Originally published May 2, 2015
“But here is the primary problem: Protestantism is a slick works salvation gospel. Basically, it turns doing nothing into a work; you do nothing to keep yourself saved. People assume that doing nothing with intentionality to obtain an objective is not doing anything. In reality, doing nothing is still doing something; it’s a “choice,” and deciding to do something or not do something is doing something in both cases.”
In vogue among evangelicals is the idea that we have no righteousness of our own. If we lay claim to a good work that pleases God, we must sanctify it with, “It wasn’t I who did it—it was Jesus working through the Spirit.”
To take credit for a good work is to steal the glory from God, and lay claim to a “righteousness of our own.” This idea is rooted in Martin Luther’s alien righteousness. It is the belief that all righteousness remains outside of the believer.
The result is a confused endeavor to do Christianity without doing anything; after all, “The just shall live by faith.” Therefore, Protestantism still struggles in the clarification of how we do Christianity without doing anything; after all, “It’s not about our doing, it’s about what He has done.” Protestantism is fraught with these doing it without doing it truisms.
Actually, Luther and Calvin articulated how the Christian life is done without doing, but Protestantism wouldn’t be any more popular than the Branch Davidians if Protestants knew the true tenets of Protestantism.
But here is the primary problem: Protestantism is a slick works salvation gospel. Basically, it turns doing nothing into a work; you do nothing to keep yourself saved. People assume that doing nothing with intentionality to obtain an objective is not doing anything. In reality, doing nothing is still doing something; it’s a “choice,” and deciding to do something or not do something is doing something in both cases.
The linchpin is Protestantism’s redefinition of the new birth which is redefined as an ability to better see what we can’t do, rather than a new creature who does things because of who we are.
Hence, if we have no righteousness of our own, we are condemned. If you are the least bit familiar with the New Testament, you know of the interpretive duo of “gift” and “reward.” Once you receive a gift, you own it, right? Salvation and the righteousness that comes with it is a GIFT. Rewards come in this life and the life to come as a result of how we put the gift that we now own into use. Primarily, the Bible calls that “love.”
But now think with me for a moment. If something is not a gift, what is it? Right, it’s a loan, and what do we know about loans? Right, you have to pay them back. And frankly, that’s exactly what Protestantism teaches: that righteousness is on loan from Jesus. We have no righteousness of our own; we only have the righteousness of Jesus. The gift of righteousness is really righteousness on loan from Jesus, and we receive the benefits by antinomian faith alone payments (doing nothing).
Let’s clarify the Protestant payments a little more. Because of this construct, Protestants have to categorize works into two categories: works of self-righteousness, and faith alone works. Faith alone works usually consist of praying, faithfulness to church attendance, tithing, and behaving well at church. Works of self-righteousness are pretty much everything else, but particularly thinking that you know something well enough to debate the pastor.
Because Protestantism denies that we own the gift of righteousness, they must now define REWARD as final salvation, and they most certainly do in no uncertain terms. Think about that: the final equation of Luther’s alien righteousness is salvation as reward for living by faith alone. That’s a huge problem.
One of the keys to understanding all of this is Hebrews 6:10,
“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.”
Why would it be “unjust” for God to “overlook” YOUR “work”? Because you have earned it. This isn’t complicated: salvation/righteousness is a gift that you can’t earn, but nevertheless this righteousness is part and parcel with your new being, and you are rewarded for how you put it to use for love’s sake.
The conclusion of the matter is simple: Protestantism is a false gospel that circumvents love because we supposedly have no righteousness of our own. It makes ownership synonymous with being the originators of righteousness which also defies the reality of a “gift” as well.
“To emphasize the shadows is to emphasize life itself.”
There is one proof that today’s church is saturated with Gnosticism, other than the tyranny that comes with it. For the most part, when you listen to any given message taught to Christians, you will notice that a neutral or third option is missing. It’s an either/or worldview. The essence of Gnosticism is known as “dualism.” All knowledge is either good or evil. In the case of Protestantism, it’s Luther’s cross story or glory story: the knowledge of good and evil; sound familiar? All reality falls into two categories only: it’s EITHER about you, OR it’s about the cross.
“_______…is not necessarily a bad thing (fill in the shadow element), it’s just not the best thing.” Yes my friend, why do you emphasize the shadows when it is only the Son that gives life? In Protestantism, “Son.” In Platonism, “Sun.” For both: shadows = life and the material realm. To emphasize the shadows is to emphasize life itself.
Shadows are true. Plato never said that shadows don’t exist—he just deemed them useless for true knowledge. The virtuous person does not live in the shadows, he/she lives according to the true,good, and beautiful aka Plato’s trinity. The shadows, viz, life and whatever may be going on, is irrelevant to the wellbeing experience of the true, good, and beautiful. In the same way, good Protestants are deemed happy regardless of their circumstances; it is well with our soul.
If ISIS raises their flag above the White House—it is well with our soul.
If there is a pedophile in our church—it is well with our soul.
“Justice!” you say? If you want self-justice, you are just as guilty as the one who followed his self-desire. Come now, use this preordained opportunity to be the bigger person, to show forth the cross of self-denial. If you deny yourself justice, you are showing forth the gospel to the one who should have denied himself the fulfillment of his self-desire. We must “bring grace to the situation.” We must “show forth the gospel.” We must show forth the self-death of the cross.
All of these things are just shadows after all. And to the Gnostic, whether an atheist or a good Protestant, the biggest shadow of all is capitalism. The profound spell of Plato is that he appeals to the social scientist and the religionist alike. Self-concept is the waters of the shadow world that we swim in. To the degree that we empty self and live solely for the sake of community, our individual soul is transformed. To the degree that individuals are transformed, society is transformed. Atheists and Protestants must not fuss; here now, hold hands and say, “ahhhmen.” After all, we all want the same thing: community wellbeing.
One is greatly mistaken if they point to the woes of societies living in the rotten fruits of Eastern mysticism as a contention. Those people are deemed virtuous because they are content in the shadows. If everyone would follow their example, the world would be balanced and the true, good, and beautiful would be manifested. The only reason that countries are poor is because capitalism’s greed takes from some and gives to others, and the earth is therefore unbalanced. The only way to a balanced, unified earth is collective self-death. This is where the liberal Democrat and the Neo-Calvinist both walk in the way of Martin Luther’s cross story.
Hence, the likes of ISIS is an unfortunate example of those who are a bit over-zealous. But they understand the importance of devaluing the life of the individual—they are just a bit extreme in demonstrating that truth. They are misguided, but yeah, if only the capitalist understood their child-like faith.
Bad results are no pudding test. Capitalism isn’t the cure, it’s the cause. This is where the contrast between Christ who said, “the poor will always be with you,” and the dominion theology of the Neo-Calvinist and the liberal democrat alike should strike terror in our hearts.