Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Response to Calvary Bible Church, Columbus, Ohio

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 6, 2017

What follows is my response to a letter I received on September 1, 2017.  The original letter can be found here.  The subject matter pertains to a Reformation history class being offered this fall by Mr. Saxton.  My response is going out in the mail today.  I present it here for your consideration.

~ Andy
(related article: “Home Fellowship Distinctives Will Continue to Develop“)


David Saxton “Pastor of Discipleship and Counseling” These guys are big on titles, aren’t they?

David Saxton
Calvary Bible Church
3865 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214

Mr. Saxton:

Thank you for your timely correspondence dated August 28, 2017, inquiring as to the health and welfare of my family and myself. After all, it has been since June 26, 2011 since last we darkened the doorstep as official “members” of Calvary Bible Church, which to my count is approximately 6 years and 2 months. So glad you finally found the time in your busy schedule. Quite frankly, the letter you sent me last week was possibly the most entertaining thing I had to read that day.

I had also previously received your voicemail message when you called a few days prior to my receipt of your letter. I simply chose not to respond to it. Had you been wise and discerning you would have taken that as a cue and left well enough alone. Instead, you unwisely chose to exercise your over-inflated sense of self-appointed “authority” which you perceive you have over me and composed the afore-mentioned letter.

Since you have chosen to reach out to me in this manner, I believe I am well within my right to offer a rebuttal to the salient points in your letter.

For starters, I never had, nor will I ever have, any desire to attend any “class” taught by you or any pastor/elder/bishop/apostle/shepherd-leader/pope (or whatever self-appointed “authoritative” title you choose for yourselves) of Calvary Bible Church regardless of the subject matter. The class on the Reformation appeared in the news feed of a mutual Facebook friend, and it piqued my own personal curiosity about all things having to do with the Reformation. Thinking that it would provide me with more details on the contents of the class, I entered my email address. I had no intention whatsoever of ever registering.

You stated in your letter the following:

“I am sorry to inform you, but I am unable to register you for the Reformation Institute class at this time. This is because of your unwillingness to follow the spiritual leadership of Calvary Bible Church and to submit to their biblical rebuke of your divisive behavior among the saints. (Hebrews 13:17; and Ephesians 4:1-6)”

Well, take heart, Mr. Saxton. No need to feel sorry, as I already mentioned I had no intention of registering in the first place. However, your expression of regret is disingenuous at best. I highly doubt that you are sorry in the least. More than likely you were giddy with delight at the prospect of invoking your power of exclusion. For what it’s worth, had I even had serious consideration in registering for this class, your response is exactly as I would have predicted it would be.

From your statement above it would seem apparent to any casual reader that the acceptance of one’s registration for said class is predicated on agreement with the leadership of CBC. But I am curious; if you are charging $50 to attend this class, would this not simply be a mutual exchange of value? After all, $50 is $50, regardless if the parties share the same philosophical ideologies or not. I’m sure that if a stranger came into CBC on a given Sunday morning and put $50 in the offering plate you would accept it readily. I’m sure it would go right into the building fund for the new elementary school building at Northside Christian School. I seriously doubt that you would first give this person the third degree about his doctrinal position and then refuse his $50 if he were found in disagreement.

You speak of a “divisive behavior”. Know this, that the division begins and ends with you and the leadership of CBC. Refusing to let someone attend a class on Reformation history because he does not agree with you is the very definition of divisiveness. If you truly believed that your ideas are so correct, that you have the best argument for why you believe what you believe, then those ideas should be able to withstand scrutiny.

Why do you fear having your ideas challenged?

Answer: Because none of your arguments are based on reason.

You stated in your very own course syllabus in section 3 entitled “Reformation Church History Class Format”, letter “c”, that there will be “Open lectures – I encourage your input, comments, and questions,” but this is an outright lie. It would have been better for you to be honest and say that you encourage discussion that only agrees with you. In truth, you fear rational discussion because it represents a direct threat to your self-proclaimed “authority” any time someone disagrees with you. And rather than refute the argument, you resort to attacking your challenger, attempting to marginalize him by using terms such as “proud”, “arrogant”, and “divisive”.

I say “self-proclaimed” authority because that is exactly what it is. Jesus stated in Matthew 28:28 that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This was one of the last things Jesus stated before He ascended into heaven. Nowhere did He outsource that authority to anyone else. We are to follow another’s example only as that person follows Christ, NOT because he has some notion of “authority” over us.

In citing Hebrews 13:17 you have made an egregious interpretive assumption. The word that is translated “obey” is the Greek word πειθω (peitho), and it means to be persuaded through reason. Had the writer of Hebrews meant to say “obey” one would think he would have used the word υπακουω (hupakuo) which speaks of following the instructions of one in authority, such as when the disciples marveled that even the wind and seas obeyed (hupakuo) Jesus.

That you make such an error as this should come as no surprise, for “authority”, particularly the authority in institutional religious establishments, speaks to power and control through coercion and force. For where there is authority, reason is not necessary. When the apostle Paul journeyed from city to city and from synagogue to synagogue he did not preach, “I am right, and you must obey me because I have authority from God.” Time after time the Bible says that Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures. His scriptural arguments were valid only insofar as they were reasonable, meaning, they flowed from a rational premise to a logical conclusion.

Not everyone took Paul’s arguments at face value. Many took it upon themselves to search out the scriptures for themselves to verify that Paul’s arguments were valid. In fact, such people were called “noble” for doing so. They weren’t labeled “arrogant”, “proud”, or “unsubmissive.”

I am still trying to wrap my head around your citation of Ephesians 4:1-6. Perhaps you could have provided some context. Perhaps it has something to do with your flawed concept of “unity”. Make no mistake; your concept of “unity” is defined as being in agreement with the leadership of CBC. Period. It is disingenuous at best for you to try to suggest anything otherwise. Regardless of what you say or what you preach from the pulpit on any given Sunday, your actions betray you. The letter you sent me last week is evidence enough. If there is one thing I have learned over the past 6 years, it is that all actions are driven by assumptions (a beginning premise or set of premises).

I will say this without apology or equivocation: Protestantism is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind since the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Protestantism is even a worse fraud than Catholicism because at least Catholics know what they believe and are honest about it. What makes Protestantism truly evil in its deception is the fact that so many Protestants are ignorant about what they believe and what the Reformation was truly about.

Despite all the pontificating about the evils of the selling of indulgences and the perceived over-reaching of the authority of the Pope (there is no end to the irony in that statement), the Reformation was about one thing and one thing only; a desire to return the Roman Catholic Church to the authentic Augustinian orthodoxy from which it had drifted as a result of St. Thomas Aquinas and his rediscovery of Aristotalian philosophy.

There is no other argument. You can sit there and preach to me about submitting to authority, but it only betrays your own duplicity, for if you were indeed truly serious about submitting to authority, you would this very instant crawl on your hands and knees to Pope Francis himself and repent and plead for forgiveness for not submitting to his authority. You cannot have it both ways. The same claim that the Roman Catholic Church uses for authority is the very same one you seek to use. So why do you not submit to Rome? What makes you think that your own personal monopoly on truth is “orthodox”?

Protestantism is a fraud because it plays upon the presumption of the unsuspecting laity by allowing them to assume the normative definition of words while gradually indoctrinating them to a redefinition of terms. Probably the best example of this is the definition of “justification by faith alone.” One is allowed to assume that “faith alone” pertains to one’s justification only, but this is not the case. Reformation Protestantism takes “faith alone” to pertain to sanctification as well.

Luther and Calvin were both clear about this; that one perseveres in salvation by continually returning to the same gospel that saved them in the first place, and this too is accomplished by “faith alone”. This is the assumption behind such catch-phrases as “preach the gospel to yourself every day,” and “the same gospel that saves you sanctifies you.” Incidentally, these were phrases I heard with regularity at CBC once Eric Sipe became pastor.

Such orthodoxy makes Protestantism no different from Catholicism. Both believe in a justification that is progressive. Both believe that salvation must be maintained throughout the life of the believer. The only difference is the means whereby such maintenance is accomplished. Catholics believe salvation is maintained through the sacraments. Protestants believe salvation is maintained by “faith alone.”

Protestantism is a fraud because its orthodoxy results in only one final judgment that determines the truly “elect” from the “non-elect.” In this case, only those who have persevered to the end by “faith alone” will find themselves “covered in Jesus’ righteousness” and thereby spared the wrath of God. This is erroneous on many levels.

First of all, believers will stand before no such judgment. The only judgment for believers will be for rewards at the Bema, NOT to determine salvation. It is only after the second resurrection that unbelievers only will find themselves before the Great White Throne and judged according to their works and subsequently cast into the Lake of Fire.

Secondly, believers are not “covered” in the righteousness of Christ. Salvation is not a “covering” of sin. It is an ending of sin. Believers need no covering because they are truly righteous as a state of being. Their righteousness is a product of the New Birth, not by some vicarious imputation of the righteousness of Jesus to them.

This brings me to the third reason, and it is yet one more evidence of why Protestantism is a fraud; its misunderstanding of the Law. This is Protestantism’s Achilles Heel. Protestantism believes in a righteousness that is the product of perfect law-keeping, or as they like to say, “the righteous demands of the Law.” According to Protestant orthodoxy, since no man can keep the Law perfectly, Jesus must keep it for us, so that his perfect righteousness can be imputed to our account. So long as one is living by “faith alone” and not depending on any of his own works, Jesus’ righteousness is continually applied to them. But there is one HUGE problem with this.

Righteousness is APART FROM the Law!

It does not matter if Jesus has to keep the Law for us, because if that is true, then that is making Law the standard for righteousness in direct contradiction to Romans 3:21 and 3:28 which plainly state that righteousness is apart from the Law. Protestants are keen on saying that justification is a “forensic” or legal declaration of righteousness. How can it be a legal declaration if righteousness is apart from the Law?

This is compounding error with error.

The standard for righteousness is the New Birth! The one who believes in Jesus Christ and accepts God’s free gift of eternal life has passed from death unto life. The old man dies, and in his place is reborn a new creature who is the literal offspring of the Father. Jesus is righteous, not because He kept the Law perfectly, but because He is the Son of God. The one who is born again is righteous because he is God’s child and has God’s righteousness; he is truly righteous as a state of being just as Christ is righteous.

This is why the apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:9,

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

The Bible speaks of two kinds of people; those who are “under law” and those who are “under grace.” To be “under law” means to be under the jurisdiction of the law and therefore subject to condemnation. Therefore, to “commit sin” has to do with being under condemnation. But because the believer is born again, he is no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1), therefore he cannot sin. Since there is no law to condemn him (he is not under law) he cannot sin. Where there is no law there is no sin.

What should be abundantly clear in scripture is that the Law was never intended to be a means of righteousness, yet Protestantism seeks to make that same Law the standard for righteousness. For the one who is under law, the Law can only condemn. But for the born again believer, the Law is a means to show love to God and others. The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. Jesus said that if you love Him, then keep His commandments. The Apostle Paul wrote that love is the fulfilling of the Law. All the Law is fulfilled in one statement; “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Born again believers do not sin because they are not under law and cannot be condemned. At worst, for the believer any failure to keep the Law is nothing more than a failure to show love, but it does not condemn!

Yet Protestantism’s misunderstanding of the Law seeks to circumvent love. Protestantism says any good works you do is an attempt to merit righteousness. Protestantism says if you try to keep the Law you are not living by “faith alone.” Protestantism takes away the very means that God made for man to show love to Him and others and makes it nothing more than a subjective experience. The result is a constant introspection where the would-be believer finds himself in a constant state of wondering whether or not he is living enough by “faith alone” at any given moment. Rather than aggressively trying to show love to God and others, his life is characterized by fear!

Is it any wonder then that so many “Christians” (especially teens) lack assurance of salvation?

Is it any wonder then why so many churches are perceived as cold and loveless?

Like I stated before, assumptions drive behavior. The assumption is that any attempt by the believer to obey the Law will result in condemnation. The only thing that condemnation produces is fear, the exact opposite of love.

This is the very thing of which Jesus accused the Pharisees and other religious leaders of His day. The popular belief is that the Pharisees were “legalists”. On the contrary, they too believed that perfect law-keeping was necessary for righteousness, but such a perfect law-keeping was only attained by adherence to some form of orthodoxy or “traditions.”

In this way, Protestantism is no different from Pharisee-ism; it is a righteousness by perfect law-keeping or a law-keeping attained through orthodoxy. It is a misunderstanding of the Law that results in the true purpose of the Law being supplanted. This is the true definition of “anti-nomianism”, or the Greek word ανομια (anomia – no law, lawlessness).   Jesus said that because of “anomia”, the love of many would wax cold. Well of course it would. When you tell people they shouldn’t try to keep the Law you take away the only means they have of showing love.

This is the fraud into which you have bought wholesale. As one who claims that he is a preacher of the Word of God, this is the grand lie that you are perpetrating on your unsuspecting pew-sitters. The Bible has much to say about such perpetrators of such evil, for that is exactly what Protestantism is; it is an evil assumption, and its outcome is always the same. It is an ideology that has always produced a culture of death and destruction. Those who peddle it are called ravenous wolves who have no regard for the sheep; those who serve their own belly by deceiving the unlearned with good words and fair speeches; clouds without water carried about by the wind; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. I dare say that you just might find yourself numbered among those who will have the audacity to cry, “Lord, Lord”, only to hear Jesus say to you, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work anomia!”

In your letter you spoke of a desire on your part to seek reconciliation; reconciliation in this case meaning submitting to your authority. Well, that’s not going to happen. You have no authority over me or anyone else for that matter. You have no God-given right to rule. You have no special dispensation of enlightenment that entitles you to such a position. It is not your “gift” to bring light to the great unwashed masses among your congregation. All you have is a laundry list of useless academic credentials; a certificate hanging on a wall in your office; a certificate which you purchased with a great sum but that has no real meaning in the grand scheme of things.

It is unfortunate for you that your whole identity and reason for existence is dependent upon people submitting to you, because should the members and adherents at CBC ever come to the realization that the leadership has no control over their salvation, they will walk away in a heartbeat, and there goes your way of life. You are not even qualified to utter the phrase, “Would you like fries with that?”

You want to be reconciled to me? I quite honestly can’t think of any reason why I would want that. You are part of a system, an institution, a philosophical ideology that perpetrates evil against man and preaches a false gospel. Why would I ever want to be reconciled with that? Perhaps if you were genuinely repentant about your own behavior towards me and sought my forgiveness I might be inclined to give it. But I’m not holding my breath.

Sincerely,

Andrew Young
Born Again Child of God

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“Trusting Jesus” In 2017 For Your Daily Re-Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 2, 2017

The institutional church has very little to offer people in the way of hope and assurance. Its orthodoxy takes away a believer’s means of showing love to God and others – obedience to the law. By making perfect law-keeping the standard for righteousness, its single perspective on law keeps believers “under law” and in a constant state of fear due to condemnation. But the Bible says that there is no fear in love because perfect (mature) love casts out fear.

We have before us today yet one more example of the orthodoxy of authentic Protestantism to consider. This example happens to come from my former church, Calvary Bible Church in Columbus, OH. One of the current members snapped this image of a power point slide presented during this past Sunday’s sermon.

calvary-fodder-hebrew-12-application

This slide comes at the “application” part at the end of a sermon which used Hebrews 12:1-2 as a text.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Here are the four points of application for consideration:

  1. Trusting Jesus keeps us from looking to self
  2. Trusting Jesus requires trust in all He is for us
  3. Trusting Jesus is needed most when others hurt us
  4. Trusting Jesus is key to not growing weary or losing heart in life

Before I even get into addressing the points of application, a brief exegesis and word study of the passage is required.

It is important to understand that the chapter divisions in our Bibles are not there in the original texts. They were added much later as a means to aid in finding certain passages. The unfortunate result is that sometimes the chapter divisions have a tendency to break up the context. Chapter 12 of Hebrews is the concluding application of chapter 11, sometimes known as the “Hall of Faith”. The “cloud of witnesses” mentioned in verse 1 is a reference to all the saints mentioned in chapter 11, some by name, some collectively.

I want to quickly call your attention to the verbs in verse 1. I have marked them in bold.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

This is a very poorly translated verse in both the King James and all modern English translations. While there are five verb forms in this verse, only one verb is part of the main clause and shows the action. It is the word “run”. In the Greek the word is τρεχω (trek-oh). We get our English word “trek” from this, referring to a course or trip or voyage in which we may engage.

While this verb is in the present tense, it is also in the subjunctive mood, which normally indicates a hypothetical possibility. But in this case, since we are not dealing with a conditional statement, this implies a command. It is used as a means of exhorting others to join in on a particular course of action. With this in mind, there is only one main clause in verse 1:

“wherefore, …let us engage in our course of life”

This is the reasonable conclusion the writer of Hebrews draws from the testimony of all the saints mentioned in chapter 11.

The other four verb forms are actually used as participles. A participle is a verb that is used as an adjective or adverb. In English, participles most often end in “ing”. A participle can either describe how an action is performed or it further describes the state of a noun or subject. Knowing then that the other verbs in verse 1 are participles, the verse would better read this way (notice the participles are emphasized in bold).

“Wherefore, we, having this vast cloud of witnesses encompassing us, and having put off every impediment – the sin nemesis – let us then through endurance engage in our course of life lying before us.”

Some things should be obvious in this verse. Foremost is the implication that WE are the ones running our race of life. The command is to US to engage the undertaking of our lives, and we are exhorted to do it with endurance. But also, the grammatical structure gives us the “why”. It is because:

  1. We have a group of spectators “watching” us. These are the faithful saints who have gone on before us who have given us an example of how WE are then expected to conduct our lives.
  1. We have the ABILITY to run this race of life with certainty because we have already laid off everything that would hinder us. It is not something we need to do continuously. The aorist (past) tense of the verb indicates it is something that we have already done. Because of our new birth the law is ended, the old man is dead, and sin no longer has any power over us. Sin can no longer restrict us from running as fast as we want to.

Verse 2 gives us further instruction as to “how” or “what” we should do as we run our life race. It begins with the phrase “looking unto Jesus”, but that does not indicate that we “trust Jesus” to run the race for us or even to help us run. The word in the Greek is αφοραω (ah-for-AH-oh). It literally means to perceive from a distance, but the implication means to consider attentively.

Another expression that needs to be examined is “the author and finisher of our faith”. First off, the word “our” is not found in the Greek text, neither is it implied. “Author” is the Greek word αρχηγον (arch-AY-gon), and it means “chief leader”. Jesus is not the “author” of faith as if He was the originator of it. Consider the context of the passage. In the great cloud of witnesses just mentioned in chapter 11, among all of those in that great “hall of faith”, Jesus is the Chief Leader of faith. This means that Jesus is included among all of the saints listed in chapter 11. The author of Hebrews is exhorting us to consider Jesus’ own example of faith.

Furthermore, a close look at the grammar of verse 2 reveals that the verse is not saying that our faith originates and ends with Jesus. Instead, these are two separate aspects of who Jesus is with regard to faith itself. The word translated “finisher” is the word τελειωτης (tel-ee-oh-TACE). It comes from the word “teleos” which means “maturity” or “completeness”. Jesus is the one who made “faith” complete.

If you consider that the audience of Hebrews is Jews, this aspect of Jesus completing faith takes on considerable significance. Remember that God made the promise of a “seed” to Abraham. The apostle Paul also wrote in Galatians about the law being a guardian until “faith” came. With this in mind it is fairly easy to see that Jesus was the promised “seed” and the “faith” that came to end the law. I believe this is the reference the writer of Hebrews is making when he says that Jesus is the “completer” of faith, because Jesus was the promised seed of Abraham, the “faith” that came to end the law and make the new birth possible.

So in verse two, as we run our life race, we are to give attentive consideration to the Chief Faith Leader; the Faith Completer; Jesus! Not only is “faith” completed because Jesus is that promised seed, but we are to consider His example of faith. The rest of the verse cites Jesus’ own example of faith.

“…giving attentive consideration to the Chief Leader and Completer of faith – Jesus – who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So now that we understand the correct grammatical-historical context of the passage, let us once again consider the points of application suggested to us by the pastor of Calvary Bible Church.

  1. Trusting Jesus keeps us from looking to self
  2. Trusting Jesus requires trust in all He is for us
  3. Trusting Jesus is needed most when others hurt us
  4. Trusting Jesus is key to not growing weary or losing heart in life

Please notice that the passage in Hebrews has nothing to do whatsoever about trust or trusting Jesus. This should be blatantly obvious. How does one make the leap from a context having to do with great examples of faith for us to emulate to one of “trusting Jesus”? If one uses a redemptive-historical hermeneutic, it’s fairly easy. Every verse has to be taken in its proper “gospel context”.

Authentic Protestantism is a false gospel of progressive justification. Believers are merely declared righteous while remaining totally depraved and in a constant need of re-salvation and forgiveness for “present sin”.  So then:

  • A believer then must continually “trust Jesus” for daily salvation instead of looking to himself.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” to do good works through him rather than trying to do any good works himself.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” to be his righteousness for him since the believer is only declared righteous.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” by recognizing his own sinfulness, depravity, and need for constant forgiveness rather than dwell on how other people have wronged him.
  • A believer must “trust Jesus” by continuing to live by “faith alone” and persevering in the off chance that maybe he is one of the elect who endures to final justification.

Of course, if at any time you fail to somehow keep “trusting Jesus,” your very salvation may be at stake.

Sure sounds like an encouraging New Year’s message to me. Good luck with that.

~ Andy

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