Paul's Passing Thoughts

Self-Esteem

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 30, 2016
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Thank You for Going to the Concert

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 28, 2016

ppt-jpeg4The Protestant Reformers, for all practical purposes, made every verse in the Bible about justification. Hence, according to the primary interpretive hermeneutic of the Reformers, the Bible is not God’s statement about the multifaceted state of being, but rather what we call a “metaphysical narrative.” This is the idea that God controls everything perceived in reality as a story that pleases God only. Your reality is a prewritten experience for God’s glory only.

That may mean that your life will glorify God by you realizing how depraved you are, and thereby obtaining gratitude for God’s saving acts that are in the narrative. The more you understand your depravity, the more gratitude you have, and the more God is glorified. According to the Reformers, whatever happens in life is the metaphysical prewritten narrative, and the Bible is the handbook that guides us in interpreting the story. This is the redemptive-historical hermeneutic.

In Martin Luther’s doctrinal construct, this is the Theology of the Cross, or the “Cross Story.” All those who do not interpret their existence according to this worldview, according to Luther who is the father of the Reformation, are advocates of the “Glory Story.” In Martin Luther’s formal worldview, all of reality is divided between the Cross Story (the story of God for His glory) or the Glory Story (the story of man and his glory) with NO in-between objective reality. Those who are part of the Glory Story are predetermined by God as well and will suffer in eternal hell; likewise, for God’s glory and good pleasure.

This idea is what led evangelical “pastor” Steve Lawson to suggest that Christ Himself will personally torment people in hell forever. Protestantism, whether people will face it or not, is predicated on the idea that God is just as pleased with eternal torment as He is with eternal joy; BOTH bring Him glory. Ever perplexed by the goofy things that go on at the local Baptist church? However far removed from the primary premise, the behavior finds its roots in Reformed tradition; particularly the lack of wherewithal to deal with spiritual abuse.

This reality, no pun intended, is what makes articles like the one recently written by Dr. Albert Mohler egregiously disingenuous. In that article, Mohler bemoans Bible illiteracy among evangelicals. And of course, his kind of biblical prowess is the answer after Protestant academics have created the problem to begin with. There has been no movement ever in history that has made more money by creating misery and then presenting itself as the cure.

TANC ministries is focused on an interpretation of reality based on what God truly intends for it to be. This necessarily involves a focus on sanctification in the same way that Protestantism focuses on justification albeit an errant one. In the same way that a skewed understanding of sanctification distorts justification, a skewed view of justification makes Christian living a study in steroidal confusion. TANC has dedicated five years of research to justification, with a prior investment by me of three years totaling eight. The TANC assertion has always been that a proper understanding of justification is the key to understanding the deep waters of Christian living, viz, sanctification. This is now where TANC has redirected its focus; the time has come.

This new focus necessarily demands a plenary investment by all of God’s people without any caste mentality. Religious academia not only contributes little to the cause, it is an immanent threat to the testimony of Christ and the true gospel as unrevised history has well documented. The collective free and independent interpretation by Spirit-filled Christians is essential as well as a breaking down of barriers between the library and the walk of the new man in the world; the Bible interprets reality, and multifaceted real-life experience lends vast understanding to what is being stated in the Bible.

In Protestantism, people who have to function in the real world go to church every Sunday and allow those who live in libraries to interpret their reality, and for some bizarre reason, pay good money for it to boot. If you only pay 10% or less, you are supposedly robbing God by not paying money to people who couldn’t survive in your reality for one day. This is why of all world religions Protestantism makes the lesser sense of the bunch. Nothing is more confused than a Protestant.

In regard to justification, I spent the better part of eight years doing research, but now with the proper keys to understanding Christian living, I have found a career in what I think is very well fitted for lending understanding to life and biblical reality. That career regards ADL service; that is, aiding people in activities of daily living. As I reflect my experience against the wisdom of Scripture, learning and understanding is taking place. I wonder what empowers the individual more than understanding why we do what we do?

But there is another key ingredient to this understanding: others who get it. With the use of the Bible and things self-evident according to God’s vast creation design, TANC co-author Andy Young wrote a post this week about self-value and the value of others. This post lent understanding to how my conscience was guiding me in some issues regarding work. I have remained plugged into a particular client because my conscience was compelling me to do so, but I really didn’t understand why my conscience was pressing me in that direction.

I am presently working with clients that I initially envisioned myself working with. This has been a long process. However, I have a client who was one of my first and has much lesser ADL needs; specifically, nothing but house cleaning. This is far less unfulfilling for me than medical type ADLs. The perception is depth of need. But after reading Andy’s post, I understand why I am committed to this client; now I understand what my conscience was trying to tell me.

Now I understand why I can dismiss the voices of my past Reformed ideology posing as my conscience. In addition to the outrage against the very idea of self-value harassing me while I was reading the post, I can also dismiss the accusation that my conscience is telling to be a, “people pleaser. Did not the apostle Paul tell us to please others whenever possible unless they are trying to persuade us to do something not pleasing to God? Sure he did. But why?

Because we are wired by God with a desire to please others. But why? Because we place value in them. Because we are created in the image of God who values Himself and others. He also values what He created, viz, life, and He demands that others value it as well. This may very well lead us to do things for people that we don’t enjoy doing, but finding the joy in pleasing them through the act. If we enjoy doing what is pleasing the person, that’s a double blessing. But if we don’t enjoy doing what we are doing for the person; yet, joy is found in pleasing the person that we value. Nevertheless, does this eventually lead to finding joy in the task itself? I think it often does.

In this particular case, the client has put a high value on me because of my cleaning. The client is very insistent that I be her HHA (Home Health Aid). And I must say, she values me more than SOME clients who depend on me and others for medical type ADLs. A messy house is one thing, but lying in your own waste for any period of time is another. Yet, the one who values me praises me while the other curses me. Indeed, as I have learned, the level of task rendered by no means determines the value. And here is an aside that you may apply to many other areas of life including childrearing: aids often no-call/no-show clients; and why do they do this? They don’t value others. And by the way, because they do not value others, neither do they value God from whom all blessings flow.

What else did I learn from Andy’s post in partnership with God’s word and life experience? A why. Why are ADLs so important? Sure, I gain self-satisfaction in doing ADLs, but why does this make any sense? After all, these are people who can no longer contribute to others, right? The answer follows. They value themselves. They value their own lives. This is intrinsic. This is intuitive. This is how God wires us. To not value self and others is unnatural and against God’s creative elements. God values Himself and those He creates.

And this is fact: the more a client values their own life and strives to make the best of it, the more the aid values their work. And I believe life in general works little different from this. I have clients who strive to make everything of their life that they can. This endeavor for self-actualization regardless of their condition raises the self-value of the aid, and by this they love the aid by loving themselves. This idea is anathema to Reformed ideology which places no value on human life. Protestants deny this while proudly pontificating “total depravity” because like I said, Protestants are confused in general while funding Neo-Platonist academics who hate life.

Why are we all inspired by disabled people who excel in life and happiness? Because they put a value on their life, and life in general which increases our own value when we help them. This pleases God and we value Him as the first priority. Striving to please those we value is a natural element of creation. This is why I am so overjoyed that a client of mine is going to a concert next month. If you knew this client, you would be very surprised that he would venture to go to a concert. But the client’s love for life increases my value and the service I supply. This is why an aid’s job is harder when a client fails to love themselves—to value themselves. Therefore, to all those who need help with ADLs…

…thank you for going to the concert. By loving yourself you are loving me.

paul

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Loving Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 3, 2016

Does the Bible ever state that to love ourselves is a sin? I don’t believe so. In fact it never even suggests that we are to love others MORE than ourselves. We are to love others AS MUCH AS we love ourselves.

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it…” ~ Ephesians 5:29

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Galatians 5:14

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,’ ye do well:” ~ James 2:8

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” ~ Romans 13:8

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:9

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45

“ ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:36-40

To love yourself is to recognize your own value. If you do not recognize your own worth then you cannot recognize the value of others.

There is application here for just about all of the problems we see in the institutional church.  What is the historical orthodoxy?  What has been taught about man?  The metaphysical premise is man’s depravity.  Man is taught that self-loathing is a virtue.  Believers have been discouraged from striving for obedience to the law.  The law has been replaced with orthodoxy (tradition).  This is the definition of anomia; lawlessness.  Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that by replacing the law with their traditions that they made the law useless.  The result would be that love would grow cold.

This is what such thinking produces.    And this is exactly what we are seeing in this day.  Is it any wonder?  If one is taught that they cannot keep the law because of their own depravity, how can he possibly love himself?  Why are there so many cases of divorce, depression, and mental illnesses found in the institutional church?  Why do we act shocked when we learn about these sorts of things happening in the institutional church?  For the believer, he is taught that an ever-increasing awareness of sin brings about an ever-increasing knowledge of God’s holiness.  The Christian life is to be one of dwelling on sinfulness; not on value.  How can we expect justice for sexual abuse and other physical or spiritual abuses?  If one believes he has no value, how can he possibly love others?  Others have no value.  Others then are nothing more than objects to be used for one’s own end.

Do you realize that if we spent our time focusing on loving others, we wouldn’t have to worry about breaking any laws?  Think about that for a second.  When it comes right down to it, isn’t the breaking of any law really a violation of the rights of another?  It says, “I don’t value you.”  Why don’t we steal?  Is it because God said, “thou shalt not steal?”  Or is it because we recognize that we would not want our things stolen?  This ought to reveal our own sense of self-worth, which flies in the face of religious orthodoxy in direct opposition to the notion of total depravity.  And in recognizing this self-worth, we then project that onto others.  We recognize the value of others because we recognize our own value.  God’s law teaches us that we have value!

Andy

Self Esteem

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

Self-Esteem, Calvinism, and the Mass Graves of Human History

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 20, 2014

PPT HandleOriginally posted January 5, 2014

Of course, it is no surprise that God’s creation is most fascinating and teaches us many things about Him. Creation teaches us that God is good, and is a God of order…and good ideas:

“It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong. It’s nature’s way of telling you in a song… Something’s wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong.”  

Such is creation and its order; hence, Dr. Phil asks the rhetorical question: “How’s that working for you.” God created the Earth to work well when good ideas are implemented. This is the order of creation. God said to multiply and subdue the earth; ie., make it work well with good ideas. In that, God is glorified—good ideas and good results verify that God is a God of order and goodness.

Spiritual abuse in the church is the hot topic of our day. Discernment blogs exploded in 2008 without anyone stopping to ask why. In that same year, a massive covert church subculture was dubbed, “New Calvinism.” Now, a truth is emerging that no one wants to deal with: New Calvinism is a resurgence of the original article of the Reformation. And the discernment blogosphere is a sandbox where we play with toys representing a reality that we would think is hell on earth if we didn’t know better. It is the same difference between a child playing with a toy tank in the back yard versus a tank commander on the ground in Afghanistan. The blogosphere is playing with issues that are better understood by those who were tied to two horses running in opposite directions.

I am presently working through a recent post by church historian John Immel, a much valued friend of this ministry. If you want to partake in relevant “deep repentance,” read his materials and then surf the discernment blogs as well as your own former take on contemporary church history. For certain, I am not charitable enough with some and forget my own former ignorance as a Reformed pastor. I was primarily duped on the issue of self-esteem. Like all good Reformed pastors, I was a proponent of self-death. I was a proponent of ALL love being an outward focus. Like all good Reformed pastors, I despised Dr. James Dobson.

As the saying goes, a clock that doesn’t work is right twice a day. There is some rightness to the idea that others are important. Luther’s self-death will work and free you from the emotional investments of this world—it is VERY effective…and cowardly. As I work through John’s post, I find my red pen underlining and writing, “Luther-Heidelberg Disputation, Luther-HD, HD theses 28,” over and over again. Calvin expanded Luther’s treatise in the Calvin Institutes and presented it to Francis 1 as a political document, a fact never mentioned in our day. The masses thinking well of themselves has never been good news for many governments. Those who think themselves worthless are much easier to control. And when you have a fancy to kill them, they will report to the gallows with joy. Of course, due to their powerful faith in God. Ahhhmen.

Let’s talk Bible. I believe the Bible is God’s full-orbed metaphysical statement to mankind; specifically, to the individual. It is His metaphysics, epistemology, ethic, and politics. It is written to the individual. I am not dismissing the need for teachers, but be sure of this: the you need me to help you understand what God is really saying ploy was first used on Eve in the garden and is the mainstay employed by the kingdom of darkness till this day.

Simply stated, the Bible teaches that we are wired to value ourselves. Wisdom is deep and a matter of Biblical balance. No man is “totally depraved.” Biblically, we are instructed to love others as much as we already love ourselves. That’s not a bad thing; that is how God created us. God even wants us to use that fact to “treat others as you yourselves would want to be treated.” The apostle Paul stated that NO man has ever hated himself—so treat your wife accordingly.

A goal of hating ourselves, the essence of Calvinism and Reformed doctrine in particular, is just a really bad idea with the results following. And it’s NOT Biblical. And it leads to all kinds of goofy ideas that have filled mass graves for centuries. And self-esteem is something we earn—it is a truthful evaluation of ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote: “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought.” The Bible calls for a truthful self-evaluation and assumes you are able to do so.

In fact, it gives us confidence that we can love others and help them. James Dobson still isn’t my cup of tea, but you will never find him presiding over a death panel. When I was a Reformed pastor, I despised James Dobson because I was in fact a dangerous person. My ideas were dangerous because I was of the Reformed tradition. Sure, nevertheless a good guy amongst that camp; I would have never manned the ovens at Auschwitz. I would have merely kept my silence and said, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

What in the world prompted this post? Well, note carefully what a commenter wrote to me on another blog yesterday which is incredibly ironic given that I am still working thorough John’s article:

The problem is with the human heart. We think too highly of ourselves and not highly enough of those around us. Those with power tend to use it to dominate others. (Like males over females) Only through accurately understanding the Gospel can godly humility replace the ugliness of human pride. Boasting in oneself will then cease. We will begin to respect others enough to speak the truth in love and not in arrogance… I’m sorry PPT. I will try to be more careful in the future. However, by focusing on scapegoating Calvinism as the source of this problem (as you are doing), you miss the crucial point that because other groups are also guilty of this abuse, your premise is wrong. I get it that you hate Calvinism, but don’t let that bias blind you to the real cause: the prideful human heart that is not truly humbled by the Gospel. One must be convinced of and transformed by the Gospel in order to produce godly fruit. True humility cannot be faked. Boasting, arrogance, domination of others, are just a few characteristics of an unbelieving heart. It is dangerous to think that such deceitful pride can only affect others and never us.

Truly ironic. The commenter is anti-spiritual abuse, yet holds to the same self-worth = pride philosophy that is the crux of every “gospel” written to the likes of Francis 1. I close with a comment from another on the same stream:

We are missing each other, I think.

The question for me isn’t whether spiritual abuse can happen in any denomination or religion. It does. The REAL question is: Do certain doctrines attract abusers / evil perps? To say that since abuse happens across the board in all religions, so abuse could never be problematic to certain doctrines/religions is a logical fallacy.

The doctrine of total depravity teaches people they don’t have personal responsibility. It is God who orchestrates it all as the grand puppet-master. That is quite problematic, IMO.

Right. If you are worthless, if you haven’t been gifted by God, if you need someone else to interpret reality for you, it is the Staples easy-button of life. It is the easy road trodden by those that sing merrily on the way to the gallows…

…because we have so much faith in God.

paul

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