Paul's Passing Thoughts

Repost: Crowns Lexington Concert; Mark Hall Sends Mixed Messages About Truth

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 23, 2013


Oct. 23, 2011

Susan and I just returned to our home in Xenia, Ohio from a weekend getaway to attend the Casting Crowns concert in Lexington, Kentucky. We have both attended their concerts on multiple occasions (a total of eight between us). My prior reviews have been 100% positive.

The concert was part of a 40-city tour with three other acts: Sanctus Real, The Afters, and upstart Lindsay McCaul. Among the warm-ups, I enjoyed  McCaul most who was indicative of the sincere humbleness that embodies those who can’t believe where God has brought them. Besides that, she is mega-talented—I will definitely buy her CD.  Sanctus Real and the Afters employed worldly openers that were a real turn-off; the lead singers opened by mingling among the crowd with a wireless microphone. Gag. It’s  kinda like, “Look at me, I’m a big star willing to mingle among the common folks. Or, “I think I will give the peasantry a thrill by actually walking among them.” Could my reaction be biased because this concept was started by God- rejecting rock stars? Probably. Moreover, I think these acts have too much separation in talent; McCaul seemed to be a perfect fit while the other two pale in comparison to the Crowns’  phenomenal song writing ability. However, I get the idea from this concert that Crowns lead singer and song writer Mark Hall would say that Jesus writes all their songs for them. Maybe the other two bands need to start letting Jesus write for them more than they do.

That bit of sarcasm brings me to the theme of this review. Christianity needs to start being honest about the silent debate going on and the importance of truth in general. Is the new birth part of the gospel or not? And if it is—is the new birth a mere display of what Jesus does, or are we working also? And don’t give me that separation of music and preaching load. These concerts impart spiritual ideas through music, and in a very strong way. In our day, how many pastors who are responsible before Christ for the souls of His sheep critique the contemporary music their parishioners listen to?  They don’t, probably because of something like Hall proclaimed during the concert: “[paraphrase] the world needs to hear more about how we are just train wrecks receiving mercy than what we are against.” Oh really? First, the apostles did not describe Christians as anything like “train wrecks” and they had plenty to say about what they were against. In fact, of the seven letters Christ wrote to the churches named in Revelation, He was against things going on in six of the seven churches. I also have some news for Hall: Christians couldn’t be that hypercritical if one of the most popular Christian songs of our day is the blasphemous “More Like Falling in Love” by Jason Gray which is nothing more than an antinomian anthem.

Today’s Christianity is saturated with Gospel Contemplationism as a primary means of spiritual growth. Let go, focus on the gospel, and let God. The so-called new birth just refers to the new obedience produced in us by Christ as we contemplate the gospel. We don’t participate and colabor as born again new creatures—we are the prepositions in the gospel narrative, and verbs like “obey” are truly four-letter words because they imply participation on our part. And how do we know if Christ is obeying for us, or if we are  trying to obey “in our own efforts and talents”? Well, as Jason Gray says, it will feel like love. Likewise, in a book that is all the rage in Christian circles, Francis Chan tells us that when we are working in our Christian walk, “it feels like work,” but when we are loving, “it feels like love” (Crazy Love p. 110). Do we really want to be teaching Christians that biblical love is validated by good feelings? And is Mark Hall any different? I wonder. In his new song, “The Well” he states: “And now that you’re full of love beyond  measure, your joy’s gonna flow like a stream in the desert.”  Hall wrote the lyrics with Matthew West who also wrote the song, “Strong Enough” which implies that Christ doesn’t work through us until we give up: “I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be, I give up, I’m not strong enough.”

Though Casting Crowns’ lyrics are far  more substantive than the vast majority of Christian songs heard today, they seem to be playing both sides of the fence.  While “Courageous,” the song they opened with,  presents a robust participation by Christians in the sanctification process, other songs by them are indicative of the let go and let Godtheology that saturates contemporary Christianity. Implied in other lyrics by Casting Crowns (and comments by Hall at the concert) is the idea that the only difference between the regenerate and unregenerate is that believers are privy to how helpless we are in being anything, or doing anything for God.

Therefore, if that’s the route they want to take, and in regard to truth in general, let me suggest where their concert planning could use more Jesus in two particular areas. In all three concerts I attended, Hall makes light of the fact that he has (if you believe it’s a valid label) Attention Deficit Disorder. ADD is far from being a laughing matter. Besides the fact many doctors think it’s a fraud, Christian doctor Larraine Day states the following:

“Attention Deficit Disorder and Ritalin have become almost synonymous. Up to 90% of children who are first diagnosed with ADD receive a prescription for Ritalin. At least a dozen other drugs are prescribed for these symptoms as well. There has been a 500% increase in the use of Ritalin alone since 1991.”


“The adverse reactions (side effects) for Ritalin include nervousness, insomnia, joint pains, fever, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, headache, dyskinesia, drowsiness, increased blood pressure and pulse, rapid heart rate, angina, cardiac arrhythmias, abdominal pain, actual psychosis. And there is a major warning in the Physician’s Desk Reference regarding drug dependency.”


“The Physicians’ Desk Reference of Drug Side Effects notes that, regarding the pharmacology of Ritalin: “The mode of action in man is not completely understood.” And this is what you’re giving your child! The pharmaceutical manufacturers admit that they don’t even know how it works. They’re just experimenting — on your child!”


“Does the public school system have the right to force parents to accept the drugging of their child? They do in America. But the drug’s side effects, according to vocal opponents of Ritalin, include: zombie-like behavior, growth suppression, behavior or thought disorders (exactly what it is supposed to treat) seizures; headaches, blurred vision, scalp hair loss, barking like a dog and babbling profanities. It can also result in mood swings, depression, drug dependence and inclination for criminal activity.”


“Ritalin has effects similar to other stimulants including amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine. There are 6 million prescriptions for Ritalin filled annually. The U.S. pharmacists distribute five times more Ritalin than the rest of the world combined. No other nation prescribes stimulants for its children in such volume. In fact, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has on two recent occasions written to U.S. officials expressing concern about the sixfold increase in Ritalin usage since 1990.”


“The American Psychiatric Association describes a hyperactive child – the target child for this drug–as follows:

‘One who exhibits behavior such as fidgeting, squirming, answering questions before being called on, difficulty playing quietly, engaging in physically dangerous activities such as running into the street without looking, or one who has difficulty following instructions.’ That sounds like a normal kid to me!”

Hall needs to stop giving credibility to ADD because medical doctors disagree on its validity and Hall is not a doctor, and at the very least—he needs to stop making light of it.

Secondly, regarding the practice of having an artist create an image of Christ during a song, what part of Exodus 20:4 does Hall not understand? And exactly how does such an image edify? What is that image intended to invoke in the minds of the audience? What’s the purpose?

I see a progression in the Casting Crowns concerts. More confusion with each concert. Is it let go and let God, or the able and courageous Christians presented in the movie that they wrote the theme song for? Truth is both negative and positive. Both have been stated here as I see it. When Christians go to a concert they should interpret what’s being taken in, and what’s being taken in is either truth or not truth. 2 Corinthians 10:5 will be taken seriously or not taken seriously. Taking every thought and opinion captive and bringing it into submission to Christ does not stop at a concert. With all the talk about Jesus at these events, His wish to have every thought brought into submission to His truth seems to be last on the list.

Frankly, that’s all I care about, and I will not be dissuaded by good music, and Hall does write some great music, but truth is waaaaaay more important.


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“God Hates the Sin But Loves the Sinner” And We know This How Exactly?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 10, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“One of the things we learn from the pure milk that is not mixed with orthodoxy is that lying about the truth is not love.”  

There has been a lot going on in the societal realm lately and I haven’t had time to write about it, but the topic of this post pretty well covers it. Idol worship is always formal. Even when parents of ancient paganism sacrificed their children to the Gods, it was according to orthodoxy. The average Joe never devises his own gods and the prescribed worship—he’s not qualified, it is always devised by the religious experts ruling the day. Hence, parents didn’t just sacrifice their children by some flippant self-devised method; it was done according to proper worship.

Historically, there are only two religions; Cult and Word. Cult is the idea that enlightened human mediators rule the unenlightened masses on behalf of God. The truth that they supposedly get directly from God in order to guide the masses is called “orthodoxy.” Orthodoxy has its own metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. The unenlightened masses sometimes have a choice as to what cult they may choose. Do I believe my infant should be boiled alive in oil to appease the gods, or stabbed through the heart by the High Priest? In contrast, a government will sometimes dictate the cult through the combination of force and faith.

In ancient times, God walked past all of the cults and spoke to his chosen subjects face to face. There were two authorities; one of your own choosing (if you had a choice), and God. Those who chose God are documented in the Bible, and the same also describes the personal interaction that God had with them. In ancient times, cults got a little out of control. Orthodoxy resulted in God being sorry that He created man, so He paid Noah a visit and told Him to build a boat. Not long after the flood waters went away, man once again gravitated to orthodoxy at the Tower of Babble.

Over time, and for His own reasons, God has changed His methods for communicating with His servants. But He has always promised that those seeking His truth would find it. This doesn’t include those seeking orthodoxy of their own desire. Neither does it include those who seek freedom from faith and force so they can choose orthodoxy suited to their own lusts. Those who flee worship with boiling oil for worship with the knife are not heroes. Not in God’s eyes anyway—God is in the truth business.

Orthodoxy and truth. Those are our choices. God’s eyes go to and fro throughout the earth constantly seeking those who worship Him according to spirit and what? TRUTH (JN 4:24). The one who Christ called “the rock” implores us to grow spiritually by feeding on the PURE milk of the what?  WORD (1Peter 2:2). Pure milk is available, and God has made it available to all. He uses leaders, but their authority is bound up in His word as judged by the congregation of the saints. The saints follow leaders as they follow Christ.

One of the things we learn from the pure milk that is not mixed with orthodoxy is that lying about the truth is not love. Truisms and spiritual sound bites are the orthodoxy of the American church. They are cult orthodoxy. American pastors invent them to bring God’s truth down to a level where unenlightened congregants can understand it. The inability of the congregant is assumed and feared if not assumed. Even congregants that know something are believed to be equipped with enough knowledge to be dangerous like a loaded gun in the hands of a child. Therefore, orthodoxy proffers the virtue of “childlike faith” as opposed to hard thinking with the brains that God apparently gave the masses accidently.

“We are all just sinners saved by grace.” “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” And also popular contemporary “Christian” music: “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.” Is Jesus a friend of sinners? Jesus stated that His FRIENDS pattern their lives according to righteousness, not sin. A “sinner” patterns their life after the orthodoxy of choice, and that can be hedonism as well as any other religion.  Who is Mark Hall to redefine who Christ says His friends are?

Only the truth sets us free. If you are a pastor who doesn’t challenge American orthodoxy in the form of spiritual sound bites, you are not a pastor; you are just another everyday cultist bent on having a manageable dumbed-down congregation. You comfort with instruction from the manual published by the Hemlock Society and your “love” is woefully misguided.


The “That’s Cool!” Hermeneutic and Discernless Christianity

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 25, 2011

The above video is all the rage among Christians on the net and Facebook. “Cool!” “Awesome!” “Beautiful!” And of course, theological commentaries that cannot be backed with Scripture in the least. At last weekend’s Crowns concert, they thought it would be “cool” to do the same thing. Is this not the standard for truth in our day? Coolness. Oh, and I have a problem that maybe someone can help me with: there is a verse of Scripture in either Psalms or Proverbs that speaks of the mind that is an open door to everything.  The person just opens the door and invites in everything that knocks. Got to find that verse! (free book for anyone who finds it).

While the talent can be appreciated, I just don’t know what part of Exodus 20:4 Christian’s don’t understand. By the way, Church on the Rock in Monroe, OH is in the process of rebuilding the giant Jesus that is the laughingstock among unbelievers in Ohio (according to unbelieving locals, God struck the first one with lightning and burned it down). Christians need more focus on what Jesus said and not what he supposedly looked like. Sorry to be a party-pooper.

‎”In the form” and “anything” seems clear to me. But of course, Moses was talking about idol worship, right? So, shouldn’t Jesus always be the focus of our worship? Or is the exception when we make images of Him? Idol worship isn’t idol worship when we make a form of Jesus? But He is in heaven, right? I’m I just putting too much stock in nouns, verbs, and prepositions?

Also, in a contemporary Christianity that is falling all over itself to “make much of Jesus,” do these drawings really exemplify His glory? Why would we want to lower Him to such images? And drawing Him upside down? Geez, what’s that all about?!

‎”To exemplify the artist’s talent.” Exactly.

And at the end where he throws and splatters paint all over the finished product, which is Jesus—I know that’s accent, but dunno, makes me uneasy.

And by the way, why are all of these pictures ALWAYS of a suffering Jesus looking down with a crown of thorns on His head? What about the Jesus that returns on a white horse dressed in a vesture soaked in blood and a sword that He will use to smite the nations? Still waiting for that one.


Holy Spirit Leads Bible Study at Front Gate of Casting Crowns Concert

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 26, 2010

Guess what I got for my birthday this year? Tickets to the Casting Crowns Louisville, KY concert. Susan, who procured the tickets for us, showed-up with me at the front gates thirty minutes early for the concert. That’s when things started getting weird. People ahead of us who had gone through the gates where tickets were being scanned were coming right back out. I began processing that while still trying to process why arena officials were at the front gates giving away free tickets. Then our tickets were scanned, and I began to process the following from the attendant: “The stage was moved, so the seats are different, so you need to go over there and get your tickets replaced.”

I then thought to myself, “couldn’t they have moved the stage in such a way that this would not be necessary?” We then went back outside to the official who was giving away free tickets and asked, “where is ‘over there?’” He pointed to a building that was on the other side of a construction area which provoked the following thought: “Are you kidding me?” So, Susan and I hiked through a dirt area to another building where we were directed to a booth with a large table covered with replacement tickets. A young lady took our tickets and began perusing the hundreds of tickets in neat rows on the table. I then began to think to myself, “you can do it honey, just look for row 10, seats 3 and 4.” She then came back to us and said, “we don’t have a match, you will have to go over there and have your ticket’s replaced.” She pointed to a row of ticket windows on the other side of the building. We then arrived at one of the windows and handed our tickets to an older lady who asked, “do you have ID and the Credit Card you used to purchase these tickets?” I already knew Susan left her purse in the car which was at least, or what would seem like, a mile from where we were now located. At this point, my mind was full of all sorts of things: visions of black and white Keystone Cops movies, total confusion from process overload, and yes, Mr. Anger was ringing my doorbell.

That’s when I knew, especially when things get that ridiculous. Yes, it took hundreds of failures and Bible lessons throughout my Christian life to come to this point, so I knew what to do: settle down, put your thinking cap on, and measure your responses because the Holy Spirit has called another class on Christian living to order.

Part one in the outline is “Evangelism.” This was a “Christian” concert, and most of the stadium workers were probably unbelievers. Would they see a different response from what would be experienced if it was a Punk-rock concert? So then, I replied to the attendant: “ok,” and reached in to temporarily take back our tickets. She then said something like the following: “No, you don’t understand, we can’t replace these tickets without ID and the Credit Card you used to purchase them.” I then said, “I understand, but if we need to walk back to our car to get those items, we had better get started.” She then looked at me as if she saw a ghost. That’s a good thing.

When we returned, it got better; in addition to everything else, we discovered that Ticket Master sent Susan the wrong tickets! And this as we could plainly hear the opening act performing. Part two, “Non-hypocritical worship.” One of my favorite Casting Crowns songs is “Praise You in this Storm.” Sooooo, was I going to act like a Punk-rocker and then go inside and raise my arms in praise as they performed that song? Besides, as bad as this was (possibly not getting into a concert that we drove 3 hours to see), could it even really be considered a “storm?” If we won’t praise God in a drizzle, what will we do when a real storm comes? Part 3, “How to Praise God in a Storm.” Unlike the goofy doctrine going around today that judges spirituality through emotions, praising God in difficult situations will always be preceded by right thinking, or *biblical thinking.*

First, God is up to something in every circumstance of life. In fact, he is usually taking care of all kinds of business in every event. For starters on this point, read the book of Esther and Jonah. Secondly, we are here on assignment as ambassadors; sometimes ambassadors get called away from fun activities to do the kings business. That’s not always pleasant, but take heart, I hear we have a great retirement package that will more than make-up for it. Thirdly, we should delight in the fact that the Lord is willing to trust us with difficult assignments. However, if we are focused on our own agenda, it won’t be very pleasant, and the Lord will keep sending the same assignments till we get it right. You ever see a route map of where God led the Israelites in the wilderness? He was running them around in circles until they started having light-bulb moments, and some of them never did make it out of the wilderness.

I’m sure Susan has figured out by now that one of the things she is going to have to consistently remind me of is our weekly Bible studies. But more importantly, both of us must remember that life is theology, and if life is lived in a way that pleases God, it will be lived out in good theology. That’s what our Bible studies are all about, learning good theology for living. And don’t worry, God will always supply the circumstances that show us what we have really learned, and to give us opportunity to accomplish His will.


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