Paul's Passing Thoughts

A.W. Tozer – Passive/Aggressive Man Of God

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on June 18, 2018

The Bible does not have a single perspective on sin. Protestantism defines sin as a transgression of the law, maintains that definition throughout scripture, and applies that definition to believers as well.   When considering the meaning of a word, proponents of Systematic Theology will often look to the earliest usage of a word in scripture as the root definition. This is interesting considering that the first time “sin” is used in the Bible it is described as an entity that seeks to wield control over another (Genesis 4:7) and not a transgression of the law.

Sin seeks to control others through condemnation. This desire for control by Sin manifests itself with man himself seeking control over others in turn. You can be sure that if someone is wielding an accusation against you – if they are trying to condemn you for something – they are trying to control you.

What passes for the Protestant gospel these days is nothing more that an insidious desire to control through condemnation. Yet the Protestant gospel also keeps believers enslaved to the law as well under a false pretense. Sometimes such a notion is thinly veiled, as seen in the following Facebook meme:

Is it just me or does anyone else see the implicit condemnation in this meme? The message should be clear; Jesus loves you despite the fact that you are a filthy rotten sinner. In reminding us about Jesus’ love for us, the author takes a subtle jab at reminding us of our presumed “depravity”. This is nothing more than a passive/aggressive guilt trip. It is an attempt to guilt people into accepting the gospel (read “coerce”). Notice that the sentiment is ambiguous enough so as to be applicable to Christians as well as the unregenerate. It ought to be just one more piece of evidence that reveals the real Protestant doctrine regarding justification; that salvation is an ongoing process that must be maintained by continuous “faith alone” in Jesus’ work to obey the law in our stead and cover us with His imputed righteousness.

In contrast, the Gospel of the Kingdom is not a gospel of condemnation. It is a gospel of Life! Jesus never used condemnation as a means of coercing people to accept the gospel. In fact, Jesus Himself said that it was not His purpose to bring condemnation.

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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” ~ John 3:17-19

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” ~ John 5:24

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’” ~ John 8:10-11

Because believers are now the born again offspring of the Father and are no longer under law, there is therefore now no condemnation! (Romans 8:1) It is not only erroneous to remind believers of their so-called “depravity” but it is outright evil because it is an attempt to control. Notice that according to this meme, as you think about your sin you should be reminded of how much Jesus loves you and what a great price was paid for your sinfulness. It is the cross chart all over again. This meme makes a pretense of Jesus’ love while driving us to focus on sin either wittingly or unwittingly. When sin becomes the focus the only result is fear of condemnation.

As believers, our focus ought to be on love, and love IS the fulfillment of the law. The reality that we are no longer under condemnation is incredibly freeing. We do not have to worry if we “mess up” in the weakness of our flesh because the law cannot judge us. It allows us to serve others by aggressively pursuing love. Furthermore, it informs our gospel message. We do not need to guilt people into accepting it. They are already aware of their guilt one way or another. Our gospel must be one that provides a solution to guilt. The Gospel of the Kingdom is one that provides man a way out from under the law and does not continue to condemn him by it. And that is not only refreshing, it is full of hope!

~ Andy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paul

Overcoming Addictions

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 11, 2015

What is an addiction? It is safe to assume that most addictions are driven by desire. According to Psychology Today:

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Elsewhere:

Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences; it can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are (positively) reinforcing (i.e., they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., they activate the brain’s “reward pathways”, and are therefore perceived as being something positive or desirable).

How should the laity help the addicted with Scripture? The Bible describes sin as a “master.” It also describes “flesh” or the “body,” or “members” as being instrumental for holy endeavors or useful to fulfill desires that come from sin; i.e., “sinful desires” or “desires of the flesh.”  When Scripture uses “desires of the flesh” it is not stating that sinful desires come from the flesh per se, but rather sinful desires that sin is using the flesh to fulfill. Remember, at least in regard to the Christian, the “flesh” can be utilized for either good or evil. Sinful desires come from the Sin master.

The Bible also states that sin is empowered by the ability to condemn. If  condemnation is taken away, sin still exists, but its status as master has been revoked. If condemnation is removed, sin is unable to enslave.

1Corithians 15:56 – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who are under law are under condemnation, and the Bible also states that Christ came to end the law. Those who believe in Christ have been “purchased” by His blood, and we no longer belong to the Sin master. The Bible uses the slave/master terminology to describe the transaction. And somehow, sin is stripped of its power to enslave when it can no longer use desires to provoke God through the members of the individual. Here is an example of sin as slavemaster:

Genesis 4:6 – The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Sin desires to rule over the individual, and it uses desire to tempt.

James 1:13 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the apostle Paul informs us that we become enslaved to whatever we obey. Obeying sinful desires results in being enslaved to the desire. What follows is the whole chapter of Romans 6, and it is a long citation and encompasses all that we have discussed so far.

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What we read here can also be seen in the introductory citations: the desire enslaves the individual, and that person will continue in the behavior regardless of the fruits which include death-like existence and condemnation. These desires produced by sin can range from annoying habits to the unthinkable. People can have a desire to kill other people, and if they obey that desire, they can become serial killers. That extreme example can be applied to many other sinful desires. Sinful desires coming from covetousness or greed can also cause people to commit sins that make the obtaining of the central desire possible. You get the picture. One could expand this into an in-depth mapping of human behavior.

As we see in Romans 6, born again Christians are able to say no to sinful desires. The desires still occur, but they are not able to dominate us. We are able to say no. Sin is no longer a master, but has been demoted to a pesky stalker. However, eventually, in the believer, these desires can be put to death:

Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Galatians 5:24 – Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Romans 8:13 – For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians 5:16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

In unbelievers, destructive desires can be kept under control for a better quality of life, but such desires can never be totally put to death. As stated by Alcoholics Anonymous, “Once a drunk always a drunk.” If you think about it, unbelievers have little choice but to label many addictions as medical problems because the desire cannot be put to death, it will continually harass them till the day they die unless they are born again. People saved out of a sordid life will often testify that particular dominate desires vanish immediately, but that is not always the case. But in the least, the desire is manageable through biblical applications and eventually dies.

In the unbeliever, destructive desires can be managed through practical means, even biblical ones, but sinful desires in the believer can actually be put to death.

paul

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