Paul's Passing Thoughts

An Open Letter to John MacArthur Jr. Concerning Progressive Justification

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on November 29, 2014

Originally posted April 13, 2013

Mailed 4/13/2013 by certified letter:

 

Mr. MacArthur,

I am writing to you openly concerning the fact that you now preach Calvin’s false gospel of progressive justification. As an avid follower of your teachings over the years, and one greatly helped by them in the past, I now implore you to repent of preaching another gospel. I am provoked to write this letter after listening to your general session address at this year’s Shepherds’ Conference.

Sadly, for the most part, the message was a shameless pandering to the Calvinist audience with the same worn-out Neo-Calvinist protocol; e.g., us against evangelicalism, redefinition of the plain sense of Scripture to undermine the interpretive abilities of the laity, etc., etc. Per the usual in these settings, you also insinuated that this movement has a “fresh” take on evangelism and understanding the Scriptures in a “deeper” way.

On the one hand, you expounded on the importance of evangelism and the idea that it is the church’s primary purpose for being here, and then on the other hand propagated the idea via John 3:3 that God is going to do what He is going to do regardless of anything we do. And you also proffered the idea that it is wrong to call unbelievers to do anything in our gospel presentation other than believe, and that was only forthcoming at the very end and stated once.

Primarily presented was the idea that we proclaim the new birth and inform individuals that there is nothing they can do to obtain it. They are simply to “ask” and hope God had decided to save them before creation. In your third party presentation of the question, what can we tell them to do? you are clear: ask only and hope for the best. Shockingly, you also suggested that Reformed elders can “ask” for others as mediators (your personal experience shared about the young man suffering with aids).

Other than the fact that you have harshly criticized Rick Warren for not including repentance in his gospel messages and your hypocrisy is therefore staggering, this idea contradicts a mass of other biblical texts. One of many would be Paul’s description of his ministry that implored people to be reconciled to God. In other instances Paul simply called for repentance. The Calvinist you proudly proclaimed yourself to be in the same message has transformed your prior teachings into confusing messages that raise more questions than are answered.

But these are all symptoms of the basic problem: your false gospel. In one article written by you, the following was stated:

“If sanctification is included in justification, then justification is a process, not an event. That makes justification progressive, not complete” (emphasis added).

But yet the fourteenth chapter of Calvin’s Institutes is entitled: “The Beginning of Justification. In What Sense Progressive?” So, what’s our first clue? Indicative of your Calvinist theology that a child could even dismiss is the simple fact that Paul categorized the lost and the saved in Romans as “under the law” versus “under grace.” Calvin taught that Christians are still under the law. This is plain from his writings in ICR 3.14.9-11 in which he states that Christians cannot please God in sanctification because their works are judged by the law as a continued standard for justification. Calvin makes it clear that no “believer” has ever earned merit with God because their works are judged by the law (first sentence of  3.14.11). In 3.14.10, he even cites James 2:10, a verse that concerns those under the law, to make his case.

As I think you would know, Paul makes it clear in Romans that being under the law is synonymous with being enslaved to sin, unable to keep the law, and destined to a future judgment by law. Under grace is synonymous with having a mind enslaved to the law and free to do righteous acts, and declared righteous apart from the law. But in fact, Calvin’s total depravity also applies to the saints and deems them still enslaved to sin. You often cite Calvin’s concept of total depravity, but when are you going to start being honest and also mention you believe, as Calvin, that it applies to Christians as well?

Calvin stated in no uncertain terms in 3.14.11 that Christ’s “reconciliation with God” is “perpetual” and “not promulgated” in the beginning only. This is because the same forgiveness that saved us needs to be continually applied to our lives according to Calvin:

“For since perfection is altogether unattainable by us [which is not the point because we are under grace and not law], so long as we are clothed with flesh, and the Law denounces death and judgment against all who have not yielded a perfect righteousness, there will always be ground to accuse and convict us unless the mercy of God interpose, and ever and anon absolve us by the constant remission of sins” (3.14.10).

Hence, there is not one complete “washing,” but according to Calvin, a perpetual washing is needed (see JN 13 and 1COR 6:11).

This doctrine always dies a social death and needs to be resurrected again after carnage from the previous “Resurgence” is forgotten. The present movement was resurrected by Robert Brinsmead in 1970. Coming forth from its sectarian womb, it has divided countless families and churches. The seminary you are president of pumps out hundreds of sectarian Calvinists on a yearly basis. One of your graduates split a church two blocks from where we live.

This is your shameful legacy unless you repent.

Paul M. Dohse

PsychoHeresy Unawareness: Dr. John Street Shot the Sheriff, but He Didn’t Shoot the Deputy

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 9, 2014

PPT HandleOriginally posted September 30, 2012

No doubt, PAM reveals many problems with the biblical counseling movement that one may expect when it is based on a false gospel. But John Street’s real sin is his participation in a mass propagation of a false gospel.

Dr. John Street, founder of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio has finally made it big in the biblical counseling movement. This is evident from the fact that he has become a target of PAM (PsychoHeresy Awarness Ministries). PAM is directed by Martin and Deidre Bobgan who, without a doubt, are the most formidable critics of the “biblical” counseling movement.

John Street is an elder at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in California, and the Chair of the graduate program for biblical counseling at the seminary associated with MacArthur’s church. Also, last time I checked, Street is the president of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC).

In the most recent PAM newsletters, (http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/street_tmc&s.html and http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/street_tmc&s_2.html) Street is barbecued for practicing counseling methods that the Bobgans deem unbiblical. PAM primarily decries the biblical counseling movement’s “problem-centered counseling” verses “Christ-centered Ministry” (http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/CCMpcc-ebk.pdf ).

I am not sure what PAM means by “Christ-centered ministry,” but it seems to be a passive approach regarding the disciple’s role in sanctification:

This is why we say that those who minister to one another need to get in the way and out of the way. They need to be available, but they need to let God work rather than push their own agenda.

The idea of pushing our own agenda could mean “let go and let God” instead of pushing an agenda that just so happens to be God’s agenda. The wording is unsettling. Elsewhere the Bobgans write the following:

Christ-centered ministry encourages spiritual growth and depends on the Lord to do the work in each individual through His Word and Spirit. Therefore, one can confidently assure believers that this ministry is more effective, long-lasting, and spiritually rewarding than problem-centered counseling for those who are willing to go this way.

Depend on the Lord to do the work? At the very least, the Bobgans need to clarify their position more thoroughly because by and large, gospel contemplationism  is the primary thrust of NANC counseling. One wonders if PAM is accusing NANC of what they are guilty of: an overly passive approach to sanctification.

And, NANC, when they were (past tense) helping many people, encouraged an aggressive role in sanctification by the counselee. Christians are called to “study to show thyself approved,” and then aggressively apply that truth to their lives in order to have a life built on a rock (Matthew 7:24).

This was NANC’s approach in the past, and it did result in massive professions of faith, and real lasting change. I know; I was there; I am a firsthand witness. This was before David Powlison via CCEF and company infiltrated NANC with the gangrene of progressive justification. Unbelievably, in broad daylight, Powlison admitted (during a lecture at John Piper’s church while Piper was on sabbatical searching for different “species of idols” in his heart) that NANC’s “first generation” counseling was in contention with “second generation counseling” over the very definition of the gospel!

And this is my point: PAM is focused on the supposed evil of “problem-centered” counseling (is the gospel itself not problem-centered? The gospel did not come to solve a problem?) while the real issue is that NANC and CCEF both propagate a blatant false gospel. The counseling is based on the fusion of justification and sanctification with gospel contemplationism as its practical application.

CCEF’s counseling is based on Sonship theology. Dr. Jay E. Adams nailed that doctrine specifically as the fusion of justification and sanctification in his book, “Biblical Sonship” published in 1999. Adams, in the book, decried Sonship’s position that regeneration is powered by the finished work of justification. CCEF then effectively infiltrated NANC and took it over with the same doctrine. I use over 200 pages to document all of this in “The Truth About New Calvinism” (thetruthaboutnewcalvinism.com).

Hence, we must assume that NANC counseling yields many ill results, and I will say this: PAM points them out though they are missing the much larger issue. Case in point:

The truth is that counselors and especially counselors with an agenda (their particular approach) too often take credit for successes and attribute failures to the counselees. The trumping truth is that success is primarily in the hands of the counselees….

And worse yet, the counselee’s “failure” ends up in church discipline!

Also:

Problem-centered counseling is typically a one-to-one relationship. Sometimes couples and families are involved, but the relationship is generally artificial and restrictive. The counseling relationship itself usually does not extend outside the counseling room. The relationship lasts as long as counseling is being provided and normally does not extend to other involvement, even in most biblical counseling centers. Problem-centered counselors commonly do not involve themselves with counselees outside the counseling room. That is why both psychological and biblical counselors sometimes use intake forms requesting a great deal of personal information. Because this relationship is generally isolated, the counselor and counselee can be selective as to what they want to reveal about themselves. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, research shows that counselees often lie to their counselors and protect themselves by concealing important information.

The great advantage of Christ-centered ministry is that it is not limited to an artificial one-to-one relationship where one has the problem and the other supposedly has the solution. In the Body of Christ all are growing together. there are many opportunities to know one another and to interact in genuine relationships. When a believer is experiencing problems, more than one person may be involved in ministering to that individual. One may be teaching. One may be reminding. Another may simply be extending support and fellowship. Another may be helping in practical ways. Another may be exhorting. Another may be admonishing. And, in a few cases, some may be exercising the responsibility of disciplining a fellow believer for the sake of restoration. But, all can be praying and encouraging the individual in the direction of the Lord. And, through all this, all are growing together and the relationships may deepen with one another as well as with the Lord.

No doubt, PAM reveals many problems with the biblical counseling movement that one may expect when it is based on a false gospel. But John Street’s real sin is his participation in a mass propagation of a false gospel. It reminds me of Eric Clapton’s ode to one who objects to being accused of shooting a deputy when he really shot the sheriff.

paul

An Open Letter to John MacArthur Jr. Concerning Progressive Justification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 13, 2013

Mailed 4/13/2013 by certified letter:

 

Mr. MacArthur,

I am writing to you openly concerning the fact that you now preach Calvin’s false gospel of progressive justification. As an avid follower of your teachings over the years, and one greatly helped by them in the past, I now implore you to repent of preaching another gospel. I am provoked to write this letter after listening to your general session address at this year’s Shepherds’ Conference.

Sadly, for the most part, the message was a shameless pandering to the Calvinist audience with the same worn-out Neo-Calvinist protocol; e.g., us against evangelicalism, redefinition of the plain sense of Scripture to undermine the interpretive abilities of the laity, etc., etc. Per the usual in these settings, you also insinuated that this movement has a “fresh” take on evangelism and understanding the Scriptures in a “deeper” way.

On the one hand, you expounded on the importance of evangelism and the idea that it is the church’s primary purpose for being here, and then on the other hand propagated the idea via John 3:3 that God is going to do what He is going to do regardless of anything we do. And you also proffered the idea that it is wrong to call unbelievers to do anything in our gospel presentation other than believe, and that was only forthcoming at the very end and stated once.

Primarily presented was the idea that we proclaim the new birth and inform individuals that there is nothing they can do to obtain it. They are simply to “ask” and hope God had decided to save them before creation. In your third party presentation of the question, what can we tell them to do? you are clear: ask only and hope for the best. Shockingly, you also suggested that Reformed elders can “ask” for others as mediators (your personal experience shared about the young man suffering with aids).

Other than the fact that you have harshly criticized Rick Warren for not including repentance in his gospel messages and your hypocrisy is therefore staggering, this idea contradicts a mass of other biblical texts. One of many would be Paul’s description of his ministry that implored people to be reconciled to God. In other instances Paul simply called for repentance. The Calvinist you proudly proclaimed yourself to be in the same message has transformed your prior teachings into confusing messages that raise more questions than are answered.

But these are all symptoms of the basic problem: your false gospel. In one article written by you, the following was stated:

“If sanctification is included in justification, then justification is a process, not an event. That makes justification progressive, not complete” (emphasis added).

But yet the fourteenth chapter of Calvin’s Institutes is entitled: “The Beginning of Justification. In What Sense Progressive?” So, what’s our first clue? Indicative of your Calvinist theology that a child could even dismiss is the simple fact that Paul categorized the lost and the saved in Romans as “under the law” versus “under grace.” Calvin taught that Christians are still under the law. This is plain from his writings in ICR 3.14.9-11 in which he states that Christians cannot please God in sanctification because their works are judged by the law as a continued standard for justification. Calvin makes it clear that no “believer” has ever earned merit with God because their works are judged by the law (first sentence of  3.14.11). In 3.14.10, he even cites James 2:10, a verse that concerns those under the law, to make his case.

As I think you would know, Paul makes it clear in Romans that being under the law is synonymous with being enslaved to sin, unable to keep the law, and destined to a future judgment by law. Under grace is synonymous with having a mind enslaved to the law and free to do righteous acts, and declared righteous apart from the law. But in fact, Calvin’s total depravity also applies to the saints and deems them still enslaved to sin. You often cite Calvin’s concept of total depravity, but when are you going to start being honest and also mention you believe, as Calvin, that it applies to Christians as well?

Calvin stated in no uncertain terms in 3.14.11 that Christ’s “reconciliation with God” is “perpetual” and “not promulgated” in the beginning only. This is because the same forgiveness that saved us needs to be continually applied to our lives according to Calvin:

“For since perfection is altogether unattainable by us [which is not the point because we are under grace and not law], so long as we are clothed with flesh, and the Law denounces death and judgment against all who have not yielded a perfect righteousness, there will always be ground to accuse and convict us unless the mercy of God interpose, and ever and anon absolve us by the constant remission of sins” (3.14.10).

Hence, there is not one complete “washing,” but according to Calvin, a perpetual washing is needed (see JN 13 and 1COR 6:11).

This doctrine always dies a social death and needs to be resurrected again after carnage from the previous “Resurgence” is forgotten. The present movement was resurrected by Robert Brinsmead in 1970. Coming forth from its sectarian womb, it has divided countless families and churches. The seminary you are president of pumps out hundreds of sectarian Calvinists on a yearly basis. One of your graduates split a church two blocks from where we live.

This is your shameful legacy unless you repent.

Paul M. Dohse

PsychoHeresy Unawareness: Dr. John Street Shot the Sheriff, but He Didn’t Shoot the Deputy

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 30, 2012

No doubt, PAM reveals many problems with the biblical counseling movement that one may expect when it is based on a false gospel. But John Street’s real sin is his participation in a mass propagation of a false gospel.

Dr. John Street, founder of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio has finally made it big in the biblical counseling movement. This is evident from the fact that he has become a target of PAM (PsychoHeresy Awarness Ministries). PAM is directed by Martin and Deidre Bobgan who without a doubt are the most formidable critics of the “biblical” counseling movement.

John Street is an elder at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in California, and the Chair of the graduate program for biblical counseling at the seminary associated with MacArthur’s church. Also, last time I checked, Street is the president of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC).

In the most recent PAM newsletters (http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/street_tmc&s.html and http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/street_tmc&s_2.html) Street is barbecued for practicing counseling methods that the Bobgans deem unbiblical. PAM primarily decries the biblical counseling movement’s “problem-centered counseling” verses “Christ-centered Ministry” (http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/CCMpcc-ebk.pdf ).

I am not sure what PAM means by “Christ-centered ministry,” but it seems to be a passive approach regarding the disciple’s role in sanctification:

This is why we say that those who minister to one another need to get in the way and out of the way. They need to be available, but they need to let God work rather than push their own agenda.

The idea of pushing our own agenda could mean “let go and let God” instead of pushing an agenda that just so happens to be God’s agenda. The wording is unsettling. Elsewhere the Bobgans write the following:

Christ-centered ministry encourages spiritual growth and depends on the Lord to do the work in each individual through His Word and Spirit. Therefore, one can confidently assure believers that this ministry is more effective, long-lasting, and spiritually rewarding than problem-centered counseling for those who are willing to go this way.

Depend on the Lord to do the work? At the very least, the Bobgans need to clarify their position more thoroughly because by and large, gospel contemplationism  is the primary thrust of NANC counseling. One wonders if PAM is accusing NANC of what they are guilty of: an overly passive approach to sanctification.

And, NANC, when they were (past tense) helping many people, encouraged an aggressive role in sanctification by the counselee. Christians are called to “study to show thyself approved,” and then aggressively apply that truth to their lives in order to have a life built on a rock (Matthew 7:24).

This was NANC’s approach in the past, and it did result in massive professions of faith, and real lasting change. I know; I was there; I am a firsthand witness. This was before David Powlison via CCEF and company infiltrated NANC with the gangrene of progressive justification. Unbelievably, in broad daylight, Powlison admitted (during a lecture at John Piper’s church while Piper was on sabbatical searching for different “species of idols” in his heart) that NANC’s “first generation” counseling was in contention with “second generation counseling” over the very definition of the gospel!

And this is my point: PAM is focused on the supposed evil of “problem-centered” counseling (is the gospel itself not problem-centered? The gospel did not come to solve a problem?) while the real issue is that NANC and CCEF both propagate a blatant false gospel. The counseling is based on the fusion of justification and sanctification with gospel contemplationism as its practical application.

CCEF’s counseling is based on Sonship theology. Dr. Jay E. Adams nailed that doctrine specifically as the fusion of justification and sanctification in his book, “Biblical Sonship” published in 1999. Adams, in the book, decried Sonship’s position that regeneration is powered by the finished work of justification. CCEF then effectively infiltrated NANC and took it over with the same doctrine. I use over 200 pages to document all of this in “The Truth About New Calvinism” (thetruthaboutnewcalvinism.com).

Hence, we must assume that NANC counseling yields many ill results, and I will say this: PAM points them out though they are missing the much larger issue. Case in point:

The truth is that counselors and especially counselors with an agenda (their particular approach) too often take credit for successes and attribute failures to the counselees. The trumping truth is that success is primarily in the hands of the counselees….

And worse yet, The counselee’s “failure” ends up in church discipline!

Also:

Problem-centered counseling is typically a one-to-one relationship. Sometimes couples and families are involved, but the relationship is generally artificial and restrictive. The counseling relationship itself usually does not extend outside the counseling room. The relationship lasts as long as counseling is being provided and normally does not extend to other involvement, even in most biblical counseling centers. Problem-centered counselors commonly do not involve themselves with counselees outside the counseling room. That is why both psychological and biblical counselors sometimes use intake forms requesting a great deal of personal information. Because this relationship is generally isolated, the counselor and counselee can be selective as to what they want to reveal about themselves. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, research shows that counselees often lie to their counselors and protect themselves by concealing important information.

The great advantage of Christ-centered ministry is that it is not limited to an artificial one-to-one relationship where one has the problem and the other supposedly has the solution. In the Body of Christ all are growing together. there are many opportunities to know one another and to interact in genuine relationships. When a believer is experiencing problems, more than one person may be involved in ministering to that individual. One may be teaching. One may be reminding. Another may simply be extending support and fellowship. Another may be helping in practical ways. Another may be exhorting. Another may be admonishing. And, in a few cases, some may be exercising the responsibility of disciplining a fellow believer for the sake of restoration. But, all can be praying and encouraging the individual in the direction of the Lord. And, through all this, all are growing together and the relationships may deepen with one another as well as with the Lord.

No doubt, PAM reveals many problems with the biblical counseling movement that one may expect when it is based on a false gospel. But John Street’s real sin is his participation in a mass propagation of a false gospel. It reminds me of Eric Clapton’s ode to one who objects to being accused of shooting a deputy when he really shot the sheriff.

paul

2Corinthians 3:18: New Calvinist “Word Pictures,” and Idol Worship

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 9, 2011

“If MacArthur hasn’t bought into contemplative spirituality, where is the clarification while his verbiage mimics that of antinomians such as John Piper?”

“Please do not bore me with what you think he meant—he’s unclear and that’s on him. Furthermore, a lack of clarity regarding this issue is reckless because of what is widely taught in our day, and coupled with whom and what Phil Johnson endorses.”  

New Calvinism (NC) makes much of two primary Scriptures: Galatians 2:20 (the targeted verse for distortion among antinomians throughout the New Testament age) and 2Corinthians 3:18. It reads as follows:

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

I have chosen the NIV translation because it best fits the NC take on this passage. Supposedly, by contemplating the Lord’s glory in Scripture we are changed (the implication is by contemplation alone) from one degree of glory to the next, or “ever-increasing glory.”  The fact that this is the primary message that proponents want parishioners to get can be seen in John Piper’s mantra, “Beholding as a way of becoming.”  If there is another way equally as important in the process of change—they don’t talk about it much—if at all. To be certain, conversation about doing (biblical doing) something different as change, which one would assume is change, is avoided like the Bubonic Plague. In his endorsement of Uneclipsing The Son by Rick Holland, Phil Johnson, a close ministry associate of MacArthur, states the following:

“We become like whatever we worship (Psalm 135:15-18). So the key to sanctification and spiritual maturity is a simple principle: As we set our affections on Christ and keep Him at the center of all our thoughts, activities, desires, and ambitions, we are transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).”

Notice that Phil Johnson quotes Psalm 135: 15-18 to make his point:

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them and so will all who trust in them.”

So, in the same way that pagans become like the images they worship, we can supposedly become like Jesus by worshiping “Him,” and keeping “Him” at the center of our lives.  But what does that mean? The point of this Psalm is that men trust images that can’t instruct or impart true wisdom (they can’t speak, hear, or see). Therefore, the images represent anything the worshippers want them to represent, and then they become whatever that is. We are not to worship any image in heaven or earth because images can’t impart truth to be obeyed (Exodus 20:4-6), but using Scripture to ascertain the personhood of Christ (ie., the mantra of our day: “Christ is not a quiz—He’s a person”) rather than what He instructs is flirting with making images of Christ that are the result of our own imaginations. Johnson asserts that this nebulous concept is the “key” to spiritual maturity. I strongly disagree. Please do not bore me with what you think he meant—he’s unclear and that’s on him. Furthermore, a lack of clarity regarding this issue is reckless because of what is widely taught in our day, and coupled with whom and what Phil Johnson endorses.

In addition, is this “simple principle” more simple than learning and applying? Johnson’s statement is indicative of the new four-letter word of our age: O-B-E-Y. Note the degree to which the word and the idea is spoken of in the New Testament, and then compare that to what the spiritual rock stars of our time emphasize—hardly anything is more conspicuous.

How subtle this is; in its application to teaching, can be seen in John MacArthur’s recently published, “Slave.” The book is an excellent exposition of the fact that we are slaves to Christ, and the historical documentation/insight is most likely unmatched by anything written in recent history, but the book is all but purely descriptive and not prescriptive for our walk with Christ. In other words, it displays an awesome “picture” of what our slavery to Christ “looks like,” but very little information regarding how that fact can be specifically applied to our lives. This is a marked departure from how MacArthur taught in the past.

It is also a prism that saturates the writings of John Piper as well.  His writings are predominantly descriptive and contain little, if any instruction. Piper advocated the idea that the Gospels should be read with the sole intent of looking for “pictures of Jesus” at the 2010 T4G. Funny, Christ’s conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount was: “He who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like….” Of course, Paul David Tripp clears up the confusion caused by Jesus’ plain language by clarifying with the term, “word pictures.” Apparently, Jesus doesn’t really want us to study and apply, but rather contemplate what obedience “looks like” so our obedience will “look like” MacArthur’s description in Slave: always without hesitation and full of joy. Like his close friend John Piper, MacArthur now makes these statements without any specific qualification. In Piper’s case, he doesn’t qualify such statements because he believes joy gives obedience its moral value—one can only assume that MacArthur doesn’t qualify such statements for the same reason. Birds of the feather flock together.

Back to 2Corithians 3:18. Asserting that Paul was teaching a contemplation on the glory of Christ only as the paramount way in which we change is an assumption at best. It says both are going on at the same time, but there is no because of or a result of conjunction that also excludes anything else. Besides, this passage is best interpreted by James 1:25 which contains the same types as 2Corinthians 3:18 in context; such as, “liberty” and “mirrors[s]” (see verse 17). We are changed into the likeness of Christ by being “doers” of the word, and not hearers only. Of course, this application is only possible through our vital union with Christ—I think that is Paul’s main point in 2Corinthians, NOT  a pie in the sky obedience that flows automatically from contemplative spirituality.

If MacArthur hasn’t bought into contemplative spirituality, where is his clarification while his verbiage mimics that of antinomians such as John Piper? And, the key to spiritual growth is understanding the supposed dynamics of how worshipping an image makes us like that image? Has the key to spiritual growth become worshipping the right “picture”? Again, if biblical instruction and life application (obedience) is equally important, or just as “key” as setting our affections on “Him” and also seeing “pictures” of His “personhood,” it’s conspicuously missing.

But this is for certain: we become what is emphasized, and the emphasis of our day looks more and more like the servant who hid his talents in the ground; because supposedly, we can’t add to the faith Christ has given. Since it apparently doesn’t turn out well for that servant, perhaps we could get some clarification.

paul

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