Paul's Passing Thoughts

What Does It Mean To Be A “Christian”?

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 2, 2017

I don’t consider myself a “christian”. That word is thrown about so carelessly these days. Anybody and everybody seems to call themselves a “christian”, and the result is that the word has lost its meaning.

In addition, the term “christian” shares an intimate association with the institutional church. When you consider the scope of spiritual tyranny, abuse, and scandal that exists in the church, the last thing I want is to be labeled as “one of those people.”

There are far more distinct labels that I could use to identify myself such as “child of God”, “child of the Kingdom”, or just simply a “believer”.

Perhaps we need to take back the “Christian” moniker. Since words define reality, why don’t we take a moment and consider just what it means to be a “Christian” rather than just accept how the institutional church has unwittingly redefined it for all of us.

“Christian” – noun

Constructed from the word “Christ”…
(from the Greek word χριστος (chris-tos) meaning “an anointed one”; the title given to Jesus of Nazareth; equivalent to the Hebrew word for “Messiah”)

…and the suffix “ian” (meaning one from, belonging to, related to, or like)

“Christ-one”, “Christ-like”

The etymology of the word is traced back to the city of Antioch in the Roman province of Syria in the 1st Century, probably around 45-50 CE. It was originally used as a derogatory term for those who were disciples of Jesus, or “followers of ‘The Way’”

But even though it was intended to be a pejorative, consider the richness of the Biblical meaning of the word “Christian”:

• One Who Is From Christ
A Christian is an ambassador. He is God’s emissary left here on earth to take the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom to those who are lost so that they may be reconciled to God through the New Birth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation…Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” ~ Romans 10:14-15

• One Who Belongs to Christ
Christ’s death on the cross redeemed all men. He purchased mankind with his shed blood. His death ended sin by ending the law and takes away sin for all those who are born again through belief in Him. Furthermore, every born again believer is a member of the Body of Christ, and Christ is the Head of the Body. So not only did Christ purchase us, but we belong to Him as a member of His Body.

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the assembly of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”~ Acts 20:28

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” ~ Galatians 3:13

“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” ~ Ephesians 1:14


• One Who is Related to Christ
A Christian is made a part of the family of God by virtue of the New Birth. He is the literal offspring of God the Father. That means that Jesus is the Big Brother of every believer!

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”~ Romans 8:29

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:26

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” ~ Romans 8:16-17

• One Who is Like Christ
Because a believer is the literal offspring of God, he bears the Father’s righteousness just as Christ does. His new nature also gives him a zeal and a love for the Law. His desire is to show love to God and others through obedience to the Law. The believer cooperates with the in-dwelling Holy Spirit in sanctification in order to bring the believer to maturity. Seeking to bring one’s body under control of is part of sanctification.

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” ~ Romans 6:4

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”~ Romans 8:29

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth…Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry…But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” ~ Colossians 3:1-2, 5, 8-10

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour…For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7

• One Who Is a Follower of Christ
To follow Christ means to follow His teaching and to follow His example of how to conduct one’s life and show love to God and others. But many of Jesus’ disciples followed Him to the fullest extreme, for many of them were put to death because of their faith.

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ~ Matthew 4:19

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” ~ John 10:27

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”~ John 12:26

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:6

“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” ~ Hebrews 6:12

~ Andy

Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic – A Classic Example

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 26, 2016

Originally published March 4, 2015

andy-profile-1I came across an “interesting” blog article the other day. It appeared in my Facebook newsfeed because someone on my friend list commented on it when one of his friends shared it. Of course, since I am not friends with the one who originally shared it, I was unable to add my comment, thus the inspiration for this article today.

The title of the blog article in questions is, “If we sin, do we lose our salvation?” That mere fact that such a question is still posed in Christianity is indicative of just how biblically illiterate most Christians are. The fact that authors such as this one still address this question in the manner that he does is even more disturbing.

Before even addressing the issue of whether one can lose one’s salvation, the author begins his article by citing Jesus’ example of the two house builders found in Luke chapter 6. Let’s take a look at this passage ourselves before we move on.

47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Luke 6:47-49

Clearly, Jesus is using a metaphor, but to properly understand the metaphor we must ask ourselves, what is the context of this passage? It should be apparent that the context is a contrast between two kinds of individuals. One kind is an individual who hears AND does. The second kind is an individual who hears only. The parallel passage in Matthew 7 goes even further in marking this contrast.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:24-27

The individual who hears AND does is considered wise. The one who hears only is considered foolish. Herein is the point of this whole passage: the emphasis on hearing AND doing, which is considered to be wise. But please notice what the blog author chooses as his focus:

 Building a house is very similar to one’s experience as either a Christian believer or an unsaved nonbeliever. That is why Jesus drew a comparison between the two (Luke 6:47-49). If you start out with a good foundation that is level and built on solid ground, you can confidently add on walls and flooring and a roof and every other component that makes up a house, and be certain that, because the foundation is sound, the house will be sound. But if you lay a poor foundation that is uneven and shaky, the rest of the house will follow and all the components that are built on that poor foundation will be compromised. To have a soundly constructed house, you must have a good foundation; to have a rock-solid Christian faith, you must build it on foundational truth.”

This is one of the most intellectually incompetent and dishonest uses of the two builders that I have ever seen! This example from scripture has nothing to do with “foundations”. It has everything to do with wisdom and sanctification. The author completely ignores the part about wisdom in both hearing and doing and instead engages in what I call “spiritualizing the analogy”, making it about justification instead. He has interpreted this passage in the so-called “proper gospel context”. This is what happens when you interpret scripture using a redemptive-historical hermeneutic. Spiritualizing the analogy makes a false application of a metaphor that was never intended. It is a logical fallacy. Let’s examine what I mean by this.

If I am given the logical premises that A=B and B=C, I can logically conclude that A=C. This is the logic of the example of the two house builders.

A = B      Hearing and doing = a wise man
B = C      A wise man = building on a rock (a good foundation)
   therefore
A = C      Hearing and doing = building on a rock (will make one strong; i.e. aggressive sanctification)

The same holds true for the foolish man.

A = B      Hearing only = a foolish man
B = C      A foolish man = building on sand (a poor foundation)
therefore
A = C      Hearing only = building on sand (will make one weak; i.e. little or no sanctification)

A metaphor makes no sense in and of itself. It has no relevance outside of the initial truth that it represents. If Jesus had only said, “Make sure you build on a rock foundation and not a foundation of sand,” that would have made no sense whatsoever. But Jesus clearly stated that hearing and doing is wise, and He further emphasized that point by using the analogy of building on a rock.  Notice also that a correct logical progression in thought results in the proper application of the conclusions.  One can reasonably conclude that this not a salvation passage but rather a sanctification passage for believers.

That is the proper meaning and intention of this passage. Contrast that with what the author did in the article. He took the metaphor all by itself and made it say whatever he wanted it to say in order to make his case.  And what is his case?

“If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and turn to God in repentance of your sins, then you will be saved… This does not mean that after this occurs, you will never sin again, or even that you will not commit the same sin repeatedly. It means that your heart has been changed toward sin so that you can now see it for what it is… Fortunately, for Paul and for you and for me, that question has a definitively glorious answer: ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’”

Plain and simple, this is progressive justification. Notice it is an ongoing deliverance, not a onetime deliverance. So, then the question remains, what do we have to do to keep the deliverance going? Well, we repent, and that saves us, BUT we still sin.  So what?  Well, the “so what” is that we need perpetual saving by Jesus.  This is what Paul David Tripp and Tim Keller and John Piper call a “daily rescue.”  This is Luther’s theology of the cross, a perpetual mortification and vivification.

This is the very reason why the emphasis on the hearing AND doing is ignored. For us “to do” would be works, at least in this construct, if this were a passage on justification and not sanctification. We must live by “faith alone” and not build on the wrong “foundation.” We can only “experience” what it is to have the right foundation, because for us to try and work and build is building on the wrong foundation which is the reformed definition of the “unsaved”. But justification is a finished work. There is nothing we can do to add to it. Because it is finished, we can aggressively “do” the things we “hear” taught to us in the Word. Time and time again, the scriptures equate for us doing good with life and doing evil with death. Good = life = wise. Evil = death = foolish. When it comes right down to it, this really isn’t that hard to figure out.

Andy

The Wages of Sanctification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 7, 2016

hillary-clinton-thumbs-upTrue, Hillary Clinton seems to be above the law unless she is the most misunderstood person who has ever lived in all of human history, and in fact, lightning does strike in the same place often. Furthermore, although the former is more likely the case, she would seem to be on her way to being rewarded with the presidency of the United States. It would “seem.”

Now enter a biblical principle that is a metaphysical reality according to God’s design of things; wages. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

This is the way the Bible frames it because of our limitations in understanding this concept thoroughly as God does (Rom 6:19): there are two masters in the world that pay wages; sin pays death wages, and righteousness pays life wages. EVERYONE is under one of these masters—one or the other. The Bible uses an employee/employer relationship to explain the metaphysical construct.

Secondly, depending on the master you are under, you only receive one or the other wage in varying degrees determined by the wage you don’t receive. Let me explain. Those under the sin master are enslaved to sin but free to do good works. Good works reduce the only wage they can receive; death, which is manifested in many, many various and sundry ways. These are the ones who are under the “law of sin and death” and receive less death for doing good works. Mankind is wired to love life, so minimal death can yield a pretty decent life experience.

Yes, obviously, unsaved people can do good works. Why? Because they are created in the image of God and have the works of His law written on their hearts administered by the conscience and either excusing their actions or accusing them (Rom 2:14-16). This is why final death wages (judgement) will be administered to unbelievers in varying degrees.

And of course, this truth turns Protestant orthodoxy completely on its head.

Now let’s turn our attention to the other master who pays life wages: righteousness. You are enslaved to righteousness; not in respect to the idea that you have to do right all the time because you have some sort of righteousness addiction, but rather that is the master you work for and are obligated to. This is the illustration the apostle Paul is using; the employee/employer motif.

However, don’t miss this: those “under law” or “under grace” have different types of desires. Those under law have sinful desires and a desire to have good life (happiness that comes from a clear conscience) while those under grace have the like desires of God’s Spirit because they are reborn of Him. This is why believers love God’s word and its truth while unbelievers are more or less indifferent to it. Those under grace have a remaining sin that dwells in mortality, but without the condemnation of the law, sin is stripped of its ultimate power to enslave. But, either party can become addicted to the desires which they obey.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).

You can frame this practically in regard to the fact that we are all creatures of habit. Can a Christian become addicted to some kind of sin by obeying its desire over and over again? Yes. Can an unbeliever avoid addictions through some motivation that wants to avoid death wages? Absolutely.

Back to those under grace. They are enslaved to righteousness but free to sin. They can only receive life wages, but the wage is offset by sin (Rom 6:20, 21). Let’s cite some examples, a few among many in regard to how this works itself out in life:

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  

1 Peter 3:10 – “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Proverbs 13:15 – Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.

Now back to Hillary Clinton. This upside down world and its kingdoms will often have distorted justice, but one thing that can’t be avoided is life wages. The world would gladly give her the presidency, but all indications presently point to her failing heath preventing such. Yes, you may call it “karma” if you would like. Yes, you may say, “What goes around comes around.”

But all in all, it is God’s design for this present time. Those who are not his children will be paid more or less, now or later.

paul

The Unborn Charge Us From Heaven: It’s Not About Remembering; It’s About Honoring Life

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2016

ppt-jpeg4As a former Reformed pastor, viz, a Protestant, viz, a Calvinist, viz, a Lutheran, viz, an Augustinian, and all other roots of the poisonous tree that make up the Institutional church, I had no comfort for those who suffered the loss of their unborn and infants. I usually let the more expert pastors speak in those situations; you know, the ones with the seminary degrees.

“Is my baby in heaven? ‘We don’t know, but we trust that God is righteous in all that He does.’”

“Why did God allow this to happen? ‘We don’t know, but perhaps to save the child from some worse death.’” That is, something worse than the toddler getting run over in the driveway by their best friend.

Have you ever noticed? Despite trillions of dollars invested in Protestant education, and over 500 years to get it right, Protestants don’t know a lot of stuff. Remember, Jay Adams’ biblical counseling construct introduced in 1970 was considered to be revolutionary. One well-known evangelical even asked, “Could the Bible really be this practical?” Think about it: 1970. That’s how many years after the supposed brilliance of the Reformation?

Not long after 1970, an Adventist theologian named Robert Brinsmead was invited to the hallowed halls of Westminster seminary to inform the who’s who of Protestantism in regard to what a Protestant really is. Now go to Westminster and pay $80,000 for a degree; ya, do that, brilliant. They didn’t even know what the true Protestant gospel was until Brinsmead came along, and they are the experts? Really? So, don’t give me any of that crap about “historical precedent.”

Shortly thereafter, Brinsmead’s revelation was repackaged into things like the Sonship Discipleship Bible Study program and “second generation biblical counseling.” The latter was hatched by Dr. David Powlison who was mentored by another Westminster hack, Dr. John “Jack” Miller. This was the beginning of the New Calvinist movement and launched a Calvinist theological civil war that ended up being won by the New Calvinists who now control Protestantism for the most part. The only holdouts are small Baptist churches that pride themselves on theological ignorance which by the way is a Lutheran Gnostic concept.

But of course, Baptists put a hillbilly twist on that: “We don’t know nuttin about none of that-thar thee-ology stuff. All you do is talk in them 50-cent thee-o-logical words.” Well, at least they know they are ignorant and profess it openly.

Anyway, don’t miss the point: over 500 years after the Reformation Calvinist scholars were arguing about what the true Protestant gospel is. New Calvinism has taken over the evangelical church because no one could ultimately deny that Brinsmead was right. In a presentation at Dr. John Piper’s church, David Powlison stated openly that the difference between first generation biblical counseling and second generation biblical counseling is two different gospels. You do the math. The church is supporting confused men who can’t even agree on what the gospel is.

By the way; babies, born or unborn, go to heaven because they are not under the law. They are born under the law, but they are not susceptible to its condemnation until their consciences are developed. It’s not rocket science, unless your mind is warped with “the gospel of sovereignty.” Don’t bother looking for that in your concordance; it’s not there.

Other than learning real truth from being faithful Bereans, live events teach us well. This week, between our annual TANC conference and the death of my 3rd grandson, I learned a lot more about death. Already in heaven his body was released from what was the comfort of his mother’s womb. His name is now Isaiah, and his short life has taught me much.

The procedure was performed at Kettering hospital in Dayton, Ohio named after Charles F. Kettering the inventor. John Immel spoke of him during this year’s conference. One would do well to read about this man’s astounding life. It is evident at Kettering that they strive to live up to the name for which their facility is named. That’s a very high calling.

But why do we do what we do? Although Isaiah only lived 13 weeks and made no appearance outside of his mother’s womb, Kettering supplies numerous services to honor the life of the unborn. They have a team that focuses on the stillborn exclusively. When Isaiah’s body was delivered, he was placed in a little knit baby crib made by volunteers. Kettering also has a memorial garden for the unborn where ceremonies are held.

Why am I a part of the medical profession where billions of dollars are spent to serve the severely disabled? After all, what can they contribute to others? Why are there so many cemeteries? Wouldn’t it just be easier and cheaper to cremate everybody? For some reason, cemeteries often have “memory” in their names, but I have learned this week from Isaiah that it is not about memory at all. It is rather about defending life and honoring it.

Those who we know and love cannot be forgotten. They become a part of our lives and being. When we lose family and friends, truly the part of our lives they contributed to is lost for the time being. We never completely get over any loss in this lifetime. With each new day we regain more of our happiness and begin functioning according to a new normal of wellbeing. Our mind will find balance, but not because we forget anything. Loss is part of overall homeostasis. There will never be complete closure until the final enemy of God is defeated: death. Christ defeated sin on the cross by ending the law, sickness will be defeated in the Millennial Kingdom, and death will be completely defeated at the new heaven and new earth.

We do what we do because we stand for life. That’s why I no longer think cremation is ok, because of what Isaiah taught me this week. Something is defective in our thinking when dad is sitting on a bookshelf with the family pets. Pets are important, but our lives are worth more than sparrows according to Christ. This is why some cultures have cemeteries, and others just have mass graves. But it’s not about memory, it’s about honoring life—nobody forgets the part of them that is gone.

May I be frank? This is why my knowledge of the Protestant Reformation has caused me to set my face completely against it. If you have followed my teachings on the founding documents of the Protestant Reformation, you know that it is an ideology of zero-sum-life and a doctrine of death. Martin Luther and Charles F. Kettering represent the antithesis of two ideologies in regard to state of being. One loved life so much that he only wanted to know about problems so he could solve them to make life better; the other cursed life and despised anything that improved the quality of it, calling such improvements “the glory of man story” as opposed to the “cross story.” When Christians come to me and Susan for counseling via the electric starter invented by Charles Kettering and end up lecturing us about how spiritual wellbeing only comes from suffering, where does this come from? It comes from the root of the tree. No matter how old a tree is, the fruit is determined by the roots.

We make much ado about the dead because they once lived. We don’t honor their memory—we honor their life. Their memory charges us that when times are good they would have us rejoice, but when times are bad, we are to consider because the creator of life is watching. In this way they speak from the grave.

Sin hates life and brought death. And its advocates despise the idea that man can choose life because they believe he has no right to it. As I walked through the hallways of Kettering Medical Center yesterday I thought about Martin Luther. I thought about how much he would hate that place if he were here today. I thought about how he would rail against it as the “glory of Charles Kettering story” and not the “cross of suffering story.” How he would despise the comfort my daughter received there and its subsequent circumvention of real knowledge in his Book of Concord. This is a vile misrepresentation of the true gospel of life.

But Isaiah and his horde speak of a better testimony…one of life and the upholding of it.

paul

Moving On As a Contemporary Child of God; All Those Who Do So Have Their Own Blessed Broken Road

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 11, 2016

HF Potters House (2)“The Protestant teachers proudly proclaim themselves as bad people and even laugh about it, but yet the simplicity of cause and effect somehow escapes us.”

“In all cases, orthodoxy is the knowledge handed down to the spiritual peasants to inform them on how to be progressively saved by the institution.”

“…in the final judgment followers will stand alone before God.”

Recently, the host and domain address for eldersresolution.org came up for renewal. With everything I have going on with TANC Ministries the due date slipped between the cracks and the site is temporarily down although there are other extensions of the site online (clearcreekchapel.com).

Looking through the information that the site documents was a defining moment and one of deep reflection. I decided to renew the domain address and move it to another site that I will develop sometime in the near future. Perhaps this very post will be the centerpiece.

Before I move on to the primary ideas of this post, let me say that eldersresolution.org, which can now be found in pdf format at http://clearcreekchapeleldersresolution.weebly.com/ was the work of my son-in-law, Pastor David Ingram, and pioneered the concept of using websites to hold the institutional church accountable in a public way. He came up with the idea as a way to take a stand in my situation (circa 2008), and to my knowledge there were no such sites on the internet at that time. It would seem that the Bangladesh missionary kids (https://bangladeshmksspeak.wordpress.com/) were also innovators in regard to the concept early on. In 2009, the concept went viral in response to the heavy-handed leadership mode of the New Calvinist movement which had finally come of age after 39 years of covert growth; what many called the “Quite Revolution” (http://founders.org/library/quiet/).

Reviewing the information made me cringe as it revisited what a weak and confused person I was at the time. With that said, it was also a major turning point in my life that I find impossible to regret. How many times did I dismiss the numerous and serious problems I saw in the church with, “What else is there?” For 27 years I struggled to find relevance in the church.

The turning point was the New Calvinist movement, and specifically the New Calvinists that covertly obtained control of Clearcreek Chapel (Springboro, Ohio). I had been a member there for 20-years-plus and a former elder.  As these leaders began transforming Clearcreek from Reformation Light to Reformation Lager, I wondered if I had finally stumbled upon the answers to why Protestant sanctification is so anemic, illogical, and irrelevant.

Like the Protestant leaders I had rubbed shoulders with in the past, they couldn’t answer the hard questions, but this time I really pressed the issue because they were just adding more confusion to the confusion I had found a way to live with. That was troubling to me. Then, when they started responding to my persistence with passive forms of aggression, and later not so passive, I figured I was on to something.

Funny, one question I kept asking publically in Sunday school seemed to be the lightning rod: “How do we know when we are trying to please God ‘in our own efforts’ and what exactly does that mean to begin with? How should we do effort?” It was very obvious to the congregation that they didn’t want to answer the question, but I kept pushing the issue and that’s when all of the trouble started. It would seem that in my search for Protestant relevance, I had finally found the right question. If Christians are to rightly partake in a right effort versus a wrong effort, how is that determined?*

And of course, now I know why they didn’t want to answer the question. Protestantism teaches that sanctification is a “Sabbath rest” in which we “rest in what Jesus has done—not anything we do.” This is what Protestant Light formally criticized as let go and let God theology. But of course in the scheme of things, the folly of this construct is fully realized: not doing things is a metaphysical impossibility; so, what we are talking about is two different types of works. That would be, not working work and working work. Or if you may, faith alone works and work work.

This boils down to Protestant orthodoxy classifying works according to the traditions of men. They determine what faith alone works are as opposed to works that are “self-justifying.” It boils down to the following: obedience to their definitions determine your salvation. Non-self-justifying works pertain to Protestant ritual that keeps you saved. And of course, the sacrament of tithing keeps the money pouring in for infrastructure that bolsters the aurora of authority. What will people pay for their eternal salvation? Observe the splendor of Protestant temples and institutions that pollute the landscape everywhere.

Eldersresolution.org is merely a documenting of the symptoms. The domain will always be there, but I am not really sure why it is a good idea. It was originally constructed to warn others about the Clearcreek Chapel elders who had supposedly distorted Protestant orthodoxy and done really bad things to other people.  What I know now is that Protestantism itself is the bad thing. Bad things happen in church because church is bad. In fact, one of the premier leaders of the present-day Protestant church, Dr. John Piper, brags about being bad (https://youtu.be/6-GxkAJ1OBU). The Protestant teachers proudly proclaim themselves as bad people and even laugh about it, but yet the simplicity of cause and effect somehow escapes us.**

Other mediators other than Christ necessarily demand institutional salvation based on what is supposedly God’s authority by proxy. This is why the body of Christ is a literal family and NOT an institution in any way, shape, or form. It is a literal family that one is literally born into by the baptism of the Spirit otherwise known as being “born again.” It is the literal “household of God” and the family of God the Father—not an institution any more than any family is an institution. Christ’s mandate to His assemblies is to be carried out through a family format—the literal family of God. Any vestige of institutionalism will cripple the cause of Christ to the degree that it exists within the assemblies of Christ expressed where families dwell: in homes, not institutional purpose buildings.

ALL institutional churches and religions have these things in common: mediators other than Christ or mediators in addition to Christ. There is a claim of authority other than Christ or a shared authority with Christ, and finally, there is always a gnosis caste system; the haves and have-nots in regard to the ability to know truth owned by the institution. In all cases, orthodoxy is the knowledge handed down to the spiritual peasants to inform them on how to be progressively saved by the institution.

False religion is always a broken road, but unfortunately, the pain of that road will rarely lead people to other places. But when it does, the pain of that road becomes an irrelevant and distant concern. It is a pain that is finished and its purpose completed. It is swallowed up by the experience of where the road has taken you. The story of your broken road will rarely warn others of danger or save anyone; people will forgive or look the other way in many, many things in order to gain eternal life. In the minds of the “good Germans” during WWII Germany was not perfect, but what else was there? In their minds; nothing.

In the mind of a good Protestant or Catholic what else is there? Nothing. It may be a nasty bus, but it’s the only bus going to heaven because the authority of men says so. But in the final judgment followers will stand alone before God.

And so it is. The broken road has led me to a place that makes its potholes and highway robbers a distant and irrelevant memory. Their work is finished. When experience teaches you a new way, and you begin to live in that new way, that’s healing.

Staying on the broken road and revisiting its experiences will never heal. Never. When pain is a finished work…you are healed. It is little different than Christ’s obedience to the cross which He despised and bore for the joy that was set ahead.

It is finished.

paul

*Chad Bresson, an elder at Clearcreek Chapel once prayed before the congregation: “Lord, we know that we have tried to please you in our own efforts this week, please forgive us.”

**The father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, stated in a letter to Philip Melanchthon: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin.  God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.  We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides.”

 

 

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