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 “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

Home Fellowships: Are Elders Optional?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 24, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Some time ago during our Tuesday night Bible study in Acts, teacher Andy Young suggested an alternative interpretation of 1Timothy 3:1.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

Most English translations use words in this verse that indicate an individual’s desire to become an elder, but Andy pointed out, and as far as I can tell from word study, such a conclusion is not definitive. In fact, while many translations render this “if a man,” the ESV and other translations are more accurate by rendering it, “if anyone.” Whether the text refers to the aspirations of a group or individual is difficult to ascertain.

In addition, “the office of” is clearly added with no merit to do so whatsoever. This should be a red flag. We must also interject into the discussion that first-century home fellowships, at least for a while, had no elders.

Titus 1:5 – This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

So, at least for a time, Crete obviously had no elders; yet, it didn’t prevent the gathering of the saints. Throughout the New Testament, we see the forming of fellowships with no mention of elders. In the least case, elders were not efficacious to having a fellowship for any designated period of time. Clearly, it was a secondary priority. Meeting together is the first priority. Putting things in order is a lower priority.

We must remember that home fellowships are a powerful combination of informality and order. Doing things in an orderly and organized way does not prevent growth, but later facilitates growth. Once home fellowships reemerge from the Protestant Dark Age, deacons and elders will accelerate the Lord’s work and general mandates. Granted, a world outreach and impact from homes is an idea that we need to get used to, but building materials do not empower God’s people—this should be evident. Nor does authority passing judgment on the gifts of others empower. Even when elders and deacons emerge by necessity in the home fellowship movement, disciples will not be waiting for permission to practice their gifts.

Let’s also consider the context of 1Timothy 3:1. Let me suggest from the prior verses that there was a problem with a loosey-goosey approach to the freedom of home fellowships. No institution with its strangulating authority equals NO organization; that’s a huge miscalculation. Also, see Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.

However, while we are on that subject, is it not interesting that elders are not spoken of in the Corinthian letters? Am I missing something? If they are mentioned it is barely more than a mention that I cannot find. Nevertheless, I leave room for correction. But at any rate, the vast majority of instruction in the New Testament addresses the assemblies in general and NOT leadership in particular. That is very telling. Leaders are to facilitate gifts, and are not called to grant permission.

This ministry is beginning to get a lot of feedback that looks like this: “We have left the institutional church; what now?” And this ministry will be addressing that question in the near future.

But be sure of this: in the beginning of your journey, you only need the head—Jesus Christ. Follow Him, and whatever you do—don’t look back.

paul

Institutional Church Spiritual Caste System

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 19, 2015

Camp on This: The Problem with Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 18, 2015

Steve Camp is a Reformed leader and contemporary Christian music icon. In fact, while still blinded by the ways of Protestantism, I was a huge fan of Camp and have probably purchased every CD he ever recorded. He recently posted a comment on his Facebook page that is an almost perfect thumbnail of Protestant heresy and churchianity in general.

Steve Camp

Let’s unravel this invitation to go to hell in a handbasket one idea at a time:

As I read FB and Twitter each day, it saddens me to read Christians posting for help with basic needs in their lives. When you see this, it’s proof positive that they are not part of a local church.

Oh really? Home fellowships are in a much better position to help people because of expendable income not going to the Protestant temple tax. As a former Reformed elder, I can tell you what percentage of tithe goes to infrastructure and it ain’t pretty. Not only that, there are always strings attached to any help you get from a Protestant institutional church. One such church offered to pay for my education in fire safety engineering. I said no because I knew it was a control move. In fact, because of what was going on at the time, their motives were so obvious I was embarrassed for them. Home fellowships accomplish EVERYTHING we are called to do at a fraction of the cost.

May I encourage you today to get plugged into a gospel-centered church.

Being interpreted: a church that continually “shows forth” the same gospel that saved us. That’s Protestantism: a return to the same gospel to maintain forgiveness for “present sin.” Calvin taught that sin in the Christian life “removes us…from grace” (“grace,” ie., justification) and reforgiveness of such sin can only be found in formal Protestant church membership.

Be taught God’s Word; worship the Lord Jesus; celebrate the Lord’s supper; fellowship with other believers; pray; serve; give; help meet the needs and bear the burdens of another; develop and use your Spirit given gifts; grow in grace; share your faith; glorify God.

In this list are the Protestant, and don’t miss this, “means of grace.” Stripping this term of its nuance, it is better stated “means of justification.” Notice towards the end of the list we read, “grow[ing] in grace” which is more truthfully rendered “growing in justification.”

Sitting under the teaching of seminary certified philosopher kings, taking the Lord’s Table, being faithful to the church, tithing, etc., “imparts grace” (justification) and are the “means of grace” (justification).

Also notice that instead of worshiping God in spirit and in truth wherever we are because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and not some “local church,” “worship” only takes place when we meet corporately in the local expression of the “holy mother Church” as Calvin enjoyed calling it.

paul

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