Paul's Passing Thoughts

ACCC Typical of Protestants Who Don’t Know What Protestantism Is, But New Calvinists Do Know What a Protestant Is; Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 6, 2016

tanc-vol-1The American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC) confirmed a resolution on New Calvinism at its 75th Annual Convention October 18-20, 2016. The resolution was articulated by Pastor Dan Greenfield and posted here. Part one of this evaluation can be read here. What is our primary thesis? New Calvinism is a return to authentic Protestantism and is causing controversy among evangelicals because Protestants are more confused than any other religionists in the world. Greenfield’s post is low hanging fruit in regard to the issues at hand, so let’s get started. Greenfield begins his post this way:

“In September 2006, Collin Hansen reported for Christianity Today on a new religious movement of professed Christians who took a renewed interest in Reformed theology. At that time, Hansen called the movement ‘Young, Restless, Reformed’ (YRR), but later he termed it ‘New Calvinism’ and claimed that it was a ‘revival’ of biblical Christianity. By 2009, Time Magazine declared New Calvinism to be one of the ’10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now,’ and since then, the movement’s popularity has increased. All of this success seemed to validate Hansen’s claim of another spiritual awakening.”

It’s interesting to note that TANC Ministries was the first to document the true contemporary history of New Calvinism in “The Truth About New Calvinism” (TANC Publishing 2011). At first, we were the go-to source for information on the movement until further research revealed that New Calvinism is, in fact, a return to the real deal. Protestantism had indeed lost touch with its true gospel because of the integration of Americanism. Few want to hear that message and our research is now avoided like a plague accordingly.

The integration of Americanism created a contradiction between how Protestants function and their intellectual testimony. This is why New Calvinism has all but taken over the church completely in a short span of time: the church has always been functioning New Calvinism; the movement is merely recalibrating the church and syncing its function with the intellectual confession. This was somewhat explained in part 1.

But this is what evangelicals do to cover for the embarrassment of getting it wrong for over 200 years: they compartmentalize the Protestant religion into so-called “secondary issues.” You know, the whole, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity” thing. Some nomenclatures are, “Reformed,” “evangelical,” “Calvinism,” 1-5 types of Calvinism, “Neo-Puritanism” which couldn’t be a bad thing because it has the word “Puritan” in it, etc., etc., etc.

Let’s get something straight: “Reformed” is, you know, the “Reformation” which produced “Protestantism” which was fathered by Luther and Calvin who fathered the Puritans who came to America and started a European church-state which incited the American Revolution resulting in Protestant Puritanism being integrated with Americanism which fathered the Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Pentecostals, etc., etc., etc., but it is all the same stuff when it gets right down to it. Ok, so, the Baptists disagreed with Luther and Calvin’s position on baptismal regeneration; so what? They kept the same progressive justification. So, the Congregationalists disagreed with the Puritan/Calvinist form of church government; so what? They also kept the same progressive justification gospel.

What is really going on is total confusion because Protestants have little grasp of what Protestantism really teaches. Also, Protestant history taught in Christian schools and in homeschool curriculum is rank propaganda that would even make the Chicoms blush.

So here we go with the whole well-traveled Collin Hansen historical focal point. Am I saying that Collin Hansen has supplied historical cover for Protestantism? That’s exactly what I am saying. Supposedly, New Calvinism is a contemporary movement and its father is John Piper. And gee whiz, Piper has true Reformed theology all wrong. Not so. John Piper has Reformed theology exactly right. And trust me, I say this regardless of the fact that I don’t like him at all.

In contrast, the real father of the movement is a Seventh-day Adventist theologian named Robert Brinsmead. He started a Reformed think tank dubbed The Australian Forum which was launched in 1970 and came out of the Progressive Adventist movement (which was based on Luther’s soteriology). His rediscovery of Protestantism’s progressive justification and Luther’s “alien righteousness” turned Adventism completely upside down.

The fact is, the Forum was invited to the hallowed halls of Westminster Seminary in the latter 70’s to inform the who’s who of Reformed theology about what Protestantism really is. They listened, and the rest is contemporary church history. And be sure of this: the Reformed movers and shakers are aware of this scandalous cover-up in the name of Collin Hansen’s rewriting of contemporary church history.

And why are they covering it up? Because it totally blows up “historical precedent.” Historical precedent? More than 500 years after the fact the Protestant brain trust didn’t even know what Protestantism is; an Adventist had to re-educate them. Ouch. Right, the “Scandalous Gospel” indeed.

In his article, and typical of the ongoing propaganda, Greenfield bemoans New Calvinism’s penchant for integrating popular culture with Reformed tradition. He cites the go-to guy for this, Peter Masters who pastors the famous London Metropolitan Tabernacle formally pastored by the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon. Ironically, Masters doesn’t have a clue in regard to what Spurgeon really believed, but John Piper certainly does.

What’s wrong with syncing present culture with original “truth”? Nothing in my book. Greenfield cites two of the most prominent issues Protestants have with Protestants who really know what Protestantism is. Like Masters, Greenfield bemoans…

It is known for being culturally progressive and flaunts itself as such. In its worship, preaching, and evangelism, New Calvinism embraces popular culture, a man-made system of customs which is incapable of bearing the weight and gravity of the Gospel. TGC authors, in particular, blog about “redemptive” elements they supposedly have found within Hollywood films, and YRR evangelists in the vein of Tim Keller (TGC cofounder) integrate pop culture in their community outreaches, hoping to gain a better hearing from their unregenerate audiences. YRR leaders also endorse “worship music” composed by modern, pop-rock hymnists and “holy hip-hoppers” / “Reformed rappers.”

This exposes Greenfield’s (and Masters’) omni-typical misunderstanding of authentic Reformed historical-redemptive hermeneutics (HRH). Most Protestants like Greenfield and Masters believe this to be an interpretive method for Bible reading and is used alongside the historical-grammatical method (HGH) with the HRH being like, you know, stuff about the gospel. Not so. According to authentic Protestant orthodoxy, HRH was demanded in interpreting reality itself. Original Protestant orthodoxy demands that ALL of reality be interpreted through redemption in the form of a metaphysical narrative written by God. And, all HGH interpretations must come to a redemptive conclusion. Of course, this goes hand in hand with predestination. All of reality is a pre-written story or narrative written by God. This is the interpretation of reality seen as a narrative written by “the force,” “the universe,” “gods,” or in this case, God Himself.

So, why not use popular culture to reach the culture? After all, whatever culture is doing was written into the script by God and is a picture of redemption to begin with. If one truly understands what it is to be Reformed, this makes perfect sense.

Secondly, Greenfield and Masters bemoan the New Calvinist hobnobbing with Catholics. Good grief; this also displays an egregious misunderstanding of church history. Neither Luther nor Calvin ever left the Catholic Church. Note, “Reformation.” They sought to reform the Church, but never left it. Note, “Protestantism.” They protested what was going on in the Church, but they never left it. Note: and this is NOT even ambiguous church history; both Protestants and Catholics claim Saint Augustine as their Doctor of Grace. You can’t even make this stuff up; Protestant pastors will rebuke Catholicism as a false gospel and also cite Augustine regarding orthodoxy in the same sermon. A child can even see the blatant contradictions. Sometimes I think the only difference between church and asylums is social etiquette.

What was the real issue that sparked the Protestant Reformation? Augustine, the undisputed Doctor of Grace for the Catholic Church was an avowed Neo-Platonist. Again, this is not ambiguous church history. The institutional church was founded on Neo-Platonism and its orthodoxy is the integration of Scripture and Platonism. Luther and Calvin were rabid followers of Augustine. In the 13th century Catholicism began to embrace the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas who integrated Aristotle’s philosophy with Scripture (Thomism). By the 16th century the tension between the two schools of theology within the Catholic Church escalated into the Protestant Reformation. The whole Protestant folklore concerning the Five Solas ect. is egregiously disingenuous on every level.

In reality, authentic Protestantism only has a problem with half of the Catholic Church; the Thomism part, and far less with its Platonist/Augustinian roots. This is what’s behind New Calvinism’s acceptance of Catholicism.

Now, in addressing Greenfield’s objection to the cultural and Catholic issues we skipped an in-between paragraph concerning “Neo-Kuyperian postmillennialism, an eschatological position which claims that God has given His Church an institutional social mandate to redeem culture and promote social justice to help usher in the kingdom.”

We will address that in the next part.

paul

ACCC Typical of Protestants Who Don’t Know What Protestantism Is, But New Calvinists Do Know What a Protestant Is; Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 4, 2016

ppt-jpeg42People who know me, and happen to want to see an article posted on the TANC ministry blog only need to send me an article written by a Protestant bemoaning New Calvinism. That will do it every time. Look folks, even suicide bombers know what they believe and why they do what they do. Nothing is more uncommendable than claiming to be something and not knowing what it is.

We are greatly indebted to New Calvinism. First, its ill behavior brought attention to its claims, and proper research reveals that its claims are absolutely true. No, no, no, I do not hate New Calvinism because if not for this movement, I would still be a Protestant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s troubling that Protestants believe a false gospel; yet, they have the dubious distinction of being wrong about what they are wrong about. Few religions fit this category. Nevertheless, what New Calvinism reveals offers a grand opportunity for real revival.

The article is written by a Dan Greenfield:

“I am an undeserving sinner saved by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, a happy husband, proud father of 6 great kids, pastor of Orwell Bible Church, Executive Secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, and member of the Ohio Bible Fellowship.”

The article is in conjunction with an edict by the ACCC denouncing New Calvinism. Right here, out of the gate, let’s take Dan’s bio and demonstrate his authentic Protestant false gospel which is also New Calvinism. Right, while denouncing New Calvinism, Dan is a New Calvinist which is also authentic Protestantism. Um, excuse me, different preferences for music and worship style doesn’t change that. This is soooooo typical of Protestants; while believing the same gospel that you believe, you are a heretic because you watch R rated movies, listen to Pink Floyd, and don’t wear a jean skirt down to your ankles.

Let’s now take Dan’s bio and demonstrate his New Calvinism that he is denouncing which is also authentic Protestantism. Dan says, “I am an undeserving sinner.” That is present tense. Ok, so, what is the biblical definition of a “sinner” in the B-I-B-L-E? Right, an unregenerate person. Dan is an unregenerate saved person. Yep, that’s orthodoxy plain and simple. We hear it all the time: “Justification is a legal declaration.” Hence, you are ONLY declared righteous while yet a “sinner.”

Let’s continue. So if Dan is still a sinner presently “saved by grace” does this mean Dan continues to need grace because he is still a sinner? Sure it does. And we hear that all the time. But hold on. What kind of grace is being spoken of here? Answer: “saved by.” So, does this mean that Dan, still a sinner who sins, and saved by grace, needs ongoing salvation for present sin? Sure it does. But would Dan also attest to once saved always saved? Probably. Is progressive salvation stated in the Protestant confessions and creeds that he claims to defend against New Calvinism? Absolutely. How can this be? Answer: because Dan, like all Protestants, is very confused.

If grace saved you because you were a sinner, and you are still a sinner, do you still need the same saving grace? Does 2+2=4? But we still sin don’t we? That won’t be answered in this first part, but it does bring up another question. If we still sin, that would be a violation of the law, right? So, is that justification “apart from the law?” No. But doesn’t the B-I-B-L-E say that we are justified apart from the law? Yes. But if Christians are not still under law (another biblical definition of a lost person) does that make us antinomians? No. We will get to all of this, but am I saying that Protestant orthodoxy defines its followers according to a biblical definition of the lost? Absolutely. And I am sure you would agree; that’s a really bad idea. Protestantism defines “under grace” as “under law” because it is a false gospel and classic justification by works. If you need ongoing grace FOR SALVATION, what do you have to do to keep the grace flowing?

Lastly, for now, and like Peter Masters, Dan disavows John Piper’s Christian Hedonism while attesting to it. Dan states that he is a sinner, and is happy about it. That’s Christian Hedonism which is based on the Protestant doctrine of Mortification and Vivification. Christian Hedonism is merely a valid twist on the Protestant doctrine of Mortification and Vivification. Praise music, non-cessationism, and joy as a confirmation of re-salvation are merely the logical outcomes of Mortification and Vivification as stated by orthodoxy.

The rest of the article written by Pastor Dan is conveniently arranged for point by point rebuttal. It is a litany of historical error and factual contradiction. That is what will be addressed moving forward.

paul

Identity

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 5, 2015

TANC M2TANC Ministries is presently working on a book project leading up to our 2016 conference in August. I guess my name will be on the book as the author, but the book is really a group project. Maybe the author should be “TANC Ministries.”

Why this project? I will cite some excerpts from the project objective:

“Those who are disillusioned with Christianity, but haven’t given up on God and are looking for answers, often ask, ‘Where do I start?’ Such people who come to PPT, and are overwhelmed by the mass of information often ask, ‘Where is the best place to start?’ Andy Young recently remarked about the multiple layers of misinformation and the question of where this ministry should start with people on our end of the question…The target audience are those looking for real and truthful answers amongst the confusion; they are those trying to make sense out of life in the confusion of Christianity as we know it in our day. The book will have a theological and philosophical bent. Protestants and Catholics alike are dumbed-down by design, think that the Reformation was a theological debate, are confused about basic elements of metaphysics and being, and need a place to start on their truth journey. Those who buy the book will have this in common: they assume reason is a necessary pathway to finding truth.”

At first, it looked like the project was off to a fast start, but what seemed like great ideas were shot down by the group, so it was suggested that I start submitting free-writing articles to the group based on the usual ministry themes, and this will result in an articulation of objectives that the group agrees with. This article is one such submission to the group.

I am not crazy about Facebook, but on the other hand, it is valuable to our ministry, and yesterday was no exception. I am not going to copy and paste the whole debate here between myself and a couple of Catholics, but I am very tempted to think that it will be the crux of our project. The excerpt that encapsulates the main point follows:

“You act as if the Pope speaking ex cathedra or the council of Bishops as an authority of truth is so absurd. I understand that you disagree with it, and you are entitled to the right to disagree. But the concept in and of itself is certainly not absurd. I have to say, if it comes down to which is less absurd, a church authority instituted by Christ is much more plausible than Jesus giving us a Bible and telling everyone they can discern truth completely (error free) by themselves. (Not saying we are completely void of discerning truth, but we will never be perfect at it). Look around you: if everyone could perfectly discern truth for themselves, then why do non-catholic churches continue to split up each and every day? I think there are like over 30,000 denominations now? We are not trying to attack you, Paul M. Dohse Sr. We are just trying to get to the truth. And I have felt misrepresented by your points, so I have to ask the tough questions.”

To me, this absolutely says it all; perhaps the project group will agree. It boils down to man’s (mankind) identity and his ability to interpret reality. Universally, the goal is man’s well-being.  Is the key to well-being a proper identity? What does man’s identity have to do with evaluating truth? EVERYTHING. Suppose you identify man as a being that cannot know truth? I think that makes the point.

Now, this necessarily involves a discussion about philosophy and its four major tenets: metaphysics (state of being), epistemology (how we know), ethics (the moral application of how we perceive reality), and politics (how the ethics are communicated). But what about the Bible? From my own perspective, I see the Bible as God’s philosophical statement to mankind. If you are able to defend God’s truth, or the Gospel, you must know what the Bible states about these four tenets of philosophy. No? Really? Consider the following fact: this stream of conversation on Facebook was extremely long, and complete with Scripture stacking and citation wars, but to no avail. Why? Because truth is interpreted through the philosophical prism. A Chinese person might as well be attempting to convince an English person that Chinese is better (anything Chinese) while arguing in their perspective languages. The example that astounds me the most follows: people who seek counsel and assume the counselor shares their view of reality. No wonder so few people are helped by counseling accordingly. Another example makes its own point because few Christians will even know what I am talking about. Pastors in our day view reality from two different perspectives, redemptive or grammatical, and most parishioners are clueless in regard to where their pastors stand on that issue. They assume they know what the pastor is teaching from the pulpit, but really they are clueless.

What is the philosophy of the person that I was having the discussion with? Metaphysics: man cannot know truth PERFECTLY. Epistemology: “ex cathedra or the council of Bishops as an authority of truth.” Ethics: prevention of chaos. Politics: expected obedience to authority. Words mean things, so lets examine his words carefully. The issue with man, according to this person, is he cannot know truth “perfectly.” That’s key. So then, what is the ethic? Christ has appointed an authority on earth to prevent chaos because no man can know the truth perfectly.

But wait a minute, neither can the men whom Christ appointed as an authority; likewise, they cannot know the truth perfectly because they are also men, so what gives? This is what gives: authority for the sake of UNITY is the goal, not truth per se. In fact, UNITY defines truth itself. And where does that come from? Yep, P-l-a-t-o. Among most of the classic sophists, unity itself was truth. At least in Plato’s case, this was the definition of social justice as well. Does that ring any bells in regard to churchianity, or Western society in general? Let me further the point. What was this person’s primary argument for the authority of the Catholic Church? Right, to prevent the chaos of “30,000 denominations” the inevitable result of men being free to discern truth for themselves.

But it gets better when one considers biblical metaphysics. Again, via this person’s own words, the issue is INDIVIDUAL interpretation. But wait a minute, I thought a believer is a totally new creature indwelled by the Holy Spirit? What a minute, I thought the Bible said that the Spirit will lead us in ALL truth. So, why would members of one body with one mind in Christ, and striving for that one mind in Christ be lacking in unity? Why is such a notion “absurd.” Answer: because Catholics and Protestants both fundamentally deny the new birth, that’s why. And consequently, we also hear things from Protestant pastors such as Mark Driscoll saying, “Just keep your damn mouth shut and obey.” As Pastor Chad Bresson is fond of saying, Whether an elder is right or wrong is irrelevant to unity. For those who have the audacity to question an elder, Pastor James MacDonald suggests that they be tied to a catapult and “launched into the next county.” Why are they so passionate about being agreed with? Because obedience to authority is what unifies, not truth—authority is truth.

Moreover, with Believers, “perfection” is not the issue, but LOVE is the issue. Law as condemnation versus law as love is also the difference the new birth makes, but enough said for now.  I will see if any of this gets some traction with the project group.

paul

Pope Francis’ Culture of Death is Looking a Lot Like Protestantism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 22, 2015

TANC 2015 flyer

“Dear Christian parents, will you save your children from this philosophical culture of death?”   

The real difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is philosophical, and by no means a biblically based theological argument. If you want to discuss the difference in regard to orthodoxy for the serfs, there is no difference—both are progressive justification. Both propagate a need for the church to get people from salvation point A to salvation point B.

The functions of both camps are really determined by spiritual elitists who think they are above logic and all things material. Catholic philosopher kings tend to think knowledge beyond the material realm is within every being while Protestant philosopher kings believe all true knowledge is outside of the person.

Both appeal to Christ consciousness as the only immutable true form of goodness and truth. When it gets right down to it, you can barely slip a playing card between their definitions of faith.

Catholics seem to believe that the inner light gives everyone some potentiality for being good, while Protestants believe Christians can only see good and experience goodness that remains completely outside of them. They can experience it, but it is not a part of them. Man cannot be partially good enough to participate in his own salvation; it is a total work by God alone from beginning to end.  Catholics believe that people can have enough goodness in them to participate in the finishing of their salvation.

In both cases, salvation is a process that needs the church to finish it. Catholics believe people can be made good enough to participate in the finishing while Protestants reject the idea that man can possess any goodness.

The point here is that they share a common belief that salvation is a process overseen by the church, and that affiliation with the church is efficacious to being saved.

Of late, and more and more, they also share a belief in Martin Luther’s doctrine of death. Both interpret all reality from the standpoint of the cross; i.e., “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.”  Both see true discipleship as a complete emptying of self. Both see material as evil and only the invisible as good. Catholics believe inner goodness enables us to see ourselves as worthless, while Protestants believe faith enables us to see ourselves as worthless because we are worthless. Catholics believe good people will want to die to self and this material world, while Protestants believe we ought to die because we deserve nothing but death. But either way, it’s a culture of death.

Also, both believe that self-sacrifice shows forth the glory of the cross because all choices to sacrifice self are “living by the cross” or “walking according to the cross.” Self-denial and self-death demonstrate God’s cross-love and this is when the gospel is presented to people with power from on high. We hear this rhetoric in Protestant circles constantly.

So, what in the world inspired this post? Keep in mind that the following video is a Catholic production, and prepare yourself to be dumbfounded.

The same mentality can also be seen in Pope Francis’ collectivist views on economics and financial equality. Francis, who is loco popular with the Millennials, is leading a whole generation of our youth into socialist ideas. On the other side of the fence, the same. Collectivism gauges the total worth of people based on their ability to contribute to “the group” which is Platonic lingo for society at large.

Another aspect of death culture is the rising popularity of environmentalism among Catholic and Protestant youth.  If you are a good Catholic, you know that your evil material body exhales carbon dioxide which pollutes the air, but the good trees absorb the carbon. If you are Protestant, you assume trees are better than humans because humans are totally depraved. In this video, it is suggested that we errantly worry more about ISIS killing people than saving trees.

The video was posted on my FaceBook page by a young Christian, and this was my response:

Well, wouldn’t worry about it too much. Apparently, shortly before the return of Christ there is plenty of earth left to destroy because God destroys it. I also find the notion that trees compensate for human pollution via breathing somewhat disturbing. It’s the idea that trees are important because they filter out the product of human living: trees good–humans bad. Fact is, what we exhale is only about 4% carbon. Also note the unqualified moral equivalency between those who kill people (ISIS) and those who cut down trees. lastly, if those who propagate this message really cared about the environment rather than their ulterior political motives, they would point to the science and example of Israel who have turned that desert terrain into a rich agriculture.

Dear Christian parents, will you save your children from this philosophical culture of death? This May, I will be teaching a series on Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation on Blog Talk Radio. We will exegete this foundational document theses by theses. Let me also recommend our 2015 TANC conference where we delve into these issues as well.

paul

The Biblical Emphasis on Pastors and Their Authority: Where is It? Romans 15:14

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 11, 2015

Blog Radio LogoListen to the show audio or download the video file here. 

Welcome to Blogtalk Radio False Reformation this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, “The Biblical Emphasis on Pastors and Their Authority: Where is It?” If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback. Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in.

We are going to begin tonight by surveying the present landscape. The church invests billions in the education and accreditation of pastors. Of course, this is all made possible by the working class laity. Pastorate authority is expressed in church polity, and they are seen as the gatekeepers of orthodoxy. Never before in history have so many willingly paid so much for the privilege of being subservient.

Let me just pull the rabbit out of the hat right now. Let me go ahead and reveal where I am going with all of this tonight, and then I will make my case. We know that America was the first idea in human history that rejected the marriage of faith and force, and the results speak for themselves. We also know why some people deny what America has done for the world because of their ancient presuppositions concerning mankind; i.e., if mankind is allowed to self-govern, chaos will ensue.

There is that crowd, then there is the crowd that thinks mankind is just outright evil, and the American idea emphasizes life and liberty, so America is the antitheses of this whole idea that mankind is evil. And remember, this is not just a religious idea. No, no, no. This is also very prevalent among secular ideas. Some environmentalists would be included among them.

In the minds of the framers of the American Constitution, the marriage of faith and force always leads to tyranny, and history would agree. It all starts with those who are specially gifted to know truth that the masses are not able to understand, and for their own good, the masses that is, or the “great unwashed” if you will, the great seers call on the state to enforce their wisdom for the good of mankind and its overall survival. It is a striving for social justice leading to utopia.

We know that this basic presupposition about man’s ability to self-govern always leads to tyranny, and it now begs the question: culturally, in the church, if truth is married with pastoral authority, is the same tyranny inevitable? We think the answer is “yes.” The marriage of faith and authority in the church will yield the same results as the marriage of faith and force among governments. The problem is the injunction of truth on the majority by the few.

Without getting into another body of study altogether, let me answer some anticipated objections. A couple of weeks ago while Charlie Rose was interviewing the president of Syria, here is a paraphrase of what he said: “Society in general doesn’t accept the use of chemical weapons.” Interesting. What was he in essence saying albeit probably unwittingly? Answer: Romans chapters one and two. The law of God is written on the hearts of every man and his God-given conscience passes judgement on his actions. Why do we need government? For people who are deficient in regard to their faculties of conscience—that’s why.

Let’s note something important moving forward. The behavior evidenced in the church in our present day is consistent across all religions and denominations. Why? Because they all have one thing in common: they marry faith and authority. This is just another institutional church elephant in the room; the question of pastoral authority. And how churches get around this is soooo smooth:

“As pastors, our only authority is in the word of God.”

Well, that’s just wonderful because the Bible covers every nuance of life. While that answer usually assumes the Bible is boss and pastors only point people to its authority, what is really being said is the Bible determines the parameters of their authority which is without bounds if determined by the Bible.

What does this across-the-board authority look like regardless of the particular breed of church? What does it mean when we say that pastors “have authority”? It all starts with a same presupposition concerning mankind. Basically, mankind in general is not able to properly understand reality in a way that brings about social justice resulting in utopia. Man needs to be ruled over for his own good, and those who believe man can self-govern must be neutralized for the good of the many.

This is why the line between churches and liberal leftwing politics is often blurred. Why did some church, I think in New York, recently sue Walmart to ban their gun sales? Because in their mind, you just can’t have people in general running around with guns. In their minds, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

So, it starts with that philosophy. Now, how does it seek to implement this philosophy? What system dictates the application for the greater good? Again, in ALL religions and denominations it’s the same: mediation, authority, orthodoxy, progressive justification, polity, political collectivism, resulting in the EXACT same results and behavior. This is the technical definition of “the church.” Take note of how often you hear “the church” in the everyday white noise of churchianity.

Mediation. The Bible makes it clear that there is one mediator between God and man: Christ, period. All institutional churches have a concept of what Protestants call the “power of the keys.” This is the idea that the institution represents the body of Christ on earth. Hence, institutional membership is synonymous with salvation. The institution represents Christ’s mediation on earth by proxy. Whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever the church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Authority. Vested in the elders/pastors of the church regardless of the fact that Christ clearly stated that ALL authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. Pastors are men who have been preordained and specially gifted to know things that the common Christian does not know. Therefore, God has supposedly given them authority on earth for the collective good of mankind. Every institutional church has its own breed of popery.

“But Paul, I am a Southern Baptist and our churches are” …and this is so adorable… “independently autonomous.”

OK, now try to be a pastor of a Southern Baptist church without a degree from a Southern Baptist seminary. Good luck with that. If you are not credentialed, if you do not speak according to authority given you by the church, if your words do not carry authority by the aping of those credentialed, you are nothing but a little yapping mutt that will be ignored. If you tithe enough, people will put up with you and that’s about it.

For the time being, file this away: this is the exact same system Christ was up against when he came. How did He deal with it? Confirming miracles. Remember the paraplegic He healed so that people would know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth?

Orthodoxy. This is the extra-biblical authoritative body of teaching that is developed by those in authority. Since the great unwashed cannot understand truth, orthodoxy takes the higher knowledge of truth and puts it in story form for the spiritually adolescent masses. It’s exactly like story books written for children that explain reality via narratives that they can understand. In church culture, orthodoxy is synonymous with truth itself. This is why in seminary you are told straight up that the knowledge you are learning there is not anything you will be teaching at local churches—they can’t understand it. However, you will learn a lot about being a good spiritual cowboy who keeps the herd from being spooked resulting in a stampede. You will also be taught how to deal with those who think they can know truth, also known as Mad Cow disease.

Progressive justification. All religions and denominations have some form of progressive justification. This soteriology is the necessary gospel that must go hand in hand with mediation, authority, and orthodoxy. It is the teaching that salvation progresses from point A to point B, and the institutional church is the overseer of that progression. This is a hard-fast rule. The church cannot function or survive by propagating the true gospel—it’s impossible and we will look at why this is the case tonight. Why are there so many different religions and denominations? It’s all disagreement on how you get from point A to point B.

Polity. Or “church polity.” This is a soft term for “church government.” All churches have church government. It’s different levels of authority and an epistemological pecking order. In contrast, biblical contra church assemblies are based on fellowship with the Father and His Son—not authority. Historically, churches enforce polity by getting into bed with the government, but post America, the emphasis is control over your salvation.

In pre-American history, if you didn’t believe the church had the authority to take away your salvation, they would simply hang you, drown you, cut you in half, or burn you, not necessarily in that order. So, in our day, the heavy emphasis is authority and control over your eternal destiny. Why do people obey the outrageous notions that flow from the traditions of men? Because their eternal salvation depends on it, and “faith believes all things,” right? One of the favorite truisms vomited out by the clergy is this whole Lutheresque idea that “knowledge puffeth up” and makes people proud.

The real problem is that informed people are very difficult to control. Let me pull another rabbit out of the hat right now. I will make the case tonight that cultism goes hand in hand with elder authority. It is absolutely impossible to separate horizontal authority among God’s people and cultism. Religion plus horizontal authority ALWAYS equals cult. This is an unavoidable and hard-fast rule.

Political collectivism. Here is the dirty little secret: ultimate control is really in the hands of the populous. Why? It’s simple; they outnumber government. In China, if the people decide to rise up, the Chinese government is totally screwed. There are particular things common to people that the framers of the American constitution recognized such as those things that are “self-evident.” All in all, the church has merely stuck its nose in the debate over who owns truth: mankind in general or the state?

This necessarily demands a conversation about the church’s dominion theology. Is God’s kingdom presently on earth, or is it presently in heaven? If it is presently down here, then obviously the church has a dog in the fight. Therefore, since populous rule is the real power in the world, power is determined by how many people you have effectively brainwashed. The church cannot avoid being a political animal seeking to gain control by numbers and infrastructure because it believes it is a nation builder on earth.

This includes all of the trappings of doing good works to endear numbers, and formal education for the purposes of indoctrinating people. Most church hierarchies openly admit that their agenda is to take over every aspect of culture; i.e., education, the arts, etc, etc. The specific quotations abound and are not the least bit ambiguous.

Also, watch out for the “Oh my, missionaries are being persecuted for the gospel in this country, that country, or the other country.” No, many countries are more privy to the dominion aspirations of the church than their own missionaries. In many cases, it is feared that missionaries will incite an insurrection. A cursory observation of history confirms this as a valid concern. Traditionally, church missionaries not only want to get people saved, they want to quote, “transform the culture.” They say it all the time!

Let me stick this idea in here. Do you know how home fellowships could do world evangelism? We could find people gifted to be elders in other countries and bring them stateside to live for a while in the home fellowship network. They would live with a sponsoring family and learn/experience the New Testament model. As they learn and experience, they could be feeding the information back to their country of origin. This would be dirt cheap and very effective.

Do you know how expensive and ineffective world missions are in the institutional church? It’s horrific, and mostly predicated on Western arrogance. I have heard missionaries say it: “Without our academic wherewithal, effective ministry is impossible.” Behold the arrogance: after hundreds of years of trial and error and oceans of ink used in the pontification of orthodoxy, 1600 people a day leave the church and become Nones or Dones. 1500 pastors per month leave the ministry for good. But yet, the church continues to export this failed model overseas on the financial backs of the laity. It’s beyond insane.

Behavior. The results are all the same. Spiritual abuse in the church is just a symptom of the specific problem, church. Stuff happening in the church is not the problem—church is the problem. Thanks to the internet, we now know that the church produces the exact same behavior over and over and over again. We now know that the institutional church is nothing more or less than a super-cult.

Let’s begin to look at the evidence.

Yes, once again, Calvary Temple of Sterling, Va. is back in the news. Let’s listen to the recent news report by MRC TV titled “Sexual Abuse, Broken Families, and Race Cars: The Story Of An Alleged D.C.-Area Cult” dated 4/2/2015/. As you listen to this clip, make a list of the elements such as “authority,” “broken family relationships,” “control,” “divorce,” etc.

Listen, whether the HBO documentary I mentioned last week on Scientology, or my wife’s testimony in regard to her experience in the Baptist church, or what my son shared with me the other night about a Jehovah Witness that he works with and what that guy is going through with his church, or my own testimony, or myriads of testimonies that you can read via the internet discernment blogs, it is all the same basic elements in regard to behavioral outcomes.

Sure, John MacArthur Jr. isn’t going to marry a twenty-year-old and buy a dragster and a race car, he just oversees an in-house police station at Grace Community Church that will escort you out to your car if you ask too many questions in Sunday school. I know from firsthand testimony that MacArthur rules that church with an iron fist. I rubbed shoulders with some of his elders for years. In addition, accusations from relatively sound people that Grace Community Church is a cult abound. One such site is The Watchman Wakes .com / John MacArthur’s cult. Google that and the exact link should come up. Look, all one needs to know for purposes of confirming these allegations is MacArthur’s own words from last week’s sound bites; the inevitable result of the belief that elders have authority on earth is cultism.

Let’s also look at the obvious manifestation of well-behaved tyranny. Even though some church pastors would not engage in some of the more outrageous behavior, by and large, the well-behaved tyrants of the church turn a blind eye to the behavior and even cover for it. MacArthur is absolutely notorious for turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the institutional church. Why? The obvious answer is the church’s authority to forgive sins on earth. Without the institutional church, there is no means of salvation for anyone so the church must be saved at all cost. I am not sure what is more obvious.

Look, for example, Jack Hyles could have been shut down years ago. All it would have taken is twenty-five IFB pastors walking down the isle of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind. and rebuking the guy publically on a Sunday morning. Game over. Why doesn’t that ever happen even though it is the exact biblical prescription? Because the institution has to be preserved as God’s authority on earth by proxy—that’s why.

I am not going to rehearse the outrageous details of the ABWE scandal, but in reaction to ABWE refusing to deal with the situation, not one GARB church withdrew from the association in protest, and as far as I know, not one church withdrew support from ABWE. One GARB pastor that I know who was mortified by the scandal nevertheless allowed Michael Loftis, at that time the president of ABWE to speak at their church.

Why?!!!! because there is only one name under heaven by which man is saved—the institutional church and its authority on earth by proxy. This isn’t complicated. Support the church if you will, but also know that you are supporting the divine right of kings to rape, pillage and steel at will.

“But my pastor isn’t like that!” Yes he is—he turns a blind eye to it!

It’s all the same, and they all operate by the same principles; for example, let’s just take one, orthodoxy. For Baptists, what is it? The First and Second London Baptist Confessions. For Presbyterians, what is it? The Westminster Confession. For Jehovah Witnesses, what is it? The Watchtower. For Mormons, what is it? The Book of Mormon. For Islam, what is it? The Quran. It’s all the same stuff resulting in the same behavior. Read history for yourself—none of these religions acted any differently until America came along.

At any rate, the church invests billions in the education and accreditation of pastors. Their authority is expressed in church polity, and they are seen as the gatekeepers of orthodoxy. When one surveys the emphasis on pastors in the church, certainly we should expect to easily find abundant information about them in the Scriptures. A cursory observation of Scripture should reveal their purpose, scope of authority, and a description of their duties.

But in reality, the lack of biblical emphasis on pastors and elders is stunning when compared to the emphasis experienced in the institutional church. If a pastor has authority, where does that authority begin and end? While the idea of elder authority is common, any discussion of the parameters is extremely uncommon and such ambiguity can lead anywhere, and it does. Furthermore, their assumed authority is nowhere to be found in holy writ.

In regard to their importance in general, the specific gift of elder/pastor is mentioned a meager four times in Scripture.

In the most vital portions of Scripture where elders would be prevalent according to their assumed authority, they are not mentioned. In the corrective letters to Corinth where Christianity was completely off the reservation, elders are not mentioned once. In the book of Romans, the magnum opus of soteriology, again, elders are not written about.

In Paul and Peter’s mini-treatises regarding submission starting in the home, to the workplace, and society in general, again, no mention of elders (Eph 5:22-33, 1Pet 2:13-3:7).

In the protocol for solving conflict among believers in Matthew 18, the same. If a person finally refuses to repent of what he has done to a fellow brother, the passage doesn’t say to go tell the elders, it says to go tell the assembly. The process in Matthew 18 is commonly thought to be a process under the control and auspices of the elders, but if that’s the case, where are they?

Sure, when the Greek widows were treated unfairly as documented in Acts 6:1ff, the people appealed to the apostles, but who was given the responsibility to choose what I think were the first Deacons? Right, the saints in general. Not only that, notice that the solution offered by the apostles met the approval of the people. They did not go to the apostles for an edict—they sought their counsel and leadership in the situation, but it obviously needed the approval of the people.

In Philippians 4:2,3, Paul entreats the whole congregation to reconcile the two women who were in some kind of rift, and this is the same pattern found in Matthew 18 as well. Listen, we could go on and on and on and add Acts 17:11 as well, but is this sinking in? Where are the big bad elders? Where are they and their supposed authority? I do believe the apostles had authority, but clearly what they emphasized is the model that would follow after their departure; appeal to the one mind of Christ and not the dictation of authority.

Moreover, not only are elders conspicuously missing, the saints in general are told throughout the New Testament that they are qualified to do ministry that is normally attributed to elders exclusively. A good example is Romans 15:14.

I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Another one is 1John 2:27.

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Clearly, when it gets right down to it, God’s people can do without elders. Eldership is a gift that is no more or less important to the body of Christ than any other gift. Yes, if God’s people are serious about furthering the testimony and deepening fellowship, they should seek out good elders. But eldership is not a horizontal authority granted by God. Eldership does not represent God’s authority on earth.

Indeed, the apostles did have some of God’s authority, and that’s why they will sit on twelve thrones judging Israel in the final days, but that authority was NOT passed on to the elders. This is why the apostles predominately appealed to the one mind of Christ and not authority.

So, what is in fact the biblical model? Let’s compare the biblical model point by point with the institutional model. Here we go.

Presuppositions concerning mankind. Simple, Romans chapters one and two. Man can know reality and is personally and individually accountable to God. Throughout history for the most part, society in general determines law and what is acceptable. But please do not underestimate the real debate underlying the more visible debates manifested in this question: does man understand the reality that he lives in. He most certainly does. Mankind does not need seers to rule over them who have special insight into a reality that the masses do not understand.

History is a vicious cycle of the masses buying into that philosophy resulting in revolts when the tyranny of it becomes more than they can bear. Life gets to the point where it is not worth living and there is an uprising. The framers of the American Constitution observed this vicious historical cycle of serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, serfism, tyranny, war, freedom, and the lightbulb turned on. America is the greatest country ever because it is the first ever government by the people and for the people.

The Bible is clear, people stand before God at the judgement individually. Be sure of this: the church’s emphasis on pastors comes from the world’s debate on man’s ability to self-govern. According to the Bible, and more specifically 1John, God’s people are able to self-govern because all of them have the same anointing of the Holy Spirit. When it gets right down to it, we have no need for anyone to teach us.

Mediation. There is only one mediator between God and man—Christ. Clearly, the church posits elders as sub mediators. This does not pass biblical muster.

Orthodoxy. There isn’t any. God’s people do not need a dumbed down version of truth written by sub-mediators creating…watch it… here it is, “subordinate truth.” Really? This is absolutely nothing new and the very reason that the Bible is constantly drilling down on oneness: one truth, one mind, one mediator, one Spirit, one baptism, one anointing, one Lord, etc., etc., ect. There isn’t two minds, there is only one and one truth accordingly. And really? There is such a thing as a lesser truth? No, it is either true or it isn’t true.

Progressive justification. No institution or religious hierarchy is needed to get us from salvation point A to salvation point B. This is why we constantly hear, “We don’t believe the gospel and then move on to something else, we never leave the gospel.” “The gospel isn’t the ABCs of salvation, it’s the A-Z,” etc., etc., etc. If your salvation is finished, and you do move on to something else, guess who you no longer need?

The elements of the institutional church follow a logical progression: presuppositions concerning mankind; sub-mediation; orthodoxy or sub-truth; the gospel of progressive justification; church government (polity) because authority trumps fellowship; political activism because God’s kingdom is supposedly on earth (if it wasn’t authority would be absent), and the subsequent bad behavior ordinarily exhibited by the divine right of kings, mind control cults, and institutional ownership of truth.

Church polity (government). Christ’s assembly does not have a government structure. There is no church polity. There is a body made up of gifts that seeks to mature by “mutual edification” through fellowship under one head. There is no government, but rather organization. Here is the organization: gifted elders equip the saints for ministry, and deacons/deaconesses oversee need. There aren’t any bosses; it’s a cooperative striving for a common goal. It’s an organized body where every part is equally valued. It’s just this simple, and this is the exact same analogy seen throughout the New Testament: to the degree that your body is sound, you can accomplish work. Ephesians 4:1-16 spells it out point by point, and so does 1Corinthians chapter 12. That’s not a government—it’s an organized body.

Political collectivism. It is not the concern of Christ’s assembly to take over every aspect of culture. Our concern is to build up the body in love and let the world watch. And watch they will. Our kingdom is NOT on earth—it’s still up in heaven. That’s why we are called “ambassadors” in the Bible. What’s an “ambassador”? An ambassador doesn’t live in a country to…here it is, we hear this constantly…”take over the culture for Christ.” No, we are here to represent another kingdom that is not presently here.

Behavior. The goal is to think like our big brother Jesus Christ and do what He would do. And trust me, the world will take note.

Here are some references that you should read on your own: Matt 23:8, Psalm 133:1, Acts 4:32, Rom 12:16, Rom 14:19… Rom 15:5, 1Cor 1:10, 2Cor 13:11, Eph 4:3, Phil 1:27, Phil 2:2, Phil 3:16, 1Peter 3:8.

Elder authority, where is it? Where is the emphasis on body striving for unity in one mind? EVERYWHERE! Let’s now go to the phones.

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