Paul's Passing Thoughts

Indicative of What Ails the SBC: Johnny Hunt Denies the New Birth at Ohio Men’s Summit

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 24, 2015

“Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, ‘Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.’ This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was ‘under law,’ and where there is no law there is no sin.”

Not that I get paid for it, but I will inform any SBC pastor who cares to know why the SBC is a dying unregenerate cesspool. You can hide the fact by squeezing out the smaller churches and pointing to the emotional orgies at the megachurches, but the numbers do not lie. And listen, the praise and worship format that is presently redistributing the sheep will eventually get old—this ministry is already seeing sharp declines in megachurch attendance.

The present-day SBC Neo-Calvinist surge is the same movement that has come and gone exactly five times since the Protestant Reformation. My guess is that it will die again. Susan and I recently visited churches that were on the cutting edge of this movement back in the 80’s, and the deadness that we experienced was explained this way by our teenage son: “That place is just creepy.”  The energy once associated with the format is waning because there is no underlying substance and the novelty is passing. Yet, the format continues without the energy which projects an almost surreal creepiness experienced by those who visit. For the longtime members it’s a slow leak going unnoticed, for visitors it’s a blowout.

Aside: Was all of the recent Mark Driscoll drama just cover for the fact that the Mars Hill campuses were in decline? I wonder.

Another aside: The Catholic Church has bought the defunct Crystal Cathedral. It would seem that the Catholic Church is the only institution with the money to buy defunct Protestant campuses. Why does the Catholic Church have so much money? Answer: because it has always been upfront about its salvation by institution gospel. Will the Neo-Calvinist movement begin to be more out-of-the-closet about that approach in order to save the movement? It already is. People will pay big bucks to be saved by merely giving at the office (see, “Roman Catholic Church”).

Johnny Hunt would deny that he is a Neo-Calvinist and that is probably fair, but what I heard him say at last night’s Men’s Summit at Urbancrest Baptist church in Lebanon, OH is indicative of the problem. If there is confusion among Southern Baptists regarding the role of the Holy Spirt in Christian living, and there clearly is, that should explain everything, and it does.

Look, I don’t have the mp3 yet, but a slight paraphrase of a particular sentence spoken at the summit by Hunt goes like this: “The righteousness of Christ is the only thing that gets us into heaven.” Here we have a former president of the SBC, and a premier SBC pastor for something like thirty years, and that statement is just really bad theology if not an outright false gospel.

I keep saying it and will continue to do so: the Bible never states that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us. Though you can take a leap from one logical point to another on a few verses, why the steroidal emphasis on Christ’s righteousness when the Bible clearly states that it is the righteousness of God the Father that we possess? Is this emphasis important? It is if the Bible emphasizes the righteousness of the Father, and it does. Why not emphasize what the Scriptures emphasize?

But the concern goes way beyond semantics. In his Friday sessions, Hunt peppered that concept with the often heard idea that we don’t possess a righteousness of our own. Come now, would any of us still be working if we had a dollar for every time we heard that in SBC circles? But what is it saying?

First, if we ONLY possess the righteousness of Christ, fire insurance is the only gift and not righteousness. Follow? When you receive a gift, you take possession of it…no? Is the idea that we possess no righteousness of “our own” a backdoor way of saying we have not been made righteous and possess no personal holiness? Yes, I think it is. And by the way, forget all of the fuss about election—that idea is Calvinism in a nutshell.

Secondly, while one properly concurs that our sins were imputed to Christ because the Bible states that specifically, is it correct to say that righteousness has been “imputed” to us? I contend that this is NOT correct, and in fact is a denial of the new birth. Why? Because righteousness is not imputed to us, we are MADE righteous through the new birth. The whole “our own” business is a red herring deliciously favored at the table of demons. We don’t tell people we have no life of our own because we were born of parents. That’s just plain silly. “I have no life of my own; it was imputed to me by my parents.” No, you are alive just like your parents because they gave birth to you. In the same way, we ARE righteous because we were given life by a righteous Father through the Holy Spirit.

Hunt’s confusion concerning the new birth was further exemplified when he stated, “Christ died for all of your past, present, and future sins.” This also unwittingly denies the new birth. Christ did not die for sins we committed after we were born again. This makes sin in justification the same thing as family sin in sanctification. Christ did not die to save us from sin that does not condemn us; this denies that the old us actually died with Christ and was “under law,” and where there is no law there is no sin.

The idea that Christ died for our sin post salvation, at the very least denies the death part of the Spirit’s baptism and keeps the “believer” under law (see Romans 7:1ff). In not sparing any confusion in his lame presentation of the gospel, Hunt concurred that God chastises us for sins we commit as Christians which means God chastises us for sins Christ already died for. Hence, why wouldn’t God also chastise us for sins committed before we were Christians?

Therefore, Hunt, like most SBC pastors, flirts with John Calvin’s double imputation. This is the idea that Christ died for our justification, and lived a perfect life to fulfil the law so that His perfect righteousness can also be imputed to our sanctification. This is exactly why the “righteousness of Christ” is so strongly emphasized. The Bible is clear: this is a justification by the law that leads to antinomian living (see “a typical life in the SBC”). Why? Because we only have the righteousness of Christ and no righteousness of our own which is nearly a verbatim quote by Calvin from his Institutes of the Christian Religion (3.14.11).

This is an outright denial of the new birth and keeps the “Christian” under law. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, even if the law was kept by Christ in our stead, it is not another seed that can give life (Galatians 3:15-21). We are like Christ because He is our brother by birth, righteousness was not imputed to us—we are MADE righteous by the new birth. We are literally new creatures, and ALL things are new.

But, if we have no ownership of righteousness through the new birth, if only our standing is exchanged and not our lives, Christ’s righteousness must be perpetually imputed to our “Christian” lives because we are still under law and not under grace. This would require a return to the same gospel that saved us in order to receive perpetual forgiveness for sins committed under the law, and this is exactly what is behind the viral mantra of “We must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday” running amuck in the SBC. Forbid that we would lose our gratitude for salvation and only limit its remembrance to the Lord’s Table for we still supposedly need that forgiveness.

And this is exactly what John Calvin believed; that new sins committed as saints removes us from grace and perpetual forgiveness must be sought which can only be found in the institutional church where we continually “revisit the gospel afresh.”  Yet, the who’s who of the SBC continually affirms that the issue with Calvinism in the SBC is a secondary issue unworthy of parting fellowship. It’s cluelessness on steroids. Calvin advocated the belief that necessarily goes hand in glove with progressive justification; and,  sanctification is the Old Testament Sabbath rest. If we do any works on our sanctification Sabbath, it’s the eternal death penalty. As a result, Christ’s perfect obedience to the law must be imputed to us. This is where antinomianism and justification by law are the same thing; a perfect keeping of the law, which we of course can’t obtain so we must let Jesus obey for us lest we have a “righteousness of our own” becomes another seed other than Christ.

At the end of one session Hunt suggested that those who made a profession of faith follow up with the elders at Urbancrest concerning their “new relationship” with Christ. New relationship? Really? It’s not just a new relationship—it’s literal death and rebirth. We don’t just add Jesus to our still under the law lives for fire insurance or as Hunt put it, in essence, daily rescue. It’s not a daily rescue because we long for the one future rescue by Christ from this mortal body where sin still resides, but our inward man has been literally raised with Christ and free to love God and others through obedience to the same law that once condemned us.

It has been suggested to me that institutional religion and the new birth mix like oil and water: “Paul, if believers are truly born again and endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, why would they need an evangelical industrial complex?” Indeed, that may well be the money question. I have been at two institutional church gatherings this week, and in both cases pastors were held up as upper strata of spiritual caste. At Urbancrest, the emphasis was totally over the top and downright shameful. Other than handing out freebies to the pastors who attended, the senior pastor at Urbancrest talked of a program of sorts through which parishioners could show their pastor that, “I have your back.”

So, is the new birth a threat to religious institutions? Can Holy Spirit empowered ministries thrive in an institutional setting? We will not know until pastors stop denying the new birth. But nevertheless, this is a gut check for every SBC pastor and Hunt in particular. What would be the result of a poll in most churches where the following question is asked?

“Are you only positionally holy in Christ, or are you a holy person?” I fear most would answer, “I am only positionally holy because I still sin.” Yet, pastors who continually wax eloquent about Christians not having any righteousness of their own somehow expect decent behavior from their parishioners.

To his credit, Hunt did advocate obedience, but anyone who was listening closely would have found that confusing. Hunt also emphasized “finishing strong.” He even said that all of his accomplishments in ministry would be worthless if he didn’t finish well. Here is what pastors need to understand: finishing well may mean you end up pastoring a church of 25 people because you stood for the truth. It is high time that pastors draw a line in the sand and definitively define the new birth in no uncertain terms. Please tell your parishioners who they are—are they positionally holy, or are they personally holy?

Did they exchange one “standing before God” for another one, or did they exchange their old life for a new one through the baptism of the Holy Spirit?



Mark Driscoll Did NOT Resign Because He Abused Parishioners

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 12, 2014
Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll

Sigh. Does anybody have any idea how many “Lessons Learned from Mark Driscoll’s Resignation” posts have been written? How do you write a post on that when the fundamental premise is dead wrong?

Mark Driscoll did not have to step down because he abused people. That was the excuse to get rid of him, but not the reason. We will probably never know what he really did to turn the other institutional church power brokers against him, but it had absolutely NOTHING to do with abusing people.

Abuse in the institutional church is rampant and completely condoned. James MacDonald, a friend of Driscoll’s, is guilty of the EXACT same behavior, actually worse; so, why is he still around? Because he plays well with the power brokers—that’s why. I am incredulous that anyone would believe that he was forced out of ministry for mistreating parishioners. That’s a laugher.

Let’s take Clearcreek Chapel of Springboro, Ohio for instance. The elder board there has a long history of abuse. Former members have fled the state of Ohio to get as far away from that church as possible, literally east coast and west coast, while others have sought psychiatric care after tangling with said elder board. This is an elder board that has a very long list of unresolved conflict with many, many Christians including myself.

Nevertheless, they have the full endorsement of the Reformed counseling community along with their own training center for counselors endorsed by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. The director of John MacArthur’s counseling program at Master’s Seminary, Dr. John Street, will be speaking there in January 2015. And of course, few need to be brought up to speed on the continued endorsement of CJ Mahaney despite overt criminal behavior.

In regard to Driscoll, the institutional church power brokers took the opportunity to appear principled, but in reality Driscoll crossed some sort of inner circle code of conduct. Sometimes we can know the real reason, but in Driscoll’s case it is doubtful.

Rob Bell is a case where we can know. The inner circle kicked him to the curb for writing the book Love Wins. In the book, Bell proffered universal salvation. Ouch. You can do many, many naughty things as a New Calvinist celebrity, but you may never, never, never remove the fear factor from being a Protestant. Bell messed with the control/fear factor—that’s a no, no. That’s messing with the mutton bigtime.

However, Francis Chan did the same thing in a book he wrote that was supposedly an answer to Bell’s book, and got away with it though he was much more ambiguous about it.  How? Chan has way more star power than Bell had, and only implied that we can’t know for certain what God means by the term “hell,” but it’s probably a bummer. At any rate, Chan’s book was far from a literal, grammatical statement on hell.

It’s all about politics and the power brokers of what many well respected Christian journalists call the “evangelical industrial complex” (or google “John Calvin’s Geneva Theocracy”). We live in America where the institutional church is not backed by the government; the only thing that the institutional church has to fall back on is salvation by institution, and that has been sold masterfully to God’s people and was a staple of the Reformation. The Protestant institutional church is clearly a corporate man-following popery.

No? With the demise of Driscoll, the Mars Hill empire with multiple campuses nationwide completely collapsed overnight. It’s completely gone. The ministry stood on the feet of the corporate pope and nothing else. This is exactly why James MacDonald is able to extort outrageous salary increases from his own campus empire. If he goes, the whole enchilada goes and everyone knows it. That’s also why MacDonald was able to excommunicate one of the campuses because the elders of that particular campus dared question him. Think about it, he declared every member of that campus unbelieving and condemned just because their elders had questions. MacDonald has also expressed the desire to have the authority to execute parishioners who disagree with him. Again, Driscoll could not even begin to hold a candle to MacDonald’s despotism.

There is one other possibility: Driscoll might have done something really stupid that will come out later, and the rats are jumping ship, but again, we will probably never know the real reason.

Perhaps everyone wants to believe that Driscoll was thrown under the bus because the first pope of New Calvinism, John Piper and the other power brokers really care about the spiritually abused, but it’s not reality by any stretch of the imagination.


More Discernment Blog Folly: Negotiating with Prophets of Zero Sum Life

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 9, 2014

HF Potters House (2)“Um, excuse me, but if you are a child of God, it is not even just for God to forget your good works (Heb. 6:10), why would He be just in slaying you? And, isn’t God’s last enemy death? (1Cor. 15:26).”

Observing life does teach us about the Bible to a degree. One criticism we often hear about God is that He is cruel. After all, in the Old Testament, we find that He instructed Israel to completely wipe out certain people groups; men, women, children, livestock, and pets.

John Immel made a brilliant observation at this year’s TANC conference. In Europe, where our American spiritual roots came from, religious wars dominated their history. In America we can’t have religious wars, so people fight over the color of the carpet, and you have the ongoing drama such as the latest Acts 29 episode with Mark Driscoll and the J.D. Hall controversy.

Then you have the war correspondents; the discernment blogs. They “cry for justice” on behalf of the victims, but no justice will come. Why? When the sum of life is zero, you don’t deserve justice, you only deserve death. Consider the quotation sent to me by a reader from one of the premier evangelical leaders of our day:

My late friend James Boice and I frequently flew to various conference and events.  I am a white-knuckle flyer whereas he loved the bumps and the feeling of exhilaration that comes from flying through the air.  While I looked anxiously out the window, he said, “What is the matter. R.C.?  Don’t you believe in the sovereignty of God?”   I replied, “Jim, that is my problem.  I do believe in the sovereignty of God, and I know that he would be perfectly just to crash me into the ocean right now.  That is why I am so nervous.”

Um, excuse me, but if you are a child of God, it is not even just for God to forget your good works (Heb. 6:10), why would He be just in slaying you? And, isn’t God’s last enemy death? (1Cor. 15:26).

God commanded the Israelites to wipe out certain people groups because they had a philosophy of zero sum life. You can’t negotiate with such people. If they are your neighbors, they will be constantly seeking to dominate you because you are enslaved to the earthy senses that value life. You are bad for the collective. Plato got it from the Hindus, Augustine got it from Plato, and Luther/Calvin got it from Augustine. And the Neo-Calvinists got it from Calvin. Their zero sum life theology is TULIP, and the doctrine is predicated on man’s total depravity which is a total sum zero of life.

How Mark Driscoll Strips Husbands of Their Self-Confidence for Control Purposes

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 27, 2012

Much of today’s preaching and teaching is geared towards controlling people. In the following clip, though Driscoll seems to be calling out bad husbands, he subtly prefaces what he is saying with characteristics that are true of most husbands.  Any loving husband that prays with his wife is never going to be satisfied with how often he does so. Driscoll doesn’t make any distinctions in the elements.

Also, wives/girlfriends get a pass as “the daughters of God.” If she is spiritually weak, guess whose fault that is? As far as husbands who are being cautious about joining Driscoll’s church, he calls them out also, and depicts them as “little boys.” He subtly suggests that they don’t want to be “under authority.” However, let me be clear: a husband is under Christ’s authority, not the authority of elders in any regard when it comes to the home. Paul makes that absolutely clear in Ephesians 5. The clear message in Reformed churches today is that elders have more authority in the home than the husband. I contend that any man who walks into a New Calvinist church in our day is putting his marriage in grave danger. And by the way, we have no evidence or reason to believe that Adam abused Eve.


Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Affair: New Calvinism exposed as Super-Cult

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 26, 2012