Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Secular World Understands Reality Better Than Protestants

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on October 12, 2017

Origandy-profile-1inally published October 12, 2016

In the eight-plus years that TANC Ministries has been researching the vile doctrine of Calvinism and the evil that is authentic Protestant orthodoxy, one fact emerges over and over again – Protestants are the most confused group of individuals that there ever was. I was reminded of that fact once again when an article appeared in my Facebook newsfeed this morning entitled, “Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics”. The article was published in the “Religion” section of a secular news site called “The Federalist”

Here’s the deal. Protestantism is founded in the Gnostic concept that man is totally unable to comprehend true knowledge, and as a result, man must be ruled by the select few who have the “gnosis”, the “knowledge” that man “knows nothing”. This root assumption has been the basis for every form of tyranny and spiritual abuse since the beginning of time. Protestantism is no exception, no matter how you dress it up in Bible verses.

So when I read an article that concludes that the majority of those who call themselves “Christians” have relatively little actual Bible knowledge, it comes as no surprise to me, not only because of what I know with regard to authentic Protestantism and its metaphysical assumptions, but I can recall hearing similar results of “studies” throughout my life. Funny how a system of orthodoxy that depends on a Biblically illiterate laity to maintain its control and authority publishes the results of a survey that bemoans that very thing – Biblical illiteracy.

This article is only the most recent to come to this conclusion in the past 40 years, if not the past 500 or more. Since the time of the reformation and before, “Christians” have always been woefully illiterate in their understanding of exactly what God has revealed to man in His philosophical statement on reality, also known as “The Bible”. But in today’s information age they have no excuse. Knowledge and wisdom are there for those who have the courage to seek it out!

Let’s look at some of the more interesting statements found in this article in question, beginning with one of the opening paragraphs:

“A survey of 3,000 people conducted by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries found that although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself.”

According to their own website, “LifeWay Christian Resources is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources, including services, Bibles, Bible studies, research, events, church music and supplies, and digital services.”  The number of books written by the “who’s who” of mostly reformed academia is voluminous, and it grows bigger every month. Just talk to any one of your “Christian” friends and they will be sure to talk about the latest book or “devotional” written by their favorite author/elder/pastor/spiritual guru (read “Philosopher Kings”). And reformed “Christian” blogs such as “Ligonier” abound. Yet despite all of these resources and the countless amounts of money spent in the “Christian” publications industry, this article concludes, “startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions.” Surely this can’t be because people aren’t reading enough John Piper!

Exactly what are these “ancient errors” supposedly condemned by “Christian traditions?” Again from the article:

“Two-thirds admitted that everyone sins a little bit, but still insisted that most people are good by nature, which directly contradicts scripture (See ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,’ and ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’).”

What is probably worse than the false doctrine of “total depravity” is the outright lie that “total depravity” is unique to “orthodox Christianity”.   In fact the exact opposite is true. I need only refer you to the 2015 TANC Conference and speaker, John Immel, who gave us an outstanding survey of deterministic thought throughout history. In those 2015 sessions we learned that in every philosophical system of thought, the one major theme that was consistent over and over again was the concept of the depravity of man and some deterministic force compelling his actions. (View clip here) So to suggest that the idea of “total depravity” is a concept unique to Christianity is beyond disingenuous.

But what I find remarkable is that despite the “Christian tradition” emphasis on total depravity, man (secular, unregenerate man for the most part, but some professing “Christians” as well) still has a propensity to regard man himself as existentially good. I believe that this is the natural and correct assessment of man because it is consistent not only with what man knows to be true in and of himself but also because of what his own senses tell him in simply observing reality around him. Despite the evil that is in the world, it is man who chooses whether or not he can do good things or bad things. This is not a contradiction of scripture, this is a contradiction of a false “orthodox” interpretation of scripture.

Man is not condemned because he is “totally depraved” and cannot “do good”. Man is condemned because he is under law. The remedy is not to have One who “does good for us” so that His obedience can be vicariously imputed to our account. No, the remedy is for the law to be ended so that it can no longer condemn. This is what the New Birth accomplishes. For the one who is born again, the old man has died. In his place is a new creature who is the literal offspring of the Father, and the law has no jurisdiction over him. He cannot be judged by it, and therefore, he cannot be condemned by it. He is truly free to use the law as a means to show love to God and to others. He can love without fear of condemnation.

Furthermore, the Bible never teaches that man has a “sin nature”. The statement in Ephesians, “for all have sinned” is indeed a statement of fact. Yes, all have sinned, but that is not indicative of man’s nature.  Man is not metaphysically evil.  It simply means that the unregenerate man is under law and has transgressed that law and is therefore subject to condemnation. In contrast, the Bible teaches that man (flesh) is “weak”, but that man is able to choose how to use his flesh; to do evil or to do good. Because the unregenerate man is a slave to the Sin-master, he will have a propensity to obey the master who pays his wages. But he still is able to choose to do good. Since the Sin-master only pays wages of death, choosing to do good only results in less death, but death just the same.

This is why “Christians” are so confused. They understand that man, even “Christians”, do wrong things. Orthodoxy labels this as “sin” because all of “Christianity” has a single-perspective on sin, that is, ALL sin is condemning. This is the source of what they perceive as a contradiction. They intuitively know man is good but are taught that even the good they do is evil. And so when they “sin”, the natural response because of what they have been taught is fear of condemnation.

Here is another point from the article:

“They also saw a huge increase in evangelicals (28 percent, up from 9 percent) who indicated that the Third Person of the Trinity is not equal with God the Father or Jesus, a direct contradiction of orthodox Christianity.”

Protestantism teaches the believer to have an ever-deeper understanding of his own depravity (sin) while having an ever-growing awareness of God’s holiness. As he does this, the cross (and what Jesus does for us) gets bigger and bigger. The emphasis is always on, not just what Jesus did, but what He is still doing for the “Christian” every day, living and obeying the law in our stead so that we can have “the imputed righteousness of Christ”.

crosschart

Such orthodoxy not only keeps the “Christian” under law, but it emphasizes the role of Christ at the expense of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father is regarded as a vengeful monster who is to be feared, and Christ is the only one who stands in the way to deflect the Fathers wrath. The Holy Spirit is simply the agent whom God sends to the “elect” for the purpose of regenerating them to a “saving faith”. He is rarely if ever presented as the Comforter who empowers the born again believer to live a sanctified life through obedience. With the Protestant emphasis on the “Cross-Centered” gospel, or the “Christ-Centered” gospel, is there why wonder why Christians hold a diminished view of the roles of the other members of the Trinity?

The writer of the article goes on to address the issue that “Christians” don’t seem to be very well-read when it comes to the Bible, yet they would cite the Bible as being an important part of their lives, going so far as to refer to it as the primary source of authority for living. He cites the following as an example:

“Former Newsday religion reporter Kenneth Briggs recently told Religion News Service that the faith he finds in ‘mega-type churches’ is a ‘Bible-less,’ ‘alternative version of Christianity.’ Scripture, he says, has become ‘a museum exhibit, hallowed as a treasure but enigmatic and untouched.’”

Such is true not only of “mega-churches” with thousands of members, but it also holds true for the smaller community churches with membership rolls in the hundreds or less. This is not a statement on the church size or the “style of worship”. It is a testament to the fact that the Bible itself has become irrelevant when it comes to faith and Godliness. While “mega-churches” might be more inclined to a “pop-psychology” approach to teaching and preaching, in 99% of modern churches, the very truths of scripture have been replaced with orthodoxy presented by mere men who have become the self-appointed mediators between God and man. These are the “divines” who have been ordained by God to reinterpret reality for the great, unwashed masses. When the laity have become followers of men, they have no need to open their Bibles, let alone consider what the Bible itself has to say about things.

Ironic, too, that an organization such as LifeWay, who’s industry includes the publication of “Christian” literature, is incredulous that Christians spend so little time reading their Bibles. I dare say that if more and more “Christians” actually spent more time in the study of God’s word for themselves, rather than relying on someone to interpret it for them, it would be the “Christian” book stores that would eventually become irrelevant.

Christians are uninformed about Christianity for the same reason that people in secular society are uninformed about politics. In both cases the answer is because people have outsourced their brains to someone else. They are much too involved in the comforts of their own existence to care about the larger matters. They leave that for the “experts”. It is much easier to let someone else tell you how you should think about something than to do all that heavy lifting on your own. And the so-called “experts”, whether secular (politicians, pundits, “talking heads”, media) or religious (pastors, elders, academics, scholars, “popes”), take advantage of that reality for their own ends; control over the uninformed masses.

The author proposes a few possible solutions in all of this. While the survey specifically polled those who profess to be Christians, he believes that the study of the Bible is beneficial for unbelievers as well.

“For those who don’t profess Christianity, gaining a basic understanding of the creeds and Scriptures of the religion that built our civilization isn’t a bad idea, either. As Indian Christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi writes, the Bible created the modern world by making the West a reading and thinking civilization, and by grounding this reading and thinking in the idea that truth is knowable.”

Well, that’s not a completely honest assessment. The notion that “truth is knowable” runs counter to Protestantism and its Gnostic roots, where the only “truth” that is knowable is that you cannot “know” anything. Truth is to be for those in self-appointed authority who have been gifted to bring this “knowledge of knowing nothing” to the rest of us. Yet Protestantism lays claim to this kind of “knowledge” as being the foundational philosophy of western civilization. The reality is that it was this same kind of thinking that kept man in the Dark Ages, and it is what is responsible for our own spiritual dark age in which we presently find ourselves.

The rebirth of thought that ushered in the Age of Enlightenment of the 16th and 17th centuries happened in spite of religion, not because of it. The Bible did not create a world of reading and thinking. It was reading and thinking that enabled man to regard Biblical truth with the right interpretive assumptions. Men rejected the notion of “total depravity” and rediscovered the principles of individualism and man’s ability. These are the very premises that gave rise to “Americanism” and which made our nation the greatest the world has ever seen. Contrary to Protestant orthodoxy, the Bible speaks very highly of man’s ability. Even God Himself values the individual and his ability to reason (after all, we are all made in God’s image), so much so that He made it possible for the condemnation of the law to be ended so that man could be reconciled to Himself as members of His own family!

If Protestants are Biblically illiterate, it is because Protestantism made them that way. I dare say that the majority of “Christians” are more “secular” in their philosophy (without even knowing it) than they care to admit. The results of the survey in this article would seem to support that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it offers a valid explanation for the current mass exodus from the modern institutional church. People can just no longer tolerate the rational inconsistencies they observe between reality and Protestant orthodoxy. And perhaps as a matter of consequence, many of them might actually end up taking that Bible off the shelf, blow the dust off the cover, and start reading it for themselves.

Andy

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The Secular World Understands Reality Better Than Protestants

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on October 12, 2016

andy-profile-1In the eight-plus years that TANC Ministries has been researching the vile doctrine of Calvinism and the evil that is authentic Protestant orthodoxy, one fact emerges over and over again – Protestants are the most confused group of individuals that there ever was. I was reminded of that fact once again when an article appeared in my Facebook newsfeed this morning entitled, “Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics”. The article was published in the “Religion” section of a secular news site called “The Federalist”

Here’s the deal. Protestantism is founded in the Gnostic concept that man is totally unable to comprehend true knowledge, and as a result, man must be ruled by the select few who have the “gnosis”, the “knowledge” that man “knows nothing”. This root assumption has been the basis for every form of tyranny and spiritual abuse since the beginning of time. Protestantism is no exception, no matter how you dress it up in Bible verses.

So when I read an article that concludes that the majority of those who call themselves “Christians” have relatively little actual Bible knowledge, it comes as no surprise to me, not only because of what I know with regard to authentic Protestantism and its metaphysical assumptions, but I can recall hearing similar results of “studies” throughout my life. Funny how a system of orthodoxy that depends on a Biblically illiterate laity to maintain its control and authority publishes the results of a survey that bemoans that very thing – Biblical illiteracy.

This article is only the most recent to come to this conclusion in the past 40 years, if not the past 500 or more. Since the time of the reformation and before, “Christians” have always been woefully illiterate in their understanding of exactly what God has revealed to man in His philosophical statement on reality, also known as “The Bible”. But in today’s information age they have no excuse. Knowledge and wisdom are there for those who have the courage to seek it out!

Let’s look at some of the more interesting statements found in this article in question, beginning with one of the opening paragraphs:

“A survey of 3,000 people conducted by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries found that although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself.”

According to their own website, “LifeWay Christian Resources is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources, including services, Bibles, Bible studies, research, events, church music and supplies, and digital services.”  The number of books written by the “who’s who” of mostly reformed academia is voluminous, and it grows bigger every month. Just talk to any one of your “Christian” friends and they will be sure to talk about the latest book or “devotional” written by their favorite author/elder/pastor/spiritual guru (read “Philosopher Kings”). And reformed “Christian” blogs such as “Ligonier” abound. Yet despite all of these resources and the countless amounts of money spent in the “Christian” publications industry, this article concludes, “startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions.” Surely this can’t be because people aren’t reading enough John Piper!

Exactly what are these “ancient errors” supposedly condemned by “Christian traditions?” Again from the article:

“Two-thirds admitted that everyone sins a little bit, but still insisted that most people are good by nature, which directly contradicts scripture (See ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,’ and ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’).”

What is probably worse than the false doctrine of “total depravity” is the outright lie that “total depravity” is unique to “orthodox Christianity”.   In fact the exact opposite is true. I need only refer you to the 2015 TANC Conference and speaker, John Immel, who gave us an outstanding survey of deterministic thought throughout history. In those 2015 sessions we learned that in every philosophical system of thought, the one major theme that was consistent over and over again was the concept of the depravity of man and some deterministic force compelling his actions. (View clip here) So to suggest that the idea of “total depravity” is a concept unique to Christianity is beyond disingenuous.

But what I find remarkable is that despite the “Christian tradition” emphasis on total depravity, man (secular, unregenerate man for the most part, but some professing “Christians” as well) still has a propensity to regard man himself as existentially good. I believe that this is the natural and correct assessment of man because it is consistent not only with what man knows to be true in and of himself but also because of what his own senses tell him in simply observing reality around him. Despite the evil that is in the world, it is man who chooses whether or not he can do good things or bad things. This is not a contradiction of scripture, this is a contradiction of a false “orthodox” interpretation of scripture.

Man is not condemned because he is “totally depraved” and cannot “do good”. Man is condemned because he is under law. The remedy is not to have One who “does good for us” so that His obedience can be vicariously imputed to our account. No, the remedy is for the law to be ended so that it can no longer condemn. This is what the New Birth accomplishes. For the one who is born again, the old man has died. In his place is a new creature who is the literal offspring of the Father, and the law has no jurisdiction over him. He cannot be judged by it, and therefore, he cannot be condemned by it. He is truly free to use the law as a means to show love to God and to others. He can love without fear of condemnation.

Furthermore, the Bible never teaches that man has a “sin nature”. The statement in Ephesians, “for all have sinned” is indeed a statement of fact. Yes, all have sinned, but that is not indicative of man’s nature.  Man is not metaphysically evil.  It simply means that the unregenerate man is under law and has transgressed that law and is therefore subject to condemnation. In contrast, the Bible teaches that man (flesh) is “weak”, but that man is able to choose how to use his flesh; to do evil or to do good. Because the unregenerate man is a slave to the Sin-master, he will have a propensity to obey the master who pays his wages. But he still is able to choose to do good. Since the Sin-master only pays wages of death, choosing to do good only results in less death, but death just the same.

This is why “Christians” are so confused. They understand that man, even “Christians”, do wrong things. Orthodoxy labels this as “sin” because all of “Christianity” has a single-perspective on sin, that is, ALL sin is condemning. This is the source of what they perceive as a contradiction. They intuitively know man is good but are taught that even the good they do is evil. And so when they “sin”, the natural response because of what they have been taught is fear of condemnation.

Here is another point from the article:

“They also saw a huge increase in evangelicals (28 percent, up from 9 percent) who indicated that the Third Person of the Trinity is not equal with God the Father or Jesus, a direct contradiction of orthodox Christianity.”

Protestantism teaches the believer to have an ever-deeper understanding of his own depravity (sin) while having an ever-growing awareness of God’s holiness. As he does this, the cross (and what Jesus does for us) gets bigger and bigger. The emphasis is always on, not just what Jesus did, but what He is still doing for the “Christian” every day, living and obeying the law in our stead so that we can have “the imputed righteousness of Christ”.

crosschart

Such orthodoxy not only keeps the “Christian” under law, but it emphasizes the role of Christ at the expense of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father is regarded as a vengeful monster who is to be feared, and Christ is the only one who stands in the way to deflect the Fathers wrath. The Holy Spirit is simply the agent whom God sends to the “elect” for the purpose of regenerating them to a “saving faith”. He is rarely if ever presented as the Comforter who empowers the born again believer to live a sanctified life through obedience. With the Protestant emphasis on the “Cross-Centered” gospel, or the “Christ-Centered” gospel, is there why wonder why Christians hold a diminished view of the roles of the other members of the Trinity?

The writer of the article goes on to address the issue that “Christians” don’t seem to be very well-read when it comes to the Bible, yet they would cite the Bible as being an important part of their lives, going so far as to refer to it as the primary source of authority for living. He cites the following as an example:

“Former Newsday religion reporter Kenneth Briggs recently told Religion News Service that the faith he finds in ‘mega-type churches’ is a ‘Bible-less,’ ‘alternative version of Christianity.’ Scripture, he says, has become ‘a museum exhibit, hallowed as a treasure but enigmatic and untouched.’”

Such is true not only of “mega-churches” with thousands of members, but it also holds true for the smaller community churches with membership rolls in the hundreds or less. This is not a statement on the church size or the “style of worship”. It is a testament to the fact that the Bible itself has become irrelevant when it comes to faith and Godliness. While “mega-churches” might be more inclined to a “pop-psychology” approach to teaching and preaching, in 99% of modern churches, the very truths of scripture have been replaced with orthodoxy presented by mere men who have become the self-appointed mediators between God and man. These are the “divines” who have been ordained by God to reinterpret reality for the great, unwashed masses. When the laity have become followers of men, they have no need to open their Bibles, let alone consider what the Bible itself has to say about things.

Ironic, too, that an organization such as LifeWay, who’s industry includes the publication of “Christian” literature, is incredulous that Christians spend so little time reading their Bibles. I dare say that if more and more “Christians” actually spent more time in the study of God’s word for themselves, rather than relying on someone to interpret it for them, it would be the “Christian” book stores that would eventually become irrelevant.

Christians are uninformed about Christianity for the same reason that people in secular society are uninformed about politics. In both cases the answer is because people have outsourced their brains to someone else. They are much too involved in the comforts of their own existence to care about the larger matters. They leave that for the “experts”. It is much easier to let someone else tell you how you should think about something than to do all that heavy lifting on your own. And the so-called “experts”, whether secular (politicians, pundits, “talking heads”, media) or religious (pastors, elders, academics, scholars, “popes”), take advantage of that reality for their own ends; control over the uninformed masses.

The author proposes a few possible solutions in all of this. While the survey specifically polled those who profess to be Christians, he believes that the study of the Bible is beneficial for unbelievers as well.

“For those who don’t profess Christianity, gaining a basic understanding of the creeds and Scriptures of the religion that built our civilization isn’t a bad idea, either. As Indian Christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi writes, the Bible created the modern world by making the West a reading and thinking civilization, and by grounding this reading and thinking in the idea that truth is knowable.”

Well, that’s not a completely honest assessment. The notion that “truth is knowable” runs counter to Protestantism and its Gnostic roots, where the only “truth” that is knowable is that you cannot “know” anything. Truth is to be for those in self-appointed authority who have been gifted to bring this “knowledge of knowing nothing” to the rest of us. Yet Protestantism lays claim to this kind of “knowledge” as being the foundational philosophy of western civilization. The reality is that it was this same kind of thinking that kept man in the Dark Ages, and it is what is responsible for our own spiritual dark age in which we presently find ourselves.

The rebirth of thought that ushered in the Age of Enlightenment of the 16th and 17th centuries happened in spite of religion, not because of it. The Bible did not create a world of reading and thinking. It was reading and thinking that enabled man to regard Biblical truth with the right interpretive assumptions. Men rejected the notion of “total depravity” and rediscovered the principles of individualism and man’s ability. These are the very premises that gave rise to “Americanism” and which made our nation the greatest the world has ever seen. Contrary to Protestant orthodoxy, the Bible speaks very highly of man’s ability. Even God Himself values the individual and his ability to reason (after all, we are all made in God’s image), so much so that He made it possible for the condemnation of the law to be ended so that man could be reconciled to Himself as members of His own family!

If Protestants are Biblically illiterate, it is because Protestantism made them that way. I dare say that the majority of “Christians” are more “secular” in their philosophy (without even knowing it) than they care to admit. The results of the survey in this article would seem to support that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it offers a valid explanation for the current mass exodus from the modern institutional church. People can just no longer tolerate the rational inconsistencies they observe between reality and Protestant orthodoxy. And perhaps as a matter of consequence, many of them might actually end up taking that Bible off the shelf, blow the dust off the cover, and start reading it for themselves.

Andy

A Call to Arms: The Neo Protestant Resurgence Will Lead Many Children to Hell with LifeWay’s “Gospel Project” Program; Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 18, 2016

LifeWay’s “Gospel Project” Will Keep Children From Entering the Kingdom

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 14, 2013

ppt-jpeg4Proponents of New Calvinism’s false gospel of progressive justification are targeting children through LifeWay Publisher’s Gospel Project. The church now stands silent as this massive program will prevent untold thousands of children from entering the kingdom. And I have news for American pastors: your ignorance on this issue will not excuse you before Christ in regard to the eternal wellbeing of Children, especially if you are soliciting them to attend your VBS.  Spiffy teacher’s manuals with the word “gospel” on them doesn’t equal truth-driven gospel.

Much could be said biblically about God’s preference for children, but it’s interesting to note that God made a specific covenant between Himself and children, and New Calvinism seeks to interfere with that covenant. The apostle Paul explains the covenant as follows:

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

The fifth commandment is the command with a promise, and the four after it are uncharacteristic of the first five in regard to being short statements. This means they probably relate back to the fifth commandment: children dishonor their parents by stealing, etc. New Calvinism circumvents this covenant (which is obviously still in force or Paul would not have referred to it), and thereby circumvents the promises to children associated with it, circumvents their ability to honor their parents, and circumvents their ability to love God.

How so? New Calvinism’s gospel-centered theology is progressive justification and sanctification by faith alone. The “big picture” method of “Bible learning” is the vehicle for enabling Christians to live by faith alone in their Christian lives. This is nothing new and is the mentality that James pushed back against in his epistle. The Bible becomes a tool for gospel contemplationism, and whatever we see in the “gospel story” is imputed to our lives. This imputation is always accompanied by gratitude (fueled by the “crosswork” that we see in the Bible), joy, and a willing spirit. All obedience out of duty is “obedience in our own efforts” which would include anything that we don’t feel like doing. Ya, teach that to kids. Brilliant.

Kids will be instructed to see all of the commands in the Bible as works that Christ accomplished for us while He lived on earth. That’s what the term, Christ for us means. We are still totally depraved  and unable to keep the law in sanctification, so Christ lived for our sanctification and died for our justification. As we see all of the commands in the Bible that Christ kept for us, that obedience is imputed to our (justification) account by faith alone.

Note: we supposedly have a salvation account that needs continuing forgiveness and righteousness deposits to keep us saved. The Bible is then a tool that enables us to “see” what Christ has done, not anything we do. This is a supposed increase of faith that only perceives without any direct acts of love which would be deemed a “rightousness of our own.”

Instead of Christ obtaining our salvation by “one act” of obedience, we must contemplate his many “saving acts” (John Piper) in all of the Bible so that those acts will be continually deposited in our salvation account. Salvation is not a finished act according to this false gospel.

Worse yet, it makes the standard for justification a perfect keeping of the law; therefore, part of Christ’s salvific works was perfect obedience during His life on earth so that His works can be imputed to our sanctification by faith alone—the same way we were saved. This effectively keeps us “under the law” which is a designation for the lost throughout the New Testament. For all practical purposes, we are still under the law and that’s why Jesus must obey for us. Since sanctification finishes our justification (really progressive justification), if we don’t live the Christian life by faith alone—we are toast. Supposedly. Children will be taught that “making every effort” (2Peter 1:5-11) to obey mommy and daddy is works salvation.

Hence, there is really no choice to obey “in our own efforts” and therefore no way to love God and please Him. Supposedly, If we really love Jesus, it shouldn’t take effort. As Francis Chan states: “If it feels like work—it’s work. If it feels like love—it’s love.” There are just no words for the vileness that is behind the efforts to teach this to our children.

Moreover, it’s plainly a false gospel that denies the new birth. In the new birth, the “Helper” enables us to appropriate the fact that our minds are now enslaved to the law rather than sin (Romans 7:25). The ability to obey the law and please God is the very definition of a born again believer (Romans 8:7).

Of course, these doctrinal ideas will be assimilated into their minds by methods that teach on their level of understanding. The production is also top notch and designed to mesmerize children.

But this will be the result: the ability for our children to use the Bible to love God and others with all of their heart, soul, and minds will be circumvented. And our view of sanctification reveals what our view of justification is. We are either free from the law to serve another with our actual obedience, or enslaved to the law which necessitates a substitution for our loving acts using the Bible for the mere purpose of gospel contemplationism.

paul

“Lifeway” Publishers Now Serving Antinomian Koolaid to Our Youth: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 24, 2011

Just yesterday, a youth leader from the Southern Baptist church Susan and I attend brought me a copy of a recent edition of “EC,” a magazine published for teens by Lifeway Publishers. By way of description, their website says the following:

“LifeWay Christian Resources was originally created as the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1891. As a denominational publisher, LifeWay provides resources for use in Southern Baptist churches and for the general public. LifeWay publications include curriculum study materials, ministry periodicals, personal growth materials, leisure-reading periodicals, multimedia and Internet resources, and books.”

The leader also brought me a copy of “Life Focus,” the student learning guide for teens. He also suggested that while both were saturated with contemplative spirituality, the student guide was much more nuanced than the magazine because the student guide would involve participation by adult leaders. It wouldn’t surprise me. For purposes of introducing this problem to our church, I will be writing a series on the one edition presented to me which has almost all the tenets of New Calvinism, Gospel  Sanctification, New Covenant Theology, Sonship Theology, etc.

I will get the ball rolling in this first part by addressing a concept from page 49 of the July 2011 edition of EC. Don’t get discouraged if this first part is hard to understand—I will have more time to better articulate in the following parts. It states the following to our youth:

“You know you love Christ, and you know how He is calling you to live—and you obey from the heart. That means that the reason you’re obedient to God isn’t because you think you have to, that being “good” will earn you His favor, or that the way to live the Christian life is to follow a bunch of rules. It means that you obey Christ’s commands out of love, recognizing who He is and what He has done for you. When you understand the cost Christ paid to set you free from sin and the depth of His love for you, you simply can’t pursue a life characterized by sin.”

Where to even start? This statement, though nuanced, and as the youth leader also suggested; speaks of the sanctification process in a justifying way, is fraught with error and a twisting of phraseology. Notice that the sanctification concept of “making it our goal to please Him” (2Cor. 5:9) is twisted into the concept of earning God’s favor for salvation by trying to be “good” (the implication is perfection, which we know will not happen until glorification). Of course, the error plays on the fact that most Christians, especially youth, do not know the difference between justification, sanctification, and glorification. Hence, trying to please God in sanctification is synonymous with trying to earn His favor for justification.

Then the most disturbing statement: “….or [notice “or”:other than; what?] that the way to live the Christian life is to follow a bunch of rules.” Notice how Christ’s mandate to put all that He has said into “practice” (Matt.7:26,27) is reworded as “a bunch of rules.” Clearly, the statement doesn’t qualify what “rules” are being talked about (the Psalms calls God’s word “rules” in many places), and the qualification thereof in the following sentences insinuates that obedience “from the heart” comes from one thing and one thing only: a deeper and deeper appreciation of what Christ did for us on the cross.

And that is what I am going to focus on here in the first part. This is the same contemplative spiritually presently overrunning the American church like a giant Tsunami. It holds that obedience flows naturally from a gushy, romantic like love that is produced from our gratitude for what Christ did for us on the cross, and is propagated by highly acclaimed teachers such as Francis Chan, John Piper, and Michael Horton. Supposedly, disobedience is always the result of lack in a “deeper and deeper” understanding of the gospel, who Christ is as a “real person” (whatever that means), and the depth of His love for us, as seen in the EC quotation:

“It means that you obey Christ’s commands out of love, (= the following) recognizing who He is and what He has done for you. When you understand the cost Christ paid to set you free from sin and the depth of His love for you, you simply can’t pursue a life characterized by sin.”

Of course, this assumes that Christ wanted Peter, who witnessed what Christ did firsthand, to qualify his love for Him this way: Do you love me? Then always contemplate what I did this week. Do you love me? Then study my personhood. Do you love me? Then figure out how much I love you. And by the way, teach my sheep to do the same thing.

Francis Chan, in his highly acclaimed book “Crazy Love,” compares this love to what it feels like when we fall in love with a girlfriend: “Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything” (back cover forward: “Crazy Love”). Throughout the book, like his good friend John Piper, the legitimacy of love toward God is determined by feelings only. Francis Chan writes in the same aforementioned book on page 110: “When we work for Christ out of obligation, it feels like work. But when we truly love Christ, our work is a manifestation of that love, and it feels like love” So much for the Evangelical battle cry of past years: “Love is a verb.” Completely absent in Chan’s book is the concept of love that beseeches God Almighty for a passing of the cup of suffering if it be His will while sweating great drops of blood. On page 100, he says Christ was his grandmother’s “lover.” On page 101, Chan eludes to the New Covenant Theology concept of God’s law being replaced with a single law of love that is always accompanied by giddy, romantic feelings: “When we love, we’re free! We don’t have to worry about a burdensome load of commands, because when we are loving, we can’t sin. Do you feel free in your Christian life?” Notice: Chan’s standard for loving obedience in the Christian life is clearly; “Do you feel free in your Christian life?”

Michael Horton puts this in systematic theological terms with the following formula: Gratitude > Doxology > Obedience. I will now conclude this first post of the series with an excerpt from another article written to answer a reader’s question concerning this theological formula:

So, help me understand. I pulled the following quote from an article published in Modern Reformation, posted here, http://www.ouruf.org/d/cvt_sanctification.pdf. Why are you so against this way of thinking about the Christian life. If I am not motivated to obey the commands of scripture by the fact that I am already justified, then what would you suggest should be my motivation?

“I began to see that we stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son. Therefore, I don’t have to perform to be accepted by God. Now I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ (see Rom. 8:1). My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude.”

And my answer:

Great question. One: Modern Reformation (MR) presents “gratitude” as the primary motivation for obedience to the exclusion of almost everything else. Second point under One: supposedly, our gratitude is increased by pondering / contemplating / meditating on the “gospel” or works of Christ which results in obedience that is qualified as acceptable before God because it is accompanied by joy, and a willing spirit. This is exactly what John Piper believes also; the moral character of obedience is ALWAYS determined by joy. Both of these points are indicative of Quietist, contemplative spirituality that Matt mentioned in the comment section of the other post.

Two: “I began to see that we stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son.” This is true, but MR believes that any attempt on our part to apply that righteousness horizontally is to take away from Christ’ righteousness that has been granted to us. This error is very subtle and is clothed in truth. We are not only righteous positionally, but we are also enabled to be righteous practically. It is up to us to “put on” the righteousness we have been given and to “put off” the remnant of sin left in our mortal bodies (Eph 4:20-24). This process will be EXPERIENCED IN A MYRIAD OF WAYS and will use a wide range of spiritual weapons granted to us, NOT JUST an endeavoring to be thankful for what Christ has done for us. In fact, making use of our complete arsenal is what will lead to deeper gratitude, not the limitation thereof. Paul said to put on the “full armor of God.”

But now let me hasten to reference what I said above (“MR believes that any attempt on our part to apply that righteousness horizontally is to take away from Christ’ righteousness that has been granted to us.”): On page 62 of “Christless Christianity” M. Horton says that spiritual growth only takes place when we, like unbelievers as well, “encounter the gospel afresh.” In other words, contemplation on the gospel is the only thing that produces spiritual growth. Furthermore, this eliminates the purpose of instruction from use of the Scriptures because the Spirit only works “through the gospel.” This is known as the “Christocentric” or Gospel-centric hermeneutic. Also, on pages 189-191 of the same book, Horton propagates the idea that corporate worship is strictly a contemplative affair and that we are a valley of dead bones coming to receive life through the corporate presentation of the gospel and sacraments. Of course, this is a blatant contradiction of Hebrews 10:23-25. In addition, on pages 117-119, Horton says that any attempt on our part to be a testimony with our good works (as Christians) is an attempt to “be the gospel” rather than presenting the gospel. In other words, our own efforts in evangelism is an attempt t to replace the works of Christ with our works. Of course, this is a blatant contradiction to Matthew 5:16 and 1Peter 3:1,2.

Three: “Therefore, I don’t have to perform to be accepted by God.” No, not for justification, but we need to dependently perform in sanctification in order to “PLEASE God” (2Cor 5:9). Note 2Cor 5:9 carefully–for crying out loud, it will even be our goal in heaven to please Him–except we will be unhindered by the flesh, but it will be no less us obeying Him than now, just more, and too perfection. Christ will not be obeying for us in heaven while we please Him there because we will be “like Him.” Neither does He obey for us now, though no doubt, we need to depend on His strength and knowledge to do so, but we are definitely WORKING with God (1Cor 3:9 1Thess 3:2). But Horton believes that justification and sanctification are the same thing. Therefore, any effort to be “accepted”(a salvation concept) by Him in sanctification (a misnomer) equals an effort to be justified by Him as well. This is very subtle and deceptive. However, he states plainly on page 62 in “Christless Christianity” that any effort to grow spiritually apart from contemplation on the gospel will result “in the LOSS of BOTH.” Both what? Answer: both justification and sanctification; ie, your lost!

Four: The Bible designates several other motivations for obedience other than gratitude. Let’s start with MR’s use of guilt because they / Horton know that our society has been conditioned to view guilt as an ill motivation or bad thing. “My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude.” This statement insinuates that the sum of sanctification is either / or. Not so. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to “Keep a clear conscience before God” (1Tim 1:5, 1:19, 3:9, 4:2, 2Tim 1:3). Clearly, one of the goals in sanctification is the consideration and motivation to KEEP a clear conscience. Secondly, under Four, fear of discipline is used to motivate (Acts 5:10-16 1Thess 4:6 1Tim 5:20). Thirdly, the awesome motivation to discipline self to prevent the Lord’s discipline. What a wonderful motivation / promise from our Lord! (1Cor 11:27-32). Fourthly, we are motivated by being promised blessings IN (a preposition) the DOING, (James 1:25) not IN CONTEMPLATION.

Fifthly, God motivates us to good works via REWARDS. Really, hundreds of verses could be cited to make this point, but I will mention Matthew 6:6. Also note that contemplation is not the cure for hypocritical prayer in the context of Jesus’ counsel here, but the practice of private prayer. I will stop here as the biblical points that could be cited on this are endless, but let me say that I am very concerned with contemplation replacing biblical instruction in regard to helping Christians with serious life problems, and being complete before the Lord, lacking nothing (2Timothy 3:16).

Five: MR fails to recognize the all important biblical concept of self-sacrifice. Often, our faith will drag ourselves kicking and screaming into obedience in order to please God; and the belief that blessings will be our reward, though delayed for the time-being. Joy does not always walk with obedience at every moment. In fact, faith often does not care about self at all, but rather takes pleasure in the fact that God is pleased regardless of how we feel at the time. Here, beating our bodies into subjection and self-death is the motivation / goal. Do we always seek to please God because we are mindful of his sacrifice? Or is it our love for Him that is many faceted with gratitude included?

Six: Gratitude alone does not bring us near to God; “adding” to our faith does (2Peter 1:5-11).

Bottom line: The MR quote above is fraught with deception. Contemplative spirituality is a roadway to destruction.

paul

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