Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Christocentric Redemptive Historical Hermeneutic and “Touchdown Jesus”

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 30, 2016

OHMONjesus1_lintelmanOriginally posted February 19, 2013

When you are Reformed, you have to get to heaven by faith alone. It’s easy being saved by faith alone, but how do you live the Christian life by faith alone? It would seem that there is stuff in the Bible that God tells us to do. But if we obey, that’s works salvation. What to do?

So the Reformers came up with a way to get to heaven by faith alone via being continually/perpetually saved by faith alone. Hence, we must “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Self-serve perpetual salvation. So, that necessitated making the whole Bible about salvation. Instead of reading the Bible for instruction on kingdom living, the Bible became a way to live by the same gospel that saves us until the end.

How do we pull that off? Well, we make every verse in the Bible about Jesus’ “personhood.” Hence, “He’s not a precept, He’s a person.” “It’s His-story.” “It’s not about what we do—it’s about what Jesus has done” etc. So, how do we make every verse in the Bible about Jesus? Just “look to Jesus.” There is no better example of how this works than the infamous “Touchdown Jesus.” I explain in another article:

The Bible is full of symbolism and rich imagery—more so than most literature. And that presents a grave danger. We don’t have the liberty to go into the Bible with the bull of our imagination in a china shop. Imagery and ambiguous verbiage can become idols that are a god of our own making because variances of interpretations are myriad. You merely pick the one of your own imagination and preference, or the same from the musings of others. So here is the point: we can make passages like Exodus 25-27 a tool for creating truth of our own making. In fact, whole denominations are formed based on interpretations of the imagery in these chapters.

What better example than the infamous “Touchdown Jesus” that was an icon of a church in Monroe, Ohio. The statue of Jesus was 60ft. high and was merely a couple of hundred ft. from I-75. That is, until it was struck by lightning. The flames could be seen for miles in the night and the pictures thereof can be best described as apocalyptic. The next day, it was the talk of the nation. But telling was the hundreds of testimonies recorded on the news and in newspapers; i.e., “what the image meant to me.” Yikes! The hundreds of different interpretations were staggering, and the statue never spoke one word! Most interesting was a comment by an unbeliever who worked in the Monroe area: “Obviously, God did it.” Often, there is a disconnect between the secular mindset and the Christian mindset which involves the disintegration of common sense that is a natural endowment; mysticism often abandons the matter and faith becomes a license for mindlessness.

The appeal of idols is the supposed objective prism that leads to subjective “truth.” That’s the appeal; we can make idols speak the truth of our own preference. When a verse of Scripture has to be about Jesus, whatever our imagination comes up with is correct because it’s about Jesus, and if it’s about Jesus, a Jesus outcome must be correct.

It’s a Touchdown Jesus approach, and is the taking away and adding to the word of God on steroids. Good luck to those who propagate it.

paul

Why Mark Dever Hates America and Old People

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 22, 2016

Dever_bwOriginally published July 3, 2013

“But yet, his ministry confronted me for using a logo similar to his T4G logo. Actually, legal action was implied. He will fight for what his logo represents, but anybody who wants an American flag in the sanctuary is a pathetic person stupid enough to think Christians need a flag to worship. And yet, many are miffed by my utter disgust for these people.”  

Well, tomorrow is the Fourth of July and the Calvinist bloggers, per the usual, are typing away about the evils of eclipsing the Son by celebrating America. I was sent one such article by a reader of PPT entitled, “Removing Old Glory for God’s Glory.” Apparently, the all-sovereign God dropped the ball when He made America great and created competition for himself. The metaphysical insanity of Calvinism truly staggers the imagination. The article highlighted heretic Mark Dever who rules his Southern Baptist church in D.C. with an iron fist. Dever, who represents the Neo-Calvinist mentality on this, stated the following:

When I was coming to the church in Washington DC, I requested the flag be left out of the sanctuary. Over a year later, an older member of the church asked me where the flag was. I said, “What flag?” She was asking where the American and Christian flags were because Memorial Day was coming up, and we needed a flag. When we gather in the church we’re more fundamentally Christian than American. We have much more in common with the Nigerian who is in Christ than the non-Christian across the street. She was not happy and it was taken to the church leadership. I told the deacons we could leave the flag but it’s a fairly new custom and in this age things are so politicized that the flag looks like a right wing political statement. We want to reach democrats too with the Gospel. After tearful discussion, we decided to keep them out of the sanctuary.

This statement reflects why I have so much disdain for Calvinists. Aside from their hideous false gospel, they are cold-blooded Stoic control freaks. However, my deepest resentment of them, aside from their false gospel of progressive justification, comes from my experience as a fire inspector. My work involved nursing homes, and the abuse that I saw has really left me with a penchant for despising those who disrespect the elderly and their honorable legacies. For one, never talk to an elderly person like you are talking to a young child due to their declining mental capabilities. This is a real pet peeve of mine. If I see you do it, I will not slap you on your silly face, but only because it would be against the law. Focus on what they do understand and address them as a peer. If you could read their minds, what they think of your stupidity and disrespect might be surprising.

These are people with a story. These are people who have paid the dues of life. God has them here for a reason. In our country, anybody in their 70’s or 80’s could be someone who lost half of their family (or all of it) to WWII so that you can  have the freedom to eat what you want, read want you want, work where you want, drive what you want, and think what you want. Show some respect. You can quote me on this: one reason I despise Mark Dever is his pattern of disrespecting the elderly. Frankly, this pattern is also indicative of the Neo-Calvinist movement in general. Notice that he is compelled to refer to one of his victims as, “an older member.” Why is that relevant to the issue in his mind?

The American flag means a lot to our contemporary elder population because of what it represents. It represents a people who saved the world from tyranny. It represents a people who refused to give in to their fears in the face of formidable evil beasts never before encountered; an evil that seemed to be otherworldly. They knew for such an evil to prevail would leave an earth unfit for habitation. Courage told them that death or liberty were the only two options. They hold their hand over their heart with streaming tears on their face because that flag waving in the wind represents the termination of killing fields throughout contemporary history. Killing fields that showed no pity for the baby, the child, the fair damsel or the elderly. They paid the price so that Mark Dever has the freedom to look in the mirror and admire his in-vogue unshaven GQ Magazine look; the freedom to stand before thousands of naive youth with hearts muttering, “It’s the voice of a god, and not man.”

And what was his answer to the “older” member?

What flag?

Indeed Mr. Mark Dever.

He then couches his indifference to this parishioner’s perspective by implementing the “tearful” resolution. What is more despicable than the cold indifference of a Calvinist? Perhaps the disingenuous sympathy that insults the intelligence of a child. Dever, while calling himself a pastor, has no ability to possess empathy for those who disagree with him. His social instincts are those of a predatory animal. Notice his further demeaning of the “older” person by suggesting that said person posited the idea that Christians “needed” the flag. Dever makes no distinction between the parishioner’s concern for what the flag represents and a supposed “need.” But yet, his ministry confronted me for using a logo similar to his T4G logo. Actually, legal action was implied. He will fight for what his logo represents, but anybody who wants an American flag in the sanctuary is a pathetic person stupid enough to think Christians need a flag to worship. His minion that contacted me complained about what it costed them to design the logo, but what of the price paid in order for the American flag to stand? And yet, many are miffed by my utter disgust for these people. Much more could be discussed here in regard to Dever’s reality disconnect and incompetence; for example, his suggestion that the American flag is only loved by conservative Republicans.

But where does this mentality come from? It comes from Dever’s Calvinistic philosophy. Augustine, Luther, and Calvin predicated their theology on Platonism. Susan Dohse presented the irrefutable evidence for this at TANC 2013 using the words from Augustine’s own mouth. It’s an ideology that despises life in general. It’s an ideology that seeks to separate itself from life as much as possible and only regard an ambiguous eternity in the Spirit realm. Good works of men are completely irrelevant because they are of this life. The story of the Boy Scout who throws himself in front of a car to save the elderly pedestrian is a gospel of death unless mixed with fear that one would believe that this is a good deed, for only God is good and to believe the deed is good is a mortal sin. To shrink back in terror that the deed is perceived as good is only a venial sin.

This philosophy is the foundation of the Reformation as represented in Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation to the Augustinian Order. Calvin then took Luther’s dualist construct and applied it to a full-orbed worldview via the Calvin Institutes. The construct ONLY sees reality from TWO perspectives: the glory story (any perspective of human existence good or bad) or the cross story. America is the glory story. There are only two realities in the Calvinist worldview. It’s either the glory story or the cross story. And each focus yields a certain result. Dever wanted the flag out because it hinders the cross story. That’s it in a nutshell. His other stated reasons are lies. There is a method to his mystic despotism.

Plato disdained those who insisted on interpreting reality through the five senses. He perceived them as ignorant morons who didn’t know the difference between the true forms and the shadows of the forms. He believed the true forms were accessed through ideas and thinking. Those who are born as philosophers should therefore rule over the unenlightened who insist on being enslaved to the material world. The Reformers merely made Christ and His works the true forms. The glory story is the material; the cross story is Spirit. Likewise, Dever has no patience for stupid old fogies who insist on living in the shadows. No patience for those who take away from the cross story for some other glory. Hence, the title of said post:

Removing Old Glory for God’s Glory.

In the world of the Reformers, there is no room for both. And each focus yields a certain result. Actually, this philosophy has ruled the Western world for centuries in either Platonic secular mode (communism etc.) or integrated religions. The purveyors of each have a common bind: the enlightened must rule the world for this is humanities only hope. In the minds of the Reformed, the only thing worse than a Marxist is one who interprets life by the shadows. Therefore, the Reformer sees the Marxist as a cut above the common man which does not bode well for anything Americana.

The framers of our constitution were the first in history to say “no” to European determinism whether secular or religious. As John Immel pointed out in this year’s conference, their minds were endowed with knowledge concerning the results of “truth” by force or utopia by force. I think the reader who sent me the link added apt thoughts to the reality of that pushback:

The apostle Paul was probably the biggest patriot in the NT.  He was very proud of his nationality and grieved for his people, the Jews!  You can easily make a case for that.

Oh yeah, it’s easy to see that their same disdain for the freedom represented by the flag is the same disdain for freedom of the laity.

It represents freedom of the individual, which is the last thing a tyrant wants, spiritual or otherwise, free-thinking individuals.

Luther and Calvin disdained free thought. Read Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation for yourself. And that’s Dever’s problem with the flag; what it represents. The T4G logo is not a problem because it represents the control he thinks he should have over those who live in the shadows exemplified by unbiblicaly excommunicating 256 church members for non-attendance. Think about this: couple that with Calvin’s power of the keys which his elders have often written about; the idea that elders have the power to bind and loose salvation on earth. He thought he was condemning 256 people to hell that day.

And that is the difference between Mark Dever and every bloodthirsty tyrant that ever walked the earth, the representation of the flag, but a difference in character as razor thin as a playing card. His associates dream of launching people into the air with catapults and running them over with gospel buses, they even plainly say so in public. The flag represents a restraint that deprives them of their psychotic visions of grandeur.

So tomorrow, on July 4th, eat lots of hotdogs, and say a prayer for freedom. And pray that God would continue to save America from Calvin’s legacy of bloodshed in the name of Christianity.

paul

Protestantism: A Defintion

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 13, 2016

Absolutely Critical to Effective Ministry: Knowing the Two Realities of Protestantism

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on December 11, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Originally posted May 7, 2015

If we are to accomplish anything in contemporary Christianity, we must begin to live by a basic hard-fast rule: our actions must be guided by the knowledge that there are two realities in contemporary Christianity – grammatical-historical and redemptive-historical.

These are usually discussed as methods of Bible interpretation, but they are really much more than that according to Protestant tradition. These are two different ways of interpreting reality itself.

We will begin by defining the redemptive-historical interpretation of reality along with this caution: one of the most powerful influences that this view of reality has is the dismissal of its basic premise as mere mysticism held by fringe elements of Protestantism. Those who dismiss it out-of-hand then proceed to function by its tenets unawares. The who’s who of Protestantism care little that the masses understand this ideology, just so they function by it.

In fact, Protestant leaders assume most parishioners are unable to grasp its tenets. Therefore, redemptive-historical reality must be explained in a way that will enable congregants to apply it to their lives and function a certain way within church culture. Redemptive-historical reality is primarily the crux of Protestant orthodoxy and its spiritual caste system.

In mythology, we often link the bizarre narratives to the philosophy itself, but that’s a mistake. Roman, Greek, and Babylonian culture was not developed by superstitious idiots. What we fail to understand is the narratives are stories that convey principles to the spiritual underlings so they can apply principles of higher knowledge to their lives. They cannot understand the higher knowledge, but those who can need to tell the underlings how to live in order to obtain the best possible society.

“Orthodoxy” can be likened to mythological narratives that teach those of lesser spiritual understanding how they should live, but they are based on well thought out metaphysical (state of being) systems of knowledge. We shouldn’t be surprised that what seems to be superstition has ruled the greatest empires on earth. This is because the core ideology is always a succinct system of thought that is greatly underestimated. The ancient philosophers were not idiots. Democritus (circa 400 BC) was the originator of atomic theory. The sophist class of philosophers were the first to apply philosophy to sociology in an in-depth way (circa 500 BC). ALL present-day psychologies are founded on the basic theories of that day. For example, the basic ideology that drives the theory of rehabilitation in our modern-day prison systems came from Socrates.

Let’s now define redemptive-historical reality. I will be using a quote from Graeme Goldsworthy who is considered to be the contemporary father of redemptive-historical hermeneutics:

If the story is true, Jesus Christ is the interpretative key to every fact in the universe and, of course, the Bible is one such fact. He is thus the hermeneutic principle that applies first to the Bible as the ground for understanding, and also to the whole of reality (Graeme Goldsworthy: Gospel-centered Hermeneutics; p.48).

This is a pretty straight forward statement and accurately depicts what Protestantism is really founded on; not a theology per se, but a way to interpret reality itself. How in the world does one interpret all of reality through the one person Jesus Christ? You MUST understand: Martin Luther articulated the answer in the foundational treatise of Protestantism, the Heidelberg Disputation.

The Heidelberg Disputation is a concise systematic ideology that explains how all of reality is to be interpreted through redemption, or if you will, the man of redemption, Jesus Christ. Again, the power of this ideology is a dismissal of it out-of-hand by those who proceed to sit under its “theology.” The theology of the metaphysics redefines biblical terms, and uses them to lead the masses into a functioning Christocentric view of reality.

We will not plunge the depths of the Heidelberg Disputation in this writing, but the principles will be outlined and their inevitable functionality among Christians. Before we move forward, let’s examine additional statements that confirm this approach among Christians. This testimony was given in a recent email to me:

An old acquaintance of ours (Presbyterian as they get) has said more times than I can remember something like this: “Every verse in the Bible, from Genesis 1 through Revelation, is talking about Jesus.” Years ago that sounded so intellectual, holy; today it sounds like hogwash. I mean, are we really expected to believe that the passages talking about incestuous rape are talking about Jesus? Come on, really?

Well, as ridiculous as it sounds, the answer is, “yes.” Many function according to the theology that is predicated on this foundational interpretive method for not only the Bible, but reality itself.

Pause: keep in mind that those who function according to this interpretation of reality without understanding its premise will reflect back the resulting interpretation of Scripture. They repeat pulpit talking points without ever investigating the source of them, or the logical conclusions of the talking points. Sometimes, such people are referred to as “useful idiots.” But again we need to be cautious: people who blindly follow others do not do so for the sake of following blindly—they are functioning according to some sort of ideology that leads to the blind following.

Higher Knowledge cropped

Let’s look at some more examples from proponents of New Covenant Theology:

New Covenant Theology insists on the priority of Jesus Christ over all things, including history, revelation, and redemption.  New Covenant Theology presumes a Christocentricity to the understanding and meaning of all reality (1st tenet of NCT according to the Earth Stove Society, a NCT think tank).

Not much ambiguity in that statement. Pretty clear on its face except for how one would apply it to real life. Again, many might scratch their head in regard to that statement, but proceed to let the theological orthodoxy that flows from it shape their life and thinking. At the point of debate with such people, their orthodoxed talking points will reflect the metaphysical premise. They will absolutely not be swayed in their thinking because they concede that they cannot understand the higher knowledge, and the authority of the higher knowledge is part of the orthodoxy.

Pause: I used to be involved in a ministry that evangelized Jehovah Witnesses. Debating the Bible with them led nowhere because their orthodoxy reinterprets all biblical terms and phraseology. When Christ is referred to, it is assumed that their presuppositions regarding Christ are the same, and they are not. Instead, we challenged their orthodoxy, i.e., the Watchtower publication. Likewise, let me reveal a concluding theme of this study: never debate the Bible with a Protestant; instead, bring their authority into question. Refuse to discuss anything else for it will be futile for reasons yet to be examined.

Let’s look at another statement from the New Covenant Theology camp:

At this time, resist the temptation to utilize subsequent passages to validate the meaning or to move out from the immediate context. Remembering that all exegesis must finally be a Christocentric exegesis.

Look for Christ even if He isn’t there directly. It is better to see Christ in a text even if He isn’t, than to miss Him where He is (The Biblical Theological Study Center: A Christo-Presuppositional Approach to the Entire Scriptures; Max Strange. Online source: http://goo.gl/5sGjP).

The question quickly becomes, “How can you see Jesus in every verse in the Bible?” This is where the Bible becomes a “meta-narrative.” That can mean, “grand narrative,” but in this case it means “metaphysical narrative.” The Bible is a narrative, or story that depicts redemptive reality. You will get confused unless you understand that the theory also posits the inclusion of multi-purpose perspectives into the metaphysical story (a story that depicts true reality). The text grammar doesn’t determine the perspective resulting in a particular objective outcome, but the assumed outcome determines the perspective. So, can “passages talking about incestuous rape” say something about redemption? Of course. In this example, the passage is not talking about Jesus specifically, but denotes why His redemptive works are needed. In some way, according to the prism, the verse always speaks of Jesus and His redemptive works.

This approach to interpreting reality (state of being, or metaphysics), what we call epistemology, plugs into the basic ancient philosophy of total inability. This proffers the idea that man cannot know or comprehend reality. The metaphysic follows: man dwells in a realm apart from true reality that he cannot comprehend. Secondly, somehow, usually via a theory of predeterminism, there are a select few that can ascertain truths from the other realm. Usually, the delineation of the realms is the material versus invisible with mankind residing in the material realm.

The Reformers recognized a reality that man functions in, but deemed it “subjective,” or shadowy. Focusing on this shadowy realm leads to despair. In the aforementioned foundational document of Protestantism, Luther contended that man’s material realm only feeds “the glory story,” or the story of man.

In Luther’s construct, ALL reality is interpreted through two stories: the glory story (the story of man), and the cross story (the story of redemption). Giving any credence to the material world or the belief that man can know the material world empirically only contributes to the story of man and his glory. Yes, man functions in this world, but it does not possess any objective wisdom that can bring true well being. Only an ever-clearer understanding of the cross story can bring well being.

What then is the cross story specifically? It is twofold: it is the holiness of God as set against the sinfulness of man. This is the only objective truth and reality that can bring well being. The goal is a deeper and deeper understanding of how inept we are in every category of life as set against the glory and holiness of God.

Pause for main point: according to this philosophy, the sole purpose of the Bible is to lead us in seeing the cross story with more and more clarity. To the extent that we do that, we will have well being. AND, to the extent that each individual lives according to the cross story, the well being of society as a whole will increase. When Reformed folks talk about “transforming society with the gospel,” this is exactly what they are talking about. To the extent that the populous embraces the doctrine of inability, society will be transformed.

One reason for lauding this epistemology is unified agreement on interpretation. If every verse is about Jesus, there is no division in opinions. Secondly on this point, it gives Christianity a pass on defending inerrancy; e.g., narratives are not meant to be technical systems of theology that require consistency in logic. Thirdly on this point, if some sort of Christocentric conclusion is drawn from the text—it can’t be wrong. If the interpretation of the text somehow demeans man and exalts God, error is impossible.

Before we address the grammatical-historical approach to interpreting reality, let me add some thoughts to the redemptive-historical perspective. This perspective now dominates the institutional church. Just yesterday, I participated in a conversation on a social media site in which the following statement was made about Proverbs chapter 8:

The Old Testament reveals shadows of what Jesus Christ will be in the New Covenant. I can easily say that wisdom personified in Proverbs 8 is Jesus Christ.

If one reads Proverbs 8, the assertion that it is about Christ is beyond presumptuous at best. It is a complete rejection of the plain sense of the grammar; even in lieu of the personification being in the female gender.

Also, these two perspectives on reality are a salvific issue with the Reformed. A denial of total inability equates with the grammatical-historical view of reality which is supposedly an attempt by man to glorify himself by writing his own story. By believing that you can understand reality, you are in essence making yourself God.

The most common question is the issue of biblical imperatives that are clearly directed at mankind. This assumes that man is able to obey because grammatically, the commands are directed at him with a demand for obedience. But again, addressing these commands with the presupposition of total inability that equates with the redemptive-historical prism, the commands are supposedly meant to deliberately frustrate man and “drive him to despair of self-righteousness.”

The Reformed continually concede that the Bible states things in grammatical form, but that is always followed with the proper “gospel context” according to the redemptive-historical interpretation of reality. The classic example is this quotation from Neo-Calvinist Paul David Tripp:

….and the Bible does call us to change the way we think about things. But this approach again omits the person and work of Christ as Savior. Instead, it reduces our relationship to Christ to “think his thoughts” and “act the way Jesus would act.” (How People Change 2006, p.27).

Notice that Tripp concedes that the Bible calls us to do things according to the grammatical context, but goes on to say that is a denial of the gospel (omits the work of Christ as savior). On page 26 of the same book, Tripp calls obedience to the word of God a “behavioral approach” that “separates the commands of Scripture from their Christ-centered gospel context.”

Lastly before we move on, when one is able to wrap their minds around the redemptive-historical approach to interpreting reality, it will be recognized that this approach now saturates the Protestant institutional church.

What is the grammatical-historical approach to interpreting reality? As with the other prism, I am not going to elaborate on the “historical” part except to say that the redemptive-historical hermeneutic makes history part of the prewritten gospel narrative. History is simply the redemptive story playing out as scripted by God.

The political commentator Rush Limbaugh often notes that “words mean things.” This is a good working definition of grammatical-historical interpretation; it draws conclusions from a technical evaluation of the words in a sentence whether spoken or written. The many categories of language that give meaning are considered also, which speaks to the “historical” part of the term. Does the sentence mean the same thing today that it meant then? For instance a sentence written in 1940 might say, “Bob is gay.” History informs us of the meaning in that day: Bob is happy. Today that means Bob is a homosexual. The etymology of words and many other factors weigh-in, but all have this in common: they are empirical tools.

This interpretive method also assumes mankind is able to comprehend the realty he dwells in according to empirical observation and can draw conclusions on his own. Man has ability.

Pause: how did Luther get away with denying that mankind had any kind of ability at all? He chalked-it-up to man’s self-perceived ability that can accomplish things in the material world. These accomplishments are of no worth and only accomplish one thing and one thing only: they serve man’s lust to glorify himself. Luther believed that satisfaction from accomplishment was nothing more than sinful pride. To Luther, the only redeeming thing about the world was that heaven manifested its works on earth according to God’s sovereign will. If man lives life subjectively and professes that his evil “good” works cannot be distinguished from heavenly manifestations “experienced subjectively,” that is venial sin that can be forgiven. In accordance with authentic Reformed tradition, Luther believed the following: the belief that any man, including Christians, can perform a good work is mortal sin.

Therefore, the Reformed often define wisdom/knowledge according to two categories: “worldly knowledge” and “wisdom from above.” Sure, man can obtain worldly knowledge that improves his circumstances, but it is all prideful according to Luther. Wouldn’t this approach propagate a lot of death and misery due to a lack of science? Yes, but that was exactly Luther’s point. Many are perplexed by the embracing of ideologies that result in third world cultures, but those who are perplexed make the point for those in the other camp: what is the perplexity of the detractors? Answer: they are perplexed that other people do not lust after materialism as they do. Hence, third world cultures are often seen as being virtuous by the Reformed.

This is why Luther introduced suffering as a hermeneutic that interprets reality. There is true wisdom in the cross story because according to Luther, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” According to Luther, many reject this interpretation of reality and dub it the “foolishness of the cross.” Luther also stated that men call the good evil (suffering), and evil good (anything that prevents suffering). This is why Luther called reason an “ugly whore who should have dung rubbed in her face.”

The grammatical-historical perspective of reality assumes man can interpret his own reality, and the material world is not inherently evil. Believers and unbelievers share common realities that are simply practical and not evil.

Here is the challenge: to bring biblical knowledge to bear on grammatical-historical reality when the prevailing view of Protestantism has been the redemptive prism for hundreds of years.

But there is good news as well: the grammatical prism is what man utilizes intuitively. People assume they can interpret their own reality. Of course, the Reformed see this as the very problem.

Does this mean that grammatical-historical Christians should evangelize the lost world and forgo debate with Protestants? Yes it does, because it is a futile endeavor. You are trying to reach people who define reality itself differently. Protestants are redemptive-historical religionists.

Knowledge cropped

Futility cropped

If There is Any Gospel Centrality It’s the Spirit and NOT Christ

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 24, 2015

void

Indicative of the under law gospel of the institutional church is the everything Jesus gig, aka Christocentric this, and that, and the other. It’s not at-all complicated; the overemphasis on Christ is directly related to the false gospel of the institutional church. In this false gospel, “Christ” partners with the law to cut out God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In this false gospel, Christ is central, and the other two members of the Trinity play supporting roles. In fact, supposedly, according to many well known evangelicals, Christ came to save us from God; the God of grace, Jesus, saving us from the God of wrath. So, right off the bat, the Father is defined by wrath and not love. That identity is subtly shifted to Christ. But again, all in all, these distortions of the Trinity seek to slip the law back into the good news.

To the contrary, it was God the Father who elected the means of salvation AND the Son. Furthermore, it is God the Father’s righteousness that is imputed to us because we are born of Him—that’s what makes us righteous, and nothing else. Think about what the church did: it made Christ’s obedience to the law the standard or definition of righteousness, not the fact that we are born anew by our heavenly Father. This imputation of Christ’s obedience to the law cuts the Father out of the salvation equation.

We are therefore, according to the church’s under law gospel, only declared righteous through the imputation of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law, and not MADE righteous through being born anew by the Father. We are righteous because of the infusion of God’s seed within us (see 1John chapter 3). Moreover, Christ was called on to die so that the Spirit could be promised to him, that is, Christ, Abraham, and all of Abraham’s children. That’s right, the promise of the Spirit was to Abraham and Christ. It was a promise that the Spirit would not leave Christ in the grave, but would resurrect him and make him the first fruits of many.

Galatians 3:16 – Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

The promise was made to Abraham AND Christ by the Father, and executed by the Spirit when He resurrected Christ from the grave. The idea that we are righteous because Christ obeyed the law for us, and by believing on him we have the “righteousness of Christ,” makes the law a co-life-giver with God the Father. This is the exact same false gospel that Paul was arguing against in Galatians 3:

Galatians 3:17 – This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

If the law has anything to do with the gospel at all, the promise is voided. Hence, you see how egregious double imputation is; this whole idea that Christ not only died for us, but also came to keep the law in our stead. The law has NO part of the promise at all. Christocentric soteriology makes it possible to include the law in the promise. In effect, it is a righteousness by the law in contrast to being made righteous via the family we are born into—that’s what makes us righteous—not law regardless of who keeps it. We are reborn as a particular species: righteous, like our Father who gave us life.

We see this in how the church defines the word translated “perfect.” It is defined as perfect law-keeping. Take note of that, this is almost too simple: that’s a righteousness by the law; that’s NOT a righteousness “APART” from the law (Romans 3:21). The church’s definition of righteousness voids the promise.

So, you see, this is why Christ is the whole thing according to the church and the other two members of the Trinity become out of sight and out of mind—they are replaced by the law. Christ died to pay the penalty of sin against the law, but also “fulfilled the righteous demands of the law,” and frankly, continues to do so.

But in reality, the work of the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise apart from the law. By faith, we “receive the Spirit.”

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Here, we see the two different roles of Christ and the Spirit and both exclude the law. When the law is included, so is the flesh in regard to the use of our members for unrighteousness. Why? Because the new birth is replaced with ritual. Christ was crucified to end the law, not obey it for us because it is the definition of righteousness for justification. The Spirit’s baptism puts the old us to death with Christ, and resurrects us in the same way He resurrected Christ, and that’s what makes us righteous:

Romans 4:18 – In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

The constant thread is the Spirit’s miraculous births throughout the ages, culminating in our new birth, made possible by raising Christ from the grave. The law cannot give life (Gal 3:21) and has nothing to do with justification at all. The law is for sanctification only, and to the extent that we fuse justification and sanctification together, we usurp the new birth. The everything Jesus motif is for the express purpose of fusing justification and sanctification together, or in other words, fusing the law with justification via Jesus while devaluing the roles of the Father and Spirit.

But in the final analysis, if there is any gospel centrality at all, it should be the centrality of the promise made possible by the Spirit who gives life apart from the law. He resurrected Christ because Christ ended the law so that life in the Spirit can be by faith alone.

paul

1John 3 final

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