Paul's Passing Thoughts

Romans 12:17-21, More on Forgiveness and Enemies

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 2, 2015

ppt-jpeg4I don’t know how many articles I have written for my ongoing attempt to slay the blank check forgiveness evangelical sacred cow, but I continue to chop away at him. Despite all of the blood, the stinkin’ thing still lives.

So, let’s keep trying, but first, where does this “offering grace” blank check forgiveness stuff come from? If you followed our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know. There are two kinds of Protestants: Calvinists, and functioning Calvinists. The former hold to predestination and the soteriology, the latter function according to the soteriology while denying the specific orthodoxy.

Blank check forgiveness comes from the Reformation doctrine of total depravity which results in moral equivalency and a single perspective on justice. Basically, due to the total depravity of man, and the idea that man saved or unsaved possesses no good or righteousness within (Luther’s Alien Righteousness), everybody deserves hell; including Christians regardless of their conversion; anything other than hell or lesser than hell is “grace,” and therefore, being wronged is only valuable for showing forth the same grace that we received. Few Protestants understand the doctrine of mortification and vivification. That’s “deep theology,” so instead, they teach and apply the applications of the doctrine that are too deep for them to understand. Blank check forgiveness is one of them.

Mortification and vivification is the perpetual revisiting of our spiritual baptism. In other words, the new birth doesn’t happen once, but is experienced numerous times throughout our Christian lives. Now, Baptists can moan and cry in denial like alley cats in heat, but that’s Protestant doctrine reflected in the Westminster Confession and London Baptist confessions as well. I will keep saying it; there is no religion more confused nor pathetic than Protestantism. At least even Muslims know what they believe for crying out loud.

But back to mortification and vivification which is the primary model for change in Protestant orthodoxy. The goal is to experience our baptism as much as possible via joy. That’s the vivification part that is totally out of our control—it is the resurrection part. But it begins with our part/role in the Christian life: “dying daily,” or mortification. This is how the whole taking up our cross and dying daily verses are interpreted. According to Luther and Calvin, God helps us out with the dying part by bringing tragedy into our lives. Look, if you are, for example, a rape victim that has been counseled by ACBC or CCEF, lightbulbs are starting to turn on right about now.

Enough of that for now, let’s go to Romans 12:

“17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.’ 20 On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This is one of the many love your enemies verses. I guess I will keep on saying it: why would Paul concede that we will have enemies in spite of our best efforts if we are to simply forgive everybody who offends us? This passage gives instructions for dealing with enemies. Furthermore, the Bible promises rewards for relating to our enemies in the biblically prescribed way; therefore, does blank check forgiveness deprive us of reward? I think it does. And moreover, there is NO forgiveness of enemies with God unless they repent. In the same way that God blesses His enemies who have not repented, we bless our enemies who have not repented, and this is what leads them to repentance (Romans 2:4). Now, I have some learning to do in regard to how this model works itself out, but that IS the model, NOT blank check forgiveness. It would appear that replacing revenge with blessings prevents bitterness and leads to repentance. It would also seem that the goodness unresponded to will lead to a greater judgment in the end by God.

So, all in all, do I think blank check forgiveness keeps people from repenting? Yes.

paul

Let’s Try This Another Way: Forgiveness Only Occurs Among Repentant Believers

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 1, 2015

ForgivenessWe want to love the unforgiven as our enemies, not lead them to believe that we love them because they are forgiven. That’s not the gospel and is obviously antithetical to how God loves His enemies daily. Blank check forgiveness does not put the gospel on display.”

Wow, this whole thing with being obligated to forgive people regardless of their unrepentance is a serious sacred cow. I have written many articles on this subject, and continue to approach it at different angles; this post is one more.

First, we do no person a favor, including ourselves, by circumventing the need for repentance. Here is what we have, in essence, because people listen to others and not God: “I forgive you, but remember that God hasn’t forgiven you because you haven’t repented, but we are supposed to forgive the way we have been forgiven, because we repented, but in your case it is different because you sinned against me and not God.” How does that square with Matthew 25:31-46? In that judgment, passive neglect is the issue, how much more active abuse?

Default forgiveness is what subjects people to hopelessness, bondage, and misery, not the biblical prescription. We are to remain angry for offenses while leaving retribution to God. Being righteously angry will not “destroy us,” but will rather continue to hold the offender accountable in hope that reconciliation will occur in the future. Though the obviousness of it annoys me, I will point to the redeemed souls under the alter crying out to God to avenge their blood. Pray tell, is there a way to send them one of these putrid memes lest they destroy themselves via unforgiveness? Maybe an angel has a Facebook account and will send them one.

In fact, opportunities to love our enemies may lead them to repentance (Rom 2:4). When we love our enemies without granting unwarranted forgiveness, we are being like God. Furthermore, blank check forgiveness does not foster indictment of conscience that brings about repentance and subsequent change. On this wise, blank check forgiveness goes against God’s natural order of things. Forgiveness goes hand in glove with a clear conscience. Those who are forgiven should have a clear conscience, but if they haven’t repented, we don’t want them to have a clear conscience. People repent because their consciences indict them. If you hold someone accountable for unrepentant sin, yet do good to them, this is more likely to incite the conscience than blank check forgiveness. When we forgive someone, we declare them no longer guilty; again, this is the same way we are forgiven. We want to love the unforgiven as our enemies, not lead them to believe that we love them because they are forgiven. That’s not the gospel and is obviously antithetical to how God loves His enemies daily. Blank check forgiveness does not put the gospel on display.

All in all, forgiveness only has context among believers. That’s why when people refuse to repent, we are to treat them as unbelievers, break fellowship with them, and continue to hold them accountable. The burden is not on those who have been sinned against, but rather on those who have sinned against others. People only change because they are held accountable by God, others, their own consciences, and consequences. Forgiveness does not lead to repentance, undeserved love does. An offer of forgiveness can only be granted when repentance occurs. When we have opportunity to love our enemies, no opportunity exists to present the gospel if we have already forgiven them. They are God’s enemies and our enemies—that’s why “friendship with the world is enmity against God.” We therefore love our enemies and grant forgiveness when those who have sinned against us repent. If they don’t repent, we are to treat them as unbelievers. If they do repent, we have “gained a brother.”

On the other hand, those who will not forgive those who have repented show themselves to be unbelievers as well. When the Bible talks about forgiveness, repentance is always assumed if not stated outright. If you note the Lord’s Prayer, it is addressed to the “Father.” And this brings me to the main point: true biblical forgiveness is only in context of God’s family. No forgiveness takes place outside of it. When a person repents and is forgiven by God, that is their initiation into the family of God, and after that, the forgiveness/repentance paradigm is assumed, expected, and demanded by God. The offended who don’t forgive, and the offenders who will not repent are assumed to be illegitimate family members. Under the auspices of common decency in the world, we accept apologies, but God has little patience for family schisms. True believers reconcile because we are all members of God’s family.

And reconciliation with God and others MUST ALWAYS have two parts: repentance and forgiveness.

paul

Christians Should Know What Forgiveness Is, But…

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 23, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Here we go again: after every tragedy like the Paris massacre, an even worst tragedy follows: Christians start talking. Like everything else in life, Christians have no answers and the world would be better off if they would just keep their mouths shut. And it would help if Christians knew the gospel and stopped attending the ULC, or “Church Under Law.” This doesn’t lead to the dreaded “legalism,” but really bad behavior of every sort. In reality, under grace honors the law through love. In the former, Jesus keeps the law for us, and from the world’s standpoint, He’s not dong a very good job. And after all, if He kept the law for us perfectly, we wouldn’t know that we are sinners, right?

And then there are Jesus’ rulers on earth who think for us. Irregardless of how illogical or antithetical to the Bible, we must not “touch God’s anointed.” We must not criticize, “The Man of God.” Gag, gag, gag. Jim Jones weeps from the grave that he doesn’t live in our day.

So, here we go again…“If we don’t let go of our anger, if we don’t forgive the way we have been forgiven, we are in bondage to ‘bitterness.’” Yes, yes, “if we don’t forgive, we will be the ones that are destroyed.” I even heard something this week like, in essence, “Ok you rapist, you got my virginity that I was saving for that one special man, but you are not going to get my hatred.”

Um, really? Actually, the reason I am so passionate about this is because our ministry is contacted from time to time by people who have been trying to make this work for like, twenty years. And, they think it’s not working because something is wrong with them. They think they are not saved because they “can’t forgive others the way they have been forgiven.” And you know, “If you don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive you.” So, in addition to the tragedy that took place in their lives, they also doubt they are saved because they are not “experiencing the joy of the gospel.” Basically, like the vast majority of evangelicals, they are in bondage to bad theology and the under-law false gospel of the institutional church.

I have written many, many articles on this issue with “that-there highfalutin deep thee-ology that Christians use to sheeeew how learned they are.” Oh, my, we can’t have no learnin’ in Christianity, and trust me, we don’t, so let me try another approach. Yes, let’s have, instead, an agreement. Let’s agree that logic is not relevant here. Let’s agree that regardless of what the Bible seems to plainly say, the only thing that matters is what the “Men of God” say.

So first, I will use a really, really basic biblical principle to make my point, and then we can agree that it doesn’t matter. Fair enough? Isn’t agreement wonderful? Here it is: true biblical forgiveness is also fellowship. If you have really forgiven someone, you fellowship with them. You see, that’s why we have fellowship with God, because He has forgiven us. Soooo, if we forgive others “the way we are forgiven,” we have fellowship with those whom we have forgiven. You absolutely CANNOT separate true forgiveness and fellowship.

See the problem here? Not that it is the only, um, sorry, theological problem, but it is one. Here is another one: if we forgive everyone, we wouldn’t have any enemies. So, what I am saying is this: there is a difference between granting forgiveness and loving our enemies, and it has to do primarily with the revenge issue.

Now, I understand this is why I am enjoying all of the “forgiveness” that I am presently experiencing from the Christian community for challenging their “Men of God,” you know, “God’s anointed” even-though the emails seem to be a little hateful.

But it’s ok, run along now to your pastor and he will tell why this biblical commonsense is all wrong, and you will be spared the agony of thinking for yourself. And don’t worry, you will not be held accountable for aiding and abetting the bondage of others, you will only be judged on how well you obey those who “have the rule over you.”

That’s what the Bible plainly says, right?

paul

Forgiveness After Forgiveness?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on March 18, 2015

By Jay Adams at Institute for Nouthetic Studies blog:

The Lord’s Prayer is confusing. I have understood that once forgiven by Christ, you don’t need to be forgiven again. But in that prayer, we are to pray for forgiveness of our trespasses. And in the footnote to it, we are told that if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven. How come?

That the prayer is for believers—once-for-all-forgiven people—is clear: they are to pray to God their Father. They are His children.

What’s with this asking for forgiveness, then? Read more

Carte Blanche Forgiveness is NOT the Goodness of God that Leads Others to Repentance

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 12, 2014

Easy“With all of the talk about living in a way that ‘looks like the gospel,’ why is the order of the day forgiveness that really isn’t forgiveness in the same way we were forgiven?”

I suppose I should be patient because we have all lived in this Protestant Dark Age that began in circa 350 AD and became Dark Age Light in the 16th century. To name just a few; no, the church is not the bride of Christ. No, Christians are not sinners saved by grace. No, Christ did not die for the church. No, Christ did not die for the sins we commit as Christians. No, there is no such thing as “church discipline.” No, “legalism” is not a biblical concept. And no, we don’t forgive those who sin against us if they don’t repent.

We are the guests of the Bridegroom, not the bride. Christians are not sinners (a sinner sins as a lifestyle). Christ died for Israel (Acts 5:31, 13:23, 28:20)—we were grafted in to make the unrepentant Jews jealous (Rom 11:11). Christ is the end of the law, and where there is no law there is no sin; so no, His finished work on the cross does not have to be applied to the sins we commit as Christians. He may discipline us as sons, but that has nothing to do with salvation and the supposed need for a perpetual “covering.” The apostles wrote specifically about self-discipline, and the Lord’s discipline; if there is “church discipline,” why wouldn’t they have simply said so? “Legalism” is a word that is not found in the Bible, nor is the concept itself anywhere to be found in Scripture.

We could discuss many more Protestant traditions of men that skew a proper understanding of the gospel, but this post is about carte blanche forgiveness propagated early in church history for the purpose of control. The concept first appears in the Didactic Creed during the tension between bishops and lay elders circa 70 AD.ff. The Didactic posited the idea that blank check forgiveness eliminates having enemies while the Bible assures us that enemies will always be with us. The question is what to do with them? The Bible states that we are to forgive others the way God has forgiven us and that is very true to a “T.” That is exactly how we are to forgive others.

Someone sent me a link to an article that apes the worn-out Protestant truism of carte blanche forgiveness that is NOT the same way God forgave us. Or should I say, “the way God forgives us” which is in the present continuance tense. Does God presently forgive us as family members, or “sinners”? Are you saying that we should forgive others the same way God forgave us unto salvation, or as sons? And is there a difference? Are we sons or sinners, or both? Do we need our whole body washed daily, or just our feet? And how does this all relate to our forgiveness for others?

What are people saying when they say we are to “forgive others the way God forgave us”? I venture to say they don’t really know when it gets right down to it. Let’s start with the usual truisms taken from the aforementioned article:

Forgiveness is much more about YOU -than whoever hurt you.

What Christian victim hasn’t heard that one? So, when the pastor’s son dragged you into the janitors room while you were minding your own business and raped you, that’s more about you than it is the rapist? Really? Does the parrot who wrote that realize we write on the community board of the World Wide Web? I suggest that the Bible teaches that we make it more about the offender than the victim. That’s love: striving to make the individual come to grips with what he/she did. If they don’t make it right with us, neither are they right with God (Matt 5:23). We either believe in universal salvation or we don’t. Is God going to save everyone without repentance, or is repentance required?

I am very concerned about the sappy stories I hear in regard to Christians giving blank check forgiveness to those who have committed heinous crimes against them. This sends the message to the criminal that God forgives without repentance—that’s a false gospel. Is it not better to lead that person to repentance? And how do we do that? But first, let’s take another nugget from said article:

The act of forgiveness releases us from the wounding agent. I have witnessed countless people refuse to forgive. In turn, I have watched those same people repeatedly tear their own wounds open, time and again, right at the moment they begin to heal.  -Forgiveness releases us from the wounding agent and allows the healing process to begin and continue. It is the well medicated bandage that is placed on a wound that has been properly cleaned and dressed.

Forgiveness is also the antidote for the infection of bitterness. I have witnessed bitterness eat people up like a vicious emotional and spiritual infection, causing even more damage than the initial wound.

Well, let me introduce you to some saints in heaven. Because they are in heaven praying, we must assume they are in pretty good shape spiritually and emotionally, no? Let’s listen to their prayer:

Rev 6:9 – When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

Justice is very important to God, and often you will hear victims say that justice brings “closure.” Only then can many victims move on. However, when the offender is repentant for what they have done, victims testify that this makes a huge difference in the healing process. Here is what I suggest the Bible teaches:

Seek to bring the person to repentance through love rather than forgiving without repentance.

How is that done? Well, we are to forgive like God forgives, right? If there is any truism that holds water, it is this one: “You have to get people lost before you can get them saved.” Likewise, people have to be your enemy before you can RECONCILE with them. I am going to keep on saying this:

Blank check forgiveness circumvents the need for reconciliation.

Let’s now take another excerpt from Pastor Parrot’s post:

In addition, forgiveness protects relationships.

You mean pretend relationships where no real reconciliation has taken place? And how important is reconciliation to the gospel?

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:7).

Furthermore, if God’s goodness to the unrepentant leads to repentance (Rom 2:4), why would it be any different with us? Why can’t our goodness towards the unrepentant bring them to repentance? Isn’t that better than pretending while leaving them out of sorts with God? Not to mention a continuation of their unrepentant behavior that will harm others. What about them? The Bible never tells us to forgive our enemies—it tells us to love them the same way God loves them. Whenever you are commanded to forgive….

REPENTANCE IS ASSUMED.

Let’s take another excerpt from said article to make this point:

This is exactly why Jesus responded “seventy times seven,” when he was asked how often we should be willing to forgive each other.

Ok, let’s go to the context of his citation:

If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:4).

Excuse me, but what in the Samhell does “IF” mean? Really, I find the whole notion of the Holy Spirit being a poor communicator very annoying. If means, “if.” This isn’t rocket science. God so loved the world that He made a way for reconciliation—that’s how we should love. With all of the talk about living in a way that “looks like the gospel,” why is the order of the day forgiveness that really isn’t forgiveness in the same way we were forgiven? In fact, why all the fuss in regard to Matthew 18? Why not just forgive everybody and be done with it?

Because love is better. Because it prescribes a process that does not call God’s justice into question. It does not put the burden on the abused so that pathetic excuses for pastors can push the easy button.

paul

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