Paul's Passing Thoughts

We Forgive the Way Our Father Forgives Who Doesn’t Want to Condemn Anyone

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

project-2016-logo-4God doesn’t choose His enemies, he seeks to be reconciled to them.”

We have a severe identity crisis among professing Christians. Who are we and what is our specific relationship to the Father? However, there is one thing we do know that explains why we know little: the Protestant waters we swim in culturally have always been about keeping ourselves saved—not living out our true heritage.

This is why Christians live by illogical truisms. If you pay close attention, discussion and sermons will often be little more than adages strung together to make sentences. The problem with that follows: this will not bring about the righteousness that God desires. The purpose of Christ’s assembly is to create a mature body that impacts the world.

The topic of forgiveness is by no means excluded from the institutional church’s incessant pooling of ignorance leading to decadence of every sort. While stating that we should forgive others “the way we have been forgiven,” something totally different is prescribed. Per the usual with other orthodoxy as well, selected Scripture verses make the case with contradictory verses being the elephants in the room. Moreover, contradictions are trumped by the assumed authority of Protestant academics. How dare thee bring up contradictions and thereby touch God’s anointed? Thou should know that your lack of understanding only makes these deep truths appear to be contradictions!

Here is the normally accepted orthodoxy: he who is without sin throw the first stone; so, if one doesn’t forgive others unconditionally, even without repentance, we are judging ourselves sinless and qualified to judge others. Forgiveness in the church must be the norm and without any conditions. When pressed with biblical contradictions, some will make a defense for “vertical and horizontal forgiveness.” The first being a “forgiveness in the heart,” and the second being “practical forgiveness” IF one repents. The latter is nice when it happens, sort of the icing on the cake, but the former is required lest God not forgive us of our own sin. Again, you can add this to a long list of things that Protestants do to keep themselves saved, ie., forgive under all circumstances or God will not forgive you of “present sin.” This is therefore added to the Protestant Means of Grace which is salvation on the installment plan. This is why this ministry receives vitriolic pushback on this subject, we are spearing one of the sacred Means of Grace.

Presumably, this idea of heart forgiveness comes from Matthew 18:35, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” The problem with this view is the context of Matthew 18 which makes this particular heart forgiveness contingent on repentance. If the offender repents, “you have gained a brother,” ONLY then are we obligated to extend forgiveness and forgive “your brother”… “from your heart.”

Additionally, according to orthodoxy, we forgive others unconditionally because if we don’t, our anger towards the person will turn to bitterness and result in self-destruction. Hence, another popular Protestant adage is, “We don’t forgive others for them, we forgive others for ourselves.” But what is the real framework for forgiveness according to the Bible? If we don’t forgive the other person because they refuse to repent, where do we go from there?

Answer A: We forgive the way God forgives, and it’s contingent upon repentance.

Answer B: If they don’t repent, we do what God does; we seek their repentance for their sake…and ours. We seek to “gain a brother.”

This is exactly what God does. Much could be discussed here about one’s view of God, but let it be said that blank check forgiveness comes from a certain view of God, namely, that it is not God’s will or desire that all people be saved. God does good to His enemies because He wants them to know that it is NOT His desire that they perish. His constant show of goodness towards mankind as set against judgment leads them to repentance. When a professing believer sins against another Christian and refuses to repent, they show themselves as unbelievers. They are now your enemy, and God’s enemy as well. Now listen, this is all based on objective facts, not orthodox opinion.

Herein, we are like God: we now seek the repentance of our enemies. We seek their reconciliation: “be reconciled to God.” This is what God does, and we are to be like Him in the world. God doesn’t choose His enemies, he seeks to be reconciled to them.

Let me pause here and make the case. Romans chapter one clarifies God’s pending wrath against all who defy righteousness. However, let’s also clarify the context of Romans chapters one and two. The mystery of the gospel, as defined by the New Testament, is the joining together of Jews and Gentiles into one body. Jewish attitudes and traditions were mucking that up. The Jews, as God’s chosen people, refused to forgive Gentiles, considered them to be their enemies and the enemies of God as well, and therefore promoted revenge against the Gentiles whenever possible. Jewish tradition promoted “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” The Jewish sages interpreted “neighbor” as someone in good standing with the Jewish community (Luke 10: 25-37). This made the Jews little better than violent sects often found in Islam. But, “God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:11).

As we will see, much of this hinges on God’s desire to see ALL people saved, and we should have this desire as well (see the historical account of Jonah). True biblical forgiveness hinges on the idea that God doesn’t predestine people for condemnation. This also answers the question of unresolved anger. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the subjects of the kingdom of darkness that hell was prepared for. While we may be angry at those who have sinned against us, do we really want to see them suffer in hell for eternity because of what they did to us? In most cases NO, but in fact, they will if they don’t repent. This is not to say that they would go to hell simply for offenses against us, but a lifestyle of unrepentant sin is in view here. Therefore, it is our goal to “gain a brother.” The energy produced by righteous indignation is to be used in “gaining a brother.” This means we “overcome evil with good.” This is what God does, and this is what leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4). God makes it rain and shine upon the just as well as the unjust, and we are to do the same in a manner of speaking. We hold them accountable because unrepentance puts their soul in peril, but we also treat them as we would want to be treated in that situation; we would want to be reminded that we are under judgment by God who does not wish to condemn us. Because God is love, we should be love.

In the final analysis, be angry and don’t sin. Revenge belongs to God, but He desires reconciliation over judgment. All in all, we should only have two kinds of people in our lives: brothers and those we are trying to gain as brothers. Some are our enemies, most aren’t. BUT, we gain them through repentance which comes through showing God’s desire for mercy. Therefore, we do good to them, we pray for them, we bless them, but true fellowship with the Father and the Son that we enjoy only comes through reconciliation and fruits that show repentance accordingly. Those who have truly repented will want to compensate IF possible, and those who have committed crimes against us will be willing to suffer the consequences. I vaguely remember the last words of a condemned criminal before the victim’s family who reportedly became a Christian while on death row. He said he hoped his execution and the fulfilled justice thereof would give the family some relief and closure to what he had done to them. In my book, that is indicative of true repentance.

Putting feet on forgiveness towards those who have repented is fairly simple, and again, the way God forgives. It is a promise to not bring the sin up to former offenders for purposes of condemnation. Likewise, this includes others, and ourselves. Like God, we “will remember their sin no more.” By practicing this, the initial decision to forgive based on repentance/reconciliation is solidified deeply in the heart. This is the true forgiveness in the heart.

Christians have a difficult time understanding true biblical forgiveness because the debate still rages about who God is and what He wants. If man is totally depraved and unable to respond to God’s call to sinners, moral equivalency demands blank check forgiveness. Who are we not to forgive? The only apparent reason that we are forgiven is because God chose us, and also chose His enemies. Who are we not to forgive others whether they repent or not? Whether they repent or not is God’s choice, not ours. After all, it’s God’s choice to have enemies.

But that’s not God. He desires mercy and not sacrifice. Therefore, worship by those who have circumvented reconciliation is a stench before God. In this case, those who chain the temple doors are commended by him.

And this may apply to those who demand forgiveness without reconciliation as well. Remember, by no means can the idea of reconciliation be divorced from repentance, and we dare not offer at the alter without it.

paul

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 16, 2015

project-2016-logo-4However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?”

In part one, we examined presuppositions regarding mankind that makes justice irrelevant. In essence, only God has a right to demand justice because He is the only one that’s good. We also looked at the resulting illogical idea that anger over sin will destroy a person, while guilt is posited as a healthy emotion leading to “humbleness.” No surprise then that a popular adage in the church is…“We don’t forgive for the sake of the offender, we forgive for ourselves.” Supposedly, if we don’t extend forgiveness, anger, leading to “bitterness,” will destroy us. Forgiving isn’t for the other person, it’s for you, as if the other person’s guilt will not harm them. And supposedly, a decision to “forgive” will vanquish anger and prevent bitterness.

This circumvents a very important biblical principle; specifically, the solidifying of heart decisions through action. If someone repents and seeks reconciliation, you can put feet on that by fellowshiping with them. We also experience this principle in real life; many find that they have come to enjoy a task that they previously disliked by doing it. Blank check forgiveness rarely offers a sane or practical way to apply the heart decision to forgive someone. For the most part, blank check forgiveness calls for one to merely emote, and data reveals the fact that it simply doesn’t work. People badgered into blank check forgiveness eventually end up as broken, miserable people deprived of all relief. Isolated and alone, they feel like the world is indifferent to their suffering, and frankly, in a world without justice, that is true. Victims of violent crime gain some relief from seeing others angered by what happened to them. In the most severe cases, justice and time will supply enough relief to make life tolerable while reconciliation added to that can bring about total healing in most cases. A basic love for life, and self, also adds to potential healing. The Bible also recommends that one seeks out whatever goodness is left in the world as opposed to defining one’s life by a tragedy that happened to them. Purpose also comes into play: the Bible states that they can help others who have experienced the same tragedy. However, to primarily seek relief in only one of these options will limit the healing.

The Bible actually commands that we be angry about sin and advocate justice. The apostle Paul said, “Be angry and sin not.” The Bible instructs us on how to deal with anger. We are to always leave revenge (justice) to God and His ordained authorities. Nothing resolves anger like the repentance of the violator who seeks reconciliation and compensation if possible. If the violator is unrepentant, punishment, or justice, gives some relief. And of course, we know that God will settle all accounts in the end. But at any rate, the Bible never says that we will be destroyed by anger. The emotion of anger and its energy can be funneled into useful purposes while the Bible is clear as to what guilt will do to people (Judas Iscariot et al).

Also in part one we looked at conscience. This is a judge that either excuses or accuses through guilt. A guilty conscience can be a very powerful and vexing judge. However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?

And the proof is in the pudding. Consider an article written by Boz Tchividjian.1 In the article written for Religious News Service,2 Tchividjian bemoans a reality in the institutional church that he calls, “Mob forgiveness” and “selective grace.” This reality is absolutely commonplace in the institutional church and is the obvious result of blank check forgiveness. If the victim doesn’t agree to forgive the perpetrator regardless of any circumstance, he who doesn’t show grace should not receive grace.

We need to revisit this reality in more detail in part 3.

paul

1“Boz” is a former child abuse chief prosecutor and is the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). Boz is also a Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and is a published author who speaks and writes extensively on issues related to abuse within the faith community. Boz is the 3rd-eldest grandchild of the Rev. Billy Graham. He is a graduate of Stetson University and Cumberland School of Law (Samford University).

2 Boz Tchividjian: An Unholy Alliance: When Mob Forgiveness Meets Selective Grace; Religion News .com, 12/11/2015 | http://boz.religionnews.com/2015/12/11/an-unholy-alliance-when-mob-forgiveness-meets-selective-grace/

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 14, 2015

project-2016-logo-4With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to ‘bitterness,’ and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?”

When it gets right down to it, collectivism is a metaphysical pipe dream. The idea that a select few can rule over the masses for the sake of the masses is always a house of cards waiting to fall when too many people get the same idea. God created us as free individuals, and ultimately, majority rules if it wants to; it’s a matter of numbers and the reality that a government is made up of people and you can’t have a government if the government kills everyone. It’s self defeating, so in the final analysis, collectivists must depend on propaganda and misinformation to get cooperation.

So what holds the whole thing together? If man, in reality, self-governs, what prevents total chaos? Here is the answer: man is basically good. Man is also capable. The Bible makes this absolutely clear (Romans 2:14,15). Every person born into the world is created by God with His law written on their hearts. They are also born with a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them. This is why lie detectors work: when the conscience indicts someone, the body reacts physiologically. The conscience is a judge that sees your inner self hidden away from others and punishes you with guilty feelings and fear. Guilt can utterly destroy a person and often does. Many psychologists attribute at least 90% of all mental illness to a guilty conscience. In contrast, people feel good about themselves when they behave honorably. There is no question that much mental illness comes from physiological imbalance, but the question remains as to which comes first: bad choices or the fallout from the choices?

How does Christian carte blanche forgiveness circumvent this whole natural process and create a perfect environment in the church for evil to ply its trade? Answer: carte blanche forgiveness is a symptom of the church’s contra-reality view of man; he is basically evil and unable. This concept of forgiveness flows from false presuppositions concerning mankind. But, as we shall see, the “unable” aspect is just as important to understand as the basically evil element. In the balance is also a proper perspective on justice.

Let’s make an initial point lest we forget. With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to “bitterness,” and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?

The starting point to answering these questions, once again, starts with presuppositions concerning mankind. Blank check forgiveness flows from these presuppositions; therefore, proponents will defend the talking points no matter how illogical. Do people often drive you completely nuts with their illogical arguments? It’s because their arguments flow from certain presuppositions. And, that logic also drives their mentality and behavior.

The first proposition is that man is basically evil, and therefore, has no rightful claim to fair treatment. Justice is strictly vertical, or from God’s perspective only because He is the only good. Hence, God is the only one who deserves justice. All sin is against God only as it is ridiculous for thieves who steal from each other to call each other thieves with a clamoring for justice; horizontal justice becomes a ridiculous notion. Of course, no one would verbalize that outright, but this logic manifests itself in indifference towards sin and justice.

But this ideology, which sprang forth from the Protestant Reformation, does not stop with the idea that people are partially evil and partially good. And before we move on, it must also be said that this ideology was hardly unique to the Reformation; the Reformers borrowed it from run of the mill ancient philosophy and put their own biblical spin on it. This is where the ancient philosophy of total inability comes into play. The standard for creating a strict dichotomy between man and ability varies greatly in the ancient philosophies, but our focus here examines how the Reformers used the law of God to create that dichotomy; one infraction renders man totally unable. Man is a pure sinner because he is not perfect. If man is not perfect—all bets are off. There is but one reality: 100% perfection, or 100% evil. And, this is key: salvation is defined by merely knowing this. The idea that any man can do any good is the paramount false gospel according to the Protestant Reformation.

So, you say you want justice because someone wronged you? Well… “He who has no sin throw the first stone.” In this typical twisting of Scripture to support a false premise, the “stone” represents justice. And since we all have sin which proves that we are purely evil and unable to do good, the stone of justice needs to be left on the ground lest we be hypocrites and destroyed by a longing for justice that will lead to the dreaded “bitterness.” Again, concern over the destructive emotion of guilt can hardly be found anywhere. Why? Because that emotion is actually deemed healthy because we are all guilty all of the time. Anger over sin leads to “bitterness.” A recognition of our guilt leads to “humbleness.” In fact, counsel that we hear often from the Protestant elite prescribes a return to the gospel as a medicine for guilt, not repentance towards those whom we have wronged. As far as remedy for the unrepentant that have wronged us, the prescription is the SAME via, “Forgive others the same way you have been forgiven.” The immediate illogical contradiction that comes to mind is the fact that God’s forgiveness is contingent on repentance.

In the next part, we will further examine these illogical presuppositions and how it creates a perfect environment for evil to ply its trade. The unthinkable is the realty: presuppositions concerning mankind either foster or restrain evil. The ideology determines whether or not evil has a healthy environment for breeding. In reality, is the unhealthy environment inside, or outside of church?

paul

Christians Should Know What Forgiveness Is, But…

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 23, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Here we go again: after every tragedy like the Paris massacre, an even worst tragedy follows: Christians start talking. Like everything else in life, Christians have no answers and the world would be better off if they would just keep their mouths shut. And it would help if Christians knew the gospel and stopped attending the ULC, or “Church Under Law.” This doesn’t lead to the dreaded “legalism,” but really bad behavior of every sort. In reality, under grace honors the law through love. In the former, Jesus keeps the law for us, and from the world’s standpoint, He’s not dong a very good job. And after all, if He kept the law for us perfectly, we wouldn’t know that we are sinners, right?

And then there are Jesus’ rulers on earth who think for us. Irregardless of how illogical or antithetical to the Bible, we must not “touch God’s anointed.” We must not criticize, “The Man of God.” Gag, gag, gag. Jim Jones weeps from the grave that he doesn’t live in our day.

So, here we go again…“If we don’t let go of our anger, if we don’t forgive the way we have been forgiven, we are in bondage to ‘bitterness.’” Yes, yes, “if we don’t forgive, we will be the ones that are destroyed.” I even heard something this week like, in essence, “Ok you rapist, you got my virginity that I was saving for that one special man, but you are not going to get my hatred.”

Um, really? Actually, the reason I am so passionate about this is because our ministry is contacted from time to time by people who have been trying to make this work for like, twenty years. And, they think it’s not working because something is wrong with them. They think they are not saved because they “can’t forgive others the way they have been forgiven.” And you know, “If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you.” So, in addition to the tragedy that took place in their lives, they also doubt they are saved because they are not “experiencing the joy of the gospel.” Basically, like the vast majority of evangelicals, they are in bondage to bad theology and the under-law false gospel of the institutional church.

I have written many, many articles on this issue with “that-there highfalutin deep thee-ology that Christians use to sheeeew how learned they are.” Oh, my, we can’t have no learnin’ in Christianity, and trust me, we don’t, so let me try another approach. Yes, let’s have, instead, an agreement. Let’s agree that logic is not relevant here. Let’s agree that regardless of what the Bible seems to plainly say, the only thing that matters is what the “Men of God” say.

So first, I will use a really, really basic biblical principle to make my point, and then we can agree that it doesn’t matter. Fair enough? Isn’t agreement wonderful? Here it is: true biblical forgiveness is also fellowship. If you have really forgiven someone, you fellowship with them. You see, that’s why we have fellowship with God, because He has forgiven us. Soooo, if we forgive others “the way we are forgiven,” we have fellowship with those whom we have forgiven. You absolutely CANNOT separate true forgiveness and fellowship.

See the problem here? Not that it is the only, um, sorry, theological problem, but it is one. Here is another one: if we forgive everyone, we wouldn’t have any enemies. So, what I am saying is this: there is a difference between granting forgiveness and loving our enemies, and it has to do primarily with the revenge issue.

Now, I understand this is why I am enjoying all of the “forgiveness” that I am presently experiencing from the Christian community for challenging their “Men of God,” you know, “God’s anointed” even-though the emails seem to be a little hateful.

But it’s ok, run along now to your pastor and he will tell why this biblical commonsense is all wrong, and you will be spared the agony of thinking for yourself. And don’t worry, you will not be held accountable for aiding and abetting the bondage of others, you will only be judged on how well you obey those who “have the rule over you.”

That’s what the Bible plainly says, right?

paul

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