Paul's Passing Thoughts

PPT Top 5 Posts of 2015

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 2, 2016

The Problem with Contemporary Biblical Counseling: Justification “Runs in the Background”

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 9, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published June 13, 2014

“Jay Adams has often pointed out that people are clueless in regard to the fact that there are about 200 different counseling theories in Psychology. Think about that. When people go to a psychologist for help they are no doubt clueless in regard to the perspective that they will be counseled from. Nevertheless, if biblical counseling is about sanctification, and it is, there are at least as many different theories on how justification ‘runs’ with sanctification.”

The fact that our justification is a finished work is critical to the gospel. If justification is not finished, its proper maintenance by faith alone without works becomes a balancing act between works and faith in sanctification. You have an integration of two things where one calls for faith alone and the other calls for a faith that works.

Therefore, when justification and sanctification are fused together, the Christian life will be marked by confusion, fear, introspection, and a paralyzed, stagnant Christian life. Sound familiar? A radical dichotomy between justification and sanctification frees the believer to aggressively love without fear that anything they do in sanctification will affect their justification. There is no fear in our justified position.

A false gospel cannot help people. All in all, the contemporary biblical counseling movement is saturated with the idea that justification is progressive. Point in case; biblical counseling superstar Lou Priolo believes that justification, “runs in the background.” In a guest post written for Jay Adams’ Institute for Nouthetic Studies, Priolo stated the following:

To my way of thinking, the place of the doctrine of justification in the believer’s life is much like the operating system on a computer. I’m a PC guy. My personal computer operates under a Windows operating system. Windows is always up and running, but most of the time, it runs in the background. I don’t see it. I can go for days without looking at it (although I know it is functioning as long as the other programs are operating properly). Occasionally, I have to go to the control panel to troubleshoot a problem, make some minor adjustments, or defrag my hard drive, but I don’t give it another thought because I have faith that it is doing what it is supposed to do. So it is with my justification. It is always up and running. Though I am not always consciously thinking about it, everything I do flows from it.

If one carefully examines this statement by Priolo, many disturbing anti-gospel ideas could be pointed out, and oddly, Jay Adams himself has written against these very ideas. Particularly, the idea that “everything” we do is powered by, or “flows” from justification. This is no whit different from what Tullian Tchividjian, John Piper, or even Joseph Prince believes.

Justification cannot be both finished and “running.” If justification runs in sanctification, what do we have to do to keep it running properly? That’s a huge problem by virtue of the very question itself. If the race we run as Christians, the one Paul talked about, is powered by justification, and we can be disqualified from that race; well, the ramifications in this issue speak for themselves.

No wonder that confusion, chaos, controversy, and a civil war between “first generation” biblical counseling and “second generation” biblical counseling are the order of the day in those circles.

Jay Adams has often pointed out that people are clueless in regard to the fact that there are about 200 different counseling theories in Psychology. Think about that. When people go to a psychologist for help they are no doubt clueless in regard to the perspective that they will be counseled from. Nevertheless, if biblical counseling is about sanctification, and it is, there are at least as many different theories on how justification “runs” with sanctification.

Who will finally stand up and say, “Enough of this madness!”? Who will finally stand up and say one is finished and one is progressive. Come now, are we saying that one runs in a race that is finished? Indeed, I stood dumbfounded when Voddie Buacham’s answer to that question from me was, “yes.” Is this nonsense the very reason that the world does not take us seriously? We are unable to clarify the gospel we proclaim. Call the world totally depraved if you will, but they are not stupid.


The Non-Doing Doesn’t Damn Protestants; It’s What They Believe About the New Birth

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 20, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published October 17, 2014

“Protestantism speaks of being saved from the condemnation of the law to a rest from obedience to the law of the Spirit of life. This is a rejection of the new birth and leaves the Christian enslaved to sin. This denies the good news of the incorruptible seed that Christians are born of. Protestantism makes the case that “the law” cannot produce righteousness, but this totally neglects the true biblical relationship between the believer and the law of the Spirit. A one-dimensional law necessarily rejects the new birth and circumvents the Christians ability to love God and others.”

In the parable of the talents, the slothful servant wasn’t sent to hell because he was lazy, what sent him to hell is the logic that caused the laziness. In other words, his laziness was a symptomatic cause of what he believed about God.

All liars will be thrown in the lake of fire, but it’s not the lying that paves the way—what they believe paves the way. How they act is merely a natural result of what they believe. Likewise, how Abraham lived is not what made him righteous, what he believed made him righteous—his life as set against the weakness of his mortality was the result.

BUT we cannot stop there because what we believe is not the direct thrust of what we do. Yes, it’s a symptom, but not the main thrust. What we believe leads to God recreating us or not recreating us through the new birth. The argument is better defined by behavior flowing from a particular type of human creature: born again of the Spirit or not born again of the Spirit. We must be careful to not say it’s belief alone while excluding the regeneration of the new birth.

It is also very important to know that regeneration is a colaboring with the Spirit that puts us in the love-loop. If we are not truly recreated into new creatures born of God who actually participate in righteous doing, we are not really participating in loving acts. Simple belief only watches the love being performed or manifested by the Spirit with no involvement by us. When Jesus says, “well done faithful servant,” he supposedly isn’t really talking about anything we did other than simply believing, which also ironically includes, “as much as you did it to one of these, you did it to me as well.”

Now let’s use this paragraph to dismiss some stupidity. The title of this post does not include people who consider themselves Protestants, but really have no idea what the Protestant gospel states. But would you go to a Kingdom Hall church because you have points of agreement with them? No, and why is that? Because you know the fundamentals of their gospel are false. So, if the official stated gospel of Protestantism is false, you need to get out of there. And that is the case. Secondly, Protestants like to interpret reality via either/or. This is because it is a Gnostic religion founded on all reality being interpreted by two categories only: material evil or invisible good. What you are discussing, whatever that may be, is one or the other. In contrast, OUR doing is not either evil or good, it can be one or the other, or both. In Protestantism, man’s doing must be totally good, or totally evil according to its Platonist/Gnostic foundations, and it is therefore the latter because man is part of the material world. The Reformers then went to the Bible and stuffed the Bible into that prism come hell or high water.

Protestantism is a false gospel because it redefines the new birth and denies the biblical definition of it. How is this done? We will use Romans 8:2 to explain.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

This is not complicated. Protestantism denies the new birth by making the law one-dimensional. The law can only do one thing: condemn. Therefore, you are not set free to “serve,” you are only set free from the condemnation of the law. YOU do not pass from death to life functionally, only positionally. By faith alone in Christ’s death and resurrection, the Spirit performs all of the acts of love described in the Bible in our stead. That becomes the Protestant definition of being free in Christ: Jesus performs all obedience in your stead through the Spirit. The Christian life of faith is a “rest.” As Joseph Prince has stated,

When we work, God rests, when we rest, God works.

And that my friends is good old fashioned authentic Protestant soteriology. That is almost word for word from John Calvin himself.

When the law can only condemn, we must stay clear of it because it demands perfection as a standard for righteousness. Its righteous demands must be fulfilled by the law-giver Himself. And again, there is no dynamic from which any person can please God because they are of the material realm in which only evil can come. Therefore, the new birth must be redefined as a position rather than something that results in a function performed by humanity. A command to love is really a command to see what you are unable to do while watching its manifestation by the Spirit…

When we work, God rests, when we rest, God works.

Rather than the new birth being defined as an actual new creature able to please God through loving obedience to the law, it is defined as a rest that merely perceives the works of the Spirit apart from us. We do not love functionally because belief does not bring about an actual new creature—only an ability to perceive works done by proxy. Christ said, “You MUST be born again”; therefore, a true gospel must properly define the new birth. Is it being set free to rest, or is it being set free to serve as literal new creatures reborn of God?

In the former, note that the law of the Spirit of life is something that the Spirit does and not us according to Protestantism. The law of the Spirit of life is a realm in which the Spirit performs obedient acts of love in our stead. This frees us from the condemnation of the law of sin and death and its demands for perfect obedience. Any attempt to obey the law directly is not of faith—the law must be obeyed for us as a result of complete rest “in Christ.” The law can only condemn.

In Protestantism, some teach that the law of the Spirit of life is a realm, and the law of sin and death is an actual written law while others teach that both are a realm; viz, Spirit realm versus sin realm, or material versus invisible. But either way, the Christian life is a rest.

In addition, according to them, remember that the Christian life must continue by faith alone, the same way we were saved. This necessarily connects the Christian life to our original salvation; in other words, salvation must be maintained the same way it began: by faith alone. If works must be eradicated in the Christian life save the work of faith only, it must be concluded that salvation is an ongoing work. If it wasn’t, we could safely leave the gospel that saved us and move on to something else. The who’s who of Protestantism warn continually that this would be a false gospel.

Start with Christ (that is, the gospel) and you get sanctification in the bargain; begin with Christ and move on to something else, and you lose both (Christless Christianity: published by Dr. Michael Horton in 2008, p.62).

It’s remaining in a rest to keep yourself saved by faith alone, the same way you were saved. Working in the Christian life is made synonymous with works salvation and law-keeping for the same.

Now, let’s look at this from the biblical point of view. In Romans 8:2, in both cases concerning the law of the Spirit and the law of sin, the word is “nomos.”

g3551. νόμος nomos; from a primary νέμω nemō (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specially, (of Moses (including the volume); also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle):— law.

The strict grammar calls for the meaning to be a prescriptive application of principles or regulations. There is a law of the Spirit, and a law of sin and death, and both refer to a prescriptive standard. It is such with a different dimension for the saved and another dimension for the unsaved—one law with two different perspectives and result. To the unbeliever, the law is the law of sin and death because sin within provokes the unbeliever to sin against the law. Therefore, it can only condemn the unbeliever; the power of sin is the law’s condemnation. Sin can provoke the unbeliever to compounded wages of judgment and wrath.

More than likely, “sin” is the seed of the serpent, and those born again of the Spirit have the seed of God within them.

Genesis 3:15 – I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and her offspring [seed]; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

1John 3:9 – No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

1Peter 1:22 – Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

… 1Peter 2:1 – So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

This exchange of seeds is vital. Notice that being born anew with an imperishable seed is actually “the good news preached to you.” Notice also that this gospel preached to us is PAST TENSE. And by the way, the “grow[ing] up unto salvation” is NOT salvation in the justification sense, but salvation in the redemption sense. Justification is a onetime finished act by God, the redemption of the body (glorification) is future. What is telling is that Peter doesn’t say that the gospel IS being preached to you (present continuance). Moreover, Peter states in his second epistle that we are to add several different actions to our faith, not continue in the same faith.

Let me also add this: it is an “imperishable seed.” Once you are born of it, it is irrevocable. The seed doesn’t qualify you to help God finish your justification (Catholicism), it is an eternal seed within you whether you are silly enough to attempt to finish a work that is already finished or not. Granted, if you believe justification has to be finished, you are probably not born of the seed. In addition, to say the seed of God is not in us (Protestantism) is equally egregious.

When the ground of justification moves from Christ outside of us to the work of Christ inside of us, the gospel (and the human soul) is imperiled. It is an upside down gospel.

~John Piper

The new birth and the seed of God within us makes it possible for us to obey God according to the law of His Spirit, which is the Bible—a written standard. Christ said we must love Him by keeping His commandments, and immediately after stating that, He added a very significant caveat: He would send a “helper/counselor” to aid us in doing so. The indwelling Holy Spirit HELPS us, he doesn’t love Himself in our stead. Neither does He grieve Himself by not obeying for us all of the time—that’s our job. To deny that is to deny the new birth and the gospel of the kingdom.

When we died with Christ, the old us that was born with a perishable seed also died. We were then born anew with the same Spirit that raised Christ from the grave. This set us free to SERVE…not rest.

Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Now, please note: “the old way of the written code.” What is that? That was servitude to the Old Covenant which was a will with the inheritance being eternal life. All sins committed against the law were imputed to that covenant.

Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Hebrews 9:15 – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

The Old Covenant still has a function today. All those who do not know Christ are still provoked to sin against it, enslaved to its condemnation, and all of their sins are imprisoned in it. When they believe in Christ, that law, signified by the marriage covenant of the dead spouse in Romans 7, is ended along with all sins imputed to it and its condemnation. There is then no law to judge us, and where there is no law there is no sin. The Bible never says that the Old Covenant is presently ended for all purposes (Hebrews 8:13).

But now, the newly born spouse is free to “serve” Christ. The Spirit uses His law (word) to counsel us, encourage us, and instruct us in regard to life and godliness. To “serve” (in the new way of the Spirit) is the following word:

g1398. δουλεύω douleuō; from 1401; to be a slave to (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary):— be in bondage, (do) serve (- ice). AV (25)- serve 18, be in bondage 4, do service 3; to be a slave, serve, do service of a nation in subjection to other nations metaph. to obey, submit to in a good sense, to yield obedience in a bad sense, of those who become slaves to some base power, to yield to, give one’s self up to.

It is an exchange of seeds from death to life, and an exchange of slavery from sin to righteousness:

Romans 6:5 – 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[b] 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,[c] 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.

This brings us full circle back to Romans 8:2. We are set free from the law of sin and death “in Christ,” that is, His death on the cross to obey “the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” That would be the law of the Spirit.

To deny that the Christian is able to please God through their own obedience aided by the Holy Spirit is to deny the new birth. Christ said we must be born again. Protestantism speaks of being saved from the condemnation of the law to a rest from obedience to the law of the Spirit of life. This is a rejection of the new birth and leaves the Christian enslaved to sin. This denies the good news of the incorruptible seed that Christians are born of. Protestantism makes the case that “the law” cannot produce righteousness, but this totally neglects the true biblical relationship between the believer and the law of the Spirit. A one-dimensional law necessarily rejects the new birth and circumvents the Christians ability to love God and others.

Romans 8:3 – For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Tchividjian Booted from The Gospel Coalition for Being Too Concise

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 8, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted May 21, 2014

“Tullian Tchividjian is John Calvin. Period.”   

Be sure of this: Tullian Tchividjian thoroughly understands Reformed doctrine and its gospel. Tchividjian doesn’t believe one whit different from anybody who writes or speaks for The Gospel Coalition, and they ALL know it.

The problem with TT is that he does not follow the philosopher king script of nuance for the sake of the totally depraved herd that is “not ready” for the true Reformed gospel of justification by faith…plus the dirty little secret of faith alone for both justification and sanctification. It’s like total depravity this, and total depravity that, and “oh, we forgot to mention that includes the saints as well.”

TT is not nuanced enough. In this interview here, it is absolutely clear that this is the reason he was sent packing. Because of him, The Gospel Coalition, T4G, and others have to recruit sanctification gurus Jerry Wragg, Kevin DeYoung, and Mike Fabarez to cleanup his mess and calm the mindless totally depraved zombie sheep. They are tired of cleaning up the messiness of questions raised as a result of TT’s accurate articulation of the Reformed gospel.

There is only one thing better than a rank antinomian, an honest one. Charles Spurgeon once said that Calvinism isn’t a nickname, Calvinism is the gospel. Let me take that a step further for our purposes: Tullian Tchividjian is John Calvin. Period. I will debate anyone out there who has a problem with TT’s Calvinism  and will show clearly from the Institutes that TT is spot on. Get over it. Please debate me on this, you will lose.

In my disdain for the Neo-Calvinist movement, a weird respect is floating to the top for the few who know what Calvin really believed and are honest about it. In fact, who else is there other than TT and Joseph Prince? (see here for explanation). How bad is it when I have to admit that I respect these guys because A, they know what they are talking about, and B, they are honest about it? Prince’s life application is beside the point, he understands the Reformed version of justification by faith, and the rest of the story mostly untold.

The two other camps annoy me to no end: those who think  there is a difference between New Calvinism and Old Calvinism, and for that matter, Sonship theology as well, and those who know grade-A-well that there is no difference and are lying about it. I have also lost all patience with those who think they can help the spiritually abused while retaining some supposedly respectable remnant of Reformed theology. Name one aspect that passes a grammatical interpretation of Scripture: it’s not there.

So there it is. TT is very important to this ministry because people have to know what they believe before you can convince them. We think followers of TT know what they believe. The rest? It’s really just a massively confused personality cult with a plethora of discernment bloggers adding to the confusion by dissecting all of the symptoms.

Get with the program: it’s either Tullian or something else.


False Reformation Blogtalk Radio Upcoming Broadcasts

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 5, 2015