Paul's Passing Thoughts

Paul David Tripp Gnosticism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 20, 2014

TrippPaul David Tripp is a leading “Christian” author and well noted in the contemporary biblical counseling movement. Tripp was active in aiding fellow Gnostic David Powlison in hijacking the biblical counseling movement from Reformed grammarians. I use the term “grammarian,” who are few in our day, to differ from redemptive historical interpreters. If a teacher is not identified according to his/her interpretation method of either grammatical or redemptive, it is impossible to know what they are really teaching. You may think you know what they are saying, but you don’t. Depending on which method is being utilized, all basic theological terms, like “new birth” mean different things. To believe you can understand any teacher without knowing their interpretive method is folly. The best way to explain a grammarian is, “words mean things.”

Gnosticism came from Platonism and to state it simply: it is the belief that the material realm is evil and only the spiritual realm is good. In order to find true knowledge, one must obtain it by getting beyond what the five senses can ascertain. Plato believed that the material world is the shadows of the invisible world. Plato also believed that truth is immutable; so, the gateway to truth from the material/evil realm must be something immutable. For Plato, that was math.

The Reformers were not theologians first, they were philosophers first and were embroiled in the debate of that era: Plato or Aristotle? Platonism holds to spiritual caste which proffers the idea that elitist philosophers are preordained to lead the masses who are enslaved to the shadows of reality. They are specially gifted by the force or god of your choice to obtain the “Gnosis.”  Determinism is also a major pillar of Platonism.

Hence, Gnosticism can be seen throughout Tripp’s teachings, especially in How People Change. In that book, Tripp attributes a literal interpretation of Scripture to works salvation. He also attributes obedience to something that Christians only experience, but do not really perform; the experience is imputed to the material realm by the Spirit, who is defined more as a realm than a person. Gnosticism can be seen in Tripp’s interpretation of Romans 8:2 and most of Romans 7—“law” is not really “nomos,” a written law, but refers to two different realms: material/evil versus invisible/good.


Piper, Tchividjian, Christian Counseling, and the Calvinist False Gospel: The Law of the Spirit has NO Power to Change

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 22, 2014


The Bible is two different laws to the only two people groups in the world: the lost and the saved. To the lost, it is the law of sin and death. To the believer, it is the law of the Spirit of life:

Roman 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

We are no longer UNDER LAW, but UNDER GRACE, and being under grace is the same as being under the law of the Spirit of life. As Christians, the Spirit does in fact use the law to change us:

John 17:14 – I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

As I will keep proclaiming, the Achilles’ heel of Calvinism is law. Calvinism keeps the Christian under the law of sin and death. Hence, Jesus must fulfil the law of sin and death for us, and this is made up to be part of the atonement. But the law of sin and death has no part in justification—that’s why there is “no condemnation” for believers. But clearly, Calvin taught that Christians are still under the condemnation of the law and that Christ must perpetually save us from it by reapplications of the cross. In particular, note 3.14.9-11 in the Calvin Institutes. This construct turns the Bible and grace completely upside down. This is also why John Piper refers to the Bible as a book of “saving acts” (plural).

Note that John Piper, like Calvin, keeps Christians under the law of sin and death:

What Then Shall Those Who Are Justified Do with the Law of Moses?

Read it and meditate on it as those who are dead to it as the ground of your justification and the power of your sanctification. Read it and meditate on it as those for whom Christ is your righteousness and Christ is your sanctification.

Notice that Piper replaces the law of the Spirit of life with Christ alone as our sanctification. Notice also that we are to PRESENTLY read the law as those who are dead to it…[for] the power of your sanctification. Piper, like Calvin, only recognizes ONE law, the one we are dead to.

Tullian Tchividjian is more pointed about it:

So do you think the law no longer has—or should no longer have—a role in the Christian life?

No, I wouldn’t say that. While the law of God is good (Romans 7), it only has the power to reveal sin and to show the standard and image of righteous requirement—not remove sin. The law shows us what God commands (which of course is good) but the law does not possess the power to enable us to do what it says. You could put it this way: the law guides but it does not give. In other words, the law shows us what a sanctified life looks like, but it does not have sanctifying power—the law cannot change a human heart. It’s the gospel (what Jesus has done) that alone can give God-honoring animation to our obedience. The power to obey comes from being moved and motivated by the completed work of Jesus for us. The fuel to do good flows from what’s already been done. So, while the law directs us, only the gospel can drive us.

This, of course, asserts the idea, per Calvinism, that the power of our sanctification comes from justification. Per the usual, “gospel” and “Jesus” are words used to replace “justification” for cover on this issue. If our sanctification comes from justification, the law of sin and death is not ended and Jesus must continue to save us from it. The “finished” work isn’t so much finished, it needs to be perpetually applied to save us from the law of sin and death. Simply stated, Calvinism keeps us under the law of sin and death and ignores the law (“nomos”) of the Spirit of life. In other places, Tchividjian posits the idea that “the Bible never says that the law can give life.” That isn’t true,

Psalm 19:7 – The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;

Psalm 119:93 – I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.

I won’t belabor the point, but Christ also said that man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God, and when Moses said to “choose life” he was talking about the law.

In the final analysis, it’s works salvation via antinomianism; we have to work hard at doing nothing but the cross to keep ourselves saved from the law of sin and death which Calvin, even from the grave, keeps poised over our heads, ready to damn us at any time unless we live by faith alone in sanctification. And of course, faithfulness to the institutional church which has the “power of the keys” is our best shot to be “ready for the judgment.” Frankly, a judgment that we will not be attending because the final judgment is according to the law of sin and death, not the law of the Spirit of life that the Spirit does in fact use to change us.

And also take note: 95% of the Christian counseling going on in the institutional church is based on Christians being yet under the law of sin and death with Christ fulfilling it in our stead as part of the atonement. Good luck with that—it’s a false gospel.



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Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 4, 2014
imagesPaul M. Dohse ‏@PaulMDohse  9s

A person who does not completely disavow Calvinism and all of its tenets cannot help the spiritually abused.

2013 TANC Conference Update: Conference Will Explore New Calvinism’s Relationship to Biblical Counseling

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 14, 2013

To David Powlison et al: Stop Lying About Jay Adams; God Doesn’t Like Lying

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 10, 2012

“No Steve. Let me repeat that. ‘No Steve’: the issue isn’t the ‘simplistic’ versus the wider field of knowledge, the issue is which gospel are we going to use to minister to other Christians; progressive justification or progressive sanctification? And who is competent to counsel? Please do not be a part of the big lie in our present day.”


Thanks for the response because I am a busy person and our conversation provides an easy framework to post something that needs to be said. My response is primarily provoked by your comment following and will be the subject of a post on my own blog:

Jay Adams and nouthetic counseling are familiar to me. Jay has contributed much to biblical counseling, but his perspective is only one in a field containing hother highly-reputable Christians such as Larry Crabb and Dan Allender. I have found Jay’s approach simplistic and—when used by someone without proper training or grace—combative and even abusive.

“Nouthetic” means “admonishing,” which, though a biblical term, can often devolve into simply berating someone with a Bible verse and telling them to deal with their sin. While scripture is always the grid to evaluate truth claims in this world, not all truth is found in the Bible. Rather, God has given some truth to the realms of science, engineering, medicine, psychology, and others, for the benefit of all people everywhere. Christians must think critically about any truth claim, compare it with scriptural principles, and then proceed accordingly. I prefer an integrated approach to Christian counseling.

First of all, Jay Adams doesn’t need me to defend him, but your portrayal of contemporary history concerning the biblical counseling movement is very much in vogue and happens to be a lie first propagated by David Powlison, and furthered by the insufferably arrogant likes of Heath Lambert.

People like Lambert who is a prototype of many in our day accept any proposition espoused by the men they mindlessly follow as truth. And the truth is my concern here, not necessarily a defense of Jay Adams. However, though I enjoy defending Jay, he would probably prefer that many of his “friends” in Christian academia would defend him, but unfortunately, most of them are cowards and only pretend to love the truth for monetary gain and notoriety. I despise both, and have way too many Facebook friends (62). Therefore, the following is the true historical/biblical facts of the matter:

In circa 1970, American Christianity was feeling the pain of a skewed attitude and understanding of sanctification. The previous twenty years had been an easy believeism/hyper-grace approach. The focus was getting people saved, and not “making disciples.” There were several reasons for this, but suffice to say that “the gospel” was grossly overemphasized. As I type that, I can now hear the shrill cat-cries: “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO OVEREMPHASIZE THE GOSPEL!” Right.

However, in order to fill the void, a variety of biblical generalities were thrown around (along with let go and let God theologies) as damage control, plus pastors farmed sanctification out to psychologists. Deeper problems of life were labeled “sickness,” and the idea of pastors sending their parishioners to mind/spiritual doctors was sanctified with “Christian Psychology.” Your everyday pastor was who you went to if you got bubble gum in your hair, but the really deep problems of life needed a “Christian Psychologist.”

Adams was the first in our day to say “NO” to this assertion. The theme of his sanctification reformation was “Competent to Counsel,” and was based on Romans 15:14. Moreover, this one verse powerfully destroys much of the errant philosophy of our day.

But something else was happening at the same time. Another reformation. This other reformation that was emerging at the same time that Adams began to challenge the church is the dirty little secret that is the foundation of your whole proposition that Adams is a mere contributor to a wider field of counseling wisdom. In fact, in a rare episode of truth-telling by David Powlison while lecturing at John Piper’s “church,” he specifically stated the difference between Adams’ biblical construct and the present-day “wider field of knowledge.” Two gospels. That’s right. A wider field of knowledge is not the issue, which gospel that you are going to use to minister to the saints is the issue—so stated the most prominent one in the “wider field.” Powlison dropped his usual nuanced verbiage as it is no longer necessary among the vast majority of Christians who are utterly unable to think for themselves. He stated the following:

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 cover this in more detail in chapter 9 of “The Truth About New Calvinism,” but this statement by Powlison while lecturing at Piper’s church is the crux. Even in that rare episode of truth-telling by Powlison, he left out the following detail concerning Adams’ “attack” against his “mentor” for telling people to preach the gospel to themselves every day: the “attack” was in the form of a book and devastating treatise against Sonship Theology. Adams’ thesis was that the power for sanctification comes from regeneration and not justification.

No Steve. Let me repeat that. “No Steve”: the issue isn’t the “simplistic” versus the wider field of knowledge, the issue is which gospel are we going to use to minister to other Christians; progressive justification or progressive sanctification? And, who is competent to counsel? All who are “full of goodness,” or just the Christian experts? Again, I hear the alley cats screaming in the night’s full moon: “Progressive justification? Nonsense! Miller didn’t teach that!” Oh really? Have we become so postmodern that “preaching the gospel to ourselves” as a way to be empowered in sanctification is not progressive sanctification? Have Christians really become that mindless?

What is the source of our power for change, and who can counsel? The answer to those questions is the difference between light and darkness. Here is the reality and the line in the sand: choose which gospel you will follow according to truth or according to what man butters your bread.

The key to discussing what significant movement emerged at the same time as Adams’ biblical construct is Powlison’s mention of Dr. John “Jack” Miller. Miller was a professor at Westminster approximate to the time that the theological journal Present Truth was all the rage. The journal, in magazine form was published by the Australian Forum theological think tank headed by SDA theologian Robert Brinsmead. Much to Adams’ consternation, Brinsmead and company were invited to Westminster to chat with the theological big boys. Brinsmead had rediscovered the authentic Reformation gospel that launched the SDA Awakening movement and led to a concerted effort to get Progressive Adventism recognized as a valid denomination.

The Australian Forum argued that the true Reformation gospel was monergistic substitutionary sanctification, or in essence, progressive justification. From that, Miller contrived his Sonship Theology scheme. Tim Keller and David Powlison were rabid followers of Miller, and Powlison used Miller’s Sonship Theology to develop his Dynamics of Biblical Change counseling program that is the foundation of CCEF’s counseling model. Like the father that gave birth to Sonship Theology and CCEF ( the Australian Forum), Miller, Powlison, and Keller felt called to save America from this present Dark Age that supposedly resulted from the lost Reformation gospel. Powlison was then compelled to take over NANC with said doctrine, which he has effectively done.

Hence, Adams was obviously a threat and had to be neutralized. The failings of the movement that Adams came to fix were pinned on Adams; ie, all of the things that filled the void: living by biblical generalizations; legalism; and, “Take a Bible verse and call me in the morning”; etc. Meanwhile, the new gospel of progressive justification was guilty of the same thing that the previous hyper-grace movement was guilty of: devaluing aggressive sanctification and the new birth. The so called second generation “biblical” counseling construct made sanctification the same thing as justification rather than merely devaluing it.

But again, this necessitated a replacement for the real article, and I think the replacement is well articulated by the Powlison understudy Paul David Tripp in How People Change which is really not about biblical change at all. Progressive justification advocates the manifestation of realms, not real change within the individual Christian. Tripp makes this absolutely clear on pages 64 and 65 of HPC  by describing Christians as still being enslaved to sin and enemies of God.

Therefore, Powlison is guilty of thwarting the real model for real change in our day. He has marketed the contra product well, so many follow and trade the truth that sanctifies for a bowl of soup; ie, invitations to conferences, recognition, book promotions, friends, etc.

While thinking of themselves as on the cutting edge of change, which doesn’t include changing people, but rather making the cross bigger, they do not even realize that God doesn’t approve of lying.

So Steve, I would recommend that you not promote the fictitious storyline concerning first generation biblical counseling. It’s a lie, and God doesn’t approve, even if it somehow supposedly makes the cross bigger—which trust me—it doesn’t.