Paul's Passing Thoughts

Bible Prophesy is Directly Linked to Assurance of Salvation: Part One

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 4, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One of the many Protestant myths that we hear often is that Bible prophesy, otherwise known as eschatology, is “secondary” truth. Yes, having a definitive understanding of its corpus which is about 25% of Scripture is optional.

Among the many disturbing insinuations in regard to this mentality is the idea that God prophesies about things that we can’t really understand. In other words, God is glorified by telling us things we can’t understand to prove some kind of point whatever that might be.

Not unlike many other Protestant mentalities, this particular one is warned against in Scriptures, and to the contrary promises blessings for those who study prophesy which assumes possible understanding.

One of the blessings of studying Bible prophecy and having a proper understanding of it is assurance of salvation. Much could be discussed on this wise, but the focus of this post will be the number of resurrections and judgments.

A Humble Faith is Confused and Uncertain?

There are many confused Protestants in the land because supposedly, being confused gives glory to God. One of myriad examples is a book written by Puritan wannabe Russ Kennedy of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio titled “Perplexity.” The primary thesis of the book is about how unanswered questions are a form of worship. But this is typical: the Bible states that God is not a god of confusion, but Protestant orthodoxy can always be counted on to set the Bible straight. My point here is that there are many Protestants that believe the Bible teaches about multiple resurrections and judgments, But that’s NOT Protestantism. Most Protestants do not know what a Protestant is…which of course in not commendable.

At any rate, confusion never walks with surety.

Justification by Faith: One Resurrection; One Judgment

What is Protestant orthodoxy on this matter? Answer: one resurrection and one judgment immediately following. And why does this matter? It matters because this view of eschatology is tied directly to the Protestant position on justification; or in other words, the essential doctrine of Protestantism known as justification by faith.

In that doctrine of salvation (soteriology), there is no assurance of salvation until your salvation is confirmed at the one final judgment at the end of the ages. In that one final judgment, God “separates the sheep from the goats.” This is the judgment of the nations and NOT the great white throne judgment, but articulating the differences is not the subject of this particular post; our subject is justification by faith and its necessary eschatology that supports its authentic soteriology.

Orthodoxy: Obedient Faith Not OSAS   

Most Protestants also believe that once saved always saved (OSAS) is Protestant orthodoxy, but this is something else you can add to the long (very long) list of things that Protestants think Protestants believe. Protestant orthodoxy holds to salvation as a process. It is the idea that the process has a beginning point, a progression, and a final confirmation. A good snapshot of this is how Protestant orthodoxy interprets Philippians 2:12,13.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

First, “obeyed” is the Protestant “obedient faith” or “obedience of faith.” What’s that? It is the idea that Christians only perform one act of obedience, living by faith…alone. How do you live by faith alone? It’s a good question because our culture defines faith as purely mental. Therefore, how do we “live” actively by faith alone? As homo sapiens, we not only sit around and think—we do things.

The answer is in… “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Here, orthodoxy interprets “salvation” as justification, or the saving of the soul by Divine decree. Therefore, salvation needs to be worked out through faith alone.

“The Imperative Command is Grounded in the Indicative Event”

Also, and this is a BIG also, our working out of our salvation by faith alone, or faith-alone work, should be motivated by the supposed fact that “Christians” remain under the condemnation of the law, and should live in constant fear of condemnation which motivates us to live by faith alone lest we fall into “works righteousness [justification].” Because justification is seen as a process, and its end acquired by faith alone, one must not “jump directly from the command to an act of obedience.” Instead, everything we do must be “grounded in the historical Christ event” via faith alone, or by faith-alone works. This is how orthodoxy categorizes works in the Christian life: works, or a “righteousness of our own,” jumps from the command to obedience which is not of faith while faith-alone works operates on all obedience being grounded in the cross event.

In our Heidelberg Disputation series, mainline Protestant evangelical Phil Johnson is cited in regard to orthodoxy’s very definition of faith: it is returning to the same historical Christ event that saved us over and over again. By doing this, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our Christian life (sanctification, or a process of increased setting apart for God’s purposes), and the justification process continues to move forward. This is important to note because said imputation continues to satisfy the law, and remember, our primary motivation is fear of condemnation from being under law.

So, to clarify, our primary faith-alone work is to continually return to the same gospel that saved us, otherwise known as “preaching the gospel to ourselves” in order to keep the law satisfied. A perfect law-keeping is imputed to us as we live by faith alone in “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

The Preeminence of the Law in Protestant Soteriology  

Let’s tally all of this up in regard to the subject: Protestant orthodoxy makes law preeminent in salvation, and there is only one judgment that deals with the law; the great white throne judgment at the end of the ages. Orthodoxy rejects any judgment that excludes the condemnation of the law. Their gospel calls for a judgment that confirms those who “live by the gospel” well enough to be covered by Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His perfect law-keeping.

Judgments for rewards apart from the law and its condemnation are rejected by orthodoxy. The reward for living by faith-alone well enough is salvation. Because we are saved by faith alone, we must begin by faith alone, live by faith alone, and will be judged according to how well we did that. When we stand AT the judgment, if God only sees the works of Christ and not anything we did, we will “stand IN the judgment.”

Though Christ is said to have preeminence among Protestants, that’s only because Christ paid the penalty of sin under the law, and supposedly fulfilled its demands in our stead. The law is what really has preeminence in Protestant orthodoxy.

And this is why only one judgment is accepted; because all other judgments are for reward APART from the law’s condemnation.

What Saves a Protestant at the Judgment?

In the rest of Philippians 2:12,13 we read, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know that authentic Protestantism interprets this through Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Luther believed that man was created with a passive will. Like water, it is only active when it is acted upon from outside of itself. Water doesn’t move unless gravity pushes it—it doesn’t change temperature unless the environment acts upon it from the outside. Likewise, the Christian does not work, he/she only has the will to act if acted upon from the outside. God is the only one who has an active will, and He created man with a passive will.

Luther framed this in context of death. According to Luther, death is not a nonexistent state, but merely a passive state. The dead exist, but they are in bondage to passivity unless acted upon. Luther also believed that this is illustrative of the Christian life. Christians are still dead in trespasses and sin, and only perform good works when acted upon from the outside by God. This is in fact central to the Protestant ideology that drives its soteriology.

Conclusion  

Assurance of salvation cannot be a reality in authentic Protestantism because surety removes the condemnation of the law regardless of anything we do. The goal is not the obedience of love, but the so-called obedience of faith that satisfies the “righteous demands of the law.” If we live by faith alone, the obedience of Christ will be imputed to us. This belief is what saves the Christian at the final judgement.

In part two, we will examine what Philippians 2:12,13 is really stating, and its relationship to eschatology. Moreover, we will examine why Christians can have doubtless assurance of salvation accordingly.

paul

Children as Master Manipulators

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 29, 2015

Whether lost or saved, people in general want to know how to do life. Protestantism has forfeited this angle as a way to recommend God because the Reformation was all about interpreting reality through redemption with very little emphasis on wise living. From a commonsense perspective, lost people assume God knows what makes people tick. So, if Christians don’t know how to do life any better than non-Christians, the latter will be little moved by the gospel.

The Reformed actually address this issue straight away. It goes something like this: being a testimony to the world is futile because on our best day we have shortcomings that the world will see. Therefore, the gospel should be about God and not us—we should point to God and not our own testimonies. Well, trust me, the world ain’t buyin’ it.

One of the things that excites me abundantly about the growing exodus away from the wicked false gospel of justification by faith is the rediscovery of kingdom living. That’s the other good news about life more abundantly in the here and now as we move on from the foot of the cross and the gospel of first order. It’s about having a life built upon a rock through the application of God’s wisdom and glorifying Him accordingly. The world understands that we are not perfect; what they take note of is overall quality of life and life patterns.

People will, and do judge us by our children’s behavior. If you are unable to control your 3-year-old, you are a poor representative of the gospel. Christians should be smarter than a 3-year-old.

The fact that young children are utterly self-centered is not altogether a sin issue. They are in total discovery mode. They have been recently introduced to the world with limited intellectual resources. Their perspective is strictly outward. They have NO conscience and NO concept of right or wrong.

More than likely, what they learn about right and wrong as they grow intellectually will inform their consciences which in turn will accuse or excuse their behavior with bad feelings or good feelings. However, for many different reasons and varying circumstances, children will attempt to manipulate others; an art they possess that is normally underestimated in apocalyptic proportions.

This is one of many categories critical to parenting: knowing WHY children do what they do. Once you know why they do it, you can then communicate that knowledge and instruct them in a better way.

In my own living of life, an excellent example was shared with me today, and therefore I type. It is an example of a 5-year-old rendering two grown adults utterly disarmed and standing speechless, hurt, and dumbfounded. That would include me also, because when I heard the testimony, I was also without answer. Hence, we have 5-year-olds standing triumphantly over adult overseers, a scene far from being uncommon.

What’s going on? This kid is good; I had to think about it long and hard before the lightbulb went on. Then, once I figured it out, I had to think about a proper response. Let’s first examine the verbal judo that was used on the parents. It went, in essence, something like this: “I don’t love you. I know some adults that are good parents and you are not. I wish I could live with them instead of you; that’s why I don’t love you.”

This is pure genius. Can you really punish a kid for saying he/she doesn’t love you? Can you really spank a kid for having an “honest” opinion? Through observing life, the child knows the answer is probably, “no.” What’s going on, and what should the response be? What I am saying is that much of parenting should be twofold: discerning of motives and teaching. Unfortunately, some sort of punishment usually takes the place of discernment because discernment is harder than doling out retribution. ALL, I repeat, ALL parenting shortcuts will NOT end well.

Your response doesn’t have to be immediate. Once you discern the situation and the proper response, you can revisit the issue, ie., “Remember when you said this the other day…” One may also use that time to get counsel.

What would my counsel be? First, like all judo, the goal is to control the opponent and that is what is going on in this case. If you think the mere fact that the child has said such a thing indicates a failure on your part, the child has already flipped you over and pinned you to the ground. The child has attempted to disqualify the parent as a worthy parent, and therefore, disqualifying the parent’s right to tell said child what to do. The goal is to control the parent by dismantling the parent’s confidence as a parent. Parents who think they are unworthy parents will be crippled accordingly and much easier to control.

You could start by informing the child that you know what he/she is up to as a response, but in this case, the child’s use of words can be used to teach. By the way, what this child has done is indicative of what Susan and I see when we counsel adults.  All of the same manipulation techniques are taken into adulthood and refined. The key is the child’s definition of “love.” This is an opportunity to correct and teach the child what love really is. If the child accepts the counsel, he/she will respond accordingly. Punishment is primarily for a refusal to respond to counsel. The adult’s response might sound like this:

“Love doesn’t do what it does for the purpose of getting something in return. Whether you love me or not, I am going to be the daddy/mommy that you need because I love you. This is why I don’t give you candy or some other reward for obeying—obeying is an act of love that does not obey to get something in return. I try to do everything with you out of love regardless of whether you love me or not. I am not going to stop loving you just because you don’t love me—that’s not love.”

The child must not be allowed to define love in a way that suits an agenda and efforts to control. This is the exact same techniques that adults use. It also has a blackmail angle. If you don’t do what I want you to do, I won’t love you and that will hurt you because I know you love me. Again, this same technique is commonplace in adult marriages. Correcting the child now has a long-term effect in regard to the future. Likewise, as another example, how a child does a chore is indicative as to what kind of adult employee he or she will be.

Primarily, in this case, the child is seeking to control the parent via a self-serving and erroneous definition of love while holding the parent hostage emotionally. The ransom is the child’s love for the parent. The child is also attempting to disqualify the parent as a way of stripping the parent’s authority.

As in most cases, the why must be discerned and the response must be teaching. Punishment is for a refusal to heed wise counsel resulting in blatant rebellion.

paul

The Reformed False Gospel of “As If”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 2, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/Gospel Sanctification is the original false gospel of the Reformation that presently dominates the institutional church. Basically, it is the gospel of New Calvinism. It is often expressed by the truism, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Most people assume this to be a biblical prescription for enhancing our sanctification, or a reminder to be thankful for our original salvation.

In reality, what is it? It is a perpetual return to the same gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved. It confines all obedience to repentance via focusing on our sin. This ongoing need for repentance unto salvation is satisfied by returning to the same gospel that saved us because as many proponents state it: “We never stop needing the gospel.” This is because “Christians” are said to have an ongoing need for salvation.

Dr. John Piper, the elder statesman of New Calvinism, states the position in no uncertain terms:

“We are asking the question, How does the gospel save believers?, not: How does the gospel get people to be believers?… Believers need to be saved. The gospel is the instrument of God’s power to save us. And we need to know how the gospel saves us believers so that we make proper use of it.”  Part 2 of a series titled, “How Does the Gospel Save Believers.”

Obviously, if salvation is not a onetime finished work by God alone, and we have to do something to obtain continued salvation – in this case a return to the gospel for re-forgiveness of sins – that is a form of works salvation. It also denies the new birth which makes us new creatures that have “passed (past tense) from death to life.”

One aspect of this gospel is called “double imputation.” Each time we return to the same gospel that saves us, the perfect obedience of Christ is credited to our account. This is the idea that Christ came to die for our sins (Christ’s passive obedience), and also came to live a perfect life so that His obedience can be imputed to our lives each time we return to the gospel (Christ’s active obedience).

When proponents of Gospel Sanctification speak of the “obedience of faith,” what they mean to say is that Christians only EXPERIENCE the obedience of Christ imputed to us, and are not really performing the act directly. This leads many to believe that proponents are advocating direct obedience by the “believer,” but that is not the case at all.

Therefore, according to Gospel Sanctification, the “believer” is able to live a life of FAITH ALONE, or in other words, a like faith alone that saved him/her. This is nothing new. In his epistle to the Jewish Christians, James refuted a “faith without works.” In reality, FAITH WORKS through love (Galatians 5:6).

Of late there is a new truism roaming about that depicts this double imputation aspect of Gospel Sanctification: “On the cross Jesus was treated as if He lived our life so we could be treated as if we lived His life.” Notice that we are treated “as if” we live a godly life, but we really don’t. We are only experiencing the active obedience of Christ. If we are directly responsible for any act of obedience; that’s supposedly works salvation.

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Get Over It: Calvin and Luther Propagated a Blatant False View of Justification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 7, 2015

FACT is, Luther and Calvin propagated a false view of justification and the theological math is very simple. It’s a religious empire built on a big fat lie. Luther and Calvin belong in the infamous Hall of False Gospels, not Christian folklore.

Why is this? Justification is not a legal covering that God “sees.” It is not a legal declaration of covering, it is a legal declaration of fact concerning the true being of the individual who is now a family member. He now deals with us as sons. When God looks at the new family member, He sees a righteousness that is like Christ’s because Christ is the brother, but it is also the righteousness of the individual. When God “sees” one of His children, He sees the righteousness of one born of Him. “A righteousness of our own” argument is intellectually dishonest; it attempts to make us the originators of righteousness because we received it as a gift.

“But Christians still sin.”

This very contention is a false gospel smoking gun. This simple four-word contention (one of Calvin and Luther’s primary arguments for progressive justification) is all one needs to completely discredit the Reformation from the plain sense of Scripture. This perspective obviously sees Christians as still under the law and needing a COVERING to satisfy the law.

But here is the good news of the true gospel: sin is not merely covered, it is ended, and where there is no law, there is no sin.

But that doesn’t mean “under grace” equals not being under any law. It’s just a different use of the law: for love, NOT condemnation. Authentic Protestantism clearly keeps Christians under the law of condemnation, and therefore needing a covering of righteousness not their own. Supposedly, Christ came to not only die for our sins, but to obey the law perfectly so that His perfect obedience can be imputed to our Christian life by faith alone.

There are many problems with this view of justification known as “double imputation.”

First, it makes the law of condemnation a co-life-giver. That’s Paul’s whole point in Galatians chapter 3. Also, the law now sits on a third throne with God the Father and Christ. In fact, Reformed tradition often pontificates about “An offering given to satisfy the law from the empty hands of faith which only bring the righteousness of Christ as an offering.”

Whoa! Really?

Secondly, it denies that the old person died with Christ via the baptism of the Spirit. Why in the world would believers need a covering to protect them from a law that they are no longer under? A dead person cannot be found guilty under the law—they are dead. This is Paul’s whole point in Romans chapter 7.

Thirdly, because of the Reformation’s single use of the law, that of condemnation only, the ability of the Christian to love is circumvented. The Christian is not free to “serve another.” The law of sin and death, the ministry of death, is made the same as the law of liberty, the law of Christ, and the law of the Spirit of life that He uses to sanctify us (John 17:17).

Fourthly, because the believer is still under the law of sin and death confirmed by the fact that he/she still needs a covering of righteousness that is not their own imputed by the new birth, he/she is still enslaved to sin.

Fifthly, the principles of GIFT and REWARD in the Bible now have to be the same. Therefore, salvation is the reward for living by faith alone in the same gospel that saved us. This, according to Calvin, “keeps us in the family of God.”

Hence, salvation is a reward for living by faith alone rather than a gift. This problem speaks for itself and is the crux of “already not yet.”

Is it any wonder that the Protestant church is a train wreck? It’s that way because of its false gospel.

paul

Answering the Baby’s Question

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 30, 2015

10653321_364310293770077_4897802152678323822_nThe answer to the Baby’s question, according to Protestantism and all its various and sundry stripes including the Baptists is “yes.” Since the law is the standard for justification and Christians cannot keep the law perfectly, yes, Christ supposedly came to keep the law perfectly in order to fulfil it, and then died for all of our past sins. Instead of the resurrection being a prelude to our own resurrection and a totally different relationship to the law, Christ’s resurrection is said to “confirm that God was satisfied with His sacrifice.”

Hence, if “Christians” live their life by “faith alone in the same gospel that saved them,” the perfect obedience of Jesus will continue to be credited to our account in order to keep the “righteous demands of the law satisfied,” and we will receive continued forgiveness for “present sin” that violates the same law. So, according to Protestantism, Christ didn’t come to end the law for justification, He came to fulfill it through obedience so that His obedience and sacrifice can continue to be applied to our lives by faith alone. Therefore, His justification work is not finished. Yes, they concur that it only happened once, but the one act must be continually reapplied to the “believer’s” life.

Let’s evaluate this according to the new birth since it’s a baby asking the question. In this system, Christ’s resurrection is not imparted to the new believer, but was merely a confirmation that God was satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice. Technically, Christ’s death and obedience continues to be imparted to the “believer” IF they continue to live by faith alone in the same gospel that originally saved them. Now you know why there is so much emphasis on “the gospel” at “church” and why sanctification has always been so weak in the institutional church.

Protestantism is about keeping yourself saved by faith alone in the same gospel that saved you. Rather than honoring God with a mature life as one of His literal children, the attempt is to spend our whole lives honoring God by what He did to save us. It’s all about what “He did, not anything we do.” But not emphasizing what we do is actually denying the new birth and jettisoning our responsibility to love others back onto Christ.

And by the way, this efficacious reapplication of the same gospel that saved us, according to Protestant orthodoxy, can only be found and applied in formal institutional church membership.

What is the true gospel? Christ came to end the law for justification. As the law was increased, more and more sin was imputed to it. Violating the law is the very definition of sin. So, when Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross it also effectively ENDED the law. When a person believes on Christ’s death, they literally die with Him, and all sins they committed against the law are vanquished. They were “under the law” of “sin and death.”

On the other hand, the believer is also resurrected to a completely new life (under grace). Christ was NOT resurrected to validate His sacrifice; He was resurrected so that we could also be resurrected after dying with Him. This is the significance of also believing in His resurrection—not that it was a confirmation, but that we are also resurrected with Him as completely new creatures where “all things are new.”

This now places the resurrected believer under a different relationship to the law. What used to be the “law of sin and death” is now “the law of the Spirit of life.” In other words, instead of the law condemning us, the Spirit of life uses the law to change us (John 17:17). It is our responsibility to obey the law with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and that is the very definition of how we love God and others: “If you love me, keep My commandments.”

To define our obedience as an attempt to “justify ourselves” shirks what should be our natural desire to love God and others through obedience which is a result of the new birth. It is eerily reminiscent of the parable of the talents. The whole convoluted Protestant system that supposedly sanctifies our obedience lest it be works is a denial of the new birth and a false assessment of law/gospel.

When Protestant soteriology is accurately assessed, we should expect to find the following in the institutional church: weak sanctification; an overemphasis on the gospel to the exclusion of personal obedience; convoluted theories on how Christ’s obedience is imputed to our lives; overall doctrinal ignorance in regard to wise and powerful living; poor testimonies; a lack of genuine love; cliques; an overemphasis on following men; total dependence on extra-biblical writings; a laity/clergy caste system,  and efforts to protect the institution at all cost.

And that is exactly what we find.

paul

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