Paul's Passing Thoughts

Blank Check Forgiveness Necessarily Calls For The Shutting Down Of All Discernment Blogs

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 10, 2016

ppt-jpeg4As written about many times on PPT, blank check forgiveness is a Reformed principle that flows from Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross. Luther’s ideology, and John Calvin can be included in this as well, rejected the idea of multifaceted justice amidst humanity. In Protestant Reformed thought, there is only one legitimate justice that must be satisfied; man’s sin against God. In Reformed thought, sin among men and a “Cry for Justice” is all but completely irrelevant.

And in fact, given the constant ongoing church drama regarding spiritual abuse what in the world is more obvious? We can “Cry for Justice” all day long and every day until the second coming; such is not a Protestant metaphysical or gospel reality. If you think differently, you might want to do a legitimate independent study on the Protestant Reformation. Luther and Calvin scoffed at the idea of justice among people.

Consequently, blank check forgiveness and discernment blogs are an oxymoron. A biblical definition of forgiveness calls for a cancellation of discussion surrounding the offence. This is why, in contradiction to Reformed orthodoxy, Christians will not appear at a final judgement where the law is present. This is why Biblicism calls for multiple resurrections and judgments as opposed to Protestant orthodoxy confused Protestants notwithstanding. Let me illustrate this from one of many Bible passages that define forgiveness:

“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

And…

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

And…

“then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’”

Of course, God doesn’t have a bad memory; the idea is that He will not bring up the sin to himself, others, or you ever again, especially at a final judgement where the law is present. This isn’t hard to understand if you understand the gospel and the literal new birth that saved us; the former you that committed the sin died with Christ and was resurrected to new life that pursues law for the sake of love without fear of condemnation. This also speaks to the folly of endorsing blank check forgiveness via “We should forgive others the way we were forgiven.” Well then, stop bringing the offence into constant remembrance on your blog. You can call it a “journey” until the cows come home, but it is not forgiveness.

Common among discernment blogs is a constant harping about blank check forgiveness while documenting the “journey” in reliving whatever abuse was suffered. Biblicism defines forgiveness as a debt cancellation. Bill collectors don’t blog about debts that have already been paid.

Hence, without repentance and restitution where possible, we don’t grant forgiveness anymore than God does. He didn’t forgive you without repentance, and if you are going to forgive others differently from how God forgives, don’t argue for “forgiving others the way we were forgiven.” Huh?

Let me suggest the Biblicist way: we forgive those who repent, and we love those who don’t repent while leaving revenge to God. Sometimes I wonder; does God refuse to deal with spiritual abusers because we arrogantly grant forgiveness that is unbiblical and then put His name on it? And, does God lead people to repentance by continually reminding them of their unreconciled offences? See, when we say that the love of God leads people to repentance, this is what we are talking about. Love does not ignore the sin issue and fail to hold people accountable. Since when is that love?

Now, if your blog continually brings up the unrepentant abuse for the purpose of leading that person to repentance…you do well…but if you have actually forgiven them…

…shut down your blog.

paul

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We Forgive the Way Our Father Forgives Who Doesn’t Want to Condemn Anyone

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 17, 2015

project-2016-logo-4God doesn’t choose His enemies, he seeks to be reconciled to them.”

We have a severe identity crisis among professing Christians. Who are we and what is our specific relationship to the Father? However, there is one thing we do know that explains why we know little: the Protestant waters we swim in culturally have always been about keeping ourselves saved—not living out our true heritage.

This is why Christians live by illogical truisms. If you pay close attention, discussion and sermons will often be little more than adages strung together to make sentences. The problem with that follows: this will not bring about the righteousness that God desires. The purpose of Christ’s assembly is to create a mature body that impacts the world.

The topic of forgiveness is by no means excluded from the institutional church’s incessant pooling of ignorance leading to decadence of every sort. While stating that we should forgive others “the way we have been forgiven,” something totally different is prescribed. Per the usual with other orthodoxy as well, selected Scripture verses make the case with contradictory verses being the elephants in the room. Moreover, contradictions are trumped by the assumed authority of Protestant academics. How dare thee bring up contradictions and thereby touch God’s anointed? Thou should know that your lack of understanding only makes these deep truths appear to be contradictions!

Here is the normally accepted orthodoxy: he who is without sin throw the first stone; so, if one doesn’t forgive others unconditionally, even without repentance, we are judging ourselves sinless and qualified to judge others. Forgiveness in the church must be the norm and without any conditions. When pressed with biblical contradictions, some will make a defense for “vertical and horizontal forgiveness.” The first being a “forgiveness in the heart,” and the second being “practical forgiveness” IF one repents. The latter is nice when it happens, sort of the icing on the cake, but the former is required lest God not forgive us of our own sin. Again, you can add this to a long list of things that Protestants do to keep themselves saved, ie., forgive under all circumstances or God will not forgive you of “present sin.” This is therefore added to the Protestant Means of Grace which is salvation on the installment plan. This is why this ministry receives vitriolic pushback on this subject, we are spearing one of the sacred Means of Grace.

Presumably, this idea of heart forgiveness comes from Matthew 18:35, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” The problem with this view is the context of Matthew 18 which makes this particular heart forgiveness contingent on repentance. If the offender repents, “you have gained a brother,” ONLY then are we obligated to extend forgiveness and forgive “your brother”… “from your heart.”

Additionally, according to orthodoxy, we forgive others unconditionally because if we don’t, our anger towards the person will turn to bitterness and result in self-destruction. Hence, another popular Protestant adage is, “We don’t forgive others for them, we forgive others for ourselves.” But what is the real framework for forgiveness according to the Bible? If we don’t forgive the other person because they refuse to repent, where do we go from there?

Answer A: We forgive the way God forgives, and it’s contingent upon repentance.

Answer B: If they don’t repent, we do what God does; we seek their repentance for their sake…and ours. We seek to “gain a brother.”

This is exactly what God does. Much could be discussed here about one’s view of God, but let it be said that blank check forgiveness comes from a certain view of God, namely, that it is not God’s will or desire that all people be saved. God does good to His enemies because He wants them to know that it is NOT His desire that they perish. His constant show of goodness towards mankind as set against judgment leads them to repentance. When a professing believer sins against another Christian and refuses to repent, they show themselves as unbelievers. They are now your enemy, and God’s enemy as well. Now listen, this is all based on objective facts, not orthodox opinion.

Herein, we are like God: we now seek the repentance of our enemies. We seek their reconciliation: “be reconciled to God.” This is what God does, and we are to be like Him in the world. God doesn’t choose His enemies, he seeks to be reconciled to them.

Let me pause here and make the case. Romans chapter one clarifies God’s pending wrath against all who defy righteousness. However, let’s also clarify the context of Romans chapters one and two. The mystery of the gospel, as defined by the New Testament, is the joining together of Jews and Gentiles into one body. Jewish attitudes and traditions were mucking that up. The Jews, as God’s chosen people, refused to forgive Gentiles, considered them to be their enemies and the enemies of God as well, and therefore promoted revenge against the Gentiles whenever possible. Jewish tradition promoted “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” The Jewish sages interpreted “neighbor” as someone in good standing with the Jewish community (Luke 10: 25-37). This made the Jews little better than violent sects often found in Islam. But, “God shows no partiality” (Romans 2:11).

As we will see, much of this hinges on God’s desire to see ALL people saved, and we should have this desire as well (see the historical account of Jonah). True biblical forgiveness hinges on the idea that God doesn’t predestine people for condemnation. This also answers the question of unresolved anger. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the subjects of the kingdom of darkness that hell was prepared for. While we may be angry at those who have sinned against us, do we really want to see them suffer in hell for eternity because of what they did to us? In most cases NO, but in fact, they will if they don’t repent. This is not to say that they would go to hell simply for offenses against us, but a lifestyle of unrepentant sin is in view here. Therefore, it is our goal to “gain a brother.” The energy produced by righteous indignation is to be used in “gaining a brother.” This means we “overcome evil with good.” This is what God does, and this is what leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4). God makes it rain and shine upon the just as well as the unjust, and we are to do the same in a manner of speaking. We hold them accountable because unrepentance puts their soul in peril, but we also treat them as we would want to be treated in that situation; we would want to be reminded that we are under judgment by God who does not wish to condemn us. Because God is love, we should be love.

In the final analysis, be angry and don’t sin. Revenge belongs to God, but He desires reconciliation over judgment. All in all, we should only have two kinds of people in our lives: brothers and those we are trying to gain as brothers. Some are our enemies, most aren’t. BUT, we gain them through repentance which comes through showing God’s desire for mercy. Therefore, we do good to them, we pray for them, we bless them, but true fellowship with the Father and the Son that we enjoy only comes through reconciliation and fruits that show repentance accordingly. Those who have truly repented will want to compensate IF possible, and those who have committed crimes against us will be willing to suffer the consequences. I vaguely remember the last words of a condemned criminal before the victim’s family who reportedly became a Christian while on death row. He said he hoped his execution and the fulfilled justice thereof would give the family some relief and closure to what he had done to them. In my book, that is indicative of true repentance.

Putting feet on forgiveness towards those who have repented is fairly simple, and again, the way God forgives. It is a promise to not bring the sin up to former offenders for purposes of condemnation. Likewise, this includes others, and ourselves. Like God, we “will remember their sin no more.” By practicing this, the initial decision to forgive based on repentance/reconciliation is solidified deeply in the heart. This is the true forgiveness in the heart.

Christians have a difficult time understanding true biblical forgiveness because the debate still rages about who God is and what He wants. If man is totally depraved and unable to respond to God’s call to sinners, moral equivalency demands blank check forgiveness. Who are we not to forgive? The only apparent reason that we are forgiven is because God chose us, and also chose His enemies. Who are we not to forgive others whether they repent or not? Whether they repent or not is God’s choice, not ours. After all, it’s God’s choice to have enemies.

But that’s not God. He desires mercy and not sacrifice. Therefore, worship by those who have circumvented reconciliation is a stench before God. In this case, those who chain the temple doors are commended by him.

And this may apply to those who demand forgiveness without reconciliation as well. Remember, by no means can the idea of reconciliation be divorced from repentance, and we dare not offer at the alter without it.

paul

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 16, 2015

project-2016-logo-4However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?”

In part one, we examined presuppositions regarding mankind that makes justice irrelevant. In essence, only God has a right to demand justice because He is the only one that’s good. We also looked at the resulting illogical idea that anger over sin will destroy a person, while guilt is posited as a healthy emotion leading to “humbleness.” No surprise then that a popular adage in the church is…“We don’t forgive for the sake of the offender, we forgive for ourselves.” Supposedly, if we don’t extend forgiveness, anger, leading to “bitterness,” will destroy us. Forgiving isn’t for the other person, it’s for you, as if the other person’s guilt will not harm them. And supposedly, a decision to “forgive” will vanquish anger and prevent bitterness.

This circumvents a very important biblical principle; specifically, the solidifying of heart decisions through action. If someone repents and seeks reconciliation, you can put feet on that by fellowshiping with them. We also experience this principle in real life; many find that they have come to enjoy a task that they previously disliked by doing it. Blank check forgiveness rarely offers a sane or practical way to apply the heart decision to forgive someone. For the most part, blank check forgiveness calls for one to merely emote, and data reveals the fact that it simply doesn’t work. People badgered into blank check forgiveness eventually end up as broken, miserable people deprived of all relief. Isolated and alone, they feel like the world is indifferent to their suffering, and frankly, in a world without justice, that is true. Victims of violent crime gain some relief from seeing others angered by what happened to them. In the most severe cases, justice and time will supply enough relief to make life tolerable while reconciliation added to that can bring about total healing in most cases. A basic love for life, and self, also adds to potential healing. The Bible also recommends that one seeks out whatever goodness is left in the world as opposed to defining one’s life by a tragedy that happened to them. Purpose also comes into play: the Bible states that they can help others who have experienced the same tragedy. However, to primarily seek relief in only one of these options will limit the healing.

The Bible actually commands that we be angry about sin and advocate justice. The apostle Paul said, “Be angry and sin not.” The Bible instructs us on how to deal with anger. We are to always leave revenge (justice) to God and His ordained authorities. Nothing resolves anger like the repentance of the violator who seeks reconciliation and compensation if possible. If the violator is unrepentant, punishment, or justice, gives some relief. And of course, we know that God will settle all accounts in the end. But at any rate, the Bible never says that we will be destroyed by anger. The emotion of anger and its energy can be funneled into useful purposes while the Bible is clear as to what guilt will do to people (Judas Iscariot et al).

Also in part one we looked at conscience. This is a judge that either excuses or accuses through guilt. A guilty conscience can be a very powerful and vexing judge. However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?

And the proof is in the pudding. Consider an article written by Boz Tchividjian.1 In the article written for Religious News Service,2 Tchividjian bemoans a reality in the institutional church that he calls, “Mob forgiveness” and “selective grace.” This reality is absolutely commonplace in the institutional church and is the obvious result of blank check forgiveness. If the victim doesn’t agree to forgive the perpetrator regardless of any circumstance, he who doesn’t show grace should not receive grace.

We need to revisit this reality in more detail in part 3.

paul

1“Boz” is a former child abuse chief prosecutor and is the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). Boz is also a Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and is a published author who speaks and writes extensively on issues related to abuse within the faith community. Boz is the 3rd-eldest grandchild of the Rev. Billy Graham. He is a graduate of Stetson University and Cumberland School of Law (Samford University).

2 Boz Tchividjian: An Unholy Alliance: When Mob Forgiveness Meets Selective Grace; Religion News .com, 12/11/2015 | http://boz.religionnews.com/2015/12/11/an-unholy-alliance-when-mob-forgiveness-meets-selective-grace/

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 14, 2015

project-2016-logo-4With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to ‘bitterness,’ and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?”

When it gets right down to it, collectivism is a metaphysical pipe dream. The idea that a select few can rule over the masses for the sake of the masses is always a house of cards waiting to fall when too many people get the same idea. God created us as free individuals, and ultimately, majority rules if it wants to; it’s a matter of numbers and the reality that a government is made up of people and you can’t have a government if the government kills everyone. It’s self defeating, so in the final analysis, collectivists must depend on propaganda and misinformation to get cooperation.

So what holds the whole thing together? If man, in reality, self-governs, what prevents total chaos? Here is the answer: man is basically good. Man is also capable. The Bible makes this absolutely clear (Romans 2:14,15). Every person born into the world is created by God with His law written on their hearts. They are also born with a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them. This is why lie detectors work: when the conscience indicts someone, the body reacts physiologically. The conscience is a judge that sees your inner self hidden away from others and punishes you with guilty feelings and fear. Guilt can utterly destroy a person and often does. Many psychologists attribute at least 90% of all mental illness to a guilty conscience. In contrast, people feel good about themselves when they behave honorably. There is no question that much mental illness comes from physiological imbalance, but the question remains as to which comes first: bad choices or the fallout from the choices?

How does Christian carte blanche forgiveness circumvent this whole natural process and create a perfect environment in the church for evil to ply its trade? Answer: carte blanche forgiveness is a symptom of the church’s contra-reality view of man; he is basically evil and unable. This concept of forgiveness flows from false presuppositions concerning mankind. But, as we shall see, the “unable” aspect is just as important to understand as the basically evil element. In the balance is also a proper perspective on justice.

Let’s make an initial point lest we forget. With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to “bitterness,” and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?

The starting point to answering these questions, once again, starts with presuppositions concerning mankind. Blank check forgiveness flows from these presuppositions; therefore, proponents will defend the talking points no matter how illogical. Do people often drive you completely nuts with their illogical arguments? It’s because their arguments flow from certain presuppositions. And, that logic also drives their mentality and behavior.

The first proposition is that man is basically evil, and therefore, has no rightful claim to fair treatment. Justice is strictly vertical, or from God’s perspective only because He is the only good. Hence, God is the only one who deserves justice. All sin is against God only as it is ridiculous for thieves who steal from each other to call each other thieves with a clamoring for justice; horizontal justice becomes a ridiculous notion. Of course, no one would verbalize that outright, but this logic manifests itself in indifference towards sin and justice.

But this ideology, which sprang forth from the Protestant Reformation, does not stop with the idea that people are partially evil and partially good. And before we move on, it must also be said that this ideology was hardly unique to the Reformation; the Reformers borrowed it from run of the mill ancient philosophy and put their own biblical spin on it. This is where the ancient philosophy of total inability comes into play. The standard for creating a strict dichotomy between man and ability varies greatly in the ancient philosophies, but our focus here examines how the Reformers used the law of God to create that dichotomy; one infraction renders man totally unable. Man is a pure sinner because he is not perfect. If man is not perfect—all bets are off. There is but one reality: 100% perfection, or 100% evil. And, this is key: salvation is defined by merely knowing this. The idea that any man can do any good is the paramount false gospel according to the Protestant Reformation.

So, you say you want justice because someone wronged you? Well… “He who has no sin throw the first stone.” In this typical twisting of Scripture to support a false premise, the “stone” represents justice. And since we all have sin which proves that we are purely evil and unable to do good, the stone of justice needs to be left on the ground lest we be hypocrites and destroyed by a longing for justice that will lead to the dreaded “bitterness.” Again, concern over the destructive emotion of guilt can hardly be found anywhere. Why? Because that emotion is actually deemed healthy because we are all guilty all of the time. Anger over sin leads to “bitterness.” A recognition of our guilt leads to “humbleness.” In fact, counsel that we hear often from the Protestant elite prescribes a return to the gospel as a medicine for guilt, not repentance towards those whom we have wronged. As far as remedy for the unrepentant that have wronged us, the prescription is the SAME via, “Forgive others the same way you have been forgiven.” The immediate illogical contradiction that comes to mind is the fact that God’s forgiveness is contingent on repentance.

In the next part, we will further examine these illogical presuppositions and how it creates a perfect environment for evil to ply its trade. The unthinkable is the realty: presuppositions concerning mankind either foster or restrain evil. The ideology determines whether or not evil has a healthy environment for breeding. In reality, is the unhealthy environment inside, or outside of church?

paul

OK Then, Should We Forgive Ourselves Whether We Repent or Not?

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

ppt-jpeg4My articles on forgiveness usually spur some debate, not so much here at PPT, but via email and Facebook. I have come to understand most folks are afraid to show themselves here at PPT which is totally understandable as we are heterodox and giddy about being so. Furthermore, we know for certain that some churches have ordered their congregants not to come here upon pain of church discipline. Susan has suggested that this might be the case more and more as PPT and TANC Ministries improve our articulation of the issues.

The ruckus centers around the idea that we only forgive people if they repent. And we are to be angry without sin, meaning that we leave the revenge to God—He will repay. This also means we do the loving thing when we are presented with an opportunity to get revenge. If we stumble across our enemy’s lost oxen in the wilderness, we take it back to him. In doing so, perhaps the enemy realizes that he didn’t treat you the same way he would have wanted to be treated initially.

It also means that we do not fellowship with the unrepentant until they repent, and in addition, professing Christians who refuse to repent, and others who refuse to forgive when repentance is offered, are to be treated like unbelievers. The popular contrast to this position is blank check forgiveness. We are obligated to forgive all whether they repent or not…“the same way we were forgiven” which requires repentance. Don’t even try to go there – Protestants are completely comfortable with these kinds of contradictions.

Let’s be clear.  I have no particular beef with the video below, but merely present it as food for thought. In the video, the person presents the issue of forgiving ourselves. You may agree or disagree that forgiving one’s self is a biblical concept to begin with, but for now, the point made in the video is that if God forgives us, we should forgive ourselves, or he won’t forgive us (an interesting twist), and the key to forgiving ourselves is confession. The author of the video cites 1John 1:9 as a proof text.

Let’s consider what we are talking about when we say that we should forgive ourselves; we are saying we need to clear our conscience. Ultimately, self condemnation comes from the conscience. James stated in his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel that if we confess our sins to each other we will be healed. Often, when fugitives are finally caught, they express relief because a heavy burden is taken off of their souls. Funny, we often hear that we should offer blank check forgiveness to others for our own good, not theirs, but the Bible makes it clear that the unrepentant are the ones who are destroyed. If someone comes to us and asks for forgiveness, we too often find ourselves saying, “Oh, that’s OK, I already forgave you.” To the contrary, it is hardly OK if that person needed to confess for their own good and relationship with God.

Let’s not move too quickly from “It’s OK, I already forgave you.” I argued in my last post that blank check forgiveness circumvents the need for repentance and this makes the point. Where is the strong emphasis (as in the Bible) on people needing to repent for their own good? Instead, by far, the emphasis is on forgiving others whether they repent or not lest we be destroyed…supposedly. If you offended someone and were not convicted about it, would you want them to forgive you any way? Would that be best for you?

In the final analysis you can reject the premise of my argument if you reject the premise of people needing to forgive themselves, but if you don’t, how can you extend forgiveness to yourself without repentance? And obviously, if you can’t forgive yourself without repentance, nor can you forgive others without their repentance. But, self forgiveness has merit because it is your own conscience that is condemning you, and in that case, you need to forgive the other person for your own good, and that would be you because you repented.

paul

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