Paul's Passing Thoughts

When Depression Wins

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on December 28, 2016
Originally published August 11, 2014

ppt-jpeg4I just received news about two hours ago that the famous actor Robin Williams has died in what looks to be a suicide. This has not been confirmed. Williams has been suffering from severe depression of late according to reports. I am not able to write about this tomorrow because of a project, but as a two-time survivor of severe depression, I would like to write a short essay on this before I turn in.

I would not wish severe depression on anyone, not even the most brutal of terrorists like the ones wreaking havoc in Iraq right now—that should put it in perspective for you. Serious depression is one of those experiences that you really have to experience to understand. The tragic news about Williams should turn our attention to those who may come our way. Can we help them? We most certainly can. Please, don’t just talk about this problem and move on. And, I don’t care how great you think the guy was—why does that matter now? While eulogies abound to show people how caring we are, conspicuously absent are questions about the problem itself.

And Williams forgot something: he wasn’t just fighting for himself—his loss does not give hope to others in his shoes.

depressionThere is a lot for Christians to learn about this problem, but unfortunately, the present-day church believes sanctification is pretty much the same thing as justification and depression is definitely a sanctification issue. No, preaching the gospel to yourself will not end the depression. No, prayer alone will not end depression; God cares, but you have to participate in the cure.

I wish I could refer people someplace, but I really can’t. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the biblical counseling movement was having great success in helping people with severe depression, but the fundamentals that drove that counseling have been discredited as “not vertical enough.” As far as finding a counselor, sorry to say, you are on your own, but I can share with you what I have learned about this very serious problem.

1. If you have lost interest in everything that gives you joy, feel like you are losing your mind, and are harassed and tormented by horrible thoughts, seek medical help as soon as possible. Depression can be caused by several different medical conditions and bad reactions to certain medications.

2. Be open to encouragement and help from non-Christians. Non-believers and Christians both played an important role in my recovery.

3. Though depression can be a medical problem, in most cases depression becomes a medical problem because of a person’s outlook on life. Specifically, wrongheaded thinking. I have no doubt at all, that depression is caused from chemical imbalance, but the question is, “Can one’s thinking and outlook on life cause those imbalances?” I think the answer is, “yes.”

4. If you struggle with anxiety problems, get the problem under control—anxiety can lead to severe depression.

5. Deal with guilt and relationship problems with others.

6. You are probably going to need medications to get you through the toughest part of your depression while you work on personal issues. Some doctors will say that you will need these medications for the rest of your life, but I know of many situations where this is not the case at all, including my own.

7. Put yourself under the care of a medical doctor and a good counselor. Do not isolate yourself, even if you feel like doing so. It will be necessary to do certain things whether you feel like it or not. Seek out friends that understand your problem.

choose your thoughts8. Remember that thoughts invoke feelings and feelings invoke thoughts. Don’t think thoughts that make you feel bad for no good reason. When feelings invoke thoughts, talk back to them. Have a conversation with your thoughts. For me, when oppressed by horrible thoughts, I prayed a lot. Yes, find promises in the Bible and cling to them—by all means. Those horrible thoughts and bad feelings sure do make a strong case that you are helpless against them, but I do not think that is the case. Fight to think other thoughts by getting your mind on something else. Do not leave the thoughts unchallenged. One must ask when he considers what these loud, strong feelings are saying…

“are they telling the truth?”

9. Feelings are VERY important to life, but during a time of severe depression, feelings are your worst enemy. You must temporarily make feelings a lower priority during this time. Whether you feel like it or not, be other-person focused. Whether you feel like it or not, accomplish things. With the help of medications, you can stay productive, and this is important. Right feelings follow right doing, and especially right thinking.

10. This post may help: http://wp.me/pmd7S-Eu

We have much to learn about depression. Suicide is tragic for many reasons, but if people who feel like they are at the end of their rope would just wait one more day, in many cases a new day brings a totally different perspective. I am going to leave you with something very simple if you are a depressed person reading this. In the midst of my struggle, a man who had been through depression himself smiled at me and said, “You are going to be alright.” Oddly, if someone ambushed me with the question, “Right now, name the one thing that was most important in your recovery,” without even thinking about it, I would have to point to that one instance. I would add that life is worth fighting for. I would add that you need to fight because your family wants you to; fight to love them more than you hate  your suffering. Win the fight for them. My friend, our great God assures us that trials are only for a time. Death will come soon enough…fight for the joy that will return. When depression wins, hope loses, and the world needs nothing more than hope. And…

“you are going to be alright.”

paul

Achieving Total Conquest Over Depression, Part 6: Paul and Susan Christian Living Series on Blogtalk Radio Program 8

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 24, 2016

Paul and Susan

Live Broadcast link for Friday 2/26/2016 @ 7pm: 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/falsereformation/2016/02/27/paul-and-susan-christian-living-series-on-blogtalk-radio-program-8

Links open in separate pages so you can view without going back and forth reopening pages.   

Paul and Susan will have a conversation regarding practical ways to overcome depression. They will also summarize the primary points from last week and discuss the following article:

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2011/05/06/wed-night-bible-study-makes-jay-adams-look-

Also related to the discussion:

Video of broadcast from the Potter’s House: 

https://livestream.com/accounts/17669550/events/4878508/videos/113600953

 

blog-radio-logo

 

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Why Jay Adams Had to be Neutralized by the New Calvinists

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on December 5, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Originally posted March 11, 2012

Susan and I had a glorious fellowship with another Christian couple this afternoon.  They are in a ministry of significant influence and will be unnamed. At some point, the conversation turned to New Calvinism. As Susan and I sat and listened to the husband’s testimony concerning what he valued in John Piper’s teachings, I was filled with an understanding in regard to why Piper’s teachings are so attractive. I might add that I was very impressed with his calm, articulate answer immediately following my comment that I believe Piper to be one of the premier heretics of our day.

What this brother described was the fact that serious Christians were looking for an alternative to the fallout from the first gospel wave in contemporary Christian History: raise your hand, sign a card, don’t drink, smoke, chew, or hang out with girls that do. Christianity had been reduced to living by a list of do’s and don’ts by people who didn’t have any life to show for it. Fair enough. Guilty as charged.

But the fact of the matter is that Jay Adams did offer a viable alternative. It was based on hearing the word of God and applying it to our lives according to the whole counsel of God’s wisdom and not just, “stop doing that.” I saw firsthand how this “first generation” biblical counseling movement changed lives in radical fashion, including my own. And the movement continues to do so today even though the fact of that matter is covered up by a whole lot of New Calvinist noise.

To me the crux of the matter is in this brother’s testimony. New Calvinists have effectively sold the idea that they are offering the only alternative to easy believeism in our day. That’s only true because they got rid of the other alternative through slander and persecution, and they know it. Jay Adams’ “first generation” biblical counseling was a threat to the emerging New Calvinist tsunami.  Why? 1) Because it worked and God used it to change lives. 2) It was/is the antithesis of New Calvinism because the latter fuses justification and sanctification while first generation counseling doesn’t. Furthermore, this is what New Calvinist David Powlison said was the fundamental difference between the two while teaching at John Piper’s church:

This might be quite a controversy, but I think it’s worth putting in.  Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for conversion.  And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.  And actually even came out and attacked my mentor, Jack Miller, my pastor that I’ve been speaking of through the day, for saying that Christians should preach the gospel to themselves.  I think Jay was wrong on that.

If we associate justification with “conversion,”  and we do, Powlison’s statement can be reworded as follows for clarification:

Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for justification (justification cannot be separated from conversion).  And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.

Second generation counseling/New Calvinism is sanctification by justification, and that was also propagated by his mentor that he mentions. New Calvinists choose their words carefully. Imagine how far the movement would get if they didn’t replace “justification” with “gospel”:

The same finished work of justification that saved you also sanctifies you. Or, we must preach justification to ourselves every day. Or, sanctification is the finished work of justification in action.

I explained to the brother that the other alternative was relentlessly persecuted, and that’s why it would seem that there is only one alternative. He concurred that he perceives criticism of Adams taking place on a continual basis. Why? Because the truth he teaches is the competition. It’s a threat.

This is an approach that I have never used before: 1) Powlison admits a fundamental difference between first generation and second generation counseling; ie, sanctification by the cross (justification) verses sanctification by the Spirit apart from the finished work of justification. 2) An alternative is confirmed. 3) You only have the New Calvinists’ testimony that they are the only alternative. 4) Why not investigate and find out for yourself?

He agreed, and was sent off with a copy of The Truth About New Calvinism. Please pray for the situation. Christianity doesn’t need a second gospel wave. The first wave devalued sanctification by focusing on justification only; the second devalues it as well by making it the same thing as justification. Both are just as deadly, and when the novelty of New Calvinism wears off, the results will be worse.

paul

An Open Letter to the President of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 28, 2015

Originally posted February 21, 2012

“This is the apostle Paul’s disparaged 3-verse system to fix a lack of peace. It is the wonderful hope that obedience to God’s word seizes upon His promises. And that’s why many NANC counselors strip their victims of hope.”

 “The cited letter reflects the same things often taught by many board members of NANC and BCC. Because this doctrine combines justification and sanctification, it makes sanctification like a minefield because what we do in sanctification can affect the justification that supposedly powers it. This does not lay a healthy foundation for counseling”

Dr. Street,

The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors website states the following about your organization:

NANC exists to help pastors and those who would be ministers of the Word of God by providing help and encouragement. NANC is first and foremost a certifying organization. The certifying process is rigorous but attainable by even the busiest pastor. The process consists of the completion of an approved training course, the completion of a theological and a practical counseling test, several references, and a minimum of 50 hours of supervised counseling experience.

Furthermore, your organization refers hundreds of “counselors” certified by your organization. The purpose of this letter is to publically confront you in regard to the fact that NANC has board members, Fellows, and hoards of certified counselors who openly promote a blatant false gospel. I will first establish this fact, in case you are not aware of it, and then beseech you to tell me why this is acceptable.

Much data could be provided as I have been sent several articles written by NANC Fellows that contain outrageous teachings; and apparently, NANC thinks nothing of sending troubled people to antinomian mystics. But I only need to quote one of your present board members, David Powlison. Powlison performed a lecture at John Piper’s church while Piper was on a sabbatical to eradicate “several species of heart idols” that he saw in his heart (apparently, they were of the 8-month type because he was able to return to ministry at the pre-appointed time). Powlison stated the following at Piper’s church:

This might be quite a controversy, but I think it’s worth putting in. Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for conversion. And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.  And actually even came out and attacked my mentor, Jack Miller, my pastor that I’ve been speaking of through the day, for saying that Christians should preach the gospel to themselves. I think Jay was wrong on that.

Jack Miller was the father of Sonship Theology, a false gospel that is presently wreaking havoc on Presbyterian churches. It has also been known as Gospel Sanctification and is the primary catalyst for the present-day New Calvinist movement which has turned orthodoxy completely upside down. The doctrine is best explained by a theological journal that was its source:

Unless sanctification is rooted in justification and constantly returns to justification, it cannot escape the poisonous miasma of subjectivism, moralism or Pharisaism…. Since the life of holiness is fueled and fired by justification by faith, sanctification must constantly return to justification. Otherwise, the Christian cannot possibly escape arriving at a new self-righteousness. We cannot reach a point in sanctification where our fellowship with God does not rest completely on forgiveness of sins…. Christian existence is gospel existence. Sanctification is justification in action.

Miller adopted the theology and coined the phrase, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” “The same gospel that saved us also sanctifies us” is the New Calvinist mantra of our day. I receive many links to articles written by NANC Fellows who clearly hold to this doctrine. In fact, How People Change, written by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp (and based on Powlison’s Dynamics of Biblical Change) is a Sonship/Gospel Sanctification treatise. Tripp and Lane are also on the board of the upstart Biblical Counseling Coalition. That board is the who’s who of Sonship/GS/ NC, including hyper-antinomian Elyse Fitzpatrick.

On a church level, here is the fruit of this doctrine:

To the Ruling Elders of Southwood:

On September 4, 2011, our daughter and her family from Atlanta were here and we attended the Sunday worship at Southwood.  After the service, our 13 year old granddaughter, who is well grounded in scripture, stated that she was very confused by the message.  She had come away hearing that every good thing she does is wrong.  Why would she believe that?  We have gone back and listened again to that message, entitled “Duh,” and here is what we found:

The message is from Galatians 3:1-6. Paul is chastening the church for falling prey to the persuasion of the Judaizers, exhorting them again that God’s love for them was not by any of their own works but through the miraculous work of Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Jean seems to take the written word beyond its intent.  He subtly changes ‘God’s love’ to ‘God’s favor.’  He changes legalism to performance. He takes Jewish law and extends it to almost any action one does.  Here are some paraphrased quotes from the sermon.  “To keep God’s favor, the Galatians were believing they needed Christ and a dash of obedience which looks like those things called Christian disciplines. Christian walk Christianity is from the Devil. Faithfulness is feeling condemned for work you haven’t finished (as contrasted with faith: resting completely in Christ). Faith is a litmus test for teachers and leaders; the difference between faith in Christ alone and faithfulness is like the difference between truth and falsehood, between Heaven and Hell. Faith alone is all we will teach.” (Here Jean says this is what Paul is teaching but he gives no supporting scriptures to support his interpretation.) “Discern as false any book, sermon, or Bible study where you hear a dash of self justifying obedience.  Self justifying obedience is from Satan.

Jean’s statements, combined with the tone and inflections in his delivery, imply that he is scornful of Christian disciplines, preachers, Christian writers, the Christian walk, obedience, faithfulness, good works, and an individual’s efforts.  This message can lead to the conclusion that everything we do is evil and, by extension, that God and the Holy Spirit can do nothing through us.  The message lacks balance and leaves sanctification out of the equation.  A new believer under this teaching would be moribund after accepting Christ, hidebound in fear that he can do nothing right.  While it is true none of us have all pure motives, it is also true that God commands us to go forward and that the Holy Spirit will be with us.  God says we are His instruments for spreading the Truth.  We cannot do this if we are strapped by guilt; we can do this if we seek partnership with the Holy Spirit.

From here Jean goes back to Paul saying “…since you were 100% depraved when you were brought into the Kingdom by the Holy spirit and by no works of your own, why are you trying to be perfected by your own human efforts?  You are being deceived by the Devil.”  I believe Jean is paralleling Paul in this.  Jean then goes on to “We are like alcoholics ; we use Bible study, prayers, small groups, etc. as a crutch and the church rewards our ‘addiction’ with its approval.  How would you know if you were addicted?  Stop everything.  If you feel anxiety, then you are afraid of leaving your ‘fix.’”   So we ask: what does God have us do?  Jean’s answer is “rest totally in Jesus.”  So in turn we ask, what does Scripture say about resting totally in Jesus?  But we hear no clear answer from the pulpit.

The cited letter reflects the same things often taught by many board members of NANC and BCC. Because this doctrine combines justification and sanctification, it makes sanctification like a minefield because what we do in sanctification can affect the justification that supposedly powers it. This does not lay a healthy foundation for counseling, and as Timothy F. Kauffman recently stated in the Trinity Review, when justification and sanctification are combined, anything we do in sanctification is works salvation—even doing nothing. It’s eerily reminiscent of Christ’s parable concerning the slothful servant. When such a parable is considered and compared to statements by Elyse Fitzpatrick and her spiritual big brother Tullian Tchividjian, it should make the hair stand up on a deceased person.

Moreover, the unfortunate results of counseling that comes from this doctrine can be seen in the following statement by a pastor who oversees a NANC counseling center:

We read this quote from Paul Tripp in last week’s Biblical Theology Study Center. Amazingly, part of the quote was used again the following evening during testimony time from someone not in our class…someone who resonated with the quote in the midst of personal crisis. For those who are involved in biblical counseling, it can be really easy (and tempting) for the Bible to become little more than a 12-verse system designed to fix a life. Tripp reminds us that the Bible isn’t a how-to manual, but a place where we find hope in a Person.

Compare that statement with what the apostle Paul said:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

This is the apostle Paul’s disparaged 3-verse system to fix a lack of peace. It is the wonderful hope that obedience to God’s word seizes upon His promises. And that’s why many NANC counselors strip their victims of hope. That, and confusing children who love the Lord.

So tell me Dr. Street, why is this acceptable? Why not come out from among them? Besides, the evidence that this doctrine was concocted by a Seventh-Day Adventist who is now an atheist is overwhelming. The truth will come out, and will eventually be accepted as truth. Why stick around and look stupid? Or, you could fix the problem. I beseech you Dr. Street, stop sending troubled people to false teachers. This is something that none of us want on our resume.

Paul Dohse

Why Jay Adams Had to be Neutralized by the New Calvinists

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 30, 2014

Originally published March 11, 2012

PPT HandleSusan and I had a glorious fellowship with another Christian couple this afternoon.  They are in a ministry of significant influence and will be unnamed. At some point, the conversation turned to New Calvinism. As Susan and I sat and listened to the husband’s testimony concerning what he valued in John Piper’s teachings, I was filled with an understanding in regard to why Piper’s teachings are so attractive. I might add that I was very impressed with his calm, articulate answer immediately following my comment that I believe Piper to be one of the premier heretics of our day.

What this brother described was the fact that serious Christians were looking for an alternative to the fallout from the first gospel wave in contemporary Christian History: raise your hand, sign a card, don’t drink, smoke, chew, or hang out with girls that do. Christianity had been reduced to living by a list of do’s and don’ts by people who didn’t have any life to show for it. Fair enough. Guilty as charged.

But the fact of the matter is that Jay Adams did offer a viable alternative. It was based on hearing the word of God and applying it to our lives according to the whole counsel of God’s wisdom and not just, “stop doing that.” I saw firsthand how this “first generation” biblical counseling movement changed lives in radical fashion, including my own. And the movement continues to do so today even though the fact of that matter is covered up by a whole lot of New Calvinist noise.

To me the crux of the matter is in this brother’s testimony. New Calvinists have effectively sold the idea that they are offering the only alternative to easy believeism in our day. That’s only true because they got rid of the other alternative through slander and persecution, and they know it. Jay Adams’ “first generation” biblical counseling was a threat to the emerging New Calvinist tsunami.  Why? 1) Because it worked and God used it to change lives. 2) It was/is the antithesis of New Calvinism because the latter fuses justification and sanctification while first generation counseling doesn’t. Furthermore, this is what New Calvinist David Powlison said was the fundamental difference between the two while teaching at John Piper’s church:

This might be quite a controversy, but I think it’s worth putting in.  Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for conversion.  And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.  And actually even came out and attacked my mentor, Jack Miller, my pastor that I’ve been speaking of through the day, for saying that Christians should preach the gospel to themselves.  I think Jay was wrong on that.

If we associate justification with “conversion,”  and we do, Powlison’s statement can be reworded as follows for clarification:

Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for justification (justification cannot be separated from conversion).  And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.

Second generation counseling/New Calvinism is sanctification by justification, and that was also propagated by his mentor that he mentions. New Calvinists choose their words carefully. Imagine how far the movement would get if they didn’t replace “justification” with “gospel”:

The same finished work of justification that saved you also sanctifies you. Or, we must preach justification to ourselves every day. Or, sanctification is the finished work of justification in action.

I explained to the brother that the other alternative was relentlessly persecuted, and that’s why it would seem that there is only one alternative. He concurred that he perceives criticism of Adams taking place on a continual basis. Why? Because the truth he teaches is the competition. It’s a threat.

This is an approach that I have never used before: 1) Powlison admits a fundamental difference between first generation and second generation counseling; ie, sanctification by the cross (justification) verses sanctification by the Spirit apart from the finished work of justification. 2) An alternative is confirmed. 3) You only have the New Calvinists’ testimony that they are the only alternative. 4) Why not investigate and find out for yourself?

He agreed, and was sent off with a copy of The Truth About New Calvinism. Please pray for the situation. Christianity doesn’t need a second gospel wave. The first wave devalued sanctification by focusing on justification only; the second devalues it as well by making it the same thing as justification. Both are just as deadly, and when the novelty of New Calvinism wears off, the results will be worse.

paul

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