spirit justifies through his baptism. (Galatians 3:1,2).

    As discussed previously, the Australian Forum led by Adventist theologian Robert Brinsmead rediscovered the lost Protestant gospel of salvation by perpetually returning to the same gospel that saves us in order to keep ourselves saved. In this way, Protestants can claim a salvation by faith alone because the gospel saves by faith alone, but returning perpetually to the gospel to keep ourselves saved merely turns a “faith-alone” act into works. If salvation is not finished, something must be done to maintain it; however, Protestants claim that returning to the same gospel that saved us in order to eventually finish salvation doesn’t count as works because it is a faith-alone re-appropriation of the gospel. Supposedly, our work in returning to the gospel imputes the works of Christ to our account through our faith-alone works. So, Christ is the one working, not us. And of course, this faith-alone work is only effective under the auspices of the institutional church.

    Another member of the core four of the Australian Forum, Jon Zens, saw a huge problem with the standard-bearing Covenant Theology. What problem did he see? Basically, the same problem described in chapter nine of this study. In response to his concern, Zens created New Covenant Theology (NCT) which was coined such circa 1981. How does that work? Instead of Christ justifying believers by keeping the law for them, Christ came to end the law completely and usher in a singular law of love.

    But is that not what this book advocates as opposed to authentic Protestant orthodoxy? No.

    Here is the key: NCT abrogates both biblical perspectives on the law while Covenant Theology maintains a singular perspective on the law that remains unchanged for the lost and saved both. It abrogates both of the Spirit’s uses of the law, and adds a third option: revelatory interpretation through the Spirit and confirmed by one’s conscience; i.e., “love.” In other words, Christ not only ended the condemnation of the law, He also ended the law’s use for love and replaced it with one single law: whatever the Spirit reveals to you when you interpret all reality through the gospel.

    Let’s put some feet on this. The Bible, according to NCT, has one purpose and one purpose only: to show forth the gospel, or justification. And, all of life is to be interpreted through redemption. If the Bible is used for practical living, that’s a misuse of the Scriptures according to NCT. Guidance for practical living is to come through the elders who are experts at interpreting reality through the gospel. This is known as “Christocentric hermeneutics.”

    But don’t miss the cardinal point here: elder imperatives are based on this single law of love that is unwritten and totally subjective. A mandate by the elders might totally contradict the plain sense of Scripture, but if the elders agree on a certain course of action and their consciences are clear, that is the final word on the issue and tantamount to God Himself speaking on the issue.

    Not only is the aforementioned Chad Bresson (a former elder at the Chapel) a charter disciple of  NCT, but this is the stated Chapel theology. And, this is exactly how they function. Over, and over, and over again the Chapel elders take courses of action that totally contradict the plain grammatical sense of Scripture.

    Now consider; in addition to the fundamental Protestant principles already discussed, NCT makes elders a virtual law unto themselves with their self-proclaimed stamp of approval from the Holy Spirit.

    Protestant tyranny has persecuting principles in the Westminster Confession to begin with; the addition of NCT supercharges the tyranny, and what does that look like? It looks a lot like Clearcreek Chapel.

    Before we move on to the final chapter, this study will add one more perspective and clarify what we have discussed so far. The Bible states two uses of the law by the Holy Spirit. He uses it to condemn the lost and to sanctify the saved as they colabor with the Spirit in loving obedience to the law minus all fear of condemnation. The Spirit’s use of the law has changed in regard to the saved because of the new birth (Romans 8:2). The Spirit justifies apart from the law; the new birth is what justifies the believer.

    In Protestantism’s Covenant Theology, the law only condemns, and it is the standard for justification. Because of the law’s “righteous demands” being the standard for justification, and no person lost or saved can keep the law perfectly, the law can only condemn. Hence, Christ came to fulfill the law’s, “righteous demands.” Remember, this is the doctrine of “double imputation.” By the way, this is exactly what the apostle Paul argued against in Galatians, chapter 3. In that chapter, he argues that such a view makes the law an additional life-giving seed, but there is only ONE seed; Christ. Regardless of who obeys the law in order to fulfill its “righteous demands,” it is then the law that gives life. As Paul argues in Galatians, chapter 3, this makes the law an additional member of the Trinity.

    In NCT, Christ came to end all aspects of the law…period. Granted, NCT does not make the law a life-giver like Covenant Theology and Protestantism in general. The law was “abrogated” in totality and replaced with the “law of Christ” or the “one law of love.”  More like the biblical take on justification, one is justified because the law is gone—there is no law in which to judge or condemn a believer. But here is the huge problem with NCT: according to the Bible, there is no real love apart from the law in sanctification. The NCT concept is nothing new; this is why the Bible also states that one is justified by loving obedience to the law. Believers are not justified by loving obedience as cause and effect, but loving obedience shows that they have been justified through the new birth. In fact, NCT’s rejection of an objective grammatical application of the law as a means of love in the Christian life is the very biblical definition of antinomianism.

    So then, it could be said that Covenant Theology necessarily relaxes the law because Jesus keeps it for us, but NCT rejects it altogether for everything. But what is the replacement? Answer: the one, single, “law of love.” What’s that? Whatever the anointed elders say it is at any given time as revealed to them by the Spirit and confirmed by a clear conscience. This is why Clearcreek Chapel is so central to this study; they not only designate NCT as their primary doctrine, this is exactly how they function. And, one is justified by “hear ye Him” via the elders of the church. Hearing the elders is synonymous with hearing Christ, and of course, “My sheep hear my voice.” Again, it boils down to salvation by faithfulness to the church and putting yourself “under the authority of godly men.” And what, in reality, defines a “man of God”? Answer: anyone who has the money to get a degree at a Protestant seminary or in some instances, because Protestant elitists confirm someone who may lack formal education. CJ Mahaney would be a good example of that.

    Yet, there is one more angle on this that we should consider. Some in the Reformation tradition reject double imputation because of its obvious biblical contradictions, especially in the book of Hebrews. So what do they do with the law? Everything is pretty much the same as Covenant Theology, but the law is defined as a church marriage covenant with Christ. We have all heard this, right? The idea that the church is the “bride of Christ.” Hence, the law is our guide to be faithful to our marriage with Christ which also saves us. If we are not faithful to our marriage covenant with Christ, we are not saved, and again, since the church is Christ’s bride, salvation can only be obtained by faithfulness to the church and membership thereof. Sound familiar?

    It’s all the same common denominator; salvation by church membership.

Covenants 2.jpg

Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter 11, The Way Home. Family, Not Institution. Body, Not Authority.  

 

Be Thankful on Thanksgiving; Protestants Can Be Saved

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 24, 2016

religious-tyranny-cover11Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter Nine, The True Gospel, “You Must Be Born Again”

    The institutional church can claim it is better than institutions like the Olive Garden restaurant; it can claim you are also family when you are not there, but one must understand that talk of family in the institutional church is merely in a manner of speaking like job interviewers who claim, “We are just like family here.” Protestantism, like most Western religions, denies a literal new birth.

    Here we go again. The average parishioner will now become indignant in the face of such a charge, but once again we ask, “How does the church function?” Does the intellectual testimony match the function? No. While claiming literal new birth into the family of God, family status is only accepted by formal membership. Luther, Calvin, MacArthur, Piper et al (Reformers old and new) have claimed in no uncertain terms that church membership is absolutely synonymous with being part of the body of Christ. In other words, unequivocally, salvation by church membership. And, your willingness to join a church also shows a willingness to “place yourself under the authority of godly men.” Bingo. When asked if that means parishioners have to do what the church leaders say, John MacArthur simply answers, “yes.”

    This is where we must note a significant historical demarcation: before America, not obeying the church elders could get you an appointment with a burning stake; now the church can only launch an intimidating accusation that you will go to hell without them. In contrast, it is much more likely their pseudo-new birth will land you in hell.

    Connection to the body of Christ by church membership is not the literal new birth. Fret not, we will be visiting the biblical truth about new birth soon, but there is more bad news about church membership. According to formal Protestant orthodoxy, water baptism is what makes you a real member of the institutional church. Even Baptists who claim a difference between “Reformed” theology and evangelicalism are guilty of this Reformation tradition. Please note the most recent revision of the Southern Baptist Faith and Message:

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

    Though the first part of this statement seems to affirm a biblical new birth, note that water baptism is required to obtain the privileges of church membership, and as stated in other places additionally, church membership is efficacious to salvation and being part of the body of Christ. Apart from all the doublespeak, this is naked salvation by church membership obtained by water baptism. This goes back to the original tenets of the Protestant Reformation.

    But it gets worse. In original Protestant orthodoxy, connection to the body of Christ comes and goes. This is the formal Protestant doctrine of The Vital Union. This doctrine is routinely taught by contemporary Reformers like John Piper and goes back to original Reformation tenets of faith. What is it?

    It is connected to the idea of deep repentance. As we return perpetually to the same gospel that saved us (“We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day”), we re-experience our original new birth; i.e., spirit baptism originally affected by the water experience, and come into union with Christ. This is also the official Protestant doctrine of Mortification and Vivification. How were you originally saved? By confessing your sins, right? Therefore, by confessing your “present sin” and “mortifying the flesh” you once again die with Christ, and are once again resurrected. This resurrection that occurs as a result of returning to the same gospel that saved us in turn results in the “vital union” which then results in the “works of Christ flowing through us.”

    And, this process of deep repentance (returning to the same gospel that saved us for forgiveness of present sin) followed by mortification and vivification resulting in the vital union which in turn results in the works of Christ flowing through us, can only be obtained in the institutional church.

    Let’s back up momentarily. When we see language like this previously cited…

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus

…the process of deep repentance, mortification and vivification, and the vital union is really what is being alluded to. That’s the dirty little Protestant secret. These are the “privileges” of membership. Remember the “Members Only” Jackets that were all the rage in the 80’s and its marketing mantra, “When you put it on something happens”? Well, once again an institutional example is apt.

    Deep repentance, mortification and vivification, and the vital union are all under the auspices of yet another authentic Protestant doctrine: Double Imputation. What’s that? It is the idea that Christ not only came to die for our sins, but also came to live a perfect life in fulfillment of the law of Moses. Do not miss this major point: this doctrine calls for the necessary imputation of Christ’s obedience to the law as a substitute for the Christian’s obedience in order to remain justified before God (saved). Why is this needed? Because no Christian can keep the law perfectly, and perfect law-keeping is the Protestant standard for justification. We hear this constantly in Protestant circles. So, let’s be clear:

Christ came as a substitute for our sin and our good works both because no person can keep the law perfectly and the law must be fulfilled perfectly at all times for anyone to be justified before God. Therefore, he died for our sins and lived in perfect obedience that replaces our imperfect obedience to the law which must always be fulfilled perfectly to maintain a justified state before God.

Hence, Christ died for our sin and was resurrected to make the vital union possible so that His perfect law-keeping can be imputed to our lives as a substitute. This is obtained by continually returning to the same gospel that saved us for forgiveness of “present sin” resulting in a repeated death with Christ and subsequent resurrection (mortification and vivification) resulting in the vital union which imputes Christ’s perfect obedience to our lives as a substitute.

In other words, the new birth doesn’t occur once, but perpetually, and the perpetual new birth that keeps us saved can only be obtained through formal church membership.

    And, this version of the new birth turns the Bible completely upside down. First of all, the standard of justification is NOT the law, but a true biblical new birth. Protestantism is not, “justification apart from the law.” With all of Protestantism’s scholarly pomp and circumstance, this is a stunningly simple aberration of the true gospel. Accordingly, Protestant scholars of all stripes openly admit that justification is a “legal declaration” while at the same time claiming that it is apart from the law. This is a stunning contradiction.

    Secondly, for the Christian, there is no “present sin” that needs the same kind of forgiveness that former sin needed. While most Protestants will vehemently deny the accusations of this chapter, to the following question they will always answer, “yes.” Did Christ die for all of our past, present, and future sin? If the answer is “yes,” this clearly indicates that Christ’s work on the cross, and supposedly perfect law-keeping must be re-appropriated for future violations against the law. Hence, the “Christian” is still…

   Thirdly, this keeps the “Christian” UNDER LAW and not UNDER GRACE. Supposedly, the Protestant doctrine of double imputation comprised of deep repentance, mortification and vivification, and the subsequent vital union keeps the Christian from being under law because Christ keeps/kept the law for us, but that is still under law and not under grace. Who keeps the law isn’t the point, the law, period, is the point. The standard of justification is the new birth, not the law.

    Fourthly, this makes the new birth a perpetual re-occurrence, and also a perpetual re-application of Christ’s death on the cross; a pretense strictly forbidden by the Bible. Protestant scholars get cute with this by pointing out that Christ only died once in a historical sense, and this somehow circumvents an accusation of continually subjecting Christ to open shame.

    Fifthly, this Protestant version of the new birth denies that it is really the Christian who is loving God and others. Love is actually performed by Christ alone and imputed to the believers account. While the believer experiences life as if they are doing the work, it is actually Christ doing it. We hear this spoken of constantly in church venues: “I didn’t do it, the Spirit did it.” “God did it through me” etc., etc.

    While evangelicals are constantly bemoaning the “legalism” of the Pharisees and a return to the “Galatian error,” this is exactly what Protestantism is guilty of. It is a single perspective on sin and law resulting is Christ’s specific accusation against the Pharisees: relaxing the law. What is the problem here? It relaxes love; the very thing defines God and His children. Some tradition, an actual dumbing down of the law, fulfills the law which is not what defines justification in the first place. Sin is still sin, and law is still law, instead of what the real new birth does to the law; it makes it love.

    Protestantism makes a direct act of obedience by the believer works salvation instead of love. This is because no real transformation takes place in the believer according to Protestant orthodoxy. In fact, if one pays attention, Protestant scholars of old and new say this outright all of the time. The only active role of Protestants in salvation is the recognition of these truths “revealed to them” by the Spirit if they are elected by God. Are you truly God’s elect? Then you recognize the authority of the church. Who would not be a millionaire if they received a nickel for every time we hear this at church, on the radio, Facebook, and YouTube?

    In church, you are not even necessarily family when you are there depending on your status regarding the vital union. In that respect, even the Olive Garden restaurant is better.

    What happens when one is truly born again? We are not merely declared righteous, we are righteous. In fact, the Bible drives the point home by calling us “perfect” and “holy.” Protestants can’t understand this because “sin” is still sin, “law” is still law, and “obedience” is still obedience. No real transformation has taken place. Only our “position” has changed, not our state of being, so all those things (sin, law, obedience) have a single perspective that doesn’t change.  Protestant scholars say it all of the time: “Justification is positional.” Our legal standing before God is justification…if we go to church and thereby obtain the privileges of membership that include all of the aforementioned under double imputation.

    The real goal of salvation is to escape eternal condemnation once and for all time. This is only done through the biblical new birth. A desire for salvation is a desire to die to who you are, and be recreated as a child of God and engrafted into His literal family. A person who desires salvation recognizes that he or she is under the condemnation of the law. This is why the Bible describes the unregenerate as “under law.” The saved person is “under grace.” These distinguish between two states of being, not a mere status or position. This is only accomplished by the new birth.

    The new birth is obtained by believing these facts and a desire to be recreated as God’s child, and asking Him for such. This is what Christ focused on when Nicodemus visited him one night. Christ said, “You must be born again,” and then proceeded to tell Nicodemus how to obtain the new birth (see the account in John, chapter 3).

    Christ died to pay the penalty for our transgressions against the law, and was resurrected for our justification. What does this mean? Christ’s death and resurrection established the new birth and made Him the “firstborn of many brothers and sisters.” Those who believe in Christ partake in a literal death of the old self and a literal resurrection to new life. This transformation involves many radical changes, but a primary one is a love for God’s truth (word) as opposed to a former indifference towards the things of God. This is probably the foremost reason people resist the gospel; intuitively, they know it would be the end of the life they presently know.

    An internal miracle of new birth takes place that is little different from the non-experiential miracles of life like conception. The moment of conception is undiscernible until a test confirms that a new birth has taken place which usually results in joy. Because the book of Acts documents a historical transition for God’s family, the connection of faith and Spirit baptism was demonstrated by outward manifestations of the Spirit to establish the reality of new birth. These outward manifestations established the connection between faith and Spirit baptism.

    This transformation changes the perspective on sin and law. Sin and law mean different things to those under law as opposed to those under grace or in other words, lost versus saved. A saved person is not under law. The law’s condemnation has been ended. Christ didn’t come to keep the law perfectly; he came to end the law (Romans 10:4). There is “now” NO condemnation for the Christian (Romans 8:1). Though a Christian falls short of perfect law-keeping, it is because he/she is yet “weak” in mortality but has a “willing” spirit as a result of the new birth.

    Before salvation, the law is nothing but condemnation, but after salvation, the law is a means of loving God and others. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” A person under the law cannot use the law to love God—that’s impossible because that person is under the law’s condemnation. Hence, when a Christian “sins” it is really a failure to love God and others. The demarcation for the saved and lost in relationship to sin, law, obedience, and condemnation is Romans 8:2,

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Those under grace are under the law of the Spirit of life while those under law are under the law of sin and death. This is the Spirit’s two uses of the law and their differing perspectives: to condemn the lost world or to sanctify believers (John 17:17). This sets the believer free to aggressively love God and others (via the law) without any fear of condemnation because where there is no law there is no sin (Romans 3:19,20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:6,8, 10:4, 1Timothy 1:9, Galatians 2:19).

    The believer is truly righteous and holy because he/she has been reborn by God into His family though still trapped in a mortal body causing a shortfall in love because of weakness. This is why the true believer longs for the redemption of the body (Romans, chapter 7). Though commonly connected to a definition of sin, “weakness” does not equal sin. The holy angels are weaker than God, and Christ was weaker as a man than He was before He left heaven to save mankind, but yet the fact that He was always holy during His ministry on earth is unarguable. And moreover, the Protestant idea that He was resurrected by God to affirm His perfect keeping of the law is little less than full-blown blasphemy. Christ invariably kept the law perfectly by virtue of who He is, but He did not keep the law perfectly as a substitute for our use of the law for loving God and others.

    Because Protestantism denies a literal biblical new birth, the so-called believer is still under law, the law’s condemnation and any act of obedience by the “believer” is stripped of its love unless Christ has performed the act Himself. Indeed, this is why Protestant scholars correctly refer to the church as a “train wreck.” Yet, it is a severe pity that they are so proud of it.

    Also, and perhaps a cardinal point, a biblical new birth speaks to the enablement of the individual apart from any authority other than Christ. If a saved person is family no matter where he or she is, what do we need the church for? But, if not the institutional church, then what? The answer is FAMILY. The answer is operating as the real family of God and not an institution that makes the standard for justification the law rather than the new birth.

    The new birth is bad for business in general and recurring monthly revenue in particular. Family isn’t a business, it is a loving collective buttress against the challenges of life and the sharing of its joy. God’s family is all of that and more as it works together for His purposes and glory…not that of men drunk with visions of grandeur and claiming authority over other men.

 

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