Paul's Passing Thoughts

Daily Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 7, 2015

Progressive Justification Orthodoxy Runs Long and Deep Among Those Who Call Themselves “Protestants”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 15, 2015

Are Calvinists Saved?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on April 1, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published October 6, 2012

The begging of the question has a sound Scriptural argument.

This ministry has made much of the critical importance of separating justification (salvation) and sanctification (growth in holiness, or kingdom living). The Reformed (Calvin/Luther Reformation doctrine/gospel) “never separate, but distinct” doublespeak doesn’t cut it in the arena of truth, and we will see why. “Never separate” =’s false gospel. If you get a little lost in the first part of my argument which gives the lay of the land, don’t worry, when I get into the specific Scriptural argument, it will clear things up and make it all come together for you. It must delight the ghosts of the Reformation that the argument has always been in the arena of freewill verses predestination. It’s the primary thrust of this ministry to change that argument. This isn’t a quibbling about semantics in the mainstream—this is about the truth of the gospel. As New Calvinist Russ Kennedy once thundered from the pulpit in his mousy voice: “Any separation of justification and sanctification is an abomination!” I have often argued from the standpoint of this issue. If sanctification is the middle of the Reformed “golden chain of salvation” then sanctification is part of finishing justification. This means that what happens in sanctification determines whether or not justification is properly finished. What’s a chain? John Piper even preached a message about the eternal importance of our contribution to the “links” in just the right way. In essence, sanctification becomes a spiritual minefield. This is exactly the same thing that the Reformed crowd has always accused Rome of: the fusing together of justification and sanctification. However, as we shall see, they are both guilty of the exact same heresy/false gospel. As we shall see, both teach that sanctification finishes justification. This is a linear gospel (one unified chain from salvation to resurrection (glorification) versus a parallel gospel with salvation on one plane as a finished work before the foundation of the world, and kingdom living that runs parallel with the finished work and reflects the reality of our salvation until glorification. Typical in the linear gospel is the idea that Christ died for all of our past sins, but we must now finish the work (with the Holy Spirit’s help [sanctified works salvation]) until glorification when we are completely transformed into complete holiness. This is the often-heard bemoaning of “Christ PLUS something.” An excellent example is some strains of Freewill Baptists who teach that Christ died for all of our past sins, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we must confess and repent of every sin we commit until the resurrection, e.g., Christ plus salvation by repentant prayer for sins committed after we are “saved.” My grandparents were saved out of this tradition. When my grandfather asked my grandmother if she thought that God could ever forgive him of all the sins he committed, she answered: “Yes, but you are going to have to pray awful hard!” Praise God that through the ministry of several individuals my grandparents eventually abandoned that gospel for the true one of salvation by faith alone as a finished work. Likewise, Rome teaches that you must let the Catholic Church finish your justification through ritual, e.g., Christ plus Catholic ritual. The Reformation gospel is also Christ plus something else, but the something else is ever-so-subtle. In both cases, sin must be dealt with in sanctification in order for the saint to remain justified until the final judgment. In other words, the righteous standard of justification must be maintained on our behalf. Like all other proponents of a linear gospel, the Reformed crowd contends that anything less than the perfection demanded of the law (“all sin is transgression of the law”) is “legal fiction.” So both Rome and the Reformers agree: justification must be maintained by sanctification, and in the case of the Reformers specifically, they believe that the perfect standard of the law must be maintained until glorification; otherwise, our justification is “legal fiction.” Here is where Reformed subtlety is uncanny: Christ keeps the law for us in sanctification. He maintains the perfect standard. All the fruit of sanctification (obedience/good works) flows from the life He lived on Earth and His death on the cross. Christ plus the works of Christ to finish salvation. “But Paul, what in the world is wrong with that?!” Here is what is wrong with it: works are still required to maintain justification. That is a huge problem, even if it is Christ doing the work. What did the Hebrew writer say about Christ’s work for justification not being complete? And even more subtle is the following Reformed idea: believing that the law is no longer a standard for maintaining justification is antinomianism. Antinomianism =’s legal fiction. Their definition of antinomianism is the removal of the law from justification as the standard for maintaining it. Traditionally, among Biblicists, antinomianism is the removal of the law from sanctification, and herein lays even further steroidal subtlety: the Reformed theologians would refute a removal of the law from sanctification as well, not only because they think justification and sanctification are the same thing, but because its perfect keeping is required to maintain a true declaration of the just that is not “legal fiction.” However, the Biblicist believes that the law is a standard for kingdom living and is no longer a standard for justification. Therefore, if we attempt to obey it with the Holy Spirit’s help, and to please/serve the Lord, it can have no bearing on our just state. While the Biblicists think they are therefore joint contenders with the Reformers against antinomianism, such is far from the truth. The Reformed mind believes the Biblicist is either a legalist or an antinomian, or both. The Biblicist is supposedly an antinomian because he/she has removed the law from justification as a just standard, or is a legalist because they think they should strive to keep the law in sanctification. Since sanctification finishes justification’s perfect standard of law keeping, our “own” attempts to keep the law in sanctification is an attempt to finish justification. Hence, what the Biblicist fails to understand is the Reformers belief  that Christ must maintain the law for us in sanctification because justification and sanctification are not separate. Anything more or less is supposedly works salvation. On the other hand, because it is vital that Christ obeys the law for us in sanctification, the likes of John Piper and Tullian Tchividjian contend that those who are really preaching the Reformed gospel will indeed be accused of antinomianism. All in all, their position is easy to see if you pay attention. John Piper and many other Calvinists often state that, “Good works are the fruit of justification.” And, “Justification is the root, and sanctification is the fruit.” Well, the average Biblicist then thinks, “Yes, but of course, our salvation makes good works in sanctification possible.” But that’s not what they are saying. If you pay closer attention, they are saying that justification is a tree that produces its own fruit. Justification is the root, and whatever happens in true sanctification is the fruit of the root of the justification tree. Problem is, justification doesn’t grow. Justification is a finished work. What Calvinists refer to as “progressive sanctification” is really the fruit of the root: progressive justification. Another name for this that they throw around is “definitive sanctification.” The word “definitive” refers back to the definite completion of justification. Revision: this ministry now rejects the idea that orthodoxy is truth; orthodoxy is the traditions of men. Never in Scripture do we find premise for a body of teaching that explains the teaching. The above illustration is valuable for demonstrating that the fruit of justification is glorification, NOT sanctification.  This brings us to the Scriptural argument which begins with a question I asked myself just this morning: “Paul, you are always harping about the crucial importance of the separation of justification and sanctification—a parallel gospel versus a linear one. But where does the Bible say specifically that this is critical?” First, the very definition of a lost person in the Bible is one who is “under the law”:

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brothers —for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? Romans 7:2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Romans 7:3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

The unsaved are “under the law” and will be judged by it in the end. This is the very definition of the unsaved. Calvinists define Christians the same way—we are supposedly still under the law and will be judged by it in the end. That’s why Christ must keep the law for us—because we are still under it. If not this position, why do many in the Reformed tradition hold to the idea that Christ’s perfect obedience is imputed to our sanctification? His death justifies us, and His perfect life sanctifies us. Hence, His death pays the penalty for past sins, and then His perfect life imputed to our sanctification keeps us justified. Why would an imputation to our sanctification be necessary if we are no longer under the law? This is known as the Reformed view of “double imputation” and has been called out as heresy by many respected theologians for this very reason: it implies that Christians are still under the law. In regard to sustaining the law in our stead, why? It has been totally abolished in regard to our just standing:

Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— Romans 4:15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

The keeping of the law by anybody DOES NOT do anything to justify mankind:

Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Here is where the separation of justification and sanctification is vital on this first point: we ARE NOT under the law for justification, but rather UPHOLD THE LAW in sanctification. The two must be separate because of the differing relationships to the law:

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

Furthermore, if we are still under the law (whether or not Christ obeys it for us to keep us in a just standing), this means we are still under the power of sin. Being under the law and also under its spell to provoke sin in the unregenerate is spoken of as being synonymous in the Bible. Those who are “under the law” are also under the power of sin and enslaved to it:

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. Romans 7:5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Romans 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

If we are still under the law, and will be judged by it, whether or not Christ stands in the judgment for us with His own works, we are still enslaved to sin by virtue of being under the law…. for justification. And Calvinists know this to be true, that’s why they say we are still…. what? Right, even as Christians, “totally depraved.” And, “enemies of God.” Of course, throughout the Bible, Christians are spoken of as being friends of God and no longer His enemies. Our status as enemies of God is stated in the past tense. But the Reformed crew continually state that Christians are vile enemies of God and are enslaved to sin. They realize that this goes hand in hand with being under the law. To the contrary, dying to the law in the death of Christ….for justification—sets us free to be enslaved to the righteousness that is defined by the law. We are dead to the law for justification and alive to obey truth….for sanctification:

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:3,4 [emphasis by author] For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,….in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 9:31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. James 1:25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

So, that is the separation that must be for the true Christian: Justification has no law for which we are judged, and we live by the law of blessings in sanctification. This brings us to another important separation in the two: the judgments. Those under the law and sin will stand in a final judgment which will be according to the law. Again, because Calvinists believe that we are still under the law, albeit that Christ obeyed/obeys it for us, Christians will supposedly stand in the same judgment as the damned who are under the law and enslaved to it. At that time, the children of God, according to Calvinists, will be “made manifest.” But because Christians are not under the law and cannot be judged by it, they will stand in a judgment for rewards and not a judgment that determines a perfect keeping of the law by Christ in our stead. Hence, there will be two different resurrections: one for those under the law and another for those under grace, and two different judgments for the same two groups. One for rewards, and one to determine if those under the law kept it perfectly. The latter judgment doesn’t go well for any standing in it.

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” [Notice that this is a resurrection for the “just.” They are already determined to be just before they are resurrected]. 2Corinthians 5:9,10 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 1Corintians 3:11-15 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Don’t let anyone tell you that eschatology is a “secondary” or “nonessential” consideration. Your eschatology is your gospel. It will state your position regarding whether or not you fuse justification and sanctification together; ie, likening Christians to those under the law.

Yet another vital difference in sanctification and justification is repentance. Repentance for salvation (when you are justified) is different from our repentance in sanctification. Among many in the Reformed tradition where the “same gospel that saved you also sanctifies you,” the repentance is the same. Repentance unto salvation is not a onetime “washing,” but rather a means to continue “in the gospel” through what they call “deep repentance.” Biblicism holds to repentance in sanctification that restores his/her fellowship and communion with God as His children. They would see repentance unto salvation as differing, and only necessary for salvation—a onetime decision to take one’s life in a new direction by following Christ, and believing in his death, burial, and resurrection. Reformed repentance, according to the likes of Paul David Tripp and others is a “daily rescue.” Our original repentance was for rescue, and we need rescue today as much as we needed rescue when we were saved. Again, this indicates their belief that we are still under the curse of the law and need to be continually rescued from it while remaining under the bondage of sin. However, Christ made it clear to Peter (John 13:6-11) that those who have been washed (1Corinthians 6:11, Romans 8:30) do not need another washing. Those who drink of the living water do not thirst again (John 4:13,14). Lastly, though many other separations could be discussed, why saints can be considered just while they still sin at times is of paramount importance. There is no sin in our justification because there is no law, and where there is no law, there is no sin. Though unfortunate, there can be sin in our sanctification because it is totally separate from justification and can’t affect our just standing with God. Basically, all of the aforementioned makes it of necessity to deny the new birth. If we have God’s seed in us, and we do (1John 3:9), that dispels total depravity, and without total depravity, justification and sanctification cannot be fused together. The new birth is a huge problem for Reformed theology. If the old man that was under the law is dead (Romans 7:1ff), and the seed of God is in the saved person, and the sin due to our weakness in the flesh cannot be laid to our account for justification, then our justification is not “legal fiction” because we do not exhibit perfect obedience to the law. This is another grave consideration because Christ said, “You must be born again.” Obviously, despite their denials that they deny the new birth—you can’t be both totally depraved and born again. Reformation doctrine is clearly a false gospel. Its version of justification does not void the law, and denies the new birth while distorting everything in-between. Freewill verses predestination is hardly the issue, the very gospel itself is the issue.

paul

New Calvinist Terms/Phraseology

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on March 3, 2015

Glossary of Gospel Sanctification Terms
_______________________

“Finally, I must deprecate, and I do it in love, the use of uncouth and new-fangled terms and phrases in teaching sanctification. I plead that a movement in favor of holiness cannot be advanced by new-coined phraseology, or by disproportioned and one-sided statements–or by overstraining and isolating particular texts–or by exalting one truth at the expense of another– or by allegorizing and accommodating texts, and squeezing out of them meanings which the Holy Spirit never put in them”

~ JC Ryle

Apostle’s hermeneutic: A supposed pattern of interpretation used by the apostles that replicates redemptive-historical hermeneutics. However, despite numerous challenges from various writers, NCT proponents have never been able to articulate it.

Christian hedonism: Invented by John Piper in 1980. He believes people are completely driven by their desires. Therefore, change the desires and you change the person. Piper believes we can only change our desires by meditating on the gospel as seen in the Bible, with a goal of making Christ our deepest desire. Therefore, a Christian hedonist is one who seeks pleasure in God. He also believes that biblical imperatives only serve to make us dependent on Christ and cherish Him more (because they show us what Christ has done for us, rather than anything we are supposed to do) – we are powerless to keep the Law. He cites Romans 6:17 to make this point, and believes Christians are still “enslaved” to sin (pages 31, 32, essay, pages 89-98).

Deep repentance: Repenting of idols in the heart which are discovered by identifying the desires that they (the idols) produce. The idols can be discovered by asking ourselves “X-Ray questions.” Repenting of the idols (after we discover them) “empties the heart” which leads to us being filled with Christ. This is followed by automatic, joyful obedience because Christ is obeying for us (pages 30, 201).

Good repentance: Repenting of good works, or anything we try to do in “our own efforts” as opposed to yielding to Christ and allowing Him to obey for us. Paul Tripp says this will result in “new and surprising fruit.” Tim Keller teaches that repenting of good works is also necessary for an authentic conversion.

Heart theology: The study and theories of how we discover idols in our heart (essay, pages 145-148).

In-lawed in Christ: The Law is completely fulfilled in Christ because He obeyed it perfectly. Therefore, we have no need to obey it, nor does it have any role in sanctification.

Imperative command is grounded in the indicative event: All biblical imperatives illustrate the work of Christ, not anything God expects us to do. As Paul Tripp states it: All biblical commands must be seen in their “gospel context”(essay, pages 82-86).

Imputed active obedience of Christ: Christ’s perfect life imputed His obedience to us so we wouldn’t have to obey to be justified in sanctification (since there is no difference between the two according to GS proponents). This is also called monergistic substitutionary sanctification
(see new obedience ).

Intelligent Repentance: Another term for deep repentance.

New Calvinism: The expression of New Covenant Theology (NCT)  and all of its tenets; heart Theology, gospel sanctification, Christian hedonism, and the redemptive-historical hermeneutic.

New Covenant Theology: Conceived in, or about 1980. The belief that the New Covenant abrogated all aspects of the Old, including, and especially, the Law. The New Covenant replaced the Law with a single “higher law of love”(page 56).

New Legalism: Synergistic sanctification. Any attempt to apply the word of God “in our own efforts.”

New obedience: The result of deep repentance – Christ obeys for us. We know that it is not us obeying in “our own efforts” because when it is Christ obeying through us, the obedience will always be experienced with a willing, joyful spirit, or Christian hedonism (pages 31,194).

Progressive sanctification: Ongoing justification, which isn’t a one time act, but is continually applied to us as needed. Some advocates of NCT acknowledge a daily “re-saving.” Paul Tripp says that Christians need a “daily rescue,” and cites Romans 7: 24 (essay, pages 124-129).

Redemptive church discipline: A redemptive process (rather than a process for resolving conflict between Christians) to eradicate sin in general. It is often used to convert individuals to monergistic sanctification. In many churches, this process has been assimilated into their counseling programs (essays; pages 159-172).

Redemptive-historical hermeneutics: Invented by the liberal theologian Johann Philipp in the 17th century and further developed by Geerhardus Vos. It makes NCT possible by supplying a prism that will always yield redemptive concepts from the text (essay, pages 177-183).

Reorientation of the heart: Replacing idols with right desires. This happens when we repent of idols discovered through interpreting desires, and replacing them with lofty visions of the gospel and Christ, which produces godly desire instead of idols which produce evil desires (page
146).

Rich typology: It’s so rich, that it doesn’t read like typology, but rather seems to be literal, being so rich. Example; “Israel” doesn’t really mean “Israel,” but is always a reference to Christ. God’s word really doesn’t mean “word,” or “Law,” but is also 100% synonymous with “the person of Christ who personifies the Law.”

What does that look like? If your leaders start using this phraseology, again, it’s a red flag. It’s an attempt to eradicate the implication that Christians are supposed to participate in the verb world. Instead of: “what should we do?” It’s: “what does that look like when Jesus is doing it for us?”

What did you want? The most utilized interpretive question among the X-ray questions used to find idols in the heart.

Word pictures: If your pastor starts using this phraseology, it’s a red flag. The insinuation is that the Bible writers were writing a gospel narrative / novel / story rather than a document containing specific ideas / instruction to be drawn from the text by evaluating grammatical construction and historical context.

X-ray Questions: Interpretive questions used to identify idols of the heart.

Indicative of What Ails the SBC: Johnny Hunt Denies the New Birth at Ohio Men’s Summit

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

“Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, ‘Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.’ This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was ‘under law,’ and where there is no law there is no sin.”

Not that I get paid for it, but I will inform any SBC pastor who cares to know why the SBC is a dying unregenerate cesspool. You can hide the fact by squeezing out the smaller churches and pointing to the emotional orgies at the megachurches, but the numbers do not lie. And listen, the praise and worship format that is presently redistributing the sheep will eventually get old—this ministry is already seeing sharp declines in megachurch attendance.

The present-day SBC Neo-Calvinist surge is the same movement that has come and gone exactly five times since the Protestant Reformation. My guess is that it will die again. Susan and I recently visited churches that were on the cutting edge of this movement back in the 80’s, and the deadness that we experienced was explained this way by our teenage son: “That place is just creepy.”  The energy once associated with the format is waning because there is no underlying substance and the novelty is passing. Yet, the format continues without the energy which projects an almost surreal creepiness experienced by those who visit. For the longtime members it’s a slow leak going unnoticed, for visitors it’s a blowout.

Aside: Was all of the recent Mark Driscoll drama just cover for the fact that the Mars Hill campuses were in decline? I wonder.

Another aside: The Catholic Church has bought the defunct Crystal Cathedral. It would seem that the Catholic Church is the only institution with the money to buy defunct Protestant campuses. Why does the Catholic Church have so much money? Answer: because it has always been upfront about its salvation by institution gospel. Will the Neo-Calvinist movement begin to be more out-of-the-closet about that approach in order to save the movement? It already is. People will pay big bucks to be saved by merely giving at the office (see, “Roman Catholic Church”).

Johnny Hunt would deny that he is a Neo-Calvinist and that is probably fair, but what I heard him say at last night’s Men’s Summit at Urbancrest Baptist church in Lebanon, OH is indicative of the problem. If there is confusion among Southern Baptists regarding the role of the Holy Spirt in Christian living, and there clearly is, that should explain everything, and it does.

Look, I don’t have the mp3 yet, but a slight paraphrase of a particular sentence spoken at the summit by Hunt goes like this: “The righteousness of Christ is the only thing that gets us into heaven.” Here we have a former president of the SBC, and a premier SBC pastor for something like thirty years, and that statement is just really bad theology if not an outright false gospel.

I keep saying it and will continue to do so: the Bible never states that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us. Though you can take a leap from one logical point to another on a few verses, why the steroidal emphasis on Christ’s righteousness when the Bible clearly states that it is the righteousness of God the Father that we possess? Is this emphasis important? It is if the Bible emphasizes the righteousness of the Father, and it does. Why not emphasize what the Scriptures emphasize?

But the concern goes way beyond semantics. In his Friday sessions, Hunt peppered that concept with the often heard idea that we don’t possess a righteousness of our own. Come now, would any of us still be working if we had a dollar for every time we heard that in SBC circles? But what is it saying?

First, if we ONLY possess the righteousness of Christ, fire insurance is the only gift and not righteousness. Follow? When you receive a gift, you take possession of it…no? Is the idea that we possess no righteousness of “our own” a backdoor way of saying we have not been made righteous and possess no personal holiness? Yes, I think it is. And by the way, forget all of the fuss about election—that idea is Calvinism in a nutshell.

Secondly, while one properly concurs that our sins were imputed to Christ because the Bible states that specifically, is it correct to say that righteousness has been “imputed” to us? I contend that this is NOT correct, and in fact is a denial of the new birth. Why? Because righteousness is not imputed to us, we are MADE righteous through the new birth. The whole “our own” business is a red herring deliciously favored at the table of demons. We don’t tell people we have no life of our own because we were born of parents. That’s just plain silly. “I have no life of my own; it was imputed to me by my parents.” No, you are alive just like your parents because they gave birth to you. In the same way, we ARE righteous because we were given life by a righteous Father through the Holy Spirit.

Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, “Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.” This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was “under law,” and where there is no law there is no sin.

The idea that Christ died for our sin post salvation, at the very least denies the death part of the Spirit’s baptism and keeps the “believer” under law (see Romans 7:1ff). In not sparing any confusion in his lame presentation of the gospel, Hunt concurred that God chastises us for sins we commit as Christians which means God chastises us for sins Christ already died for. Hence, why wouldn’t God also chastise us for sins committed before we were Christians?

Therefore, Hunt, like most SBC pastors, flirts with John Calvin’s double imputation. This is the idea that Christ died for our justification, and lived a perfect life to fulfil the law so that His perfect righteousness can also be imputed to our sanctification. This is exactly why the “righteousness of Christ” is so strongly emphasized. The Bible is clear: this is a justification by the law that leads to antinomian living (see “a typical life in the SBC”). Why? Because we only have the righteousness of Christ and no righteousness of our own which is nearly a verbatim quote by Calvin from his Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.14.11).

This is an outright denial of the new birth and keeps the “Christian” under law. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, even if the law was kept by Christ in our stead, it is not another seed that can give life (Galatians 3:15-21). We are like Christ because He is our brother by birth, righteousness was not imputed to us—we are MADE righteous by the new birth. We are literally new creatures, and ALL things are new.

But, if we have no ownership of righteousness through the new birth, if only our standing is exchanged and not our lives, Christ’s righteousness must be perpetually imputed to our “Christian” lives because we are still under law and not under grace. This would require a return to the same gospel that saved us in order to receive perpetual forgiveness for sins committed under the law, and this is exactly what is behind the viral mantra of “We must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” running amuck in the SBC. Forbid that we would lose our gratitude for salvation and only limit its remembrance to the Lord’s Table for we still supposedly need that forgiveness.

And this is exactly what John Calvin believed; that new sins committed as saints removes us from grace and perpetual forgiveness must be sought which can only be found in the institutional church where we continually “revisit the gospel afresh.”  Yet, the who’s who of the SBC continually affirms that the issue with Calvinism in the SBC is a secondary issue unworthy of parting fellowship. It’s cluelessness on steroids. Calvin advocated the belief that necessarily goes hand in glove with progressive justification; and,  sanctification is the Old Testament Sabbath rest. If we do any works on our sanctification Sabbath, it’s the eternal death penalty. As a result, Christ’s perfect obedience to the law must be imputed to us. This is where antinomianism and justification by law are the same thing; a perfect keeping of the law, which we of course can’t obtain so we must let Jesus obey for us lest we have a “righteousness of our own” becomes another seed other than Christ.

At the end of one session Hunt suggested that those who made a profession of faith follow up with the elders at Urbancrest concerning their “new relationship” with Christ. New relationship? Really? It’s not just a new relationship—it’s literal death and rebirth. We don’t just add Jesus to our still under the law lives for fire insurance or as Hunt put it, in essence, daily rescue. It’s not a daily rescue because we long for the one future rescue by Christ from this mortal body where sin still resides, but our inward man has been literally raised with Christ and free to love God and others through obedience to the same law that once condemned us.

It has been suggested to me that institutional religion and the new birth mix like oil and water: “Paul, if believers are truly born again and endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, why would they need an evangelical industrial complex?” Indeed, that may well be the money question. I have been at two institutional church gatherings this week, and in both cases pastors were held up as upper strata of spiritual caste. At Urbancrest, the emphasis was totally over the top and downright shameful. Other than handing out freebies to the pastors who attended, the senior pastor at Urbancrest talked of a program of sorts through which parishioners could show their pastor that, “I have your back.”

So, is the new birth a threat to religious institutions? Can Holy Spirit empowered ministries thrive in an institutional setting? We will not know until pastors stop denying the new birth. But nevertheless, this is a gut check for every SBC pastor and Hunt in particular. What would be the result of a poll in most churches where the following question is asked?

“Are you only positionally holy in Christ, or are you a holy person?” I fear most would answer, “I am only positionally holy because I still sin.” Yet, pastors who continually wax eloquent about Christians not having any righteousness of their own somehow expect decent behavior from their parishioners.

To his credit, Hunt did advocate obedience, but anyone who was listening closely would have found that confusing. Hunt also emphasized “finishing strong.” He even said that all of his accomplishments in ministry would be worthless if he didn’t finish well. Here is what pastors need to understand: finishing well may mean you end up pastoring a church of 25 people because you stood for the truth. It is high time that pastors draw a line in the sand and definitively define the new birth in no uncertain terms. Please tell your parishioners who they are—are they positionally holy, or are they personally holy?

Did they exchange one “standing before God” for another one, or did they exchange their old life for a new one through the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

paul

Related: https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2014/12/16/the-problem-with-church-your-pastor-doesnt-think-youre-righteous/

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