Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Nature of God

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

God-Is-LoveI believe incredibly exciting times await God’s people as they break free from the Protestant Orthodoxy Dark Ages. The key will be the realization that God wrote the Bible for the average individual. We have an example of this regarding the nature of God; a subject thought to be too deep for the average disciple.

Our only head is Christ who teaches all, and the idea of being taught assumes the ability to understand. God’s people need to simply let the words in the Bible say what they plainly say, and we are individually responsible for doing so. One must free their minds from the tyranny of orthodoxy and journey into the Bible with their own God-given mind, and they will be responsible to God alone for doing so.

What then does the Bible teach us about God’s nature? The Bible states that God is love:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Obtaining God’s Love

Protestant orthodoxy has a peculiar teaching known as the “vital union.” According to Reformed tradition, we maintain this vital union of “Christ in us and us in Christ” by “preaching the gospel to ourselves.” This is done by searching for sin in our lives so that we can return to the cross for forgiveness resulting in increased salvation. The following chart publicized by several Reformed organizations illustrates the process:

how-to-preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-2 (2)

In case you think this is a “biblical” process for best results in growing as a disciple expressed in the illustration by “Heart Changed,” think again as illustrated by another chart published by several Reformed organizations as well:

gospel-grid

In this chart, what is growing? Us, or our “salvation”? Many Reformed teachers in our day are fond of telling us how to “keep ourselves in the love of God” by “preaching the gospel to ourselves every day.” In fact, if we change, the following chart from the same camp shows the consequences:

ssp_temp_capture1

…our salvation gets smaller! In contrast, we obtain God’s love once, and for all time, by believing in His Son, and experience assurance of that love but walking according to our new being.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him…

But according to Protestant orthodoxy, if we make every effort to love God and others instead making every effort to find more and more sin in our lives, the gospel effect in our lives is diminished.

The Nature of God

How we obtain the love of God as prescribed by Protestant orthodoxy flows from its tenets regarding the nature of God. Primarily, God is defined as sovereign. Rather than sovereignty being an aspect of God’s nature, it is made to be the primary organizing principle—not love. This is an important distinction for those who take part in the exodus from Protestant darkness; will God’s nature be defined by a grammatical and exegetical interpretation of Scripture, or an interpretation based on orthodoxy?

Clearly, the Bible states that God is love. So, how does the Bible define love? Let’s see:

1Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The so-called Reformed gospel of sovereignty calls for the total inability of man to love God even after their definition of conversion. One well known Reformed theologian wrote a book titled One Way Love. This staple Protestant belief is defined in the doctrine of double imputation which calls for the imputation of Christ’s alien righteousness to be imputed to our lives apart from anything we do other than preaching the gospel to ourselves. Much is made of living the Christian life by faith alone in order to maintain our “just standing.”

What it boils down to is God creating evil for His own glory. Whether you consider the teachings of Martin Luther or John Calvin, the founding fathers of Protestantism, this is an irrefutable fact. Luther taught that God created mankind with a passive will; in other words, a will that can only act if acted upon from an outside source. This testifies to God’s nature as defined by sovereignty. Hence, certain people are predetermined to suffer for eternity. In regard to this, John Calvin stated,

[God] arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.

~Institutes 3.23.6

I again ask how is it that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy, unless it so seemed meet to God?…The decree, I admit, is dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.

~Institutes 3.23.7

This is contrary to love which is the true nature of God, being “kind,” and “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” The Reformed even make it a point to say that God did no wrong by creating man in an evil state because the end cause is God’s glory. If God brings good out of something evil, in the final analysis it is good because the end is good. It is also said that God created evil to make good better. However, that still does not dispose of the kindness issue. Love CANNOT be unkind to ANYONE.

Furthermore, it does not seek its own way, and you can insert “its own glory” in that list as well. Moreover, love does not rejoice in evil for any outcome, and always rejoices in truth and not the temporary demise of truth for some kind of better outcome. That notion is absurd.

In the final analysis, one of God’s attributes is sovereignty, but sovereignty is not the organizing principle of his nature because his nature is love.

paul

The Calvinist Grand Quandary

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 14, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published August 28, 2014

“At any rate, the very attempt by Calvinists to evangelize places them in a twofold grand quandary that requires the abandonment of rudimentary logic.” “But in contrast, if God’s choice over our choice is the crux of the gospel, that crux must be explained in order for the presentation itself to be a true gospel.” 

At the 2008 T4G conference, John MacArthur Jr. officially came out of the closet as a bonafide New Calvinist. He did this because he was convinced by John Piper and others that New Calvinism is Old Calvinism. MacArthur signed up because it’s true, and he was unwilling to reject Reformation tradition. Apparently, only other-than Anglo Saxon can be deceived en masse.

MacArthur’s keynote address was titled, The Sinner Neither Able Nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability. MacArthur was converted from his Lordship Salvation escapades of the late 80’s by the New Calvinist camp. According to a pastor I knew at the time, Michael Horton and others challenged MacArthur to rethink the controversy he had started. The result is MacArthur still affirming Lordship, but as a manifestation rather than actions of new creaturehood. I recently completed a series explaining all of the confused controversy in regard to the Lordship Salvation issue.

At any rate, the very attempt by Calvinists to evangelize places them in a twofold grand quandary that requires the abandonment of rudimentary logic.

I have written before about the Gospel of Sovereignty. Any ability at all on the part of mankind is a slight against God’s sovereignty. This is the hypothesis of MacArthur’s aforementioned messages. Hence, the “good news” is man’s “absolute” inability and God’s sovereignty. MacArthur’s primary text was John 3:1-8…

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

MacArthur stated during his messages that when the gospel is presented we must make it clear that people can only do one thing in response to the gospel: ask for salvation, and then wait to see if the wind blows or not. So, it is not a decision, often maligned in Reformed circles as “decisionism,” or a choice. Either suggests ability on the part of the individual to make a decision for God or to choose God; ability and God’s sovereignty are mutually exclusive. If man can choose, or make a decision, God ceases to be God.

This qualifies a fair challenge to all Calvinists: “Do you make it absolutely clear in your gospel presentation that people have no ability to choose God?” If they do not do this, if this is not qualified, they are presenting a false gospel by their own definition. Why? The truthfulness of their gospel must be verified by the certainty that the individual does not assume they have a choice or can make a decision.

Most Calvinists get around this by replying that people are being called on to believe only, not make a decision or a choice. However, it also stands to reason that belief itself is a choice. When we are presented with a proposition, we DECIDE to believe it or not believe it. In all fairness, according to their own definitions, Calvinists must make this distinction clear in their gospel presentation. Let’s face it; few do if they evangelize at all. In fact, when Calvinists are cornered with this question, they immediately start acting like a toddler who needs to use the bathroom. Basically, they know that the lack of this distinction in their actual gospel presentation is telling. Their presentation is supposedly purified by the absence of information.

On another wise, Calvinists are also admitting that they are asking for a mere mental assent to acknowledging that God saves people. The Bible states that part and parcel with belief is the acceptance that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Obviously, among the unbelieving, there are those who reject the existence of God altogether, and those who believe in His existence, but don’t want anything to do with Him. Is the wind only blowing halfway in those cases? Are there three different wind advisories? None, moderate, and gale force? Furthermore, if people have no ability to choose, is a decision to choose Buddha over Allah made for them? The logic seems to be that man can indeed choose, but will only choose other gods unless God intervenes—if they understand that they have no ability to choose.

If we give this whole construct merit to this point, we further find that the definition of faith must be a mere mental accent to the facts of the gospel with an intentional non-response; any response must be from the blowing wind. MacArthur stated in the same message that we know  Nicodemus was saved because “the wind blew” referring to his righteous actions.

Hence, if the Calvinist gospel is not false by their own definition, it must be presented as follows:

“God saves people, and you may be one of them and you may not be one of them, but if you are able to choose, God is not sovereign, and you are trusting in your own ability to choose.”

Unwittingly, some Calvinists say it is alright if people initially think they are able to choose, but later understand that it wasn’t their choice. So, it is alright if they initially trust in their decision in order to receive the gift of salvation from God, but later realize this was not the case at all. So at what point were they really saved? And would not sooner be better than later? Why not tell them from the get-go? This implies a cult-like procedure that misrepresents the truth, and then slowly indoctrinates the individual to a just standing. Others suggest that the evangelist should never state that it is their decision, but rather cite Scriptures that imply such—that way, apparently, it is the Holy Spirit lying instead of you. But nevertheless, what the individual believes about choice is uncertain unless clarified.

In the final analysis, everyone but the recipient of the gospel knows they have no real choice, but thinking they have a choice might be necessary to get them into the kingdom. But in contrast, if God’s choice over our choice is the crux of the gospel, that crux must be explained in order for the presentation itself to be a true gospel.

Add to this the definition of “believe” in the Bible. In the Bible, “believe” is never defined as a mere mental assent to the facts of the gospel; it also involves a knowledge of new creaturehood that will radically change one’s life. More than not, it was the “gospel of the kingdom” that was preached by Christ and the apostles. As I explained in the Lordship series, it is impossible for the execution of the commitment to save you because justification and sanctification are completely separate. But clearly, a response to the gospel must include a decision to leave life A for life B. The follow-through doesn’t save you, the decision saves you. Because of the weakness of the flesh, love for God’s ways will vary in application, but you are not only choosing a savior; He is also Lord. It is a choice to leave one master for another. Remember, everyone is under one master or the other. Choosing Christ who purchased you from the Sin master is hardly works salvation through a “commitment” to change. It’s not really a “commitment” but an acknowledgment that the new birth will bring about change in your life and you will be involved in the effort. Again, that’s not what saves you because justification and sanctification are completely separate; one is a finished work and the other is a progression of applied holiness. When you are born again, you are as saved as you will ever be and are infused with the fullness of the Trinity. The concern of anti-lordshippers that “commitment” is works salvation shows their conflation of justification and sanctification which makes them guilty of progressive justification and subsequently the pot calling the kettle black.

Calvinists insist that repentance be left out of the gospel presentation for this reason—it calls on the individual to choose a different way. In the book of Acts, Christianity is referred to as “The Way” in several places. This is more information that must be excluded from the Calvinist gospel in order to make it true by their own definition. Therefore, in order for their gospel to be truthfully presented by their own definition…

“God saves people. If He saved you, you will live differently. The wind will blow, but it’s not your choice, do you believe this? And by the way, don’t change your life to prove to yourself  God saved you, that’s fruit stapling. If you believe, that’s great, but now you must wait to see if the wind blows. The Christian life is a Sabbath rest.”

Anything more than this in a Calvinist gospel presentation is a false gospel by their own definition.

And let us not forget, in Calvinist post salvation status, the wind keeps on blowing, or not. It is undeniable that Calvin himself believed in three classes of people: the non-elect, the called, and those who persevere. Said another way: no wind at all, those who are temporarily enlightened (the wind stops), and the ones who get a steady wind to the end.

There is only one way Calvinism can be feasible; logic must be completely divorced from the Bible.

paul

Addendum:

In Hinduism, which is the best example, the spiritual strata is Bhramin, Kshatryia, Vaishya, Sudra, and Untouchables. But listen very careful to what Karma is in Hinduism. THIS IS KEY. I am citing Swami Bhaskarananda: Chapters IX to XI from the book “The Essentials of Hinduism,” Heading; “Predestination”:

Karma is the infant stage of Hinduism where saints believe they are responsible for their own actions, but as growth moves forward, the mature saint…

He becomes convinced that God has been doing everything by using his body, mind, energy and the senses. He feels that he is only an instrument in the hands of God, and whatever God has been doing to him is for his ultimate spiritual good. At this high level of spirituality the doctrine of predestination becomes the only valid doctrine to him. To him the doctrine of karma ceases to be a valid doctrine.

Therefore, these two doctrines, even though apparently contradictory to each other, are valid for people at different stages of spiritual growth.

How Election Promotes the Institutional Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 2, 2014

Election is scary stuff. Bottom line: before the foundation of the earth, God decided who will be saved and who will not be saved. This is even a gospel in and of itself known as the “gospel of sovereignty” or the “gospel of sovereign grace.”

Did God save me or not? In the final analysis, the Reformed admit that we can’t know for certain. You cannot put any stock in your choice to believe the gospel, because you have no choice—it’s God’s choice alone. In fact, telling people they can choose violates the gospel of sovereign grace and is deemed a false presentation of the gospel for that reason. We are to merely “show forth” the gospel and wait to see what God does or doesn’t do. We are to never tell anyone that they can do anything to be saved—that includes believing itself. Pastor John MacArthur even advocates telling people that they can only do one thing and one thing only; “ask.” Yep, ASK and hope for the best.

Some cynically ask if this is really “good news.”  It could also be asked if this is a “promise” because no one really knows who the promise is to for certain.

Ah, but a Protestant institutional church near you offers a get out of election free card. They have a program initiated by John Calvin known as the “power of the keys.” Whatever an ordained Reformed elder or elders bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever they loose on earth will be loosed in heaven as well. So, if the elders like you, and you are a “member in good standing,” you’re in! Or, at the very least it’s your best shot.

So, “be faithful” to your local institutional church and obey your elders—it probably means that you are in fact one of God’s elect. Calvin categorized three classes of elect: nonelected, called, and those who persevere. The “called” are those who are temporarily illumined and do not remain faithful to the institutional church. Those who persevere remain in good standing till the end.

So sign up and remain faithful my dear friend—membership has its privileges.

paul

Additional Reading: Calvinism’s Get Out of Election Free Card

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