Paul's Passing Thoughts

Achieving Total Conquest Over Depression, Part 1: Paul and Susan Christian Living Series on Blogtalk Radio Program 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 12, 2016

blog-radio-logoIntroduction for all parts:

Everyone wants to be happy. Happiness is the essence of a quality life. Closely akin to happiness is peace; a relaxed and tranquil state of mind. Clinical depression prevents both and thrusts one into the pits of darkness and despair. Trouble in life can put people into a day by day survival mode, clinical depression puts people into an hour by hour survival mode.

This type of depression is an oppression of the soul that often torments people with out of control thoughts coming from a racing mind. The person may experience psychopathic thoughts that are totally out of character for the individual. Interests and enjoyments vanquish—the depressed person loses all self confidence and believes they are losing their mind.

Depression’s greatest ploy is how it is experienced; it seems to be a foe that attacks from outside of us and oppresses whomever it chooses. In fact, the medical model of depression does nothing to lessen that fear. Can depression come upon us in the same way that we catch a cold? What are its causes, and what is the cure? Is there a cure? Is there hope for those stricken with major depression?

Susan and Paul will speak from their own experiences with clinical depression, and how it has stricken others. The topic of depression has been a focus of Paul’s studies for 35 years, and he has experienced it as an unbeliever and believer. But, ideas that come from experience alone are not adequate; facts must explain why life is experienced in the way that it is.

Don’t give depression another year; join Paul and Susan live and contribute to the discussion.

Achieving Total Conquest Over Depression: Part 1; Audio Podcast Link

Greetings truth lovers from the Potter’s House in Xenia, Ohio. This is Paul and Susan Dohse broadcasting live from blogtalkradio.com/falsereformation. Tonight, part 3 of our Christian Living series: “Achieving Total Conquest Over Depression.” [This is part 1 in regard to the subject of depression.]

If you want to join in the discussion, call 937-855-8317—you may remain anonymous—when you hear me say, “This is Paul and Susan, what is your comment or question” just start talking. You can also add to the program by emailing a comment or question to paul@ttanc.com that’s paul@ tyrant, tulip, Alice, Nancy, cat .com. We keep an eye on the email during the program. You can also find our published materials at tancpublishing.com.

So, of course, we are a pretty small-time ragtag operation here at blogtalk, so let me give you instructions on how to listen to the program over your phone if you don’t want to be patched in live to discuss this issue on the air. Call in, wait till you hear the show live; then hangup and call back. That’s our signal that you only want to listen to the show over your phone. If you want to be patched in to discuss the topic with Susan and me live, just call in and wait for us to patch you in. If your PC or MAC is near by, turn down the speakers to prevent feedback.

Let me begin tonight with this: even though depression has been a significant interest of mine for 35 years, it goes without saying that there is a lot about depression and related struggles that I do not know. Tonight is about what I do know, and how you can use it to help others who are in a state of depression.

First, here is what I know about depression’s most formidable weapon in its arsenal: the idea that depression is [always] a chronic medical problem is a lie. Depression is curable…always. I know this from personal study, personal experience, and my experience with helping others with depression. No, just because I am using the nomenclature, “clinical depression,” doesn’t mean I buy into the medical model. With that being said, I know from personal experience that depression can be caused by physiological conditions. Some medications can cause depression, and it is said that thyroid problems can cause depression as well. As far as the latter—don’t know, but in regard to the former—I do know from experience with other people.

Here is the first thing you do when you get depression: you go to the doctor. Doctors are an efficacious ally in the fight against depression, but many get some important things wrong; specifically, the idea that depression is a chronic medical problem—that’s just wrong.

Ok, so, let’s take my own case with depression for example. My doctor at the time was an awesome doctor, but he and I had some disagreement on this whole “chemical imbalance” thing. Undoubtedly part of God’s plan, I joined a church at the time pastored by a disciple of Dr. Jay Adams. And we have much to say tonight in regard to the infamous Dr.J., but suffice to say for now that I had bought into his idea that depression is not hopeless—there is something you can do about it.

Now, no doubt, people with severe depression probably have a chemical imbalance. And no doubt, medication makes the patient feel better. But here is the question: “Which comes first; the cause or the symptoms?” There is no doubt that causes of depression can lead to symptoms that all but totally disable the depressed person. Listen to me, lack of sleep alone will totally put you down. So here is what I decided early on: Adams’ counseling model was the ticket, but I needed the drugs to help me through the physiological symptoms caused by the depression.

At first, I took the doses prescribed by the doctor, and no doubt, the stuff works. But as I improved, I began cutting the doses back without telling the doctor. Of course, he believed that the medication was making me better, but I believed my change of thinking and lifestyle was making me better and the drugs were just taking care of the debilitating symptoms. He would often say, “Wow, this is great, we are finding just the right balance in the dosage” while in reality I was cutting in half whatever he told me to take. See the problem here? And, was that whole experience kinda fun? Yes it was.

But here is the problem: any sane person is going to naturally assume that because the medication is making them feel better, that the “cure” confirms the diagnosis and this is just not true. Listen, here is something else that we know…long term use of psychotropic drugs will mess your body up bad. Drugs are not the cure.

So, the most formidable weapon of depression is this whole idea that it has a medical cause. You get depression like you catch a cold or something. This leads to the medication whack-a-mole game and the real cause is never addressed. This leads to depression’s second greatest weapon: hopelessness. Um, I suppose people can live without hope, but it ain’t pretty. Who wants to hear a doctor say, “There is nothing we can do”? Second to that, “All we can do is help you cope.” However, whenever you can do something, well, obviously, that gives hope. Here is something about hope and please don’t miss this: the Bible makes hope synonymous with TRUTH. If a “truth” has no hope, it’s probably not true. This whole thing with DOING is big in regard to our discussion about Jay Adams which we will get to shortly.

Thirdly, another big weapon of depression follows: the gravity of it is only understood by those who have suffered from it. Those who have never experienced depression seem to assume that it is an overreaction to the blues or merely being bummed out. To the contrary, depression is a debilitating oppression. Imagine not having any interest in anything, or finding no enjoyment in anything that you formally enjoyed. In fact, things that you formally enjoyed like music may disturb and agitate you. The mind races with uncontrolled and disturbing thoughts. Though most of these thoughts are not accompanied by a desire or motive to carry them out, they are yet very disturbing and will involve hurting one’s self or others. Women will often put their children in the care of others because the presence of the children incite thoughts of hurting them. Of course, because one thinks they are losing their mind because of all of this, sleep deprivation follows which only further inflames the situation.

This is what I mean by the term, “clinical depression.”

A fourth weapon of depression is isolation. The depressed person believes that no one but them can understand what they are going through, and therefore, no one can help them. This will often lead the depressed person to suffer alone and not seek help.

The fifth weapon of depression is the downward spiral. Thoughts and actions create certain feelings, BUT feelings also produce thoughts. The depressed person’s worst enemy is thinking provided by feelings, and worse yet, when those thoughts are believed to be true. The depressed person will sometimes say, “I feel like I am losing my mind.” Note: their feelings are telling them something, leading to fear that such might happen. This think, feel, think, feel, think, feel, downward spiral is a very dangerous thing. [Thoughts (fears) produced by feelings accompanied by depression are lies].

Yet a sixth weapon of depression is the idea that depression comes from the outside and inflicts whomever it will. Depression is seen as an ominous force that comes from without and cannot be defeated or controlled. Many depressed people wonder if depression is demon oppression, and in fact I believe this to be the case in many instances. Worse yet however is the belief that Christians can be demon possessed, which definitely adds another recipe for disaster to the situation.

But the beginning of complete victory over depression starts with these facts: You are NOT losing your mind, your depression has a cause or causes, and when you find those causes, there are solutions that overcome the causes. In other words, HOPE. Without hopelessness, depression is dead in the water. Hopelessness is the food that feeds the depression beast. Depression has no greater ally than the medical model. This is not to say that depression doesn’t become a medical problem, this is saying the following idea is proven to be a lie: depression is caused by a chronic medical problem that requires medication throughout the remainder of the person’s life. This robs the depressed of hope as they are continually returning to doctors to get their medication adjusted.

Let’s pause here to make a point based on the obvious. Those who have lost a loved one or suffered some other sort of tragedy may become depressed. The cause is obviously grief. The cure is wisdom in regard to grief. The Bible has a lot to say about the proper way to grieve. We are not to grieve as those who have no hope [1Thess 4:13]. Also, we are created to be social beings; people can become depressed because they are lonely. Now look, I am not that much of a social being, so I don’t relate that much to people who are struggling with loneliness, but let me tell you something…I have seen loneliness utterly destroy people. It can be a very strong emotion. This is where I will point to one of many advantages of home fellowships versus the institutional church. Being around lots of people doesn’t cure loneliness, but can rather merely remind you of how lonely you are. Being around lots of people engaging in superficial conversation doesn’t cure loneliness, real friendships are the cure, not people gathered together to pay their salvation dues by participating in institutional sacraments.

Let’s look at another cause and effect depression issue. The Bible teaches that our heart will be where we invest. This is kind of in the area of preventative medicine regarding what we call a “balanced life.” You have an over-investment in a particular area of your life, and then you lose whatever that is. With women, it’s usually children; with men, it’s usually their careers. When the loss happens, it leaves a huuuuuge empty void in the person’s being. Empty nest syndrome can cause very severe depression in women.

These are easily defined types of depression.  Tonight, we are dealing with oppressive types of depression which I described earlier—this type of depression seems to come out of nowhere.

What am I saying in all of this? Debilitating depression (not the depression all of us are bound to experience from time to time) is BOTH preventable and curable. And in both cases, practicality and wise living is the key.

So, we have three areas yet to visit tonight in regard to this issue of depression that is of the oppressive type: history, cause, and cure. As Christians, contemporary church history is very relevant to the subject of mental wellbeing among Christians and depression in particular.

When I became a Christian in 1983, one of the things I assumed was that Christians would be experts in good living. I thought, “I am saved, now it is time to get on with this living godly thing.” Boy, was I ever in for a surprise. Secondly, I assumed that no life problem was too big for God, and that the Bible had the answers for all of them. Again, I was in for a really big surprise. From the outset, I was perplexed about all of the discussion surrounding the same gospel that saved us.

Here is what I didn’t understand: Protestantism, hereafter, “church,” was/is predicated on the idea that salvation is a process that is maintained by faithfulness to church and its sacraments. Catholics are pretty upfront about this; Protestants and their “means of grace” are less so. You get saved by faith alone, but then faithfulness to the “means of grace” (grace refers to salvation) keeps the salvation process moving forward.

Both Catholics and Protestants (authentic Protestantism) believe that salvation is an ongoing process, aka progressive justification. Catholics believe in a literal new birth which qualifies one to do good works as one of the sacraments that progress salvation forward. Protestants cry foul on that and deem it works salvation. How then does Protestantism get around the works salvation charge? Well, since mere belief in the gospel that saved you is not a work, you keep yourself saved by returning to the same gospel that saved you over and over again. The likes of Dr. Micheal Horton call this, “revisiting the gospel afresh.”

So, how exactly do you return to the gospel? Well, how were you originally saved? Right, you repented and were forgiven of sin. Think about this: if you keep yourself saved by returning to the gospel, you must still need the gospel and salvation, right? Paul David Tripp calls this a “lifestyle of repentance.” Right, because of “present sin”, Christians still need ongoing forgiveness. Beginning salvation took care of all of our past sin while “preaching the gospel to ourselves every day” takes care of the “present sin.” IF we live our “Christian” lives by faith alone well enough, we will be able to stand in the final judgment covered by the righteousness of Christ and not a “righteousness of our own.” But take note: there is only ONE place where you can receive forgiveness for present sin and keep your salvation moving forward; that’s right, your good ol’ local institutional Protestant church. Look, this is documented Protestant orthodoxy. This is irrefutable.

But over the course of years from the Protestant Reformation, primarily from people reading the Bible grammatically within the Protestant camp, that gospel began to get integrated with other ideas like OSAS (once saved always saved) and ideas of obedience to the law, but not to the point where it had any real significance. As far as Protestants go, this led to living by biblical generalities. Yet, churchians functioned according to original Protestant tenets, but verbally professed things like OSAS and obedience to the law. As always, real life problems were farmed out to secular “experts” because the church’s business is keeping people saved, not solving life problems. I heard a pastor recently commend himself for not counseling in order to not be distracted from what really matters: the gospel.

In 1970, a Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Jay Adams, decided to pushback against the church’s inability to help people with the word of God. Dr. Adams was like most Protestants of that day; they really didn’t understand what the Reformation was really about. Adams is what we call a grammatical Calvinist; he interprets reality literally, and interprets the Bible grammatically. Much of Adams’ theology is predicated on the plain sense of Scripture, but that’s NOT Calvin and Luther, nor is it Augustine who Calvin and Luther followed. The big three of Protestant soteriology, Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, held to a redemptive view of reality (cross metaphysics) and a redemptive interpretation of Scripture.

These are also two different gospels. A grammatical Calvinist believes that salvation is a finished work and the Christian life, or sanctification, is completely separate from justification. The grammatical interpretation of Scripture and reality begins to formulate a hybrid theology with the redemptive fundamentals of Reformed doctrine. But this is not what the Reformers believed. Adams did not understand why the church was so passive in regard to helping people change, but nevertheless, he sought to apply his studies to changing that mode of operation.

In 1970, his book, Competent to Counsel, launched the biblical counseling movement. Let me also say this: Adams wanted this to be a laity movement. Adams was not the founder of CCEF or NANC. He was not in favor of certifying counselors. This is one of the many things he is to be commended for. His movement resulted in a real revival. I believe this movement, primarily in the 90s when it really picked up steam, was one of the few true revivals, if not the only true one post-Reformation. And don’t bring up the Great Awakening as an argument though that is a great example of many, many pseudo Reformed revivals claimed by that camp. The Great Awakening was a product of the American Revolution and its ideas concerning freedom. Then you have Edwards/Whitefield et al riding in on their mangy horses and taking credit for it. They shared the exact same Puritan soteriology that incited the American Revolution. At any rate, the biblical counseling movement was a true revival in that people’s lives were being changed dramatically. I was there and witnessed it with my own eyes, and was an avid supporter of the movement.

Also in 1970, a Seventh Day Adventist theologian named Robert Brinsmead launched a movement that revealed the real and original tenets of the Protestant Reformation. This movement led to several other movements resulting in a massive resurgence of Reformation soteriology known as the New Calvinism movement. Born out of the New Calvinism movement was an alternative to Adams’ counseling construct known as “second generation biblical counseling.” At first, both movements got along ok with Psychology being the primary whipping boy for both movements, but eventually their conflicting gospels would collide. While Jay Adams is the primary personification of first generation biblical counseling, Dr. David Powlison is such for second generation biblical counseling. While speaking at pastor John Piper’s church (the “elder statesmen of the New Calvinism”), Powlison admitted openly that the difference between the two counseling movements is a contrary gospel.

Now, let me make this as simple as I can. In change and problem solving, if you can do something, there is hope—if you can’t do something, there isn’t hope. If the doctor comes to you and says, “There is nothing we can DO,” that is NOT hopeful. If the doctor says, “There is something we can do,” there is hope. This would seem fairly evident. Listen to what Jay Adams told me himself face to face: when he was traveling about speaking at churches regarding his counseling movement, his talks were treated as if they were a “strange new gospel” because he was saying that we could DO something about our problems. A title of a book Adams wrote during that time is “More Than Redemption.” Say what?!! That title and the idea of it is completely antithetical to the Protestant Reformation which contended that justification is the whole enchilada from beginning to end. The point of all of this? In considering where to go for help in the evangelical church, what gospel is the counseling based on? Can one be helped by a false gospel? I think not.

In addressing the causes and biblical cures of oppressive types of depression we cannot discuss everything tonight, but we can discuss the most important things. In the case of my depression, I was never able to pinpoint a specific cause…until recently. I guess the cause is now so obvious that it escaped recognition as the obvious sometimes does—you are looking for something deeper rather than what is right in front of you.

Like most unbelievers, I believe I had an intuitive understanding of the new birth. I think most unbelievers know salvation means being saved from your present life. And that’s exactly the reason that unbelievers resist; even in the face of imminent disaster there is something about their life that they don’t want to give up. Perhaps they think they are free and the Lord’s commands are “burdensome.” At any rate, in my childlike state of mind as a new believer, I was shocked to realize that I was still sinning. You see, I assumed a radical transformation would take place. Sure, my life greatly improved, but I didn’t want to sin at all! I read book after book and agonized over the Scriptures in order to find out what was going on. And of course, no one in the institutional church could correctly explain it to me. The lame explanations that I received didn’t ring true to me [especially the “two natures” fighting against each other motif].

Bottom line: how could I be absolutely sure that anything I did for God in my life wasn’t an effort to justify myself? This threw cold water on any attempts to love God and kept me in constant doubt and turmoil.

Consequently, I doubted my salvation. Not only that, there were sins in my life that I just couldn’t overcome. Here is what I believe led to my depression: fear of condemnation, AND being under law. That’s where it began, and then some of the other factors we have discussed tonight all joined in resulting in a colossal downward spiral. If you doubt your salvation, your hope is greatly diminished. A basic fear of condemnation and judgment, I have come to believe, prefaces the massive list of phobias that exist in our society. The Bible states that fear and death go hand in hand, and the terror of death is defined by the fear of judgment that follows [Hebrews 2:15].

Moreover, a single perspective on law leading to a mentality verbalized to me just the other day, “sin is sin,” leads to slavery to sin because you are still under law and provoked by it leading to even more fear of condemnation [Romans 7:1-11]. I believe my former depression was the result of my defective understanding of law and gospel and justification specifically.

The Bible states that mature love casts out fear, but this does not speak of acts of love per se [acts of love however do bring peace and joy], but a state of being. Working out our love to the point of maturity is the antithesis of being under law and its condemnation—condemnation is impossible, and all that is left is the wages of life as opposed to the wages of death. We are under grace where love fulfills the whole law. If we still need the gospel, that means we still need salvation from the law’s condemnation. In fact, Calvin and Luther both stated that fear of condemnation is the catalyst for sanctification—they plainly said it! Hence, more depression should be expected in the church than anywhere else! [See the booklet, “It’s Not About Election” @ tancpublishing.com].

Fear is a really really big deal, and is more times than not a perquisite to depression. Please note the following from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

A1F.jpgA2FF.jpgA3FA4F[Note that fear/anxiety is associated with almost every mental illness that there is.]

I have come to believe that helping people with the deepest needs of life begins with a biblically accurate view of justification and its relationship to sanctification. This is where it begins, let’s go to the phones.

Utterly Shameless: Egotism of Local Pastors Far More Important Than People’s Lives

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 10, 2015

CCCRegardless of the outrageous behavior of Clearcreek Chapel located in Springboro, Ohio, local pastors continue to associate with the Chapel elders and participate in its “ministry.” The well documented creepiness of the leadership aside, first and foremost is the concern regarding reports that this ministry still receives from people who have entered the “biblical” counseling program at CCC. The Chapel elders, particularly its director Greg Cook, continue to snuff out marriages that arrive there as smoldering wicks. And apparently, Cook is still living up to his reputation for verbally abusing counselees. Cook’s penchant for rubbing his eyes while aping a baby crying as a way to mock husbands continues to be a report that we hear of since circa 2007.

At issue is their view of church authority: they clearly believe they have authority over families who have been referred to them. Imagine a pastor counseling a wife alone and telling her that her husband’s theology is “180 degrees” from the truth. No pastor, I repeat, no pastor has the right to diminish a woman’s view of her husband in any way, shape, or form. Any counselor worth their salt knows that spouses need little help in that area, and it is not beneficial to any marriage in any way.

The pattern over eight years has become abundantly clear: the CCC elders first ascertain which spouse is going to submit to their authority, and then work to separate the “foolish” spouse from the other. Sadly, some go there seeking to merely make their marriage better, and end up on the verge of divorce six months later. The errant spouse who would dare question the CCC anointed, usually the husband, is then slandered in various and malicious ways to gain assumptions from the congregations that are involved.

One of their favorite tactics is to ask flock groups for a love offering on behalf of the poor abused wife when no such financial need exists. Obviously, it sends the message that said husband is not supporting his family. Existing side by side financial documentation supports this accusation, and I assume CCC continues to use this ploy. This was employed by Greg Cook in 2008 against a counselee while he himself was indebted to the IRS for, according to one source, 180,000 dollars. Another favorite tactic is to exaggerate family problems and suggest that a family member live with a parishioner for awhile. Particularly when it is a daughter, the assumptions that result are evident. And of course, no repertoire of sanctified slander would be complete without the public “unspoken prayer request” for the spouse chained to another who does not appreciate the superior mantle placed on Reformed elders by the Almighty.

In short, the CCC elders have a long and documented history of character assassination that would have made Adolf Hitler blush. At least in two cases, husbands took their families and fled the state of Ohio while two other attempts by others failed. In these attempts to get one’s family away from CCC, the CCC elders counter by claiming abandonment. These are wicked tyrants who should be avoided at all cost.

The CCC elders enjoyed evangelical fame as a counseling center for many years after the departure of the founding pastor, Dr. John Street who built the ministry on Jay Adams so-called first generation biblical counseling. After Street’s departure, Russ Kennedy (CCC pastor of “spiritual vision”) and company quickly moved to totally gut and reconstruct the counseling program. A group of families who had come to CCC to covertly take it over quickly moved into leadership. This group was led by the creepy New Covenant Theology guru and cultist Chad Bresson. This group, behind the scenes, despised John Street and were waiting to pounce upon his departure. The covert persecution of those whom they perceived as a threat was relentless. This is a leadership that has amassed numerous unresolved conflicts with many, many professing Christians, and the lending of credibility to them by other pastors is unconscionable.

In addition, and in true CCC form, they still allow counselees who come there to believe that they hold to Jay Adams first generation counseling when in reality, they despise Adams. As one who had breakfast with Greg Cook every Monday morning for the better part of a year, you can trust me on that one.

So then, following is a list of local pastors who insist on supporting CCC and their continued destruction of families. I deem it my duty to warn others about them because birds of the feather flock together. These pastors are endeared to CCC for one reason or another. More than likely, they are just feeding their egos on what is left of CCC’s status in biblical counseling circles, but at any rate, their associations with CCC make them a concern to the well being of hurting families.

Tim Pasma, pastor at LaRue Baptist Church, LaRue, Ohio. Continues to support CCC’s bogus counseling program.

Jim Koerber, pastor at New Covenant Life Church, Blanchester, Ohio. Continues to support the counseling program at CCC.

Danny Wright, Greenville Grace, Clayton, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016.

Joe Godwin, pastor at Patterson Park Church, Dayton, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016.

Greg Birdwell, pastor at Providence Bible Fellowship, West Chester, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016. Greg Birdwell is well aware of the numerous controversies surrounding CCC and their unreconciled status with many Christian families.  Yet, he unabashedly fellowships with them and supports them. Lest these men would pass on any opportunity to mock God, the theme of the conference hosted by CCC is, “Cultivating Companionship.”

Paul Dohse

TANC Ministries

12/10/2016

An Open letter to Dr. Heath Lambert, Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 9, 2015

To Dr. Heath Lambert

Executive Director: Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280

From Paul Dohse, TANC Ministries

58 West Harbine Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385

mail@ttanc.com 937.478.1201

The purpose of this letter is to bring attention to certain facts concerning a pattern that has developed in the counseling network that you oversee. As testified by my own case in circa 2009, and many who have contacted this ministry and shared the same description of events, this pattern of behavior within your organization has become epidemic.

Again, what happens, and the procedure followed by the many churches under the auspices of your counseling organization is almost exact. What is the testimony that this ministry continues to hear at an alarming rate? It follows:

A spouse, usually the husband, seeks counsel from a church certified by your organization. In many cases, it’s not a bad marriage per se, but one of the spouses or both are seeking improvement. On average, eight months later, the couple find themselves in divorce court.

The clear pattern that is emerging begins with one of the spouses showing themselves “unteachable.” As these events go unchecked, church leaders are less and less ambiguous and are plainly stating, by letter, that one spouse is “insubordinate” to the authority of the church leaders. The unteachable and insubordinate spouse then becomes the focus of fault resulting in the other spouse being counseled separately.

In that separate counseling, the church leaders become the authority in the household. The “teachable” spouse then becomes a mole for church leaders in building a case for “church discipline” against the “unteachable” spouse. The subordinate spouse is then routinely communicated with apart from the other spouse and without knowledge of the meetings.

Again, let me preface all of this with the fact that this pattern has become epidemic within the network of churches associated with your organization, and these facts are well documented.

As this procedure unfolds, the unteachable, and at this point alarmed spouse, will usually submit a letter of membership resignation to the church leaders while there is no discussion of “church discipline.” In most cases, this results in the spouse being placed under church discipline after the fact.

The unteachable spouse is then given an ultimatum; either they remain a member and enter an in-house church counseling program, or they will be excommunicated publically in a future church meeting. In almost all cases, the “sins” of the spouse are not announced at the meeting under the auspices of avoiding legal action and gossip, but the result (whether intentionally or unwittingly) leaves the congregation to their own imaginations, even though the actual “sin” is frivolous in context. In my own case dating back to circa 2009, members at Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio still assume that I committed adultery, or worse.

Other procedures to discredit the unteachable spouses and disenfranchise them from the congregation are practiced in like fashion among your network of churches. There are many documented examples that are egregious, and this one will be shared from recent events: at a meeting between an insubordinate spouse and church leaders, security guards were employed by the church to be present at the meeting regardless of the fact that there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that this spouse was a danger to anyone.

In other instances, unneeded monetary collections are solicited to send the message to congregants that a family is not being supplied for financially. This is usually condoned through the perspective of the high income zip codes that ACBC functions in exclusively. Also, in cases where a spouse works out of town, the situation is framed as abandonment. These false narratives are conveyed subtly in many different ways, and usually during the midweek home fellowships as precontrived by the board of elders who oversee them separately.

If targeted spouses concur with the leadership about the default accusation used in most cases, e.g., “not loving your wife like Christ loved the church,” and promise to act upon it, said spouses are still required to enter a program where they are examined by church elders over several months. Only then will they be eventually “released” from church membership. If they refuse to enter in-house counseling or fruits of repentance inspection they face public humiliation via excommunication.

Obviously, in most states, this is a criminal act under Coercion penal codes. You cannot prevent any person from conducting legal activity by threatening to harm their reputation. In short, this protocol is an attempt to return to traditions that were formed in a church state culture, but let me remind you that this is the United Sates in 2015. This procedure is not only immoral in general, but offends civil and criminal law on almost every level.

Once an unteachable spouse is publically declared an “unbeliever,” the marriage is then deemed mixed in regard to saved/unsaved spouses. And according to a narrative already set in place, the insubordinate spouse is dubbed “an unbelieving spouse that is not pleased to live with the believing spouse.” The “green light” is then given to the subordinate spouse to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse who has committed “abandonment in their heart.”

In addition, financial support is offered as well, usually at the hands of unwitting congregants who trust the church leaders. At the public church discipline meeting, congregants are allowed to assume that the spouse attempted to vacate membership in the midst of a serious issue, and that the spouse committed sin of the baser sort.

Your attempts to deny this emerging pattern will prove futile. It is well documented, and in essence, ACBC has become a divorce mill.

Dr. Lambert, this ministry has begged you and your organization on many occasions to desist from referring hurting people to these counseling programs that have unresolved conflict with many, many families. Yet, you are indifferent and arrogant. If this continues to stand, it will not be because of any lack of effort on our part.

You, your associates, and the organization you represent are acting as cultic unbelievers and you will be treated as such. We will research legal options for those who continue to contact this ministry for help.

May God grant us grace in standing against the injustice of your egregious behavior against fellow believers.

Paul M. Dohse

TANC Ministries

TANC Press Release 7.9.2015

The New Calvinism Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 1, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/The purpose of this post is to merely state the facts—you can draw your own conclusions in regard to motives. As predicted by this ministry several years ago, divorces overseen and endorsed by Reformed churches has now become an epidemic. That’s an understatement.

From several testimonies to us over time, we have concluded that the unfolding of these divorces share an identical storyline.

It all begins with couples seeking to improve their marriage via the formal counseling of the Reformed biblical counseling movement. The consistent testimony that we constantly hear follows: in the milieu of the issues, the counselors gravitate to, and take sides with the spouse who is willing to submit to church authority. Then, the unwillingness of the other spouse to submit to church authority becomes the primary issue and fodder for potential church discipline.

Once the church discipline has been executed, the “unteachable” spouse is declared unregenerate, and the marriage is now a mixed marriage. Usually, the excommunicated spouse doesn’t worry about it all that much because after all, he/she is “pleased to live with the ‘believing’ spouse.”

But not so fast. Protocol doesn’t limit “abandonment” (“if the unbelieving spouse departs let them depart” 1Cor 7:12-15) to a physical leaving; yes, there is also an “abandonment of the heart.” No, the spouse hasn’t left physically, but the actions and words of the spouse show that they are not really “pleased to dwell with the believing spouse and are staying for ulterior motives.” Of course, as ascertained by the “expert” biblical counselor.

The “believing” spouse is now given the green light to divorce the “unbelieving” spouse. The judgement regarding the salvation of either spouse is based on a willingness to submit to church authority. And obviously, there are many words or actions that can be used as proof to deem the other spouse as unpleased to dwell with the other. The judgment is subjectivism on steroids.

As this ministry has documented, the Reformed biblical counseling movement is nonexistent in zip codes where the average income is below $50,000 per year. Because the church where the counseling takes place offers support to the believing spouse in the midst of the decision to divorce, that spouse will almost always join said church and faithfully tithe 10% of the alimony as New Calvinist churches are now routinely disciplining people for not tithing at least 10%. In some cases, the submission of financial statements is part of the membership covenant.

And sadly, the word is out on some of these churches: it’s a place you can go to get sanctified permission to dump your spouse. Somebody play 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Simon and Garfunkel.

And even sadder, some of the counseling starts with a couple merely wanting tips on tuning up their marriage and getting the most out of it; a year later they are in divorce court.

This ministry is primarily recommending Marriage Works through the state of Ohio. It’s not counseling, but rather workshops on practical things that improve a marriage. We also reluctantly recommend the Institute of Nouthetic Studies (Jay Adams). Because Jay will not make a complete break with New Calvinist minions such as Lou Priolo and Martha Peace, we recommend extreme caution. Nevertheless, aspects of Jay’s counseling are a major help. Susan and I offer counseling as a third option.

paul

A Clarification on my Anti-Reformation, Anti-Protestant Stance

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 23, 2015

AdamsIt is true, I have totally written off every Calvinist that has ever lived in regard to having any value for sanctification or justification except for two, one being Dr. Jay Adams. After all, I don’t want to be extreme.

So, what’s my excuse for excusing Adams? He brings something to the table that isn’t Reformed. Sure, he may argue that it is Reformed, but nevertheless the results are the same: people find a measure of real help in a contemporary church where there isn’t any help. In fact, the consensus is in: people are better off after they leave church. This ministry has witnessed several marriages on their way to divorce court until the couple simply stopped going to church. In fact, I dare say their marriages are getting better.

We are in a Protestant Dark Age. A movement is needed where the wisdom of God found in the Scriptures is rediscovered in Western culture. What needs to be rediscovered specifically? It starts with the knowledge that the Bible is written for the able individual. That’s first.

Secondly, the issue of how we interpret reality must be addressed. The Reformers did not interpret reality literally, and that tradition was passed down to all that followed them. In the church today, by and large, the pastorate does not interpret state of being in the same way that congregants do. The Reformers reinterpreted every word and term according to their own worldview. For example, “God’s glory” really means “God’s self-love.” Stated simply, John 3:16 in reverse.

The Reformers devised an ingenious indoctrination system of sliding metaphysics. They redefined every word and term, and allowed the listeners to assume what they meant by each word and term. In the process of using these words and terms in a certain way, listeners are slowly indoctrinated in accordance with the primary goal of the Reformers: a desired functionality albeit foggy understanding.

Let me give some specific examples. Total depravity. From the beginning in Reformed thought, this included believers. So, while assuming total depravity pertains to the unregenerate only, many are eventually indoctrinated into the original Reformed idea that this also includes believers.

Sola scriptura. The assumption is Scripture alone, but the Reformers knew that few would ask the following question: “What exactly did the Reformers believe about the Scriptures?” Sure, Scripture alone, but for what purpose?

Election. The assumption is that this argument focuses on man’s ability to choose God for salvation, but it goes much, much deeper than that and is directly relevant to what the Reformers believed about reality itself. Few know that Calvin believed in three classes of elect: non-elect, temporarily elect, and the final elect, or those who persevere.

The Reformers believed that reality is a narrative written by God in which mankind is written into the script. Reformers such as Jonathan Edwards believed that man has no will per se, but God preordains every thought that precedes every act of man which makes it seem as if man has a will. My wife Susan will be doing three sessions on Jonathan Edwards at this year’s TANC conference. Many will find her research fairly shocking.

Sola fide. The assumption is faith alone for salvation/justification. By far, this is the one that the Reformers get the most mileage out of. Using this assumption, they continually talk about sanctification in a justification way. Eventually, sanctification becomes justification. Eventually, the Christian life becomes perpetual re-justification which is the Reformation gospel in a nutshell.

Protestantism is truly the super-cult of the ages.

And the institutional church finds itself in a huge dilemma. Traditional institutional worship beginning with the Reformation was tailored for perpetual re-justification down to the alter call routine. The Lord’s Table is a solemn ceremony where additional grace is imparted through repentance. In reality, the first century assemblies met for dinner, and the fellowship meal was supposed to remind them of their fellowship with God and His Son. It was all very informal and not for the purpose of imparting additional grace.

The gatherings were an extension of worshipful living specifically designed for private homes and nothing more. The institutional version is an extension of two pillars of Reformed theology: the doctrine of progressive justification, and the politics of church-state. Hence, traditional institutional worship necessarily circumvents the original intent of Christ’s mandate for His assemblies.

With all of that said, Adams supplies a little help that can be found right now in the institutional church, and at least for the time being, we need to seize upon everything we can get. I am not talking about those who think they are helped by adopting a Reformed worldview of zero-sum-life (viz, “second generation” biblical counseling). I am not talking about those who seem to stand strong in the face of adversity because they see all of life as nothing but a divine prewritten narrative for the sole benefit of a divine self-love. No, here is my reasoning in regard to Adams per a comment I posted yesterday:

God used Jay Adams to save my life. How? Jay emphasized the need for biblical counseling using a grammatical approach to the Scriptures. This approach proffered the idea that seizing upon the literal promises of God in the Bible is curative. Of course, this would seem evident. That gives hope; if I follow God’s instruction on this, God will do that.

In the midst of the hell I found myself in, I could begin to please God. Nothing could keep me from doing so except myself, and in God’s timing, and in God’s way, it would be curative as well.

As someone who prided himself as a knowledgeable, objective evangelical, Jay’s teachings exposed the fact that I was really a functioning mystic that used all of the orthodox verbiage. While I disagree with Jay on many things, this is the powerful approach that he brings to the table.

“Christians” have a choice to make in regard to how they will interpret the Scriptures and reality itself: grammatically, or according to Christocentric Gnosticism. I am not talking about pseudo grammatical interpretation used for a purely redemptive outcome, I am talking about authentic exegetical interpretation, not cross-centered eisegesis leading to the antinomianism of “second generation” biblical counseling.

And, Jay is an example to all of us in practicing our gifts faithfully to the end. There is no retiring from a love for the ministry that you are called to whatever it is.

May the Lord give God’s people many more years of his living sacrifice.

Am I willing to give a Calvinists credit where credit is due? Yes, if he brings something to the table that can give life. If we were in a time when the laity has retaken its rightful place in Christ’s mandate supplying ample sanctification wisdom, would I recommend Adams in any regard? I am not sure, my due to him in this particular age notwithstanding.  But for the time being, we must scrape up everything we can get until the laity obeys its calling, as long as it is truly worth scraping up.

The Reformation has failed. A resurgence of it commenced in 1970. By 2008, it dominated American evangelicalism and continues to do so today. But, the chickens are coming home to roost. Its leaders are dropping like flies. The damage control is now unmanageable. The institutional church is a train wreck while the Nones and the Dones are laying about everywhere on the landscape. The latest trail blazer of the neo-resurgence to fall at the hands of his own gospel sanctification Reformed doctrine is Tullian Tchividjian. He is one of seven of the most visible leaders of the movement to resign for misconduct in less than two years. Others have been the focus of controversial bully-like conduct in the same time frame, along with numerous Neo-Calvinist mega church pastors who have resigned for sexual misconduct, three in the Orlando, Florida area alone.

The answer is NOT Reformation—the answer is a laity revolution. The laity has been conned into investing huge sacrifice in Reformed academia, and to what end? Who will deny that the laity understands less about Christian living than we ever have? Rather than seeking God’s face on our own, we run to orthodox sand boxes like The Warburg Watch and play with the same regurgitated Reformed talking points. This only serves to help the failed Reformation with its damage control. It only serves to send the message that being confused is acceptable.

But we do not serve a God of confusion. It’s time for the laity to stop worshiping Reformed academia and give honor to the one who sanctifies us with truth—not the traditions of mere men.

paul

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