Paul's Passing Thoughts

“< Tweet, Tweet @ Pastor Matt Higgins

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 18, 2015

PPT Called Out By Pastor Matt Higgins, and I Totally Accept the Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 17, 2015

HigginsI have been called out by the pastor of Calvary Heights Baptist Church in Martinsville, IN, and I intend to answer his challenge fully, personally, and expeditiously. In a recent post written by him, two of my articles were cited as examples of “discernment” blogging. For the other bloggers cited, see the endnotes.

Said pastor, Matt Higgins, defines “discernment bloggers” in this way: stalkers (trolls) who partake in witch hunts, and spend all of their time searching the internet for pastorate error to write about. The catchall nomenclature used by these bloggers is “heretic” which is a word Higgins claims they don’t properly understand, yet his corrective definition of “heresy” is something that I will address in this post. Also, according to Higgins, they seek to destroy ministries and force pastors to resign. Furthermore, according to Higgins, discernment bloggers are busybodies who have no right to address heresies taught in local churches they are not members of; they are sticking their noses in other people’s family matters. Moreover, according to Higgins, they are cowards who aren’t accountable to anyone and don’t have to face the pastors they criticize. They “hide behind” their PC monitors. Lastly, Higgins is calling on me to repent along with all other discernment bloggers. All in all, the crux of this probably boils down to his view of elder authority. 

Since I do not desire to be a coward, perhaps Higgins and I can meet together along with the elders or deacons at Calvary Heights Baptist Church. Since they pay his salary and have enabled him to falsely accuse me publically on the World Wide Web, maybe I will make the three hour drive out on a sunny Sunday afternoon and confront the whole lot of them. While we are at it, I could make sure the leadership of the church understands what this YRR type really believes. For certain, I am going to make sure the congregants thoroughly understand his soteriology. Trust me, especially in Southern Baptist circles, on average, 90% of a given SBC congregation has no real idea what these guys coming out of Southern or SW really believe.

First of all, let me define for Pastor Higgins what a discernment blogger is and why PPT is not discernment blogging. If he is going to bash discernment bloggers, he should know what one is.  A discernment blogger seeks to save the Protestant institutional church from harm and error. I do not believe the Protestant church is worth saving, and I can prove it was founded on the false gospel of progressive justification. I write about pastors to make that point, and could care less how many people follow them and whether or not they remain employed. However, I do believe people should have truthfully informed choices. For example, let’s make sure Higgins’ congregation really knows what he means when he speaks of the new birth just in case there may be a misunderstanding.

Secondly, if Higgins wants to bash discernment bloggers for using the word “heretic” while not knowing what it really means, he should also know what it really means before he criticizes others. The biblical definition of “heretic” follows: it is a person who belongs to a sect that divides with errant doctrine, or “sectarianism,” not the definition Higgins offered in his lame effort to correct others.

This brings to mind some things that his congregation may be interested in. I suppose it’s possible that Higgins may not qualify as a New Calvinist, but from what I gather so far, I seriously doubt it. New Calvinism is a super-sectarian movement that has split innumerable churches and families since 1970 and slowly integrates dictatorship-like leadership into local churches. The present emphasis on church membership and small groups at Calvary Heights Baptist is an all too familiar step to the iron fist control eventually demanded by New Calvinist pastors. Here is a schematic of how it works. Perhaps this is looking familiar to some at Calvary. Ironically, the discernment blog culture that Higgins decries skyrocketed in 2009 as a direct result of the New Calvinist movement which is based on gospel contemplationism and Calvin’s Sabbath Rest salvation whether the New Calvinist label is rejected or not.

Thirdly, notice how criticism of pastors and possible harm to the local church is the bottom line with Higgins and not the substance of the complaints. Why is that? Probably because like most YRR types that come out of Southern or SW, he believes the local church and the body of Christ are synonymous; ie., you’re saved by church membership and submission to “men of God.” Depending on what octane of YRR he is, he may also believe in elder absolution in the form of Calvin’s “power of the keys.” Basically, church discipline, not confined to public sins of the baser sort but rather anything that the elders deem sin, is a process that actually blots you out of the Book of Life upon elder authority.

People being excommunicated for merely asking too many questions is now an epidemic in SBC churches accordingly. If you are at Calvary and feeling pressure to become a formal member, and have not yet signed on the dotted line, you better pause and get educated as to what is going on in the SBC right now.

Note the double standard: Higgins, in the post being addressed here, bemoans discernment bloggers sticking their noses into the business of local churches, but yet, what happens if someone is excommunicated from a local SBC church in a given association? Right, they notify the other churches that the person is under discipline. See the double standard? Heresy charges against teachers who teach publically is a local issue, but grievances against parishioners who commit local sin is public? Really?

Another assertion by Higgins that didn’t make my introductory list is the idea that discernment bloggers claim infallibility. This is just more irony as Higgins argues from the standpoint of the Nicene Creed and Reformed orthodoxy in general. I doubt discernment bloggers claim infallibility, but I know they do reject Al Mohler’s assertion that Reformed elders are preordained of God to save God’s people from ignorance. If someone at Calvary can do it without being brought up on church discipline, they may simply ask Pastor Higgins, “Are you preordained by God to save me from ignorance?” If Higgins denies it, a good follow-up question would be, “So, you completely disagree with Al Mohler on that, right?”

A book could be written here if I addressed every creepy red flag raised by Higgins in his single post, but one may simply take note of his idea that pastors are ONLY accountable to “Christ and Scripture.” Calvary would do well to think about that statement and what it reveals about his mindset.

But my dog in the fight is not my disdain for the run-of-the-mill New Calvinist tyranny running amuck in the SBC (I am perfectly content to let the dead bury their own dead),  but that he came into my locale looking for a fight. His parishioners may excuse his bullying and cower under it, but I will not. He has zero authority.

So, is this what Calvary pays him for? To police discernment bloggers?

Dear friends, if he has a problem with discernment bloggers that he doesn’t even know, who apparently have not even talked about him until now, what will become of those at Calvary who dare to express an opinion?



With Permission: Peter Lumpkins Comment on New Calvinist Interpretation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 2, 2011

To begin with, the phrase “preach the gospel to ourselves” is prima facie nonsensical. It apparently is a clever phrase which means something other than what it literally communicates. What is that “something other than”?

More importantly, what I see happening with the parable is laying a needless filter upon it which effectively, at least in some important ways, hides the real meaning of the text. That is, a rhythmic literary pattern is employed to glean the proper interpretation. In your case, it’s “gospel>>>righteous living.” For others in this “preach the gospel to myself everyday” community, it’s “indicative>>>imperative.”

Yet, from my perspective, this is nothing less than a direct assault on what some call the “perspicuity” of Scripture or what Wayne Grudem calls the “clarity” of Scripture. Who would have imagined the Holy Spirit wanted to communicate, from the passage you cited–or any passage for that matter–the “imperative” is “preceded by” or “grounded in” the “indicative” or some other interpretative pattern, a pattern which is not derived from standard canons of literary interpretation, but rather from theological presuppositions imposed upon the text?

My fear is, we’re substituting theology for basic Bible study. And by basic I mean neither shoddy nor surface. Rather, I mean raw, fundamental textual interpretation based upon sound exegesis.

Contrarily, to lay a “preach the gospel to myself” (i.e. indicative precedes imperative) filter upon the page of Scripture seems to me predetermines the text’s meaning before one even reads the text, before one exegetes the text.

If I am anywhere near correct, the common man or woman just got left out of actually understanding the Word of God. Why? Well, they don’t have the secret interpretative principle to guide them–the indicative precedes the imperative. And, without that filter, they’re doomed to gospel ignorance.

Yet, no where in all God’s Word do we get the impression that the Bible in general needs special filters to discern its meaning, especially filters designed by Christians hundreds and even thousands of years after the Bible was written and after so many other believers–stalwart believers, learned believers, brilliant believers–read the Bible with understanding but without the contemporary filters about which some now so desperately insist.

Indeed the Reformation began when filters were discarded not when new filters were employed. The Baptist movement was built upon a simple reading of the New Testament, not upon innovative nonsense like indicative precedes imperative created by incipient immersionists. They took the plain meaning of Scripture rather than an alleged literary pattern they discovered to read the Scripture aright.

Why, to believe some today, the whole of Christianity crumbles if we don’t perpetuate the indicative precedes the imperative gospel principle. Millions of evangelicals are lost because they don’t understand that the indicative precedes the imperative.

Where this ultimately leads only our Sovereign Lord knows for sure. I do know one thing: I want no part or parcel in this hermeneutical madness.

Maranatha. Come Lord.

With that, I am…

An Open Letter to Dr. Albert Mohler Jr.

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 12, 2011

Dr. Mohler,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paul Dohse and I am a member of a Southern Baptist church in the Dayton, Ohio area. I also have the privilege of serving there as director of men’s ministry.

The purpose of this letter is the following: to request that you withdraw your association with Together for the Gospel (T4G) because the organization promotes a particular false doctrine. This letter will be posted on my blog as an open letter because several such letters to individuals and organizations have been ignored. In addition, it will make the continuance of my grievance to others within the Convention expedient as I am a layman with many other responsibilities.

I have no problem with Calvinism, but I cannot express in words how disappointed I am with you and others for turning a blind eye to grievous error from any individual who claims to be a Calvinist. Apparently, Calvinist nomenclature is a license to teach anything that one sees fit. As I continue to research this doctrine (not Calvinism) that is sweeping through Southern Baptist circles, at times it seems surreal that this ridiculous doctrine is being propagated in broad daylight, while you and others lend it your credibility. Because you are President over the “Flagship Seminary” of the SBC, I also fear that you have embraced this doctrine personally.

When I was a student at the WA Criswell Institute of Biblical Studies in the early eighties, we were taught to be leery of any doctrine that had a short history. Such is the case with the “gospel-driven life,” or Gospel Sanctification as some call it. In fact, my research indicates that this whole movement, as we know it today, was conceived by a professor of practical theology (Dr. Jack Miller) at Westminster Seminary, probably around 1980, and dubbed “Sonship Theology.” Yet, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, DA Carson, Tim Keller, and many others promote the idea that this doctrine has been the true gospel from the beginning, and God is using the “New Calvinism” movement to reveal the “unadjusted gospel” in our day.

Many teaching this doctrine today were mentored by Jack Miller; such as, Tim Keller and David Powlison. Jack Miller is the one who coined the phrase, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday.” In any case, Gospel Sanctification and Sonship are identical. Dr. Jay E. Adams wrote a book to protest the doctrine in 1999. I would like to use quotes from that book as a way to describe the basics of the doctrine:

“This teaching that appeals to Christians who are failing to live as they ought maintains that most of the church has been sadly in error by viewing the gospel merely as the way in which one is saved from the penalty of sin; instead, it ought to be viewed also as the fundamental dynamic for living the Christian life.”

“It claims that a person can change this sad state of affairs by continuing to preach the gospel to himself and by repenting and believing over and over again. It teaches that not only justification, but also sanctification, is by faith [alone] in the good news.”

“The problem with Sonship is that it misidentifies the source of sanctification (or the fruitful life of the children of God) as justification. Justification, though a wonderful fact, a ground of assurance, and something never to forget, cannot produce a holy life through strong motive for it.”

“Certainly, all of us may frequently look back to the time when we became sons and rejoice in the fact, but there is no directive to do so for growth, or even an example of this practice, in the New Testament….The true reminder of the good news about Jesus’ death for our sins is the one that he left for us to observe-the Lord’s supper (‘Do this in remembrance of Me’).”

Adams also said the following in another publication: “Aberrations of the faith found in such movements as Sonship should be pointed out and rejected. These movements – both large and small – constantly plague the church” (Jay E. Adams, “Hope for the New Millenium,” Timeless Texts, Woodruff, SC, 2000, p.44).

A cursory observation of statements made at the 2010 T4G conference would easily identify Gospel Sanctification (the supposed “unadjusted gospel”) with Sonship Theology. Furthermore, many should be wary of the “unadjusted” gospel’s unorthodox phraseology: repentance is now “deep repentance”; obedience is now “new obedience”; church discipline is now “redemptive church discipline”; and progressive sanctification is really “progressive justification.”

There is a controversy concerning the influx of Calvinism into the SBC, and rightfully so because the soundness of a doctrine is often determined by where it ends up, and in this case, “New Calvinism.” New Calvinist seem to be in a contest to see who can devise the newest / profound angle on this doctrine. Recently, Tim Keller suggested that a sound profession of faith must include “repentance from good works.” Constantly insinuated by others aforementioned, but specifically stated by Paul David Tripp, is the idea of the total depravity of the saints. He plainly states in How People Change that Christians remain spiritually dead. And, ”When you are dead, you can’t do anything.” John Piper has stated that he went on his recent sabbatical to eliminate several different “species of idols” that he discovered in his heart, and mentioned Tim Keller and Paul Tripp as being knowledgeable about these things. In How People Change, Tripp states that these idols of the heart can be discovered by asking ourselves “x-ray questions.”

Dr. Mohler, is this what Southern Baptist believe? That we grow spiritually by reciting the gospel to ourselves everyday? That every verse in the Bible is about justification? That Christians are totally depraved? That we should go idol hunting in our hearts using x-ray questions? That sanctification is by faith alone? And not previously mentioned: that colaboring with God in sanctification is a false gospel because “any separation of justification and sanctification is an abomination”? Like Tullian Tchividjian, should we endeavor to be accused of teaching antinomianism for the purpose of accreditation regarding the “true gospel”? Should we practice redemptive church discipline which often results in the excommunication of Christians for non-attendance and not tithing?

I tell you the truth Dr. Mohler, at times I wake up in the morning and wonder if this is all a dream. After all, you are, according to some, the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” So, obviously, it’s difficult for me to believe all of this is going on. I know some say that the SBC is on life support, but Dr. Kevorkian in the form of New Calvinism is not the answer. I am asking you to stand for the truth, or publicly state that you believe this doctrine without hiding behind the word, “gospel.”

Because only truth sanctifies (John 17:17),

Paul M. Dohse

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