Paul's Passing Thoughts

Protestantism: A Defintion

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 13, 2016

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 14, 2015

project-2016-logo-4With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to ‘bitterness,’ and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?”

When it gets right down to it, collectivism is a metaphysical pipe dream. The idea that a select few can rule over the masses for the sake of the masses is always a house of cards waiting to fall when too many people get the same idea. God created us as free individuals, and ultimately, majority rules if it wants to; it’s a matter of numbers and the reality that a government is made up of people and you can’t have a government if the government kills everyone. It’s self defeating, so in the final analysis, collectivists must depend on propaganda and misinformation to get cooperation.

So what holds the whole thing together? If man, in reality, self-governs, what prevents total chaos? Here is the answer: man is basically good. Man is also capable. The Bible makes this absolutely clear (Romans 2:14,15). Every person born into the world is created by God with His law written on their hearts. They are also born with a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them. This is why lie detectors work: when the conscience indicts someone, the body reacts physiologically. The conscience is a judge that sees your inner self hidden away from others and punishes you with guilty feelings and fear. Guilt can utterly destroy a person and often does. Many psychologists attribute at least 90% of all mental illness to a guilty conscience. In contrast, people feel good about themselves when they behave honorably. There is no question that much mental illness comes from physiological imbalance, but the question remains as to which comes first: bad choices or the fallout from the choices?

How does Christian carte blanche forgiveness circumvent this whole natural process and create a perfect environment in the church for evil to ply its trade? Answer: carte blanche forgiveness is a symptom of the church’s contra-reality view of man; he is basically evil and unable. This concept of forgiveness flows from false presuppositions concerning mankind. But, as we shall see, the “unable” aspect is just as important to understand as the basically evil element. In the balance is also a proper perspective on justice.

Let’s make an initial point lest we forget. With all of the hoopla about anger over being wronged turning to “bitterness,” and thus destroying us, where is the same angst about people being destroyed by guilt? Yes friends, that is conspicuously missing. Yet, while there is abundant evidence that guilt destroys, the Bible never states that people are destroyed by anger towards injustice; to the contrary, anger over injustice provokes people to defend righteousness. Why is the focal point righteous indignation in contrast to an emphasis on the real destroyer, GUILT?

The starting point to answering these questions, once again, starts with presuppositions concerning mankind. Blank check forgiveness flows from these presuppositions; therefore, proponents will defend the talking points no matter how illogical. Do people often drive you completely nuts with their illogical arguments? It’s because their arguments flow from certain presuppositions. And, that logic also drives their mentality and behavior.

The first proposition is that man is basically evil, and therefore, has no rightful claim to fair treatment. Justice is strictly vertical, or from God’s perspective only because He is the only good. Hence, God is the only one who deserves justice. All sin is against God only as it is ridiculous for thieves who steal from each other to call each other thieves with a clamoring for justice; horizontal justice becomes a ridiculous notion. Of course, no one would verbalize that outright, but this logic manifests itself in indifference towards sin and justice.

But this ideology, which sprang forth from the Protestant Reformation, does not stop with the idea that people are partially evil and partially good. And before we move on, it must also be said that this ideology was hardly unique to the Reformation; the Reformers borrowed it from run of the mill ancient philosophy and put their own biblical spin on it. This is where the ancient philosophy of total inability comes into play. The standard for creating a strict dichotomy between man and ability varies greatly in the ancient philosophies, but our focus here examines how the Reformers used the law of God to create that dichotomy; one infraction renders man totally unable. Man is a pure sinner because he is not perfect. If man is not perfect—all bets are off. There is but one reality: 100% perfection, or 100% evil. And, this is key: salvation is defined by merely knowing this. The idea that any man can do any good is the paramount false gospel according to the Protestant Reformation.

So, you say you want justice because someone wronged you? Well… “He who has no sin throw the first stone.” In this typical twisting of Scripture to support a false premise, the “stone” represents justice. And since we all have sin which proves that we are purely evil and unable to do good, the stone of justice needs to be left on the ground lest we be hypocrites and destroyed by a longing for justice that will lead to the dreaded “bitterness.” Again, concern over the destructive emotion of guilt can hardly be found anywhere. Why? Because that emotion is actually deemed healthy because we are all guilty all of the time. Anger over sin leads to “bitterness.” A recognition of our guilt leads to “humbleness.” In fact, counsel that we hear often from the Protestant elite prescribes a return to the gospel as a medicine for guilt, not repentance towards those whom we have wronged. As far as remedy for the unrepentant that have wronged us, the prescription is the SAME via, “Forgive others the same way you have been forgiven.” The immediate illogical contradiction that comes to mind is the fact that God’s forgiveness is contingent on repentance.

In the next part, we will further examine these illogical presuppositions and how it creates a perfect environment for evil to ply its trade. The unthinkable is the realty: presuppositions concerning mankind either foster or restrain evil. The ideology determines whether or not evil has a healthy environment for breeding. In reality, is the unhealthy environment inside, or outside of church?

paul

Paris, Prayer, and the Evangelical State of Islam

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 17, 2015

project-2016-logo-4Let me clarify something in the beginning of this post: The Paris terrorist attack was NOT God’s will. Secondly, God didn’t use ISIS to judge Paris or France in general. Thirdly, stop praying that God will spare America from an attack if “it be thy will.” Trust me, it’s not God’s will that anyone dies ever. God hates death, period. And lastly, but by no means leastly, stop warning America to repent lest it suffer the same judgment from God. Westboro Baptist church much?

Why do Protestants, Baptists, Catholics, and evangelicals in general pray like this? Well, I could push the easy button and say it’s because we are among the most ignorant misinformed people on the face of the earth, and that would be true, but the fact is that these prayers reflect the worldview and doctrine of the Protestant forefathers.

What was that worldview? Simply stated, the material world is evil, and of course that includes material beings. Like all pagan religions founded on the garden disputation, the goal is freedom to perceive well-being without any real participation in it other than the disparaging of all things material. If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know Luther believed that ALL spiritual perception comes through suffering. Ignorant evangelicals deny this theses out of hand because purist Reformation ideology has been watered down over time, but they at least function according to the original principles because as the saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Hence, these prayers are grounded in the ancient idea that all things material are evil, and to the point that it is destroyed, goodness is perceived and experienced though not effected by any act of the homosapien, e.g., “I didn’t do it! The Holy Spirit did it!” Sound familiar?

Therefore, knowing that it is our “natural” inclination to avoid the suffering that would do us good, we take “not my will Father, but your will” (which is supposedly suffering) completely out of context and invoke it into prayer such as the aforementioned. It was certainly God’s will that Christ suffered, but that doesn’t make suffering a good thing, nor does it make suffering the primary epistemology. This bypasses God’s just character and His demand for justice in the world. So consequently there is little justice in the church accordingly, and it is replaced with “forgive others as Christ forgave you,” also taken out of context. Injustice is tolerated in the church for three simple reasons: 1. It’s God’s will 2. Suffering dissuades focus on worldly things and forces us to focus on God (Luther/Calvin) 3. Only suffering leads to increased spiritual well-being. So, yes, what happened to you when you were raped by deacon Don in the hallway closet was absolutely horrible! But…it is God’s will for you to suffer, we should forgive others the way we are forgiven, and if this event becomes public the church will be harmed, and per the Reformers as well, the church is the only way to heaven. If you don’t suck it up and forgive deacon Don, “people will go to hell and their blood will be on your hands.” Sound familiar?

As I am well reminded in my present research for the TANC 2016 project, the undisputed Doctor of the Church for both Catholics and Protestants is Saint Augustine who was an unabashed Platonist. It’s just this simple: Protestantism is fundamentally a Platonist religion, this is simply unambiguous history, and though most Protestants are unaware of this, the fact is often revealed in their mindless truisms, viz, stuff that happens really isn’t done by us if it’s a good work, God preordains death and disaster because everyone deserves hell and anything short of that is “grace,” and a general indifference to justice accordingly. Furthermore, this can also be seen in the average parishioner’s aversion to knowledge as unspiritual. This is a consummate Platonist principle; mankind cannot comprehend reality, and needs preordained gifted mediators to lead others unquestioned. In other words, knowledge is arrogance and refuses to “submit itself to God’s anointed.” This is right out of Plato’s philosophical playbook.

Take note of something if you will: while the present-day evangelical church is hellbent on following the Neo-Calvinist movement, note carefully their commentary on all things ISIS. Have you noticed the lack of outrage? In fact, how many posts would you like to be referred to that actually have a hint of endorsement of ISIS from the who’s who of the Neo-Calvinist movement such as John Piper and Al Mohler? Why is this? Because the fundamental worldview is the same: 1. The material world is evil 2. God preordains seers to obtain unity 3. Unity is based on the submission to authority granted to the seers by God 4. To enforce the orthodoxy of the seers is “just war.” Listen, whether Catholic or Protestant, history shows that enforcing orthodoxy by the sword has always been the policy of both. Read the Westminster Confession for yourself rather than taking the pastor’s word for what’s in there. Besides, he’s only telling you what Al Mohler and John Piper told him.

And look, enforced orthodoxy is not only a Platonist fundamental, but has always been, and always will be a Protestant fundamental principle of orthodoxy. The American Revolution screwed that up, and hence, the Neo-Calvinist disdain for American nationalism. Yes, yes, I know the shtick, we have made Americanism a god, blah, blah, blah, but that is entirely disingenuous. Protestantism, like ISIS, is totally all about enforcing orthodoxy through the state, and ALWAYS has been, and ALWAYS will be. The tension between its church-state lust and filthy America is heard in this prayer…

“Hey America, you better ‘repent’ and turn to God (orthodoxy) or he will judge you! See, see, see what happened on 9/11? You guys better listen to us and do what we say!”

Yes, in the minds of the Neo-Calvinists, and they have as much said it outright, 9/11 was a backdoor enforcement of Protestant orthodoxy akin to the long lost glory days of the Protestant church-state under Augustine who they claim as “the one who returned us to the ancient faith” (B.B. Warfield). Indeed he did. And yes indeed, if America doesn’t start letting God’s anointed run the show, we can expect terror attacks in the future. Read their posts carefully; what did Al Mohler mean when he said “one man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot”?  Creepy much?

ISIS and evangelicals make strange bedfellows, but nevertheless, the tie that binds can be heard in their prayers.

paul

Clarification From Galatians 3: The Trinity is Not a Paradox, Christians Don’t Live by Faith Alone, and the Covenant of Promise Defined

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 21, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Again, it’s the same gospel with Jesus added as perfect law-keeper; it fuses law with gospel. That’s what the Judaizers did, and that’s what Protestant elders do…There is no law in perfection; there is only law in love.”

All of true Israel will be saved. That’s the promise made to Abraham, and from that promise all the nations find their salvation as well. Any denial of a future redemption of national Israel according to its original identity is a plenary rejection of the gospel.”

Do you believe a gospel that makes the New Covenant a fulfillment of the Old Covenant rather than an ending of it for those who believe? Have you substituted the fulfillment of the New Covenant via love for a substitutionary fulfillment of the covenant of death? This is what sets the covenant of promise apart from all other gospels. If you are a true Christian, you don’t live by faith alone, you live by love alone, and you are the one doing the loving because you are free from condemnation. Your love is not a substitution; Christ’s death is the only substitution that sets you free to love without fear of condemnation.”

Galatians chapter 3 corrects some significant misnomers that routinely plague those who have to listen to incessant Christian blathering coming from the same who are completely comfortable with contradictions. Faith has become a license for mindlessness, and paradox is now a legitimate hermeneutic.

Since the Bible says God is one person, and also three persons, and the Bible cannot contradict itself, gee whiz, that’s a paradox, and gee whiz, there must be other paradoxes in the Bible as well, and gee whiz, only our “leaders” (dictators) know what a paradox is or isn’t. So, another paradox is the idea that Christians do things by faith alone. We do stuff, but we are not really the ones doing it. “Christians” are very comfortable with this lingo: we didn’t do it, when clearly we did do it, but supposedly, Jesus really did it, lest we get credit for the deed even though Jesus does assign merit for good deeds, but to whom is unclear since we didn’t do it.

And of course, supposedly, people don’t buy into this nonsense because it’s nonsense, but are rather “totally depraved” and will accept the offer of salvation if it is really a promise made to them even though God tells us to tell them that the promise is to them though it may not be. And so it goes; we will pay someone 85,000 dollars a year with a hefty medical package to say things like, “You don’t keep the law by keeping the law.”1 Our job is to say “amen” in between sips of coffee served up from the large vat in the lobby. If the coffee has a little burn in the taste, we wonder, “Is this the day, or just another dry run?”

I am not going to get into the trinity debate, but rather, the point of this post is that the Bible isn’t making a statement about the trinity when it states that God is one. The biblical idea is a statement that makes it clear that there are no other mediators between God and man other than God Himself. Galatians chapter 3 makes this clear. Hence, Protestant popes love to keep the masses distracted with debates about paradoxes lest we figure out that God was drawing a contrast between Himself and them who will travel land, sea, and air to make someone three times the child of hell that they are. And of course, paid for by the Protestant peasantry enslaved to the material world and its knowledge. And of course, from that perspective, spiritual truth can be expected to appear as paradox. In fact, those who demand a logical exegesis of Scripture are deemed as lacking faith, and making Jesus a “precept rather than a person.” By the way, the idea of faith over logic/reason was a major clarion call of the Nazi party during its formative years and expressly Lutheran in origin.2

Galatians chapter 3 is a vivid clarification of the relationship between law and gospel—or better stated biblically, the relationship between law and promise which also excludes every kind of mediator other than God Himself. This is one of the major points of Galatians 3. Paul begins by stating the following in his epistle to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

The dictators of the Protestant super-cult focus on the words, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” The case is therefore made that we must be perfected the same way we began. This is the Protestant false gospel of progressive justification in a nutshell. It begins with the idea that perfection, viz, justification, is a process. And next, we keep that process going by faith alone. And next, if we live by some sort of faith-alone formula, the same formula that originally saved us, the Holy Spirit will continue to keep us justified. In other words, we have to live by the same gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved which is backdoor works salvation.

What is Paul really saying? His rhetorical question focuses on the erroneous idea that “perfection” (justification) is based on a process. The crux is any kind of process period, but in this case, the process involves the law of Moses. Protestantism uses this text to make the exact case that Paul is arguing against. Except, they add the law to the process in the same way that the Judaizers did albeit in a less direct way. Take note: the very false gospel that Paul is arguing against in Galatians 3 is the same gospel propagated by Protestantism in our day, and the exact same gospel that the Judaizers propagated with Jesus added. In this letter, Paul argues that law cannot be part of the gospel because that would make the law a co-mediator/life-giver with God, and only God can give life. The Judaizers taught that the law does give life, and that “believers” have to continue to draw life and justification from the law.3

But we must now stop and define what Paul meant by “law” in context of keeping it for justification. Judaizer-like false gospels never promote a truthful and perfect keeping of the law in order to remain justified because they know that’s impossible. So, the traditions of men are added as a Cliff Notes keeping of the law that fulfills the “righteous demands of the law.”4 Men are mediators between God and mankind that determine the sub-law that satisfies the holy law, and supposedly, they are appointed by God. Luther and Calvin merely added Jesus to this idea. If we obey the “Christ-centered,” “gospel-centered,” orthodoxy of Protestant elders, Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law of Moses will be imputed to our account, and we will remain “perfect” or justified. Again, it’s the same gospel with Jesus added as perfect law-keeper; it fuses law with gospel. That’s what the Judaizers did, and that’s what Protestant elders do.

Let’s nail this down a little more before we progress further. It entails an understanding of what Paul meant by the receiving of the Spirit. That’s the new birth. That’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That changes the believers relationship to the law. Paul’s protest regards the fusion of the law of Moses with perfection which takes place upon the receiving of the Spirit. Paul is protesting a progression or process of perfection by law-keeping. The Judaizers propagated a fulfilling of the law for righteousness via adherence to their traditions5 whereas Protestants demand an adherence to their traditions which supposedly results in Jesus’ perfect law keeping being imputed to the “believer.”

Paul said, in essence, “No, if you want to be justified (perfected) by the law of Moses (the law of sin and death), you have to keep it perfectly. No, circumcision and the observance of days is not a substitution for fulfillment of the law. The law has no part in justification, one is justified (perfected) by the new birth that is received by faith alone. The justified are not justified by the law—law-keeping is what they do, but it is not the law of sin and death for purposes of law-keeping, it is the law of the Spirit of life for purposes of love. There is no law in perfection; there is only law in love.” Hence…

Galatians 4:10 – You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain…21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?…5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace…6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

In addition, the law being the standard for justification rather than the receiving of the Spirit always leads to a “relaxing of the law” (Matt 5:19). Why? Because some dumbing down of the law as a replacement for true law-keeping for love, or faith working through love, always leads to neglect of the law and true love accordingly. Hence…

Galatians 2:17 – But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God…5:7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you…13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

The fulfillment of Moses’ law, the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), cannot be fulfilled for justification, but said false gospel (Gal 1:6ff.) attempts to do so through mediation in addition to God. This always leads to a dumbing down of the law for purposes of justification. The traditions of men end up being a cloak for unrighteousness under the auspices of being friends of the law. Tradition fulfills the law as a standard for righteousness when the real standard for righteousness is the new birth resulting in the loving of God’s law for purposes of loving God and others, not justification. Justification is a finished work totally apart from the law of sin and death; the only work left is “faith working through love.”

Sure, we don’t do that perfectly, but in regard to justification, so what? The motives of those born of God are love because part and parcel with the new birth is a love for the truth (2Thess 2:10). The law’s ability to condemn was ended by Christ (Rom 10:4) and where there is no law there is NO sin (Rom 4:15). If you now say: “So, the law is the Spirit’s law, and for those who are under law, He uses it to condemn them, but to those who have received Him, He uses it to lead them”; you rightly assess with an additional caveat…Moses’ law of sin and death, while being a ministry of death, still serves the same purpose for New Testament unbelievers as it did for Old Testament believers, that is, it holds sin captive until they believe in Christ, then their sins are ended along with the law that the old them was under, but one who is dead is no longer under the jurisdiction of law that can condemn6 (Romans 7:1-6). Those who receive the Spirit are now free to “serve another” (Rom 6:6). The “new life of the Spirit” enables us to fulfill the law in our acts of love (Rom 8:1-8). The apostle Paul develops these same ideas as we move along in Galatians 3.

Galatians 3:7 –  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

This is set against what the Judaizers were telling the Galatians. They were telling the Galatians that in order to be a true son of Abraham, you have to follow the recognition of days and circumcision; traditions that supposedly satisfied the law of Moses. Paul wrote this letter to set them straight. Paul wrote the letter to explain how one becomes a true son of Abraham, the man of faith. Note that the baptism of the Spirit is somewhat different from the new birth. As we will see in chapter 3 of this letter, the law of Moses had a particular purpose: to hold all sin captive. As the law increased, so did sin, but all sin is against the law (1Jn 3:4) and imputed to the law; the law of sin and death holds sin captive.

Old Testament believers were born again and ministered to by the Spirit, but their sins were still held captive by the law because the promise of the Spirit had not yet come. The promise of the Spirit would resurrect Christ from the grave who had already ended the law and its condemnation by dying on the cross, and baptize Jew and Gentile into one body.7 The promise of the Spirit was therefore to Abraham and Christ both (Gal 3:16). As King David had prophesied, God would not leave Christ in the grave to see corruption (Acts 2:27, 31, Ps 16:10).

Until then, Old Testament believers dwelt in a place called Hades which was divided into two parts with a gulf separating them (Luke 16:19-31). One side was occupied by those under law and its condemnation, and the other side was occupied by “the captives.” Why were they called “the captives”? Because Jesus had not yet ended the law’s condemnation, and the saints were yet held captive by the law. While Christ was in the grave, he went to Hades and proclaimed victory to the captives, and when the Spirit resurrected Him, according to the promise, He led the captives out of captivity because the law was ended (Eph 4:8, Ps 68:18, 1Pet 3:19). This is the gospel that God preached to Abraham face to face.

Galatians 3:10  – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Paul is telling the Gentile Galatians, as a Jew of the Jews, that they were part of the gospel from the beginning, and are given access to the commonwealth of elect Israel (Eph 2:12) in the same way that Abraham was saved, by faith alone completely apart from the law. Paul will go on to argue that if the law is justification’s standard, the law is an additional seed, or offspring. In other words, the law is a co-life-giver with God. This is the crux of “one God.” However, don’t misunderstand and think that the law cannot give life to anyone for it can, but not those who are under its condemnation. It is impossible as Paul stated in Romans 8 for anyone under the curse of the law to find life in the law. That’s what Paul is stating here in Gal 3:10-14. Believers “live” (are justified) by faith alone in the free gift of the promise completely apart from the law. Those under grace love God’s law (Ps 119) and it can, in fact, give life to those who are born again (Jn 17:17, 1Pet 2:2).8

Those under the law can only find condemnation in the law. They can only receive the free gift by faith alone in the death and resurrection of Christ.9 When they believe, the Spirit falls on them,10 puts them to death with Christ, and thereby ending the law that all of their sins are against and imputed to, and resurrects them to new life in Christ where they walk according to the Spirit and find life in obedience to the Spirit’s law… “If you love me, keep my commandments.”11 The believer does not question motives in obedience—they know they cannot be justified by the law. They know they are justified by the new birth apart from the law. Paul furthers the point this way:

Galatians 3:15  – To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

It simply boils down to this: justification is completely void of law (Rom 3:19, 21, 28). Salvation and new birth come by believing the promise of miraculous new birth:

Romans 9:9  – For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,

And…“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’” What did he believe exactly? He believed that God would bring about miraculous new birth demonstrated in Sarah, make his descendants like the sand of the sea, bless the Gentiles through him as well, and that his offspring would live forever in a city built by God (Heb 11:8-12). The miraculous conceptions of Sarah, Rebekah, Elizabeth, and Mary are not mere fodder for mystery, but speak of miraculous new birth and God’s elected means for the promised free gift. It’s by new birth, not law. There is no law in justification; the law is a protector that holds our sin captive until faith comes. Faith only believes in the promise like Abraham—the law did not come until 430 years after God made a covenant with him; the free gift—the promise. The law in NO WAY “ratified” the original covenant which had no law, but was based on the promise to Abraham and the ONE seed, Christ.

Why then the law?

Galatians 3:19  – Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

This brings us almost full circle. The law of Moses was put into place by angels on Mount Sinai in the apocalyptic event recorded in the Old Testament. Moses was the mediator, but he was the mediator for a ministry of death:

2Corinthians 3:7 – Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Note that Moses’ ministry of death has not completely ended, but is in the process of being abolished (Heb 8:13). Why? Because it still serves a purpose. It will be used to condemn those under it if they do not rid themselves of it. Meanwhile, all sin is imputed to it:

Hebrews 9:15  – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Note that “a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” That’s because all sin is committed under the first covenant. If the first covenant is completely abolished, there is no sin for anyone. This is why unbelievers are “under law” (Rom 6:14). However, note that Christ has already ended the sin under that covenant for those who believe. The law, both that of the conscience written on every heart (Rom 2:14-16) and the Bible, is a “guardian” (protector) of which all sin is imputed and held captive, and also drives people towards a solution to its condemnation; that solution being the mediator of a better covenant. Again, this brings us full circle to the meaning of God being one, it refers to ONE MEDIATOR: “Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.” Also, it refers to the idea that God is the only life-giver as well:

Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Even though the law has no part of new birth or justification, viz, perfection, it is not contrary to the promise. Why? Because it takes all sin captive until faith comes, and its condemnation drives one to the mediator of the better covenant, the ONE mediator, Christ. Moses is not a mediator of a covenant that can give life, but yet he is not a mediator of a covenant that is contrary to the promise.

On the flip side, once a person receives the Spirit apart from the law (Gal 3:2), the law can in fact give life:

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Of course, the new birth guarantees eternal life and cancels the law’s ability to condemn, but the believer can “love life and see good days” in the present via love, or obedience to the law (1Pet 3:10). In other words, one must use the law of God “lawfully” (1Tim 1:8). Not in any regard for justification, but for love. The law cannot under any circumstance give life for justification, but as the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2), it enables us to serve God in the new way of the Spirit found in the Bible (Rom 7:6, 25).

Due to the weakness of the flesh, NOT the inherent evil of the flesh which is a Gnostic misnomer,12 the Christian can still be tempted to sin through “sinful desires.” The power of sin is broken because sin is empowered by its ability to condemn13 through the use of the law of sin and death:

1Corinthians 15:56  – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before one is saved and under the condemnation of the law, the law that the unsaved have no love for provokes them to sin with strong desires lending assistance as well. The law, for them, actually makes sin come alive leading to death (Rom 7:7ff.). In the believer, sin is no longer empowered by the condemnation of the law, but sinful desires still exist. However, obeying sinful desires as opposed to the desires of the Spirit defined by Scripture can enslave a Christian to a particular sin (Rom 6:16). Providing provisions to sin can produce overwhelming desires that can control us (Rom 13:14). Wrong thinking or beliefs, in short, false doctrine, also contributes to God’s children leading confused and defeated lives.

What is the New Covenant?

The New Covenant is the second part of the covenant of promise. The Old Covenant was the first part, the New Covenant is the second part of the same covenant of promise.14 The promises (plural) are the other covenants that are the building blocks of the covenant of promise (Eph 2:12). The New Covenant was made to Israel and the father of that nation from which all other nations will be blessed. The Old Covenant proclaimed the New Covenant and held sin captive until Christ came to die. In this way, the Old Covenant was the family will executed upon Christ’s death. Old Testament believers were written into the will/inheritance:

Hebrews 9:15 – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, and Christ is the mediator of the New, but it is only the New Covenant that gives life. The Old is in no way contrary to the promise (Gal 3:21), but is a ministry of death that serves two purposes: it holds sin captive until faith comes, and will judge those who are under it. The angels are the enforcers of both covenants. They enforced the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai, and will enforce the New Covenant as detailed in the book of Revelation towards completion of the one covenant of promise. The angels are also ministers to the overall covenant of promise throughout time. Hence, their emphasis in regard to the tabernacle etc.

The New Covenant was made to Israel specifically (Jeremiah 31) because they are God’s elect people/nation from which all nations will be blessed. The New Covenant fulfilled the Old Covenant will, and baptized the Gentiles into the commonwealth of Israel. Part of the New Covenant plan was to use the baptism of the Gentiles into the family of God and its commonwealth to make the Jews jealous:

Deuteronomy 32:21 – They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

However, the New Covenant, which promises Israel eternal peace and safety in their own land, will finally be consummated after the fullness of the Gentiles come in:

Romans 11:25 – Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

All of true Israel will be saved. That’s the promise made to Abraham, and from that promise all the nations find their salvation as well. Any denial of a future redemption of national Israel according to its original identity is a plenary rejection of the gospel.

The covenant of promise is a gospel that stands in contrast to all other gospels which make the law of sin and death the standard for righteousness and a co-life-giver with God. There is only one mediator of life. Christ did not come to fulfill the law of sin and death, the Old Covenant, which holds sin captive. He came to end that law for those who believe. Nor did Christ come to be a substitute for that law in the lives of believers for that law is for the unbelieving—not the saved.15 Instead, Christ came to set the captives free from that law in order to serve the righteousness of the law in loving service with no fear of condemnation. There is no fear in love because fear has to do with judgment (1Jn 4:16-19). However, there is a fear of present consequences for obeying sinful desires as we work out our other “salvation” so to speak: the saving of ourselves from potential death that still dwells in the mortal body, and from which we will be saved from in the future, also known as “redemption.”16 Justification and obedience in sanctification ending in redemption should not be confused.

Do you believe a gospel that makes the New Covenant a fulfillment of the Old Covenant rather than an ending of it for those who believe? Have you substituted the fulfillment of the New Covenant via love for a substitutionary fulfillment of the covenant of death? This is what sets the covenant of promise apart from all other gospels.

If you are a true Christian, you don’t live by faith alone, you live by love alone, and you are the one doing the loving because you are free from condemnation. Your love is not a substitution; Christ’s death is the only substitution that sets you free to love without fear of condemnation.

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1Pastor Jon Young: Dayton Avenue Baptist Church, Xenia, OH.

3https://paulspassingthoughts.com/2015/01/04/the-potters-house-biblical-covenants-an-overview-and-relevance-to-the-gospel-parts-1-2/ Note citation about perpetually offering the obedience of Christ to God for the satisfying of the law.

4In the Protestant case, rituals that satisfy the law by imputing Christ’s perfect obedience to the law. One of these is church membership which is considered to be one of the “means of grace” found in the institutional church.

5This was an often cited indictment by Jesus against the Pharisees who were rank antinomians for that very reason.

6This is also the real point behind Galatians 2:20 which is a justification verse, not a sanctification verse.

7The book of Acts is the historical account of what Paul is writing about in Galatians 3.

8For the unbeliever the law is death, for the believer it is life.

9Note that Paul emphasizes Christ’s death in the receiving of the Spirit, not Christ’s law-keeping (Gal 3:1ff.).

10As seen all through the book of Acts per the order of salvation: 1. The hearing of the word 2. Faith 3. The baptism of the Spirit.

11Love also fulfills the law. Christ’s ONE act of love makes it possible for us to fulfill the Spirit’s law apart from the law of sin and death. The law is for love—not justification.

12Romans 12:1 along with many other texts makes it clear that the body can be used for holy purposes. In fact, it’s a biblical imperative. It is a weak vessel, but not inherently evil.

13Therefore, be leery of condemnation motifs in any sanctification context.

14The Old and New covenants should not be viewed in a dispensational sense at all, but rather merely two parts of the same covenant. This is a progression of one covenant, not economies.

15Note in 1Tim 1:8-11 and Rom 2:12-16 that the law of Moses is also the gospel. This is because the OT law is a PART of the covenant of promise NOT a dispensation or different plan.

16Phil 2:13, Rom 7:24,25, Lk 21:28. Phil 2:13 is not about justification; it’s about choosing life over death in sanctification with God’s help which is available and leaves us without excuse.

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation; Part 5

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 30, 2015

Connecting the Dots: Tullian Tchividjian and Luther’s Theologian of the Cross 

Listen to audio or download audio file. 

That’s pastor Tullian Tchividjian…

…welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 5 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.”

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At the beginning of tonight’s program, you heard an excerpt from a sermon via pastor Tullian. It is an example of what drives other Reformed leaders nuts, but they can complain all they want to, pastor Tullian is a Luther purest. His resignation last week from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church brought me to remembrance in regard to what an excellent example he is of Martin Luther’s application of the Heidelberg Disputation in our day. So, tonight, this is an interlude of sorts that we are going to use to solidify what we have learned to this point.

Tullian lends credence to two accusations that the Reformed fear most: the charge of progressive justification, and antinomianism. I don’t know exactly why, but these are the two accusations that set a fire under their rumps, and along with it, a flood of cognitive dissonance. Yes, we are going to examine the arguments used to refute the charge of antinomianism and progressive justification, and as we will see, the arguments are so pitiful they would be deemed ridiculous by an adolescent which should be telling.

But first, I want to unpack the opening excerpt as a segue into the program tonight. Short excerpt, but packed with Luther’s foundational theology. In that short statement, we see the Reformed doctrines of mortification and vivification, Luther’s Theology of the Cross, deep repentance, double imputation, and total depravity.

Tullian stated first that we, as Christians, don’t merely need help with our walk, but we need to be raised from the dead. Let me pause here for a moment. What we are about to discuss are facts about the Reformation and Protestant soteriology in general that Protestants don’t understand. Fact: 98% of professing Calvinists really have no idea what Calvin believed, taught, and propagated. This is why the New Calvinism movement creates so much division between so-called Old Calvinists and New Calvinists; when the original article was rediscovered, by a Seventh-Day Adventist by the way, present-day Calvinists believed it was a false gospel. I was one of them. I set out to expose the New Calvinists and discovered they are the real Calvinists. I also discovered the fact that the Reformation is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind. The facts are irrefutable. So, is there hope? Of course there is; stop listening to men, turn on the light switch of the brain God gave you for a purpose, and read the gospels, the book of Acts, and Romans for yourself. Read those books, think for yourself, and just let the words say what they say. When the meaning isn’t apparent, don’t immediately run to a book full of someone else’s thoughts, what we call a “Commentary,” do your own independent research.

Why would Tullian say that Christians continue to be raised from the dead? That’s right out of theses 16-18 of the Heidelberg Disputation (HD). As I have stated before, the HD which came about 6 months after the 95 Theses is the foundational document of the Reformation, and then Calvin articulated and expanded Luther’s foundation in the Calvin Institutes. This progressive justification component of dying and rebirthing ourselves into heaven came to be known as mortification and vivification in the Calvin institutes. This brings us to Tullian’s mention of “Christians” being confessors, or the doctrine of deep repentance; that is the mortification component of mortification and vivification. By continually seeing our sinfulness in a deeper and deeper way, and being brought to the point of despair, or what Luther called “death at hand,” we then experience resurrection, or a revisitation of the joy of our salvation. Reformed scholars such as Michael Horton call this, “reliving our original baptism.” Listen, New Calvinist mantras like “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day” do not come from nowhere. This is the source. We get to heaven by perpetually revisiting the same gospel that saved us. Those of you familiar with this ministry are worn out from me citing Michael Horton and Paul Washer on this, so let me change things up a little by quoting a guy that commented on a Tullian article posted on Justin Taylor’s blog over at TGC (The Gospel Coalition).

It’s not that complicated: the ground of all Christian obedience is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Justification occurs EACH time a believer confesses and receives forgiveness for his sins. The pattern of justification is illustrated by Paul in Romans 4. Abraham believes in the God who justifies the ungodly (in this case gentile Abraham), David is forgiven for his adultery and murder. God’s condemnation for sin has reached into history at the cross, glorification has reached into history at conversion where believers experience a foretaste of glory. Neither Old or New Covenant obedience require moral perfection, they both require obedience of faith….so, having been justified from faithfulness we have peace with God!

Indeed it is not complicated. “Faithfulness” to “confession” continually re-justifies us. And, as a result, we experience resurrection/joy/vivification. The confession is mortification/deep repentance/death at hand, the rising from the dead that Tullian is talking about is vivification and re-justification. Tullian’s emphasis on us being no different from unbelievers is based on the following idea: the ONLY difference between the saved and unsaved is the saved start getting saved by confessional faith alone resulting in perpetual re-salvation. Then, at the final judgement, we find out who lived by faith alone well enough to be saved and who didn’t. That’s authentic Protestantism in a nutshell, and the facts supporting this reality are irrefutable. And of course, it’s an in-your-face denial of the new birth as defined biblically in 1John 3 and many other places.

This also speaks to total depravity. Throughout the short excerpt Tullian pounds home the fact of moral equivalency, or the idea that one sinner is not any worse than any other. This comes from justification being defined and based on the law. This is major in the HD, but Calvin articulates this Reformation tenet in 3.14.9,10 of the Calvin Institutes. If you break the law on one point, you are guilty of breaking all of the law. “But Paul, isn’t that what James said in James 2:10?” No, that’s not what James was talking about. James wasn’t proffering a justification based on law as its standard. That concept is really the Achilles’ heel of Reformation soteriology. James was pushing back against the idea that some tradition of some sort replaces the law of love. Only love can fulfill the law. James was pushing back against the idea that justification’s standard is the law. No, there is NO law in justification; law and justification are mutually exclusive. In essence, what James was stating follows:

You can’t live by some orthodoxy devised by men and then live anyway you want to. Whatever your tradition is, it doesn’t fulfill the law. If your justification is based on the law, you break all of the law when you break it at any given point. Only love according to the law fulfills the law. The apostle Paul called this “faith working through love” in his letter to the Galatians. The standard for justification is what? Right, the new birth, NOT law! What is the official Reformed position on justification’s standard? Right, the law. This idea is what Paul spent his whole ministry refuting—this very idea that turns the gospel completely upside down! Clearly, the Reformers redefined justification by replacing its new birth premise with the law. Again, this concept of law/gospel was Paul’s number one nemesis.

This leads us to the question of how we are justified when we are supposedly justified anew. Tullian speaks of this in the excerpt when he alludes to what Jesus has done for us, not anything we do. In the excerpt, he thanks God that the gospel is not about anything we do, but rather only what Jesus has done for us. This is the Reformed doctrine of Christ for us, or, Christ 100% for us, or…double imputation. This is a huge Reformed mainstay.

What is it? This is the idea that Christ not only came to die for our sins once and for all on the cross, but that He  also came to live a perfect life for the fulfilling of the law so that His obedience/righteousness can be imputed to us in vivification. Every time we confess, or according to Luther, “accuse ourselves,” or “visit the gospel afresh” (Michael Horton), the righteousness of Christ obtained by His perfect obedience to the law is imputed to us. Hence, every time we “visit the gospel afresh,” His propitiation and righteousness are both reapplied. This is the exact problem Paul addressed at Galatia. He argued that if the law was the standard for justification, that life is not given by the promise, but by law. He also argued that if law justifies us—there is a law that can give life while only God can give life. Making law the standard for justification is making the law a fourth member of the Trinity. That’s pretty much Paul’s argument.

In contrast, we are forgiven because the old us is dead, and no longer under the law. Look at Romans 7; one who has died is NOT under the law or its jurisdiction. This is why Christ died once: to end the law via us following Him in death. The new us is resurrected with Christ by the Spirit and able to fulfill the law through loving God and others. If perfect law-keeping, even by Christ, is the standard for justification rather than our death and resurrection through the new birth, it is impossible for us to love God and others—Christ must love for us; our love must be substituted by Christ’s love. And that in fact is the meaning of “Christ 100% for us.” Yes, Christ loves for us along with anything else that would be meritorious before God and the “righteous demands of the law.” Consequently, you often see these Reformed written motifs about sinners coming to the law with nothing in their hands but the obedience of Christ. That puts the law on a throne sitting beside the Father and the Son as a co-life-giver. That’s heresy in the extreme and a blatant denial of the new birth.

In concluding on this point, we now come Tullian’s mentioned disdain for “theologians of glory.” What’s that? That’s right out of the HD. It’s the counterpart, or one piece of the two-fold metaphysical theme of the document. The more I learn about this stuff, the more I am annoyed by Protestants who think they know what they are talking about, and we will soon be discussing one of them.

Luther divided the interpretation of all reality into two categories: the cross story and the glory story. Luther saw all of reality as a metaphysical narrative written by God with the cross being the primary epistemology; not only the cross, but the suffering of the cross in particular. Luther believed all wisdom is hidden in suffering. Luther, in keeping with Augustine’s Neo-Platonist worldview, demanded that all invisible things be interpreted through the suffering of the cross. Said Luther in theses 19:

That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the »invisible« things of God as though they were clearly »perceptible in those things which have actually happened«

Thesis 20: He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.

The manifest and visible things of God are placed in opposition to the invisible, namely, his human nature, weakness, foolishness. The Apostle in 1 Cor. 1:25 calls them the weakness and folly of God. Because men misused the knowledge of God through works, God wished again to be recognized in suffering, and to condemn »wisdom concerning invisible things« by means of »wisdom concerning visible things«, so that those who did not honor God as manifested in his works should honor him as he is hidden in his suffering.

Thesis 21: This is clear: He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers ,works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil. These are the people whom the apostle calls »enemies of the cross of Christ« (Phil. 3:18), for they hate the cross and suffering and love works and the glory of works. Thus they call the good of the cross evil and the evil of a deed good. God can be found only in suffering and the cross, as has already been said Therefore the friends of the cross say that the cross is good and works are evil, for through the cross works are dethroned and the »old Adam«, who is especially edified by works, is crucified. It is impossible for a person not to be puffed up by his »good works« unless he has first been deflated and destroyed by suffering and evil until he knows that he is worthless and that his works are not his but God’s.

Thesis 22: That wisdom which sees the invisible things of God in works as perceived by man is completely puffed up, blinded, and hardened.

This has already been said. Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on. Therefore they become increasingly blinded and hardened by such love, for desire cannot be satisfied by the acquisition of those things which it desires. Just as the love of money grows in proportion to the increase of the money itself, so the dropsy of the soul becomes thirstier the more it drinks, as the poet says: »The more water they drink, the more they thirst for it.« The same thought is expressed in Eccles. 1:8: »The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.« This holds true of all desires.

Thesis 24: He, however, who has emptied himself (cf. Phil. 2:7) through suffering no longer does works but knows that God works and does all things in him. For this reason, whether God does works or not, it is all the same to him. He neither boasts if he does good works, nor is he disturbed if God does not do good works through him. He knows that it is sufficient if he suffers and is brought low by the cross in order to be annihilated all the more. It is this that Christ says in John 3:7, »You must be born anew.« To be born anew, one must consequently first die and then be raised up with the Son of Man. To die, I say, means to feel death at hand.

Luther’s worldview calls for the condemnation of anything that can be perceived by the five senses, and that would of course include any work by mankind, in exchange for the work of faith that seeks death at hand by self-condemnation and the incessant confession of our own sin. All or any good work performed by us must be disavowed. This is the only work of faith that a Christian is to do; deep repentance that results in vivification. This is Luther’s definition of the new birth. Our only task is deep repentance resulting in only experiencing works that God may, or may not perform according to His own will. It is interesting what I am learning from Susan and her research on Jonathan Edwards. He believed that saving faith is a sixth sense that is able to perceive the works of God. That fits with what we are discussing here. Faith only confesses and then experiences the work of Christ following.

Any notion that man, saved or unsaved, can do anything at all that has merit with God is the glory story propagated by theologians of glory; this is what Tullian was referring to specifically in that sentence, no more—no less.

Before we move on, let me say this: to me, the more I study all of this, the more I am incredulous that congregations are forcing these guys caught with their hands in the cookie jar to resign. Why? It plainly shows the disconnect between the average Protestant’s understanding of their own faith and what their leaders teach. It’s totally inconsistent with the doctrine. “They sinned, well duh, so what?”

However, this is not always the case. Tullian has a close friend, also a pastor, who pretty much was fairly impious in broad daylight and never had to resign. In fact, he was the subject of a whole chapter in a book titled Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace  by Cathleen Falsani. This is where we segue into our second part. As I said, the two accusations that the Reformed camp is sensitive about are progressive justification and antinomianism. And especially in the area of antinomianism, the denial is beyond cognitive dissonance. It’s just borderline childish.

Let’s start by asking where Cathleen Falsani got the title for her book. “Sin Boldly,” do you know where she got that? It’s a quote by Martin Luther. Here is the whole quote from his letter to Philipp Melanchthon:

God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.

Here, we see plainly that Luther saw salvation as ongoing for condemning sin. God does not save imaginary sinners. What is the tense there? That is answered in the next sentence: “Be a sinner.” So obviously, it’s a present continuous idea; it’s progressive. And if condemning sin is present continuous, obviously salvation must be present continuous as well. You must continually deem yourself a sinner in need of salvation. Be a sinner, or else you are denying that you need salvation.

Nevertheless, the arguments we hear against the idea that Protestantism is progressive justification sound like this from John MacArthur Jr.: “Justification and sanctification cannot be separated, but are distinct.” So, the two are distinct because one is progressive and the other is not, but yet, they are not separate. This is an attempt to answer the accusation that Reformed soteriology fuses justification and sanctification together which would of course be progressive justification. MacArthur attempts to deny that Protestantism fuses the two together by stating that the two are “distinct.” But this is like saying that a cat is never separate from its catness, but distinct from its catness when it progresses by walking. A cat is never separate from its catness, but distinct when it is walking; the argument is ridiculous.

In an article I wrote on PPT titled The Gospel According to John MacArthur’s Reformation Myth, I deconstruct MacArthur’s position on this in agonizing detail. Along Reformed lines, he states that justification is solely a forensic declaration that doesn’t change the individual. He then makes a distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism. The former infuses righteousness into the individual, and according to MacArthur, that is the fusion of justification and sanctification together resulting in progressive justification. In contrast, Protestantism disavows this infusion and replaces it with the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and obedience to the believer for sanctification, or Christian living if you will. So yes, justification and sanctification are not separate, but distinct in the fact that one declares us justified while the other is the manifestation of Christ’s righteousness. They can’t be separate because both are a predication on a single dimension of the law, ie., it’s for condemnation only and can only be fulfilled by Christ in our stead.

I am not going to get into the Protestant misrepresentation of Catholicism, suffice to say for now that it is also progressive justification based on Aristotelian philosophy instead of Platonism, but both are progressive justification. However, we can pause here to define the word “antinomianism” according to the Reformed: it is the absence of law as the standard for justification. In other words, that makes me an antinomian according to them. This is in contrast to the true definition of antinomianism from the Bible: the absence of the law for faith working through love. In other words, the use of the law for love is denied. In addition, the biblical dual perspective on the law is refuted and replaced with a single perspective on the law—condemnation instead of the Spirits twofold use of the law: to convict the world of sin and the judgement to come, and for sanctifying the saints. True antinomianism circumvents the law for sanctification and deprives the saints of their calling to love God and others.

If law is the standard for justification, a perfect keeping of it must be maintained by double imputation which calls on the “believer” to use it for gospel contemplation only rather than using it to love God and others. All obedience points to justification instead of love. This is why Christ said that in the latter days the love of many will wax cold, because of an increase of “anomia” which is “antinomianism” according to the English.

It’s ironic, the Reformed camp recently had a hissy fit over a statement made by Joel Osteen’s wife during one of their services at Lakewood Church—the largest Protestant church in America boasting some 25,000 members. Apparently, she stated that we should not obey God to please God, but should obey God to please ourselves. Pray tell, a single focus on deep repentance to keep ourselves saved through double imputation is better? At least Osteen is propagating a many faceted obedience that might lobe some love at somebody. Moreover, isn’t a single focus on sin for purposes of joyful vivification, in fact, delighting in evil? Sure it is.

As some of you know, I got into a little back and forth on Twitter this week with Janet Mefferd. It started with me pushing back against her assertion in a recent article that Tullian isn’t an antinomian. My contention centered on a tweet by Tullian that read…

tt-tweet1-1

Where does that come from? That comes right out of the HD, and if you are keeping up with this series, you see this plainly. Because Tullian sees all of his works as mortal sin, even stopping the blind grandmother from walking out into traffic, all of his sin is therefore venial and can be forgiven by perpetually revisiting the gospel. Mefferd replied with the same old worn out Reformed responses. I am particularly amused by the classic one I call the cat hermeneutic. If Calvin writes in the Institutes that he saw a cat run across the road, Calvin doesn’t necessarily mean that he saw a cat run across the road. You see, you must read the whole corpus of his writing to really know for certain that he intended to say that he saw a cat run across the road. Really? Am I here right now?

Look, I could make the point very well tonight that Mefferd, like most Protestants, is completely clueless. But I think I will close with another angle. Tonight, I have picked this apart from a doctrinal standpoint, but we must remember that Jesus liked to give folks a really simple rule of thumb while they are in the process of learning the doctrine. Here it is: “By their fruits you will know them.” Yes, I am simply going to close with a comment that was posted on PPT today, and then we will go to the phones:

Sean, and others, do any of you know what Janet Mefferd’s background is? Specifically, what is her education? She obviously does not know that Luther advocated the use of state-sponsored violence, torture and murder against the Mennonites and other Anabaptists, that Luther was an anti-Semite, and had horrible demeaning attitudes towards women. On the latter, here are some quotes:

“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.”

Martin Luther, Works 12.94

“Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.”

Martin Luther, Table Talk

“Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.”

Martin Luther, Works 20.84

“God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.”

“We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.”

“No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.”

I could go on and quote his anti-semitic statements too. Oh, and Martin Luther despised reason. Here are some quotes:

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”

Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

“There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason… Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.”

Martin Luther, quoted by Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic, (Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1963), p. 75

Also, Luther was an advocate of drinking alcohol in excessive amounts. I could go on, but Luther’s quotes make me ill and nauseous. Obviously, Janet Mefferd has studied Christian history well.

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