Paul's Passing Thoughts

Lose the Sin Lists

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on November 14, 2017

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The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 4

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 22, 2017

The following is the final part of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s fourth session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part twoClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


What we have seen over the course of the last 3 sessions is that the oldest of all worldly ideas is that man is effectively a sacrificial animal. The primary intellectual shapers of modern Christianity as we have seen have their roots deep in Platonism, the metastasized version of Platonism found in Augustine, and then the further metastasization in Calvin. The secular iteration of that is Immanuel Kant who put the final nails in the coffin of any self-interest at any point at any time, and he did it such that even secular people could arrive at the exact same conclusion.

Now this becomes very important in the modern age. I opened this whole series talking about how in America we are facing a new Dark Age. The reason that sacrifice is so central to tyranny is directly related to this observation:

The Gospel According to John Immel, chapter 3:1-3

  1. All people act logically from their assumptions.
  2. It does not matter how inconsistent the ideas or insane the rationale. They will act until that logic is fulfilled.
  3. Therefore, when you see masses of people taking the same destructive actions, if you find the assumptions, you will find the cause.

Consider once again the five pillars of tyranny. (slide 2) All tyrannies use some variation of these arguments.  This is why altruism is so central to tyranny. Notice how the branches of all of these sub-arguments are tied to altruism.

Incompetent Masses – How many times have you heard the preacher say, “No man is an island”? What he really means is that no man in my church has the right to his own ideas. He is demanding that you abandon your own rational judgment.

Dictated Good – The preacher says, “We believe in servant-leadership.” What he really means is, “My qualification for being in charge is telling you what to think.” He believes that his judgment is “the good” and it is his right to tell you what that good is.

Universal Guilt – “You are proud.” What the preacher really means is, “You are morally corrupt. You are taking part in humanity’s original sin. You are displaying Adam’s heritage.” What they are really saying is since you are universally guilty you can’t get away from Adam’s original sin.

Collective Conformity – “You are rebellious,” says the preacher, but what he really means is, “I have the moral right to dictate the content of your life. You have no moral right to resist my authority.” Rebellion is an appeal to political power. Any time someone says you are rebellious, what they are really saying is that you are defying my government right. He is compelling you to collectively conform.

Abolition of Ambition – “You are arrogant,” the preacher says, but what he really means is, “I don’t like your confidence. You have no business being confident because you really have no ability.”

So you can begin to see how this altruism, self-sacrifice, man as a sacrificial animal ties all of this together. This is why this is so fantastically destructive.

Here is in broad terms how collectivism cascades down to the smallest subset. Any time you see someone making an appeal to the “greater good” what they are doing is appealing to the moral standard of altruism to ultimately drive individuals into one of these subsets. Collectivism in the broadest terms encompasses statism. In other words, as an individual your first moral requirement is to the state. The society is a subset of the state depending on common cultural expectations. The tribe is effectively genetic commonality and the political code derived from that. Community encompasses things such as denominations, sects, or the local Calvinist tyrant.

Here is the problem. How can you resist any monstrosity that compels you into any of these things if you must sacrifice your judgment? Under the premise of self-sacrifice, on what moral grounds can you resist government? By what moral standard can you say, “I disagree?” There is none!


Sacrifice is destroying America!

Sacrifice is destroying a free society at its root.
The political leader stands up and says, “Muslims have the right to come to the United States, keep their ideology, and that ideology vows the destruction of America as such.” How can you object?

This is obviously a rhetorical question, because the answer is you can’t. To demand security is to be “selfish”. To demand your own self-interest is to be “selfish”…and therefore morally disqualified. The only moral standard is to sacrifice your security, and consequences be damned. As a committed altruist, you must destroy your values, your goals, your ambitions, your contentment, your LIFE! You have no other choice but to stand idly by, mute in the face of all ideological monstrosity and allow the invasion of your country.

Sacrifice corrupts government.
When it is morally correct to demand sacrifice, it becomes socially correct to compel people to sacrifice. The federal register is filling up with laws that are aimed specifically at compelling people to sacrifice for the “greater good.” For example, Obamacare. It is not about healthcare. It has nothing to do with getting people to a doctor. Obamacare is little more than the government committing armed robbery in the name of morality. Obamacare is a systematic seizing of money from the healthy merely because they are healthy.

At the moment we are a nation stymied by the charge of “selfishness.” In the political sphere, the greatest criticism that anyone can render is that you are selfish. It is effective because it is immediately disqualifying. It doesn’t matter what you are advocating. It doesn’t matter if it’s a better policy. The moment somebody tags with, “you’re selfish,” the discussion is over.

Free people are being browbeat into accepting any treatment, any hostility, any destruction, and any exploitation all in the name of self-sacrifice.

Sacrifice destroys the meaning of words.
Listen to just about any sportscast and you will hear an announcer praise an athlete for his great “unselfish” play. For example, if LeBron James has an opportunity to go for a basket and instead passes the ball to a teammate he is being “unselfish”.

LeBron James

That is objectively ridiculous. LeBron James is probably, next to Michael Jordan, one of the greatest players to ever play the game and one of the most prolific scorers. When LeBron James avoids scoring a basket he is actually penalizing his team because statistically speaking, the ball will probably go through the hoop. It is not unselfishness that’s at issue. It is a failure of conceptual understanding. It is rationally correct for the best scorers to consistently try to score.   So attributing a pass to “unselfishness” is a corruption of words.

But in our culture everything has become an issue of sacrifice. Listen to how often individual actions are being defined as sacrifices. Listen to how often we as a nation qualify our positions with, “I don’t get anything out of this.” Listen to how many times you hear the words, “give back”. Listen to how many times the word sacrifice appears near the word community.

Sacrifice destroys achievement.
Achievement is the product of individuals pursuing their own goals, persevering through obstacles, thinking through the flaws to overcome all challenges and finally arrive at a destination, outcome, or final product. Achievement is the long process of man pursuing values over time, making choices about alternatives in a particular succession until finally refined into the desired outcome. This is why productivity and perseverance are virtues.

Charles Kettering

This process I just described brought about the Write brothers’ first flight, Nikola Tesla’s three-phase electric power, his induction motor, his alternating current, and many, many more achievements. It brought about Charles Kettering’s electric starter motor, car lights, leaded gasoline, and advancements in air conditioning among many achievements.

And yet most people, if they know of these achievements at all, trivialize the achievements because unless these men gave away their money they cannot be moral. By contrast, people will venerate Mother Theresa for her vows of poverty while dismissing the fact that her life of sacrificial giving is only possible because someone achieved air flight, induction motors, electric car starters, advancement in air conditioning, and many more achievements.

Mother Theresa can’t feed anyone…EVER…because Mother Theresa doesn’t create anything.

On the other hand, the farmer had to achieve growing a crop. The trucking company had to achieve getting the food from the farm to someone who would process the raw goods into consumable products. Shipping companies had to achieve the creation of ocean-traveling boats. A thousands achievements from a thousand people pursuing their own values had to occur before Mother Theresa could ever pat someone on the hand and give away food she never aspired to create. Yet her vows of poverty, her “sacrifice”, is held up as the moral ideal.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, may I have your submission, please?”

In a world of achievement where achievement is a virtue, the Mother Theresas of the world, the men and women who live off the abilities of others, would be seen for what they are; freeloading slackers.

This is true of all Calvinist preachers living off the public dole. The only way they make a mortgage payment, or feed their kids, or even buy their first John Piper book is because the people in the pews create real achievements six days out of seven.

You people out there still attending those Calvinist churches, if you ever figure out that the men behind the Plexiglas podium have no right to your money, most of the preachers will starve to death because they aren’t qualified for a job at McDonald’s. You can’t run a McDonald’s chanting, “Submit to authority.” That is the sum of their managerial skills. But I will say that in an achievement-based society, the John Pipers and Kevin DeYoungs of the world (et al) would do a lot less damage if they were limited to saying, “would you like fries with that?”

Sacrifice destroys marriages.
Sacrifice gives Calvinist thugs the moral power to perpetrate their tyranny.

I want to talk about these two together because they go hand in hand. Most people encounter Calvinist thuggery in the middle of a marriage problem. You have serious problems in your marriage and you go to the pastor in an effort to try and get some help. You get to the pastor and the next thing you realize is that you’re “proud”, you’re “arrogant”, and you’re not “sacrificing”. That is almost the universal response.

Then you make the mistake of assuming that your opinion matters on the subject. And the more you decide to defend yourself they more they are convinced of your pride and arrogance.   The truth of the matter is by the time you get to counseling, your marriage is probably already over because the underlying problems have already run their course.

Why do Christians get married? The unromantic answer is, sex. However, once the sex thing begins to ebb and flow and they get past the emotion of it, people finally figure out that sex drive and libido is directly tied to your own sense of self-worth and personal values. The problem is that you’ve been going to a church now for however long that tells you that you can have no value. It’s a death spiral from the outset.

Here is what the ideal would look like. You look in a mirror and you choose four or five things that you really value about who you are. It doesn’t matter what they are. Everyone has their own set of things that they value about themselves. These are your highest values and aspirations. Then when you come to another person and you see those values reflected back in your face it is almost impossible to resist the attraction because you see yourself reflected back. And you know as well as I do that the greatest relationships that you have ever observed happen as a result of having the greatest number of values reflected back.

But here is the problem. You came to the marriage relationship in Christianity believing that sacrifice was the highest ideal, but you have no relationship because you have no values to share. You have nothing in common. Then you have been sitting in the pew for who knows how long, and now you have an endless negotiation on who has sacrificed the most.

The problem is that what you sacrifice is an individual value. The other person in the relationship doesn’t care whether you destroy it or not. All your time in the relationship is spent giving up more and more until eventually you have nothing left. This is why so many marriages, after about 20 years or so of this kind of a relationship, one of the partners finally says, “I’m dead. I have nothing left for you.” The internal emotional pain is so great that they really are dying. But is it any wonder. You have been doing exactly what you have been taught. You have been slowly killing yourself.

Now because of Calvin and Kant, pain has been elevated to a moral primary. But the reality is that pain is a signal that something is wrong. Pain is your signal that there is a problem, and the goal is to get rid of the pain.

At the root of this is an absolute sense of the moral right of your own existence. This is what you can never have in a Calvinist church. This is why Calvinism destroys marriages because it undermines at the root the very people that are involved in the marriage.

As for friends, and this is something that I think really trips people up, you have known some of these people for years and years. Suddenly you are in the middle of what you consider to be a fight for your life and you go to your friends, and you realize that now you don’t have any friends. This is salt on open wounds, because you’re confused. You really honestly believed that these people had your back. No, they would sell you out in a minute for pastoral approval. Now you are stuck because you have so atrophied your sense of self and achievement that you cannot project into the future your own existence. That is probably one of the loneliest places to be in the world.

But I’m going to tell you the truth; you have no one to blame but yourself. You let somebody tell you that your existence was contingent on the approval of other people.

I’m going to cite an excerpt from my book, Blight in the Vineyard. This is from the chapter “Interpersonal Train Wreck”.

Now pause and digest the system dynamic I just laid out in detail and take inventory of the cause of your emotional upheaval. This is why you feel so utterly betrayed and so deeply wounded. This is why you ache with despair that will not go away. You offered the sum of self, and people presumed the moral right to accept or reject the deepest parts of you and call their actions “spiritual.”  They spent your relationship like dollar bills in the pastoral g-string on a private authority lap dance.

No one can sustain this kind of utter personal rejection. No one can sustain others using unearned intimacy to fill out their Christian authenticity balance sheet. So when you rightly complained about the mistreatment, they were brazen in defense, “Forgive me IF I sinned against you, but since I am the authority in this interaction, I can say this conflict really exists because YOU are the problem.”

Sacrifice is the fulcrum of this control.

Here’s the real meaning of the doctrine of self-sacrifice: You are not entitled to your mind, you are not entitled to your ideas, you are not entitled to your own aspirations, goals, or desires. If self-sacrifice is your moral standard, how can you object to any idea? The fact is you have forfeited your right to any personal opinion. You have no moral right to resist the preacher, no matter how atrocious, how grotesque his demands.

Forget the pastoral fictional monopoly on sound doctrine. Forget that they have any authority to dictate any outcome. The minute someone committed to reformed theology say the words, “I think…”, they are disqualified. Your impotence does not come from their authority. You impotence comes from the fact that you don’t value your own existence. If you don’t think that it is morally correct to defend you, then why on earth would anyone else defend you?

This is why most of you have such a terrible time escaping the church that is destroying your soul.

One thing you need to understand, the one thing that men who are committed to authority can never tolerate is the appearance of any dissention. So the only thing they can do is to make effort to segregate you from everything else.

So how do we escape the coming Dark Age? 

It is often said that men will not sacrifice, but as we have seen, sacrifice as the highest moral standard is in human history. We have seen throughout human history that men will sacrifice endlessly. We have seen that men will suffer enormous pains in the name of sacrifice. In National Socialist Germany the German people sacrificed their minds, their time, their production, and their existence to the state.

Indeed the problem of human existence is not the willingness to sacrifice. History proves over and over that men will abundantly sacrifice. What men will not do is stand against the moral monstrosity of sacrifice.

Hanna Arendt

After World War II, Hanna Arendt dug into the roots of tyranny and totalitarian regimes and wrote a lot about the subject.

And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody, “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody, “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it – the quality of temptation. Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to become accomplices in these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.

         Hanna Arendt, Eichmann if Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963

And this is exactly what we see playing out in the church- church leaders perpetrating all manner of evil, and the congregation sitting idly by resisting the temptation to object. And what the church does in their buildings is a harbinger of what is to come in American culture. Christians like the idea that America is a “Christian nation”. That’s a problem, because historically, Christian nations have let the blood flow deep and thick in the name of sacrifice.

There has always been an uneasy relationship between the church and the Constitution. Christians love to claim the Constitution when it serves the purpose of religious freedom, but they reject the root constitutional premise. The Constitution presumes that man is an end in himself. The sole purpose of government is to defend the individual in the pursuit of his life, his liberty, and his happiness.

The American Constitution has an implied moral standard: that individual men are entitled to their own lives. Individual men dispose of their lives for their own sake and for their own pleasures. But dare to suggest that man is an end to himself and church people will start chanting “SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE!” with all the fervor of the Thuggee cult just before the high priest strangles the latest offering to Kali.

Gospel According to John Immel 7:17
”Sacrifice as the highest moral ideal is the lynch pin of the coming Protestant Dark Age.”

America was the freest, happiest, most prosperous nation in the world because it led the world in individualism. America stands at a precipice. Behind us is the excellent history of liberty, individualism, freedom, values, success, and prosperity. The cliff in front of us falls off into the abyss of sacrifice and injustice and bloodshed and destruction.

Americans are now turning their liberties and freedoms over to the primordial disaster of sacrifice. This does not bode well. Every nation that has walked this path has willingly walked lockstep behind a dictator into mass destruction.

America, if you want to escape the coming Dark Age, be the first people in history to find the courage to resist the temptation of sacrifice.

~ John

John Immel 2016 Session 4 Archive Video (YouTube) Audio Only (mp3)

Smoking Gun: ACBC is a Nationwide Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 13, 2017

OrigEDMinally published July 13, 2015

For a more detailed discussion on this book, check out Susan Dohse’s book review and commentary here

Christ made it clear that what God has brought together NO man is to separate. Does this mean God predetermines every marriage in regard to particular spouses? I doubt it. This probably refers to God’s covenant of marriage and the theology of vows. At any rate, death, unrepentant adultery, and an unbeliever who abandons their believing spouse are the only exceptions.

How does one live happily with a spouse who has become difficult? For Protestants, that is a hard question because the focus has been on justification for 500 years with little emphasis on the biblical art of godly living (sanctification). When you are supposedly sanctified by a perpetual “return to the gospel afresh”… knowledge on how to repair a marriage is going to be what it is today, practically nonexistent. And of course, living by the same gospel that saves us (not saved us) is a very complex matter needing the ongoing “research and development” of gospel-centered experts.

Add to that: Protestants don’t even have justification right. Little wonder then that the institutional church is a train wreck after 500 years of scholarship and trillions of hard-earned laity dollars. What is the answer? The answer is a laity movement that will reclaim the priesthood of believers seized by Gnostic hacks dressed in biblical garb.

The answers will come through one Lord, and one word interpreted by individuals indwelt by the Spirit who gives all knowledge needed for life and godliness liberally. In case we forget the obvious, “I was only obeying the elders” will not cut it when you stand before Christ and His blazing eyes of fire. The Nazis were very good at being “subordinate,” and many were hanged accordingly. I realize Reformed elders claim God gave them His authority to rule on earth, but you may want to rethink that claim.

As predicted, the biblical counseling movement overseen primarily by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) has become a divorce mill via its efforts to build marriages that “look like the gospel.” And the smoking gun is a book written by Leslie Vernick titled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope that is widely used among ACBC counselors.

The obvious problems here are first seen in the title of the book. As Christians, is it really our goal to, “find our voice”? I thought it was our goal to please God in every circumstance. Secondly, the idea of emotional destruction is subjective at best and a ticket to do anything you want at worst. To make the point here, Google “American Civil Law.” In a culture judging anything that causes bad feelings to be abuse, such an approach to “biblical counseling” should give one pause.

Thirdly, why do Christians need a 240 page book written by a serial regurgitator of other people’s thoughts to FIND hope? You would think that by now Christians would be fairly certain about where hope is found.

Chilling is the examination of the 61-question survey found in the book that supposedly determines if one is in an abusive relationship or not. In the hands of a person that is unhappy in their marriage, the outcome will be a foregone conclusion. It’s like asking a chicken if Colonel Sanders is an emotional abuser.

The lynchpin becomes the ACBC’s loose interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:12-16. If the spouse is already an unbeliever, emotional abuse is tantamount to departing from the marriage even if they have not left physically or filed for divorce. Church discipline takes care of the pesky obstacle of the “abusive” spouse being a believer—they can be declared an unbeliever…actually MADE an unbeliever by elder authority supposedly vested to them by God. This paves the way for sanctified divorce.

It boils down to this: whoever is handed the book by the counselor is coronated as the abused spouse. Be sure of this: if both counselees in a bad marriage were handed the book, both would be guilty of the same thing. This is the smoking gun: it depends on who the ACBC “biblical counselor” wants to label abusive for whatever the motives might be.

I think a present situation that I am involved in says it all. I know enough about the situation to know that if the person I am talking with took the book’s survey, the other spouse would be judged as emotionally abusive hands down. The other spouse was handed the book because of who the ACBC counselor wanted to label “abusive.”

This is the niche service that Leslie Vernick now supplies to ACBC counselors.

paul

Loving Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 30, 2017

Does the Bible ever state that to love ourselves is a sin? I don’t believe so. In fact it never even suggests that we are to love others MORE than ourselves. We are to love others AS MUCH AS we love ourselves.

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it…” ~ Ephesians 5:29

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Galatians 5:14

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ ye do well:” ~ James 2:8

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” ~ Romans 13:8

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:9

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45

“ ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:36-40

To love yourself is to recognize your own value. If you do not recognize your own worth then you cannot recognize the value of others.

There is application here for just about all of the problems we see in the institutional church.  What is the historical orthodoxy?  What has been taught about man?  The metaphysical premise is man’s depravity.  Man is taught that self-loathing is a virtue.  Believers have been discouraged from striving for obedience to the law.  The law has been replaced with orthodoxy (tradition).  This is the definition of anomia; lawlessness.  Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that by replacing the law with their traditions that they made the law useless.  The result would be that love would grow cold.

This is what such thinking produces.    And this is exactly what we are seeing in this day.  Is it any wonder?  If one is taught that they cannot keep the law because of their own depravity, how can he possibly love himself?  Why are there so many cases of divorce, depression, and mental illnesses found in the institutional church?  Why do we act shocked when we learn about these sorts of things happening in the institutional church?  For the believer, he is taught that an ever-increasing awareness of sin brings about an ever-increasing knowledge of God’s holiness.  The Christian life is to be one of dwelling on sinfulness; not on value.  How can we expect justice for sexual abuse and other physical or spiritual abuses?  If one believes he has no value, how can he possibly love others?  Others have no value.  Others then are nothing more than objects to be used for one’s own end.

Do you realize that if we spent our time focusing on loving others, we wouldn’t have to worry about breaking any laws?  Think about that for a second.  When it comes right down to it, isn’t the breaking of any law really a violation of the rights of another?  It says, “I don’t value you.”  Why don’t we steal?  Is it because God said, “thou shalt not steal?”  Or is it because we recognize that we would not want our things stolen?  This ought to reveal our own sense of self-worth, which flies in the face of religious orthodoxy in direct opposition to the notion of total depravity.  And in recognizing this self-worth, we then project that onto others.  We recognize the value of others because we recognize our own value.  God’s law teaches us that we have value!

Andy

Sin, Sin, Sin, Sin, Sin, Sin, Sin, Sin

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 3, 2016

Originally published on July 28, 2015

gospel-gridGot sin? You do if you are a Protestant, and you have a lot of it. The “T” in TULIP doesn’t stand for total depravity for no good reason, no pun intended. The only good thing is focusing on the bad thing: your nasty, wicked self.

Sin is a really big deal in Protestantism because we get ourselves into heaven by dwelling on the fact that we are “sinners.” If we can do any good work, if ALL of our works are NOT filthy rags—that’s not living by “faith alone” for our justification. Supposedly, if we think we can do anything good, that’s not living by faith alone in what Jesus has accomplished for us, but rather living in the “confidence of the flesh.”

The foundation of Protestant soteriology is the idea that “Christians” live under the possibility of condemnation and should fear accordingly. Christians remain under the condemnation of the law and remain covered by professing that they can do no good work. By continually returning to the same gospel that saved us for forgiveness of works, both good and bad, the righteousness of Jesus continues to be imputed to us. Hence, “We have no righteousness of our own in salvation or the Christian life.”

In contrast, the emphasis of our Christian lives should be LOVE. We still sin, but it is not sin unto condemnation, but rather sin against our Father as a family matter. We may receive chastisement, but we are in no danger of condemnation. Not so with the Protestant gospel: the “Christian” remains under eternal condemnation and is only covered through faith alone by returning to the same gospel that saved us. This is why Protestantism has always been weak in the area of discipleship. This is why there is an obsession with making saved people rather than disciples. And by the way, the only place we can find continued forgiveness for “sin that removes us from grace” (Calvin/Luther) is under the “authority” of the local church. Go figure.

Even in Baptist churches, pastors bemoan the fact that “10% of the congregants do 90% of the work.” Well, duh, I am surprised that even 10% are doing anything as the focus is keeping oneself saved by focusing on how inept we are.

More and more in counseling, I am telling people to stop focusing so much on sin. Clearly, especially in the Protestant contemporary biblical counseling movement, the specific instruction is to “find the sin beneath the sin” as a means of growing your salvation as if salvation grows to begin with. If our focus is sin- searching as a means of spiritual wellbeing, and good works tempt us to think we did something good (again, Luther/Calvin), what in the world will be the results? Well, look around for yourself—it’s called “the church.”

ssp_temp_capture1A focus on sin will not prevent sin or promote love. If there is something to be gained by finding sin, it will be far from us to fight against it. Why would we cut off our supply of blessings by making the cross smaller? It becomes a supply and demand issue.

The Bible endorses a focus on love, not sin-searching. We are to look for ways to love God and others, not ways to find the “sin beneath the sin” or some endeavor to “peel back the layers of sin.” No doubt, there is a CONTROL conspiracy involved with this supposed method of sanctification as well. Stripping people of an accurate evaluation of self is a very efficient way of controlling them. Being worthy enough to hold others accountable for their own good will not get you into heaven—only returning daily to the same gospel that saved you for a fresh set of downs to get into the salvation end zone.

And what will eventually happen to any marriage if the constant focus is your spouse’s sin? No wonder then that the present-day biblical counseling movement (mostly sponsored by Reformed churches) is overflowing with marriage counseling cases. Week in, and week out, teaching will knock down any notions that either spouse can do any work that is not “filthy rags.” And, the only real sin is not knowing that everything you do is sin; if you don’t know that, you may find yourself in so-called church discipline. We do know this: those who will not accept this premise are deemed “unteachable.”

We have not been given a spirit of fear under the law of sin and death and its condemnation. We, instead, have been given the Holy Spirit and boldness to love God and others without any fear of condemnation.

We are to be enslaved to love—not to a fear of condemnation.

paul

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