Paul's Passing Thoughts

Bible Interpretation, the Rapture, and the Problem with Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 13, 2015

Children of the Reformation are crippled in their ability to understand the Bible because of the Reformation’s salvation/justification prism. In other words, we have a very strong tendency to interpret every verse through the prism of eternal salvation. This makes weak sanctification/kingdom living part and parcel with Reformation history. In fact, the Reformation gospel makes sanctification a mere extension of justification. There is justification, and that “experienced subjectively” (sanctification) and then “final justification.” Their words, not mine.

Hence, in the Bible, rewards in context of sanctification are seen as the reward of salvation. The attempt to make the reward salvation while claiming salvation by faith alone becomes a convoluted theological mess. Complicating the matter are many Bible passages that, in fact, seem to say that we obtain final salvation through perseverance. This is because our minds have been trained to interpret Scripture through a singular salvation prism.

“Singular salvation.” That is a point in and of itself. How many Christians think there is only ONE salvation? All save a few. How many think salvation and redemption are the same thing? All save a few. Salvation is the new birth; redemption is the salvation of the body when Christ comes to claim what is His. Seeing the two as the same thing creates a plethora of interpretive problems, and there are many other examples that could be cited.

And far from being the least of these interpretive problems is the idea that salvation is both gift and reward. The Reformed get around this by categorizing works into two categories: faith alone works that aren’t really works per se, and works that are really works. Yes, salvation is a gift, but it is also a reward for doing your part to obtain salvation via faith alone works. Key to understanding this concept is the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. By doing gospel works, or faith alone works grounded in the “salvation event,” the works of Christ are imputed to your sanctification and “subjective justification” is kept properly on track until “final justification.”

Doing your part to keep your salvation isn’t works salvation because it is a prescribed faith alone work. If you do A, Christ will do B, and you get to keep your salvation. In Reformed circles that usually includes partaking in the “means of grace.” Since it is “the means of grace” it is not works. This usually includes formal church membership, “putting yourself under the authority of godly men,” sitting under Reformed preaching, partaking in the Lord’s Table, and “deep repentance” for sins that separate you from grace, etc.

The result is a missing, and massive kingdom living construct. Also missing is an understanding of any kind of gravity concerning kingdom living. How we participate in sanctification has no implications other than salvation. Until the recent resurgence of the Reformed gospel that makes final salvation the consequence of sanctification, kingdom living was relegated to mere fire insurance.

So, what is the point of this post? Christians must relearn and cultivate an understanding of incentives regarding kingdom living. One is present life more abundantly, peace, assurance, and blessings. The eternal ones are a little bit more difficult to understand, but sound pretty cool:

Daniel 12:3 – And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

This is some kind of eternal reward for the soul winner. Other such eternal rewards can be found in the seven letters to the assemblies in Revelation. But like I said, the present rewards are easier to understand and have immediate benefits. At any rate, again, this is a body of wisdom that needs cultivation.

Let me SUGGEST another one. Not that it will do any good, but let me state that this is just an idea I am putting out there for consideration. Here, I will repeat it again, knowing that the attempt is futile, but nevertheless,

THIS IS JUST AN IDEA I AM PUTTING OUT THERE FOR CONSIDERATION.   

con·sid·er·a·tion

kənˌsidərˈāSH(ə)n/

noun

Careful thought, typically over a period of time. “a long process involving a great deal of careful consideration” synonyms:   thought, deliberation, reflection, contemplation, rumination, meditation;

NOT DOGMA.

Here is my thought. The rapture is a reward for suitable kingdom living. When the rapture happens, not everyone left behind is lost. Is that screaming I hear in the distance? Probably. What in the world would give me such an idea? Let me share:

Revelation 3:10 – Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. [Present reward?] 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. [Present reward?] 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. [Eternal reward?] Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Obviously, the hour of trial coming upon the world is the tribulation period. Here, being saved from that hour seems to be a reward (crown) for perseverance. You have two choices here: the reward is either the rapture or salvation. No? What am I missing? It wouldn’t be the first time that rapture was reward and didn’t include all of the saved (see “Enoch”).  Also, Paul spoke of a reward for those “who have loved his appearing.” This is the “righteousness” crown (2Timothy 4:8).

What about all of the indifference among Christians concerning the rapture? What about all of the indifference regarding the New Testament call to be continually looking for the Lord’s unexpected and imminent return? Could this indifference stem from a fundamental ignorance in regard to sanctification?

There are many Christians in our day who reject the rapture, so should they expect to be a part of it? Is it some kind of secondary truth that is optional?

This is an attempt, perhaps a lame one, to get Christians to think more deeply about kingdom living and our present calling. Just food for thought. We need to challenge each other to think beyond orthodoxy. We need to set our kingdom living on fire.

paul

Steve Lawson Sloppy Hermeneutics: Will Christ Personally Torment Unbelievers in Hell for Eternity?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on March 7, 2015

Lawson-PreachingOriginally published January 2, 2014

Something has been on my mind for some time that I have never written about. During the 2009 Resolved conference, “Pastor” Steve Lawson preached a sermon on the Great White Throne Judgment. In that message, Lawson claimed that Christ Himself will “be in hell”… “personally inflicting the wrath on unbelievers” for eternity. I know that Calvinism is heavily predicated on fear so I wasn’t surprised that Lawson said it. Rob Bell committed the unpardonable sin among New Calvinists by removing the fear factor in his book “Love Wins.” Calvin himself taught that fear and terror of judgment was efficacious to the mortification and vivification process that enables Christians to stand in the final judgment (CI 3.3.3-7). Bell didn’t merely violate Scripture, he dissed a Reformed mainstay: fear and its kissing cousin control.

Hell, in and of itself, is sobering enough, but apparently Lawson thought the reality of it needed some embellishing. The idea that Christ Himself will be in hell inflicting the punishment personally is a bit unsettling to me. It seems to picture Christ as a hateful God whose wrath never ceases. Instead of punishment being meted out in a hell prepared for the devil and his angels, we have Christ in hell inflicting the torment personally for all of eternity. Christ always spoke of hell as a PLACE of torment, and any idea of Him being the personal tormentor is conspicuously missing. Lawson used the following passage from Revelation for his proof text:

Revelation 14:10 – he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

This is really sloppy hermeneutics for many reasons, but let me discuss a few. The context of Rev 14:10 is the tribulation period. Revelation 14:6ff. predicts the final wrath of God being poured out upon the earth. This is preceded by a final warning heralded via three angels. The first proclaims the gospel; the second announces the final judgment of Babylon the great, and the third announces the primary woe that will befall those living in Babylon—this is specifically what Rev 14:10 is about. That verse describes the specific woe that the inhabitants will suffer in the presence of Christ and the angels; i.e., fire and sulfur.

This is exactly what happens when the judgment is executed upon Babylon:

Revelation 18:9 – And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

…And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?”

In verse 11 of Revelation 14, the angel also warns that the inhabitants of Babylon will seal their eternal fate by accepting the mark of the beast. That verse begins with the transition And which adds information. In the same way they are burned with fire when Christ and the angels execute judgment on Babylon, they will suffer for eternity. But the point is the following:

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The judgment in the presence of Christ and the angels regards the judgment on Babylon during the tribulation period, verse 11 speaks of their eternal judgment as a consequence of accepting the mark of the beast. And apparently, they are warned beforehand by the third angel not to do so. This is the theses of the third angel’s message and it has two parts: receiving the mark of the beast will lead to a present judgment by Christ and the angels upon Babylon, and a sealing of their eternal fate:

Revelation 14:9 – And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

Hence, verse 12 calls for the endurance of the saints because not receiving the mark of the beast will cost them their lives. Verse 13 promises a blessing for those who die in the Lord thereafter. Right before the judgment on Babylon, God calls for his people who have not received the mark to come out of Babylon before the judgment (Rev 17:4,5).

Furthermore, the subject is clearly not EVERY person who will be condemned to hell, but rather those who receive the mark of the beast. Any other conclusion from the context is presumptuous at best.

A suggestion: make the Bible your authority and not men. Such a rendering of Revelation 14:10 constructs a certain image of Christ in our minds. And it is not a good idea that such images are founded on iffy interpretations of God’s word.

Moreover, there is no other verse in the Bible that supports this view by Lawson. His manly academic credentials do not trump common sense.

paul

A Review of Dr. Jay Adams’ Message to the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary Student Body

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

On February 24, Dr. Jay Adams was the presenter for the student chapel service at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. The message was about 25 minutes long and can be observed here: https://vimeo.com/120670699. The get to the point, make the point, and get out of town approach has become sort of a calling card for Adams in recent years, perhaps due to his age (86). On the other hand, he has written articles on the importance of only using the amount of words necessary to make a point.

The practice of reviewing books and sermons is something I gave up about a year ago because this ministry is past evaluating symptoms, and is focused on resolving the problem. For all practical purposes, it can be assumed that all Protestant sermons are going to be driven by progressive justification, Luther and Calvin’s false gospel. The Reformed deny this; apparently, in 3.14 of his Institutes, Calvin didn’t really mean to say that justification is progressive when he said it is progressive.

If we would only read every literary drone Calvin ever wrote we would understand that “progressive” really doesn’t mean “progressive” in the progressive sense. Justification and progressive sanctification are “never separate, but distinct.” Distinct? How? Well, sanctification is “justification in motion,” or as the brilliant Dr. Lou Priolo states it, “justification is always running in the background” like your Windows program is always running in the background. Thanks Lou. As one Reformed pastor told me, “Any idiot should know that the basis of something isn’t necessarily a progression.” And like Voddie Baucham told me personally, “That road out there is done, but we still use it.” In the exchange, something became very apparent to me: Voddie is a very large man, and not well acclimated to being challenged, so I left it there.

In other words, thou ignorant lay person, thou grasper of material shadows, something “running” isn’t really progressing when you see it in Luther’s “gospel context.” It takes a real metaphysical idiot to think a cat that is running is progressing. Just shut up and put your money in the plate, thou artisan.

So, why write a review on Dr. J’s message at Mid-America? Because he is one of the few pastors, if not the only one left in the institutional church, that is different. Apparently, Mid-America is friendly to Dr. J’s counseling construct and respects him enough to invite him to speak to those who are charged with indoctrinating. This means I must see Mid-America as different from all other seminaries: they are at least road kill that is still moving.

Furthermore, I believe Adams fathered the only real revival that the institutional church has ever seen since the Reformation. And excuse me, but a civil war isn’t a revival, and people executed for treason are not martyrs even if executed by a church state. A heretic executed by a heretic doesn’t make a martyr. What about the “Great Awakening”? That was spawned by the ideology of the American Revolution, not European political refugees. Sorry.

Even though Adams’ groundbreaking biblical counseling construct didn’t go far enough, it was predicated on the idea that Christians can actually do something along the lines of learn and do. Even flirting with the idea that Christians are empowered by obedience unleashed life and light in this Protestant Dark Age. In one of the most profound historical ironies of all time, the movement that returned the institutional church to authentic Protestantism began in the same year that Adams’ groundbreaking book Competent to Counsel was published. As both movements grew at breakneck speed, a contention between the two camps was inevitable.

The contention led to the unmerciful disparaging of Adams who has unfortunately given his entire life to the institutional church. All of his accomplishments are prefaced with the “but…second generation counseling’” from narcissistic, Platonist, psychopathic liars dressed up in Bible verses. And that’s not enough words, or the best words to describe them, but are the most tempered ones. Remember, his crime was to suggest that Christians can do something beyond gospel contemplationism.

I witnessed firsthand the results of the rise and fall of “first generation biblical counseling.” I saw the before and after at a NANC counseling center where I was an elder. The difference between first generation biblical counseling and second generation biblical counseling is the difference between a counselee handing the counselor a razor blade that was going to be used for suicide and a counselor drawing a map of the counselee’s life and then saying, “Here is where you are located in the gospel narrative” lest imperatives be used in counseling. I hope the Mid-America kiddies knew what they had sitting in front of them on Tuesday, but I doubt it. I am sure they would think that my description of second generation biblical counseling is the overuse of exaggerated words. That’s unfortunate. If people think there is something they can do about their situation, and even better yet, that God will help them, we call that “hope.”

And that brings me to the actual content of the message. Adams expounded on Ezra 7:6 and 10: “this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses…For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” The message was pretty straightforward; as elders, they are to be diligent to learn God’s word through independent study, live the word out in their own lives, and teach others the same. This is no different on any wise in comparison to what Jesus said in His introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.

The fact that an 86-year-old man of God is still actively preaching is in and of itself very powerful, and the need for complete follow-through with the word of God powerful as well, but in our day and age, the message, especially in that venue, lacked additional words.

HOW should one in our day study the word of God? Is every verse about justification? And if sanctification is not the “running” part of justification, how then should our Bibles be read and studied? Sure, seminary students should study the word of God for the right motive, viz, life application, but what do we mean by “life application”? According to the leading evangelicals in our day, we are to only expound on the word of God, and…don’t miss this, “the Holy Spirit applies it” which implies that we don’t actually do the word, it’s done for us. “It’s NOT about what you do, it’s about what Jesus has done.” Do we apply the word ourselves with the help of the Spirit, or are we sanctified by contemplative justification?

In addition, these are clarifications that determine how we will teach others to apply the first two.

My conclusion. Anytime Adams is allowed to come out and play in the institutional church, road kill is closer to not being completely dead, and there is a chance that they will learn to look both ways before they cross the road, but more words are needed.

paul

TANC 2014 Andy Young, Session 1: Anybody Remember Grammatical Historical Teaching?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on November 13, 2014

Power Points 

Be Ye Holy for I am Holy

Ok, welcome to Session 1 on Understanding Sanctification.

In my opinion, the hardest part about doing any sort of topical study is finding a starting point.  I would much rather take a passage of scripture and teach through that in context, and just let the passage say what it says.  What makes a topical study of the Bible so difficult is that there is always a danger of proof-texting.  We have to always make sure that we are aware that we unconsciously bring a bias with us, wherever that bias comes from, it could be from our parents, what out parents taught us, could be from a particular church denomination that we grew up attending, or maybe our worldview, whatever influenced that.  There are things in our life that shape us and we end up having a particular bias when it comes to interpreting scripture.  So when it comes to studying a particular topic or doctrine, we have this tendency to seek out passages that fit in with our bias.  This is called proof-texting.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with proof-texting.  In fact, many of the scriptural truths we hold dear we can directly site a specific verse or passage that teaches that.  For example, if I were to ask you, what must a person do to be saved, what are some verses that immediately come to mind?

Acts 16:31

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Romans 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-10

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

John 3:14-18

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Now these are all good verses, and the reason these are good proof-texts is because the context is pretty straightforward.  And the big danger with proof-texting is ignoring the larger context.  For example, if someone were to ask me about how to be saved, one verse I would not use as a proof text is Acts 27:31.  Anyone know that verse?  “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” That’s a good salvation verse, isn’t it?  Now I know that’s a silly example, but don’t laugh, I have heard of people teaching on this passage and making all kinds of metaphors out of the ship and trying to turn this into a salvation passage.  But I use this to show you how easy it is to take a verse out of context.  We have to make sure we are very careful to understand and interpret a verse or passage within the larger context.

So in these sessions dealing with sanctification, we’re going to be turning to a lot of scripture.  We’re going to spend a lot of time looking up verses and passages of scripture dealing with sanctification, and I’m going to be very careful and methodical to make sure we keep the context straight, that we understand the larger theme of where these verses fit in with the rest of scripture, and so hopefully we’ll avoid this danger of proof-texting.

In this first session I want to lay the ground work for the other sessions, so I’m going to spend a lot of time defining terms.  That will become our premise for the rest of the study on Sanctification.  It is important to understand the distinction between Sanctification and Justification.  It is important to keep that distinction.  Sanctification is an act that happens to those who are already justified; those who are already declared to be righteous.  No, not just declared righteous, made righteous by belief in God, belief in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the Biblical standard for righteousness; belief in God.  So because Sanctification is subsequent to Justification, I am going to be specifically addressing those who are already saved.  If you have already believed in Christ for your salvation, I am speaking to you today.  These sessions will apply specifically to you.  Nothing I have to say applies to someone who is unsaved.  I am speaking directly to believers.  In other word, little to nothing I have to speak about applies to Justification.  Justification has already been accomplished in your life, now we’re moving on to Sanctification.

So having said all of that, I’m going to use this first session to define our terms.  What is Sanctification?  More importantly, what is a Biblical definition of Sanctification?  Then our second session, we’ll explore sanctification in the Old Testament and it’s relationship to the Law, and I want to consider the idea, that if God wants me to be holy, then why do I still sin?  And then in the last session on Sanctification we will examine the question of, is there any merit to good works, and we will even examine the Biblical source of assurance for the believer.

So let’s get started on some terms.  What is Sanctification?  What does it mean to be Sanctified?  Before we can address those questions, we need to understand what Sanctification has to do with relation to holiness.  We know that God is holy.  The Bible teaches that holiness is one of God’s attributes.  So as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit holiness?  Are believers really holy?  The verse that I’ve chosen to use, sort of as the theme for these sessions on Sanctification is 1 Peter 1:16.  Why don’t we start there.  Go ahead and turn to 1 Peter.  And actually I want to start with verse 14.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [way of life, how you conduct yourselves]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

And this last part here in verse 16 like I said is what I have chosen as the theme for these sessions.  Peter uses the esxpression, “because it is written,” he is actually making reference to the Law.  Peter is actually quoting the exact phrase found in Leviticus 11:44, 45.

Now some things I want you to notice about the grammatical structure of this passage here in 1 Peter.  Please notice all of the verbs in this passage, all of the action words, they are all in the imperative mood.  Imperative mood means it is a command.  An order.  Holiness is not optional.  It is a command.

Secondly, not only are all the verbs, all the actions, not only are they commands, they are in the active voice.  Active voice means that the subject performs the action.  The opposite of active voice is the passive voice.  In passive voice, the subject is the recipient of the action, or the subject has the action performed upon him.  Notice the active voice in all of these commands

do not fashion yourselves – you don’t fashion

be ye holy – you be holy

Notice the subject performs the action.  You.  You are performing the action.  This is different from passive voice.  If these commands were in the passive voice it would read something like:

do not be fashioned – do not allow yourself to be fashioned. Or;

be made holy – allow yourself to be made holy.

Taking this even one step further, if we look specifically at this phrase, “be ye holy”.  This phrase in the Greek looks like this.  It’s pronounced:

αγιοιγενεσθε “hag-ee-oy gin-ess-theh”

The word I have underlined here is the imperative form of the word:

γινομαι – “gin-oh-my” –  to cause to be; to become (reflexive)

This is a linking verb that is the equivalent to our English word “is”, and all the forms it takes- am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.

So not only is this verb in the active voice, the word itself is causative in its very meaning.  This phrase could actually read, “cause yourself to become holy.”  Or, “make yourself holy.”

The third thing I want you to consider from this passage is, who is the audience?  Who is to perform this command to be holy?  Let your eyes go up to the beginning of the chapter.  To whom is Peter addressing this letter?  Who is supposed to be holy?

King James says – the strangers scattered throughout all these regions of Asia Minor.  Who would that be?  In the Greek this would read as pilgrims of the dispersion.  That is an expression that is used other places in scripture to describe displaced ethnic Jews.  These are Jews who did not return to the land of Israel following the Babylonian and Assyrian captivity.  They dispersed, and settled here and there throughout this region.  We also know from reading the books of Acts and from Galatians chapter 2 for example, that Paul’s ministry focused on the Gentiles, and Peter’s ministry focused on the Jews.  Galatians 2 uses the expression the gospel of the uncircumcision vs. the gospel of the circumcision.

So what we have here is Peter writing this letter addressed to these Jews of the dispersion, but what’s more important is that they are believers.  And that is what I really want us to see here.  Peter is writing to believers.  More than that, these commands here in verses 14-16 are issued to believers.  He is exhorting believers to not fashion themselves after their former life.  The believer is commanded to be holy.  The believer is to cause it to happen, actively, make it happen, not to passively wait for it to happen to him.  And I want this to be our underlying theme of these sessions.

As we go through these sessions, keep this in the forefront of your mind at all times, this is what we as believers are commanded to do.  We are not to live our lives the way we used to.  Not fashioning ourselves after the former life.  And by the way, that is the exact same word the apostle Paul uses in Romans 12:2, where he says be not conformed to this world, “soo-scheme-ah-tid-zo”.  This is where we get the word “schematic”.  You’ve probably heard of a schematic diagram.  For electrical engineers a schematic is a pattern to follow.  And that’s what the word means, having to do with a pattern.  We don’t pattern our lives after this world, we don’t follow the pattern of our old behaviors.  As believers we are to be holy as God is holy.

And if God in His word is commanding us to do it, then we must be able to do it, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in a God who would tell us to do something that we can’t do.  And if you don’t believe that, then I’m sorry, then you and I don’t believe in the same God.

Believers are called to holiness.  Now what is holiness?  That’s a word that has a lot of mystique about it.  Very ethereal.  We hear it, we think we know intrinsically what it means and we throw it around, but we have a hard time explaining it.  Well, let’s define these terms.  How does the Bible define holiness?  Let’s start at the beginning.  Surprisingly, the word “holy” doesn’t even appear in the book of Genesis.  The first occurrence of the word “holy” in the Bible appears in Exodus 3:5.

Exodus 3:5

“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

קדשׁ – qôdesh – ko’-desh

Strongs dictionary defines it as a sacred place or thing.  Ok, well, that doesn’t tell us very much.  There is a parallel word for holy in the New Testament.  The first use of the word holy in the NT is

Matt 1:18

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

A couple more places where this is found, and I’m not going to look all of these up, but

Matthew 4:5

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,”

Matthew 7:6

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

This word in the Greek for holy is

αγιος – “hag-ee-oss” – sacred.

Again, still a pretty abstract concept.  Let’s set out to de-mystify these concepts.  Bring it from the abstract to the tangible.   Let’s see if we can nail it down a little more.  To better understand what holiness is, let us examine the opposite of holiness.  In scripture, the opposite of holy is profane.  Now profane carries with it a different meaning than what we understand in our modern usage of the word.  When we hear the word profane we usually think of profanity, like foul language.  So in the modern usage of the word, profane has the idea of evil, or foul, or sinful.  But that is not what the word means as it’s used in scripture.  In scripture profane simply means, common, ordinary, or everyday.  Run-of-the-mill.  No-frills.  Just like all the rest.

Now when you consider profane in this aspect, scripture presents all kinds of contrasts between that which is holy and that which is profane. The Old Testament is full of these contrasts.  Here are just a few of them:

Holy vs. Profane

Leviticus 20:3

And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.

Leviticus 21:6

They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

Leviticus 21:7

They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Leviticus 22:2

Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 22:15

And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord;

Leviticus 22:32

Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,

Ezekiel 22:26

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference [discernment] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel 44:23

And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Amos 2:7

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:

Over and over again we have this contrast presented to us.  So if we understand then that profane is that which is common, or ordinary, or just like all the rest, and we understand that holy is the polar opposite of profane, then holy would be that which is not profane; that which is not common, that which is not ordinary, that which is not every-day, that which is not just like all the rest.

God said to Israel, when you profaned My name among the heathen, you made Me to be just like all the other gods.  When you profaned my temple, you made it like any other ordinary building.  I am no longer holy.  You caused me to be patterned after just like everything else.  I am no longer in that place where I deserve to be, because I am God, I am Jehovah.  I am not like all the rest.  I am higher than all the rest.  In fact, there are no others.  I am the only one.  I am that I Am!  I am the self-existent One!  That’s what My name means.  Do not profane it!  Do not make it just like all the rest!

This distinction between holy and profane is very helpful when it comes to us understanding why holiness is important in the Christian life.  Because if we are believers, then we are the adopted children of God.  If we are believers then we have identified with Christ.  We are righteous as He is righteous.  Sin has been taken away.  So then why would we live a life that profanes our Father?  Why would we live a life, why would our behavior be common, ordinary, why would our behavior be just like everyone else?

God is out of the ordinary, and He wants His people to be like Him.  In fact, He made it possible when He saved us.  Sin was taken away.  Our old man was crucified with Christ, and now we live in newness of life.  Our lives should be out of the ordinary.  Our lives should not be characterized by that which is just like everyone else in this world.

So, after we have gone through all of that, do we have a Biblical definition of holiness that we can work with?

Holy – a place or thing which is distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else.

Now those are words we can understand.  Those are words we can wrap our minds around and sink our teeth into.

Now that begs the question, what determines if something is holy?  What is it that makes something holy?  And this is where the relationship with sanctification comes into play.  If we as believers are commanded to be holy, our holiness then is effected through the process of sanctification.  In fact that could be a good starting place to define Sanctification.  We could say that:

Sanctification – the process whereby the holiness in the life of the believer is effected.

But let’s not leave it there.  Remember, our goal is to have a Biblical understanding of these concepts.  So let’s go back to God’s word and see how the scriptures define Sanctification.

Now while the word holy did not appear until the book of Exodus, the word sanctify appears early on in the book of Genesis.  The first instance of “sanctify” appears in

Genesis 2:3

“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

קדשׁ – qâdash – kaw-dash’ – to be clean; to make, pronounce, or declare clean.

Notice that, the basic definition of sanctification has to do with cleansing.  If you wanted to substitute the word clean for the word sanctify in Genesis 2:3 it would read:

“And God blessed the seventh day, and cleansed it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Now let me put our word for holy back up here for a moment.

Holy – ko-desh

Sanctify – kaw-dash

There is a great similarity between these two Hebrew words.  In fact they are both taken from the same root word.  What we have here is a very close relationship between cleansing and holiness.  The fourth commandment is what, remember the Sabbath day to keep it, holy.  Remember our definition of Holy?  Why was the Sabbath day holy?  Why was the Sabbath day distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else?  It was holy because God cleansed it.

Ok, how about the New Testament?  The first instance of “sanctify” in the NT is found in

Matthew 23:17

“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?”

αγνος – “hag-noss” – clean

Now just like I did in the Hebrew, let me put up the word for holy in the Greek.

Holy – “hag-ee-oss”

Sanctify – “hag-noss”

Again, look at the similarity of the two words.  And just like in the Hebrew, these two words in the Greek are taken from the same root.  The same relationship appears in the Greek between these ideas of cleansing and holiness.

So now that we understand this relationship between holiness and cleansing, we can take the meaning of the word Sanctify, and combine it with the meaning of holiness, and we can come up with what I believe is an accurate, Biblical definition of Sanctification.

Sanctification – the process of cleansing for the purpose of making a place or thing distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else. (or the purpose of making something holy)

So we have our definitions.  We’ve established the ground work, the foundation from which we can build.

If you remember at the beginning of this session I asked the question, as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit God’s attribute of holiness?  I would say that according to scripture, the answer is a resounding, YES!  We are able to.  We are able to be distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everyone else.  We are able to behave that way.  We are able to pattern our lives that way.

So, now that we have a premise to build on, in session two, we’ll take a look at how this all worked out in the Old Testament under the law, and the relationship of Sanctification to the law.  We’ll expand on this idea of cleansing and the relationship between cleansing and Sanctification and holiness in the life of a believer.

Do we have time for any questions or comments?

Calvinism: The Root of All Evil in the American Church

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 14, 2014

PPT HandleOriginally posted August 21,2013

Show me the Money.  

Why has New Calvinism taken the American church by storm? Because the American church was already primed for it. Before authentic Calvinism was rediscovered by a Seventh-Day Adventist in 1969, America was, and always has been half-pregnant with the Puritan form of Calvin’s Geneva.

Calvinism makes everything about justification while excluding sanctification for a very simple reason: control. If justification is a finished work, and all that is at stake is eternal rewards in heaven, the church would not be nearly the institution that it is today. Why is there big money in religion? Why is there a church every two miles in America with a 500,000 dollar annual budget? Why did 3,000,000 people show up on a beach to see the new Pope? Why does the Catholic Church have so much power? Because salvation is big business my friend. If salvation is found in an institution, it will all but rule the world.

Plain and simple: the Reformers taught that the same forgiveness for sin that saved you needs to be continually sought out to maintain salvation (justification), and that forgiveness can only be found in the Protestant church. Sola Fide indeed, there is no money in sanctification; the big bucks are in justification. From a worldly perspective, Christ had a horrible business plan:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

There is no money or power in making disciples; the money is in making saved people and requiring them to be faithful to the institution in order to stay saved. In business, we call that RMR (reoccurring monthly revenue).

A finished justification and focus on discipleship empowers the individual, not the institution. Who the Master is—is a settled issue and the focus is preparing for His return by making maximum use of the individual talents given by grace. But when keeping our justification is the focus, individual responsibility to the Master is relegated to the closets. Come now, let’s be honest, how many Christians in the American church even know what their spiritual gifts are? How often do we see church “services” where we “encourage each other unto good works” as opposed to being there to “receive more Jesus.”

The parable of the talents is teaching about a servant who sought to only give back to the Master what he had originally received. And that is exactly what the Reformers promoted. Calvin et al believed that sanctification replaced the Old Testament Sabbath. We will make it to heaven if we “rest” in our salvation.

Enter a conversation I had with a brother not but two days ago:

Ya know Paul, this New Calvinism stuff is supposedly so great, but I have been a member of this church for ten years now, and what? Maybe five people have been saved in that time.

Exactly. Let’s face another fact, people aren’t being saved, if anything, they are just being shuffled around or convinced they were never saved to begin with. The reason for this is simple: Christ said to let our good works shine before men so that our Father in heaven would be glorified. That concept was anathema to Calvin. The fact that sanctification is a Sabbath rest should speak for itself.

The double myth of Arminianism.

Arminianism is another Protestant myth. It centers on the election debate, a doctrine that Calvinists don’t even believe to begin with. The Arminian/Calvinist debate is a double myth. Start thinking for crying out loud, what power and control would there be in election?  There is no money in election either. Election portends a settled eternal destiny.  If there is election, what do we need the institutional church for? “Election” only gets you into the race for “final justification,” but the race must be run in the church so that you can get your perpetual forgiveness that keeps you in the race. My friend, always follow the money. Always.

While arguing for free will versus total depravity, Arminians have always functioned like Calvinists. Since the Pilgrims Puritans landed on our Eastern shores, we have had Calvinism Lager and Calvinism Light. Arminianism is closet Calvinism. Both devalue sanctification. Calvinism completely rejects sanctification as “subjective justification.”  Arminians give tacit recognition to sanctification while completely rejecting it by the way they function. The lager form proudly shows forth Calvin’s doctrine of ecclesiastical justification while Arminians live by John Calvin bumper stickers:

We are all just sinners saved by grace.

This is Calvin’s view of Christians remaining totally depraved while receiving justification in the present-continuance tense.

Just this week, I saw the following John Calvin bumper stickers posted by people who would vehemently deny that they are Calvinists:

Bumper sticker 1

This is based on Calvin’s Redemptive Historical hermeneutic and Luther’s Cross Story epistemology.  The idea is that the Bible was not written for the purpose of grammatical exegesis, but rather to contemplate the redemptive narrative only leading to subjective, perpetual justification that is necessary to achieve “final justification.”  Knowing the Bible factually is Luther’s Glory Story, knowing the Author is Luther’s Cross Story. In other words, every verse in the Bible is about justification and not wisdom for sanctification, the proverbial, “living by lists” and “do’s and don’ts.”

And….

Bumper sticker 2

Right, because sanctification is “subjective justification.” Any concern with our outward behavior is, as Calvinist hack Dr. Michael Horton states it, “trying to BE the gospel rather than preaching the gospel.” This fosters the very thing that makes Christianity contemptible to the world—preaching the gospel and not living it. It is the Sabbatical sanctification fostered by John Calvin himself and promoted by Arminians wholesale.

Calminianism  is the real reality.

Sanctification?

So ok, the Bible has much to say about justification by faith alone, but where is this standalone subject of sanctification that is a different matter of Christian living altogether?  One place among many would be 1Thessalonians 4:3ff:

3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Obviously, sanctification is all about KNOWing HOW to control our bodies. And even more obvious is the fact that justification has nothing to do with that at all. And also obvious is the fact that the two aforementioned Calminian  metaphysical bumber stickers totally reject this biblical definition. Let’s have another moment of honesty. How many Christians know more about controlling their body today than they did yesterday? And does that affect how the world sees us, and God?

Fusion and dichotomy.

Sanctification is a continued endeavor to learn more and more how to control our bodies from the Scriptures. Calvinism rejects that as the Glory Story. A focus on controlling our own bodies makes life about us and “eclipses the Son.”  It fuses justification and sanctification together while dichotomizing anthropology. The opposite should be true in regard to both categories. Calminianism is an upside down Christian life.

Anthropological concepts; i.e., what makes people tick, are deemed pragmatic and unspiritual. Rather than seeing these subjects as wisdom where Christians ought to be outdoing the world, they are rejected as “living by lists” and “living by do’s and don’ts.” I like what one pastor had to say about those truisms:

They are telling us the following: “Don’t live by do’s and Don’ts.”

A prime example is something that everyone is born with: a conscience. The only Psychiatrist in history that really had a track record of helping people was O. Hobart Mowrer. The main thrust of his therapy was an emphasis on keeping a clear conscience. He believed that most mental illness was caused by a guilty conscience. He cured people by insisting that they deal with unresolved issues of guilt. Mowrer, once the President of the APA along with a long list of distinguished awards and appointments, wrote The Crisis in Psychiatry and Religion. The book rejected the medical model of Psychology and fustigated Christianity for relegating the care of the “mentally ill” to Freudian Psychology. Mowrer was not a Christian.

Nevertheless, he is the one who most inspired the father of the contemporary biblical counseling movement, Dr. Jay E. Adams, who applied Mowrer’s practical approach to biblical counseling. Adams did this because he observed Mowrer’s astounding results while doing an internship with him in the summer of 1965.

This only makes sense. The apostle Paul instructed Christians to “keep a clear conscience before God.” The Bible has much to say about the subject of conscience. Christians should use the Bible to be wiser in all areas of human practicality and should excel at it far beyond those who live in the world. Let’s have another honesty moment: how many sermons do we hear on the importance of practicality in the Christian life?  Subjects such as, planning, accountability, etc. Unfortunately, these biblical subjects are dichotomized from the “spiritual” and deemed pragmatic.

At the same time, justification and sanctification are fused together in an effort to live out a Sabbatical sanctification; i.e., sanctification by faith alone. This is nothing new, James rejected the concept in his epistle to the 12 tribes of Israel that made up the apostolic church. It is also a Gnostic concept that sees the material as evil and only the spiritual as good. Therefore, since anthropology is part of the material realm, any practicality thereof cannot benefit the spiritual. Supposedly.

Another concept, along with conscience, is that of habituation. Through discipline, habit patterns can be formed that lead to change, ask anyone who has been in the military. People who inter the military come out as changed people. Because of our Protestant heritage and conditioning, these concepts seem grotesquely pragmatic.  But according to the Bible, we are to make use of them.

Sanctification is a many-faceted colaboring with the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit’s power is unleashed through wisdom and obedience (James 1:25). We must know assuredly that justification is a finished work, and absolutely nothing that we do in sanctification can affect it for better or worse. This is what purifies our motives in our love for Christ in sanctification. “If you love me, keep my commandments” has absolutely nothing to do with our justification. It’s for love only, not a working for justification. We are thankful for our justification, but that thankfulness doesn’t save us or keep us saved. Only Christ saves—the new creature now loves Christ because that’s who he/she is. Christ’s love made it possible for us to love Him in sanctification, but nothing in sanctification keeps us saved. Sanctification looks not for a “final justification,” but readies itself for the Master’s return and longs to hear the words, “Well done faithful servant!”

When I was a young boy, I often lived with my grandparents during the summer. My grandfather was a real-life John Wayne type. He worked as a construction foreman for a large company. And he was my hero. Before he left for work in the morning, I would sheepishly await for him to depart before beginning a flurry of tasks around their small farm. I would always have the tasks done well before his arrival home and waited at the end of the drive to hear his truck’s humming wheels come down State Route 125. I would then take him around the property and show him the finished tasks. His smile and compliments were my reward. These are tasks that I didn’t have to do; our love for each other was always something totally different from those tasks. I knew assuredly that he would love me whether I did those tasks or not because I was his grandson—his pride and joy. Some idea that the withholding of serving him in order to elevate the reality of his love for me would have been a ridiculous notion.

Justification and sanctification must be separate. Anthropology and the spiritual must be fused. Our bodies must be controlled and set apart for good works. This will lead to the showing forth of our good works and the glorification of the Father leading to salvation  for others, not sheep redistribution.

Spiritual abuse and disdain for justice.

A devaluing of our own holiness for fear that it will eclipse the holiness of God, coupled with salvation being sought in the institutionalized Calminian church, has led to the same indecencies seen in the mother of the Reformers; the Roman Catholic Church. Rome has never repented of its abject thirst for blood, and the fruit does not fall far from the tree.

The family split for the time being, but the Reformers never departed from Rome’s ecclesiastical justification found through absolution by church leaders. When this is the case, any vehicle going to heaven will suffice for heaven’s sake alone. The institution will never be threatened for the sake of the few. To the leaders, their existence and power is threatened, to the parishioners, their salvation is threatened. The institution must be preserved.

This is no new thing, in the minds of the Jewish leaders; Jesus Christ was sacrificed to preserve the Jewish religious system. If even Christ Himself was expendable in this mentality, what will be of the molested and raped? Besides, we are all just sinners saved by grace anyway, right? Is justice therefore anywhere on the radar screen in this discussion? Hardly. Besides, the raped and spiritually abused should be thankful because what they deserve is hell anyway, right?  Once this is understood, the landscape we see today in the American church should be no surprise whatsoever.

What is the answer?

The church is a sanctified body and not an institution for final justification.  We are in the business of making disciples and not keeping people justified by faith alone in sanctification. The sanctified body doesn’t justify, it is God who justifies. Men must stop worshiping at the altar of ecclesiastical justification. Justification is free to us and finished, sanctification isn’t. Sanctification is where we show our love to the savior as servants, not leaches. Evil men like Paul David Tripp who posit the idea that the Christian’s whole duty is to “rest and feed” and wait for “new and surprising fruit” because Christians only “experience” fruit and don’t participate in it must be rejected with extreme prejudice. Their evil seed was spawned in 1970, but they have been in firm control of the American church for 25 years while proclaiming each year a “resurgence.” What do we have to show for it?

It is time for men and women to recognize their calling, their new birth, their indwelling counselor, their gifts, and the authority of Christ and His word alone. There is NO traceable lineage back to the apostolic church like the genealogy documents burned by Titus. Murdering mystic despots have no claim on any authority of the church.

Godly authority is continued wherever a spirit-filled Christian picks up a Bible and obeys its words. A church is a sanctified, obedient fellowship, not a justified institution drunk with its own visions of grandeur.

paul

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