Paul's Passing Thoughts

George Bernard Shaw – Poster Boy for Platonist Collectivism

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 29, 2016

This is what evil looks like!

“You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world; who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there, and say, now sir or madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence; if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat; if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then clearly we cannot use the big organization of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us, and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.”

 

John Immel: Examining the Historical Perspectives and Evolution of Determinism – 2015 TANC Conference: Session 5

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 28, 2016

The following is an excerpt of the transcript from John Immel’s 5th session at the 2015 TANC Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny.


 

You have got to stop appeasing these people. You have got to stop apologizing for your own achievements. You’ve got to stop hiding your own virtues. You’ve got to stop deriding your own values. And you’ve got to stop debasing your own character. When they ask you to do these things in the name of righteousness it has one purpose; to appease the “original sin” preachers.  And you have one ultimate goal, and this is to rule the world in the name of God.  Do not doubt me here. their purpose and their intent is to take over government exactly like the Puritans did in Puritan England.

But here is the dirty little secret that they never want you to understand. These men can only survive in a climate of appeasement and rational subordination.  Men like CJ Mahaney are the profiteers on the bankruptcy of intellectual appeasement. Men like CJ can only survive in an environment filled with weakness, uncertainty, self-doubt, and terror. He can only work his way into intellectual leadership by passing of virtues as vice, and turning vices into highest moral achievement. The hallmark of such men is that they surround themselves with mediocrity, all the while pretending to surround themselves with the elite. And God help you if you ever challenge the mediocrity. I speak from experience.

I want you to notice as you observe these men how they react to real achievement. Notice John MacArthur’s denigration of those who run institutions and countries and universities. That it’s somehow beneath their consideration. Notice how the New Calvinists thrive on making men small. Indeed the hallmark of success in these circles is the race to see who can be the smallest, the humblest, the most self-deprecating.

But do not be deceived, this is all theological fraud. It’s a mask that they wear to cover their hideous souls. And here is how you rip off the mask. The moment they self-deprecate or self-abdicate, the moment they pay homage to inability or stupidity or moral corruption, agree with them. Say, “You’re right. You ARE stupid. You know nothing. You are weak and impotent. You ARE morally corrupt. It is true, you are the personification of Augustine’s original sin moral monster.” And the step back and watch the fireworks! Watch how fast they defend their existence as smart and capable and important and [gasp!] good. Watch how fast they defend their achievements and abilities, and posture and strut and make pretense to being the world-shapers and the humble masters of men.

Why do you tolerate this? I’ve been talking for a little over six hours, and we’ve already got a little bit of hate male about me because I’m arrogant. Six hours I’ve been talking, and people won’t tolerate it, yet these men speak with impunity. Why do you appease?

So what is the real motive for the doctrines they preach? I’m going to tell you. This is a quote from Ayn Rand.

“Values are a necessity of any living organism’s survival. Life is the process of the self-sustaining, self-generated action; and the successful pursuit of values is a pre-condition of remaining alive. Since nature does not provide man with an automatic knowledge of the code of values he requires, there are differences in the codes which men accept and the goals they pursue. But consider the abstraction, ‘value’, apart from the particular context of any code, and ask yourself: what is the nature of a creature in which the sight of a value arouses hatred and the desire to destroy?”

The answer to her question is simple. All advocates of the Reformed construct are haters of man as such. They are perpetrators of the most disastrous body of thought ever perpetrated on human existence. And I tell you the truth; no matter the big alligator tears, and their bromides to love, and their endless cyber-hugs on sundry discernment blogs, and the love bombs when new faces walk through the church doors, no matter the marketing and packaging, these people hold man in contempt! They are lovers of death. They are arch-nihilists advocating doctrines that render man a living corpse. And this is who you give tacit approval to by your silence, by your fear, by your appeasement. But they are coming for you. The goal of all determinists is to rule the world in their own image. And if you don’t resist, you will get exactly what you deserve.


 

Watch all of John’s 5th session below.

 

The Protestant Twisting of 1John: A Clarification, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 22, 2016

Originally published March 22, 2015

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Welcome to Blogtalk Radio False Reformation this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, we are going to attack and unravel interpretive abuses of 1John, particularly 1John 1:9 and 2:1. There is only one other text twisted for ill use more than these two verses, and that would be Galatians 2:20 and 3:1-3. Later, In part 2, I will toss in an exegesis of those verses as a bonus.

There may be a lot of different religions and even more denominations, but for all practical purposes they all have one thing in common: this whole idea that salvation is a process with a beginning and an end. This makes salvation a process that includes our present life.

So, the argumentation between religions and denominations involves the correct way of getting from point A to point B. But there is no point A and point B. When you believe God unto salvation, you get the complete package and the salvation part of your life is finished. It is an instantaneous quickening of the Spirit that transports you from one kingdom to another, from one master to another, from being under law to being under grace, from the old person to the new person, and from darkness to light. You don’t become a servant of righteousness on the installment plan, and you don’t become a kingdom citizen on an installment plan.

How is 1 John used to argue for a progressive salvation, and what is John really saying in his epistle? Way back at the beginning of this ministry, I had this nailed down. If salvation is a process, and eternal life as opposed to eternal punishment is at stake, the Christian life is really a minefield. The focus isn’t being the best kingdom citizen; the focus is making sure you don’t mess up your salvation. The focus is salvation, not discipleship. The focus is fear of judgement, not love.

I realize many Christians hold to OSAS, “Once saved – always saved”, but the problem is how they are led by pastors trained in seminaries deeply grounded in Protestant tradition. That tradition looks to the institutional church as the primary way of getting God’s people from point A to point B in regard to their salvation. Whether OSAS or not, they are led to do the same things week in and week out. Be here at this time or that time; stand up; sing; sit down; listen to announcements; stand up; sing; sit down; listen to the special music presentation; put your tithe in the plate; listen to the sermon (always about the gospel just in case there are lost people present, wink, wink); stand up; sing “Just As I Am” until someone walks the isle so you can stop singing “Just As I Am”; pray; be dismissed; be cordial to people and tell them how much you love them; go home, and come back next week and do it again.

Why? Because all of that ritualism “imparts grace” and enables us to “grow in grace.” It enables us to “grow up in our salvation.” After all, discipleship is the “growing part of our salvation.” We have all said it, but salvation doesn’t grow. While believing in OSAS, most parishioners are led by pastors who believe in progressive salvation/justification which was clearly the foundational premise of Protestantism with the progression being overseen by the Protestant institutional church.

Moreover, let’s face it; while believing in OSAS, there is only one reason people put up with all of the nonsense and drama of the institutional church—OSAS means that if someone leaves the institutional church, they were never saved to begin with. Right? In other words, they function according to the idea that they are led by. It’s OSAS as long as you are “faithful” to the institution. Then each church has its own little “faithfulness” caste system. Those who show up for all of the services are the “core members” that run the church. Those “less faithful” that only come on Sunday mornings are a lower class of member in the caste system.

You have the pastors, staff and deacons, then the “faithful” that attend all of the services and tithe at least 10%, the “casual” attenders that tithe, and then the bottom of the caste strata, even lower than the serfs, the putrid “nonmembers.”

Whether Calvin or Luther, the two icons of Protestantism, these beliefs follow after the doctrine they established for the Protestant institutional church. Access to the institutional church was through water baptism, and the critical need according to the Reformers for formal church membership follows: as Christians, forgiveness for present and future sins can only be found in the institutional church, and those sins condemn us. Forgiveness for all sins does not occur at salvation, but only for past sins. Water baptism initiates us into church membership where forgiveness for present and future sins can be obtained through the sacraments; ie., “gospel preaching,” the Lord’s Table, and anything else deemed as acts of faithfulness to the institutional church not to exclude tithing by any means. Calvin states this explicitly in his institutes, 4.15.1.

All in all, you can say that in Protestantism, the status of sin does not change for the believer—it still condemns requiring perpetual resalvation for every sin committed.

Therefore, 1John 1:9 and 2:1 is interpreted in this light: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9). “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (2:1).

These verses seem to bolster the authentic Protestant position on justification. Confession of sin in our Christian lives keeps us saved. And if we confess our sins, Jesus is up in heaven as our advocate with the Father continuing His work as a propitiation for our sins.

The problem is that this interpretation stands in stark contrast to what other Scriptures state about justification. Biblically, sin has a different classification after salvation—it can’t condemn; it can bring chastisement and present consequences, but it can’t condemn—its ability to condemn has been taken away. Hence, there is no need to have some institution that prevents future condemnation.

Nevertheless, it is easy to understand why the institutional church not only gets a pass on outrageous behavior, but the money keeps pouring in. What will people pay for their salvation and décor that glorifies the institution that saves them? Apparently, no price or compromise is too large. One can also appreciate the fear of so-called excommunication because the institutional church is the only place where one can receive continued forgiveness for present and future sins.

Before I move on, I will solidify my present point. Romans 8:1 states that there is presently NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. In Contrast, Calvin stated that “even saints cannot perform one work which, if judged on its own merits, is not deserving of condemnation” (CI 3.14.9, last sentence). Obviously, the focus is going to be avoiding condemnation, not our freedom to pursue aggressive love in discipleship.

So what are these verses in 1John really saying? Let’s begin to unpack that using the historical grammatical approach to interpretation as opposed to the traditional Protestant means of interpretation, the historical redemptive method. Since Protestantism sees salvation as a process, “redemptive” means that the Bible must be approached with a redemptive prism; ie., the Bible is about salvation. Clearly, this is eisegesis; going to the Bible with a presupposition.

In regard to the history part, this is the belief that history is an unfolding drama about salvation. Hence, all of reality is interpreted through salvation. All of history and the Bible continually reveals the one two-fold redemptive truth/reality: the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God. Salvation begins when we see or understand this reality, and the experience of that reality increases until final salvation.

In contrast, the historical grammatical method uses historical facts to bring more meaning to the text, and all truth is determined by what can be concluded by the grammar—this is known as exegesis. All meaning and truth comes out of the text without anything being read into the text except conclusions from other texts.

In fact, Protestant tradition holds to the idea that a historical grammatical approach to the Scriptures invariably leads to works salvation. Protestant tradition insists that the Scriptures must be interpreted through the prism of total depravity. In this year’s TANC conference, this is what I am going to be hitting on. Christians, save a few, have no idea that Protestant pastors that are leading them view reality in a totally different way than most parishioners. And this is why church looks like it does. And there is no salvaging it—it’s a completely broken system.

So, if you interpret said verses in 1 John redemptively, it fits right into their narrative, right? You have to continue to repent for new sins in your Christian life in order to not be condemned and to keep your salvation. A good old fashioned Baptist lady who I am sure would hold OSAS stated this to my wife Susan in the grocery store a couple weeks ago. When Susan asked her why Christians need to go forward during alter calls, she answered, “they have sin that needs to be forgiven.” Well, why can’t they get that forgiveness by praying at home? You ought to see the reaction Susan and I get when we suggest her mother was saved even though not a member of a church.

Protestantism and all of its offshoots including the Baptists is nothing more or less than functioning Calvinism. Election isn’t the point, progressive salvation is the point. Protestants think salvation grows—salvation doesn’t grow—you are either forgiven once and for all time or you aren’t. Look, if you are going to stay in the institutional church, it makes absolutely no difference where you go. Please, stop driving 15 miles to the Baptist church when there is a Catholic Church right across the street—it’s a shameful waste of gas. It’s all progressive justification.

In contrast, we have to see 1 John in its exegetical historical context. It must be interpreted according to what was going on during the time that prompted this letter. And what was that?

John was pushing back against the number-one nemesis of the assemblies during that time: Gnosticism. Now, there were many, many different veins of Gnosticism during that time, but like denominationalism, there are basics that are fundamentally the same. Denominationalism quibbles about how to get from point A to point B, but it is all progressive salvation.

When you understand the basics of Gnosticism, it is easy to see that John’s first epistle is a point by point rebuttal of Gnosticism, and NOT the proffering of progressive justification. Protestants can bicker with Catholics all they want to about how to get from point A to point B, but again, it’s all progressive justification. If it’s a religious institution, it’s selling final salvation, PERIOD.

If we follow John’s arguments in this epistle, it also apes the fundamental basics of Gnosticism, and that’s what we are going to do:

1 John 1:1 – That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. [KJV].

The Gnostics taught that it really wasn’t the spiritual Christ that died on the cross. Gnosticism holds to the idea that material is evil and only the invisible spiritual world is good. Gnosticism rejected the idea that the spiritual realm, or godhood can be one with the material. You must understand: the biblical concept of God-man is a direct affront to the foundation of all false religions, or the knowledge of good and evil. It is the idea that true knowledge cannot be one with the material. Knowledge is good, material is evil and is only a shadow of true knowledge. Knowledge of the material is enslaved and dependent on the five senses.

Now, stop right there. Let me simplify this for you. All false religion flows from the religion of the knowledge of good and evil presented to Eve in the garden. This is also the first sentence of the Calvin Institutes and all of the Calvin Institutes flow from the foundation of 1.1.1., first sentence, viz, ALL wisdom is the knowledge of man and the knowledge of God; man is inherently evil and God is inherently good.

Also, the first sentence of the Calvin Institutes is the primary theses of Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation which is the Magnum Opus of the Reformation. All fundamentals found in contemporary evangelicalism can be found in the Heidelberg Disputation and flow from it. Calvin’s Institutes further articulated the former. In contemporary evangelicalism, we hear constantly that true biblical knowledge is “the knowledge of our own sinfulness as set against God’s holiness.” This is also the pronounced fundamental foundation of the contemporary biblical counseling movement as constantly stated publically in no uncertain terms.

Why am I interjecting this? Because even though much of our knowledge concerning first century Gnosticism comes from the writings of the early church fathers and while they railed against Gnosticism, they themselves were also Gnostics. However, in the process of railing against Gnosticism, they confirm unequivocally that John’s letter addressed the Gnosticism of their day; it just wasn’t the Gnosticism that they preferred.

And by the way, according to some church fathers, John was addressing a Gnostic named Cerinthus who was a contemporary of John and a personal nemesis.

Cerinthus was a gnostic and to some, an early Christian, who was prominent as a heresiarch in the view of the early Church Fathers. Contrary to proto-orthodox Christianity, Cerinthus’s school followed the Jewish law, used the Gospel according to the Hebrews, denied that the Supreme God had made the physical world, and denied the divinity of Jesus. In Cerinthus’ interpretation, the Christ came to Jesus at baptism, guided him in his ministry, but left him at the crucifixion.

He taught that Jesus would establish a thousand-year reign of sensuous pleasure after the Second Coming but before the General Resurrection, a view that was declared heretical by the Council of Nicaea. Cerinthus used a version of the gospel of Matthew as scripture.

Cerinthus taught at a time when Christianity’s relation to Judaism and to Greek philosophy had not yet been clearly defined. In his association with the Jewish law and his modest assessment of Jesus, he was similar to the Ebionites and to other Jewish Christians. In defining the world’s creator as the demiurge, he emulated Platonic philosophy and anticipated the Gnostics.

Early Christian tradition describes Cerinthus as a contemporary to and opponent of John the Evangelist, who may have written the First Epistle of John and the Second Epistle of John to warn the less mature in faith and doctrine about the changes he was making to the original gospel. All that is known about Cerinthus comes from the writing of his theological opponents (Wikipedia).

At any rate, the teachings of Cerinthus follow the basic fundamentals of 1st century Gnosticism of which there were two schools of thought unchanged from the cradle of society: intuitive knowledge within versus knowledge outside of man. While both schools held to the strict dichotomy of material being evil and the invisible good, and true knowledge being beyond the five senses, they disagreed on where that knowledge is found and whether or not it is intuitive among all men, or a select few preordained by nature or some supreme being.

Cerinthus followed the philosophical school of Idealism which holds to the belief that the one cosmic mind has an intuitive connection within every individual. Finding that knowledge is often a complex mind-numbing epistemology, but curiously, Luther and Calvin had their own angle that built on the Neo-Platonic teachings of St. Augustine.

This Gnostic bent actually allowed for Christ to be human, or at least some form of humanity. Apparently, God became exasperated with man’s penchant for trying to gain knowledge through the material world, and said in essence, “Ok, since you like to think you can know something and try to gain knowledge through the things that are seen, I am going to send my Son to die on the physical cross, and now all knowledge will only be gained through suffering—there mankind, take that!” This is the essence of the Heidelberg Disputation which is a philosophical treatise, not a theological one by any stretch of the imagination. Luther states plainly in the document that ALL knowledge is hidden in the suffering of the cross. Anyone who thinks they can understand Protestantism without a good grasp of world philosophy is sadly misguided. It is one of the historical necessities of historical grammatical hermeneutics.

Hence, in the Gnostic Protestant construct, Christ and His gospel is the only true objective knowledge and is outside of man. Man is not to seek any knowledge within himself, but all knowledge must be sought outside of him in contemplation of the gospel. All of reality is interpreted by the suffering of the cross. The cross is the epistemology from the material to the invisible, or from the evil to the good.

In contrast, other schools believe the epistemology is intuitive within all men because all men have a spiritual being separate from their material being, and the spiritual part of man is nonmaterial and therefore SINLESS. The material body of man is evil because it is material, but his invisible being is good and has a connection to the cosmic spiritual world that must be cultivated by transcending the material. This was key to the drug culture of the 60’s as LSD trips enabled the individual to transcend the five senses and see into the invisible spiritual world. Supposedly.

Other schools of thought believed that even though all men have a material and spiritual aspect, the spiritual anthropology has classifications in regard to who is able to see true knowledge and who isn’t as determined by the cosmos or cosmic mind; ie., determinism. And consequently, if utopia is to ever be achieved, those with the ability to see knowledge must rule over those who have the inability to transcend the material and are enslaved to it.  How do you reason with people hopelessly enslaved to the material? They either understand that they can’t know reality and get with the program, or you kill them.

According to the Reformers, utopia is achieved by understanding that all reality is interpreted through the cross of redemption. This concept was established by Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and is known as being a “theologian of the cross.” Theologians of the cross are able to know the “cross story,” or interpret reality through the cross, and all others are enslaved to the “glory story” or the story of man. This is the dichotomy of the knowledge of good and evil, or material versus spiritual.

Furthermore, the Reformers believed that the new birth entailed the gift of outward seeing only. All goodness remains outside of man. This is the pious distinction they claim over their fellow Gnostics. Unlike Cerinthus, who would be the modern equivalence of existentialism, no good can be in man, because that does not limit knowledge to suffering and the cross. Even though the early church fathers believed that material is evil and only the invisible is good like all ancient Gnostics, they labeled those heretics who believed that the invisible spirit within man was a connection to the good. That was heresy in their minds. And if you really understand what John Piper et al believe in our day, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

The true Christians of that day had a different metaphysical take: the material realm is NOT evil, it’s weak. Something that is weak can still be good. The born again Christian struggles with sin because he/she is weak, not because the material realm is inherently evil. Christ really did come adorned in humanity in every since of the meaning because the material is not evil. This understanding of being fits together with the true gospel.

But what Cerinthus et al was teaching speaks directly to what John wrote in his first epistle, and we have addressed some of it in John’s introduction. John, in essence, said the following: Christ was 100% humanity and 100% God. We saw Him, we heard Him, we touched Him, we saw Him die on the cross, there isn’t two Christs, there is only one.

What Cerinthus et al taught explains everything John wrote in this epistle and why he wrote it. It not only explains why John wrote what he wrote in 1:9 and 2:1, it sheds light on why John wrote what he wrote in the rest of the book as well.

And that is what we will look at next.  We will do a point by point fly over of 1 John while interpreting it according to this historical context of Gnosticism. John will address the definition of sin in contrast, the definition of knowledge and truth in contrast, the definition of the true gospel in context, the definition of love and hate in contrast, and the definition of the new birth in contrast.

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The Gospel of Sovereignty? Romans Series Interlude: Predestination, a Potter’s House Journey; Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 9, 2016

Originally posted June 30, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

sov·er·eign·ty [sov-rin-tee, suhv-] noun, plural sov·er·eign·ties.

1. the quality or state of being sovereign.

2. the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign; royalty.

3. supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.

4. rightful status, independence, or prerogative.

5. a sovereign state, community, or political unit.

“The sovereignty of God” is a phrase that we hear often in Christian circles; in fact, it is a subject that dominates Christian discussion in our day. Moreover, it is an attribute of God that Christians make intrinsic to the gospel itself. In my contention against progressive justification in our day, the argument I hear most is, “You don’t understand the sovereignty of God.”

And no wonder, one of the premier evangelicals of our day, John MacArthur Jr., had this to say in a message titled, “An Explanation of the Sovereign Gospel.”

So we know it has been laid upon us to be faithful in our evangelistic responsibility. At the same time, sometimes we struggle with this reality of divine sovereignty and what it is that we can do when everything is predetermined by God and worked by the Holy Spirit.

Well, the simple answer to the question is God has not only ordained whom He will save, but He has ordained that we in our faithful evangelism would be the means by which He would save His own. To be useful to Him is the purpose in the fulfillment of His sovereign plan, to be an instrument that He can use, to be a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. To be obedient because that brings, of course, blessing, reward in this life and eternal reward as well (Grace Community Church | Romans 9-11 | September 03, 2011).

Of course, if God has predetermined who will be saved, and uses our evangelism to carry that out, our obedience to evangelism must be preordained as well. As discussed in a previous lesson in this series, this necessarily requires the redefining of the words “obedience” and “reward” as well as many other words and the normative understanding of them. But the main point I want to make here is MacArthur making salvation synonymous with sovereignty which is defined as CONTROL.

Herein is the problem: the word “sovereign” does NOT mean “control,” it means that one has the right to have authority in a given jurisdiction. Even some among the Reformed admit this:

What does it mean to say that God is sovereign? The refrain has become so common, almost clichéd, in Reformed writing and preaching that it sometimes slips away from the reader or listener without lodging meaning in the mind. Worse, we typically hear the phrase to mean something it doesn’t. When Christians affirm that “God is sovereign,” they often mean “God is in control.” Paul Tripp, for example, wrote in his excellent book Lost in the Middle that “God truly is sovereign . . . there is no situation, relationship, or circumstance that is not controlled by our heavenly Father.”

The problem is that the English word sovereignty does not mean control. The U. S. government is sovereign within American territory, but that doesn’t mean the government controls everything within American borders or causes all that happens. If you look up sovereignty in the dictionary you’ll not find control in the definition—nor even as a synonym in a thesaurus.

Sovereignty means “rightful authority.” A dictionary gives “supreme rank” as one definition, and a thesaurus lists jurisdiction and dominion as synonyms. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty tells us God is the rightful ruler of the universe. He has legitimate claim to lordship. His government is just. In fact, justice is defined as his rule. God’s sovereignty doesn’t tell us whether God does in fact rule—just that he ought to, and that we should acknowledge his rule and obey it. (Is “Sovereign” the Best Descriptor for God? Paul D. Miller).

Miller goes on to say…

Once again, it is true God is sovereign. It’s also true he’s in control of everything that happens and he causes all that happens. But that is the doctrine of God’s providence, not his sovereignty.

Does God CAUSE everything to happen? Perhaps, but that’s not what providence means either.

prov·i·dence [prov-i-duhns] noun

1. the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.

2. God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.

3. a manifestation of divine care or direction.

4. provident or prudent management of resources; prudence.

5. foresight; provident care.

First, the word “sovereign” appears nowhere in the Bible which should give people pause in regard to the frivolousness of its use in Christian circles. Secondly, it does NOT mean, control, preordination, or predetermination. Certainly, if God wanted to control everything, He could, but does He? Did God know sin was going to come into the world? Yes, so why didn’t he prevent it beforehand? The best answer points to the importance of freewill. God did not cause sin by not preventing it. God tempts no one with sin and is not the creator of evil (James 1:13-18).

When the attributes of God are considered (most theologians name 21 different attributes), absolute deterministic control is not one of them. Even with said attributes, God at times chooses to forfeit the attribute for a period of time. Therefore, if God is predeterminist, He wouldn’t always necessarily choose to predetermine. Some attributes of God are temporarily mutable, and others are NOT ever mutable. An immutable attribute of God is His love towards mankind for all the living. Clearly, an example of an attribute that God has temporarily suspended at times is omniscience:

Genesis 18:20 – Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Mark 13:32 – But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Also, yes, in regard to some things God is immutable, but in contrast, he can be persuaded by prayer:

Isaiah 38:1 – In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

2Chronicles 16;12 – In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians (NIV).

We have established that sovereign would be the wrong word to describe God as causing all that happens, and those things being according to His desired will. It has also been mentioned that the word “sovereign” is not in the Bible. Even if sovereign did mean that all things are predetermined according to God’s pleasure, would it be correct to make that part and parcel with the gospel as most do in our day? Below is yet another version of the infamous Cross Chart that can be applied to this question:

Chart A

The Problem is defining the gospel according to God’s sovereignty as opposed to God’s love and the good news thereof. Why would the idea that God preordained people to hell be good news? This also speaks to man’s worth. Did Christ die for humanity because it has some kind of worth to God? We can again utilize the cross chart for this question:

Chart B

To the extent that man has worth, the gospel gets smaller and God’s grace, and the degree of His sacrifice are diminished. A gospel based on the sovereignty of God must completely eliminate man altogether, and John Immel’s point made in this year’s TANC conference is well taken: it eventually boils down to Man having no right to exist.

All of this greatly hinders the proper answering of questions people have about the Bible. Take note of John Piper’s answer to the question, “Why was it right for God to slaughter women and children in the Old Testament? How can that ever be right?”

It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die.

God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs.

So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing.

If I were to drop dead right now, or a suicide bomber downstairs were to blow this building up and I were blown into smithereens, God would have done me no wrong. He does no wrong to anybody when he takes their life, whether at 2 weeks or at age 92.

God is not beholden to us at all. He doesn’t owe us anything.

Now add to that the fact we’re all sinners and deserve to die and go to hell yesterday, and the reality that we’re even breathing today is sheer common grace from God.

I could make the question harder. As it was stated, it doesn’t feel hard to me, because God was stated as the actor.

My basic answer is that the Old and New Testaments present God as the one who has total rights over my life and over my death.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). How he takes away is his call. He never wrongs anybody.

~ Ask Pastor John | Desiring God .org | February 27, 2010

In essence, you see the mentality in this answer that man does not have the right to exist, and has no worth. Yet…

Malachi 3:17 – They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

John Piper has been called out many times publicly for making these kinds of statements in regard to tragedies, but no one seems to understand the ideology behind such statements. Some also notice tacit acceptance of terrorism as well, and the lack of justice in the institutional church for those who have been abused speaks for itself. If the president of the flagship seminary in service to the largest denomination in the world thinks that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot,” what are we to expect?

When one thinks of life past the fatalistic prism of the “sovereign” gospel that saturates today’s church and reads the Bible in the same thinking way, much better answers evolve. Unfortunately, life teaches us that terrorists cannot be reasoned with. I heard a retired high-ranking military official state this week that the only way to deal with terrorists is to eliminate them. Keep in mind, this is because they do not value mankind or life because of the same presuppositions that we are discussing.

When Israel was getting ready to enter the Promised Land, it could very well be that God knew certain cultures in the area would continually harass Israel and were completely unreasonable while having no regard for life. Israel’s lack of obedience in following God’s command to completely wipe out certain cultures came back to bite them for hundreds of years—even until this very day. These were cultures very much like ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who are presently wreaking havoc in the Middle East and mercilessly slaughtering thousands. These people, unfortunately, cannot be negotiated with.

Lastly, another problem with a gospel that is based on deterministic fatalism follows. There is only one person spoken of less in our day than the Holy Spirit: Satan. The Bible warns us throughout to be aware of the devil’s schemes, and that he “deceives” the world. Why would this be relevant and how do you “deceive” someone who is already preordained for eternal punishment? The Bible continually places blame on Satan for leading people into condemnation.

In the final analysis, a “sovereign” gospel devalues prayer, God’s promises, evangelism, sin, justice, hope, life value, future reward, and the belief that what we do in this life is relevant. I have come to believe that people will perish because we have been neutralized by ignorance:

Ezekiel 3:16 – And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

John MacArthur claims that Christians should take part in God’s “sovereign” plan, and therefore find blessings in being obedient to evangelism. I have heard this same take from people who equate freewill with an unsovereign gospel/false gospel. Again, God’s “sovereignty” is the attribute that primarily drives the gospel and not love. But the following is irrefutable, such obedience must also be preordained and not really of our own volition. Furthermore, the reward is invalid as well.

I have also come to believe that there are no paradoxes in God’s election. I believe the confusion can be eliminated, and people motivated to labor in God’s ministry field with zeal. But I believe the study will be very hard work.

Nevertheless, let us begin it posthaste.

Why Mark Dever Hates America and Old People

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 22, 2016

Dever_bwOriginally published July 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What flag?

Indeed Mr. Mark Dever.

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

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

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

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

Removing Old Glory for God’s Glory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paul

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