Paul's Passing Thoughts

Betrayal Never Had a Bigger Smile

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 9, 2014

streetOn January 23, 2015, Dr. John Street will make the statement loud and clear on behalf of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors that clergy has the right to do whatever they want to the laity in general, and counselees specifically. John Street, the founding pastor of Clearcreek Chapel, is the featured speaker there for the Chapel’s 2015 “Family Enrichment Conference.” Right.

The title of Street’s message for the affair makes it apparent that he has bought into the progressive justification false gospel that has swept the institutional church: “The Gospel-Centered Marriage: Unique Challenges and Hope.” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but what is disturbing is the absence of common decency that is part and parcel with this doctrine. Earlier today, I sent this letter to the executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors suggesting that the biblical counseling movement recommend itself with some measure of common decency. Not holding my breath.

God’s people should not be deceived; there is no real disagreement among the tyrants that rule over the institutional church and make merchandise of God’s people. They all fuse justification and sanctification together resulting in some form of salvation via institution.

As one who served as an elder with John Street for five years and even considered him a mentor, this is indeed the deep pains of betrayal. However, it has now come into full focus why my pleadings for intervention were ignored. They all believe the same thing, and always have.

But this is clear: anyone participating in the institutional church is totally on their own. This is spiritual caste on steroids. Think about SGM, ABWE, etc.; there is a reason why the victims are summarily dismissed. There is a reason for all of the silence.

I look forward to the new possibilities ahead now that I see things clearly for what they are: I was naive; there was never any real love in the institutional church. It is void of the common decency that does unto others as you would want others to do to you.

John and I are now separated by differing gospels, and differing fruit for I never passed on an opportunity to defend him. Let it be so, everyone must choose their own path.

paul

Heath 1

An Open Letter to Heath Lambert: Does the Biblical Counseling Movement Possess Common Decency?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 8, 2014

Paul M. Dohse

Xenia, Ohio

Heath Lambert

Executive Director

Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Mr. Lambert,

Let me begin this letter with my honest assessment: I believe that ACBC,  “the largest biblical counseling organization in the world with certified counselors and counseling training centers in 17 countries,” is an organization driven by the false gospel of progressive justification. Furthermore, sanctification is not a Sabbath rest regardless of what John Calvin believed, and your Gnostic gospel contemplationism will help no one. I realize that it appears you help people by making them indifferent to reality, but that is a false hope. I believe that ACBC is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on God’s people in the history of the church.

Nevertheless, perhaps you can show disagreement by first illustrating that you have some common decency. For certain, Christians should cover many offences with love, but some offences should not be forgotten if they reveal fundamental character flaws that threaten the wellbeing of other people and families. You may believe one family is expendable for the good of the whole, yet the unrepentant judgment of those who destroy one family will continue to destroy many others. Why is that acceptable to you?

Regardless of multiple letters to your board members and others, you insist on endorsing Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio as one of your training centers, and refer hundreds of hurting people there each year. You do this in the face of the facts surrounding their direct actions that wrongly divided my family. They have remained resolute and unrepentant in their outrageous behavior; yet, you will not even require them to admit mistakes were made that will not be repeated. Instead, you proudly endorse them without apology.

Let us review the facts that reveal the character of those whom you readily associate yourself:

In 2007, I issued a letter to the Chapel elders informing them that I was vacating my membership there. In a paranoid cult-like response stemming from fear that I would reveal the doctrine that they were teaching, they sought to exaggerate some struggles I was having at the time and used them as an excuse to bring me under church discipline. As will be demonstrated by the facts, they did not deem these struggles worthy of church discipline before I issued the letter. What they attempted to do follows: they knowingly conspired to make it look like my letter was an attempt to circumvent an ongoing church discipline process that was already in the first step. This is irrefutable and reveals their base character.

Sadly, I was years away from understanding what they were teaching at the time. If they would have simply let me leave with my family, my premonitions would have been ignored by the congregation even if I had ventured to complain to others about it. Again, their overestimation of my ability to articulate what they are teaching can only be attributed to cult-like paranoia.

Some days after my letter of departure was issued, two elders arrived at my home unannounced and attempted to place me under discipline, and demanded that I return to the Chapel with my family. This ambush was inappropriately prearranged with my wife without my knowledge. Dazed and confused by the event, I did have the presence of mind to confirm that this meeting was the “first step” of church discipline, and asked them to state the specific sin that was the cause. In the beginning of what would be a long narrative version of spiritual Keystone Cops, the two elders argued in front of me concerning the specifics of the sins. In other words, they came to my house to place me under discipline, but were not on the same page in regard to the cause.

Therefore, I insisted that the offences be put in writing, and informed them that I would pray about the situation. Meanwhile, I sought counsel from longtime friend, Pastor Rick Wilson. It became obvious that Rick and some of the elders at his church disagreed with what was going on. In fact, Rick Wilson contacted PeaceMaker Ministries and asked them to get involved; this alone should speak for itself. In an act of unparalleled cronyism, the representative stated to Rick that since I was technically declared an unbeliever, and they only involve themselves in issues between believers, they would decline.

Rick then recommended that since I had been a member there for 20 years, and a former elder, that perhaps the best thing to do would be to go back and play along for a “couple of weeks” and thereby leave in peace. I took his advice, but two weeks turned into four months! It became obvious that I was not going to be free to leave without being declared an unbeliever in Reformed circles unless I converted to their doctrine. Also, the longer I foolishly stayed, the more their case was being established that I acknowledged the validity of their church discipline when I only submitted to it for the sake of a peaceful ending.

And by the way, preventing someone from performing a lawful act under threat of public humiliation is a criminal act. For all practical purposes, I was being held hostage under threat of losing the community that had come to define my whole life in regard to friendships and even financial income. Using that reality to control me because of their paranoia speaks further to their base character.

When I finally decided to take my family and leave at all cost, the Clearcreek elders made good on their promise to humiliate me before the congregation. This also greatly disappointed many that I had ministered to as an elder. My testimony and everything I stood for was destroyed for no valid reason. My 20 years of service to Clearcreek Chapel was flushed down the toilet in a twenty-minute ceremony.

But that wasn’t enough. In an attempt to bring me back under their control, they sent a confidential letter to my wife, which I obtained. The letter stated that I no longer had any right to make decisions with my family, and that she was obligated by God to return to the Chapel without me where they could rightfully “shepherd” her. They also coordinated this with a letter writing campaign by the congregation which was suggested by them publically. So, at the same time that my wife received a document from the elders entitled, “Elder’s Resolution,” she was bombarded with love-bombing letters from the congregation. I have copies of the letters, and many confirm the rumors that the Clearcreek elders were circulating about me in the flock groups off the record; charges they would not put in writing. I also received an email from a member that assured me that she saw through the new security measures at the Chapel as a veiled accusation against me. Another member was not fooled (according to the report) by the Chapel elders spending the night in a hotel to send the message that I am a dangerous and violent person. These men are despicable human beings.

In response to a letter that I sent to several Reformed churches and individuals that are on ACBC’s board, a letter begging for intervention, the Clearcreek elders responded by stating (in a letter) that my original letter did not state specifically that I was removing myself from membership. Hence, if I would have used different wording, the departure letter would have denoted a valid departure.

Ironically, this is my primary concern in regard to you referring troubled people to this counseling center; it is run by grown men who collectively participated in a childish downward spiral of telling lies to cover for prior lies. Obviously, if my life was full of sin worthy of church discipline, and my letter was an attempt to flee sin that was in process of being dealt with, why would the specific wording of the letter make any difference? In their correspondence to me they clearly state they were justified to disregard the letter because of the specific wording, not the circumvention of an ongoing process. The silliness of the argument staggers the imagination, but on the other hand, they knew they could not establish that the first step of discipline had been put in motion before the letter.

In other correspondence, they deny that they instructed my wife to divorce me when the wording of their “Elder’s Resolution” clearly states otherwise. Furthermore, the attorney that they hired at the church’s expense to represent my wife has a reputation as being one of the most incompetent lawyers in the Dayton, Ohio area. According to my attorney, this doubled my legal fees because, “this is going to drag on because her attorney doesn’t know the law.” My point here is that this elder body is a perpetual comedy of errors and missteps. They are utterly incompetent.

In another attempt to defend themselves, and in writing, they claimed that I was issued a formal letter by the elders concerning a second step of church discipline. I denied this, and demanded that they produce the letter. I also suggested that they would never produce the letter because it never existed, and accused them of lying about it.  Their response, in writing, acknowledged that indeed there was never such a letter, and the claim was made due to the errant recording of minutes during an elders meeting. Keep in mind, this is a church of about 300 people. So, in the process of wrecking my life, the process was obviously marred by total confusion and lies.

Be sure of this: unlike you, I don’t just talk about caring for families, I really do care about families, and that is why I will not stand by while you refer troubled people to this den of spiritual misfits. Our ministry often receives emails from people seeking counsel after dealing with Clearcreek’s counselors, and these are people who have no idea that I have a past history with Clearcreek. The accounts are surreal.

I am sure you stand ready to defend the false gospel that drives your so-called biblical counseling, but surely you agree that such a defense should be adorned in a show of common decency. “Repentance” is a major pillar of your counseling construct, but apparently you do not require it of those who oversee your training centers—that’s hypocrisy.

Mr. Lambert, I have read your concerns about “first generation” counseling that isn’t vertical enough, but what about counseling performed by habitual liars and your endorsement of them? This is your chance to show what you are really about. If you can show some common decency, maybe I will take a closer look at your bogus gospel. But more than likely, the rotten fruit of your organization flows from such. In the final analysis, we will see if you are indifferent to me being wrongfully deprived of living with my son full time during his most formable years.

Look in the mirror Mr. Lambert, what do you see?

Truly,

Paul M. Dohse Sr.

The Biblical Counseling Death Culture

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 18, 2014

Why Contemporary Biblical Counseling is a Lie and Cannot Help Anyone, and What Should be Done About it.

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 10, 2013
Target Publication 2015

Target Publication 2015

We are in the era of the biblical counselor. The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC), the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF), and the Biblical Counseling Coalition (BBC) comprise the lion’s share of biblical counseling in our day and then some.

These organizations are all tightly associated with each other, and share involvement among directors and board members. The network between these organizations and local churches is massive, and thousands of people are referred to counselors through this network daily. These organizations also offer “training” and curriculum for major seminaries nationwide.

This is a massive network of “biblical” counselors who are wasting the time of troubled people, and doing more harm than good. Why? First, the whole system is based on the lie that they offer people a way to change. By “people,” I mean primarily Christians. One of the more notable figures in the network, Paul David Tripp, wrote a book titled, “How People Change.” A careful reading reveals that the book actually rejects the idea that people change, and instead posits the idea that Christians can only experience the joy of grace in a deeper and deeper way. A deeper and deeper realization of how totally depraved we are leads to a greater and greater appreciation of God’s grace resulting in happiness. Hence, what they are really offering is something that sounds spiritual: “Happiness regardless of your circumstances.”

People come to counseling because they want to change something about their lives; this is assumed, and the biblical counseling machine allows them to believe they share the same agenda, and even state it accordingly. And here is the problem: God will not honor a lie; God will not bless a lie.

Nor will God honor their elitist attitude towards the common parishioner. The contemporary biblical counseling network allows this noble lie because most people are not “ready” for the “truth” that people really don’t change in what they do, but only in how they experience life. Ironically, if they were honest, they would be surprised to find that the “truth” of not changing, but rather feeling good about your depravity would be a much easier sell. But to the contrary, the network couches terminology in nuance to make it sound like change in behavior is the agenda—it’s deliberate deception on a massive scale, and has much to do with funding and the money in general.

Central to this issue is the fact that the network is grounded in the authentic Reformed tradition. The new executive director of NANC, a lackey by the name of Heath Lambert, recently wrote an article about Martin Luther and “all the ways that Luther impacted the church, for all the ways that Luther advanced the Kingdom of Christ, and for all the ways we will commemorate the good work he began.” And:

In particular I am thankful for his influence when it comes to the kind of biblical counseling we stand for at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors [the new name for NANC]. The very first item listed on the document nailed to the Wittenberg Gate said, “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent,” he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”  This has everything to do with biblical counseling.

Right, “he called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” They call this, “deep repentance.” The “entire” life of the believer is about repentance. In the Reformed tradition, the “T” in TULIP also applies to the saints. By living a “lifestyle of repentance” that delves deeper and deeper into our depravity, we continually experience the “joy of our original salvation” in a deeper and deeper way. This is exactly what Luther taught:

Now you ask: What then shall we do? Shall we go our way with indifference because we can do nothing but sin? I would reply: By no means. But, having heard this, fall down and pray for grace and place your hope in Christ in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection. For this reason we are so instructed-for this reason the law makes us aware of sin so that, having recognized our sin, we may seek and receive grace (THD thesis 16,17).

In Reformed circles, this process is called mortification and vivification. It is a perpetual cycle of repentance and joy. It is expressed in the contemporary mantra, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Dr. Michael Horton calls it, “reliving our baptism.” One of the most well-known figures of the biblical counseling network, Dr. David Powlison, sets this counseling against those “who see the cross for salvation and the Holy Spirit for sanctification.” This is counseling that focuses on, “living by the cross.”

As one who has spent almost seven years researching this issue, it is easy to see that the Neo-Reformed movement that is behind the network meticulously follows the Calvin Institutes. The Calvin Institutes articulate Luther’s theology of the cross. This is yet another huge problem. The Calvin Institutes, as well as the Westminster Confession, were designed to fit the church states of that era. This is a representative republic; hence, the kind of control that pastors were able to exercise over people in that day is not possible in our day. Yet, the theology of that day was part and parcel with elements of control.

As a result, many, many churches in the network are cultish. Control was part of the counseling construct in Luther and Calvin’s day, and that is difficult to separate from the theology. It stands to reason that if you are still totally depraved, you need to be controlled. Therefore, when people are referred to network churches for counseling, they are often required to attend church there, or even become members for the purpose of “adding the love of community” to the counseling. This is a strong allure because the counseling is often “free,” or by a love offering determined by the counselee. However, once a counselee signs a church membership covenant, they have relinquished significant personal autonomy to local church elders. The average American parishioner is woefully inept in understanding the Reformed tradition enough to join them in a covenant, and on this wise as well, the network is deliberately deceptive.

For example, few would sign up if they knew Reformed pastors believe they have the authority to proclaim someone unsaved. This is Calvin’s power of the keys—whatever a pastor binds on earth, heaven will bind it as well according to their word. In other words, the pastor has the authority to have your name removed from the book of life. Furthermore, counseling is seen as part of the church discipline process, so the second a counselee signs on the dotted line, they are officially under church discipline as well. Counseling is seen as “unresolved sin issues” and therefore under the auspices of church discipline. You said you needed counseling, no? You are under the “first step” of church discipline when you enter counseling. The steps can progress toward excommunication if the counseling doesn’t go well. This reality has caused enough conflict to incite the founding of mediation organizations like Peacemaker Ministries. These are damage control organizations heavily vested in the biblical counseling network.

These are just a few issues at hand, but all in all, what should be done about this problem? Answer: in regard to the Reformed tradition and the contemporary biblical counseling movement; true education, true education, true education, true education, and true education. I believe that a genuine understanding of biblical counseling history (and not the usual propaganda spewed out by the network) will lead parishioners to solid answers.

Meanwhile, I would seize on God’s promise to give you wisdom in the midst of a trial. I would also go into all counseling with eyes wide open. Find out who they are, who they are affiliated with, and be careful what you sign. This is the information age—research the ideology behind the counseling construct you are considering. In cases of severe depression, general practitioners often take a good commonsense approach to the problem. I would also read materials written by Dr. Jay Adams that pertain to your particular problem.

The last thing you need right now is medieval superstition. Trust me, there is a reason for the undertaker-like demeanor of Dr. David Powlison.

paul

The Only Real Difference Between First and Second Generation Biblical Counseling is Romans 8:30

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 3, 2012

“Are two different gospels operating under the same nomenclature of ‘help can be found here’ acceptable or not? Both are not the truth, and one or the other will help, or add further hurt.”

 

Heath Lambert recently published the book, The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams.  The contemporary motif of our day is the idea that Dr. Jay E. Adams started the biblical counseling movement (first generation), and then others such as David Powlison of Westminster’s CCEF built on the foundation laid by Adams. The ever-morphing result is called “second generation” biblical counseling. Lambert’s book is a lengthy treatise that supposedly informs us of the differences between the two generations.

I am going to bypass all of those issues and focus on the one difference that matters—how each generation interprets the gospel. As the president of the annexed NANC used to say, “Fasten your seatbelts and put on your crash helmets,” because my thesis is that one of these generations is founded on,  and operates by a false gospel.

As many know, especially my wife, I have spent almost five years researching the present-day New Calvinism movement. The movement has its roots in the Progressive Adventist movement fathered by Robert Brinsmead. The magnum opus of that movement was their interpretation of Romans 8:30. I will pause now and quote an individual who witnessed that remarkable movement firsthand:

In 1971, Brinsmead scheduled a flurry of summer institutes to bring us his latest emphasis. There was more excitement than usual; the latest round of tapes had prepared us for something big. Bob had been studying the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith, comparing it to Roman Catholic doctrines. Reading Luther, he saw that justification is not just a means to the end of perfect sanctification. When we are justified by faith, not only does God impute Christ’s righteousness to us but we also possess Christ Himself—all His righteousness and all His perfection. Eternity flows from that fact.

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified’ (Rom. 8:30).

The same ones he justified he also glorified. We began to realize we had inserted extra steps into Paul’s chain of salvation: sanctification and a final atonement brought about by blotting out sins. Those added steps, in fact, were the heart of the Awakening message—but we had ignored the heart of the real gospel: being justified by faith, we ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ Our righteousness is in heaven, said Brinsmead:

“The righteousness by which we become just in God’s sight, remain just in His sight and will one day be sealed as forever just in His sight, is an outside righteousness. It is not on earth, but only in heaven…only in Jesus Christ” (Martin L. Carey: Judged by the Gospel: The Progression of Brinsmead’s Awakening )

Brinsmead further articulated this magnum opus in the theological journal, Present Truth:

Then in the golden chain of salvation, Romans 8:30, justification spans our Christian life all the way from calling or conversion to glorification: “Whom He called, them He justified; whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Here justification, our standing before God, is coterminous with sanctification, our being conformed to the image of God’s Son, in Romans 8:29. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 the apostle mentions Christ as our righteousness or justification before he names Him as our sanctification. But in 1 Corinthians 6:11 the order is reversed: “You are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Accordingly, Luther taught that to accept justification by faith in Christ is our whole work for the whole Christian life. We never learn this too well. For the forgiveness of sins is a continuous divine work until we die. Christ saves us perpetually (Luther’s Works, American ed. (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press; St. Louis: Concordia, 1955- ), Vol.34, pp.164, 167, 190) [Present Truth: volume 25, pages 11,12].

Now, the term, “golden chain of salvation” did not originate with Brinsmead, but when that term was used by theologians of old, it doesn’t seem to be in reference to Romans 8:30. The term seems to have a contemporary meaning when associated with Romans 8:30, and that is how it will be used in this post. Furthermore, Brinsmead attributes the magnum opus of Progressive Adventism to Martin Luther, and Carey attributes it to Brinsmead who again, states that he learned it from the writings of Luther.

But the need for further research aside, this post will focus on the what. And the what is the following:

[1] Brinsmead’s interpretation of Romans 8:30 combines justification and sanctification, and perpetuates the need for a just standing before God until glorification.

[2] And the need for  a progressive justification until glorification, ie.,“Christ saves us perpetually.”

[3] And sanctification is missing from Romans 8:30 because it is “coterminous” with Justification. “Conterminous” means, 1. having the same border or covering the same Area 2. being the same in extent; coextensive in range or scope.

[4] This Romans 8:30 golden chain can be definitively traced throughout the New Calvinism community as a single mainframe that holds the doctrine together and determines its  modus operandi.

[5] The Romans 8:30 golden chain manifests itself as, Gospel Sanctification, Sonship Theology, New Covenant Theology, and Christian Hedonism which all dwell in the community of New Calvinism.

Hence, New Calvinists can run, but they can’t hide—their interpretation of  Romans 8:30 identifies them. And it also identifies what they will teach, and how they will counsel.

The Two Romans 8:30 and Their Gospels

Therefore, one version of Romans 8:30 suggests that sanctification is missing from the verse because justification and sanctification are the same, and justification is perpetual till glorification. The second interpretation of Romans 8:30 suggests that sanctification is missing from the verse because justification and sanctification are completely separate; and justification is a finished work that makes sanctification possible, but does not directly power it. This position would hold that sanctification is powered by regeneration, and not justification. Hence, Romans 8:30 is missing sanctification because justification is a finished work that guarantees glorification.

These are two completely different gospels. One is monergistic substitutionary sanctification, and the other is monergistic justification and synergistic sanctification. How the gospel is presented from each of these different viewpoints must necessarily be radically different. Moreover, counseling is necessarily, and radically different as well.

And these two views of  Romans 8:30 define the difference between the two generations of biblical counseling. David Powlison says so. In a seminar presented by David Powlison at John Piper’s church while Piper was on sabbatical, Powlison stated the following:

This might be quite a controversy, but I think it’s worth putting in.  Adams had a tendency to make the cross be for conversion. And the Holy Spirit was for sanctification.  And actually even came out and attacked my mentor, Jack Miller, my pastor that I’ve been speaking of through the day, for saying that Christians should preach the gospel to themselves.  I think Jay was wrong on that.  I – it’s one of those places where I read Ephesians.  I read Galatians.  I read Romans.  I read the gospels themselves.  I read the Psalms.  And the grace of God is just at every turn, and these are written for Christians (David Powlison: What is Biblical Counseling  May 8, 2010. Online source for MP3s ;  http://goo.gl/Dumep).

David Powlison’s mentor, Dr. John Miller, whom he mentions in the above citation, was the father of Sonship Theology. Jay Adams wrote  a book in contention against the doctrine in 1999. By way of reiterating Powlison’s articulation, Adam’s made the following statement on page 34 of Biblical Sonship:

The problem with Sonship is that it misidentifies the source of sanctification (or the fruitful life of the children of God) as justification. Justification, though a wonderful fact, a ground of assurance, and something never to forget, cannot produce a holy life through a strong motive for it….On the other hand, regeneration, (quickening, or making alive; Ephesians 2:25) is the true source of sanctification.

The major difference between the first and second generations of biblical counseling is their gospel models. One model will attempt to help people with the reductionist gospel of sanctification by justification. The other will attempt to help people with the full armor of regeneration.

Though CCEF is a lost cause and was wicked from its conception, the realty of how counselors interpret Romans 8:30 is a gut-check for the president and board members of the critically ill NANC. Are two different gospels operating under the same nomenclature of “help can be found here” acceptable or not? Both are not the truth, and one or the other will help, or add further hurt.

Let’s be honest, how important is truth to those who claim to be in the truth business?

paul

%d bloggers like this: