Paul's Passing Thoughts

You Be The Judge

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on May 17, 2017

Was Jesus talking about the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders, or reformed/protestant pastors and elders?

~ Andy

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” ~ Matthew 23:4-7

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Colonial Puritanism was Commonly Known as “Platonic Christianity”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 13, 2016

Originally published November 5, 2013

Excerpted from quaqua.org

In their new home, the Puritans implemented many of the same onerous legal restrictions upon religious liberty that had vexed them while living in England. For example, John Cotton, a leading Massachusetts cleric, implemented a law that no man could vote unless he was both a Puritan church member and a property owner (non-Puritans were dispossessed of their private property). Additionally, all colonists were legally required to attend austere Puritan church services. If the Church Warden caught any person truant from church services without illness or permissible excuse, the truant was pilloried and the truant’s ear was nailed to the wood. This approach was widespread and long-lasting in Puritan society. The Plymouth court of 1752 convicted defendant Joseph Boardman of “unnecessary absence from [Puritan] worship” and “not frequenting the publick worship of God.” In short, Puritan salvation was to be achieved through compulsory social engineering of the community, rather than voluntary individual piety.

The Puritans implemented a form of Platonic Christian Socialism, which was based upon an ideological synthesis of such influences as 1) Plato’s Republic, 2) a utopian interpretation of the New Testament (especially Acts 2:44-46), 3) a joint-stock agreement between colonial shareholders and the London-based John Peirce & Associates company, 4) a Continental European cultural attitude toward education (acquired during Pilgrim settlement in Holland), and 5) especially close economic and cultural bonds between Boston’s elite and the ruling class of England. During their first three years in the New World, the Puritans abolished private property and declared all land and produce to be owned in common (a commonwealth).

In Plymouth over half the colonists promptly died from starvation. Governor William Bradford observed that the collectivist approach “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.” He lamented the “vanity of that conceit of Plato’s . . . that the taking away of property and bringing community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Governor Bradford implemented private ownership of property, but Platonic Christianity continued to dominate other aspects of regional social policy.

For his part, John Winthrop delivered a famous speech in 1630 that articulated the prevailing contemporary Bay Colony ethic of social collectivism:

[W]e must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly Affection, we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities for the supply of others’ necessities, we must uphold a familiar Commerce together . . . [and] make others’ Conditions our own, . . . always having before our eyes our . . . Community in the work, our Community as members of the same body[.] . . . [W]e shall find that . . . when [God] shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations: the Lord make it like that of New England: for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill.

Winthrop’s words were not mere inspirational rhetoric. Each statement reflected an expansive element of social policy, pressed to its logical end and enforced by the Puritans with deadly seriousness.

The leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony openly espoused rule by the elite. “If we should change from a mixed aristocracy to mere democracy,” Winthrop once explained, “we should have no warrant in scripture for it: for there was no such government in Israel . . . A democracy is, amongst civil nations, accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government.” John Cotton wrote: “I do not conceive that ever God did ordeyne [democracy] as a fit government eyther for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors who shall be governed?”

Despite utopian aspirations, the Massachusetts colonies were quickly beset with political and religious division. Internally, the Puritans persecuted and even tortured non-conforming Christians. In Boston Common, dissenters were hung or buried alive. In 1636, Roger Williams, who became a Baptist, was banished in the dead of winter and led some religious dissidents away to found Rhode Island. The same year, Thomas Hooker, another preacher at odds with the Bay Puritans, founded Connecticut with a separate breakaway group.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony attempted to curtail further dissent by utilizing a tightly-controlled system of schooling and neighborhood monitoring. In 1635, the first “public school” was established in 1635. In 1636, by general vote of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritans established what was then termed “the School of the Prophets.” This divinity school, which grew into Harvard College and then Harvard University, was meant to superintend the lives of the colonists and prevent any further deviations from proper doctrine.

With Harvard established as the capstone of their system of social control, the Puritans then set about to construct supporting strictures. The Puritan paradigm utilized certain aspects of the Platonic paradigm of community child raising, including indentured servitude:

[There was a] practice common among English Puritans of “putting out” children–placing them at an early age in other homes where they were treated partly as foster children and partly as apprentices or farm-hands. One of the motivations underlying the maintenance of this custom seems to have been the parents’ desire to avoid the formation of strong emotional bonds with their offspring–bonds that might temper the strictness of the children’s discipline or interfere with their own piety.

A controlling, punitive culture gradually emerged. The Puritans enacted laws that curtailed parental rights, created community schools, established Puritan precepts as a civic requirement, imposed community taxation for majoritarian schooling, and encouraged citizens to report upon non-conforming relatives and neighbors. By separating children from their parents, community leaders could monitor all family members. No family member could rebel against the community scheme or the official dogma without putting other family members at risk of reprisal. Children became more vulnerable to various forms of abuse.

The Massachusetts Education Law of 1642 (re-enacted with a preamble and local taxation features in 1648) was a natural extension of the Puritan requirement that all citizens had to attend Puritan church services. School was, like church, an institution designed to inculcate a particular world view. Puritans thought that their world view should be sanctioned and disseminated under government auspices. This same precept necessarily underpins the enactment of every compulsory education statute, Puritan or otherwise.

In Connecticut, Yale filled the same role as Harvard did for Massachusetts. Much later in time, Congregational Reverend Eleazar Wheelock founded Moor’s Charity School in Connecticut to “civilize” Native Americans. In 1769, Wheelock moved the institution to Hanover, New Hampshire, and renamed it Dartmouth College. During the Framers’ Era, the Baptists complained vociferously about the oppression they experienced as a religious minority in Connecticut.

As the Massachusetts Puritan society became more overbearing, it developed a psychotic quality. Children committed suicide. Furtive adults coped with an environment in which due process and freedom of expression were denied. A dark era of suspicion and fear took hold, culminating most famously in the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 — 1 2. (Salem is located near present-day Boston). The aim of the trials was to eliminate individuals with “heretical” views or conduct. In practice, heresy included political criticism of the colonial government, eccentric personal behavior, and criticism of the witchhunt itself.

During the purge, nineteen men and women were executed as witches (along with two dogs thought to be accomplices). About two hundred other nonconformists were imprisoned, and four accused witches died in prison. One man who refused to submit to trial was killed using an European torture technique, peine forte et dure, whereby heavy stones are placed upon a man until he is crushed and suffocated. (Plymouth held witchcraft trials as well, but the defendants were acquitted.)

As the bloodlust ebbed, a general sense emerged amongst colonial leaders that their entire community had gone terribly awry. To their credit, judges and jurors issued public apologies for their errors in judgment. Reverend Samuel Parris was replaced as minister after reluctantly admitting to some mistakes. Unfortunately, Chief Justice William Stoughton, the most culpable actor in the bloodfest, refused to apologize. He was subsequently elected to be the next governor of Massachusetts (a feat emulated by Earl Warren, who was elected governor of California after the internment of Japanese Americans).

Fortunately, the lessons of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were not lost upon the Framers of the United States Constitution. For example, home-educated Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential Framers, frequently clashed with the officials and clerics in Boston. As a youth, Franklin bridled under the Puritan strictures in Boston, defied the Puritan culture of indentured servitude, fled to make his home in Quaker-dominated Philadelphia, and published criticisms of perceived Puritan bigotry.

Franklin also wrote a scathing criticism of Harvard. Writing under the “Mrs. Silence Dogood” pseudonym, he recounted her fictional deliberation about whether to send her son to Harvard. In the process, Dogood fell asleep and began to dream that she was journeying toward Harvard. Its gate was guarded by “two sturdy porters named Riches and Poverty,” and students were approved only by Riches. Once admitted, the students “learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a room genteelly (which might as well be acquired at a dancing school), and from thence they return, after abundance of trouble and charge, as great blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited.” Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania with a very different educational mandate.

After Franklin invented the lightning rod, many of the Puritans effectively accused him of sorcery. Reverend Thomas Prince, a prominent Congregationalist Puritan pastor of Boston’s Old South Church and a graduate of Harvard, led the the charge. Franklin, Prince decreed, had defied the will of God, the “Prince of the Power of the Air,” by interfering with His heavenly manifestation. Prince also asserted that Franklin’s rods had caused God to strike Boston with the earthquake of 1755. Franklin used his pithy wit to defang the campaign against his invention. Surely, Franklin observed, if interference with lightening was prohibited, roofs also defied God’s will by allowing people to stay dry in the face of His rain. Resistance to Franklin’s lightening rod subsided when it was discovered that his innovation prevented many churches from burning to the ground.

As another example, John Adams expressed concern about Puritan discrimination against Jews. Much of the discrimination was accomplished through Massachusetts’ imposed system of state-mandated religious observance and government-sponsored schooling. Harvard, for instance, implemented policies and quotas which were designed to curtail enrollment of meritorious Jewish students. John Adams unsuccessfully recommended revisions of the state constitution which would have enhanced free exercise of religion. Adams further urged that slavery be prohibited, darkly predicting it would lead to eventual civil war if uncurtailed.

Colonials living in the southern United States were equally wary of Massachusetts practices. In stark contrast to the Massachusetts model of public education, leading Southerners preferred apprenticeship and home education (a lifestyle that predominated until Reconstruction). Tutors and private schooling supplemented the educations of wealthy Southern children. James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, all Virginians, experienced the same general regime of home-education and apprenticeship known to Benjamin Franklin.

In perhaps the most critical indication of all, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams spoke forcefully against the Platonic model of governance by Philosopher-Kings. Jefferson reflected the contemporary sentiment of many of the Framers and Founders when he stated in his letter to Levi Lincoln of January 1, 1802, that “I know it will give great offense to the New England clergy; but the advocate of religious liberty is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them.” Jefferson made other comments at odds with the Puritan approach to education, parental liberty, and religious pluralism, including oppression of the Quakers by the Anglican sects. Notwithstanding Winthrop’s aspirations in 1630, statements such as “Lord make our Virginian colony like that of Massachusetts” were conspicuously sparse during the Revolutionary Era.

While it is true that Madison, Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson urged their communities to support education and morality in a general way, they pointedly refrained from endorsing Puritan-style compulsory education or compulsory attendance at school/church. Indeed, compulsory education for government schools did not exist during the Framer’s time. In the civic scheme envisioned by the preeminent Framers, community schools were to function much like public libraries. Some Framers encouraged communities to fund libraries and establish a system for purchasing books, but few legal scholars would suggest that the Framers were thereby endorsing a state power to compel use of library premises or materials. In the absence of conviction for a crime, such a constraint of liberty would clearly have run afoul of numerous Constitutional protections.

The Framers and Founders left no doubt that their Constitutional system of Ordered Liberty, which protected parental rights in so many complementary ways, was incompatible with the Platonic model for an Ideal Commonwealth. In Federalist Paper No. 49, a work promulgated by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, it is written:

The reason of man, like man himself, is timid and cautious when left alone, and acquires firmness and confidence in proportion to the number with which it is associated. . . . In a nation of philosophers, this consideration ought to be disregarded. A reverence for the laws would be sufficiently inculcated by the voice of an enlightened reason. But a nation of philosophers is as little to be expected as the philosophical race of kings wished for by Plato. And in every other nation, the most rational government will not find it a superfluous advantage to have the prejudices of the community on its side.

In a letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson observed:

I amused myself with reading seriously Plato’s republic. . . . While wading thro’ the whimsies, the puerilities, and unintelligible jargon of this work, I laid it down so often to ask myself how it could have been that the world should have so long consented to give reputation to such nonsense as this? . . . Education is chiefly in the hands of persons who, from their profession, have an interest in the reputation and dreams of Plato. . . . But fashion and authority apart, and bringing Plato to the test of reason . . . he is one of the race of genuine Sophists, who has escaped . . . by the adoption and incorporation of his whimsies onto the body of artificial Christianity. His foggy mind, is forever presenting the semblances of objects which, half seen thro’ a mist, can be defined neither in form or dimension. . . . It is fortunate for us that Platonic republicanism has not obtained the same favor as Platonic Christianity; or we should now have been all living, men, women, and children, pell mell together, like beasts of the field or forest. . . . [I]n truth [Plato’s] dialogues are libels on Socrates.

. . . When sobered by experience, I hope that our successors will turn their attention to the advantage of education on the broad scale, and not of the petty academies . . . which are starting up in every neighborhood . . .

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams (July 5, 1814), in 2 The Adams-Jefferson Letters, at 432-34 (Lestor J. Cappon ed., 1959)(hereinafter “Letters”).

In reciprocal letters to Jefferson, John Adams was equally critical. He said the “philosophy” of Plato was “absurd,” Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (June 28, 1812), in Letters, at 308, berated Plato’s concept of “a Community of Wives, a confusion of Families, a total extinction of all Relations of Father, Son and Brother,” Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (September 15, 1813), in Letters, at 377, and observed that “Plato calls [‘Love’] a demon,” Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (October 10, 1817), in Letters, at 522.

In his most telling observations, Adams described his meticulous study of Plato’s writings, expressed delight at knowing that Jefferson shared the same “Astonishment,” “disappointment,” and “disgust” with Plato, and then concluded as follows:

Some Parts of [his writings] . . . are entertaining . . . but his Laws and his Republick from which I expected the most, disappointed me most. I could scarcely exclude the suspicion that he intended the latter as a bitter Satyr upon all Republican Government . . . . Nothing can be conceived more destructive of human happiness; more infallibly contrived to transform Men and Women into Brutes, Yahoos, or Daemons than a Community of Wives and Property . . .

After all; as long as marriage exists, Knowledge, Property and Influence will accumulate in Families.

Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (July 16, 1814), in Letters, at 437.

Reformed Caste System: The Puritans Saw Violation of Caste as Equal to Violation of the 5th Commandment

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on June 2, 2016

This article is updated and revised from an article originally published on October 4, 2012

“But with this considered, the Puritans believed that the idol of upward social mobility was a specific violation of the 5th commandment. Yes, wanting to improve the lot you were born into was dishonoring one’s parents.” 

There is a reason for everything. I like reasons; the “why.” I understand that “Stupid is—is stupid does,” but I want to know why people are stupid. “They’re just stupid”; that’s easy, discovering why they are stupid can enable us to save them from their stupidness and thus give them hope. See, I really am a loving, hopeful kind of guy.

Why do Protestants constantly quote and point to the Westminster Confession to make their points? And why does that irritate us so much? The second why is easy; they act like the Confession has the same authority as Scripture. An added third why changes our irritation to fear: the Westminster Confession was a standard of civil law compiled by Calvinistic Puritans at the beckoning of the Church of England. Hence, when Protestants cite the confession, they are exposing their kinship, knowingly or ignorantly, to a theocratic document (“Theocracy is a form of government in which official policy is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group”[and I will give you three wild guesses as to who Protestants believe are the “divinely guided” ones]).

Later, the Church of England and the Puritans had a lovers quarrel over control of European mutton, and the Puritans were labeled, “nonconformists.” Other groups of Baptist origin were labeled the same regardless of their devotion to the same totalitarian principles as the Church of England; ie., the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was drawn from the Westminster Confession and written by Puritans as well. After this totalitarian plague landed in America, another document was drafted from the Westminster model, this time by the “Pilgrims” (alien European Puritans): The Savoy Declaration.

These documents encompass a conviction for state and church to rule together at the supposed pleasure of God, and with all of His authority by proxy. Ooopsies and boo-boos are covered by diplomatic immunity. Be not deceived: the spirit of the Westminster Confession is the lust of every authentic Protestant. That’s the why behind their obsessive citation of it.

However, the central idea of the Westminster Confession, that totally depraved mankind must be ruled with a divine iron fist, is going to manifest itself in a number of different applicable elements. Authentic Protestants use this for cover; the “fact” that they don’t “agree with everything” in the Confession supplies cover for the fact that they are totally sold out for the central idea that is the foundation of the document. That would be the control of the totally depraved by the “Westminster divines” of whom they are kin.

The heart of the document and its sentiment is revealed in the applicable elements—one being a caste system modeled after the extreme European social caste system of that day. Misrepresenting your social class to marry into a family that was in a higher social stratum was a capital offense.  Different social classes dressed differently, and entitlements were also determined by class as well.

The Puritans were really, really big on the whole idea of being content with were God had sovereignly placed you in life. In all caste systems, your social stratum is determined by what stratum you were born into; ie, determined by the social stratum of your parents. The system disallowed mobility between the social strata, or for all practical purposes: improvement. Of course, there were rare exceptions born of the milieu of life combined with intentionality for those who dared.

Notwithstanding, the Puritans saw a desire to climb the social strata as a “heart” problem: pride, discontent, thinking that your totally-depraved-self deserves more than your sovereignly appointed lot in life—which is a magnificent gift compared to what you deserve: hell. Today’s authentic Protestant Puritan wannabes would say that you have “idols of the heart.”

But with this considered, the Puritans believed that the idol of upward social mobility was a specific violation of the 5th commandment. Yes, wanting to improve the lot you were born into was dishonoring one’s parents:

The essence of the Puritan idea of status is found in the Larger Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith, that comprehensive body of theology hammered out by the Puritan scholars of Cromwell’s England in the mid-1640′s. The question of status was basic to the Puritans’ interpretation of the Fifth Commandment, “honor thy father and thy mother.”

By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth…. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals (Gary North: The Freeman; June 1974 • Volume: 24 • Issue: 6).

The logical conclusion is borne out by what the Americanized Puritans (Pilgrims) instituted as civil law in their own New England old England way. Undoubtedly, due to European influence that connected dress to status,  the Pilgrims included what is known as Sumptuary Laws (laws regarding what one may or may not wear) in their theocratic laws:

Colonial Laws of Massachusetts, 1651

Sumptuary Laws (Laws Regarding What One May or May Not Wear)

ALTHOUGH SEVERAL DECLARATIONS and orders have been made by this Court against excess in apparell, both of men and women, which have not taken that effect as were to be desired, but on the contrary, we cannot but to our grief take notice that intolerable excess and bravery have crept in upon us, and especially among people of mean condition, to the dishonor of God, the scandal of our profession, the consumption of estates, and altogether unsuitable to our poverty.  And, although we acknowledge it to be a matter of much difficulty, in regard of the blindness of men’s minds and the stubbornness of their wills, to set down exact rules to confine all sorts of persons, yet we cannot but account it our duty to commend unto all sorts of persons the sober and moderate use of those blessings which, beyond expectation, the Lord has been pleased to afford unto us in this wilderness.  And also to declare our utter detestation and dislike that men and women of mean condition should take upon them the garb gentlemen by wearing gold or silver lace, or buttons, or points at their knees, or to walk in great boots; or women of the same ran to wear silk or tiffany hoods, or scarves which, though allowable to persons of greater estates or more liberal education, we cannot but judge it intolerable. . . .

It is therefore ordered by this Court, and authority thereof, that no person within the jurisdiction, nor any of their relations depending upon them, whose visible estates, real and personal, shall not exceed the true and indifferent value of £200, shall wear any gold or silver lace, or gold and silver buttons, or any bone lace above 2s. per yard, or silk hoods, or scarves, upon the penalty of 10s.  for every such offense and every such delinquent to be presented to the grand jury. And forasmuch as distinct and particular rules in this case suitable to the estate or quality of each perrson cannot easily be given: It is furtber ordered by the authority aforesaid, that the selectmen of every town, or the major part of them, are hereby enabled and required, from time to time to have regard and take notice of the apparel of the inhabitants of their several towns respectively; and whosoever they shall judge to exceed their ranks and abilities in the costliness or fashion of their apparel in any respect, especially in the wearing of ribbons or great boots (leather being so scarce a commodity in this country) lace, points, etc., silk hoods, or scarves, the select men aforesaid shall have power to assess such persons, so offending in any of the particulars above mentioned, in the country rates, at £200 estates, according to that proportion that such men use to pay to whom such apparel is suitable and allowed; provided this law shall not extend to the restraint of any magistrate or public officer of this jurisdiction, their wives and children, who are left to their discretion in wearing of apparel, or any settled militia officer or soldier in the time of military service, or any other whose education and employment have been above the ordinary degree, or whose estate have been considerable, though now decayed.

And:

By 1674, Cotton Mather’s father, Increase Mather, was convinced that the continual violation of the Fifth Commandment — the status commandment — was the chief sin of his generation. (That someone named Increase could take this position only serves to emphasize the irony.) Inferiors were rising up against superiors in the commonwealth — in families, schools, churches. It was not an uprising that he feared, but this incessant rising up. “If there be any prevailing iniquity in New England, this is it…. And mark what I say, if ever New England be destroyed, this very sin of disobedience to the fifth commandment will be the ruin of the land.” Samuel Willard agreed with Mather.

The problem, as the Puritan divines saw it, was that men were not satisfied with their lot in life. Daniel Dension’s last sermon, appended by another famous preacher of his day, William Hubbard, to Hubbard’s funeral sermon for Denison, cities ambition as the curse of the land, along with envy:”… Ambition is restless, must raise commotions, that thereby it might have an opportunity of advancement, and employ envy to depress others, that they fancy may stand in their way….” Such ambitious men are unwilling “to abide in the calling, wherein they are set; they cannot stay for the blessing, nor believe when God hath need of their service, he will find them an employment, whatever stands in the way of their design, must give place…”(Ibid).

Of course, Protestants would reject this outwardly, but what they can’t deny is that they are merely rejecting a nuance of the central idea that they embrace with all passion.

Caste is king.

paul

Overcoming the Protestant Divorce Mill

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

ppt-jpeg4The unregenerate normally do life better than the religious because they believe God made the world to work in certain ways. In contrast, if much of life is self evident, what do we need witch doctors for? Most religions are predicated on the idea that reality is not self evident to the masses.

Catholicism gave birth to the second great super-cult of the ages: Protestantism, and like most cults, marriage is seen as something that contributes to the control strategy. As Protestantism comes more into its own through the Neo-Calvinist movement in our day, the rearranging of marriages for the benefit of the institution will become more and more evident. In Neo-Protestant speak, it sounds like this: “We want marriages that look like the gospel.”

Over the past couple of years, Susan and I have had opportunity to counsel several people in regard to their marriages of misery as well as some premarital counseling. It’s interesting, they want to talk to us regardless of our confession that as recovering Protestants, we know little about living for the kingdom. In regard to premarital counseling, we focus on the few things that we have learned and are certain of, and after that they are on their own. They need to be pioneering disciples and teach us a few things.

Here is what we know through God’s word and what we have learned through counseling others stuck in a marriage of misery: the marriage is miserable because of sin, but don’t miss the main point of such crass simplicity. One must consider a primary essence of sin. Sin seeks to control others through condemnation, and if others don’t supply enough ammo for condemnation, the controller will make some up, usually through assumptions or outright slander. But in almost every counseling situation involving a horrible marriage, both spouses come with their condemnation lists. If only he or she would do this or that, or believe this or that, our marriage would be healed. Nope.

“Christians” stuck in a bad marriage because there is no biblical premise for divorce are indeed stuck, unless they go to a Neo-Calvinist church, and since Neo-Calvinism has completely taken over the American church, they probably do. The movement, through its para-church counseling industrial complex, is dolling out sanctified divorce right and left. But even the world knows that divorce does not reduce life’s misery scale. While the church is rearranging marriages through sanctified divorce and remarriage, the unregenerate are finding happiness in their marriages through state sponsored marriage workshops. This ministry endorses such because we do not believe that happy unbelievers are necessarily blinded to the gospel. Protestants, like all cults, feel threatened by happiness outside of their realm of belief. As the Protestant Gnostic Paul David Tripp asserts, happy unbelieving spouses are simply “feeding each others’ idols.”

Really? Or are they simply wiser about life? This is the crux: the world will only begin to listen to our gospel if it looks like we know more about the life our Father supposedly created than they do. Beware of the whole deep things of God routine which often translates into… “I understand things that you cannot understand so you need to let me control you.” Or, “Since God spoke to me in a dream/vision, and he doesn’t speak to you directly, you need to submit to me.” Or, “Since I completed the seminary test course that validates philosopher kings, you need to obey me, and if you do, it proves that you are saved.”

This is the true reality: believers, or Christians stuck in a bad marriage have three choices: divorce your spouse and find someone more compatible, stay married and remain miserable in the marriage, or stay married and be happy in the marriage. The Bible is explicit about how the third option is obtained. And this is important to know because it is the same principle for unity in home fellowships. Basically, you allow your spouse to live according to their own conscience, and also allow time for them to be convinced in their own minds about life and truth in general. This doesn’t mean persuasion is excluded, but it does mean control as an agenda is excluded.

What about “submission”? Same deal. The Bible states that it is of no benefit to individuals when they refuse to obey truth, and they need to be given room to figure that out on their own. In a marriage counseling situation where the husband is obsessed with the “submission” of the wife, his words are often telling. He thinks she should “obey” him for what reason? Because God has ordained the husband as head of the wife, the woman sinned first, and therefore…etc., etc., etc. Apparently, in God’s grand scheme of things, the husband understands things that the wooooman cannot understand and she should therefore obey him. And since we are in America, he can’t beat her, or set her on fire for daring to disrespect his authority, so the next best thing is to get her into counseling where a philosopher king tells her to obey lest her salvation be revoked by John Calvin’s “power of the keys.”

This simply won’t work, unless for whatever reason the wife capitulates and becomes a living manikin in both life and the bed. For certain, control freaks (really sin freaks) embrace any sexual satisfaction perceived as a cut above masturbation in the same way they are aroused by the respect of others. The husband as head of the home is a goal—not a caste system. How convenient: Christ is the head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman, but when it comes to the man being dealt with by Christ, that’s of the invisible realm. Per the usual, in all caste systems, it’s a bitch being a serf, or in this case, the serf is the bitch.

So what is the answer? Lots of wisdom that we do not yet have in this Protestant dark age, but we must start someplace. Husbands must learn the art of leadership, and they must know that authority is a cheap shortcut. They must live with their wives according to knowledge, regardless of the wife, and remember, authority doesn’t need any knowledge other than one’s own brute instincts. Husband, if you are a believer, your wife is also your sister and joint heir in eternal life. If you have a bad marriage—you lack knowledge. And that’s a starting point in your miserable marriage: “We have a bad marriage because we both lack wisdom. And that lack of wisdom is presently being passed on to our children. I am going to do my best to fix this, and the judge will be our love for each other, or at least my love for you.”

Wife, likewise, your husband is not always going to get it. Unless you have biblical grounds for divorce, your goal is to live with him on common ground and in love. Simply refuse to discuss issues where you cannot find common ground. The more you master the art of respecting him for his truly good characteristics, and not dwelling on his faults, you will learn to love him. If he responds in a negative way, your conscience is clear, and that is where you are ultimately going to find peace.

The gospel? Your children are not stupid. If God can’t fix a marriage—He can’t fix a soul. Get it together. Your longstanding bad marriage is a living bad news of hopelessness to the world. God is bigger than your bad marriage—figure it out for the sake of the gospel. In some cases, that may mean sleeping in the same room again, which will get the attention of your children big-time. And when they ask, and they will, tell them that dad and mom don’t have all of the answers, but this one thing is what you both know: God is bigger than your bad marriage. That’s common ground even if nothing happens. That’s a beginning, and that’s the gospel. And if your spouse is a Protestant, you may even make him/her late for Sunday school, which is also helpful.

A beginning truce is fairly painless: “Is it all about us, or something bigger? And does that mean we do everything your way, or my way? Or is there another way?”

paul

Leadership

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 21, 2015

leadership 2

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