Paul's Passing Thoughts

Protestant View on Atonement Dies Hard

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on December 20, 2018

Originally published July 12, 2017

Most Facebook discussions aren’t pretty. Oh, they start out innocent enough, but they have a tendency to turn ugly in a hurry, especially when you challenge pet doctrines. It doesn’t take long for the name-calling and other ad hominem attacks to ensue. But every once in a while you encounter a group of individuals who express a mo (more…)

Got Righteousness?

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 3, 2018

“…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ~ John 3:5

Believers No Longer in Protective Custody

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

Originally published May 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul repeats this idea in the very next verse:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Protestant View on Atonement Dies Hard

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 12, 2017

Updated July 14, 2017

Most Facebook discussions aren’t pretty. Oh, they start out innocent enough, but they have a tendency to turn ugly in a hurry, especially when you challenge pet doctrines. It doesn’t take long for the name-calling and other ad hominem attacks to ensue. But every once in a while you encounter a group of individuals who express a modicum of politeness and respect even if you don’t manage to persuade them with your argument.

I hold out some hope for the folks involved in the following discussion. As you can see for yourself, their overall tone of civility leads me to believe that some of them just might be persuaded one day (perhaps as the lingering words of the argument echo in their minds and they have time to reflect on them and the Holy Spirit uses them to bring about conviction).

The roots of Protestant orthodoxy run deep, as the many well-documented examples here at Paul’s Passing Thoughts affirm. Therefore it doesn’t really come as any surprise that so many Christians demonstrate such a woeful misunderstanding of a doctrine such as “The Atonement” or hold on to that same misunderstanding so vehemently. Yet when so many Christians begin with the assumption that believers still sin, it only stands to reason that the obvious conclusion is that some need for perpetual “covering” of that sin is required.

Therein lies the error. Believers don’t sin because sin is ENDED. Sin is ended because they are born again. And if sin is ended, then there is no more need for a covering!

~ Andy

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” ~ Galatians 3:24-26

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” ~ Hebrews 10:26

New comments were added to this discussion this afternoon:

New comments added as of 7/13/2017
New comments added July 14, 2017

My Reply to Linda: Yes, I Am a Christian, But Not Sure You Are

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 19, 2017

ppt-jpeg4Originally published December 15, 2015

I no longer have patience for the evangelical regurgitation of orthodox talking points. Protestants don’t own their own faith that they have seen in the Bible with their own study.  What they think they see and understand is what Protestant academics have told them, including the idea that only they have authority to tell them what to believe. So, what is wrong with church? Church is wrong with church because it is predicated on a false gospel. That’s right, the Protestant Reformation was a false reformation founded on a false gospel. And this is why Dr. James White and others have refused to debate me publicly; the Protestant gospel as stated in its orthodoxy is the biblical definition of a lost person…under law as opposed to under grace.

Martin Luther and John Calvin et al proffered a gospel that is under law, but that is supposedly OK because Jesus keeps/kept the law for us, and that obedience is imputed to our Christian status. This is a perpetual covering of sin, or sometimes referred to as “atonement,” but not an ENDING of sin that requires no further justification. Hence, we must “preach the gospel to ourselves every day” to “keep ourselves in the love of God” (CJ Mahaney) etc.  White and others know that this is a simple matter of theological math, and do not intend to address it until enough people catch on. The only case they can make presently is for a historical-redemptive interpretation of Scripture that interprets every verse as a justification verse. Sanctification is defined as progressive justification via Protestant talking points.

One day in my personal Facebook account I noticed the following comment to me by a “Linda”:

“Are you a Christian Paul? And secondly do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? That would be my two questions for you. Romans says, ‘There is none righteous, no not one.’ That includes you and me. This doesn’t mean that we never do a kind act or good deed. It means that we don’t and can’t do enough of them to be declared ‘RIGHTEOUS’ by God. We could never do enough good deeds and kind acts to get us into heaven. Therefore we need the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us in order to go to heaven. God imputes this kind of righteousness to those who believe and accept HIS son Jesus and his shed blood as atonement for their sins and their UNrighteousness. We are part of God’s family by adoption. Nothing can make us righteous enough to go to heaven. The righteousness that is applied to our never dying soul can only come from Christ. The ‘part and parcel’ of our own being is puny compared with what God demands. In one place in scripture our puny ‘part and parcel’ is described as ‘filthy rags.’ So our own human effort at righteousness is from our flesh. Our flesh is not saved from sin and unrighteousness. Only our soul is. We are not capable of learning and loving enough to be declared righteous enough for heaven. We could learn and love enough to help another person with a kind act or good deed. But that does not fit our soul for heaven. I don’t understand your third question……’Christ imputing sin’ ????”

Her comment was in reply to previous comments I had made in regard to a post. She was replying to a comment I made regarding her initial comment.

“I am a never dying soul whom Christ died and rose for, approved of by God because I have HIS righteousness. Just by learning and loving we are different. Better means ‘improved in some way.’ Not hard questions for me.”

Here is my reply.

“Linda, where does the Bible say you have the righteousness of Christ? That’s the first question. The second: Are we only approved of God because we ONLY have the righteousness of Christ and none of our own? What about the new birth? If we are literally born of God and now part of His lineage, would that not make us righteous? Do you mean to say that we have a righteousness LIKE Christ’s because we are a member of the same family, or ONLY His righteousness and none that is part and parcel with our own being? Are we truly righteous, or only declared righteous? Third question: was Christ’s role in salvation an imputation of sin AND righteousness, or just sin? On the one hand, you seem to state that we only have the righteousness of Christ, but on the other, you say we learn and love. How exactly do we learn and love if we ourselves are not righteous people? So, I am not trying to be a jerk here, I am simply resolute that Christians should have a clear definition of who they are. Yes, I know exactly what the Reformers believed about our identity, but I would like to see your clarification.”

This is the extreme Protestant cognitive dissonance resulting in the train wreck we call “church” that I no longer have patience for. People who are serious about following Christ need to take their true gospel and leave the institutional church for home fellowship networks. The institutional church is part and parcel with the authority that demands a denial of the obvious. Authority has replaced truth. Nevertheless, I do believe evangelicals will have to eventually address their under law gospel.

I will make this as simple as possible as I am weary of addressing it. Much, much, thanks to Andy Young who is helping to carry the water on this as well. Linda’s response is pretty much the Protestant gospel talking points that we hear often, and pregnant with cognitive dissonance. All in all, her answers to my questions are, “NO.” Please start by noting that. This is where we discuss another disservice the Reformers performed: adding chapters and verses to the Bible. This circumvents the need to read all of Scripture in context. You can form a theological argument by using John Immel’s pet peeve: Scripture stacking. Basically, Linda is using the same verses to argue for the same Protestant talking points that she has received from Protestant academics. As a result, if one examines her statements, the blatant contradictions are stunning.

Where to start? ALL of our works are filthy rags (Isiah 64:6), yet, we can do some stuff that is good? So, “all” doesn’t really mean “all”? Per the usual, Protestants profess a double false gospel because they don’t rightly understand the gospel taught by the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther. In fact, Luther taught that EVERY deed of man is evil, even those that appear good because man’s “good” deeds always have a flawed motive. Calvin taught the same. Hence, if one believes that we can do a good deed, that is “mortal sin” and cannot be forgiven by the church. But, if one believes that every work we do, even works that appear good, are actually evil, all of our sin can be forgiven by revisiting the same gospel that saved us, and that revisitation is only valid under the auspices and oversight of the clergy. This is Luther, this is Calvin, this is the Protestant gospel. I have documented this backwards and forwards as those who follow TANC Ministries know.

Now, for the Protestant part of this that Linda got right, and in fact a mainstay of Protestantism, but still a false gospel. Luther and Calvin orthodoxy already condemns her to hell, but they would agree with her making the law the standard for justification. Biblically, there is NO law in justification. The Bible testifies about justification, but law and justification are mutually exclusive. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, there is no law in justification. What determines justification is the new birth. The law is strictly for love in the Christian life. Again, the law informs us about justification, and here is the information: law is not the standard for justification, the new birth is. The apostle Paul wrote the epistle of Galatians to make this very point. Again, I predict that folks are going to start catching on to this in the future and the who’s who of evangelicalism are going to have to make a defense; good luck to them as that attempt will be interesting. The Protestant under-law-gospel, also stated by Linda, has Christ fulfilling God’s “demands” in our stead when God’s only demand regarding justification is that we be born again.

In order to make the law the standard for justification, the Reformers resorted to Saint Augustine’s Neo-Platonism, which later became Gnosticism and wreaked havoc on the first century church. We see this in Linda’s talking points about “the flesh.” ALL of our works come from where? Right, the flesh which, like the Reformers, she deems as inherently evil. That’s Gnosticism. The Bible teaches that our bodies, or members, are “weak” not inherently evil. When the Bible speaks of the “desires of the flesh” and the “deeds of the flesh,” that speaks of when our members are used for sinful purposes. Obviously, if Linda would stop long enough to read her own Bible with her own understanding given to her by God, she would see that our body, or “flesh,” can also be used for holy purposes (Romans 12:1 among many other passages). And, what is more obvious than the fact that our bodies are declared to be the temple of God? Actually, a word study reveals that the Holy of Holies is being referred to.

This brings us to Linda’s Protestant confusion in regard to the difference between salvation and redemption. The former is the saving of the soul, the latter is the saving of the mortal body which can be used for evil or good depending on which desires we are obeying. Christians, through the new birth, have the ability to obey the desires of the Spirit stated in the Bible and the ability to say “no” to evil desires that remain part of the body’s weakness and mortality. Because Christ ended the law through the new birth, sin has been stripped of its ability to enslave and condemn. If Christ obeys the law for us, we are still under it and enslaved to sin. The old us that died with Christ violated the whole law with every sin; the new us that was raised with Christ fulfills the whole law with one act of love. Christ didn’t come to obey the law for us—He came to END the law. Christ didn’t come to cover our sin—He came to END our sin.

A book could be written here, but time won’t allow it; nevertheless, let’s address Linda’s confusion, typical among Protestants, in regard to gift and reward. We cannot birth ourselves, but we can obtain the baptism of the Spirit by faith alone in “the promise” (see Galatians chapter 3). Once the gift is received, it is ours to utilize by loving God and others. Exercising the gift is not taking credit for the gift. The Bible states that God would be unjust to forget our good works and service to the saints (Hebrews 6:10). “Unjust”? Yes, because as those literally born of Him (1 John chapter 3), and literally a part of His literal family, our reward is due us as siblings working for the Father. As a slave to the former master, we could only earn death wages—now we can earn true reward. Read the Parable of the Talents and see what the outcome is for those who fear and want to give God back only what was given and nothing more. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the new birth.

As a policy, I don’t judge the salvation of others. I believe that there are Protestants who are confused enough about Protestantism to be saved. So, yes Linda, I am saved, but I find your assurance that you are saved indicative of your confusion. Protestant orthodoxy CLEARLY states that the motor of sanctification moving justification forward is doubt of salvation because being under condemnation is part and parcel with being under law…the standard for justification according to Protestantism. In Calvin’s words, if “Christians” are not still under condemnation, what further need is there for Christ and His righteousness?

So Linda, I am saved, but I recommend that you start thinking for yourself. All of the Protestant academics you trust will not stand in your stead at the judgment. You will be standing there alone.

And you better have more than a covering with sin underneath it, you better be a literal child of God before Him.