Paul's Passing Thoughts

This Week’s Sinner Saved by Grace Sinning and in the News: RC Sproul Jr.

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/This week’s Reformed leader who got caught is RC Sproul Jr. The scandals are now commonplace and beginning to lose their news worthiness. Commonness doesn’t excite; it’s uncommonness that gets people’s attention. This is why the Super Bowl only takes place once a year; it’s an uncommon event.

Sproul will be suspended for eleven months (without pay?) for…well…being who he is…a “sinner.” And if the Protestant leaders are dropping like flies, what’s going on among those they are leading? I can answer that. Lots of totally depraved stuff. Don’t let the resurgence of church discipline fool you. Church discipline, a concept NOT found in the Bible, is only for those who ask questions and do things that could involve the outside world in “family matters.”

You might want to understand the following: making RW Glenn, Mark Driscoll, Doug Phillips, Josh Duggar, Tullian Tchividjian, Bill Gothard, etc., resign from ministry for being who they are and being scandalous while preaching the “scandalous gospel” is not inconsistent if you really understand Protestant doctrine more than Protestants do. Their fall is merely a manifestation of God’s will. The Lord is “sovereign,” and the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Let me just boil everything down and make it real simple. Protestantism was founded on the idea that all of reality is a salvific metaphysical narrative written by God who created the narrative and all of the characters to complete himself. For the sake of his own glory and self-love which apparently was lacking, God wrote history as a metaphysical redemptive narrative. Stop right where you are now and consider: what you are presently experiencing is part of the prewritten narrative which is all about redemption. The story, and everything about it, brings glory to God.

Consequently, yes, God is supposedly the creator of evil, predetermines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, and well-being comes from rejoicing in what gives God glory for the sake of his self-love; whatever is in the narrative that he pre-wrote might even include your own damnation. Of course, this makes the most excellent piety an expression of hyper altruism. It is the practical application of John Calvin’s Worm theology.

So, since everything is predetermined for God’s glory, and God is glorified by damnation and salvation alike which are eternal, every verse in the Bible is about salvation, or what we call “justification.” In the final analysis, in accordance with the least common denominator, you MIGHT be saved in the end by living by faith alone in the gospel of sovereignty. To at least have a chance, you must enter the “race of faith” in which the reward is salvation. When you hear folks talk about “sovereign grace,” and the “sovereign gospel,” and the “gospel of sovereignty,” this is what it boils down to. When good Protestants say, “God is in control,” they are not kidding—God is in TOTAL control.

This is why institutional Christians have always lacked wisdom in regard to everyday wisdom and solving the more difficult questions of life (what we call sanctification), because every verse in the Bible is about justification, ie., “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.” As one pastor told me, “I am not going to be distracted from the gospel by counseling people.” Good Protestant pastors farm out counseling to the ACBC where the counseling is “gospel-centered.” And this counseling will give people peace; after all, there is nothing you can do about anything, so stop fighting what God has predetermined. Relax, be happy, everything is predetermined for God’s glory. Got tragedy? Praise the Lord for his glory. Rejoice and be happy for this is the day he has made.

Let’s apply this to what we see on the Christian hillsides littered with dead bodies. According to what I was told by Clearcreek Chapel elder Greg Cook some time ago, counseling guru Stuart Scott is no longer an elder at John MacArthur’s church because Scott’s children were sinners saved by grace acting like sinners. This is the crux: obedience, like every other reality, is determined and delivered by God, not us. So yes, we are in fact sinners, but anything that we do that is good is performed by God, not us. Couple this with what I have heard MacArthur say on the radio: (paraphrase) “Saved obedient children are God’s mark on a man confirming his calling to the ministry.”  See how this works?

Now let’s apply this to Sproul et al. Their punishment is not inconsistent with the idea that they are punished for being what they preach because their fallenness or unfallenness is determined by God. What they did is who they are, and God did not prevent what they did, but regardless, they deserve the punishment. Why? Because God is the potter and we are the clay, and all clay pots are made for his glory whether pots of wrath or pots of glory. Look, read Sproul’s statement about what he did and his suspension, this is written all over it if you know what to look for.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I can hear the screaming Protestant denials like alley cats in the night while in heat. But what they say reveals the foundations of their Protestant mindset: “It’s God’s will,” or “Lord willing,“ “I didn’t do it, it was the Holy Spirit,” “God is in control,” etc., etc., etc. These statements are NEVER qualified. What’s God’s will? Everything, or just certain categories? If we didn’t do it and the Holy Spirit did it, what do we do, if anything as opposed to what the Spirit does? If we drive somewhere to do a good work, does the Spirit drive the car, or do we drive the car? And if we drive the car, does that qualify as participation in the good work? To what extent is God in control? Not only that, an orientation towards solutions is hardly ever observed, but rather, “we will pray for you.” This is because solutions are irreverent in regard to what God has supposedly predetermined. Our prayers serve to display our “perplexity” as set against God’s omniscience which also gives him glory. Regardless of the circumstance, we don’t pray for a good ending, but for God’s glory, ie., whatever happens.

The hard determinism of Protestantism’s gospel of sovereignty is deluded over the years leaving behind anemic sanctification which causes people to look for a solution. This results in, “Eureka! Here is the problem: we have strayed away from our original gospel!” Hence, enter the New Calvinist movement.

Common sense tells us that this doctrine will lead to, at least, a relaxation of the law, or better stated, a relaxation of love (“If you love me, keep my commandments”), but there is no contradiction in these leaders paying consequences for living out the gospel that they preach…

…whether they obey/love or not is God’s doing which confirms God’s mantle upon them. If anyone loves, it is really God loving himself through the individual. As the Christian song states, “We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.” Wellbeing is defined as seeing yourself as a mere character in God’s prewritten metaphysical narrative and plying whatever predetermined role that gives him glory. If you believe that anything you do is your own choice, you are playing god and writing your own reality.

Now, apply this construct to Sproul’s post and see if it makes any sense. Will any of these guys return to ministry? Only the future reading of God’s narrative will tell…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

paul

Sigh: Let’s Try This Again; THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “LEGALISM”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2014

ppt-jpeg4Find the word, “legalism” in the Bible; not there. Find the concept; not there. Why? Because there is no such thing. Wrong application/interpretation of any kind is against the word of God. That’s only called one thing and one thing only: antinomianism. If that is too boring for you, Christ did call it one other thing: the traditions of men. Christ was very concerned with the traditions and teachings of men. Why? Because it produces ideas things like, “legalism.”

Legalism is a concept that supports the idea that Christians can unwittingly obey in a way that “builds fruits back into the instrument of justification” (John Piper). In other words, the idea is based on salvation of the justification sort being progressive instead of a finished work. Hence, how we obey in our Christian life becomes very tricky business. It also posits the following idea: thinking that we can please God through obedience is the root of all evil—it is the very fiber of our vile being to justify ourselves by law-keeping. However, such an attempt is impossible for a real Christian because they know that justification is a finished work that cannot be affected by anything we do.

So, as the theory goes, since it is impossible to obey the law, we look for “loopholes.” If we would just let go and let God, we wouldn’t sin as much because we know we can’t keep the law perfectly anyway. Notice that perfection in law-keeping is still the standard. What does that tell you? Right, the Christian is still, “under law” and that is a huge problem. “Under grace” does not mean that Jesus’ perfect obedience is imputed to us—it means that we now obey the “law of liberty” and are very able to do so. The legalism concept circumvents the law transaction that must be part of a true gospel. The law’s ability to condemn was ended by Christ; we now obey the law from the motive of love.

The Bible does address those under grace who have an unbiblically trained conscience that passes judgment on more mature Christians who have the liberty to partake in certain things. More mature Christians are not to persuade those who are convicted that the issue is sin, nor are they to practice the issue in front of the “weaker brother.” There is no “loophole” issue except in the legalism concept that is the traditions of men and that is what primarily concerned Christ.

No doubt, with the latest scandal concerning Bill Gothard, we must once again suffer a flurry of this nonsense, and worse yet, people are bringing these articles to my attention for the express purpose of annoying me.

I know not if Gothard is a Christian, but the Bible if VERY clear why people fall into this kind of sin; they obey sinful passions. Under law is synonymous with being enslaved to sinful passions, provoked by the law, and ultimately judged by the law, albeit free to do good (Romans 6:20). Under grace is synonymous with being enslaved to righteousness, provoked to do good by the law, and released from the condemnation of the law, albeit free to do evil. No unbeliever sins perfectly, and no believer obeys perfectly. It’s a direction dictated by an exchange of slavery and two different relationships to the law.

Hence, people love to annoy me with the following:

This is surely part of what Paul meant when he said, “The letter (the Law, the old covenant) kills, but the Spirit gives life.” The Law kills because it focuses (or it tends to be applied so as to focus) on external behaviors: how high is high, how good is good, how shiny is shiny.

But the Spirit, which changes us from the inside out, gives life.

No, this is “surely” NOT what Paul was talking about. The law is only death to those born “under the law” who we pray will be transformed and brought under the “law of liberty,” or the “law of the Spirit.” The law is the “law of sin and death” to unbelievers, not believers. The only man born into the world that was not under the curse of the law was Christ because He is able to be judged by it without condemnation. Yet, He bore its curse on the cross so that He could put an end to the law of sin and death for believers. This frees them to zealously pursue the law of liberty in order to please God without fear. Same law; different relationship.

Furthermore, the Spirit does NOT change us from the “inside out.” That’s a bunch of stinking boloney. Christians are called on to change behavior and thinking both. It’s not from the inside out only—IT’S BOTH. Sometimes obedience brings internal blessings (Phil 4:9), and sometimes a change of thinking results in different behavior—it’s both, not either/or.

End rant.

paul

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