Paul's Passing Thoughts

John Piper’s “One Judgment” False Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 25, 2017

John Piper’s “One Judgment” False Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 21, 2016

John Calvin’s Gospel of Works, Fear, and NO Assurance

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 16, 2016

…Originally published December 13, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“According to Calvin, fear of future judgment is one of the primary motivations for repentance in the Christians life:”

John Calvin was pure heretic. The present-day exaltation of him by the who’s who of evangelicals is an abomination before the Lord. For Calvin, the Christian life is lived out in a progression of justification; viz, justification is not a onetime event that is a finished work by God alone. The Christian life starts with repentance and faith, and that not only justifies us in the beginning, it must continue to justify us throughout the course of our life. “Progressive sanctification” is really progressive justification. The Christian life is not lived out as a result of our salvation; we must live in the progression of salvation and stay in its status through faith and repentance alone. We must keep ourselves saved by perpetual repentance. This is the “P” in TULIP, “perseverance of the saints.” No distinction is made between repentance unto salvation and repentance as a son of God. Calvin evokes all Scriptural calls to repentance for salvation as indicative of the Christian life. Calvin cites biblical salvation verses—as verses pertaining to the Christian life throughout the Calvin Institutes.

Furthermore, Calvin insisted that Christian repentance is motivated by fear, and repentance is active, while the results of repentance, a joyful rebirth experience, is the work of God. It is a perpetual revisiting of the gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved. Our only work is repenting of sin while works imputed by God to our Christian life are only experienced, and not performed.

First, Calvin defines repentance in his Institutes. Keep in mind that he is not writing about original salvation, but the Christian life. This will be confirmed after this citation:

Certain learned men, who lived long before the present days and were desirous to speak simply and sincerely according to the rule of Scripture, held that repentance consists of two parts, mortification and quickening. By mortification they mean, grief of soul and terror, produced by a conviction of sin and a sense of the divine judgment. For when a man is brought to a true knowledge of sin, he begins truly to hate and abominate sin… By quickening they mean, the comfort which is produced by faith, as when a man prostrated by a consciousness of sin, and smitten with the fear of God, afterwards beholding his goodness, and the mercy, grace, and salvation obtained through Christ, looks up, begins to breathe, takes courage, and passes, as it were, from death unto life. I admit that these terms, when rightly interpreted, aptly enough express the power of repentance; only I cannot assent to their using the term quickening, for the joy which the soul feels after being calmed from perturbation and fear. It more properly means, that desire of pious and holy living which springs from the new birth; as if it were said, that the man dies to himself that he may begin to live unto God (CI 3.33).

We must now explain the third part of the definition, and show what is meant when we say that repentance consists of two parts—viz. the mortification of the flesh, and the quickening of the Spirit (CI 3.3.8).

And for how long do we partake in this perpetual repentance (mortification) and rebirth (vivification)?

This renewal, indeed, is not accomplished in a moment, a day, or a year, but by uninterrupted, sometimes even by slow progress God abolishes the remains of carnal corruption in his elect, cleanses them from pollution, and consecrates them as his temples, restoring all their inclinations to real purity, so that during their whole lives they may practice repentance, and know that death is the only termination to this warfare…It is not denied that there is room for improvement; but what I maintain is, that the nearer any one approaches in resemblance to God, the more does the image of God appear in him. That believers may attain to it, God assigns repentance as the goal towards which they must keep running [emphasis added] during the whole course of their lives (CI 3.3.9).

Though Calvin wrote of being transformed into the “image” of God, this is part and parcel with the passive and perpetual rebirth experience by the Christian. This does not denote a change or improvement in the Christian’s nature which would lessen the need for repentance. Obviously, if you look at the chart below, raising the trajectory of repentance makes the cross smaller, so repentance leading to real change is not in focus here. Calvin’s idea of transformation regards the birthing of realms which is experienced by the Christian through joy. Hence, the new birth is perpetual through the Christian’s life and is the result of perpetual repentance. We are to repent and dwell on our own depravity, and leave any quickenings or rebirth experiences to God:

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 (Martin Luther: Heidelberg Disputation, theses 24).

In obedience to God’s word we should fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings. But when and how they come is God’s to decide, not ours. If they delay, we trust the wisdom of our Father’s timing, and we wait. In this way joy remains a gift, while we work patiently in the field of obedience and fight against the weeds and the crows and the rodents. Here is where joy will come. Here is where Christ will reveal himself (John 14:21). But that revelation and that joy will come when and how Christ chooses. It will be a gift… Heaven hangs on having the taste of joy in God. Therefore, it might not be so strange after all to think of fighting for this joy. Our eternal lives depend on it (John Piper: When I Don’t Desire God; p.43, p.34).

It is also important to note that in this construct, for the most part, repentance is something we focus on, and not something we necessarily try to do. The goal is to see our own depravity in a deeper and deeper way, and this results in a joyful rebirth experience that is totally out of our control. But yet, we must fight for this joy, or rebirth experience because “Our eternal lives depend on it.” Not only is this clearly works salvation, but it makes our eternal destiny ambiguous at best. Therefore…

Let us, therefore, embrace Christ, who is kindly offered to us, and comes forth to meet us: he will number us among his flock, and keep us within his fold. But anxiety arises as to our future state. For as Paul teaches, that those are called who were previously elected, so our Savior shows that many are called, but few chosen (Mt. 22:14). Nay, even Paul himself dissuades us from security, when he says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” (1 Cor. 10:12). And again, “Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee,” (Rom. 11:20, 21). In fine, we are sufficiently taught by experience itself, that calling and faith are of little value without perseverance, which, however, is not the gift of all (CI 3.24.6).

There is danger on the way to salvation in heaven. We need ongoing protection after our conversion. Our security does not mean we are home free. There is a battle to be fought (John Piper: Bethlehem Baptist Church Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Elect Are Kept by the Power of God October 17, 1993).

According to Calvin, fear of future judgment is one of the primary motivations for repentance in the Christians life:

By mortification they mean, grief of soul and terror, produced by a conviction of sin and a sense of the divine judgment [sec.3]… it seems to me, that repentance may be not inappropriately defined thus: A real conversion of our life unto God, proceeding from sincere and serious fear of God; and consisting in the mortification of our flesh and the old man, and the quickening of the Spirit. In this sense are to be understood all those addresses in which the prophets first, and the apostles afterwards, exhorted the people of their time to repentance. The great object for which they labored was, to fill them with confusion for their sins and dread of the divine judgment, that they might fall down and humble themselves before him whom they had offended, and, with true repentance, retake themselves to the right path [sec.5]… The second part of our definition is, that repentance proceeds from a sincere fear of God. Before the mind of the sinner can be inclined to repentance, he must be aroused by the thought of divine judgment; but when once the thought that God will one day ascend his tribunal to take an account of all words and actions has taken possession of his mind, it will not allow him to rest, or have one moment’s peace, but will perpetually urge him to adopt a different plan of life, that he may be able to stand securely at that judgment-seat. Hence the Scripture, when exhorting to repentance, often introduces the subject of judgment, as in Jeremiah, “Lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings,” (Jer. 4:4)… The stern threatening which God employs are extorted from him by our depraved dispositions [sec.7] [from the CI 3.3.3-7].

Of course, this is all in egregious contradiction to the Scriptures; viz,

1John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Calvin’s false gospel requires us to run a race of perpetual repentance driven by fear of judgment in order to keep ourselves saved. The new birth is not a onetime event known as regeneration, but is only an EXPERIENCE that follows the mortification of repentance. Calvin states that these quickenings that follow mortification are accompanied by joy and subjective manifestations of God’s image. Many are called, but not all have the gift of persevering in the cycle of mortification and vivification. Therefore, assurance of salvation is dubious at best.

Beside the fact that the apostle John wrote the book of 1John so that we can “know” that we are saved, Calvin’s gospel contradicts a mass of holy writ. This subjective gospel also adds a peculiar twist if you consider Calvin’s power of the keys; ie., whatever elders bind on earth will be bound in heaven. While the soteriology lends uncertainty to one’s eternal destiny, is assurance found more in having the elder’s approval? After all, if he states that you are saved, heaven will bind it.

paul

Page 7

Revised Vital Union Chart

Why People Say No to the Gospel and Yes to Evangelicalism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 3, 2015

ppt-jpeg4What I have come to learn is the lost world understands more about the gospel than professing Christians. The longer a professing Christian goes to church, the less they know about the things of God. I am not saying they don’t know things and learn a bunch of stuff, it’s just that none of it is biblical.

As a born again Christian in 1983, I was totally full of joy and on fire for God, and then church happened. And worse yet, I added to the calamity by going to seminary. What followed was a long dark path of doubting my salvation, being unnecessarily enslaved to sin, and total confusion in regard to what the Bible clearly stated as set against what happens in church. I went through periods where I just threw in the towel and said, “Just keep your mouth shut and serve the church; obviously, I am the problem, all of these people couldn’t be wrong.” Then the stupidity would once again become more than I could bear, and I would start asking questions again.

Finally, I got too good at asking questions in 2007 and the church folks put a full court press on me. After being cast outside of the camp, I sat alone save a few, but there was only one thing that I could see: the promise that “If you seek me you will find me.” And so the journey began at the place where I came from, the joy of my original salvation, but this time with the addition of real knowledge. I believed the promise, and I would find the truth in this life or run out of time and find it in the next—either way was fine with me at that point.

This post is about one of the things I have learned in the journey. People don’t say no to the gospel because they are “totally depraved and have not been shown the kingdom by God’s divine providence,” they say no to the Evangelical gospel because they know it’s not the gospel. Actually, they say no to the Evangelical gospel for the same reason evangelicals say yes to their own false gospel; neither want to lose their own lives to find it.

That’s right, unbelievers don’t want to lose their present life, and they know being saved means exactly that. For the most part, they know this intuitively because the “works of God’s law” have been written on their hearts as with everyone born into the world. As an unbeliever, I said no to many evangelicals who told me that I only needed to believe, and it had nothing to do with anything regarding behavior as that would be “works salvation.” As an unbeliever, I agreed with the basic framework of the wording, but knew that wasn’t the gospel. A demand to cease from the present things that I enjoyed was not the issue, I knew that those things would no longer be part of my being. I would indeed lose my present life, and would be launched into a life that would be something totally new apart from what I had lived with all of my life.

What is it that I didn’t like about the Evangelical gospel? Basically, no new birth. You remain the same, and maybe God will change you and maybe he won’t—it’s totally by faith alone. I knew do’s and don’ts wasn’t the issue, I knew it was a faith alone gospel without the new birth. They plainly told me that any change that would occur in my life was totally up to God because it’s faith alone apart from works, but I intuitively interpreted that as no new birth. Granted, I wasn’t ready to change, but if I ever was, I wanted real change/salvation. They plainly stated, and we hear this today, all of the time, that CHANGE isn’t the issue, but rather “seeing more Jesus.” I interpreted that as no new birth, though I wouldn’t have used that terminology. They were selling a no loss of present life gospel. It sounded tempting; you can keep your present life while merely seeing more Jesus, but I knew it was a pipe dream. I knew what the true result of believing is: new birth; the loss of present life and a future completely entrusted to Christ.

This is why evangelicals say no to the true gospel of new birth and embrace the idea that justification is nothing more than a “legal declaration.” If justification is a legal declaration, new creaturehood doesn’t justify us, a mere declaration does. Skeptical? Let me prove my point with “waist deep theology” rather than Jesus seeing. Evangelicals further state that the declaration alone would be “legal fiction.” Why so? Well, because we are in essence unchanged, but yet God is calling us “justified.” What to do? Their solution is a double denial of the new birth known as double imputation. Supposedly, Christ came to not only die for us, but to keep the law perfectly in our stead. If we continue to live by faith alone, Christ’s BEHAVIOR is also imputed to our account totally apart from any behavior we have. We hear it all the time: “It’s not about anything we do—it’s about what Jesus has done.” Obviously, this makes a real and literal new birth completely unnecessary. OUR behavior is completely irrelevant… “We proclaim the gospel, we don’t try to be the gospel.” If you’re an evangelical, you can have your cake and eat it to. And look at the church accordingly; any questions?

As a new believer, I assumed the church did not deny the new birth as a whole, and that I would find bliss on earth frolicking about with God’s new creatures. Chuckle. Oh the naivety of youth. I took the new birth so seriously, that as I began to live out my Christian life, the fact that I still sinned dismayed me. I searched for answers within the church in regard to reconciling present sin with the new birth. Of course, I wasn’t able to find satisfactory answers because the evangelical definition of new birth is not the biblical definition. Hence, I wallowed in weakness and confusion for years. And sadly, in every church I was ever in, I was one of the leaders! It would be hilarious if not so utterly pathetic.

The home fellowship movement is the freedom and hope believers need. It holds forth the true gospel of new birth. It is the literal family of God, and that’s why we worship where we live. A false gospel has no authority. Come out from among them and be free.

paul

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 2

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

ppt-jpeg4Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.”

An item of particular interest in regard to the Reformed use of Romans 8:29,30 for the ordo salutis (order of salvation or the golden chain of individual salvation) is that sanctification is missing from the process. Sanctification is not in Romans 8:29,30. Let there be no doubt about it when the least common denominator is front and center: this issue concerns two different gospels. One gospel states that sanctification is not mentioned because it is the same thing as justification; the other gospel states that sanctification is missing because justification and sanctification are totally separate.

And obviously therefore, one states that salvation is a finished work while the other sees salvation as a process that the individual experiences and lives in while the process is ongoing. This is why Protestantism has ALWAYS been characterized by weak sanctification and lack of assurance. If justification and sanctification are the same thing, there is going to be an over emphasis on justification; if we are in the midst of the justification “process” and our salvation depends on whether or not God chose us to believe, and our individual election will not be verified until the “tribunal,” assurance will be lacking.

The Bible is clear. Assurance is based on two things: confidence in the FINISHED election process preordained by God, and the ability to work out the gifts given to us with our finished and final salvation being of no consideration in regard to our works of love. In other words, one of the purposes of election is to radically separate justification and sanctification leading to assurance and aggressive sanctification. The Reformed order of salvation uses election to fuse justification and sanctification together resulting in that train wreck we call “Protestantism.”

This is why I think Romans 8:29,30 is in the past tense; it concerns justification ONLY as a finished work. Yet, the Reformed use it to make a case for a salvation that is yet future; in other words, the Reformed throw out grammatical considerations regardless of whether it is in the English, Hebrew, or Greek. While they claim deep knowledge of the languages are efficacious to valid understanding of the Scriptures, they rape and ravage normative grammatical rules unfettered. While using knowledge of the languages to intimidate the great unwashed, they say, “good grammar makes bad theology” as if there are no rules of grammar in the Greek and Hebrew. But there are, and the rules are fairly consistent in all languages. Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is oversold for purposes of control. More relevant than anything is a good working knowledge of grammar.

Romans 8:29,30 speaks of a group, or classification of people who were pre-loved, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. However, not all who are called within the group answer the call, but rather reject it. Those who accept the invitation of the calling are part of the elect group. In the same way, Israel was elected, but not all Israelites accept the invitation. Therefore, God also preordained the Gentiles for salvation in order to make the Jews jealous. In part one, I cite Matthew 22:1-14 to make this case in regard to the “called”, and would also like to add Romans 11. The “remnant” can also be considered an elect group as well, and any Jew can be saved by becoming a part of it IF they believe individually (Romans 11:23).

Throughout the Bible, people are called to believe and are warned that they will be judged if they don’t. The means of salvation being elected rather than individuals, and those individuals being called on to become part of the elect group excludes the need to relegate the gospel to paradox. God is not a God of confusion. If the “called” are not distinguished from the definition of “elect,” the Bible becomes utterly confusing. Nevertheless, Matthew 22:1-14 seems to end the argument altogether; many are called but few are elect. The elect are the ones who accept the invitation to the wedding feast.

Admittedly, this is a working hypothesis for consideration among the laity, but the following is certain: the Protestant gospel of a progressive order of salvation must be rejected with extreme prejudice for many, many definitive reasons. And Biblicism knows the following concretely in regard to its alternative gospel: justification is a finished work by God alone and the saint is free to love aggressively without fear of condemnation. We leave the cross and move on to maturity in love. Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.

At any rate, the idea that a group is elected for a certain purpose without all in the group being saved is far from being unbiblical, and Israel is the primary example (NASB):

Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Exodus 19:4-6

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Psalms 135:4

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 45:4

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Amos 3:2

“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

In Romans 11:2, the apostle Paul even writes that God “foreknew” Israel. This is the election and foreknowledge of a group of which all are not saved. God calls all of those belonging to the group, but many within the group reject the call. Again, note Matthew 22:1-14. If they answer the call, they are elect because they are part of the group that was elected. It is plain that election is not defined by individual pre-selection alone, and in fact, specific verses that seem to indicate the election of individuals are not only rare, but ambiguous at best while the former are ample and concise.

Let me throw a couple of thoughts in here that would be prompted by reading almost anywhere throughout the New Testament. First, if individuals are pre-selected, the Scriptures pass on the opportunity to make that clear over and over again. For example:

Luke 16:27 – And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No,father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

If the issue is pre-selection, why wouldn’t Abraham merely say so? Why is the source of information that would persuade the rich man’s brothers the issue rather than God’s choosing? Individual pre-determinism makes the Bible an illogical convoluted mess, not to mention a god that is playing head games with mankind.

Secondly, if there is no future purpose for Israel, or the “church” has taken Israel’s place, which is an idea firmly embedded in Reformed tradition via amillennialism and supersessionism, does that not deny a true link in the election chain? Does it not make some aspects of election temporary? Why not? In part 1 we discussed John Calvin’s interpretation of the “called” as those who are temporarily chosen and therefore relegated to a greater damnation in the end.

So, what is the true golden chain of salvation? We begin to explore that in part 3.

paul

Also recommended: Live: Friday 9/17/2015 @ 7pm. Call in and join the conversation! 

%d bloggers like this: