Paul's Passing Thoughts

What is “The Church”?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 25, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

We hear it constantly, references to “the Church.” When discussing statistics, they are always in reference to “the church.” This is the term used constantly regardless of the fact that “church” can refer to Catholicism and an array of Protestant denominations including Charismatics and a myriad of Baptist stripes.

So, what is meant by “the church”? The concise definition is very obvious: the church is institutional theism. At least in Western culture, that is the starting point of accepted goodness that must prevail for the survival of humanity. In the same way that some parents send their children to Sunday school because “everybody needs some morals,” being a “Christian” is the minimal requirement for being unhazardous to humanity.

Hence, we have another definition: a “Christian” is someone who is identified with institutional theism, or “church.” And again, this is a societal Good Person Seal of Approval. For example, even President Obama claims to be a Christian and is a member of an institutional church. No Presidential candidate would have a prayer of being elected without some sort of religious affiliation whether Catholic or some breed of Protestantism. Quality of faith is far from being the issue, but the minimal requirement is a wink towards “the church.”

Being a Christian in America means you are a member of the institutional church which is anything theism. If you are a member of a theistic institution, you have good intentions and nobody has a right to judge your path to the pearly gates. Go to any Baptist church and start criticizing Catholics and you will quickly hear about all the Catholic friends they have who are saved and loved by God. Go to any of the National Day of Prayer gatherings and you will see that everything but the religious kitchen sink is there.

“The church” is the “Christian” club and means, not atheist, but rather any and all things theistic. Even the umber pragmatic Rush Limbaugh concurs. Just the other day on his radio program he stressed the importance of people, especially political candidates, having some “concept of God.” Bingo. A belief in some sort of deity: good; not believing in some sort of deity: bad. Limbaugh associated atheism (the Greek article “a” which means “anti” prefixed to “theism”) with being deceived about all sorts of things including global warming which he mentioned specifically.

Dr. Jay Adams, in a recent article, assumes that there are enough doctrinally sound churches in a given town or city to prevent “church tramping.” In my book, “church” and “tramp” are mutually inclusive.

When did “church” begin? The etymology of the word is German (kirche), and replaced the Greek word for “assembly” found in the Bible manuscripts (ecclesia). The word “synagogue” also means “assembly” or “congregation.”

The first complete English bible was the Tyndale bible in about 1524, and that bible did not use the word “church” anywhere in its pages, it used the word “congregation.” Sometime after this bible, they started replacing the word “congregation” with the word “church” (Christ’s Ekklesia and The Church Compared: Richard Anthony;

However, the concept of church started much earlier in history after the deaths of the twelve apostles. The early church fathers, at least according to the English translations, used the word “church” often. Several of the early church fathers were disciples of the original twelve apostles and deemed authoritative theologians of that era.

Unfortunately, an apostolic succession controversy took place immediately following the passing of the twelve apostles. Regardless of the fact that the twelve established a home fellowship model led by elders and organized by deacons, and predicated by gifts rather than authority, many of the church fathers argued that chaos and doctrinal abyss would ensue unless the authority of the twelve was replaced with a like central authority.

However, even the apostles pointed to Christ as the only head and rarely implemented apostolic authority. The principle protocol was that of persuasion by apt teaching from the Word. Nevertheless, the church fathers insisted on a central hierarchy located in Rome that would rule over what they called “the church.” The first “ruling bishop” of Rome was Linus who was a disciple among the original twelve and an early church father, and for all practical purposes, the first pope. Later, Protestantism came out of the institutional church which originated in Rome.

The home fellowships established by the apostles contended against the institutional church for about 200 years until home fellowships finally began to give way in the 4th century. Unfortunately, the home fellowship model only continues in certain geographies because of necessity, usually economic or governments that prohibit organized religions that follow Christ.

Obviously, “the church” is little concerned with “sound doctrine” emphasized by the original twelve. The focus is some “concept of God” defined by “Christianity.” It is quite enough that the first Republican announcing his candidacy is calling himself a “Christian,” and has included video of his family praying before a meal in a TV ad—no one will ask for any particulars, the main concern is that he’s not an atheist and is a member of formal theism. The main concern is, does he have a “concept of God”?

This is where the home fellowship movement has opportunity. We are NOT “the church.” And by today’s definition, we are NOT “Christian.” And if nothing else, that will spark curiosity. But more than that, when the freedom to pursue sound doctrine is fully exploited, I wonder what the Spirit might do?


Pastor Todd Pruitt: When Progressive Justification is Too Pagan

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 3, 2015

I am becoming more and more convinced: all theological debates within the institutional church boil down to a call for temperament in heresy. The Protestant/Catholic church is supposedly God’s preordained institution that ferries salvation wannabes from point A in justification to point B in justification. God has supposedly given the institutional church, His authority on earth to “bind and loose, and to kill and make alive.”

Yes, it simply boils down to this: you start at point A, and by submitting yourself to the authority of the institutional church, you receive grace gasoline to get your totally depraved junker to point B. The only place you can get grace gasoline is in the institutional church which is the ONLY place “sacraments” can be received which “impart grace” to the believer. By the way, “grace” does not always refer to salvation in the Bible. More times than not it refers to the love of God in action which of course includes salvation, but many other actions as well.

What are these “sacraments”? Answer: baptism (gets you into the grace club), the Lord’s Table, and public preaching of the word. Calvin and Luther stated this grace gasoline idea albeit by other words in no uncertain terms, and they are the spiritual heroes of the institutional church for that reason.

This brings me to an article written by Pastor Todd Pruitt of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The article was published on the “Crosswalk” .com blog. The name of the blog in and of itself makes my point completely. Get it? “cross”… “walk.” You walk (Christian living) by the cross. You began by the cross (point A), and now there is only one place where you can get what you need to walk by the same cross that saved you in order to get to point B—the institutional church.

Pruitt has a complaint via the article: music in the church has become one of the sacraments that impart grace. It has been added to the list of grace gasolines. We can’t have that. That’s going too far with progressive justification heresy. C’mon people, let’s show some moderation here! If we go too far with these things, it is “pagan” according to Pruitt.

To make his point, Pruitt states that music has been made a mediator between God and man when there is only one mediator between God and man. Huh? I must ask then, what exactly are “ruling elders” in the institutional church? You know, the ones who have the “power of the keys to God’s kingdom.”

Says Pruitt in the article:

It is also ironic that while many Christians deny the sacramental role of those ordinances which the Lord Himself has given to the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) they are eager to grant music sacramental powers. Music and “the worship experience” are viewed as means by which we enter the presence of God and receive his saving benefits. There is simply no evidence whatsoever in Scripture that music mediates direct encounters or experiences with God. This is a common pagan notion. It is far from Christian.

Sigh. So let me get this straight: baptism (the rite of church membership according to Calvin), the Lord’s Table, and one he mentions elsewhere, “God’s word” (elder preaching of the gospel), imparts “saving benefits,” but his beef is that music is included in the sacramental list?

Reality check. We don’t gather together to obtain “saving benefits” to get us from point A to point B. That’s ancient pagan caste to the core. There are NO saving benefits left for God’s people—we received the full package when we believed unto salvation. We do not receive the Holy Spirit on an installment plan. An institution where “saving benefits” can be found is MEDIATION, period!

Organized religion with authority structure is a mediator—this is unavoidable. Christians are called on to fellowship together under one authority and to strive for the “one mind in Christ.” Individual gifts are the focus, and fellowship for the purpose of exploiting those gifts to the fullest is the primary purpose of Christian fellowship. Certainly, in striving for the unity of one mind in Christ, things will be done decently and in order, but Christians don’t meet together for the purpose of “worship” to begin with—that is a way of life. Christians don’t meet together for more salvation; they can’t get themselves anymore saved than they already are. Striving to be more “set apart” is not salvation.

The crux of paganism is spiritual caste which is a structured authority for purposes of mediation…and control. All of the white noise in the institutional church regards the question of balanced paganism.


Mom Wants to Know: Why I Don’t Like Mike Huckabee (and Other Adorable People)

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 6, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published February 10, 2014

I am very busy and need to combine eight posts into one which is not difficult because it’s all related. I need to write about Mike Huckabee, Joni Eareckson Tada, Boz Tchividjian, K-Love, stuff happens theology, plumbing, Communism, and of course John Calvin, but not necessarily in that order.

Let’s start with a conversation that occurred over at my mom’s house about former Governor Mike Huckabee. Susan and I were over at her house overseeing the repair of her furnace. My study of medieval religion has given me a robust appreciation in regard to American ingenuity and technology. A working furnace is critical for someone my mom’s age in sub-zero weather. The furnace was repaired by a competent young man within hours of us calling, and let me add that he also laughed at my jokes.


When all was accomplished, Susan and I said farewell to mom and then received a call on my cellphone about four miles from her house; she reported a funny hissing sound in the kitchen. We returned, and concluded that a frozen water pipe had broken under the kitchen floor. This was totally unrelated to the furnace repair. There we were, the day well spent, and a broken water pipe shooting out gallons of water by the minute underneath the shallow crawl space of the kitchen.

Another competent repair man to the rescue, even at that hour? Maybe, but my mom is long retired and lives on a limited income. I went down to the basement and turned off the main water supply to the house and also observed the following: much cost was spared in installing shutoff valves, but the kitchen was an isolated run of two copper pipes easily accessible before entering the long and shallow crawl space under the kitchen. It became apparent that those two pipes could be sealed off and the rest of the house would have water until the broken pipe was fixed. The trade of a dishwasher and one faucet for flushing toilets etc. in the rest of the house would be a good trade indeed.

I have some past limited background in plumbing, so Susan and I drove to the nearest Lowes to buy sand paper, a propane torch, two copper end-caps, solder, flux, a small brush, a hack saw, and inner pipe brush. Then we talked to a delightful young man that informed me that American plumbing had indeed changed since fifteen years ago when I was dabbling in it here and there as a builder. He informed us that we would only need two “push fittings” and a mini pipe cutter, and about five minutes.

“Uh, let me get this straight. I just cut the pipe, and push this thing on the end of it, and I am done? ‘Right.’”

Now visualize me looking at the guy like he is the Lowes version of John Calvin as he explained how the simple contraption worked. Remember those weaved tubes that we used to put on our friends’ finger when we were kids back in the days of extreme political incorrectness? The tightness of the device around the finger increased with pull. It was the initiation ceremony of choice for all neighborhood club houses. In this case, the pipe is the finger and the water pressure is the sadistic adolescent.


All of this is why I don’t like Mike Huckabee. After the plumbing repair, we hung around awhile and watched the Mike Huckabee show on the Fox News channel. I informed mom and Susan that I don’t like the guy. Like many, they were astounded that anyone of Christian stripe could dislike that cornball.

“Why don’t you like Huckabee?!”

I really didn’t have an answer at the time. But I thought about it all night and realized that the answer was right under my nose the whole time—so I hereby write.


Huckabee had the mega storied Joni Eareckson Tada on his show. Both of these people are impressive and adorable. Tada has been a paraplegic since her teen years, but her life accomplishments are over the top. Both are the epitome of American pie and conservative Christianity. The reason Huckabee had Tada on his show was to discuss the “Academy’s rescinding of its Oscar nomination for ‘Best Original Song,’ which appeared in the inspirational American colonial epic, ‘Alone Yet Not Alone,’ when it was discovered that the composer, Bruce Broughton, had sent a short email bringing the song to the attention of Oscar voters.” Tada was the vocalist.

Christians en masse stand in awe of Tada, and Huckabee added to her mystique with his mainstream Christian appeal. And this is the problem with Huckabee: he doesn’t get it. Huckabee is the poster child for the Christian metaphysical treadmill. Tada is very much a part of the New Calvinism movement which is a return to authentic Reformation ideology.


It is nothing more or less than Communism dressed in Bible verses. This is where the Huck doesn’t get it; as a political/religious conservative, he is representative of many in Christianity who allow their principles to fornicate with contrary ideology. This leads to a never ending endeavor to change society while unwittingly giving credence to the very ideologies that are the source of the problem.

In the same show, Huckabee, prior to Tada’s segment, criticized the opening ceremonies at this year’s winter Olympics in Moscow which promoted the virtues of Communism. He commented that Lenin’s murderous legacy was conveniently left out. Meanwhile, in the next segment, here comes Joni Eareckson Tada who represents a return to John Calvin purism. Granted, Tada’s extensive education came from seminaries that don’t teach the significance of how philosophy progressed through history and how that applies to the doctrine she embraces. Long story short, this leads to a contradictory motif in her own life as she benefits from an array of technological advances that has made much of her success possible (more on that later), but the larger point is that Reformation theology and Communism came from the exact same ideological source along with its presuppositions concerning mankind.

Hence, Huckabee partakes in the same hypocrisy that he criticizes. The Reformers were NO LESS murdering despots than Lenin—that’s conspicuous history plain and simple. In fact, in most cases, Lenin had people shot in the head while the Reformers wouldn’t have tolerated such a quick and painless departure by those whom they disagreed with. Huckabee is the epitome of the well-polished American do-gooder that refuses to come to terms with the fact that the Pilgrims, the Puritans, and the Reformers are not part of the ideology that made America; they are in fact part and parcel with Communist ideology. Putin needs ratings no less than Huckabee does.

The progression of philosophy and how it affects humanity is magnified in the differences between America and Russia. Huckabee, again, in the same show, pointed to the poor quality of life in Russia that is hindering the Olympics. What he doesn’t realize is that it would be much worse if it wasn’t for America. You have to have technology to eventually destroy the Great Satan, but if Russia ever succeeds, technology goes bye-bye, and the mass graves become filled with the Joni Eareckson Tada’s of the world because they can’t “contribute to the greater good of the group.” This is why Russia’s technology will never rival that of American ingenuity: Communists see technology as a necessary evil, Americans see technology as a means to accomplish good.

Really, this can be summarized in the living contradiction that is Joni Eareckson Tada. While promoting Luther’s worm theology and making one statement by God to the apostle Paul the whole enchilada, she continually pontificates, “God’s power always shows up best in weakness.” Communism asserts that the masses are hapless and incompetent; Reformation theology asserts that man defaces the glory of God through his own accomplishments. Both share the same presuppositions in regard to mankind. Tada points to her disability as set against her accomplishments as proof of Reformed doctrine while completely dismissing God’s use of technology invented by those who in many cases could care less about God. Tada has a lot of education in regard to what others told her is in the Calvin Institutes, and conveniently missing are Calvin’s vast discussions of Plato and Aristotle. I dare say that the Reformation had more to do with those two men than “justification by faith alone.”

And by the way, the Reformation wasn’t about that either; it was about cutting man completely out of the salvation process because of Plato’s philosophical presuppositions concerning mankind. This later morphed into Gnosticism.

Stuff Happens Theology

Can we summarize this dilemma with T-shirt theology? “S— Happens.” No, stuff doesn’t just happen (there is a logic that drives everything). And that’s how Huckabee functions because of his metaphysics: stuff happens and you have to relentlessly address that stuff until all of the stuff has been refuted. No, you have to stop fornicating with the logic that creates the stuff. The apostle Paul stated it this way: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” If Huckabee wants unleavened bread, he needs to take some culinary philosophy classes. And if you don’t like what you learn, stop criticizing the Communists for editing history.

And by the way, what scares the bejeebers out of me is that the average Communist on the street understands these issues as opposed to American Christians. They know exactly why their country stinks; because mankind and life stinks. Get with the caste program or it will stink even worse. It’s about the best world hospice care possible. The fray between Americanism and Communism really began when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. That’s where the rewriting of history for us began as well; “Pilgrim” is a soft term for “Puritan.” These are people who saw the likes of Benjamin Franklin as troublers who stir up the anger of the gods with their big ideas. Now they have to use those same ideas to put an end to the egregious idea that man has worth. That’s Joni Eareckson Tada metaphysics.

Hence, supposedly, technology doesn’t enable us to do more ministry. It would have been better to replace my mother’s furnace with a wood burning stove. It would have been better if my mother would have had to write me a letter about the broken water pipe instead of calling me on my cellphone. See, if we were like the Russians, we wouldn’t need plumbing anyway. For Tada, technology is a necessary evil to spread the word that we all suck. If she thinks that is an absurd evaluation of her metaphysics, she should stop promoting men who believe just that in no uncertain terms. She would know this if her reality wasn’t completely formed by the likes of John MacArthur Jr.

The Republican Party and Mike Huckabee in particular need to wake up to a new reality: New Calvinism has made the American church the New Communist Party. Again, stuff doesn’t just happen; there is a reason why many well-known New Calvinist pastors voted for Obama. Sure, they don’t agree with his stance on abortion and other issues, but there is agreement on the bigger issue at hand: mankind needs the best hospice care possible; unfortunate collateral damage can be dealt with when Calvinism is back in bed with the state. This is why the institutional church is the institutional church and partakes in many things institutional like movie production, formal education etc., etc., ect. The state gave it birth, and it will always gravitate back to its mother. This is why Christ’s assembly was never an institution.

The Boz

Let’s continue now with stuff happens theology and the adorable Boz Tchividjian aka the Boz. The Boz is another impressive guy. How can we criticize the Boz? For crying out loud, he left his station as a district attorney who prosecuted child abusers to start G.R.A.C.E, an acronym for, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. The Boz bemoans “the continued culture of silence and protection [for child abusers] in American Evangelicalism.” This is a reality—stuff happens. No, stuff doesn’t just happen. Read the history for yourself. Seriously, people have actually written this ministry and stated, “Evangelicalism is beginning to look like Catholicism in regard to child abuse.” This is stuff happens theology.

Catholicism was founded on Platonism, and Protestantism came from Catholicism, and never left it. Augustine, an avowed Neo-Platonist, is both the father of Reformed theology and a Doctor of Grace in the Catholic Church. Later, Baptists became Protestants when the issue of infant baptism became a “secondary” issue. Apparently, after all of the Anabaptists of the home church variety were executed by a joint effort of Catholics and Protestants, the institutional breed of Baptist was accepted. After all, they paid the tithe tax. In regard to Catholics and their bastard children, there is no heresy more egregious than tax evasion. Evangelicalism became a necessary addition to Protestantism when people could no longer be compelled by force to attend church and tithe.

Again, we criticize the Communists for propaganda, but yet colonial America was a Puritan theocracy that executed people for being theologically incorrect and jailed people for not attending church and tithing. The Puritans were the first to bring slaves to America at Jamestown. The American Revolution was a pushback against colonial tyranny. While the Boz seeks to rectify the child abuse stuff in “Evangelicalism,” he holds fast to the same presuppositions concerning mankind and the divine right of kings that flows from it. He wants to rid “Evangelicalism” of the behavior, but continues to fornicate with the ideology that produces it.

This ministry, which understands Reformed ideology, has therefore continually stated that G.R.A.C.E. cannot help victims of child abuse in the church. This is because the Boz, like all of those in a Calvinist mindset, sees all of humanity as being in the same boat. Peruse if you will all of the G.R.A.C.E . literature, I was not able to find the word “justice” anywhere. And yet, didn’t the Boz come from a justice system? Though God himself demands justice for the maltreated, Calvinism holds justice in contempt because it assumes humanity deserves NOTHING more than eternity in hell.

I have written extensively on the problem of dealing with abuse in the church with Reformed ideology. The difference is the mindset that puts as much value on one life as it does all of life versus collectivism which sees the individual as expendable for the benefit of the group. This is known as collectivism. This is a big player in the Reformation’s Platonist roots. This is about philosophical metaphysics—not the Bible. While the Boz deplores the behavior of child abuse, his remedy requires that the victim and the abuser both recognize that we are all just “sinners saved by grace.” In at least one sense, he believes that the abusers would repent if the victims would admit that they are no better than their abusers. Example: while the Wartburg Watch blog portends to be an advocacy for the spiritual abused, they partner with Pastor Wade Burleson, a Calvinist, who suggested that abuse would be greatly reduced if the church was not guilty of failing to pray for abusers. Here we have yet another example of attempting to bake unleavened bread while adding leaven to the dough.

Furthermore, discernment blogs, like the Boz, have a common goal of purifying the institutional church. This gets right back to collectivism which is always dependent on the state. Plato’s Republic was about the best hospice care for humanity: government must own man and truth so that humanity can be as comfortable as possible while dying. To the contrary, Christ said He came to give eternal life and life more abundantly in the here and now. And the Christian has no fight with those who believe in a limited government that assures humanity’s right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. This is closer to the priesthood of believers that devalues church as an institution. This is why the New Testament church was primarily home based before being driven underground in oppressive countries by necessity. To the contrary, the American church functions primarily in institutional venues: higher learning; corporate expression; missionary organizations; political organizations; and even movie making. Discipleship and citizenship to the glory of God is barely on the radar screen.

Therefore, the institutional church will always be one step away from a liaison with state. The institution is what the institution does—it collects taxes and tithes, and doesn’t much care for those who don’t contribute to the group.

Yes, all of the above is why I was able to predict the inevitable outcome of G.R.A.C.E.’s involvement in the Bob Jones University abuse scandal months beforehand. It’s a Reformed institution investigating a Reformed institution. Don’t be fooled by the good cop bad cop routine. They are all cops when it is all said and done. BJU’s final sentence of their statement in regard to firing G.R.A.C.E. after the smoke was clear says it all:

We grieve with those who have suffered abuse in their past, and we desire to minister the grace of Christ to them. Our prayer for the abused is that God will be their refuge and strength.

Yes, they ministered G.R.A.C.E. to them alright, and that message is loud and clear lest the discernment bloggers and victims cannot yet see it:

Justice isn’t the issue; who in the hell do you think you are? You think you deserve justice? If you had a smidgen of spirituality you would seek refuge in God and not the justice of men! How dare you threaten the institution wherein salvation is found because you will not accept the will of God! You were raped, big deal! Jesus hung on the cross for your sins! You are the unmerciful servant who received forgiveness but will not forgive!


 …is a radio station that plays contemporary Gnostic Christian music. Here is what my missionary son in law posted on Facebook a couple of days ago:

We have been listening to the newest Christian music on K-Love as we travel and I am noticing an odd trend: there are several songs that ask for God to break someone or make them lonely with the expected result of being a better person. Having been broken and very lonely a couple times in life I am pretty sure they are not really aware of what they are asking for. You don’t have to be broken in order to listen to God’s voice and indeed if you learn to listen to His voice you will not break or be broken even when you do face difficult times.

It’s not odd really, but is part of the whole all reality than can be perceived with the five senses (which of course includes us) is evil and only the invisible spirit realm is good metaphysics dressed up in Bible verses. We have to understand the ideology that drives all of this stuff and stop focusing on the stuff. It explains the madness behind the music, why a pastor would vote for Obama, why someone like Tada endowed with all sorts of technical power and influence would glory in her “weakness” while being far more empowered than most Americans, and for that matter, why a Buddhist monk would set himself on fire just to make a statement.

John Calvin

…is the epicenter of all that is going on in Christianity right now, and the key to understanding the significance of Calvin and his cultural impact has little to do with the Bible and everything to do with the fact that his ideology is the premise that drives a lot of stuff across the spectrum of life and society.  Focusing on the stuff will only delay the inevitable. And per the usual, people will continue to focus on the stuff, because stuff happens, and we like to talk about it—it’s like rubber necking to get the best view that we can of a traffic accident—it’s like flirting with the voluptuous vampiress that just might bite our necks and suck all of our blood. There is no thrill in solutions like traffic safety or a silver bullet.

And what would Mike Huckabee talk about on his show? But others have a choice; we don’t have to strive in baking unleavened bread while allowing leaven. We don’t have to give mere platitudes to the suffering…

we can set them free with real truth, and be a blessing in our own little corner of the world. And when you stand before Jesus, as we all will, it’s better that way. Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of the little ones we do unto Him. With Jesus, love is about the individual—not the collective good.


Why Young People Leave Church

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

Young people stop going to church because it’s church. There is a reason church is not in the New Testament. There is a reason church does not show up until the 4th century. People have been trying to fix church for 500 years now; how are we doing? Christianity and church are two different things. Christianity was NEVER an institution with an authority structure. Please do not confuse leadership and fellowship with authority and orthodoxy. Please do not confuse individual temples where the Holy Spirit dwells with an institutional temple of refuge from the wrath of God. The church is a separate model of institutional authority with a gospel that serves that authority. ALL spiritual abuse, I repeat, ALL spiritual abuse flows from the presuppositions of the church’s institutional gospel of perpetual justification.

Church is the problem with church.