Paul's Passing Thoughts

Ground Zero for Understanding the Biblical Counseling Movement

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 2, 2015

CWW 4

Originally published September 18, 2013

“I believe this will go down in church history as one of the most grotesque betrayals ever perpetrated on a man in the name of friendship and the gospel.” 

A Chapter Theses for Clouds Without Water: The Biblical Counseling Movement; It’s True History and Doctrine

 In the Beginning, Plato, and then Augustine.

During the first century, the upstart assemblies of the risen Christ suffered a viral affront from Gnostic sects. The first century church was made up of people from all socioeconomic strata, and the Gnostics infiltrated Christianity for that purpose. Those in the first century church well-endowed with money were a valuable resource, and this is who the Gnostic sects primarily targeted with their false doctrine.

Gnosticism has always been about elitism, power, and money. If you want to see an immaculate mural of the American church, read Philip J. Lee’s “Against the Protestant Gnostics.”

Gnosticism finds its roots in the philosophy of Plato. Every American born into the world should be thoroughly apprised of Plato the man and his philosophy. To understand Plato is to understand Western culture politically and spiritually. All the philosophers agree on this point. From there, the math is easy: Augustine was the father of Reformation doctrine, and a rabid follower of Plato. Augustine had little use for the Bible without Platonist insight, and considered Plato a Pre-Christianity Christian.

Of course, the favorite red herring is that Plato is not agreed with on every point, but the fact remains that his primary construct founded Reformed theology: the incompetence of man, and the need for a select few (the enlightened) to rule over the masses. Those with gnosis know how society best functions, and they know how the masses can find individual peace from the desires that rule over them.

The Age of Enlightenment (circa 1630) produced men who were the first to confront Plato’s construct successfully. The most formidable product of that movement was the American experiment which obviously turned out quite well. It was founded on the competence of the individual. The competition was the Platonist Puritans who unfortunately survived the voyage from Europe and wreaked havoc on the East coast. But fortunately, their worldview kept them from settling further inland. “Go west young man!” is hardly the motivational words of competence found among the purer forms of Reformed thought.

Let there be no doubt about it, the idea of merging church and state is grounded in the religion of man’s incompetence. The masses need the state to take care of them. Plato’s philosopher kings contrive orthodoxy, and the soldiers enforce it. This concept did not find its way into the Westminster Confession by accident.  Even those who think the state should be separate from the church think a utopia would arise if the church ran the state. “Separation of church and state” doesn’t mean no theocracy; theocracy would be a good thing, supposedly. The state has always had an interest in ruling over religion because ideas are dangerous, and the church has always been a willing participant if the state agrees to enforce their orthodoxy. The battle between the two for the upper hand of control is the political intrigue that is European history in a nutshell. And that is how the world as we know it will end: the zenith of church statecraft as described in the book of Revelation.

This is Western history, and the  children of the enlightenment would have no part of it on American soil. Ten years after the Declaration of Independence, James Madison successfully stopped a European style push for a church state in A Memorial in Remonstance Against Religious Assessments. For all practical purposes, it was an indictment against the fruits of European Reformed doctrine.

The Reformation’s Historical Cycle of Social Death and Resurgence

The Reformers, being children of Plato, didn’t interpret reality with a normative epistemology. Plato’s Achilles’ heel has always been the application of Eastern mysticism. Instead of reality being interpreted empirically, and a course of action being determined by discovery, conclusions are drawn by using interpretive gateways to the “pure” form of reality that is hopefully good. Plato thought it was good, but his interpretive gateway to reality rejected the five senses out of hand. Gnosis was the key.

The Reformers merely replaced gnosis with the personhood of Christ as a sort of stargate to reality. That reality was predicated on the difference between the unchangeable pure form of Christ, and the inherent evil of man dwelling in a world that constantly changes. Plato equated the pure forms with immutable objectivity, and evil matter with mutable subjectivity. Hence, today’s Platonist Reformers speak of the “objective gospel experienced subjectively.”  This is clearly Plato’s metaphysical construct based on the incompetence of man in regard to interpreting reality. Like Plato, the Reformers of old and new alike bemoan man’s attempt to understand reality “in the shadows” of all matters that “eclipse Christ.” While donning the persona of Biblicism, pastors like Steve Lawson call for pastors to “come out from the shadows.”

This is the theme of books like “Uneclipsing the Son” by John MacArthur confidant Rick Holland. In his book, he hints at why purest Reformed theology gets lost in the minds of Christians from time to time and therefore needs periodic resurgences and rediscoveries. He notes in his book that good grammar makes bad theology. The mystic heretic Paul David Tripp makes the same assertion in “How People Change,” noting that a literal interpretation of Scripture circumvents the personhood of Christ and His saving work. What’s in an interpretation method? According to Tripp—your salvation.

This is the paramount point at hand: the Reformers did not interpret the Bible grammatically, objectively, exegetically, or literally at any point; they interpreted the Bible through the dual prism of  “reality” seen in God’s holiness and our evil. The only objective truth is the person of Christ leading to a mere subjective experience of His power and  grace manifestations. Hence, many Reformed purists in our day embodied in the New Calvinist movement speak of, “spiritual growth in seeing our own evil as set against the holiness of God.” Therefore, commands in the Bible become part of the narrative that helps us see what we are unable to do rather than commands to be obeyed. We merely seek to see, and wait for the subjective experience of “vivification.” The seeing is the “mortification.” Reformed theologians like Michael Horton explain this as a continual re-experience of our original baptism as we perpetually revisit the same gospel that saved us “afresh.”

This reduces the Christian life to experiences of perpetual rebirth found in Eastern concepts Plato borrowed for “practical life application.”  This is the foundation of Historical Redemptive hermeneutics born of Reformed purism.  This is also the interpretive method that is all of the rage in our day through programs like BibleMesh.

This is not the natural bent towards interpreting truth. We are wired to interpret truth objectively, and grammatically—tools like allegory and parables notwithstanding. This is why Reformed purism dies a social death from time to time throughout history. Thus, this metaphysical anomaly experiences “rediscovery” and “resurgence” movements. Be certain of the following: this is the New Calvinist movement in our day, and in essence, a return to the exact same viral Gnosticism that plagued the New Testament church with this caveat added: we by no means possess the doctrinal intestinal fortitude of the first century church.

Ground Zero: The 1970 Resurgence

1970 is ground zero for the present landscape of American Christianity.  In that year, two movements emerged. Since colonial times, the third resurgence of Reformed purism was born through a project called the Australian Forum. In that same year, Dr. Jay E. Adams, a hybrid of Calvinism and Historical Grammatical interpretation, launched the biblical counseling movement. His movement was predicated on the competence of enabled congregants to counsel each other through the deepest of human problems. Adams also recognized the simple concept of anthropology and its relationship to helping people. Because all humans are created by God, what works well for the unsaved should work even better for the saved. If unsaved people who don’t violate their consciences are happier, this should also aid Christians in their walk with God. Bad ideas are simply bad for everyone, the ultimate need for eternal salvation notwithstanding. But that doesn’t mean you throw out the unsaved baby with the bath water of practicality. And in addition, does practicality show forth the wisdom of God and thereby point people to God? Should God not know what makes people tick? Moreover, what is the authority for interpreting human existence? Philosophy,  or the Bible?

Adams’ biblical construct produced astounding conclusions, especially in areas where a medical model covered for escape mechanisms that create another reality for realties one may not like. If Bob is in big trouble, he merely becomes Ted, or maybe even Jane. This is a bad idea for Christians. Adams created a dichotomy between salvation and the Christian life. He believed in the utter incompetence of man to save himself, but abundant competence in colaboring with God for a victorious life over sin. With Adams, it is about CHANGE for the glory of God and the happiness of His people.

Thus, with the resurgence of Reformed purism at the same time, the battle lines were drawn, and a confusion of conflict emerged in the biblical counseling movement. The one predicated on the utter incompetence of man whether saved or unsaved, and the other predicated on the competence of the Spirit-filled Christian. The one predicated on Christians only being righteous positionally, and the other predicated on the idea that Christians are also practically righteous. The one predicated on contemplationism, the other predicated on obedience. This is the civil war that has raged in the biblical counseling movement from its conception until this day. It is for the most part a civil war of servility, lest two different gospels be separate, and careerism maimed.

The Forum doctrine quickly found footing at Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania where Adams was a professor. The initial vestige of relevant infection was found in Dr. John “Jack” Miller, also a professor at Westminster Seminary. True, Westminster was founded by Reformed purists that believed the many acts of Christ’s righteousness were part of the atonement, not just His one act of death on the cross, but for the most part, the Reformation’s metaphysical anomalies had reduced Westminster to moderate Reformed ideology. If you will, a hybrid Calvinism that interpreted reality grammatically.

Miller changed that. While the doctrine was in the process of suffering a brutal death in Reformed Baptist circles by moderate Calvinists, being labeled as antinomianism, it found resurgent life at Westminster in Miller’s Sonship Theology incubator. The forerunner of this doctrine in Reformed Baptist circles, Jon Zens, discovered the doctrine  in the early years of the Forum while he was a student at Westminster. He actually became heavily involved with the Forum in the 70’s, convincing them that everyday Covenant Theology would be a hindrance to infecting Christianity with the newly rediscovered disease. From that conversation came the birth of New Covenant Theology circa 1981. It was a significant addition to the present repertoire of elements that confuse the real crux of the issue. Till this day, few moderate Calvinists make this historical connection between New Covenant Theology and New Calvinism.

But it was a particular mentoree of Miller’s that saw Adam’s construct as a threat to the successful spread of the Forum’s rediscovery: Dr. David Powlison. Powlison, working closely with Miller, developed the Dynamics of Biblical Change which is a counseling construct based on Reformation purism. This became the counseling model for Westminster’s biblical counseling wing known as The Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). Later, there was a proposal for an organization that would certify counselors for CCEF. Adams was opposed to it as it smacked of the kind of elitism that he was trying to avoid. Remember, Adams was all about the competence of the average congregant to counsel. But Purist Reformed ideology is all about elitism because Gnosticism is all about elitism; the two go hand in glove.

Show Me the Money

Gnosticism rejects the average man’s ability to understand reality. So, assimilation for purposes of functionality is the main concern; ie., that the masses are controlled by indoctrination that is not necessarily understood, but invokes behavioral goals. But another primary goal is the spiritual caste system that provides millions of dollars for elitist educators. In essence, these are the professional Sophists produced by Platonism. This is why Gnosticism always dwells in the upper socioeconomic strata, as Phillip J. Lee notes in the aforementioned book, Gnosticism is a rich man’s game. CCEF certified counselors are extremely rare in zip codes of average incomes less than $80,000 per year, and nowhere to be found in zip codes of $50,000 or less. This of course, is very telling. Their conferences require registration fees of  $300.00 per person or more.

Meanwhile, NANC Happens

Powlison followed a classic mode of Gnostic deception by seeking to be identified with the persona of Adams’ successful counseling construct while despising the doctrine as a supposed false gospel. To be more specific, he wanted to gain ground by being identified with Adams’ success, and with a deliberate long-term goal of destroying the historical grammatical approach to biblical counseling.

Unfortunately, and to the chagrin of Adams, the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors was born (NANC). “Nouthetic” counseling was a Greek term introduced by Adams and often associated with him. Therefore, Powlison et al were able to be identified with the tsunami like personal transformations of the Adams reformation as a jump start for their own construct, and with a long-term goal of destroying the competition. They did this so effectively that Adams was often thought of as the founder of NANC, which was never true.

Consequently, Adams experienced an increased persecution from within the contemporary biblical counseling movement that he founded. His counseling was dubbed “first generation” biblical counseling and referred to as nothing more than “producing better Pharisees.” I believe this will go down in church history as one of the most grotesque betrayals ever perpetrated on a man in the name of friendship and the gospel.

The fallout in our day is indicative of the spiritual carnage that has always been left in the path of Gnosticism. While the spiritual peasantry cries out in hopes that the elite will police their own, the Nicolaitans of our day laugh all the way to the bank. After all, subjective reality is messy business and peasants just don’t understand. The biblical counseling community has founded organizations who seek to keep them out of court and prevent the obscuring of cash flow. The New Calvinism movement is intrinsically connected by a complicated and massive network of  associations—in many cases disagreeing with each other on “secondary issues.” A prime example is the G.R.A.C.E mediatory organization headed by Boz Tchividjian.  While playing the part of advocates for the spiritually abused, they are professionally networked with serial abusers of the worst sort.

Conclusion

The biblical counseling movement embodied in New Calvinism is nothing more or less than a return to the exact same Gnosticism that plagued the first century church. The fact that Eastern mysticism is often the application can be seen by what happened at a Passion Conference where the who’s who of New Calvinism led the audience in a form of Transcendental Meditation. Tim Keller, a co-mentoree of Miller along with David Powlison in the early days, is a staunch advocate of Eastern mysticism as a practical application for Christian living.

CCEF, and NANC are the epitome of false advertising. They advertise the gospel and change, but believe in neither. Like the father of their faith, St. Augustine,  it is Plato they trust. The banner over them is not love, but a sense of elitist entitlement to be paid and supported by the unenlightened masses for their own good. Sheep that don’t get it are more than expendable; the one in 99 is expendable for the 99 who know their place and pay the Shamans their tax deductible dues.

They invent and sell orthodoxy, the layman’s manual for experiencing perpetual rebirth. On the one hand, there is a Christianity that posits the living water that is received once, the onetime washing, and the moving on to maturity from the beginning principles of baptisms, and then there is the gospel of our day that posits the perpetual rebirth of Eastern mysticism.

But this is not a mere disagreement about how to live the Christian life. How we see the Christian life reveals the gospel that we really believe. When our salvation is not a finished work, something must be done by us to finish it—even if that means doing nothing with intentionality. NOT living by a list of do’s and don’ts is the work that keeps us saved. It is playing it safe by hiding our talents in the ground and giving the Lord back what He originally gave.

Christians would do well to choose which gospel they will live by in our day.  At this point, that conversation has not arrived yet. And to be sure, many do not want the conversation to be clarified to that point. The gospel itself has become the elephant in the room.

paul

Roger Olson, Bikers, Calvinists, and Arminians: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 22, 2014

Olson“EXACTLY like Calvinists, Olson decries the Christian message of ‘Do, do, do, do,’ while unwittingly propagating the false gospel of keeping ourselves saved by doing nothing. Making sure that we don’t do anything is in fact doing something while begging the question: why is it so important that we continue to do the same thing that originally saved us lest it be a false gospel?”

“Be not deceived: antinomianism is defined by an aversion to the law in sanctification. Antinomianism is defined by ‘one way love’… Be not deceived by the philosopher kings of the institutional church, or simply ‘church.’ When they decry ‘Do, do, do do,’ they are really decrying, ‘Love, love, love, love.’”    

There is one reason and one reason only why New Calvinism has completely taken over the institutional church; fundamentally, Protestantism has always been predicated by weak sanctification because of its foundational beliefs in regard to justification. In other words, our functional sanctification is the true indicator of what we believe about justification. And in Protestantism, that has never changed. Therefore, the institutional church has always been primed for a return to the original article.

In the same way, all outlaw biker clubs should unite into one happy family; after all, they all believe in hedonism by unfettered lust alone. Why quibble about the best way to rob a liquor store or beat your “biker bitch”? Those are matters of hedonology. If I am not mistaken, a famous biker once said…

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.

However, bikers wouldn’t let some Protestant sins be named among them once; e.g., pedophilia. One biker club has even formed an effective child abuse advocacy program where they support victims through the legal process and accompany them when they testify in court. This is in stark contrast to Protestants, like their Catholic kin, who defend the pedophiles and blame the victims. Pedophiles have to be isolated in prison, but among Protestants they find that good old fashioned “grace.” While many Neo-Calvinists tacitly support ISIS, biker clubs in Europe have joined the Kurds in fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq. So, a unification of outlaw biker clubs and Protestantism is unlikely—the bikers wouldn’t have them, but there is still hope for the unification of Protestant factions and even the Catholic Church that spawned them.

Roger Olson, the Mr. Rogers of Protestantism, bemoans the reality that he was forced into a situation where he must defend Arminianism. It is a gig he didn’t want. Good Protestants should be above the fray of public debate. After all, public brawls are biker-like. He argues that Calvinists and Arminians believe the same gospel, and he is absolutely correct about that. And what is that gospel? According to Olson’s spot-on assessment, progressive justification. Of course, he doesn’t use those particular synonyms because it undresses the Protestant emperor, but as we shall see, it is the same thing. Calvinists and Arminians believe the same false gospel that is foundational to Protestant “essentials.”

At one point in Olson’s call for Calminianism, he notes his respect for moderate Calvinists as opposed to the radical Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR). But of course, he loves the Calvinist, but hates the Hyper Calvinism, not the moderate Calvinism. This is the constant mantra of Baptist leaders who say that a playing card can barely be slipped between moderate Calvinism and Arminianism, and again, they are absolutely right about that. Only one adjustment needs to be made: there is no difference between “moderate” Calvinism and “radical” Calvinism. That’s the same difference between moderate and radical Islam. To show that he knows what he is talking about, Olson cites examples of moderate Calvinists from his contemporary church history mojo. He cites Donald Bloesch and G. C. Berkouwer as examples of moderate Calvinists.

Only problem is, Bloesch, as I document in The Truth About New Calvinism, was one of the forefathers of the present-day New Calvinist movement. He was a champion of the “gospel recovery” movement that was spawned by the Australian Forum. As documented, he promoted the Australian Forum study groups in Presbyterian circles. One of the Forum’s most quoted Reformed teachers was G.C. Berkouwer, who stated unequivocally that Reformed soteriology is predicated on the belief that there is absolutely NO difference whatsoever in an unbeliever and a believer in their state before God. Bloesch was a strong advocate of the EXACT theology that drives YRR.

And what is that theology? What is that gospel? Olson tells us in his Calminian treatise:

Evangelical Calvinists and evangelical Arminians need to reach an accord, an agreement, to put down the long knives and cooperate with each other in opposing the real “default heresy” of American Christianity—moralism.

And what is this “moralism” that is the common foe of the Calminians?

The true, biblical, evangelical gospel is difficult to find in American churches or hear from their pulpits…Not far from my house is a church that purports to be evangelical. For weeks now the marquee has said simply “Decide to grow.” Decide to grow? What does that mean? Ah, much to my dismay I think I know what it means: “Being a good person, even a good Christian, is totally up to you. Use your will to decide to change and become the person that pleases God.” The missing all-important truth is that no one can do that by themselves, on their own, just using their will power.

This is Calvinism to a T including its Gnostic either/or emphasis interpretation of reality. Notice that Olson excludes any discussion of colaboring between us and the Spirit. It’s either ALL of our will, or ALL of the Spirit. We hear this coming forth from the Calvinist camp constantly along with the deliberate use of the words “us alone” as a red herring to throw you off the antinomian scent. When you read, “no one can do that by themselves,” which goes without saying, what isn’t discussed is the truthful discussion of colaboring: out of sight, out of mind.

Olson then goes on to present the same worn-out misuse of Scripture used by Calvinists constantly:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” End of story, for most American Christians. Do, do, do. Work harder at being a disciple, a good citizen, a church person, a good neighbor, a successful person.

But Philippians 2:12 can no more be taken alone, without 2:13, than 2:13 can be taken alone without 2:12. “For God is at work in you, to will and to do for his good pleasure.” The Greek word translated “work” in 2:12 is not the same translated “work” in 2:13. So it’s not a sheer contradiction or even a paradox (as many have claimed). The message is: “Carry your salvation out to its best possible conclusion in being Christ-like and do it with care knowing all the time that you aren’t really doing it at all because God gives you everything you need to do it and is even the one doing it in you.”

From beginning to end, everything about being a Christian, in more than a merely nominal sense, is gift. All we have to do, all we can do, is receive the gifts—forgiveness, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification. At no point in the process does anyone have the right to claim some good accomplished or achieved as his or her own.

The American gospel, however, is that you must use your will power to change and grow. It’s totally up to you—so just “do it.” The vast majority of sermons focus on that message of moralism. “God would be more pleased with you, you would be more pleasing to God, if you exercised your will to change and grow and become a better person than you are.” That’s not the gospel. The gospel is that you can’t do it. As songwriter Jeremy Camp said in a song popularized by Amy Grant: “Being good is just a fable; I just can’t ‘cause I’m not able. Gonna leave it to the Lord”—the “Lord” being the Holy Spirit.

That’s Calvinism plain and simple that can be tagged with all the Reformed essential truisms: “Christ 100% for us” (in both sanctification and justification),  “The vital union” (we keep ourselves “in the love of Christ” by faith alone), “Justification by faith alone” (in sanctification also), and the idea that the Christian life is a “rest” in which we “rest and feed on the saving works (plural) of Christ.”

EXACTLY like Calvinists, Olson decries the Christian message of “Do, do, do,” while unwittingly propagating the false gospel of keeping ourselves saved by doing nothing. Making sure that we don’t do anything is in fact doing something while begging the question: why is it so important that we continue to do the same thing that originally saved us lest it be a false gospel?

Because it demonstrates the fact that both Calvinists and Arminians believe that justification is not a finished work and that it must be maintained the same way it was initiated—by faith alone.

This is irrefutable and unavoidable: note once again the very words of Olson:

From beginning to end, everything about being a Christian, in more than a merely nominal sense, is gift. All we have to do, all we can do, is receive the gifts—forgiveness, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification.

Hence, all we can do is receive, and this includes love. Sanctification, like justification, can only be received. Pray tell, what is the difference between this and Tullian Tchividjian’s Liberation 2014 theme “One Way Love.”?

Christ stated clearly what the results of the latter-day religion of lawlessness (anomia) would be: “the love of many will wax cold.” Are we to assume that this love doesn’t include love for God? Just what would be our first clue in all of this? What does “one way” mean? What does it mean to “receive” only?

And lest Olson fall short of defining himself as a pure Calvinist, he dissed the first thinkers in human history to stop the constant flow of blood from determinism’s spiritual caste system of the church state:

This is the gospel, folks. But, by and large, we have lost it. For it we have substituted false gospels of morality, prosperity, “success in life,” niceness, effort, churchmanship, citizenship, the “American way.”

Sigh. Again, we see Olson’s kinship with Calvinism’s Gnostic dualism: if you believe in individualism, you are also guilty of everything in column A, including a prosperity gospel. If you believe you can do anything, that means you believe you must do it all, etc. It’s either material evil, or invisible good. It’s either Luther’s cross story, or the glory story. It’s either all about your glory, or Christ’s glory. It’s either about what you do, or what “Christ has done.”

It’s all the same antinomian false gospel. Sure, “the law is good,” but Jesus must keep it for us lest we do something. Be not deceived: antinomianism is defined by an aversion to the law in sanctification. Antinomianism is defined by “one way love.”

Olson put the icing on the cake by stating the following:

Now I’m sure some readers are wondering how this is not Calvinism. Well, it is! It’s also Arminianism!

Precisely. He goes on to say, in essence, that It’s Not About Election. That’s a title of a book. It’s about Protestantism’s false gospel of progressive justification which both Calvinists and Arminians hold to. Both deny the new birth and new creaturehood that is troubled by a profession of faith not accompanied by a changed life, or denoting a changed life as works salvation. Love is one way. Love is redefined as believing you are loveless. That’s what Calvinists and Arminians alike are saying when they say they love you: it is a statement that you are both loveless.

Also, Olson, like the Calvinists, makes sanctification the exact same gift that justification is.

OlsonSo what is the true gospel? The true gospel demands a radical gulf between justification and sanctification. How wide is that gulf? 430 years apart. As far as the east is from the west. It also denies that regeneration is powered by the finished work of justification. It also denies that sanctification is a rest. There remains a rest for God’s people, and it is not sanctification. No, the heretic Roger Olson has it wrong: justification is the free gift, sanctification is a responsibility. We have been assigned as “ambassadors.” That’s not a gift—it’s a job. The Hebrew writer stated that God would be “unjust” if he forgets our works and service of “love.” Unjust? How can that be? Because sanctification has to do with rewards, and that is totally different than justification. Rewards are earned, the free gift of justification cannot be earned. Roger Olson, like the Calvinists he pines away for, is a false teacher who will lead many to hell at worst, and will rob many Christians of their reward at best.

Why? Because not doing something to maintain your salvation is doing something. You may not do anything at Mass to get absolution, but you had to do something to get there in order to keep your salvation. Progressive justification is no different.

Justification is a finished work and there is no law to judge the Christian. The law that formally condemned us is now our instruction for loving God and others. In regard to justification, we are perfect because there is no law to judge us and we are literally born of God. We are the holy ones of God saved by grace, NOT “sinners saved by grace.” Where there is no law, there is no sin. We are born anew and long for salvation from mortality. There may be fear in working out that salvation, but there is NO fear in love. Our sanctified life of love drives the fear of judgment far from us. We are free to labor aggressively in love without fear of condemnation.

Be not deceived by the philosopher kings of the institutional church, or simply “church.” When they decry “Do, do, do, do,” they are really decrying, “Love, love, love, love.”

Come out from among the wicked false teachers and their false antinomian gospel of lovelessness.

paul

Moses Indicts Luther and Calvin on the Reformation’s False Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on September 26, 2014

PPT Handle

Originally published January 28, 2013

Fundamentally, there is no difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. Both see salvation as linear. In other words, sanctification finishes justification. The Reformers were hell-bent on seeing salvation as linear—probably because of the Romanism that gave birth to them.

Therefore, the Reformers accused Rome of “infusing grace” into the believer which made them, in the linear gospel construct, a participant in building the road from justification to final justification named Sanctification. Rome’s “infusion of grace” (the new birth) “enabled” believers to participate in the finalization of our just state. Gee whiz, that’s not “justification by faith alone.”

So, the Reformers had to come up with something different: Jesus does all the paving of the road named Sanctification as long as we live our Christian life the same way we were saved; by faith alone. Hence, this required an “alien” righteousness that is in heaven, NOT IN US. A Reformed think tank devised the following illustration to demonstrate this idea:

the-fetus-of-cog

The true gospel sees justification as a finished work and completely separate from sanctification. We are free to aggressively pursue fruit in sanctification because our justification is a settled issue. The infusion of grace within us does not contribute to the finished work of justification, only the progressive work of sanctification. Sanctification is progressive because it involves us—justification is by God alone and not confined to time, mortality, or any kind of weakness. That’s why it was completed before the foundation of the Earth and guarantees glorification. This is a parallel gospel. Our progress in the Christian life and the completed work of justification are separate.

The Reformers believed in an “objective gospel completely outside of us.” Anything inside of us always leads to subjectivism. Supposedly. This wasn’t even true in the Old Testament. This is what Moses preached to the Israelites:

Deuteronomy 30:11- “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Not only did Luther say that keeping the commands is too hard for us to do as believers, he stated that it was impossible. So did Calvin. “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’” In fact, that’s exactly what Luther did say: God’s righteousness is an alien righteousness that is in heaven.

And the crux—Moses taught an infused grace: “It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”

Choose ye this day who you will follow, Moses or the Reformed crowd. Moses or Luther? Moses or Calvin? An easy choice for me.

paul

Is New Calvinism Old Calvinism?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 19, 2014

Calvinist Catholicism, Denial of Sanctification, Denial of the New Birth, and Distortion of the Trinity Through “Emphasis”

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on September 9, 2014

PPT Handle

Originally published January 3, 2013

  “Those of Reformed theology are not under grace. How do we know that? Because they say Christians are still under the dominion of sin. And plainly, according to the Bible, that equals being under the law and not under grace.”

The mystery of why sanctification is so anemic today is no longer a mystery. Traditionally, this has been the case for a long time in the Western church because the fathers of the Reformation discounted sanctification all together. Sure, they used the term, but it was disingenuous then, and continues to be such with those who use the term today. Weak sanctification leads to very unexciting lives which are no incentive to share the “new life” with others. We share what we are excited about, and being no better than what we were before our “conversion” is neither good news nor worth sharing. It seems the only thing we have to share is, “We are more humble than you because we know that we are empty vessels waiting to be filled and maybe the Lord will fill us and maybe he won’t.” Such a message just doesn’t set the world on fire.

The more I learn, the more I am convinced that there is really no difference between Catholicism and Protestantism: both are “under the law.” One is Jesus plus ritual to complete your justification and the other is Jesus plus making sure you do nothing in your sanctification to complete your justification (because the “just” shall live by faith [ALONE]). And in both cases, being faithful to the authority of the church secures your salvation. Calvin believed that we stay saved through daily repentance for daily salvation, and that forgiveness can only be found in Reformed churches:

Secondly, this passage shows that the gratuitous pardon of sins is given us not only once, but that it is a benefit perpetually residing in the Church, and daily offered to the faithful. For the Apostle here addresses the faithful; as doubtless no man has ever been, nor ever will be, who can otherwise please God, since all are guilty before him; for however strong a desire there may be in us of acting rightly, we always go haltingly to God. Yet what is half done obtains no approval with God. In the meantime, 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” (Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. 45: Catholic Epistles).

And, Calvin’s homeboy, Luther, believed that Reformed elders have the authority to forgive sins:

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive the absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the pastor as from God himself and by no means doubt but firmly believe that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven (Timothy J. Wengert: A Contemporary Translation of Luther’s Small Catechism; Augsburg Fortress PUB 1994, p.49).

And on page 35….

Daily in this Christian church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins—mine and those of all believers. On the last day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give me and all believers in Christ eternal life.

The granting of eternal life is future, and is based on faithfulness to the established church. Look, I have been a pastor long enough to know that many Baptists associate their salvation with church membership. I have suggested cleaning up the roles in a few churches, and the response is always one that hints of this being synonymous with taking away one’s salvation. Where did they get that idea? Whether Catholic or Protestant, you can get your absolution in a booth or an alter call—there is no difference.

Calvinism, and the Reformed gospel in general, is “under the law.” In the Scriptures, being under the law equals being under the dominion of sin:

Romans 6:14—For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 2:12—For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

Romans 2:15—For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

Those of Reformed theology are not under grace. How do we know that? Because they say Christians are still under the dominion of sin. And plainly, according to the Bible, that equals being under the law and not under grace. Quotes from the Reformed that establish this are myriad, I will note one:

We are enemies of God. We are God ignoring. We are God defying. We hate God. (CJ Mahaney: Resolved Conference 2008).

Comments by Reformed pastor Matt Chandler speaking of Christians as being “wicked sinners” have apparently been scrubbed from the internet (see here, and here), but nonetheless are indicative of the Reformed position.

This simply equals nothing less than, from the biblical perspective, Christians remaining in an unregenerate state though they call it regeneration. And this, they in fact do:

Bavinck too, wrote in connection with the regenerating work of the Spirit: “The regenerate man is no whit different in substance from what He was before his regeneration” (G. C. Berkouwer: Faith and Sanctification, p. 87).

Unchanging regeneration: such oxymorons are not few in Reformed writings. And though they would deny it, sanctification and the new birth are rejected as a matter logical conclusion. There can be no sanctification or new creaturehood where we are still under the bondage and dominion of sin. This is antithetical to being under grace. The Reformed think tank that launched the present-day New Calvinist movement which is a resurgence of authentic Calvinism, wrote an article in their theological journal entitled, “The False Gospel of the New Birth.” The article can be read here.

The argument that is used is one of emphasis which is Gnostic epistemology: sure, stars are true, but they only shine because of the Sun. Sure, shadows are true, but they wouldn’t exist without the Sun either. Sure, flowers are true, but they wouldn’t be able to grow without the Sun as well. What we want to do is focus on what really gives life: the Sun. To emphasize stars, shadows, or flowers over the thing that actually supplies the life will diminish life to whatever degree that the “good thing” is emphasized over the “best thing.”

plato-sun

Beginning to get the picture? It enables them to acknowledge the truth of sanctification and the new birth while deemphasizing them into oblivion. Out of sight; out of mind. To say that the new birth and our ability in sanctification are deemphasized in today’s church is certainly an understatement.

Said think tank, The Australian Forum, used the same argument to emphasize Christ over the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. Christocentricity is very important to Reformed theology. The core four of this think tank was Geoffrey Paxton, Jon Zens, Graeme Goldsworthy, and Robert Brinsmead. In a book where Paxton documents the Reformed heritage of Seventh-Day Adventism, he stated the following:

Luther and Calvin did not simply stress Christ alone over against the Roman Catholic emphasis on works-righteousness. The Reformers also stressed Christ alone over against all—be they Roman Catholics or Protestants (29) — who would point to the inside of the believer as the place where justifying righteousness dwells. Christ alone means literally Christ alone, and not the believer. And for that matter, it does not even mean any other member of the Trinity! (The Shaking of Adventism: p. 41).

Likewise, the same argument is made in regard to sanctification:

The distinction between the two types of righteousness will make the final emphasis of the Reformation easier to understand. The Reformers contended that the believer is righteous in this life only by faith. In saying this, they were not denying either the necessity or the reality of sanctification in all true believers. Rather, they were asserting that in this life sanctification is never good enough to stand in the judgment. The believer must look only to the righteousness of faith (the righteousness of the God-man) for his acceptance with God.

The inadequacy of sanctificational renewal was an integral part of Reformation teaching. Its corollary was the Reformers’ steadfast gaze at the righteousness of faith—namely, the doing and dying of the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth. Though the believer fights against sin and seeks to be a faithful law-keeper, sin nevertheless remains until his dying day Luther put it forcefully:

Paul, good man that he was, longed to be without sin, but to it he was chained. I too, in common with many others, long to stand outside it, but this cannot be. We belch forth the vapours of sin; we fall into it, rise up again, buffet and torment ourselves night and day; but, since we are confined in this flesh, since we have to bear about with us everywhere this stinking sack, we cannot rid ourselves completely of it, or even knock it senseless. We make vigorous attempts to do so, but the old Adam retains his power until he is deposited in the grave. The Kingdom of God is a foreign country, so foreign that even the saints must pray: ‘Almighty God, I acknowledge my sin unto thee. Reckon not unto me my guiltiness, O Lord.’ There is no sinless Christian. If thou chancest upon such a man, he is no Christian, but an anti-Christ. Sin stands in the midst of the Kingdom of Christ, and wherever the Kingdom is, there is sin; for Christ has set sin in the House of David.

(Ibid pp. 46,47).

Hence, at least Reformed theology is consistent in regard to Christians being under the law and also still under sin’s dominion. We must live by faith alone because we will supposedly stand in a future judgment that will determine righteousness by a perfect keeping of the law. And it’s true, those under the law will stand in such a judgment. But will we? The heart of the Reformation posited the idea that if we live by faith alone in sanctification, Christ will stand in the judgment for us.

But we know well what James thought of sanctification by faith alone.

paul

 

%d bloggers like this: