Paul's Passing Thoughts

Ministry and the Unregenerate Spouse

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 21, 2016

ppt-jpeg4When you are born again, it is impossible to be unborn. And that’s a good thing because if there is anything that could unborn you it is what I suffered in the church for over 25 years.

On the one hand, I diligently studied the plain sense of Scripture on my own; on the other hand, I was constantly experiencing the contradictions thereof in the Baptist church. The plain contradictions were many tips of many icebergs while massive presuppositions of orthodoxy kept the rest submerged. This post regards the following presumptuous tradition:

“If God has called you, He has also called your wife.”

Really?

The apostle Paul addressed the issue of unregenerate spouses and ministry in 1Corinthians chapter 7 which can also be applied to spouses who may be saved but reject your convictions for any number of reasons.

This isn’t complicated, Paul instructed us to put ministry first while giving the spouse due respect and love. No spouse has the authority or precedent to circumvent what God has called one to do. This is what Paul meant when he wrote,

1 Corinthians 7:29 – This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Paul was writing about the benefits of being single so one can focus on ministry, but also stated in the same chapter that in either case when things are done via God’s counsel, one does well. In chapter 7, Paul explains the guidelines for every situation regarding marriage relationships, but with the final goal in all cases being, “undivided devotion to the Lord” without “restraint” in regard to what is lawful. Notice that Paul operated according to what benefitted believers, not to lord it over them. This is THE general rule whether we are talking about marriage, ministry, or assembling together.

But isn’t the man, or husband, the head of the wife according to Ephesians chapter 5? That is referring to the head of a body, not authority. The point of Ephesians 5 is oneness of body, and the direction of the body; authority is nowhere in this chapter. In this chapter, “head” should be thought of as the primary direction for life, and the same word is used in “cornerstone” or the foundational stone of a building. The word for a single rock as a foundation (Matthew 7:24, 16:18) refers to a cornerstone which is “the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure”(Wikipedia).

The fact that Christ has authority is beside the point in Ephesians chapter 5; in the same way that Christ is the chief cornerstone of the building, or the head of the body, supplying it with life-giving direction, so it should be with the husband in regard to his wife. Like Christ and the church, the husband should sanctify his wife with the word. If he fails in that endeavor, he hates his own body; the husband and wife are one body. The wife should respect the husband as the head as the church respects Christ as the head. She should seek his leadership accordingly as the husband is led by Christ. And excuse me, but this pertains to being led by Christ, THE head of THE body (notice the emphasis on the singular), not a bunch of narcissistic Reformed elders. They, that is, elders, are nowhere to be found in Ephesians five. The elders are in no wise the cornerstone of your family nor does Scripture ever give them that authority by any stretch of the imagination.

But, in the same way that it does not benefit the husband in not following Christ, it does not benefit the wife in not following the husband IF, I repeat, “IF” he is making a reasonable and truthful attempt to follow Christ. A wife is NOT, I repeat “NOT” obligated to obey a foolish husband who professes a false gospel, nor does he have the authority to prevent her from following Christ in spirit and truth.

Even the apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (NIV). Husbands get no special privilege on this wise. “Head” doesn’t mean “boss,” it means “leader.” It refers to the role of being a true cornerstone that results in a strong building or in this case, body. Viz, a house that can withstand the storms of life. Wives should not reject a good cornerstone like the Jews rejected Christ.

Note that in cases where the husband is clearly lost, but pleased to dwell with the saved wife, the saved wife has a sanctifying effect on the family and the children are not defiled:

1Corinthians 7:12 – To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Great help is gained here if we will take note of what Andy Young taught about sanctification at our TANC 2014 conference: holiness, or sanctification, has to do with being set apart as “unordinary.” Because of the saved spouse’s unity with a family that is pleased to live with her/him, to some degree, the family is set apart and blessed because of the presence of the saved spouse.

Of course, this would be of no effect if the saved spouse is being led by the lost family members. If a saved wife is following a lost husband in every regard, there is no sanctifying effect; sanctification is not merely a label, but an active reality. To a degree contrary to what would normally take place, the sanctifying effect of the saved spouse prevents the children from being defiled by unholy living. This also puts the unsaved family members in a more favorable position for possible salvation, but if the unsaved spouse departs…

“…let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

I contend that the departing of the unsaved should be directly contrasted with being pleased (“consent”) to dwell with the saved spouse. The word in verses 12 and 13 follows:

g4909. συνευδοκέω syneudokeō; from 4862 and 2106; to think well of in common, i.e. assent to, feel gratified with: — allow, assent, be pleased, have pleasure. To be pleased together with, to approve together (with others) to be pleased at the same time with, consent, agree, applaud.

A mere living under the same roof is not in view here. The separation refers to disapproval in living with the other spouse as something to be rejected and not applauded. Additionally, if adultery can be committed in one’s heart, so can divorce. Remaining in the same house for ulterior motives does not constitute non-departure or lack of divorce; the saved spouse is not enslaved to that situation either, and in contrast, is called to peace.

Moreover, and back to Ephesians chapter 5, authority is not in view, but rather mutual submission to needs. Emphasis mine:

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time because the days are evil. [Like 1Cor 7 and emphasis on the shortness of time.] 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.[This all goes back to verse 21 concerning mutual submission.]

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,[Submission to a need.] 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.[Oneness is the issue, not authority] 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.[Like the church has reverence for Christ.]

In summation, though Christ has authority, it is not His application to the body, nor is there any authoritative or rulership gifts in the body or marriage. Christ always submitted to need, exhorted, taught, rebuked, and persuaded, but never exercised authority or compelled His assembly to obey by force. There are but a precious few examples among the combined activities of Christ and the apostles where a possible argument could be made, but they are the exceptions and far from being the rule.

Lack of oneness among spouses should not circumvent ministry or our debt of love to the body. Period. However, in these very difficult situations, every believer needs to weigh the Scriptures carefully and stay true to their consciences.

paul

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The Unauthorized Patience of the Elect: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 19, 2016

ppt-jpeg4One of the many callings of believers is to fully embrace and love difficult people who profess to be believers. I believe home fellowships are better equipped to do this than the institutional church by far. This culture is awash with people, many of whom are professing believers, who have personality disorders. These are people who have developed patterns and habits of thinking that cause them to be completely off the tracks socially. Since the government ran out of money and can no longer afford to institutionalize these people, they are among us. If they are older, some can be put in nursing homes where their social security will be confiscated in exchange for medicating them until they die.

Welcome to real believeism. We are not here for our best life now, we are here on assignment. We are ambassadors representing God’s kingdom. We are also literally God’s family. Thy brother may be bi-polar, ahhhmen. We are God’s elect. That doesn’t mean we were elected individually, it means God elected the means of salvation and the types of people he would primarily call. The sterilized institutional church and all of its aristocracy is an usurper—that is not what God elected. Certainly they are welcome if they want to come, but they were never the primary target in regard to what God elected.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose [elected] what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose [elected] what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose [elected] what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Look, I have been around church long enough to know that churchians don’t want to deal with the socially awkward, but I think the focus of Christ’s ministry is fairly obvious; He sought out the misfits of the world and all but completely ignored the religious academics of that time. The New Testament documents the indignation of the elitists accordingly. Come now, let’s think about this: Christianity is about conferences in Palm Springs hosted by celebrity pastors and $350.00 entry fees? And Caribbean Cruises hosted by celebrity pastors? Really? Have we lost our minds?

Church is where you get your ongoing salvation, and Christian living that glorifies God is barely on the radar screen. While the church mocks self-sufficiency, its worldly natural selection produces such. What better describes the present-day megachurch culture than, “We are rich and have need of nothing.” And don’t give me a load of crap regarding the institutional church’s token ministries for purposes of window dressing; we all know what its core constituency is. Those prone to lesser death are left to feed the ego of praise bands while those less disciplined are dumped out on the streets via ostracization for the world to deal with…while professing Christ.

So, we have a good reminder in 1Thessolonians 5:12-28 that believeism embraces the elect. That’s our calling. Like Christ, we are not looking to add Jeeesuuuus to mundane suburbia, we embrace difficult people with patience and wisdom. And it will take patience, active love, and good verbal judo. Let’s first take note of who this letter is written to; it is written to all Christians at large, as with all of God’s revelation. God writes letters addressed to mankind, and then religious academics claim that only they can properly interpret the letters. We need to stop buying into this silliness yesterday. Look at the obviousness of this:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you…See that no one repays anyone evil for evil…I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

First of all, obviously, this letter, like most from the apostles (note “we” throughout) is not written particularly to the leadership gifted to warn and protect God’s people from the gangrene of doctrinal error. It is written to the saints at large. Christ’s body is a unified body of gifts working together for a common cause with Him being the ONLY authority…period. That’s why God speaks to the whole family. The leaders and doctrinal discerners are merely gifted body parts, not authoritarians. In fact, note the tendency that Paul often addressed among believers at that time to not respect the ministers of the word. Also note that the word translated “over you” is the word “hymōn” which is usually translated “of you,” not “over you.” The word is simply the personal pronoun, “you.” The liberties taken by English translations that mostly come from the Reformers would be hilarious if not so scandalous in making this a case for elder authority. It’s just not there by any stretch of grammatical imagination. The Complete Jewish Bible probably captures a good sense of this verse:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are working hard among you, those who are guiding you in the Lord and confronting you in order to help you change.

Also note who has been charged with making sure things are executed correctly: “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil,” viz, EVERYONE is to “see” to it. This same pattern saturates the New Testament. EVERYONE is responsible to see that things are done correctly before Christ—this is not the particular role of elders. I could go on and on here, but I would add counseling to that list as well (Romans 15:14).

And who is charged with making sure this letter is read to all of the brothers? Answer: all of the brothers. Any questions?

The first type of believer Paul notes is the ataktos. They are generally disorganized and unproductive. They are unmotivated in general. Paul, in representing the apostles in this letter, says to noutheteó them. In other words, counsel them. We are to stir their gift up within them. Susan and I are presently working with a precious believer that is presently unmotivated due to some significant trials in her life. One particular trial is defining her whole life. Come to find out yesterday that she is an accomplished piano player. Guess who will soon be receiving a piano? This is how it works. This is our charge.

The second type (for lack of a better term) of believer that Paul addresses is the oligopsuchos—they are faint-hearted, and given to fear. We are to paramutheomai them. That is, we are to encourage them, and make them feel protected, because we do protect them. Home fellowships are ideal environments for these tendencies and needs to be revealed.

Thirdly, Paul says to antechó the asthenés. We are to “hold fast” and “cling to” those who are weak and sickly. But guess what? These will also be prone to lack of motivation and fear. We are to “hold fast” to them. We are to “cling to them.” These characteristics often abide together through cause and effect.

And it will take patience. These are difficult people to deal with as they lash out at the world in fear and confusion. If we are not careful, we will even find ourselves, repaying evil for evil instead of holding fast to them. This is where the rubber of believeism meets the road. This is where we walk in the footsteps of Christ.

This is our calling. This is what makes us the elect. This is family. This is the kingdom. This is our apostolic charge. Aristocracy is most welcome, but check your authority at the door. We have no Lord but Christ, and our only law is love.

paul

Looking For a Place to Tithe?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 20, 2012

Bottom line: not one red, or brown penny of mine goes anywhere that could end up buying a pencil for an organization that even associates with New Calvinism; or, any ministry that looks the other way in regard to abuse. That narrows it down. The following is why 100% of our tithe goes to New Day Christian Ministry in Puerto Rico. They have a financial and educational ministry to a network of churches in Africa. Their latest newsletter following speaks for itself:

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