Paul's Passing Thoughts

Church “Covenants” and How You Should Behave in a Protestant Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 29, 2016

Originally published July 23, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One endeavor on the long list of objectives here at TANC ministries is to get solid legal insight into what has become protocol in evangelical churches. That process began yesterday during a consultation with a local attorney. As documented here at PPT, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and its network of churches has become a virtual divorce mill. The pattern that this ministry continues to be made privy to is documented in an open letter to the executive director of ACBC, Heath Lambert.

Simply stated, New Calvinism, which is a return to the original church polity of the Reformation, does not have the force of state to compel church members to follow its orthodoxy. So, it improvises. Instead of simply burning heretics at the stake, or burning a hole through the tongues of those who ask questions in a challenging way, they ruin names and finances.

We must remember, the orthodoxy of the Protestant Reformation was tailored for a church state. America was originally founded by the Pilgrims who didn’t like how the Church of England did church-state, so they came to America and founded “New England.” The name is not happenstance. The American Revolution put an end to the Pilgrims’ theocracy that dominated the colonies. Actually, “Pilgrims” is a soft term for “Puritans.” And please, spare me the emails about the differences between the Pilgrims and the Puritans—the differences are insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

That brings us to the discussion of soft terms. First, the original Protestant Reformation was a simple church state, but in reality, the definition of “cult” comes into play when church states had to improvise in order to control people because of the American Revolution. A cult is defined as follows: it is any religious organization that controls people by means other than a church state. The etymology of the word “cult” does not become significant until post American Revolution.

In other words, without the force of the state to compel people to obey its orthodoxy, it must resort to manipulation and brainwashing to control people. Yes, church states also emphasize brainwashing because murdering people is costly in its implementation, and fewer people amounts to less resources, but brainwashing becomes even more important and refined when the final solution has been outlawed in an open society.

So, let’s state a definitive definition of cult: it is any religious organization that controls people by means other than a church state, and combines faith with authority. Like its church state predecessor, it assumes that the nature of man cannot obtain unity for a given cause without being ruled by those with superior knowledge of realty.

After the American Revolution, churches became a hybrid of orthodoxy and enlightenment thinking. It became an alphabet soup with a broad range of attitude concerning the ability of man to rule self. But, this never resulted in the full-blown focus on individual responsibility mirrored by the 1st century assembly of Christ. The concept of “church” spawned in the 4th century has always permeated the American church psyche, i.e., orthodoxy being a storybook form of truth written by church “Divines” that the saints can understand, and enforced for their own wellbeing.

With that said, soft terms become vital to the American church as we know it today. Church polity is a soft term for church government; church discipline is a soft term for Unam sanctam, or John Calvin’s power of the keys that gives church authority to decide someone’s salvation on behalf of God. It goes without saying that you obey someone that can take away your salvation.

And, “church covenant” is a soft term for “church contract.” Basically, when you sign a church covenant church contract, you are signing away your right to be heard. In most of these contracts, you agree to obey the leadership and to be “teachable.” Hence, from now on, when our ministry hears, “Gee whiz, all I did was ask questions and now my life is being destroyed,” the subject will mostly likely hear, “No, what you did is breach of contract so take your medicine.”

Note: in many churches that deem themselves congregational, the parishioners unwittingly circumvent that reality by agreeing to a revised church covenant prepared and presented by the elders. See how that works?

Moreover, these third party contracts often negate rights found under civil and criminal law. This ministry, more specifically I, stands corrected in my assertion that coercion is being used to control parishioners. In fact, it is not coercion, but according to what the parishioner has agreed to and signed, especially regarding permission to leave church membership. It’s a contract—you signed it, so shut up, nod your head, say amen, and put your money in the plate. It’s all good; if the elders like you—you will more than likely “be able to stand in the judgement.”

What are the redeeming facts here, if any? Education: NEVER sign a church contract. It’s NOT a “covenant” bolstered by your signature—it’s a CONTRACT. This is why TANC does what it does; education, then solution/alternative.

Is there a way to get justice after signing our rights away? Perhaps, because apparently, marriage is also a contract. Rather than burning you at the stake and burying you in the church yard under a stone edict condemning you to hell, which of course is against the law presently, they will begin by ruining your name, and then destroy you financially via divorce.

The process goes something like this: you break your contract and stop being “teachable.” This tells the leadership that you no longer see yourself as a sinner, and you have become “insubordinate.” A dozen or so respected leaders and their wives start telling your wife that you are no longer “humble” and whether she realizes it or not, she is married to an “angry man.” And hark, behavior that your wife formerly assumed not to be abusive, in fact is abusive. Yes, she is married to a man who “doesn’t love her like Christ loved the church.” It’s all downhill from there.

Apparently, legally, this is interference with a marriage contract. Damages would be determined by a jury if the situation ends in divorce. Also, the idea that ACBC could eventually be subject to a class action lawsuit is not all that farfetched.

However, this is just more evidence that the premise and foundations of the institutional church is egregiously flawed and was designed for a church state to begin with. The solution is the cooperation of spiritual gifts, not authority, and fellowship—not membership.

Meanwhile, if you do not like the solution, behave yourself in the Protestant church. Stop going to discernment blogs and whining—you signed the contract, shut up and live by it.

paul

Church: Pastor Worship is in the Contract

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 5, 2015

first-baptist-church-of-hammondAs discussed in another post, “church covenants” are legally binding contracts that actually waive your rights under state law. Clearly, the type of church discipline that has become vogue in evangelical churches is a crime in most states under coercion laws; unless you agree to be held hostage under pain of reputation loss and the dividing of your family. And in most church covenants, you do that exactly if you sign it.

This is just one more example of churches behaving like cults. “Church covenant” is a soft term for “church contract.” These “covenants” are not written agreements to prevent future misunderstandings with your signature being a confirmation that you read it, you are entering into a legal contract with said church. In most cases, you have agreed to put yourself under the authority of the church leadership. And our ministry deals with this enough to know that whether or not the pastor et al behaves biblically is not the issue—their authority is the issue. You have virtually agreed to keep your mouth shut and live with whatever is doled out; of course, for the sake of unity. Never enter into a legal contract with a church no matter what they call the contract because it’s a contract.

Furthermore, you are agreeing to give a pastor authority over your life that he/she does not have biblically…period. Pastors are teachers and have no authority over you, or your family. The pastorate is a gift granted to the church for its equipping to do ministry—not an office. In fact, pastors are emphasized little in the Bible. The emphasis on pastors in the church is completely out of sorts with what the Bible states. A meager four times; that’s how many times Pastors are specifically referred to in the New Testament.

Moreover, their nonexistent authority is well documented in the Scriptures. Other than the example of the noble Bereans who held the apostle Paul accountable to Scripture, other examples follow:

1Corinthians 4:6 – And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another (KJV).

2Corintians 4:1 – Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God (ESV).

NO man is to be revered above Scripture. No person is to go against their conscience in regard to the plain sense of Scripture for any pastor—NO exceptions!

The apostle Paul said, “Follow me AS I follow Christ.” This is why we NEVER sign any agreement that mandates the following of pastors regardless of their handling of Scripture.

paul

Church “Covenants” and How You Should Behave in a Protestant Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 23, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One endeavor on the long list of objectives here at TANC ministries is to get solid legal insight into what has become protocol in evangelical churches. That process began yesterday during a consultation with a local attorney. As documented here at PPT, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and its network of churches has become a virtual divorce mill. The pattern that this ministry continues to be made privy to is documented in an open letter to the executive director of ACBC, Heath Lambert.

Simply stated, New Calvinism, which is a return to the original church polity of the Reformation, does not have the force of state to compel church members to follow its orthodoxy. So, it improvises. Instead of simply burning heretics at the stake, or burning a hole through the tongues of those who ask questions in a challenging way, they ruin names and finances.

We must remember, the orthodoxy of the Protestant Reformation was tailored for a church state. America was originally founded by the Pilgrims who didn’t like how the Church of England did church-state, so they came to America and founded “New England.” The name is not happenstance. The American Revolution put an end to the Pilgrims’ theocracy that dominated the colonies. Actually, “Pilgrims” is a soft term for “Puritans.” And please, spare me the emails about the differences between the Pilgrims and the Puritans—the differences are insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

That brings us to the discussion of soft terms. First, the original Protestant Reformation was a simple church state, but in reality, the definition of “cult” comes into play when church states had to improvise in order to control people because of the American Revolution. A cult is defined as follows: it is any religious organization that controls people by means other than a church state. The etymology of the word “cult” does not become significant until post American Revolution.

In other words, without the force of the state to compel people to obey its orthodoxy, it must resort to manipulation and brainwashing to control people. Yes, church states also emphasize brainwashing because murdering people is costly in its implementation, and fewer people amounts to less resources, but brainwashing becomes even more important and refined when the final solution has been outlawed in an open society.

So, let’s state a definitive definition of cult: it is any religious organization that controls people by means other than a church state, and combines faith with authority. Like its church state predecessor, it assumes that the nature of man cannot obtain unity for a given cause without being ruled by those with superior knowledge of realty.

After the American Revolution, churches became a hybrid of orthodoxy and enlightenment thinking. It became an alphabet soup with a broad range of attitude concerning the ability of man to rule self. But, this never resulted in the full-blown focus on individual responsibility mirrored by the 1st century assembly of Christ. The concept of “church” spawned in the 4th century has always permeated the American church psyche, i.e., orthodoxy being a storybook form of truth written by church “Divines” that the saints can understand, and enforced for their own wellbeing.

With that said, soft terms become vital to the American church as we know it today. Church polity is a soft term for church government; church discipline is a soft term for Unam sanctam, or John Calvin’s power of the keys that gives church authority to decide someone’s salvation on behalf of God. It goes without saying that you obey someone that can take away your salvation.

And, “church covenant” is a soft term for “church contract.” Basically, when you sign a church covenant church contract, you are signing away your right to be heard. In most of these contracts, you agree to obey the leadership and to be “teachable.” Hence, from now on, when our ministry hears, “Gee whiz, all I did was ask questions and now my life is being destroyed,” the subject will mostly likely hear, “No, what you did is breach of contract so take your medicine.”

Note: in many churches that deem themselves congregational, the parishioners unwittingly circumvent that reality by agreeing to a revised church covenant prepared and presented by the elders. See how that works?

Moreover, these third party contracts often negate rights found under civil and criminal law. This ministry, more specifically I, stands corrected in my assertion that coercion is being used to control parishioners. In fact, it is not coercion, but according to what the parishioner has agreed to and signed, especially regarding permission to leave church membership. It’s a contract—you signed it, so shut up, nod your head, say amen, and put your money in the plate. It’s all good; if the elders like you—you will more than likely “be able to stand in the judgement.”

What are the redeeming facts here, if any? Education: NEVER sign a church contract. It’s NOT a “covenant” bolstered by your signature—it’s a CONTRACT. This is why TANC does what it does; education, then solution/alternative.

Is there a way to get justice after signing our rights away? Perhaps, because apparently, marriage is also a contract. Rather than burning you at the stake and burying you in the church yard under a stone edict condemning you to hell, which of course is against the law presently, they will begin by ruining your name, and then destroy you financially via divorce.

The process goes something like this: you break your contract and stop being “teachable.” This tells the leadership that you no longer see yourself as a sinner, and you have become “insubordinate.” A dozen or so respected leaders and their wives start telling your wife that you are no longer “humble” and whether she realizes it or not, she is married to an “angry man.” And hark, behavior that your wife formerly assumed not to be abusive, in fact is abusive. Yes, she is married to a man who “doesn’t love her like Christ loved the church.” It’s all downhill from there.

Apparently, legally, this is interference with a marriage contract. Damages would be determined by a jury if the situation ends in divorce. Also, the idea that ACBC could eventually be subject to a class action lawsuit is not all that farfetched.

However, this is just more evidence that the premise and foundations of the institutional church is egregiously flawed and was designed for a church state to begin with. The solution is the cooperation of spiritual gifts, not authority, and fellowship—not membership.

Meanwhile, if you do not like the solution, behave yourself in the Protestant church. Stop going to discernment blogs and whining—you signed the contract, shut up and live by it.

paul

The New Calvinism Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/The purpose of this post is to merely state the facts—you can draw your own conclusions in regard to motives. As predicted by this ministry several years ago, divorces overseen and endorsed by Reformed churches has now become an epidemic. That’s an understatement.

From several testimonies to us over time, we have concluded that the unfolding of these divorces share an identical storyline.

It all begins with couples seeking to improve their marriage via the formal counseling of the Reformed biblical counseling movement. The consistent testimony that we constantly hear follows: in the milieu of the issues, the counselors gravitate to, and take sides with the spouse who is willing to submit to church authority. Then, the unwillingness of the other spouse to submit to church authority becomes the primary issue and fodder for potential church discipline.

Once the church discipline has been executed, the “unteachable” spouse is declared unregenerate, and the marriage is now a mixed marriage. Usually, the excommunicated spouse doesn’t worry about it all that much because after all, he/she is “pleased to live with the ‘believing’ spouse.”

But not so fast. Protocol doesn’t limit “abandonment” (“if the unbelieving spouse departs let them depart” 1Cor 7:12-15) to a physical leaving; yes, there is also an “abandonment of the heart.” No, the spouse hasn’t left physically, but the actions and words of the spouse show that they are not really “pleased to dwell with the believing spouse and are staying for ulterior motives.” Of course, as ascertained by the “expert” biblical counselor.

The “believing” spouse is now given the green light to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse. The judgement regarding the salvation of either spouse is based on a willingness to submit to church authority. And obviously, there are many words or actions that can be used as proof to deem the other spouse as unpleased to dwell with the other. The judgment is subjectivism on steroids.

As this ministry has documented, the Reformed biblical counseling movement is nonexistent in zip codes where the average income is below $50,000 per year. Because the church where the counseling takes place offers support to the believing spouse in the midst of the decision to divorce, that spouse will almost always join said church and faithfully tithe 10% of the alimony as New Calvinist churches are now routinely disciplining people for not tithing at least 10%. In some cases, the submission of financial statements is part of the membership covenant.

And sadly, the word is out on some of these churches: it’s a place you can go to get sanctified permission to dump your spouse. Somebody play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Simon and Garfunkel.

And even sadder, some of the counseling starts with a couple merely wanting tips on tuning up their marriage and getting the most out of it; a year later they are in divorce court.

This ministry is primarily recommending Marriage Works through the state of Ohio. It’s not counseling, but rather workshops on practical things that improve a marriage. We also reluctantly recommend the Institute of Nouthetic Studies (Jay Adams). Because Jay will not make a complete break with New Calvinist minions such as Lou Priolo and Martha Peace, we recommend extreme caution. Nevertheless, aspects of Jay’s counseling are a major help. Susan and I offer counseling as a third option.

paul

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