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The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Part 7: Martin Luther’s Unveiling of the Bondage of the Will

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

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Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio.com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 7 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Martin Luther’s Unveiling of the Bondage of the Will.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

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Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

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If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Tonight, we continue in our sentence by sentence evaluation of the HD [Heidelberg Disputation] after addressing some asides in parts five and six. We hear a lot about Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Tonight, we are looking at the very conception of Luther’s beliefs on the human will. What we are going to find is that Luther’s explanation of human will derived from his position of mortal and venial sin.

Simply stated, if one believes that every act they perform is mortal sin, even their good works, their life is forgivable. Man must not believe he can do a good work. Let’s use theses 11 and 12 to segue into thesis 13 which is the first unveiling of Luther’s bondage of the will.

Thesis 11: Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.

This is clear from Thesis 4. For it is impossible to trust in God unless one has despaired in all creatures and knows that nothing can profit one without God. Since there is no person who has this pure hope, as we said above, and since we still place some confidence in the creature, it is clear that we must, because of impurity in all things, fear the judgment of God. Thus arrogance must be avoided, not only in the work, but in the inclination also, that is, it must displease us still to have confidence in the creature.

Here is something that I haven’t talked about enough in this series: the Reformers were masters of doublespeak. So far, it is obvious that Luther disavowed any value in regard to human life. Yet, in some sentences, he sort of makes it sound like that the issue is life without God. This isn’t the case at all; this is a strict dichotomy between 100% evil and 100% good with nothing in-between.

In contrast, God makes new creatures of mortal men. This flies in the face of Reformed ideology and all of the theology that flows from it. Note that, like all good Gnostics, Luther saw impurity in “all things.” And of course, that includes mankind.

Hence, as stated in this thesis by Luther, man must not have any confidence in self. In other words, God’s creation of man has no inherent ability. The natural ability to do anything is the glory story. Anything that brings glory to man diminishes God. Listen, as one example, the Puritans didn’t dress like they did for no good reason. To wear something with a little color or style would have been the glory story. By the way, do you want to help people? Know this: EVERYTHING people do they do for a reason. Logic drives action. If you want to help people, find the logic behind the action.

So, Reformed ideology splits reality into a strict either/or dichotomy; it’s either the glory story or the cross story. The glory story, or the story of man, can only bring about arrogance.

Let’s pause here to look at the foundational ideology of the Reformation which deals primarily with metaphysics. Like I said, everything people believe and do flows from their logic, so what is the logic that all of this stuff flows from? This is a very simplified version, but it really boils down to this: God does everything that He does because of His self-love. And because God loves Himself, He created evil as a contrast to His holiness. In other words, evil helps to define His holiness by contrast.

This leads to the essence of state of being, or metaphysics, or why things are, or their state of being, according to the metaphysical narrative. What’s a metaphysical narrative? Simply stated: state of being is a story written by God. Everything that is happening in the world today, right down to what people decide to wear, is predetermined by God in His historical prewritten narrative.

All of this benefits God’s self-love. Everything is for His glory. And according to this story, man thinking that he has freedom of choice on any level is evil, and what is he doing? Right, he is writing his own story. If you think that it was your decision to wear what you wore today, you are writing your own glory story. Either you are writing your own life story, or God is writing your life story. You are either god writing your own reality, or God is writing your realty.

Of course you don’t have freedom of the will—that would be writing your own reality—that would be making yourself God. We can also stop here and talk about how the Bible fits into this. The Bible becomes a prototype or model for interpreting reality according to God’s story which is primarily about redemption. The Bible is therefore a tool for interpreting reality according to the cross story, or God’s prewritten metaphysical narrative. And folks, this is everywhere. This way of using the Bible saturates the institutional church.

An example, one of myriads, is the Bible Mesh study material. Listen carefully to what these guys are saying in this promo for the study:

Notice the constant theme of Bible as story, and everything in the Bible being about Christ; ie., redemption. Notice that the Bible is also “your story” and this study enables you to put yourself in the story. You have heard me talk often about the redemptive historical method of interpreting the Bible and this is what it is. They make the Bible a tool for interpreting all of reality according to Martin Luther’s cross story metaphysics. And frankly, 90% of the evangelicals occupying the pulpit in the institutional church take this approach to the Bible.

Thesis 12: In the sight of God sins are then truly venial when they are feared by men to be mortal.

This becomes sufficiently clear from what has been said. For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us, according to the verse, »Confess your misdeed so that you will be justified« (cf. Isa. 43:26), and according to another (Ps. 141:4), »Incline not my heart to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds«.

So, if you look at two slides on the program slide show, you see two contemporary illustrations published by the Reformed camp that explain where we have come to this point. The two man chart explains the metaphysics,

the-fetus-of-cog2Cross Chart WB

and the cross chart explains the application as stated in this thesis by Luther: “For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us…” His use of Isaiah 43:26 pretty much puts it in a nutshell: confession of sin leads to ongoing justification which can only be found in the institutional church. If we believe man has no will to choose good, and that everything we do is sin, we qualify to be forgiven for purposes of ongoing justification. It’s not complicated.

Thesis 13: Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do, it commits a mortal sin.

The first part is clear, for the will is captive and subject to sin. Not that it is nothing, but that it is not free except to do evil. According to John 8:34,36, »Every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.« »So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.« Hence St. Augustine says in his book ›The Spirit and the Letter‹: »Free will without grace has the power to do nothing but sin«; and in the second book of ›Against Julian‹, »You call the will free, but in fact it is an enslaved will,« and in many other places.

The second part is clear from what has been said above and from the verse in Hos. 13:9, »Israel, you are bringing misfortune upon yourself, for your salvation is alone with me,« and from similar passages.

Again, we will take note of something Luther was accustomed to in his doublespeak. Though he quotes Augustine saying that the will can do nothing but sin without grace, we know that Luther also believed that the will can do nothing but sin WITH grace. This is just another example of his doublespeak. This seems to be very indicative of Reformed teachers; they sow seeds of doubt that they are stating outrageous ideas, but after a space of time the outrageous, tempered by a contradictory statement, will be accepted through repetition. The doublespeak is a red herring until you are fully indoctrinated.

Luther is stating here that the will is “not free except to do evil.”

Thesis 14: Free will, after the fall, has power to do good only in a passive capacity, but it can always do evil in an active capacity.

An illustration will make the meaning of this thesis clear. Just as a dead man can do something toward life only in his original capacity (in vitam solum subiective), so can he do something toward death in an active manner while he lives. Free will, however, is dead, as demonstrated by the dead whom the Lord has raised up, as the holy teachers of the church say. St. Augustine, moreover, proves this same thesis in his various writings against the Pelagians.

Here is where we will employ some help from one of the leading Reformed scholars on Luther’s theology of the cross. This is from Gerhard O. Forde’s “On Being a Theologian of the Cross” which is a commentary on the HD.

Theses 14 and 15 are an attempt to define a little more closely what sort of ability may be ascribed to the will. If, as we have seen in thesis 13, the will is not nothing and is not forced or determined, and if, as we might say, we are not puppets, how then may the power of the will be described?

Pause.

Stop right there. This is the Reformed, “But of course we are not puppets, so how do we explain this?” But the only logical conclusion to Reformed ideology is that we are in fact puppets. In classic Reformed teaching protocol, the brainwashing technique is to deny the logical conclusion while hoping that you will function according to the very logical conclusion and goal that they are seeking.

Listen, according to their very own redemptive-historical hermeneutic, we are nothing but characters in a narrative. No, no, no, we are not puppets, rather, we are mere characters in a metaphysical narrative who are penciled in. And we have a choice, and this is a paraphrase, “…join the plot of the divine drama that includes your story, or attempt to be your own god and write your own glory story.” That’s it. That’s it in a nutshell.

I have been learning a lot from Susan about Jonathan Edwards, and she has so much data already accumulated that I don’t know whether she is going to be able to find this or not, but she was sharing with me about Edwards’ view of the will. Basically, he believed that before a person performs an action, God puts the thought, idea, will, and decision to act in one’s mind beforehand. This kind of goes hand and hand with Edwards’ belief that God is recreating reality at every moment. So, in essence, everything you do is a recreation of reality when it gets right down to it.

So this is how this works: the Reformed will continue to deny that we are puppets while teaching all of the elements of puppeteering. If you teach all of the elements constantly while never speaking of the logical conclusions, people will eventually function according to the logical conclusions which is what they are after. Functionality is the goal—not understanding. Reformation ideology is vehemently opposed to reason and understanding.

Here is another example: the official Reformed doctrine of already not yet. So classic. Sure, sure, you are already saved, of course you are! But not yet. So you think: “Well, sure, our salvation will be fully realized when we are resurrected. That makes total sense.” Well guess what? You just bought into progressive justification. See how this works? Salvation doesn’t have a beginning and an end. It’s a conception. Conception is a onetime final event that completes its work in an instant. You didn’t exist, now you do—end of story.

Let’s continue with Forde’s quotation.

If the claim is that we are to “do what is in us,” then the question quite naturally follows: What then is in us? What sort of capacity do we have?

Pause. Stop right there. Let me shortly answer that question according to 1John chapter 3 before we move on: God’s seed. God’s DNA. We are literally born of God and have His seed IN us. We are new creatures born of God.

To get at the question Luther here uses a distinction current in his day between what our translation has called a “passive capacity” and an “active capacity.” What does that mean? In its passive capacity the will can do good when it is acted upon from without but not on its own, not in an active capacity. A commonly used physical analogy is water. Water has a passive capacity to be heated, but it can’t heat itself. It has no active capacity to do that.

The example Luther uses in his proof is even more to the point because it deals with death and life. On the one hand, corpses could be said to have a passive capacity for life because they can be raised from the dead. But not, of course, on their own power, not in an active capacity, not even in the slightest. Not even by doing their best! The capacity they have is strictly passive. They can be raised, but only by divine power. On the other hand, it is of course true that while a people live they have the active capacity to do something about life and death. They can take life, either their own or some other, but they can’t create or give life. Yet, that only demonstrates that, after the fall, will in its active capacity can only do evil. Since will after the fall is dead and bound to do deadly sin, it can be rescued only from without, as indicated by the fact that it could not bring life out of death but could only be commanded from without by our Lord.

Thus, the fact that even after the fall the will is not nothing means that there is something there. What is it? It is a strictly passive capacity, not an active one. That means that it can be changed but it will not change itself. To be changed, it will have to be accessed “from without.” But it will take radical action. It will take death and resurrection. So we are again pointed toward the cross.

Here, we have plunged the depths of Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Man is dead, and death is defined as the waters of mortal sin. The waters of mortal sin are not only what man dwells in, he is those waters. He is passively dead. The only active works he can do is dead works. The material realm is man’s glory story of death. He ebb and flows between dwelling in death and experiencing resurrection resulting from him being acted upon from the outside. Being acted upon is completely determined by God’s decision and good pleasure. The long and short of being saved is merely giving testimony to this fact and seeing it for what it is. Saving faith is giving testimony to what you see only, and not anything that you do.

To think you are not dead is mortal sin that cannot be qualified for forgiveness. And again, do see what these guys do? No, no, we are not puppets, right? A question: what do we know about puppets? Well, we know that they are dead. We know that they cannot do anything until they are acted upon, right? This Gerald Forde guy is just like all of the Reformed; he will deny that he is saying that we are mere puppets, and then will describe our Christian existence as puppetry.

This is what annoys me so deeply about people who listen to these yahoos because, “they say some good things.” Why would anybody spend any time investing in this intellectual dishonesty?

So, what is the biblical view of the will? Romans chapter 6. Before one is saved, they are enslaved to sinful desires and free to do good works. Slavery indicates the type of wages that the slave gets—only wages for death. Unsaved people are also indifferent to the law that they will be ultimately judged by. They do not love God’s law. But, they definitely have a free will to follow their God-given conscience and receive rewards for doing so. A person who lives a good common sense life will of course suffer fewer calamities than the foolish. But in the end, this only means less condemnation.

The saved person also has a free will. They are enslaved to righteousness, but unfortunately free to commit sin. However, they do not receive wages of death because they are no longer under the condemnation of the law. They can only receive wages for life. They are no longer indifferent to the law, but love God’s law and its truth. The chart below may help:

romans-6

The new birth is a reversal of sin and slavery resulting in a change of direction. No one sins perfectly, and no one loves perfectly. It’s a direction, not perfection. But if you look at the Reformed cross chart again, neither is it a downward direction of sinful perfection resulting in making the cross bigger.

That’s the end of our lesson tonight—let’s go to the phones.

We are ALL Calvinists. Yes, You Too

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on March 16, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally posted August 22, 2014

Why has the Neo-Calvinist movement all but completely taken over the church? Because we are all Calvinists to begin with.

“What! I don’t believe in election! I’m not even a one-point Calvinist!”

See what I mean? Christians believe Calvinism is defined by the sovereign grace issue. No, Calvinism is defined by the plenary inability of man issue. Calvinism completely owns the prism in which Western Christianity interprets reality and the Bible. This was their goal from the very beginning, and I must give them credit for the excellent job they have done.

I catch on slow, but apparently, I eventually catch on. For years I have been sending emails to the who’s who of the Not Reformed among us stating the following:

“Uh, guys, Calvinism holds to a blatantly false justification, and this is simple theological math. If people of your stature start talking about this—they are done.”

Not one reply ever, except from a well-known evangelical that told me what I should have already known:

“We all believe the same gospel.”

Yep. What has become obvious to me is that the academics on both sides feed all of the drama to keep the dumb sheep distracted from the real issue: Protestantism is a false gospel. Arminians and Calvinists have the same gospel at stake and all of the money that goes with it. Catholicism and Protestantism both are institutions that collect a tax, and foundational to any religious institution is the idea of human mediators. In other words, religious institutions must have a spiritual caste system.

This confuses body life with authority, and the purpose of the body of Christ. The body of Christ and institutions are mutually exclusive. This is what all of the academia on both sides of the Calvinism/Arminian debate don’t want the herd to figure out. The called out assembly of Christ was based on the fellowship of likeminded believers in one mind, or one truth. It’s based on conscience and not authority. Get into the New Testament and find an institution construct that resembles what we have today in any regard—good luck. That’s not to say there isn’t organization; there most certainly is, but that’s not the same as institutional caste.

A religious institution must have one particular gospel in order to survive: a linear one; specifically, the “golden chain of salvation” (eerily similar to the “golden chain of philosophers” or the “golden chain of Platonic succession”). It isn’t complicated; justification/salvation isn’t finished and you need the religious scholars to help you make sure you finish it correctly. Come now, look around. We don’t find our own understanding in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, we listen to men. Christian academia is a multi-billion dollar a year business. While we say, “The Holy Spirit is my counselor and He uses the Scriptures which I am called on to study,” that’s not how we function at all. The idea that salvation is not finished dominates the American institutional church.

“But I believe that my salvation is finished!”

No you don’t. You believe that YOUR part of it is finished while Jesus is finishing your salvation for you, lest it be by works. This is why Calvinists and Arminians only stop arguing about election long enough to say in unison, “But for the grace of God there go I.” And, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” Calvinists and Arminians teach the exact same inability in sanctification gospel. Why? Since salvation is an ongoing process in their minds, any ability on our part in sanctification suggests a co-laboring in our justification. Martin Luther taught the following: if any good work done by a Christian was “attended to with fear,” God would not consider it a mortal sin. The contemporary version of this is the often heard, “I didn’t do it, the Holy Spirit did it.” Indeed, Christians caught doing a good work even in our day must plead their case.

If salvation is truly finished, and we have ability to pursue our gifts because the only possible motive is love, that obviously decentralizes the need for authority. In contrast, the steroidal introspection continually called for in the institutional church Sunday after Sunday, after Sunday is clearly on display.

The institutional church is that research foundation looking for the latest and best way to work by faith alone so that Jesus will not be angry. You need them, and they need your money to research the best way to let Jesus finish your salvation for you, lest your part is a work that is really a work and you find yourself in hell. People will pay big money for that information, and obviously do. We have a name for all of the theories that come out of this research: Denominations. This is nothing more or less than different theories on how to live our Christian life by faith alone.

The placard below is what inspired this post; it is indicative of the Protestant gospel that encompasses all of the various denominational labels, but what they all have in common is faith alone in sanctification because justification isn’t finished. Note that each statement is a blatant contradiction to many different Bible verses. Rather than the Bible being a tool for aggressive obedience in sanctification, it is a tool for reminding us how weak we are, even in the new birth, and reminding us of how much we still need the same gospel that saved us lest we try to help Jesus finish our salvation.

paul

Carol Wimmer

We are ALL Calvinists. Yes, You Too

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 22, 2014

PPT HandleWhy has the Neo-Calvinist movement all but completely taken over the church? Because we are all Calvinists to begin with.

“What! I don’t believe in election! I’m not even a one-point Calvinist!”

See what I mean? Christians believe Calvinism is defined by the sovereign grace issue. No, Calvinism is defined by the plenary inability of man issue. Calvinism completely owns the prism in which Western Christianity interprets reality and the Bible. This was their goal from the very beginning, and I must give them credit for the excellent job they have done.

I catch on slow, but apparently, I eventually catch on. For years I have been sending emails to the who’s who of the Not Reformed among us stating the following:

“Uh, guys, Calvinism holds to a blatantly false justification, and this is simple theological math. If people of your stature start talking about this—they are done.”

Not one reply ever, except from a well-known evangelical that told me what I should have already known:

“We all believe the same gospel.”

Yep. What has become obvious to me is that the academics on both sides feed all of the drama to keep the dumb sheep distracted from the real issue: Protestantism is a false gospel. Arminians and Calvinists have the same gospel at stake and all of the money that goes with it. Catholicism and Protestantism both are institutions that collect a tax, and foundational to any religious institution is the idea of human mediators. In other words, religious institutions must have a spiritual caste system.

This confuses body life with authority, and the purpose of the body of Christ. The body of Christ and institutions are mutually exclusive. This is what all of the academia on both sides of the Calvinism/Arminian debate don’t want the herd to figure out. The called out assembly of Christ was based on the fellowship of likeminded believers in one mind, or one truth. It’s based on conscience and not authority. Get into the New Testament and find an institution construct that resembles what we have today in any regard—good luck. That’s not to say there isn’t organization; there most certainly is, but that’s not the same as institutional caste.

A religious institution must have one particular gospel in order to survive: a linear one; specifically, the “golden chain of salvation” (eerily similar to the “golden chain of philosophers” or the “golden chain of Platonic succession”). It isn’t complicated; justification/salvation isn’t finished and you need the religious scholars to help you make sure you finish it correctly. Come now, look around. We don’t find our own understanding in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, we listen to men. Christian academia is a multi-billion dollar a year business. While we say, “The Holy Spirit is my counselor and He uses the Scriptures which I am called on to study,” that’s not how we function at all. The idea that salvation is not finished dominates the American institutional church.

“But I believe that my salvation is finished!”

No you don’t. You believe that YOUR part of it is finished while Jesus is finishing your salvation for you, lest it be by works. This is why Calvinists and Arminians only stop arguing about election long enough to say in unison, “But for the grace of God there go I.” And, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” Calvinists and Arminians teach the exact same inability in sanctification gospel. Why? Since salvation is an ongoing process in their minds, any ability on our part in sanctification suggests a colaboring in our justification. Martin Luther taught the following: if any good work done by a Christian was “attended to with fear,” God would not consider it a mortal sin. The contemporary version of this is the often heard, “I didn’t do it, the Holy Spirit did it.” Indeed, Christians caught doing a good work even in our day must plead their case.

If salvation is truly finished, and we have ability to pursue our gifts because the only possible motive is love, that obviously decentralizes the need for authority. In contrast, the steroidal introspection continually called for in the institutional church Sunday after Sunday, after Sunday is clearly on display.

The institutional church is that research foundation looking for the latest and best way to work by faith alone so that Jesus will not be angry. You need them, and they need your money to research the best way to let Jesus finish your salvation for you, lest your part is a work that is really a work and you find yourself in hell. People will pay big money for that information, and obviously do. We have a name for all of the theories that come out of this research: Denominations. This is nothing more or less than different theories on how to live our Christian life by faith alone.

The placard below is what inspired this post; it is indicative of the Protestant gospel that encompasses all of the various denominational labels, but what they all have in common is faith alone in sanctification because justification isn’t finished. Note that each statement is a blatant contradiction to many different Bible verses. Rather than the Bible being a tool for aggressive obedience in sanctification, it is a tool for reminding us how weak we are, even in the new birth, and reminding us of how much we still need the same gospel that saved us lest we try to help Jesus finish our salvation.

paul

Carol Wimmer

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