Paul's Passing Thoughts

Susan Dohse on Plato, Augustine, Calvin, and the Reformation

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 26, 2015

SusanTANC 2013 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny

Transcript: Susan D. Dohse MEd.  

Plato

I’m Susan Dohse. I’m married to Paul Dohse for two years, and it has been an adventure. My role in this year’s conference has changed. This year I became Paul’s research assistant. The pay stinks, but the fringe benefits are really nice. Unlike last year when I spoke from personal experience, which though difficult and emotional at times, was easier than this year’s assignment. This year I was asked to step outside my preschool box and share what I’ve learned through not personal experience but personal study and research. And I am thankful for the World Wide Web, computers, and the Internet even though I fuss and say unkind things to the computer, I am thankful that the Lord created those on the eighth day. If I had to find answers to the questions that I had in the old-fashioned way, by using the card catalog and the Dewey Decimal system, I wouldn’t be here this morning. I would still be at the library roaming the stacks. My role in this year’s conference is to share my research. My goal though is to provoke you to think. What I want to share is only an introduction. It’s not even a scratch on the surface of what there is to know about these historical figures. It’s up to you though to continue the research project. So you do have an assignment. I want you to think of me as just a grain of sand, an irritant in the oyster that over time though yields a pearl.

Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus is speaking here. “Therefore, whosoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And when the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house, it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them not shall be likened then to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand, and the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and great was the fall of it.”

The foundation of thought that I want to illustrate is built upon a historical figure that I just knew initially in a Jeopardy quiz show fashion, you know. Student of Socrates, Greek philosopher, The Republic. Who is Plato? Well, if I were to ask you to tell me something that you know or you’ve been taught about this man, I’m certain I would get classic textbook answers. Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, established the first university called The Academy, wrote The Republic, I would give you credit for being correct. For over 2,500 years, Plato has been studied, admired, modified, personalized, and deified. He has been described as a great thinker, lover of wisdom, a crusader against error, and an enemy of falsehood. Well, after reading hundreds of pages about him, I cannot help but agree that he was a man of great intelligence. He was a mathematical genius, an advocate of education. In your list of trivia facts, would you also include pagan, polytheist, crusader against individuality, founder of communistic, socialistic, and Darwinian evolutionary thought, enemy of God, hero of the reformers?

Born in 427 BC, the son of noble and wealthy Athenian parents with the blood of ancient kings of Attica flowing through his veins. It was this status in life that gave him the way and the means to pursue his quests. Unlike others of his day, he didn’t have to earn a living and go to school at night or hold two jobs to pay for his education. He was of the ruling class of Athens, a privileged elite.

At the age of 20, Plato came to Socrates and asked to be his pupil. And Socrates saw before him a handsome youth, broad shoulders of an athlete, a noble brow of a philosopher, the limpid eyes of a poet. Those aren’t my descriptive terms. This is how Socrates described him. Socrates accepted him as a student, and this became the beginning of a tender and an intimate relationship that lasted until Socrates’ death. The respect and admiration of the student for his teacher was profound and lasting.

Well, after Socrates was executed, Plato and the other disciples of Socrates took to the world, and they traveled the ancient world. Now whether of fear that they would be arrested and also executed because of their association with Socrates or because they wanted to be foreign exchange students is not really well documented. Plato went to Cyrene where Theodorus instructed him in mathematics. He went to southern Italy where he studied the science of numbers under three of the most learned doctors of the Pythagorean mathematical system of his day, went to Egypt to receive instruction from those learned doctors and priests of that ancient land. Some records say he visited Persia, Babylonia, and even India. So he returns to Athens and establishes his Academy, the first university in Europe where he taught until the age of 81.

So up until his return to Athens, we can say letter P for professional student, P for pagan polytheist. Plato regarded the sun, moon, stars, and planets as the visible gods. These heavenly bodies do not come into beings and then pass away. Plato attributed divine souls to the sun, moon, stars, and planets because they followed that intelligible course through the sky. He also held [SOUNDS LIKE] the invisible gods, the gods of the civilized life where the king was Zeus. These gods care about humans. They’re aware of whether we are good or evil. Though invisible, they can reveal them themselves when they want to. They are not standards of justice, beauty, truth, and goodness, but they were living beings who have the perfect knowledge of those standards. Plato wrote, “I do believe that there are gods, and that in a far higher sense than that which any of my accusers believe in them.”

P for platonic wisdom which unites with methodology. P for philosopher ruler. Plato referred to himself as a philosopher ruler. He stressed the importance of living the life of a philosopher by worshipping ideas. The search of ideas, the appreciation of ideas, the participation of the ideas—that’s the life of a philosopher, and that’s what he taught, and that’s what he believed. So the life of Plato was a tireless quest for those ideas. His life is a sustained effort to live by those ideas and to teach others to do so.

P, political scientist, his political philosophy was explained in his writing The Republic. The ideal state, he says, should be divided into three classes of citizens, and each class has its own particular duty to be performed and a special virtue to be developed. The lower class, the laborers and the artisans, their immediate task, acquire skill. The second class, that’s the warriors, and they’re given the opportunity to develop courage and fortitude at their stage of evolution. And the ruling class, those are those men who have learned how to govern themselves and are therefore fit to govern others. I quote from Plato, “Unless philosophers become rulers or rulers become true and thorough students of philosophy, there will be no end to the troubles of the state and humanity.” When each state concentrates upon its own duty and virtue, there will be a well-balanced and harmonious state in which all of the citizens will work, but not for the interest of self but for the common good of the whole. The state will be in charge of production and that sphere of physical goods and life. (more…)

An Answer to Run of the Mill Calvinist Oligarchy

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 25, 2014

Romans 9 explains it all but please don’t whitewash it. The “it does not depend on man’s effort….” The “it” IS salvation. Jesus said you did not choose me but… etc. New Testament is heavy on “Calvinism” at least the salvation part of Calvinism.

Esau was not loved by God, period. Conditional love is all there is. Personally I don’t believe unconditional love makes since. God does not love those he throws in hell and he does not allow those he loves to throw themselves in hell, yea I guess I’m kinda Calvinistic. Every time I hear a preacher say God loves everyone there is a little voice from the back of the church where I’m sitting “except Esau.”

I do get weary of the constant rejection of Calvinism. The question is predetermination with or without free choice towards salvation. God allowing a free choice of rejection and not stopping it would still be predetermined if he knows the outcome and allows it. Plain and simple logic.

Chuck Hulsey

Chuck,

What is plain and simple logic, as far as we can understand it, and for certain the most logical paradox if you want to call it one, is the answer to the question “Why would God allow evil in the world?” Answer: freewill is an important pillar of metaphysics. And let’s be clear, predeterminism is not unique. Predeterminism has been the dominate philosophy driving the vast majority of all civilizations since the beginning of time. In the secular realm it is “fate,” “destiny,” etc., in religious realms fate and destiny are personified.

Freewill and predeterminism are the two trees of philosophy, and the fruit of each are historically apparent; predeterminism has brought nothing but slaughter and misery upon the earth. It is the driving force behind slavery, poverty, starvation in third world civilizations, communism, Islam, and geographical oligarchy in general.

Its kissing cousin is authority. Predeterminism began in the garden when the serpent suggested to Eve that she couldn’t really understand God without his superior metaphysical insight. He was the supposed authority on God. In contrast, the linchpin of human wellbeing is the following: God speaks to man directly without human mediators. God seeks reconciliation with all people individually. The only authority is what God says to individuals, not what other men say he is saying.

But in regard to those who want to claim they speak for God, and in most cases rule in God’s stead, what is their proof? God has rarely come to earth and ordained certain individuals. This is where predeterminism comes in. As church historian John Immel well notes, every religious leader who has ever claimed authority over God’s people has done so in accordance with “preordination.” They are “called” of God. Every pastor, pope, and snake oil salesman who has ever lived has his/her own story of how God revealed their “calling.” Verily, God had his hand on them before the foundation of the world.

Others use education, intimidating massive institutions built on the backs of serfs, and the sword to affirm what God has supposedly preordained.

Somewhere in time immediately after man was kicked out of the garden, spiritual caste was devised, and it was predicated on select individuals ruling over the great unwashed masses in God’s stead. These are preordained individuals who ask their own rhetorical question to the masses, “has God really said…?” It is grounded in the grand presupposition of man’s total inability.

This system was articulated by Plato in the 4th century BC via The Republic, but there has scarcely been anything other than his philosopher king/soldier/producer caste system from the beginning. Calvinism is just one more worn-out bloody song and dance of determinism in world history.

That’s what is “logical” my friend if you wish to go there. Pick the tree you like by its fruits.

Moreover, if you want to further explore what is logical, predeterminism requires the redefinition of many, many, many words that have commonly understood, if not intuitive, definitions. I could name many, but the primary one is “hope.” By determinism’s very definition, hope cannot be objective. And if it is not objective, how can it be hope? No one can know for certain whether they have hope or not. The only hope for mankind is that some have hope, but no one will know for certain who has hope until the end. Hence, Protestants can claim until the cows come home that they value life, but their fundamental logic states otherwise, and frankly, their historical fruits bear that out.

Calvinist Oligarchy2Now, in regard to your orthodox regurgitation of Scripture interpretation flowing from the belief that you are unable to ascertain truth for yourself, your appeal isn’t really to Scripture; it is to what Protestant philosopher kings say that Scripture means. Your problem with me is that I think I can know truth. Per the theme of this year’s “Liberation” conference featuring the who’s who of Neo-Calvinism, going to the Bible for “information” is “evil” and “nasty theology.” Neo-Calvinists are now plainly stating what Calvin stated from the beginning: you must continue to receive ongoing grace to remain saved, and that grace can only be found under the grace-giving Christocentric preaching of Reformed elders. Mainline Calvinists are now saying this publically in no uncertain terms. How can one even take Protestantism seriously, and Calvinism in particular?

Calvinism is a laughable naked emperor. It has survived all of these years by distracting the masses with election Scripture-stacking contests when its fundamental soteriology is clearly grounded in progressive justification. Predeterminism is the root of the  poisonous tree of progressive justification bearing the rotten fruit of antinomian behavior.

After all, if justification is finished, what do we need the philosopher kings for? We don’t, and nothing strikes more fear in them than the possibility of people investigating the cause of all the smoke they want to discuss to keep people from their dirty little secret…

…they replace Christ as the one mediator between God and men with their Christocentric progressive justification false gospel.

The Greatest Threat to Civilization in the 21st Century: Protestantism’s Doctrine of Death

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 24, 2014

In researching the Reformation, one finds the “terror” of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) wanting in regard to its overall threat to civilization. Islam has always been inept in the politics of logic that despises life. Even many who agree with them will not buy into their means or politics. Per the usual since the 6th century, the likes of them only succeed in stirring up what little wrath there may be in the most passive among us.

A far greater threat, if not the threat, is Protestantism. While it is thought of by and large as a force for good in the world, if not the force for good in the world, its core logic is no whit different from Islam. Both are rooted in zero sum life value (not to be confused with life as zero sum game). The fallen creation is not merely weak by God’s metaphysical standards, it is utterly evil. If you can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, or hear it—it is evil. The definition of faith is to believe that and nothing else, and a man’s highest calling is to set the masses free from placing value in this life. Protestant leaders are selfless souls in their own estimation, enduring the horrors of life for the sake of those who are in bondage to finding happiness here.

What people think they believe and how they function are two different things. This is where the intelligence of Martin Luther and John Calvin were far superior to their Islamic kinsmen. The latter think it important for people to know why they function the way they do; that wasn’t important to Luther or Calvin at all. In fact, they didn’t think the average person has the ability to know that anyway. Islam is considered fringe because they openly proclaim zero sum life. In contrast, Protestants claim to uphold the “sanctity of life,” but the core value is Luther’s doctrine of death. Islam is always too hasty—Protestantism is patient in its endeavor to plunge the whole world into its identity of darkness and death.

This fact is undeniable: while Protestants proclaim life, their father was a purveyor of zero sum life. Protestants have an appearance of loving life, and many actually think they do, but the core value of their hero and founder is death—this is an unavoidable metaphysical fact. We will first examine what Luther believed about life and reality, how that functions in life, and finally, why it is the greatest threat to the wellbeing of civilization in the 21st century.

The doctrine of zero sum life ALWAYS has three primary elements: material is evil and invisible is good; preordained mediators between the material world and the invisible world, and the goal of utopia. Though the varied assessments in each category are vast, the three fundamentals remain fixed with the SAME results: death and darkness. The only difference is the quality and experience in getting to the predictable end. These are ancient principles found in the cradle of civilization that play themselves out in myriad cyclic progressions of history. The Protestant Reformation was nothing new; it was a biblical version of the same worn-out caste system that has wreaked havoc on the earth since the Garden of Eden, and continues to do so in various and sundry expressions.

Obviously, the Protestant Reformation was not founded on Luther’s 95 Theses. That was a “Remember the Alamo” sort of thing. The doctrinal foundation of the Reformation came about six months later in Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518 to the Augustinian Order. In it, we find the three basic elements of ancient spiritual caste defined by zero sum life. Luther equated ALL human works with the natural and material:

Much less can human works, which are done over and over again with the aid of natural precepts, so to speak, lead to that end (Theses 2).

The manifest and visible things of God are placed in opposition to the invisible, namely, his human nature, weakness, foolishness (Theses 20).

That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened (Theses 22).

In other words, nothing that man does in this life can be based on wisdom from the invisible because he can’t comprehend it. He is enslaved to “natural precepts.” ALL visible things are defined by “human nature, weakness, foolishness.”

Because the material is supposedly evil, Luther believed that the deprecation of everything human and natural was the only way to experience wellbeing. Man cannot do anything good, but can experience wellbeing that comes from the invisible realm through suffering. Luther believed that Christ came to suffer in order to establish suffering and the annihilation of the natural as an epistemological gateway to the wellbeing of the invisible realm:

The manifest and visible things of God are placed in opposition to the invisible, namely, his human nature, weakness, foolishness. The Apostle in 1 Cor. 1:25 calls them the weakness and folly of God. Because men misused the knowledge of God through works, God wished again to be recognized in suffering, and to condemn »wisdom concerning invisible things« by means of »wisdom concerning visible things«, so that those who did not honor God as manifested in his works should honor him as he is hidden in his suffering (absconditum in passionibus). (Theses 20).

Viz, ALL knowledge of God is hidden in suffering. This is suffering as a plenary epistemology. Stated simply, spiritual wisdom cannot be known, but only experienced through suffering. The material cannot produce anything good which of course includes mankind. By the grace of God, mankind can experience the glory of heaven, but he cannot perform any work that has merit in the material realm.

This brings us to Luther’s preordained mediators for the great unwashed masses between the visible and invisible. He called them, Theologians of the Cross, or in other words, theologians of suffering:

That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the »invisible« things of God as though they were clearly »perceptible in those things which have actually happened« (Rom. 1:20; cf. 1 Cor 1:21-25).

This is apparent in the example of those who were »theologians« and still were called »fools« by the Apostle in Rom. 1:22. Furthermore, the invisible things of God are virtue, godliness, wisdom, justice, goodness, and so forth. The recognition of all these things does not make one worthy or wise (Theses 19).

He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross (Theses 20).

These are men specially gifted, if that’s your perspective, in interpreting ALL reality, or at least reality that means anything significant, through redemption or the suffering of the cross. This was Luther’s version of Plato’s philosopher kings. While Plato’s epistemology was based on immutable elements in the shadow world such as geometry and math, for Luther it was the cross of suffering. The gateway to freedom from the bondage of “natural precepts” is the study and meditation of suffering, and better yet, the experience of it.

This is where Luther prescribed law and Scripture as a tool to pursue suffering as an epistemology and way of life. The Bible’s purpose, according to Luther, is to show us the depths of our depravity and worthlessness:

The law wills that man despair of his own ability, for it »leads him into hell« and »makes him a poor man« and shows him that he is a sinner in all his works, as the Apostle does in Rom. 2 and 3:9, where he says, »I have already charged that all men are under the power of sin.« However, he who acts simply in accordance with his ability and believes that he is thereby doing something good does not seem worthless to himself, nor does he despair of his own strength (Theses 18).

Luther’s focus was on the wellbeing of the individual and not necessarily that of society, but obviously, individual wellbeing defines the collective wellbeing of community. The use of the law for self-depravation and the embrace of suffering are key to experiencing wellbeing. Humble, broken individuals lead to a humble society.

The payoff for this way of life is a well-known Reformed doctrine till this very day: Vivification. Luther saw the Christian life as a perpetual cycle of death and rebirth. As man strives to see his depravity in the Scriptures and is driven to despair, the result is a recurring and deepening experience of future glory. This is the formal Reformed doctrine of Mortification and Vivification supposedly pictured in baptism. Hence, baptism doesn’t picture a onetime transformational event—the old self dying with Christ and then resurrected to new life, it is supposedly a picture of Christian life defined by perpetual death and rebirth:

He, however, who has emptied himself (cf. Phil. 2:7) through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether God does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3:7, »You must be born anew.« To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand (Theses 24).

Protestants of our day are in no wise confused about the doctrine Mortification and Vivification:

Progressive sanctification has two parts: mortification and vivification, ‘both of which happen to us by participation in Christ,’ as Calvin notes….Subjectively experiencing this definitive reality signified and sealed to us in our baptism requires a daily dying and rising. That is what the Reformers meant by sanctification as a living out of our baptism….and this conversion yields lifelong mortification and vivification ‘again and again.’ Yet it is critical to remind ourselves that in this daily human act of turning, we are always turning not only from sin but toward Christ rather than toward our own experience or piety” (Michael Horton: The Christian Faith; mortification and vivification, pp. 661-663 [Calvin Inst. 3.3.2-9]).

At conversion, a person begins to see God and himself as never before. This greater revelation of God’s holiness and righteousness leads to a greater revelation of self, which, in return, results in a repentance or brokenness over sin. Nevertheless, the believer is not left in despair, for he is also afforded a greater revelation of the grace of God in the face of Christ, which leads to joy unspeakable. This cycle simply repeats itself throughout the Christian life. As the years pass, the Christian sees more of God and more of self, resulting in a greater and deeper brokenness. Yet, all the while, the Christian’s joy grows in equal measure because he is privy to greater and greater revelations of the love, grace, and mercy of God in the person and work of Christ. Not only this, but a greater interchange occurs in that the Christian learns to rest less and less in his own performance and more and more in the perfect work of Christ. Thus, his joy is not only increased, but it also becomes more consistent and stable. He has left off putting confidence in the flesh, which is idolatry, and is resting in the virtue and merits of Christ, which is true Christian piety” (Paul Washer: The Gospel Call and True Conversion; Part 1, Chapter 1, heading – The Essential Characteristics Of Genuine Repentance, subheading – Continuing and Deepening Work of Repentance).

This is Luther’s utopian ideal: perpetual death and rebirth towards ultimate freedom from the natural.

What is the appeal of such a belief? It is the same as it has always been: this life that we are in bondage to does not have to be taken seriously; don’t worry, be happy. Life is worthless, and we are therefore not obligated to invest in it. This life is not what really matters, so don’t sweat it. Sure, if you want to excel in the shadow world, that’s fine, but it’s not really relevant. You can experience life in a completely relaxed mode because it is all just an illusion anyway. As with all trifold spiritual caste systems, EVERYTHING is predetermined, therefore, you are really not responsible for anything that happens. Neither is this point missed among Protestants as well:

What is the appeal of such a doctrine? I think it was stated best by the popular Reformed Mockingbird blog. They wrote an article entitled, The Subjective Power of an Objective Gospel. The following is an excerpt:

What, then, is the subjective power of this message? Firstly, we find that there is real, objective freedom, the kind that, yes, can be experienced subjectively. We are freed from having to worry about the legitimacy of experiences; our claims of self-improvement are no longer seen as a basis of our witness or faith. In other words, we are freed from ourselves, from the tumultuous ebb and flow of our inner lives and the outward circumstances; anyone in Christ will be saved despite those things. We can observe our own turmoil without identifying with it. We might even find that we have compassion for others who function similarly. These fluctuations, violent as they might be, do not ultimately define us. If anything, they tell us about our need for a savior (David Zahl and Jacob Smith: Mockingbird blog). (Paul M. Dohse Sr.: Pictures of Calvinism; TANC Publishing 2013, p. 34).

When it gets right down to the crux of it, this is the appeal in a nutshell. And what are the consequences for our 21st century culture? Dire.  A return to the original articles of the Reformation and a proper understanding of it has been growing since 1970. In our day, “New Calvinism” which is a return to Reformation fundamentals has all but completely taken over the evangelical churches worldwide. The political consequences, especially in the United States, could be catastrophic.

greatest threatWhy? For the first time in world history, the American idea adopted a government for the people and by the people. It was the first government in history to reject the ancient threefold caste system of man’s inability, oligarchy, and utopia. The common three-fold caste system has never produced anything other than suffering and tyranny. Protestantism is merely one of many different versions of three-fold spiritual caste. American Protestants of the past have been a strength for freedom because of their integration with capitalism, but with Protestantism returning to its original European roots, that has already changed dramatically. New Calvinists are markedly anti-American, and this should not surprise us in the least.

Compounding the problem is the aforementioned issue of beliefs versus function. American Protestants profess to believe in individual responsibly and capability, but they function as those totally dependent on experts to understand reality. While they would verbally reject the three-fold caste system based on beliefs, they clearly function by all three elements.

This is confirmed by what evangelicals profess as set against blatant contradictions. The most glaring contradiction is the idea that America is a “Christian nation.” Worse yet, we must be a Christian nation because if we weren’t, that only leaves “secular,” and secular equals evil because, well, it’s not Christian. This is a mentality spawned from element one of spiritual caste: material is evil—invisible is good, and Christianity represents the invisible. My wife Susan, after being a Christian for more than 50 years, is beginning to recognize this. Though she would have always rejected the idea of spiritual caste as a lifelong professional educator, there was a time when she thought the only good teacher was a Christian teacher. In her mind, only Christian teachers had a proper grasp of reality. Where did she get such ideas?

In regard to groups that threaten American liberty, patriots would do well to add Protestants to the list. And unwitting Protestants who think they are patriots should wise up and do their own research. To the New Calvinists, anybody being in control is better than “We the people.” American exceptionalism is based on individual ability, not total depravity. For the most part, New Calvinists do not vote, and if they do, they vote socialist. Why? Because there is only one thing worse than communist rule in their minds: the collective will of totally depraved individuals. This ministry researches in the realm of New Calvinism, and anti-American rhetoric is a constant theme among them.

First, New Calvinism is a huge movement, and growing; second, if America goes south, so goes the world. Right now, America has, at the very least, a 45% leaning towards socialism, and the ever-growing New Calvinist movement will continue to chip away at the remaining 55%. What needs to be done?

Those who get it must stop arguing with New Calvinists on their own terms. They must be confronted in regard to their interpretation of reality and what their mentors really believed. In light of their massive and blatant contradictions to the plain sense of Scripture, why does this movement continue to grow by leaps and bounds? Answer: most Christians would say that we must interpret Scripture for ourselves, but we don’t function that way. If a leader states something that seems like a blatant contradiction to us, we chalk it up to our own inability and assume them to be the experts.

We must come to grips with the fact that these “experts” are no different from the chanting Buddhist monks sitting on the ground dressed in orange bath towels and shaved heads. Such do not benefit American freedom—you have never seen any of them in line at a voting location. New Calvinist numbers are growing at an alarming rate among what is left of evangelicalism, and that could very well tip the balance of influence and America’s future political landscape, and where America goes, so goes the world.

That’s why Protestantism is now the greatest threat to civilization in the 21st century.

paul

Unstoppable: The American Spirit and its Role in Bible Prophecy

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 7, 2014

If you want to evaluate world philosophy by its least common denominator, you could focus on its definition of God, or presuppositions concerning mankind. If you focus on the latter, it’s a statement in regard to God’s will for creation. There are a handful of least common denominators that could be used under different categories.

For purposes of this post, we will choose the category of politics. This is not a subject that belongs to the nomenclature of “politics” as we commonly think of it; politics is the method that we use to communicate what we believe about our ethic formed by our metaphysics and epistemology.

At any rate, in regard to the contemporary world stage, the following question is a major factor in determining ethics and politics: is man capable of self-governing? If the masses are in control, will chaos ensue? And why does chaos matter? What is the primary purpose of being?

America was the first country in world history to form a government based on answering the question of self-governing in this way:  Yes, mankind is not only capable of self-governing, but man is best served by this construct.

Let’s be clear: NO politician has ever done anything stupid or said anything stupid; what they do is based solely on how they answer the question of self-governing… “Do those idiots think we are stupid!?” Well, not exactly, politicians are driven by their presuppositions in regard to mankind.

The results of the American experiment speak for themselves, but the process, from the beginning, has been a debate, and at times a war, between two differing philosophies concerning the ability of man to self-govern. From the cradle of civilization, this has been a deeply spiritual question as well: can the masses know reality? I believe that we must go to the Bible to observe where all of this started. It started with the serpent selling Eve on the idea that she couldn’t really understand what God was saying without his help. She only had half of the metaphysics: the knowledge of good. He had the whole package: the knowledge of good AND evil. Hence, she could be more like God if she would only allow him to guide her. The rest is history. This is the epistemological caste system that has dominated world history until the advent of the American idea.

Wherever you stand with God, the fact remains that He created an orderly cosmos which includes Earth. And it is irrefutable that life works better when it is ordered according to the apparent construct. But, can man see and understand God’s order of things? The framers of the American Constitution, for the first time in world history, said, “Yes.”  This question drives everything in American politics. What every American politician does is defined by how they answer this question.

And, the naysayers of self-governing acknowledge that the American idea has yielded positive results, but you see, they love humanity so much that they are unwilling to settle for mere good results. Yes, their love for humanity will not rest until perfect utopia is established, and that is only possible if man understands that he cannot govern himself. If only mankind would give oligarchy a chance!

So, don’t be surprised when the naysayers use a good thing to bring about the best thing. Some are confused when they see those who have benefited from capitalism (free markets representing the will of the people) using those resources to fight against capitalism. This does not befuddle me. In their minds, they are using a good thing to bring about the best thing. You see, self-governing will only bring about temporary change, but their goal for the humanity that they love sooooo much is “real and lasting change.” Yes, if humanity would only understand that tyranny will eventually end all tyranny, and will usher in the utopia that we all desire where truth is defined by one thing and one thing only: unity. To them, unity equals truth. That is at least one aspect of their metaphysics: war and conflict can be ended; poverty can be ended; perfect harmony can be obtained. But in order for this to happen, man must understand his limitations.

And so it goes, we see capitalism under siege in this country. But has the American experiment survived too long? Has it gained too much awareness to ever be defeated? Yes, I think it has. Points in case:

Gun control: some arrogant little American punk designed a machine the size of a desk copier that will print guns. It can also print bullets. I’m not kidding you. He also does this as a non-profit venture.

Mandated minimum wage for fast-food restaurants…which will eventually put fast-food chains under the control of the federal government: some wacko American designed a food machine that will manufacture the perfect burger. This promises to be a windfall for the fast-food chains under the categories of food waste and food theft alone. It will also deplete federal tax income. This power play is an atomic backfire.

Government controlled health care: Walmart will soon be selling health care directly to the public and there isn’t a damn thing that the government can do about it. Any attempt to stand in the way will have appearances of evil that even a child can ascertain.

State secession: if one understands government politics and continues to learn more about it, the genius of the American founders will never cease to amaze. The threat of states seceding from the nation, particularly Texas, would be the endgame to many political debates. A weak stomach for war fueled by the anti-capitalist liberals themselves only fuels the idea more.

Overall colonial America bad attitude: strangely, the idea that life isn’t worth living without freedom that came from colonial America is yet very strong in our culture. Ironically, weak immigration laws proffered by liberals will only add to this reality because people who come here from other countries know why they came: freedom. The fact that they risk their lives to come here only makes them kinsmen with the spirit of colonial America that much more. Republicans should focus on educating these immigrants in regard to this kindred spirit.

So, what does this all have to do with America and Bible prophecy? Where does America fit in? Is America in Bible prophecy? Yes, I think it is, indirectly.

Before America, tyrannical governments ruled with an iron fist, or iron feet that trampled anything in their way. Whenever a particular government emerged as the leader in the only political game ever played until America; viz, conquest, the leader ruled unabated until someone else emerged as the new king of the world hill. This is depicted by symbolism in Daniel 2:31-45. The image, which coincides with the four beasts in Daniel chapter 7, depicts four major world kingdoms in human history. It is interesting that the final form of the final kingdom is iron mixed with clay. I believe that speaks to the idea that America will continue to have enough strength and influence to prevent world dominance by any one government.

As an alternative to conquest, America was the first nation to replace conquest with wealth creation, or capitalism. Because of this, America for the most part, is not interested in occupation. The American ideal is setting people free to create their own individual wealth. It is a government for the people and by the people because it is founded on the belief that mankind is capable of self-governing. Oligarchy is the anti-politics of self-governing. The final form of the final world power will be a weak oligarchy accordingly. America is NOT defined within specific biblical symbolism because it is a historical anomaly. I suggest it is the reason behind the scene of iron feet mixed with clay.

Another reason America is not specifically mentioned regards another historical anomaly: most tyrannical world empires were ruled by an alliance between its religion and state. A cursory review of the book of Revelation reveals that the final form of the final empire will be a church state on steroids, perhaps fueled by the reunification of Catholicism and Protestantism. Both are firmly grounded in the idea that man is unable to self-govern.

For this reason, no political party defined by free markets should assume that the evangelical vote is in their camp. Indeed, people in the community where Susan and I live continue to be surprised that Cedarville University, a conservative Christian institution, has many professors and leaders that endorse President Obama. That doesn’t surprise me at all.

“But Paul, are you saying that evangelicals don’t believe people are able to self-govern?”

Of course they believe that people are able to self-govern! As long as those people are good Christians.

paul

The “Church” is a Laity Movement that Doesn’t Necessarily Exclude the Educated

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 1, 2014

There seems to be a fundamental weakness among all of the “revolutionary” home fellowship movements in our day: they are started by those of evangelical academia. Invariably, though their observations are spot on, their movements are only programs that support the institutional church, or simply, “church” as opposed to Christ’s assembly.

The key to success of home fellowships is a return to the 1st century model that was laity-driven and necessarily suspicious of the formally educated. It also needs to make a complete break with the church. Jesus chose to build His assembly with the blue collar class of that day—nothing is more obvious. An emphasis on formal education does not align with where Christ placed emphasis—not even close.

Throughout the New Testament, we see lack of “education” and “authority” as a persistent issue used against the apostles. The apostle Paul was concerned that his education would make him a mere preference among the popular religious philosophers of that day. Credentials almost always lead to man-following rather than Christ-following.

Paul describes the typical home fellowships of that day:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

This also helps us to understand election. Notice that a particular class of individuals is the “calling.” God doesn’t preselect individuals per se, but groups, or categories. The noble are not excluded, they are simply not targeted by God because they do not fit into His overall purposes. They do exclude themselves due to a natural tendency towards arrogance. The lowly are more predisposed to seeking God. Likewise, God chose Israel, but by no means excluded the rest of the nations from salvation—He targeted Israel as His own unique people to show forth His salvation to the rest of the world.

However, the New Covenant also targets the Gentiles equally. They were never excluded, but when the Jews rejected their Messiah, God targeted the Gentiles as fully privileged heirs of the Abrahamic covenant to make the Jews jealous:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

Does this mean that salvation was never offered to the Gentiles before this? Of course not, it means that the Gentiles were then emphasized as equal heirs of salvation with the Jews—the Gentiles were no longer second class citizens in God’s kingdom. They were made equals with God’s chosen people as one holy nation of priests. Consequently, more Gentiles would be saved because of the shift in focus, but overall, God is not responsible for the natural worldviews that form people’s choices.

And, the noble were not elected to oversee Christ’s assembly, they have usurped that calling from the class of people God chose:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Hence, if God preselected particular individuals, there wouldn’t be any saved nobles, but in contrast, they are free to choose, and many do because their judgment is not clouded by a caste worldview.

paul

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