Paul's Passing Thoughts

World Philosophy, Politics, and Christianity: John Immel, TANC 2014; Sessions 1-3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 12, 2015

SESSION ONE

JOHN IMMEL:  I know that people online can’t see this, but this is – luckily, you guys can see this. So about three weeks after the conference last year, I get an e-mail from Paul, Paul Dohse, the organizer of this conference. And the title of the e-mail is “Thoughts?” In the body of the e-mail it says, “See attached jpeg.” That’s it. So I read this and I can’t for the life of me figure out what he’s talking about. So I write to Paul back and I say, “Paul, can you explain this?” Now you have all heard Paul speak. So it is at no end of irony that Paul’s e-mails are notoriously short to the point of cryptic. There are no rabbit trails in Paul’s e-mails. So I write on the reply, “I have no idea what you want from me here.” So finally, Paul writes me back and he says – is this hot? Is this a little too hot?

PAUL DOHSE:  A little, yeah.

JOHN IMMEL:  Can you turn it down just a touch? Check, check, check? Does that work?

PAUL DOHSE:  That’s better.

JOHN IMMEL:  That’s a whole better? Okay, good. All right, so he writes me back and he says, the idea – now mind you, with this in mind, this is Paul’s response. “The idea that freedom of man is practically a pipedream because he is enslaved to his own desires spiritually, hence, at the very least indifferent to political freedom on a social level.” So, here’s his question. “So will the New Calvinist Movement cause political indifference in American society among Christians?” And I’m like, “Oh, I get it.” So then I go back to this. And for those of you online, you can’t see this. But this guy, Mark Ray, I get to use the cool pointer now. Mark Ray here, I don’t know who he is, don’t care, don’t matter. He says right here, “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” And this is when I finally understood what Paul’s after. And he’s interested in me commenting on the impact of New Calvinism on American culture, what it’s trying to do.

Now, of course, he, this Mark Ray, is actually quoting a guy by the name of Edmund Burke. You can look him up. He’s not really an enigmatic character. But Edmund Burke held the fundamental assumption about human existence, and this quote ultimately that the nature of man requires that man can only be governed by a totalitarian government, that the function of government is human restraint. So anyway, Paul is asking me to weigh in on this particular issue. And my response was, yes. I’ll summarize. Yes, this is exactly what the Neo-Calvinist movement is willing to do. Now my e-mail response to Paul was about 500 words. I gave a detailed explanation, and it turns out – well, I gave that explanation. I won’t tell you what I said. And so then, I send them off to Paul, and Paul says to me, “This would be a perfect progression from this year to next year. This could be your 2014 thesis for next year’s conference.” So this is exactly what we’re going talk about, the Edmund Burke comment and its specific impact on the progression of American thought, where we are. Now of course the flyer says that I’m going to talk about National Socialist Germany. That is true. We are going to talk about that.

But before I get too much farther into this, I guess I do need to make some introductions. My name is John Immel. I like to introduce myself this way. I am no one from nowhere. And the important thing about this is that there is a general trend and a general move within Christianity. The assumption being that if you’re standing behind a pulpit that you bear some form of authority, and that the expectation is that whatever I say, you have some obligation to accept. I reject that as a fundamental premise. I’m not here as a representative of authority. I am here to present to you ideas and the most powerful arguments that I can bring to you. And your part of this conversation, and it is a conversation, is for you to bring your highest and best rational self to this engagement. I’m going to make the most powerful argument I can, and I want you to engage your brain and to think and to analyze and to find out what is correct, what is true. And if I’ve done my job well, you will end up agreeing with me because I believe I hold right ideas. But here is how this works. If you can find a flaw on what I said, then you have the ability to say ,”Hey, John. Now here I think is an adjustment.” And if you make a powerful argument, if you make a good argument, and I apply my rational individuality to that, I go, “You know what? That’s true.”

Now having said that, I did write a book. I wrote a book, this book, called Blight in the Vineyard: Exposing the Roots, Myths, and Emotional Torments of Spiritual Tyranny. You can buy this online at amazon.com. It’s $23.99 online. If you like what I say in the conference, those of you who are watching online, if you like what I say, you’re going to find more of the same in here. Now I will say this. I wrote this, and I’ll get into this just a little bit more here in the moment. I wrote this using a modern denomination called Sovereign Grace Ministries as my anecdote. But the book is not about Sovereign Grace Ministries specifically. The book is about how the ideas embedded in what we’re going to talk about shaped this specific ministry. So I talk about a who so we can talk about a what. And the what are the ideas that are behind it. And in particular, the Neo-Calvinist, the new resurgent movement of Calvinism in the United States.

Now it is a little dated because when I wrote this, most of the major players, and those of you familiar within evangelical Christianity certainly will have heard names like CJ Mahaney, Brent Detwiler, Joshua Harris. These were all people at the top of the uber super apostles, whatever they want to call themselves now. There’s been a split within that denomination, and so that current history is not reflected in the book, but it actually doesn’t matter because the book is not about the personalities or the organization of that denomination. The book is about how the ideas were used to create this denomination in Sovereign Grace Ministries and ultimately how that causes them to act within that denomination. So you’ll still get the same things even though like I said it’s historically dated.

So this conference, this specific conference represents the culmination of about – at least 20 years of thinking for me. And to give you a sense of scope, which is what I think I do best, I think I give people the framework best. I need to actually talk about me personally a little bit. I got born again when I was 15. So my exposure to Christianity is going on 30 years. Now I got born again and became immediately a part of a brethren church in Eaton, Ohio, actually not too far from where we are now. And my introduction to Christianity was dramatic. I’m confident there are people that can tell you about my life during my high school career. But I took Christianity seriously, and I invested in Christianity. I invested in what I believe to be the truth with absolute commitment. So by the time I was 18, I was fully invested and fully committed to Christianity, modern American Christianity. Now I’m going to make a distinction here. (more…)

Logically Speaking, Abortion is the Oldest Religion on Earth

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 3, 2014

PPT HandleIn a discussion of abortion, let’s set aside Christianity for a moment. Let’s set aside the Ten Commandments. Instead, let’s look at abortion from the viewpoint of logic and philosophy. Don’t worry, God is logical. Don’t worry, God was not on vacation when philosophy was discovered.

Let’s concede, for the sake of argument, that conception is not life. Let’s start with something that no one can deny: conception is the possibility of life. Let’s also add another point that no one can deny: only time can reveal what that life will be. Let’s also add the irrefutable fact that lives result in human milestones for humanity. That would seem fairly evident. Let’s also add the irrefutable fact that because of human conscience, those milestones have been for the better, and not worse.

And let’s add the irrefutable fact that one life leads to many other lives that also have a potential to contribute to humanity—a contribution that only time can reveal.

So what is abortion saying? It is saying that the possibility of life is completely irrelevant because life is irrelevant. Whether a legacy of one life and the lives it spawns contributes to humanity or not is irrelevant because life is irrelevant.

Now we are back to religion. In its most ancient form, religion disdains the material and longs for the invisible. If you can see it, hear it, touch it, feel it, or smell it, it is evil. And that, of course, includes life. Dualism is the foundation of most religions—if not all of them. Christ destroyed the whole notion when He arrived as Deity in human flesh.

Abortion is not a social issue, it is ancient religion. Logically, it rejects the value of life and deems its sum as zero. It is also misguided to think those who partake in abortion services only value their own life; no, because their life is without value, whatever happens in life stays in life, one day we will be free from its bondage to some invisible freedom of one’s own imagination. Decisions made in this life are as irrelevant as life itself.

Logically, abortion can only mean one thing: life in its totality is worthless. While arguing about when life begins, abortion wants to snuff out the very possibility of life itself.

It’s not a complicated social issue, it’s the oldest religion known to man.

paul

The New Calvinist Tsunami: Where’s the Beef?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 29, 2014

“They are pointing to the very decline that has occurred during their watch, and are recommending themselves as the cure because they are supposedly the new kids in town—every year since 1970.”

When the “elder statesman” of New Calvinism, John Piper, announced his retirement from Bethlehem Baptist Church as the “pastor of spiritual vision,” he spent hard-earned laity money to announce his post-retirement plans from Geneva, Switzerland where John Calvin reined as Protestant Pope. Piper proclaimed in the video, against all historical commonsense, that wherever the gospel of the Protestant Reformation is announced, light shines forth out of darkness. Of course, a cursory observation of church history exposes this statement as utter nonsense.

Furthermore, ever since the movement was born in 1970, the perpetual message year after year is that the movement is a recovery of the long-lost Reformation gospel. In other words, it’s been sold as a new revival every year since 1970. It’s been “new” for a very, very long time.

However, please note: New Calvinism grew like a wildfire from 1970 to 2005, and has totally dominated the evangelical church since 2006. So, where is all of the light out of darkness? Take note of this recent article from TownHall.com:  http://townhall.com/columnists/starparker/2014/09/29/americans-concerned-about-declining-influence-of-religion-n1897237

Over the last 12 years, the percentage of Americans that think religion is losing influence in American life has increased dramatically. In 2002, 52 percent of those surveyed said religion is losing influence. In 2014, 72 percent of Americans said religion is losing influence.

However, while increasing numbers of Americans feel religion is losing influence, most feel this is a bad thing.

Fifty-six percent say that the waning influence of religion is a bad thing compared to 12 percent that say it is a good thing.

In a survey done by Pew in 2012, 58 percent of Americans said religion is “very important” and only 18 percent said it is not “too important” or “not important at all.”

In other words, it is not too late to reverse course by returning to the original model set forth by Christ: laity home fellowships with a focus on individual gifts driven by fellowship and not authority beyond that of Christ and his word.

58% of Americans still think religion is important, they are merely looking for the right expression of it. New Calvinism has been totally running the show since 2006, so where is the beef? They are pointing to the very decline that has occurred during their watch, and are recommending themselves as the cure because they are supposedly the new kids in town—every year since 1970.

Moreover, New Calvinism represents orthodoxy which has had more than 500 years to perform its “light out of darkness” routine and the results speak for themselves. Their version of the good news isn’t being bought.

They have NO authority, and their orthodoxy is shown to be without power. Come out from among them.

paul

John Immel Sessions TANC 2014 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 28, 2014

James 4:1-4; You Do Not Have, Because You Do Not Ask

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 11, 2009

A pattern throughout the book of James is the author’s pattern of stating a problem, explaining the source or reason for the problem, and then pronouncing the necessary correction. Chapter 4 begins with the problem of “quarrels” and “fights” among the Jewish believers he is addressing [By the way, the fact that Bible writers address Jewish believers separately in the New Testament without any encouragement to assimilate into a church melting pot does not fair well for New Covenant Theology or Amillennialism].

 

James states the problem, quarrels. Then he states the cause, desires. Then he sites 3 corrections that also revisit the causes and further qualifies them.

 

The first correction seems brutally pragmatic, but remember, this is James writing. They don’t have because they don’t ask God and not having incites the desires within them. Lack of want always creates temptation, but if your needs are met, the temptation isn’t there, pretty basic. Do you think the Bible is void of these kinds of raw, practical applications? Granted, James is going to go much deeper than this, but remember what Paul’s counsel is to singles who struggle with lust: Get married! [1Cor 7:8,9]. Likewise, let’s say the Holy Spirit convicts you that you like to pray in public to show everybody how spiritual you are. Christ said to fix the problem by praying alone more than you pray in public, knowing that the private prayer is what you will be rewarded for in this life and the life to come [Matt 6:5,6]. And by the way, he encourages you to do it in order to get a reward. Oh my!!! Christ does however, put his finger on the problem. The motive thats driving this sin is the desire to be rewarded by men rather than God. More could be said about that but I digress.

 

James seems to be developing his instruction in a progression of cause and effect. At it’s most basic, individuals are trying to obtain their desires by their own means and God is not cooperating. They are totally dependent on self and not mindful of God. In other words, good old fashioned pride. They want to obtain their desires by their own strength so they can keep all the credit and glory for themselves as a self-esteem booster. They will fight others to get their way and the prize they seek, the supposed right to boast and feel superior to others.

 

Remember, James is dealing with religious people. So when all of the fighting and frustration leads to a total dead end, then they pray. We have all partaken in this kind of dead, drab, lifeless prayer time. It is this way because our life is marked by “you do not ask” [usually, you do not pray], then when you do pray, it is not a bold partaking at the throne, crying “abba, Father!”,it is a “double minded” faithless prayer driven by selfish “desire.” Along with this prayer comes the feeling we get when we only call our earthly parents when we want something.“Ya, I’m at a real dead end. All that’s left now is prayer, who knows, maybe God will give me what I want.” 3 words: ain’t gunna happen.

 

Where does this selfish desire come from that is “warring” within you, and causing all of this mess? That’s verse 4, friendship with the world. Friendship with the world trashes our communion [prayer]

with God in three way’s according to James in verse 4. First, friendship with the world feeds and gives provision to the fleshly desires James speaks of in verse 1 [Rom 13:14]. Sinful desires reside in the flesh and will be there till the Lord comes for us. Friendship with the world inflames this lust and empowers it to wage war within us [Gal 5:17]. As Christians, we keep the sinful desires dummed down and weak for lack of provision.

 

Secondly, friendship with the world makes us an enemy of God and then we expect to be able to go to God in prayer and get something while feeling the love. Again, 3 words: ain’t, gunna, and happen.

Thirdly, friendship with the world saps our desire to pray. This brings us full circle back to “you do not ask.” In turn, not praying according to the will of God feeds our propensity to fellowship with the world and fulfill the lust of the flesh. We are only then driven to cry out to God in the desperate result from a barren land, and without understanding of how we got there in the first place. If all of that is not enough, this whole nasty downward spiral gives Satan a foothold in our life [verse 7].

 

Friendship with the world is a subtle affair that creeps in unaware through attitude, beliefs, and influence. It also rushes in quickly to fill every void in our lack of spiritual duty and discipline, and the forces of darkness stand by to help with eagerness.

 

How friendly are you with the world? The answer can be found in another question: How often do you pray, and what kind of prayer is it?

 

Let it not be so with us. Let us instead rush the throne of God boldly with every want for ourselves and others, with every concern and deep desire according to the Spirit. We do not have because we do not ask. Christ came that we could have life and have it more abundantly, let us pray accordingly.

 

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