Paul's Passing Thoughts

Heroes are Hard to Find in the Days of Noah

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on July 23, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted January 30, 2012

I’m past it now. Most of my spiritual heroes have fallen. I am now ready for the rest of them to fall if they do— the few that are left, which include the dead.  It’s a good test for one’s faith—do we follow men or Christ?

They cross my path now and then—those who are going through what I have gone through. Some are in the denial stage—others in the disillusionment stage that will draw them closer to Christ and give them more resolve for the truth. They will be ok; after all, every Christian is born again with a little bit of Noah in them.

Have you ever thought about what it must have been like for Noah? He was one of the few Christians left on the face of the Earth, and beyond him, only family members. Noah was a follower of God and didn’t follow the crowd, and in this case, the “crowd” was the whole world. And remember, we may assume that religion and false teachings were very much a part of that landscape as well. Peter also states that Noah was a “herald of righteousness.”

In our day when evangelism is at an all-time low and compromise at an all-time high, more Noahs are needed, especially since Christ said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Of course, in our day, many cannot draw encouragement or solace from the life of Noah because after all—whether or not those events are true is neither here nor there—what those narratives say about the gospel is the point. It’s not about Noah, it’s about Jesus.

Neo-evangelicalism’s First Major Trophy: Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse

I have been writing lately about Neo-evangelicalism. Its connection with Neo-orthodoxy and New Calvinism will be discussed in volume two of The Truth About New Calvinism. Basically. NE  rejected the idea of  separation to maintain doctrinal purity. At some point, Dr. Barnhouse succumbed to how uncomfortable things become when you stand for the truth. His capitulation triggered a tsunami of disillusionment and denial. As recorded by Christian Author MJ Stanford:

CRUSHING COMPROMISE: In November of 1954 Dr. Barnhouse completely capitulated to his denomination, and especially to his Philadelphia Presbytery. Christians throughout the world were astounded by this seemingly sudden surrender. The Philadelphia Bulletin for November 12, 1954, reported:

“A 22-year-old breach between the Presbytery of Philadelphia and Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse has been healed by the latter’s recent appearance before the Presbytery expressing the desire for closer fellowship with the alienated group. Presbytery immediately responded in an open-armed gesture of welcome…. Dr. Barnhouse said, “I have come to realize that some of my personal relationships have suffered because of these past differences, and I now recognize that this has been a mistake. For my part I want to work in much closer fellowship with you in the Presbytery.”

Can you imagine those same words coming from the mouth of Noah?:

I have come to realize that some of my personal relationships have suffered because of these past differences, and I now recognize that this has been a mistake. For my part I want to work in much closer fellowship with you in the Presbytery.

Thereafter, Barnhouse’s  compromise is credited with greasing the wheels of the Progressive Adventist movement and Neo-Pentecostalism/Oneness Theology:

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM ACCEPTED: It was in 1956 that Dr. Barnhouse’s ecumenical love-stance included cultic compromise. At that time he and Dr. Walter Martin entered into “sweet fellowship” with masters of deceit–the leaders of Seventh-Day Adventism! As a result there appeared an astounding series of articles in Eternity, beginning in September, 1956.

While not agreeing with some of their “screwy doctrines,” of as he put it, he insisted that “they are as orthodox on the great fundamentals of the Person and work of Christ as anybody in the world could be.” (I for one, then, am out of this world!) In these fateful and disquieting disquisitions Dr. Barnhouse went all out in an effort to convince Christians that Seventh-Day Adventists were safe and sound evangelicals and should be accepted into full fellowship.

This irresponsible sponsorship brought forth a storm of protest all over the world, with thousands writing in repudiation of the sheep-stealing and doctrinally deviant cult. Dr. Barnhouse was untouched. As a friend of his used to say of him, “He was dogmatic about any subject even when he was totally wrong.”

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM ACCEPTS : The wily Adventists were quick to take advantage of Dr. Barnhouse and his pandoric patronage. As early as October 2, 1956, the Adventist monthly, Signs of the Times, came forth with an editorial entitled, “Adventists Vindicated.” “Vindicated” before the vindication was even published!

Their statement contained this telling sentence: “As to the effect of Dr. Barnhouse’s courageous reappraisal of Seventh-Day Adventism, we are convinced that it will not only create a sensation in evangelical circles, but it will lead thousands to restudy the ‘message’ which Seventh-Day Adventists feel called to give to the world in these last days.”

QUESTIONABLE “QUESTIONS ON DOCTRINE”: Just a few months later, early in 1957, the SDA denomination published an official 700-page volume entitled, Seventh-Day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. The primary purpose of this tome was to convince evangelicals, hand-in-hand with Dr. Barnhouse and Dr. Walter Martin, that theirs was an evangelical body.

PREPOSTEROUS PENTECOSTAL PERCENTAGE: 1957 also witnessed Dr. Barnhouse and Dr. Martin entering into “close fellowship” with the Pentecostalists. Eternity for April, 1958, reported the visit with the leaders of the Assemblies of God at their headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, stating, “We found total disagreement of two percent of our doctrines, and absolute agreement of 95 to 98 percent.” Again, believers were strongly exhorted to enter into fellowship with this anti-security, tongues and healing group.

It was at this time that the Pentecostal plague was beginning to break loose and infect the larger denominations. The Barnhouse-Martin open door policy substantially contributed to the present-day charismatic errors that are rending the Body of Christ.

Here the promoters of oneness gave their blessing to the most divisive and dangerous element of all! An ex-Pentecostal leader stated, “The denominations that are accepting and tolerating the Neo-pentecostals also exhibit tendencies toward Neo-orthodoxy, Neo-evangelicalism, and Neo-morality.” To this day, Dr. Walter Martin frequents the Pentecostal platforms of the country.

Hero Gone Bad: John MacArthur Jr.

The present-day compromise of John MacArthur Jr. is reminiscent of Barnhouse. MacArthur has no shame in regard to who he gives credibility to. MacArthur was corrupted via his friendships and associations with the likes of John Piper and Michael Horton. Though elders are to be beyond reproach, for seven straight years including this one, he will appear on stage with serial sheep abuser and hypocrite extraordinaire, CJ Mahaney. MacArthur came completely out of the closet when he wrote the Forward to Uneclipsing the Son, written by New Calvinist Rick Holland. In the Forward, JM plainly rejects the significant role of the Father and the Holy Spirit in salvation and sanctification.

Biblical Counselors Gone Bad: The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors

Peaking in the early 90’s, this organization could not have found warehouses big enough to archive the stories of changed lives for God’s glory. Through training in this program, I myself was able to prevent a suicide with the  Lord’s help. In 1992, a NANC training center in Ohio saw twelve solid conversions to Jesus Christ in one year. Unfortunately,  NANC allowed the infiltration of other “biblical” counseling organizations via teaching and board members. Today, NANC is responsible for leading thousands down a path of destruction.  Former stalwart members such as Lou Priolo and Martha Peace now drink the kool-aid of New Calvinism and serve it to thousands daily by books and speaking engagements.

Disillusioned Followers of the Always Bad John Piper

A reason for Piper heroship is extremely wanting. He was initially educated in humanistic Philosophy before attending the epicenter of Neo-evangelicalism: Fuller Seminary. Fuller Seminary frequently hosted the likes of Karl Barth during the time that Piper was a student there. The same year that he graduated from Fuller, he went to Germany to study under Neo-orthodox theologians. Though Piper’s pedigree is suspect to say the least, his popularity is unprecedented. Many of Piper’s followers are clearly in the denial stage; chief among them, the former Christian recording artist Steve Camp. Camp has written several articles on his blog that vent his perplexity regarding Piper’s behavior—peppered with statements like, has anybody seen the real John Piper lately? Steven, Steven, Steven, face it—John Piper was never real. Camp also wrote a lengthy article concerning a bizarre concoction by Piper and CJ Mahaney known as “The Scream of the Damned.” Apparently, it taught that Christ was condemned to hell as part of the atonement. One wonders if Piper and Mahaney themselves are amazed at what they get away with.

Christians need to remember that a love for the truth is a particular part of the salvation gift ( 2Thess. 2:10). When it gets right down to it, every Christian has the stuff Noah had—even if they are the last ones on earth to stand for the truth. It’s there, you will find it if you want to. Others have followed in the way of Noah. During the time of Constantine, a notable teacher stood against the onslaught of Arianism and was forced into exile. His name was Athanasius. Someone once said to Athanasius that the whole world was against his uncompromising stand; to which he replied, “Then I am against the world.” This is where the saying Athanasius contra mundum (“Athanasius against the world”) comes from.

He was like Noah. When it gets right down to it, we all are. Compromise only delivers a truce tormented by a nagging conscience. It’s not worth it.


The New Calvinism Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015 purpose of this post is to merely state the facts—you can draw your own conclusions in regard to motives. As predicted by this ministry several years ago, divorces overseen and endorsed by Reformed churches has now become an epidemic. That’s an understatement.

From several testimonies to us over time, we have concluded that the unfolding of these divorces share an identical storyline.

It all begins with couples seeking to improve their marriage via the formal counseling of the Reformed biblical counseling movement. The consistent testimony that we constantly hear follows: in the milieu of the issues, the counselors gravitate to, and take sides with the spouse who is willing to submit to church authority. Then, the unwillingness of the other spouse to submit to church authority becomes the primary issue and fodder for potential church discipline.

Once the church discipline has been executed, the “unteachable” spouse is declared unregenerate, and the marriage is now a mixed marriage. Usually, the excommunicated spouse doesn’t worry about it all that much because after all, he/she is “pleased to live with the ‘believing’ spouse.”

But not so fast. Protocol doesn’t limit “abandonment” (“if the unbelieving spouse departs let them depart” 1Cor 7:12-15) to a physical leaving; yes, there is also an “abandonment of the heart.” No, the spouse hasn’t left physically, but the actions and words of the spouse show that they are not really “pleased to dwell with the believing spouse and are staying for ulterior motives.” Of course, as ascertained by the “expert” biblical counselor.

The “believing” spouse is now given the green light to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse. The judgement regarding the salvation of either spouse is based on a willingness to submit to church authority. And obviously, there are many words or actions that can be used as proof to deem the other spouse as unpleased to dwell with the other. The judgment is subjectivism on steroids.

As this ministry has documented, the Reformed biblical counseling movement is nonexistent in zip codes where the average income is below $50,000 per year. Because the church where the counseling takes place offers support to the believing spouse in the midst of the decision to divorce, that spouse will almost always join said church and faithfully tithe 10% of the alimony as New Calvinist churches are now routinely disciplining people for not tithing at least 10%. In some cases, the submission of financial statements is part of the membership covenant.

And sadly, the word is out on some of these churches: it’s a place you can go to get sanctified permission to dump your spouse. Somebody play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Simon and Garfunkel.

And even sadder, some of the counseling starts with a couple merely wanting tips on tuning up their marriage and getting the most out of it; a year later they are in divorce court.

This ministry is primarily recommending Marriage Works through the state of Ohio. It’s not counseling, but rather workshops on practical things that improve a marriage. We also reluctantly recommend the Institute of Nouthetic Studies (Jay Adams). Because Jay will not make a complete break with New Calvinist minions such as Lou Priolo and Martha Peace, we recommend extreme caution. Nevertheless, aspects of Jay’s counseling are a major help. Susan and I offer counseling as a third option.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Take Heart, the Scotts are Out There, We are NOT Alone

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 3, 2014

Gnostic Nation cutSometime in the night while sleeping, I received an article via email written by the Queen of Anomia, Elyse Fitzpatrick. So as I sit here this morning not without coffee and reviewing emails, I have decided to use this specimen to make some points.

Per the usual, this New Calvinist diva arrogantly pontificates while the following fact runs in the background like Lou Priolo justification: the New Calvinists have been working on running the American church for 44 years now, and have dominated American evangelicalism for ten years; so, where’s the beef?

Second point: New Calvinism is a return to authentic Protestantism which is Gnostic at its core. Of course we can’t be saints in the flesh—flesh is of the material realm. Again, I beseech Christians everywhere to read the foundation of Protestant doctrine, the Heidelberg Disputation; it is expressly Gnostic. I might also add that the New Calvinist movement is a good thing because it is forcing God’s people to come to grips with our evil Protestant roots.

Third point: Queen Elyse, like the commentator “Lori,” states something we hear often that is a smoking gun…pointing out that we aren’t perfect—we don’t keep the law perfectly.

Stop right there. This simply means that they see Christians as still under the law whereof the standard is perfection. This is a twofold error: there is NO law in justification, and justification is a finished work and is no longer to be of concern to the Christian. The unjustified are “under law,” but the justified are justified “apart from the law.” Protestantism fuses justification with the law, and keeps Christians under the law. That’s the Pauline definition of the unregenerate.

Point A under point three: antithetical to Pauline soteriology, this posits the idea that there is life in the law because Jesus keeps it for us. Who keeps it isn’t the point—the point is that there is no life in the law.

Point B under point three: contrary to Pauline theology, if perfect law-keeping can bring life, there are TWO SEEDS and not ONE; Jesus and the law both. No! Jesus came to “end the law.” The Promise did not say that there are two seeds, but only one. The Promise is not of law.

Point C under point three: if law and justification are fused together, there is still condemnation for the believer. Our sins are only covered, not ended.

Point D under point three: if perfection is still the standard for Christians, there is no new birth because the old us who died with Christ is still under the law and not free to serve under the law of the Spirit. See Romans 7:1ff. By the way, this is not to be confused with the GOAL of perfection in sanctification.

Point E under point three: yes, in regard to justification, we are, in fact, perfect because there is no law to judge us. Protestantism therefore makes sin against a law justification (a metaphysical anomaly for the Christian) the same as sin in family relationship. Hence, they are saying we sin under the old seed that died. We are not truly brothers/sisters with Christ—we are not literally born of God.

Point four: This is why Protestantism is a vile and egregious false gospel that turns holy writ completely upside down from Genesis to Revelation.

Point five: almost everyone, Prince, MacArthur, Osteen, Driscoll, Jeremiah, Lawson, Wright, Mohler, Johnson, et al, either believe or unwittingly function according to this progressive justification. They are all theological thieves sitting at the poker table bickering at one another.

Point six: making the law of sin and death the same thing as the law of the Spirit of life is the essence and formal definition of antinomianism, the paramount religion of the last days according to Christ. The king of antinomianism will be the antichrist himself. We know who the queen is.

Point seven: not everyone is wrong; we have “Scott”:

Thanks for this, Elyse. I would like to suggest that in your desire to bring folks to reality, you miss a distinction that is too often overlooked by my reformed brothers and sisters. Paul does not describe us as, by NATURE, sinners. He says we are new creations in which old things have (past tense) passed away. He says we ‘became obedient from the heart’ in Romans 6:17. He commands us to ‘Let not sin reign…’ In Romans 6:12. And in Romans 8:9 he says, after telling us to now expect to see the law fulfilled as we walk according to the Spirit, that we are not even in the flesh anymore! ‘You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.’ (I’m not making this up.)

So what’s the catch? Certainly we should all agree with you that there is plenty of sin that flows in our marriage and that we are no longer under condemnation. So what’s the difference in what I am saying?

Here it is: Paul says that our problem is not that we are by nature sinners. He says that we are by nature saints. Yes he does, in each of his letters. But he also says that we live in unredeemed bodies where the power of sin still dwells, and he calls that the flesh. Nothing good dwells in my flesh! Nada. But I am no longer in the flesh. I’m in the Spirit, and that is not just “positional truth,” any more than Christ being in us by the Holy Spirit is just “positional truth.”

At this point most people will tune out and say “What’s the big deal? It’s just semantics.” Well, Paul spends two and a half chapters in Romans and many other key verses in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians talking about those “semantics”.

But here’s the secret: If we remember a few key things in the gospel, we can accomplish what you desire in this article and a lot more.

First, remember that, as you kind of said, any emphasis on technique in marriage that takes our focus away from Christ and Christ in us is law!

Second, remember that if we never get it right, we are still justified and destined to reign with Christ forever!

Third, expect nothing good to come from your flesh. If Paul said nothing good dwells in His flesh, then we need to be comfortable with that! Don’t be shocked. Your flesh is capable of any sin you can imagine.

But fourth, know that you really are a brand new creature in Christ where old things have passed away and new things have come. Expect righteousness to flow as you learn to walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh! Expect Galatians 2:20 to become a reality as you recognize who you are in Christ and live by faith in the indwelling Christ.

If I am finding my joy and peace and identity in Christ rather than in my spouse, then I will, like you and your husband, be in it for the long haul because of the covenant we have made.

Point eight: I would only correct Scott on a few issues. First, you are wrong Scott. Queen Elyse does not have good intentions; she is a wicked false teacher. Secondly, yes, Paul said that there is no good thing in our flesh, but that is not to say that flesh (also “members”) cannot be used for good purposes as you pointed out. Flesh is not inherently evil in and of itself, that’s Gnosticism. It is the sin in the flesh that is inherently evil; the sin is the sin. “In the flesh” does not mean flesh is inherently evil; it refers to when the members are being used for evil purposes rather than holy purposes. Something that is inherently evil cannot be used for holy purposes or “holy sacrifice.” The flesh is “weak,” but not inherently evil. The earth is also weak, but not inherently evil, and groans with us for redemption. The earth also proclaims the glory of God and testifies to His glory.

Last point: Scott, you get it; come out from among them and be separate. Do not continue to touch the unclean thing.