Paul's Passing Thoughts

“Godly” Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 24, 2018

Originally published March 14, 2015

andy-profile-1I used to be in the camp that views “philosophy” as “worldly”, “man-centered”, “evil”; all of those things as juxtaposed with “Biblical wisdom”, or “scriptural”, or “God’s Wisdom”.  After all, it seemed to be a reasonable conclusion when confronted with verses of scripture like:

“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:20-28

What you choose to believe is a philosophical statement about what you believe about reality. Everyone has a philosophy whether they realize it or not. You cannot escape it. So to say that “philosophy is evil” is really a philosophy itself. It therefore unwittingly becomes its own metaphysical statement about man. If philosophy is evil, then man is evil because man has no relevance apart from his beliefs about reality. It should come as no surprise then that reformed theology holds such a metaphysical view of man with regard to its doctrine of total depravity. But that’s another topic altogether.

It is ironic that I had to get out of the church before I finally began to better understand just what the apostle Paul was addressing here with the Corinthians. Religious despots don’t see themselves as having “worldly wisdom”, but yet they are the very ones that Paul is criticizing. Religious orthodoxy is the epitome of “man’s wisdom”; crafted by the scholars and academics and elites who spend their years in seminary and other institutes of religious training for the so-called “right” that they think they have purchased for themselves in order to rule over the unenlightened.

I have come to realize that the notion of philosophy being evil is nothing more that organized religion’s attempt to keep man beholden to it; to keep him enslaved; to keep him from thinking. Those of us who call ourselves “Christians” must begin to shed this false notion of philosophy. Philosophy deals with things such as reality and the nature of existence. To believe God and what He tells us in His word is our own philosophical statement. It stems from our rational, thinking mind; a mind that is part of a creature made in the very image of God, made for the purpose of thinking and reasoning and coming to rational conclusions. I implore believers everywhere to consider what God Himself has told us: “Come, let us reason together.”

Andy

The Reality of Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 28, 2018

Originally Published April 28, 2017

One of the things that sets man apart from all of the other creatures is his ability to observe reality and organize it. Language and words are fundamental to this end. Using words, man is able to conceptualize abstractions and understand his world. Using words, man is able to communicate with others. Using words, God communicated to man.

Therefore, when it comes to properly interpreting scripture, the words that are used are most important to communicate a specific message. The various authors used the specific words that they used so that there would be no misunderstanding by those to whom they were writing. For example, the apostle John wrote the following in 1 John 3:9:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Silly me, but I actually believe that when John wrote “cannot sin” he actually meant CANNOT sin!

Now you know me, I certainly won’t pass up the opportunity to examine the grammatical structure of words, being the grammaticist (is that a word?) that I am. The word translated “cannot” is the Greek word δυναμαι (dyoo-na-mai). It means to be able or possible. From this word we get our English word “dynamite”. It means to have the power or ability to do something. In the text of 1 John 3:9, “dunamai” is preceded by the negative particle “ou” which means “not”. John says that the one who is born again does NOT have the ability or the power to sin. It is not possible for him to sin!

Cannot has to do with metaphysical reality. Cannot speaks to the nature of existence. Cannot speaks to ability.

We have a tendency to be careless with the words we use. Often times when we say, “cannot,” we really mean “will not” or “do not”. One is a choice, the other is a metaphysical reality. For example, if I were to say, “I cannot play the piano,” I am not saying that I don’t have the ability to learn how to play the piano. Neither am I saying that there is something pertaining to the nature of my existence that prevents me from being able to play the piano. Now if I were to say, “I cannot fly like a bird,” what I am saying is that as a human being, I do not have the ability to fly like a bird. The metaphysical reality regarding my existence as a human being prevents me from having the ability to fly like a bird.

Consider the metaphysical two-step that Calvinists play with regard to ability, particularly with regard to their interpretation of 1 John 3:9. Let’s begin by looking at how they interpret this verse in their favorite bible, the ESV.

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Notice the two expressions I have emphasized and how they are related to each other. The Greek word for “practice” is the word πρασω (prass-oh), which means to perform repeatedly or habitually. This clearly seems to be the implied connation of the ESV translation. In other words, the believer might slip up and sin from time to time (i.e. he may occasionally forget to live by “faith alone” and think he actually did a good work), but as a “practice” his life is not characterized by habitually sinning.   By extension, it might also stand to reason that one who DOES make a practice of habitually sinning might have reason to doubt the genuineness of his salvation. (Is it any wonder why the lack of assurance runs rampant in the institutional church?)

But the problem is that John didn’t use the word “prasso”. In the original Greek manuscripts he used the word ποιεω (poi-eh-oh), which means to make or to do. If John had wanted to mean “practice sin”, he would have said, “practice sin”.

Compare the ESV above with the King James:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

What the Calvinists have effectively done with 1 John 3:9 through their ESV bible is to make sin a function of choice and not ability. The Calvinist would have us to believe that one who is a believer makes a choice not to sin. This is step one in the metaphysical two-step. While on the one hand claiming the doctrine of election and that man has no free will, man somehow still has a choice in whether or not he can make a “practice” of sinning.

Step two requires us to consider that the doctrine of “total depravity” says that man is metaphysically evil. The question then is obvious. If man is metaphysically evil, how can he choose to not keep on sinning? The metaphysical reality of his existence would mean that he has no ability to do anything but evil. Is this not what Reformed theology would have us believe?

The contrast of what the apostle John teaches regarding the believer and sin is a direct rebuke to Reformed theology. The one who is born again does not commit sin because he cannot sin! It is a statement about the metaphysical reality of the believer’s existence with regard to ability. The believer is not able to sin because who he is makes the reality of sin non-existent.   He cannot sin because sin is not possible.

The believer is a new creature. He is the literal offspring of the Father, therefore he shares the same righteous nature as the Father. Furthermore, he is not under law because the old man who was under law is dead. The law has no more power over him. The believer cannot sin because there is no law to condemn him, and where there is no law there is no sin.  This makes the reality of sin impossible.  This is the metaphysical reality for the one who is born of God!

Reformed theology attempts to explain away the plain truth of scripture by changing the clear meaning of words in a vain attempt to wrestle it into compliance with their orthodoxy. Ironically, in their attempt to do so, they only manage to further expose the contradictions in their own twisted and evil theology.

~ Andy

What Is The “It”?

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 14, 2018

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” ~ John 19:30

τετελεσται (teh-tel-es-tai) – verb; indicative mood, perfect tense, passive voice, 3rd person singular. It is derived from the Greek noun telos which is used to refer to something set out as a goal or an aim, or the conclusion of an act or state.

All Churchians most likely at some point in their life have heard the explanation that when Jesus uttered these words that He meant that he had finished what He had come to earth to accomplish. And what was it that Jesus accomplished? The orthodox interpretation of that would be that Jesus accomplished the forgiveness of sins. Moreover, it would be that Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience. Now having demonstrated perfect obedience to the Law, Jesus could fulfill his purpose as the perfect sacrifice for sin. His job was done.

It is true that Jesus did accomplish the forgiveness of sin with His death on the cross. But how exactly did this happen? Furthermore, Reformed orthodoxy would have us believe that Christians need to preach the gospel to themselves every day. They must daily return to the cross to continually have Jesus’ obedience imputed to their lives as a covering. This is accomplished by “faith alone” works through the “means of grace” administered by the local church. If Christians need an ongoing imputation of righteousness from Christ through His obeying the law for us in our stead, how exactly can one say that Jesus’ work is “finished”?

Lest I be accused of setting up a “straw man” argument, consider that after almost nine years of research here at TANC ministries, all of the problems with Protestant orthodoxy and the institutional church can be boiled down to one thing: a misunderstanding of the Law. Reformed orthodoxy keeps Christians “under law” (the Biblical definition of an unsaved person) by making perfect law-keeping the standard for righteousness. Because Protestantism’s metaphysical assumption of man is “total depravity”, man cannot keep the law, so he must rely on Jesus to keep the law for him.

But the Bible says that righteousness is apart from the law (Romans 3:21, 28). If Jesus must keep the law for us, not only does that make Jesus’ work not “finished”, but it is also not a righteousness apart from the law. What could Jesus have possibly meant when He said, “It is finished”?

It is important to note the grammar of that phase, which is only one single word in Greek. First of all, it is in the “passive voice”. That means the subject is the recipient of the action. Jesus did not say I have finished something. Some subject “it” received the action of being finished, and Jesus’ death accomplished that.

Second, the word “tetelestai” is in the “perfect” tense. The perfect tense is a verb form that indicates that an action or circumstance occurred earlier than the time under consideration, often focusing attention on the resulting state rather than on the occurrence itself. Although this gives information about a prior action, the focus is likely to be on the present consequences of that action.  In fact, the King James rendering of this verb is incorrect.  The correct rendering of this phrase in the perfect tense would be, “It has been finished.”  Jesus declared that His death produced a resulting state of something that now exists that is different from an earlier state.

Third, “tetelestai” is in the singular third person. The subject is not Jesus and something He did. The focus is on some third party subject that was the recipient of some action being performed upon it. Therefore, the statement, “It is finished” could not be a reference to Jesus finishing His work of perfect obedience to the Law. Something else had the action of “finished” performed upon it.

The question then remains, when Jesus said, “It is finished”, what exactly then is the “it”?

For one thing, the Law was actually a living will or “testament”, a covenant made between God and Israel that was ratified with Moses by the sprinkling of blood (Hebrews 9:18-21). This covenant of the Law acted as a guardian until the promise made to Abraham and his “seed” was fulfilled. (Galatians 3:16, 22-24). The Law took Old Testament saints into protective custody, protecting them from the Law’s condemnation upon their death. All sin was imputed to the Law. This was the “atoning” or “covering” aspect of the Law.

The Law’s testament pointed to the coming “promise” to Abraham that all the nations would be blessed. There would come one who would “take away” sin once and for all. This was so clearly symbolized by the picture of the “scapegoat” in Leviticus 16. The high priest would lay his hands on the head of a goat, signifying the imputation of sin to the Law. The goat would then be delivered into the hands of a strong man who would carry that goat into the wilderness and release it, signifying the taking away of sin as far as the east is from the west.

Jesus was the promised “seed” of Abraham. He was the “testator” of which the Law’s covenant spoke. Just as with any will, it could not be in force until after the death of the testator (Hebrews 9:16-17). It would seem reasonable then that the perfect tense of the verb “tetelestai” would put focus on the Law, its testament, and its role as guardian. The initiating of the Law was an event or circumstance of the past, but Jesus’ death now causes us to focus on its resulting change of state. The passive voice indicates that the Law is the recipient of this change of state. What is now changed?

  • The testament of the Law is finished. Jesus’ death now allowed its promises to be fulfilled; that is, sin would be ended because the Law was ended. All sin that was imputed to the Law would be taken away forever. The Law can no longer condemn.
  • The Law’s role as a guardian is finished. Since the “promise” had been fulfilled, believers are now the righteous offspring of the Father. There is no Law to condemn them, and where there is no law there is no sin. And since there is no sin there is no longer any need of a guardian. The covering aspect of the Law is ended.
  • The distinction between Jew and Gentile is finished. Now every born again child of God would be baptized into one Body. This is the mystery that Paul spoke of in Ephesians. He called it the New Man. Every person who is a member of the Body is given a gift to exercise to the edification of the Body and to demonstrate love to God and others. The Law is the means by which believers show love through obedience.

One could say that because of Jesus’ death to end the Law, there is now a new relationship to the Law.  There is a change of state; not only of the law but the state of the believer as well!

It was God’s plan to reconcile every man to Himself by putting to death the “old man” who is “under law” and replacing him with a new creature who is the literal offspring of the Father. In this way sin is ended because the Law is ended for those who are born again. The Law is fulfilled in us, every believer, each time we show love to another.

Sin sought to bring death by condemnation and alienate man from God. God defeated Sin by providing a way to make man part of His own family!

Andy

Dear Reformed Brother, Was Jesus Righteous Before He Kept the Law?
Wait, Believers Fulfill The Law?

Do You Believe a False Gospel?

Pagan Thinkers Inspiration Found In Augustinian Aesthetics

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on November 23, 2017

As John Immel so successfully detailed for us in past TANC conferences, Augustinian orthodoxy (and ultimately authentic reformation Protestantism)  is a fusion of Christianity and ancient pagan philosophy. The theological pedigree can be traced from men like Thales and Pythagoras to Plato to Plotinus. So then it should come as no surprise that medeival cathedral builders paid homage to these pagan thinkers in the construction of their cathedrals since they were so influential in shaping the orthodoxy.

The Reality of Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on April 28, 2017

One of the things that sets man apart from all of the other creatures is his ability to observe reality and organize it. Language and words are fundamental to this end. Using words, man is able to conceptualize abstractions and understand his world. Using words, man is able to communicate with others. Using words, God communicated to man.

Therefore, when it comes to properly interpreting scripture, the words that are used are most important to communicate a specific message. The various authors used the specific words that they used so that there would be no misunderstanding by those to whom they were writing. For example, the apostle John wrote the following in 1 John 3:9:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Silly me, but I actually believe that when John wrote “cannot sin” he actually meant CANNOT sin!

Now you know me, I certainly won’t pass up the opportunity to examine the grammatical structure of words, being the grammaticist (is that a word?) that I am. The word translated “cannot” is the Greek word δυναμαι (dyoo-na-mai). It means to be able or possible. From this word we get our English word “dynamite”. It means to have the power or ability to do something. In the text of 1 John 3:9, “dunamai” is preceded by the negative particle “ou” which means “not”. John says that the one who is born again does NOT have the ability or the power to sin. It is not possible for him to sin!

Cannot has to do with metaphysical reality. Cannot speaks to the nature of existence. Cannot speaks to ability.

We have a tendency to be careless with the words we use. Often times when we say, “cannot,” we really mean “will not” or “do not”. One is a choice, the other is a metaphysical reality. For example, if I were to say, “I cannot play the piano,” I am not saying that I don’t have the ability to learn how to play the piano. Neither am I saying that there is something pertaining to the nature of my existence that prevents me from being able to play the piano. Now if I were to say, “I cannot fly like a bird,” what I am saying is that as a human being, I do not have the ability to fly like a bird. The metaphysical reality regarding my existence as a human being prevents me from having the ability to fly like a bird.

Consider the metaphysical two-step that Calvinists play with regard to ability, particularly with regard to their interpretation of 1 John 3:9. Let’s begin by looking at how they interpret this verse in their favorite bible, the ESV.

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Notice the two expressions I have emphasized and how they are related to each other. The Greek word for “practice” is the word πρασω (prass-oh), which means to perform repeatedly or habitually. This clearly seems to be the implied connation of the ESV translation. In other words, the believer might slip up and sin from time to time (i.e. he may occasionally forget to live by “faith alone” and think he actually did a good work), but as a “practice” his life is not characterized by habitually sinning.   By extension, it might also stand to reason that one who DOES make a practice of habitually sinning might have reason to doubt the genuineness of his salvation. (Is it any wonder why the lack of assurance runs rampant in the institutional church?)

But the problem is that John didn’t use the word “prasso”. In the original Greek manuscripts he used the word ποιεω (poi-eh-oh), which means to make or to do. If John had wanted to mean “practice sin”, he would have said, “practice sin”.

Compare the ESV above with the King James:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

What the Calvinists have effectively done with 1 John 3:9 through their ESV bible is to make sin a function of choice and not ability. The Calvinist would have us to believe that one who is a believer makes a choice not to sin. This is step one in the metaphysical two-step. While on the one hand claiming the doctrine of election and that man has no free will, man somehow still has a choice in whether or not he can make a “practice” of sinning.

Step two requires us to consider that the doctrine of “total depravity” says that man is metaphysically evil. The question then is obvious. If man is metaphysically evil, how can he choose to not keep on sinning? The metaphysical reality of his existence would mean that he has no ability to do anything but evil. Is this not what Reformed theology would have us believe?

The contrast of what the apostle John teaches regarding the believer and sin is a direct rebuke to Reformed theology. The one who is born again does not commit sin because he cannot sin! It is a statement about the metaphysical reality of the believer’s existence with regard to ability. The believer is not able to sin because who he is makes the reality of sin non-existent.   He cannot sin because sin is not possible.

The believer is a new creature. He is the literal offspring of the Father, therefore he shares the same righteous nature as the Father. Furthermore, he is not under law because the old man who was under law is dead. The law has no more power over him. The believer cannot sin because there is no law to condemn him, and where there is no law there is no sin.  This makes the reality of sin impossible.  This is the metaphysical reality for the one who is born of God!

Reformed theology attempts to explain away the plain truth of scripture by changing the clear meaning of words in a vain attempt to wrestle it into compliance with their orthodoxy. Ironically, in their attempt to do so, they only manage to further expose the contradictions in their own twisted and evil theology.

~ Andy

%d bloggers like this: