Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why the Hope of Home Fellowship is Desperately Needed

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 28, 2015

ppt-jpeg4I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me; recent changes in my life have taught me things I need to know as I strive to see a vibrant network of home fellowships come to volition. This week, I was made aware of a vast reality that most of us do not think about often. I found myself in a situation with my new employment were I was subject to a person in the realm of psychosis. Though, in the final analysis, I have choices, in regard to some employees who had to deal with this guy, not so much, if at all. In the realm of unskilled labor in an employer’s market, if you don’t want to endure the hardship, someone is waiting in line to take your place, and the food that you put in the mouths of your children.

So, I endured working for a client with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder for about four days, and during that time I had the New Testament on my mind. During New Testament times, workers were literally and legally owned by people just like this. Quitting was not an option. If you quit, you were a fugitive—slaves had no rights in that culture. The only known culture where slaves had rights was in Judea during the Old Testament era. By the way, the Sabbath was part of that.

Evil desire is a most unfortunate human reality. The Bible states that sin starts with a desire, and when the desire is obeyed, sin results. Unfortunately, the desire to control others, torture others, and kill others falls into the realm of these desires. Be sure of this: in regard to organizations like ISIS, religion is an excuse to fulfill these types of evil desires. In my situation, I could only imagine what it is like when people like this have the right to flog you.

At some point this week, I exercised my right as a free man and clocked out; the Bible lesson was complete enough in my mind. And by the way, this guy is a member in good standing at a local institutional church. During my time there in his home, he was very inquisitive about my church life. He was incredulous that our home fellowship meetings do not have “praise and worship.”

Full stop…

…this is the difference between true home fellowship, NOT cell groups of an institutional church posing as home fellowship, and the institutional church: what I was doing for him IS our praise and worship. The problem is the placard over many double doors of the institutional church: “Enter to Worship, Leave to Serve.” The single biggest issue with the institutional church is exactly that—the dichotomy between service and worship. And it is also disingenuous if you understand the core ideology of church; it is only our job to worship, and “service” flows naturally from that in the form of manifestations not really performed by us lest we have a “righteousness of our own.” And trust me, this guy had no righteousness of his own. And of course, what church is complete without one or two such as this fellow accused of being a pedophile.

So, what does the institutional church have to offer for slaves? Well, if I was a member of his church, it was clear that I would have been brought up on church discipline, and that according to him. Should we laugh or cry? Neither, we should consider why the home fellowships of the first century turned the whole world upside down. I went with this guy to deliver something at the home of a church member, and of course, he was a totally different person. Church enables people to live double lives, and have their cake and eat it too. Salvation is by being a member in good standing, ie., the elders say your in. If I did go to this guy’s church, I suck it up, repent, and make it “right” or I lose my salvation because the guy tithes more than I do. This is just the way it works.

No, slaves don’t need more slavery, they need people who gather where they live under the authority of truth and not men. They need to gather where the banner over the door is love. In the first century, Christian slaves had hope. There was much need in that culture, and this is probably why Christians assembled every day of the week. In fact, every home probably had an evening meal at roughly the same time and was open for a gathering nightly. The gatherings would have been small, and focused on need. Though the general format was a meal, Lord’s Table, some sort of spiritual discussion around the word, and encouragement towards good works, the method is and was incredibly fluid and adaptive to any situation. Christians in the worst of situations found love, purpose, encouragement, wisdom, hope, and endurance. This is particularly relevant in our culture because people in bondage of all sorts can find encouragement in a system that God designed to meet individual need.

And the last thing we need in that system is what we find everywhere in the world and its evil desires:

more authority.

paul

What’s Really Behind “White Guilt”?

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

ppt-jpeg4While watching The O’Reilly Factor last night, I heard journalist Bernard Goldberg state, “There are no limits to white liberal guilt.” He also said that if you understand that sentence—you understand everything happening in our mainstream media culture right now.

If you watched Dinesh D’Souza’s America you know that slavery is far from being a black thing only, yet one gets the idea that slavery is synonymous with black victimization only. When we think, “slavery,” we think, “black.” This is not reality by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, “slave master” being synonymous with “white” is also a steroidal misnomer. In fact, to cite proof on this point is to state the obvious.

Yet, how and why have we arrived at this perception of reality? Contrary to the belief that the Bible is a mysterious book difficult to understand, the simplicity of its answers often escapes us. Often, biblical answers to seemingly complex social issues are shockingly simplistic, and this issue is no exception.

A particular problem mankind has dominates biblical subject matter: the need to control others. This need originates with sin. According to the Bible, sin is characterized by a desire to have mastery over others:

Genesis 4:6 – Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why are you looking down? 7 Will not your face be happy if you do well? If you do not do well, sin is waiting to destroy you. Its desire is to rule over you, but you must rule over it” (NLV).

Sin has a desire to rule over others. And note what it uses to destroy people and gain control over them: failure or not doing well (good). Sin gains control over others through condemnation. The major tactic for controlling others is the destruction of self-esteem. By self-esteem, I mean an honest assessment of one’s personhood; in other words, self-esteem is earned. A bank robber has no right to think well of himself. My grandmother, like many wise grandmothers, set the bar at doing one’s best in every endeavor.

Why do some people want to control others? It’s simply what sin does, and according to the Bible, it makes its appeal through “sinful desires.” Those desires are often lustful and selfish. The Bible also states that the fulfillment of sinful desires increases the intensity of the desires otherwise known as “addiction.”

In addition, according to the Bible, the following of these sinful desires leads to all kinds of temporary and eternal deaths. This isn’t very complicated; an example would be a desire to smoke cigarettes and the consequences following. This is why Christ died on a cross: to pay the penalty of sin defined as law-breaking and thereby ending condemnation. Without condemnation, sin is stripped of its power to enslave through condemnation:

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

1Corinthians 15: 56 – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

My wife Susan and I have opportunity to do counseling from time to time, and we see this concept on every level of human existence, especially marriage. Most bad marriages are the result of two people trying to control each other using condemnation. In almost every case, both spouses come to counseling with lengthy condemnation lists, but the Bible says “love does not keep a record of wrong.” In marriage counseling we often hear: “He/she will NEVER change!” Of course not, that’s the ammo one needs to beat the other spouse down in order to control them. Change is not acknowledged, and improvement is met with new accusations/faults that rain down condemnation for purposes of control.

This is why most formal religion is predicated on sin, especially Protestantism. The whole idea of the total depravity of man is a naked control ploy. But let us now apply the same principle to the politics of “white guilt,” and its kissing cousin, “white privilege.”

It’s the politics of control, and many think it got President Obama elected, and I think there is some merit to the charge. If you will notice, America is given little or no credit for its core ideals that overcame slavery. It’s little different from the spouse who will give no credit to the other spouse for change because that takes away one’s ability to control through condemnation. No matter what the other spouse does, it’s NEVER good enough. Why? Because control and domination is the goal—not love. Likewise, you can always tell what the agenda of an administration is when the House or the Senate cannot agree on anything. Partisan politics equals us against them and the artillery is condemnation.

The effectiveness of this strategy is at times astounding. Many will compromise and alter their good behavior to avoid being condemned or slandered. Has there been anyone who has employed this tactic more than Hillary Clinton? Her incessant drumbeat in regard to the “war on women” and her recent comparison of Republicans to terrorists and Nazis belongs in this category of control tactics.

White guilt is indicative of sin’s successful work. It’s a misrepresentation of true character in order to condemn and control. Obama’s apology tour was designed to break the will of the American public accordingly. It’s literally the oldest trick in the book that started with the serpent convincing Eve that she lacked understanding. She bought into a false assessment of her ability and how she esteemed herself.

And America would be ill-advised to follow her example.

paul

Predestination and Fatalism: “How Much?” is the Question that Only Leaves Two Choices

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 26, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Originally published May 30, 2014

“This speaks to conditional and unconditional promises by God, cause and effect, and hope. What is at stake is our very understanding of reality itself.”

“What am I saying? A am saying that predeterminism is not a paradox in and of itself, I am suggesting that we consider the idea in our study that predeterminism is a slippery slope to making all of life a paradox. In other words, it makes objective truth unknowable.”        

This is part 6 of our series on predestination. We are in the process of evaluating predestination from the viewpoint of love, promises, judgment, cause and effect, hope, commandments, obedience, fear, foreknowledge, freewill, choice, ability, total depravity, evangelism, the gospel, Bible doctrine, paradox, and salvation. In most cases, determinism creates a strained understanding of what some of these words mean to us in real life.

For instance, if God loves the world and man does not have the ability to choose, why does God choose some and not others? He is impartial, no? Why will God judge those who never had a chance to escape judgment? Would God really command us to do things that He knows we are not able to do? How is God’s love really defined? Paradox is a reality, but to what extent do we except paradox as a replacement for the common understanding of life concepts and the words that describe them? Are the simple concepts of commands, love, and choice really a paradox in spiritual matters but necessarily taken literally in the milieu of life? Does whosoever will really mean whosoever has been chosen? And if it does, why doesn’t God simply state that accordingly?

In part one, we established an important starting point: the doctrine of predestination has always been primarily framed and assimilated by Reformed theologians. That’s a problem because they had/have the gospel wrong. This is a matter of simple theological math; they were on the wrong side of the law and gospel. Therefore, the doctrine must be reexamined.

In part 2, we examined God’s will in regard to the lost and the relationship of evangelism and paradox. Evangelism is another word that becomes paradoxical in light of predestination. Obedience is a paradox, love is a paradox, judgment is a paradox, and evangelism as well because the legitimacy of the offer of salvation is called into question. Whosoever will becomes whosoever has been elected. If election is a paradox, all of the concepts connected to it are paradoxical as well.

In part 2, we established that God does not desire that any person perish. He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Which brings up another paradox: does God plead and exhort man to be saved while knowing that he is unable to respond? When God states, “come, let us reason together,” is he saying that while knowing that man is unable to reason?

At any rate, we concluded in part 2 that God does not desire the death of the wicked—He desires that all would be saved.

In part 3, we established that predestination was not unique with the Reformers. In fact, determinism is an ancient concept that has dominated human history. We also examined the historical bad fruit produced by its ideology, and biblical contradictions as well.

In part 4, we looked at the means by which God seeks man. Man is created with intuitive knowledge of God, man begins life in the book of life and must be blotted out if he/she perishes, and Christ died for all men, not just the elect. Though not in the study, the fact that all sins are imputed to the Old Covenant, and belief in Christ eradicates the Old Covenant and all of the sin imputed to it, it implies a readiness and desire of God to vanquish one’s sin. The imputation of all sin to a covenant is sort of the opposite of starting life in the Book of Life; God wants to keep you in the one book and get rid of the other one.

Moreover, God sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and the judgment to come while the works of God’s law are already written on the heart of every person. On the one hand, God has set up a gargantuan infrastructural reality to facilitate the salvation of man, but in all of this, who enters in is ultimately predetermined by Him. Why all the drama? Why all of the paradox? Why all of the confusion? Yet, another paradox that could be added is the Holy Spirit’s warning in regard to judgment along with all of God’s prophets; why offer this incentive to escape judgment to those who are unable to respond? This speaks to conditional and unconditional promises by God, cause and effect, and hope. What is at stake is our very understanding of reality itself.

In part 5, we begin to answer the question, “How much?” Let’s say that man is unable to choose God initially, but what about post new birth? Is man then able to make choices? Curiously, the Reformers say, “no.” We looked at the Reformed redemptive-historical hermeneutic that interprets all reality as a gospel metaphysical narrative. We simply put ourselves in the narrative by believing everything in life points to a truth about Christ and is predetermined. We called this plenary determinism. Also, while discussing this, we introduced the possibility that certain things are predetermined by God, while other things are not. We used the following chart to illustrate this:

Election Final Draft

Granted, we want some things to be predetermined by God. We want a happy ending. We want justice. We want the good guys to win. We want everyone to live happily ever after. In times of danger, we want our fears tempered by knowing that God is control. In the book of Revelation, for certain, the opening of the six seals will make it seem like the earth is in complete chaos and spinning out of control, but the fact will be that God is in control of every bit of that. Will that temper the fear of those who know that at the time? Sure it will.

But is everything predetermined? Does man have any role in reality at all? The main source for predestination doctrine has always been the Reformers, at least in Western culture, and they disavow choice in both the saved and unsaved state. Consequently, from an eschatological view, there is only one judgment in which both believers and unbelievers stand in to determine one’s eternal fate. Opposing eschatological views posit a separate judgment for believers and unbelievers, one for reward (believers), and one that condemns (unbelievers).

Obviously, the idea of reward strongly suggests that the reward is for something earned by making a right choice. In Reformed circles, rewards spoken of in the Bible are attributed to salvation (the reward[s] is salvation), but now we have yet another paradox because it is not really a reward that we get for something that we did! What am I saying? I am saying that predeterminism is not a paradox in and of itself, I am suggesting that we consider the idea in our study that predeterminism is a slippery slope to making all of life a paradox. In other words, it makes objective truth unknowable.

However, the Reformers state that truth can be known, and that there is no paradox at all: Man and history were created to glorify God. Everything that happens is predetermined by God (cause), and everything that happens is for God’s glory, and in fact, does glorify Him (effect). Hence, man has no ability to choose in being the cause for anything that happens. Judgment reflects God’s glory alone in simply revealing what God has preordained via good or evil. If this is not true, then how much choice does man have? That must be determined. If true, then how much choice does man not have? This must be determined as well.

At the T4G 2008 conference, John MacArthur stated the following:

The sum is that man is evil and selfish, unwilling and unable because he is dead. He loves his sin. He loves the darkness. He thrives on selfish lust. He’s happy to make a god of his own, manufacturing and convinced himself that he is good enough to satisfy that god. He may see his sin in his sin, but he does not see his sin in his goodness, and he does not see his sin in his religion, and it is his sin in his goodness that is most despicable for there is the deception and it is his sin in his religion that is most blasphemous because there it is that he worships a false god…

The contemporary idea today is that there’s some residual good left in the sinner. As this progression came from Pelagianism to Semipelagianism and then came down to sort of contemporary Arminianism and maybe got defined a little more carefully by Wesley who was a sort of a messed up Calvinist because Wesley wanted to give all the glory to God, as you well know, but he wanted to find in men some place where men could initiate salvation on his own will. That system has literally taken over and been the dominant system in evangelical Christianity. It is behind most revivalism. It is behind most evangelism. That there’s something in the sinner that can respond.

Notice how MacArthur combines ability with goodness. Ability is made to be a moral issue. Why does an ability to choose something, or make a wise choice, or desire to have something that is rooted in anthropology, have to be an issue of inherent goodness? If unregenerate man can make wise choices, or at least correct choices, and certainly he can, why couldn’t one of those wise choices be that of salvation? Yes, certainly the Bible teaches that man’s inclination is away from God, but once God seeks him out and confronts him, does he have the ability to be persuaded? Why is man able to choose to stop at a red light (cause) to prevent an accident (effect), but unable to choose God?

Throughout the same message, MacArthur asserts the following like points:

Wesley wanted to give all the glory to God, as you well know, but he wanted to find in men some place where men could initiate salvation on his own will.

Here, MacArthur makes an ability to choose equal with initiating the means of salvation and initially seeking God. Our previous lessons assert that man doesn’t initially seek God, but once God seeks him by various means, man has the ability to choose. Man has many abilities that are morally neutral, even in his weakness, why can’t the ability to choose be one of them when he/she is aided by God and convicted by the Holy Spirit? In Scripture, we have instances of men being nearly persuaded (Mark 12;34, Acts 26:25-32); what are we to surmise from this, that man has the ability to be partially persuaded, but not the ability to be fully persuaded? James suggested that some men can believe in God, but fall short of believing in a saving way (2:19). This means man has an ability to believe in God intellectually, but is unable to understand saving truth about God and make his own choice? Why would man then have the ability to believe in God at all?

According to MacArthur,

A new wave followed as people struggled to hang on to human freedom which said that Adam’s sin had “in some measure” affected and disabled all men, but sinners were left with just enough freedom of the will to make the first move of faith toward God. And then God’s grace kicked in. But sinners made the first move, and that’s what became known as semi-Pelagianism. Some would call it prevenient grace. There’s a component of grace in all human beings that gives them in the freedom of their own will the ability to initiate salvation. The idea is that depravity is real, but it is not total. Saving grace from God then becomes a divine response rather than the efficient cause of our salvation. This view is denounced, as you know, by several councils starting around 529.

How does an ability to choose equal the initiation of salvation? How does an ability to choose, or the freedom of the will to choose equal us making the first move? We by no means made the first move! Clearly, God made the first move by supplying the means of salvation, and the second move by calling all men unto salvation. After this, how does our abilty to choose constitute the “first move”? It’s not the first move, it’s a response to God’s love. And in regard to the point of our first lesson, throughout his message, MacArthur validates his points by citing St. Augustine; that is very problematic in and of itself. MacArthur then moves on in the same message to make the new birth synonymous with our ability to choose. If we have an ability to be persuaded, that is supposedly like giving birth to ourselves:

When the Bible speaks about the condition of the sinner, with what words does it speak? Well, when the Bible speaks of the sinner’s condition, it is usually in the language of death, sometimes darkness, sometimes blindness, hardness, slavery, incurable sickness, alienation, and the Bible is clear that this is a condition that affects the body, the mind, the emotion, the desire, the motive, the will, the behavior. And it is a condition that is so powerful no sinner unaided by God can ever overcome it… John 3, you are very familiar with it, Nicodemus, and no one is going to be able to see the kingdom of God unless he’s born again, Jesus said in verse 3, very interesting. Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” He is not stupid. He’s a teacher in Israel. He’s speaking metaphorically. He’s picking up on Jesus’ born again metaphor and asking the question, how does that happen? How does it happen? You can’t do it on your own. You can’t birth yourself. That’s his point. He gets it. He understands that man has no capability to bring birth to himself. Jesus follows up by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit,”

First, MacArthur’s concession, perhaps unwittingly, that “it is a condition that is so powerful no sinner unaided by God can ever overcome it” is exactly what we are saying, and not by any means that man can choose God solo. God supplies the means of salvation and seeks after man with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the word of God. But in the end, man is able to neglect this great salvation, and to his own eternal detriment. Also, the new birth is part of the means of salvation totally out of man’s control; the new birth is a promise to those who believe, and obviously not man giving birth to himself.

When you start thinking about these things apart from Reformed orthodoxy, some observations become interesting. MacArthur used the following proof texts to make one of his points:

But let me just work you through John for a minute, John 1:12-13. “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God even to those who believed in his name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of men, but of God.” That is unmistakable. Unmistakable. Salvation being the work of God.

First, notice that man’s role is simply to receive, and then man is “given” the “right” to become the children of God. Then MacArthur bemoans the following:

It is behind most revivalism. It is behind most evangelism. That there’s something in the sinner that can respond. And this is sort of like the right in a free country. You have to have this right. This wouldn’t be fair if God didn’t give the sinner the right to make his own decision so that the sinner unaided by the Holy Spirit must make the first move. That’s essentially Arminian theology. The sinner unaided must make the first move. And God then will respond when the sinner makes the first move.

This is exactly what the proof text that MacArthur stated says, that those who receive Christ do in fact have the “right” to become part of God’s kingdom. Also, in stating his Reformed logic in another way, he suggested that hearing the gospel message and receiving it was the same thing as preaching ourselves:

What can remedy that? We do not preach ourselves, verse 5, we preach Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. We preach the gospel of Christ as lord and ourselves as slaves. And what happens? Verse 6, God who said light shall shine out of darkness, that’s taking you back to creation, God who created, who spoke light into existence is the one who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Aside from the fact that having the ability to be persuaded is not preaching ourselves rather than Christ, note that MacArthur equates creation with the gospel which insinuates that the fall was built into creation itself. This is part and parcel with the supralapsarianism that we discussed in previous lessons.

But the thrust of this lesson centers on the “how much” when it comes to any role at all for man in salvation and the logical end of it, and in the final analysis how God’s love is defined. This is a sobering consideration. In both the 2013 Shepherds’ Conference and T4G 2008, MacArthur presents the idea that John 3, regarding the new birth, is something that is done to the individual without any participation on the part of the believer. The clear message in both cases was that any decision or belief on the part of the believer was excluded also. It was very much like the following rendition of the same text:

When we consider the great teachings of Scripture, they are not there just to give us information and they are not to teach us what we can do in our own strength. In Musings 34 (http://www.godloveshimself.org/?p=2018) we looked at how believing that the doctrine of justification is true is not the same thing as being justified. The new birth was also mentioned at the end. In the passage above (John 3:3-5) Jesus speaks pointedly and with power in a way that reflects on the issue being mused on here. Jesus did not tell Nicodemus that he must know the truth about the new birth in order to enter the kingdom. Jesus also did not tell Nicodemus that he must believe the truth about the new birth in order to enter the kingdom. Instead of that, Jesus told Nicodemus that he must actually be born again in order to enter the kingdom. There is a huge difference between believing what is true and what is true actually happening to you.

If we take this as a picture or even as an example of the teachings of Scripture, we can view what it means to believe something with different eyes or with a different perspective. Neither Jesus or Paul declared that a person must believe the facts about justification in order to be justified, but simply that a person must be justified (God Loves Himself .wordpress .com: Musing 35; February 10, 2014).

So, if reality is a prewritten metaphysical narrative for the sole purpose of glorifying God in all that happens in the narrative, it only stands to reason that God is motivated by self-glorification and self-love as the highest purpose for all that he does:

Perhaps this concept that Edwards gives just above cannot be stated too strongly or emphasized too much since all true Christianity depends on the truth of it. If God is not centered upon Himself and He does not do all for His own glory, then God Himself is not holy and acts against the perfection of His own nature, wisdom, holiness, and perfect rectitude. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not keep the same standard that He commands all others to do. If God does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself, then the both the great Commandments and the Ten Commandments are not a transcript of the character of God. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do what He requires of others in the first three petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do all in His own name as He requires others to do so. If God Himself does not love Himself and do all He does out of love for Himself (as triune), then He does not do all for His own glory which He requires others to do (God Loves Himself .wordpress .com: Edwards on the God Centeredness of God; 11 December 7, 2013).

Add yet another paradox in regard to love. God didn’t send His Son to the cross because he loves mankind, he sent His Son to the cross because He loves Himself. The list of commonly understood words in a grammatical reality that have been redefined by the doctrine of determinism is now very lengthy. Why indeed did God even bother to write the Bible in a grammatical format? No wonder that Rick Holland, a former associate of John MacArthur has stated that good grammar makes bad theology. No kidding? Add yet another paradox: the idea that God is not a God of confusion. Of course, the Reformed would say that there is no confusion at all—ALL things are predetermined for God’s glory and completely out of our control—end of story.

Let’s pad this point a little more with some quotes from John Piper:

I would like to try to persuade you that the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself forever. Or to put it another way: the chief end of God is to enjoy glorifying himself.

The reason this may sound strange is that we tend to be more familiar with our duties than with God’s designs. We know why we exist – to glorify God and enjoy him forever. But why does God exist? What should he love with all his heart and soul and mind and strength? Whom should he worship? Or will we deny him that highest of pleasures? It matters a lot what God’s ultimate allegiance is to! (Desiring God .org: Is God for Us or for Himself?; October 23, 1984).

Actually, the Bible states that the chief end of man is to obey God, and that God takes more pleasure in obedience than sacrifice (Ecc 12:13,14 1Sam 15:22). I am not sure that the Bible ever states any “chief end” of God. Really? God’s life has a primary purpose that we can understand? And its narcissism?

Though there seems to be many Scriptures that bolster determinism, it requires the redefining of many commonly understood word meanings, and inevitably leads to an unavoidable illogical outcome. If the doctrine of predetermination in and of itself was the only paradox, that would be different, but the problem we see here is that it makes all of reality a paradox unless you accept the mythological Reformed metaphysical narrative.

Redefinitions

Calvinism’s Parasitic Deception: How the Puritans Hijacked the Great Awakening

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on October 15, 2014

TTANC Vol 2Originally published October 30, 2013

The writing of The Truth About New Calvinism—Volume 2 is in full throttle. From time to time, I would like to share some things that I am stumbling upon as I define my research of the past three years.

Many thanks to those who have helped me define the direction of volumes two and three. Volume 2 is guaranteed to be understandable. This is the unveiling of Calvinism’s fundamental detriment to Christianity and humanity in general. It doesn’t matter whether you understand the doctrine or not; volume 2 will trace and define the logic that formed the doctrine. From there, the assumption that the ideology is dressed up in Bible verses to look, sound, and feel biblical is a correct one. Volume 2 is for the layman, volume 3 will be an in-depth theological evaluation for those who want it. Once the ideology that formed the doctrine is understood in volume 2, volume 3 may be easier to understand.

If it can be confirmed that the Reformers used the Bible to sell an ideology, and it can, and they did, what they came up with is fairly irrelevant. Not only that, volume 2 will examine the fruits of the doctrine which is also telling. In order to sell the ideology, the Reformers proffered a theological treatise from the Bible. Volume 3 will demonstrate why that doesn’t even hold water.

One character trait of New Calvinism is to exploit the overall lack of education concerning its history, ideology, doctrine, and character. New Calvinism, the authentic Reformed article, is looking for a result based on covert assimilation. The result that is sought is CONTROL. This control is sought through justification by faith alone which is a doctrine that is literally justification alone because it eliminates sanctification. Stated in layman’s terms: it emphasizes the work of God while deemphasizing anything the Christian does in salvation or post-salvation. This is done by out of sight, out of mind. If you only teach justification (salvation) to the exclusion of sanctification (the Christian life), the masses will eventually live according to the Reformed version of justification alone. The Reformers were masters at redefining the terms and teaching sanctification in a justification way.

This leads to the Reformed practice of infiltrating religious movements throughout history as a stowaway and then taking over the movement. The prime example is the Great Awakening (1730s – 1790s). The Great Awakening was a pushback against Reformed ideology, not the result of it. The Pilgrims created the need for the Great Awakening. The Pilgrims, a soft idiom for “Calvinistic Puritan political refugees,” brought European tyrannical polity with them. The motif that the Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom is patently false—they came to establish their own vision of a church state. To this point:

Throughout the colonial period, and even in the early years of the independent United States, most colonies or states had established churches—churches legally recognized as the official state church. Different colonies privileged different Christian sects, for example, Congregationalism (the descendent of Puritanism) was the official state church for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire; and Anglicanism was the established faith in most colonies, including Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. Along with official recognition came special privileges, like financial support from public taxation. Before the Great Awakening, colonial Americans harbored no expectation that there should be any separation between church and state.[1]

In reality, there are NO religious movements that could be considered legitimate revivals post apostolic church until the Great Awakening which was ignited by the Age of Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was predicated on the ideas of all men being created equal by God, and mankind’s ability to solve problems through reason. This resonated with colonials and slaves alike that were under European tyranny:

Joseph Tracy, the minister, historian, and preacher who gave this religious phenomenon its name in his influential 1842 book The Great Awakening, saw the First Great Awakening as a precursor to the American Revolution. The evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic thought, as well as the belief of the free press and the belief that information should be shared and completely unbiased and uncontrolled. [2]

Enlightenment ideas were completely contrary to Reformed thought as exemplified by the Westminster Confession.[3] Most of the Westminster Divines were Puritans. Colonial Puritans believed in slavery according to their extreme European caste mentality, and executed doctrinal detractors. Contra Enlightenment ideas that ignited the Great Awakening can be seen in the present-day New Calvinist movement; for instance, an article written by New Calvinist James MacDonald bearing the title, “Congregational Government is From Satan.”

Nevertheless, Reformed hacks like Jonathan Edwards infiltrated the Great Awakening, and to a large extent hijacked it. The Great Awakening was a revolt against the organized institutional church state, and was a gargantuan human mass of people searching out new ideas. Hence, the thousands who showed up to hear Reformed teachers during that time were not necessarily enthralled by the supposed gatekeepers of the Awakening, but were flocking to hear anyone who had an idea. Edwards et al proceeded to connect the movement to the Reformers of old who were the ones directly responsible for the tyranny that the colonials were experiencing in the first place.

Moreover, the colonial Puritans wasted no time in trying to infiltrate the American Revolution, its founding declarations, and constitution. James Madison fought the infiltration tooth and nail with his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.

Unfortunately, the colonial Puritans did succeed in identifying Reformation thought with the Great Awakening. The many denominations and groups that were created by the Awakening usually, and unwittingly, identified themselves as Protestants. As a result, the primary Reformed institutions of learning[4]  were built with money from the children of the Great Awakening who were really the product of Benjamin Franklin’s contra ideology.  Incredibly, and undoubtedly the zenith of historical misrepresentation, those of Reformed thought who hijacked the Great Awakening have been credited with the Abolitionist movement. The Abolitionist movement was nothing more or less than an Enlightenment idea, while the Puritans were the first to bring slaves to the shores of America (ironically, slaves brought many cultic beliefs with them that in part incited the Salem witch trials).[5] The Enlightenment era was directly responsible for the massive conversion of slaves to Christianity shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The ideas of freedom and reason ignited colonial revivalism, not the contra idealism of the Reformation. Franklin was an abolitionist while he was governor of Pennsylvania, and the epicenter of revivalism among the slave population was Philadelphia.

This form of parasitic deception and covert assimilation is a Reformed hallmark. Those of Reformed idealism, historically, do not build anything. The Pilgrims were utterly inept in fending for themselves in the new world. They latch on to what is alive and feed off of it. Their very institution is a historical Ponzi scheme. A contemporary example is the home church movement in America. Because of the fundamentals that came out of the Great Awakening, the American church remained fundamentally Reformed in its overemphasis on justification because sanctification infers human ability. Therefore, per the usual outcome, a mass exodus from the institutional church began in circa 2000. This resulted in the home church movement. According to the Reformed mode of operation, New Calvinism hijacked that movement as well, primarily for self-preservation. This is the motivation for flock groups and “churches” like Apex. However, they are not purely home churches, and are connected to a central institution in order to maintain control.

A proper understanding of church history is the key. Until then, Reformation thought will continue to suck the life blood out of anything that lives in Western church culture.

Endnotes

1. Shmoop Editorial Team. “Religion in The American Revolution” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.

2. Wikipedia.org: Great Awakening.

3. Paul Dohse: Inseparable: The Reformation’s Principles of Persecution and its Gospel; Paul’s Passing Thoughts .com, August 31, 2013.

4. Columbia University (King’s College, 1754, Anglican), Brown University (Rhode Island College, 1764, Baptist), Rutgers (Queens College, 1766, Dutch Reformed), and Dartmouth College (1769, Congregationalist).

5. 1619: Slavery begins in the colonies, as twenty Africans are brought by a Dutch ship to Jamestown for sale as indentured servants. 1664: Maryland makes lifelong servitude for black slaves legally mandatory. Similar laws are later passed in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and Virginia. 1667: The Virginia House of Burgesses passes a law that binds blacks to servitude, even if they convert to Christianity.

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