Paul's Passing Thoughts

Calvinism and the Cultural Spoon Feeding of Control and Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 26, 2016

potionOriginally posted January 22, 2015

I inadvertently stumbled upon the fact that Mark Dever’s 9Marks blog has pulled down their post on John Calvin’s power of the keys. The article* was an accurate rendition of the Reformed doctrine, but apparently not nuanced enough. One of the classic marks of cultism is truth on the installment plan or a bite at a time. You don’t actually show the pie in all its glory, you feed the pie to folks in truism-size bites until they become the pie without realizing it. It matters little to Calvinists if you understand how you are controlled, just so you are controlled.

Said another way, you never see the bottle of Christocentric potion, you only open wide and let Mark Dever et al spoon-feed it to you. So, as a service to inquiring minds that want to know, I dug up an article that I wrote about the overly overt Calvinist article. Enjoy.

9Marks Keys

Leeman’s article supplies the Cliff Notes to his book and explains something that I have seen among New Calvinist groups for a long time: they believe elders have the authority to determine/declare the salvation of a person. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant, God will honor it. I have seen firsthand how this teaching enables New Calvinist leaders to control parishioners. You see, I only write articles like “New Calvinism and Hotel California” to keep my sanity, but there is more truth to it than I like to admit. Unless you want to lose your salvation, you’re not leaving a New Calvinist church unless they say you can. And contending against their doctrine, well, that’s not for the faint of heart.

Leeman states the following in the article:

If the sinner still does not repent, round 4 ensues, which involves removing the individual from the covenant community—treating him like an outsider. Sometimes this is called “church discipline” or “excommunication.”

Jesus then invokes the keys of the kingdom again: whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever the church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven. And Jesus is not addressing the apostles or the universal church here. He’s envisioning a local church. The local church, it appears, has been given the apostolic keys of the kingdom. As a result…

The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.

And….

Jesus has authorized the local church to stand in front of a confessor, to consider the confessor’s confession, to consider his or her life, and to announce an official judgment on heaven’s behalf. Is that the right confession? Is this a true confessor? It’s just like Jesus did with Peter.

And, when do new Calvinists have the authority to do this? According to Leeman:

Matthew 18, which is filled with even more earth and heaven talk than Matthew 16, presents a crystal clear picture of this authority in the context of church discipline. But the ability to remove someone from membership presupposes an overarching authority to assess a person’s gospel words and deeds and to render a judgment. This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.

In case you missed it: “This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.” Told ya. In a New Calvinist church, they think they have authority over you whether you’re a member or not.

And what if they are wrong about their declaration? According to Leeman:

Will the local church exercise the keys perfectly? No. It will make mistakes just like every other authority established by Jesus makes mistakes. As such, the local church will be an imperfect representation of Christ’s end-time gathering. But the fact that it makes mistakes, just like presidents and parents do, does not mean it’s without an authoritative mandate.

Oh well, stuff happens, right?

Leeman ends the piece, like all New Calvinists do with a back door of escape in case somebody who matters calls them out on such outrageous teachings:

Does all this mean that what a local church does on earth actually changes a person’s status in heaven? No, the church’s job is like an ambassador’s or an embassy’s. Remember what I said about visiting the U.S. Embassy in Brussels when my passport expired. The embassy didn’t make me a citizen, it formally affirmed it in a way I could not myself. So with a local church.

This statement completely contradicts everything he said prior. If Christ binds it in heaven, WHY WOULD IT NOT CHANGE THE STATUS OF THE BELIEVER? Is it bound or not?

Of course, the message he wants parishioners to get is the authority part and the supposed fact that an elder declaration concerning a person’s salvation carries some hefty weight. But his contradiction makes my point. In Matthew 18, there is no such authority even being discussed, that’s why Leeman necessarily contradicts himself. By the time you get to the fourth step, several people are involved in what’s usually a messy situation. Several different scenarios could be in the mix here. Why did Jesus go from telling it to the whole church to discussing two or three people? I believe that Jesus is saying that heaven will honor the ones in the situation that are conducting themselves truthfully—even if it is only two people. I don’t think Jesus is assuming that church discipline always goes well.

Regardless of how weak you think that argument is, clearly, the salvific status of the person is not in view here. Only fellowship status is in view; they are to be treated “like” an unbeliever, NOT DECALRED AN UNBELIEVER. How do we know this? Because in the situation at Corinth regarding the guy that committed a sexual sin of the baser sort, Paul assumes that he is a believer, even in the midst of his excommunication:

1 Corinthians 5:5

Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

If one examines the Scriptures carefully, there is really no such thing as “church discipline” to begin with. There is self-discipline and the Lord’s discipline. We change a believer’s fellowship status so that the Lord will discipline them, but the church does not do the discipline. This point is much more than mere semantics and keeps so-called “church discipline” in proper perspective. There is much woe in the church because many elders think they do the discipline and not the Lord.

paul

*As it turns out, we found it uploaded to pdf format.  Thanks to whomever did that! ~~Pearl

Mark Dever: Church Membership is First Category of Church Discipline

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 23, 2016

Dever_bwOriginally posted January 28, 2015

Apparently, if you are in a Calvinist church, the pastor’s job-one is training you up in the way you should go so you won’t be brought up on church discipline. I have known for some time that Calvinists consider counseling the first step of church discipline, but must admit I was unaware that they also perceive church membership as a first phase of discipline.

According to Dever, all teaching is discipline, and seen as preventative medicine against “corrective” church discipline. So be advised: when you are sitting under the teaching of your local Calvinist pastor, listen carefully and take heed so he will not have to deal with you as a wayward adolescent in the future.

In the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, yet another Neo-Calvinist translation in addition to the ESV, Dever states on page 1649 that there are “two categories of church discipline.”

Aside: there isn’t even one to begin with. Nowhere does the Bible teach a discipline carried out by the church that affects salvation status. For the seven biblical procedures to resolve conflict in the church download this free ebook.

Another aside: there isn’t a one size fits all “church discipline” procedure as practiced by Reformed churches. The commentary by Dever is adjacent to Matthew 18 in the study bible. Matthew 18 is treated as a protocol for handling every wayward situation when the Bible describes six other procedures for dealing with conflict within the church.

Dever frames all church teachings and examples set by the leaders as “formative discipline.” Think about how these guys perceive you! You are such a spiritual loser that the only thing that will keep you from getting excommunicated is training you up in the way you should go. You are not being taught as a fellow heir, you are perceived to be a petulant little sinner poised to wreak havoc on the church at any moment. Everything modeled and taught to you is “preventative.”

This is Dever’s attitude towards people who work like dogs to pay his salary. Unbelievable, but hardly uncommon among the Reformed.

paul

How Church Ruins Your Life

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 25, 2015

12088408_1201486316563031_6525778434069415145_nMeme Post #1

“Church” was never meant to be an institution, but rather a family meeting in private homes because that’s what families do. During the soon approaching Thanksgiving Day, extended families will meet together locally. In others words, for example, the Dohse family is a large family with descendants living all over the world, but more than likely, only the descendants living in the Dayton, OH area will gather together in one place. Few families maintain a purpose-built facility for meeting together. In fact, that would be deemed rather strange.

The 1st century assembly of Christ had a family mindset that is hard for us to comprehend. “They had all things in common” is not a socialist statement, it is a statement regarding their family mindset at that time. The “Church” concept did not really get a foothold in Christianity until the 4th century. The word “church” is a replacement word added to Bible translations and goes hand in glove with the institutionalization of Christianity.

One reason this is important is because families operate differently than institutions. In families, order and unity is achieved through what families are supposed to be about – love and respect. Thanksgiving dinner will go well this year because of family cooperation. Yes, there will be organization, but it will be based on many considerations other than authority. Mom and grandma will tell the men to stay out of the kitchen, and they will obey. When mom says its time to eat, everyone will come to the table. Everyone recognizes that the food part is mom’s gift. If some of the men tarry in front of the football game, aunt Beth will enter the room with a pair of scissors and threaten to cut the power cord on the big screen TV, and so it goes.

Much could be discussed here (this is a many-faceted dynamic), but the family concept circumvents cultism. Cults are predicated on authority—always. No authority, no cult; they must have authority. The integration of authority and religion always results in cultism. It starts with an authoritative presupposition resulting in a mind-control mandate. The institutional church was clearly founded on authority supposedly mandated by Christ through what we call apostolic succession. Immediately after the demise of the most prominent apostles, the so-called church fathers began clamoring for a centralized religious authority based in Rome. The home fellowships led by elders vigorously resisted this attempted transition. After a messy power struggle that lasted for more than 200 years, for the most part, home fellowships succumbed to the Roman church’s claim of apostolic succession and divine authority.

This was the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church from which Protestantism came, but the latter claimed no less authority whatsoever. The Reformation created many splinter groups that attempted to revive home fellowships, but were met with equal persecution from both Rome and Geneva. Catholics and Protestants never ceased fighting accept for the purpose of working together unofficially to persecute the various home fellowship movements that emerged. The Catholics nor Protestants had any tolerance for those who would not come under the auspices of their authority. And, if you think the vast majority of wars fought throughout history are the result of differences regarding religious authority—you rightly assess.

The claim of authority has always been, and always will be, twofold: God ordained governments to enforce religious orthodoxy, and the church’s oversight of salvation. One gets saved in the church, and through “faithfulness to the church,” the church, in turn, doles out more and more salvation until the day of judgment.

Let’s look at this in regard to meme #1. Where does God get “full custody” of his children? Look at the picture—it’s the church building. The implication follows: if you are a casual church attender, you only do business with God on the weekends or a mere one hour during Sunday service. The other implication is that you only do business with God at the temple. On the one hand, we are His “children,” but on the other hand, apparently, we only fellowship with Dad at an institution.

The idea is flawed, unnatural in regard to truly being born again into God’s family, but also has unfortunate cause and effect ramifications. If you go to a purpose-building twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday, and for whatever else is going on during the week (e.g., choir practice, visitation, revivals, men’s Bible study, women’s Bible study, youth activities, church softball league, etc., etc., etc.), when does one have any time with their own families? They don’t.

But the following is the kicker, especially in Reformed churches: on the one hand, families have little private time together, but on the other hand, they are spending what little free time they have hearing about how everyone in their family is a “sinner” or totally depraved. Then, when certain family members begin to display an aversion to the results of this construct, the church recommends separation or shunning. This is resulting in the division of families within the institutional church that is even unprecedented in the secular realm.

The institutional church is bad for your family and will destroy your marriage at worst, and will result in mere coexistence at best. Don’t sacrifice your family at the alter of showing faithfulness to God by being present at the purpose-building “every time the doors are opened.”

There should be NO disconnect between your family life and your life with God, that’s why the family of God should fellowship together right where we live, in the home.

paul

How to Sign Away Your Life to a Biblical Counselor

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

We have previously discussed how most “church covenants” in our day state that you must have permission from the elders to vacate membership, and that these so-called “covenants” are legally binding contracts that waive your rights to certain state laws. Hence, your salvation can be cancelled by the elders, and you can be publicly humiliated for “insubordination.” An example can be seen following:

Shawnee membership dismissal cropped

If you’re a person who doesn’t have many skeletons in your closet, they will leave the congregation to their own imaginations. But, if they have the goods on you, that will be announced. And, the primary way they obtain the goods on you is by obtaining your trust through discipleship and formal counseling. Though confidentiality is assumed, biblical counselors certified by ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) do not have to play by the same rules. Following is a video capture of an ACBC counselee data sheet. Basically, if you are a person with a lot of baggage and you fill this out, they own you.

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

%d bloggers like this: