Paul's Passing Thoughts

Smoking Gun: ACBC is a Nationwide Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 13, 2017

OrigEDMinally published July 13, 2015

For a more detailed discussion on this book, check out Susan Dohse’s book review and commentary here

Christ made it clear that what God has brought together NO man is to separate. Does this mean God predetermines every marriage in regard to particular spouses? I doubt it. This probably refers to God’s covenant of marriage and the theology of vows. At any rate, death, unrepentant adultery, and an unbeliever who abandons their believing spouse are the only exceptions.

How does one live happily with a spouse who has become difficult? For Protestants, that is a hard question because the focus has been on justification for 500 years with little emphasis on the biblical art of godly living (sanctification). When you are supposedly sanctified by a perpetual “return to the gospel afresh”… knowledge on how to repair a marriage is going to be what it is today, practically nonexistent. And of course, living by the same gospel that saves us (not saved us) is a very complex matter needing the ongoing “research and development” of gospel-centered experts.

Add to that: Protestants don’t even have justification right. Little wonder then that the institutional church is a train wreck after 500 years of scholarship and trillions of hard-earned laity dollars. What is the answer? The answer is a laity movement that will reclaim the priesthood of believers seized by Gnostic hacks dressed in biblical garb.

The answers will come through one Lord, and one word interpreted by individuals indwelt by the Spirit who gives all knowledge needed for life and godliness liberally. In case we forget the obvious, “I was only obeying the elders” will not cut it when you stand before Christ and His blazing eyes of fire. The Nazis were very good at being “subordinate,” and many were hanged accordingly. I realize Reformed elders claim God gave them His authority to rule on earth, but you may want to rethink that claim.

As predicted, the biblical counseling movement overseen primarily by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) has become a divorce mill via its efforts to build marriages that “look like the gospel.” And the smoking gun is a book written by Leslie Vernick titled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope that is widely used among ACBC counselors.

The obvious problems here are first seen in the title of the book. As Christians, is it really our goal to, “find our voice”? I thought it was our goal to please God in every circumstance. Secondly, the idea of emotional destruction is subjective at best and a ticket to do anything you want at worst. To make the point here, Google “American Civil Law.” In a culture judging anything that causes bad feelings to be abuse, such an approach to “biblical counseling” should give one pause.

Thirdly, why do Christians need a 240 page book written by a serial regurgitator of other people’s thoughts to FIND hope? You would think that by now Christians would be fairly certain about where hope is found.

Chilling is the examination of the 61-question survey found in the book that supposedly determines if one is in an abusive relationship or not. In the hands of a person that is unhappy in their marriage, the outcome will be a foregone conclusion. It’s like asking a chicken if Colonel Sanders is an emotional abuser.

The lynchpin becomes the ACBC’s loose interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:12-16. If the spouse is already an unbeliever, emotional abuse is tantamount to departing from the marriage even if they have not left physically or filed for divorce. Church discipline takes care of the pesky obstacle of the “abusive” spouse being a believer—they can be declared an unbeliever…actually MADE an unbeliever by elder authority supposedly vested to them by God. This paves the way for sanctified divorce.

It boils down to this: whoever is handed the book by the counselor is coronated as the abused spouse. Be sure of this: if both counselees in a bad marriage were handed the book, both would be guilty of the same thing. This is the smoking gun: it depends on who the ACBC “biblical counselor” wants to label abusive for whatever the motives might be.

I think a present situation that I am involved in says it all. I know enough about the situation to know that if the person I am talking with took the book’s survey, the other spouse would be judged as emotionally abusive hands down. The other spouse was handed the book because of who the ACBC counselor wanted to label “abusive.”

This is the niche service that Leslie Vernick now supplies to ACBC counselors.

paul

This Week’s Sinner Saved by Grace Sinning and in the News: RC Sproul Jr.

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/This week’s Reformed leader who got caught is RC Sproul Jr. The scandals are now commonplace and beginning to lose their news worthiness. Commonness doesn’t excite; it’s uncommonness that gets people’s attention. This is why the Super Bowl only takes place once a year; it’s an uncommon event.

Sproul will be suspended for eleven months (without pay?) for…well…being who he is…a “sinner.” And if the Protestant leaders are dropping like flies, what’s going on among those they are leading? I can answer that. Lots of totally depraved stuff. Don’t let the resurgence of church discipline fool you. Church discipline, a concept NOT found in the Bible, is only for those who ask questions and do things that could involve the outside world in “family matters.”

You might want to understand the following: making RW Glenn, Mark Driscoll, Doug Phillips, Josh Duggar, Tullian Tchividjian, Bill Gothard, etc., resign from ministry for being who they are and being scandalous while preaching the “scandalous gospel” is not inconsistent if you really understand Protestant doctrine more than Protestants do. Their fall is merely a manifestation of God’s will. The Lord is “sovereign,” and the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Let me just boil everything down and make it real simple. Protestantism was founded on the idea that all of reality is a salvific metaphysical narrative written by God who created the narrative and all of the characters to complete himself. For the sake of his own glory and self-love which apparently was lacking, God wrote history as a metaphysical redemptive narrative. Stop right where you are now and consider: what you are presently experiencing is part of the prewritten narrative which is all about redemption. The story, and everything about it, brings glory to God.

Consequently, yes, God is supposedly the creator of evil, predetermines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, and well-being comes from rejoicing in what gives God glory for the sake of his self-love; whatever is in the narrative that he pre-wrote might even include your own damnation. Of course, this makes the most excellent piety an expression of hyper altruism. It is the practical application of John Calvin’s Worm theology.

So, since everything is predetermined for God’s glory, and God is glorified by damnation and salvation alike which are eternal, every verse in the Bible is about salvation, or what we call “justification.” In the final analysis, in accordance with the least common denominator, you MIGHT be saved in the end by living by faith alone in the gospel of sovereignty. To at least have a chance, you must enter the “race of faith” in which the reward is salvation. When you hear folks talk about “sovereign grace,” and the “sovereign gospel,” and the “gospel of sovereignty,” this is what it boils down to. When good Protestants say, “God is in control,” they are not kidding—God is in TOTAL control.

This is why institutional Christians have always lacked wisdom in regard to everyday wisdom and solving the more difficult questions of life (what we call sanctification), because every verse in the Bible is about justification, ie., “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.” As one pastor told me, “I am not going to be distracted from the gospel by counseling people.” Good Protestant pastors farm out counseling to the ACBC where the counseling is “gospel-centered.” And this counseling will give people peace; after all, there is nothing you can do about anything, so stop fighting what God has predetermined. Relax, be happy, everything is predetermined for God’s glory. Got tragedy? Praise the Lord for his glory. Rejoice and be happy for this is the day he has made.

Let’s apply this to what we see on the Christian hillsides littered with dead bodies. According to what I was told by Clearcreek Chapel elder Greg Cook some time ago, counseling guru Stuart Scott is no longer an elder at John MacArthur’s church because Scott’s children were sinners saved by grace acting like sinners. This is the crux: obedience, like every other reality, is determined and delivered by God, not us. So yes, we are in fact sinners, but anything that we do that is good is performed by God, not us. Couple this with what I have heard MacArthur say on the radio: (paraphrase) “Saved obedient children are God’s mark on a man confirming his calling to the ministry.”  See how this works?

Now let’s apply this to Sproul et al. Their punishment is not inconsistent with the idea that they are punished for being what they preach because their fallenness or unfallenness is determined by God. What they did is who they are, and God did not prevent what they did, but regardless, they deserve the punishment. Why? Because God is the potter and we are the clay, and all clay pots are made for his glory whether pots of wrath or pots of glory. Look, read Sproul’s statement about what he did and his suspension, this is written all over it if you know what to look for.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I can hear the screaming Protestant denials like alley cats in the night while in heat. But what they say reveals the foundations of their Protestant mindset: “It’s God’s will,” or “Lord willing,“ “I didn’t do it, it was the Holy Spirit,” “God is in control,” etc., etc., etc. These statements are NEVER qualified. What’s God’s will? Everything, or just certain categories? If we didn’t do it and the Holy Spirit did it, what do we do, if anything as opposed to what the Spirit does? If we drive somewhere to do a good work, does the Spirit drive the car, or do we drive the car? And if we drive the car, does that qualify as participation in the good work? To what extent is God in control? Not only that, an orientation towards solutions is hardly ever observed, but rather, “we will pray for you.” This is because solutions are irreverent in regard to what God has supposedly predetermined. Our prayers serve to display our “perplexity” as set against God’s omniscience which also gives him glory. Regardless of the circumstance, we don’t pray for a good ending, but for God’s glory, ie., whatever happens.

The hard determinism of Protestantism’s gospel of sovereignty is deluded over the years leaving behind anemic sanctification which causes people to look for a solution. This results in, “Eureka! Here is the problem: we have strayed away from our original gospel!” Hence, enter the New Calvinist movement.

Common sense tells us that this doctrine will lead to, at least, a relaxation of the law, or better stated, a relaxation of love (“If you love me, keep my commandments”), but there is no contradiction in these leaders paying consequences for living out the gospel that they preach…

…whether they obey/love or not is God’s doing which confirms God’s mantle upon them. If anyone loves, it is really God loving himself through the individual. As the Christian song states, “We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.” Wellbeing is defined as seeing yourself as a mere character in God’s prewritten metaphysical narrative and plying whatever predetermined role that gives him glory. If you believe that anything you do is your own choice, you are playing god and writing your own reality.

Now, apply this construct to Sproul’s post and see if it makes any sense. Will any of these guys return to ministry? Only the future reading of God’s narrative will tell…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

paul

How to Sign Away Your Life to a Biblical Counselor

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

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

Shawnee membership dismissal cropped

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

Smoking Gun: ACBC is a Nationwide Divorce Mill

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 13, 2015

EDMChrist made it clear that what God has brought together NO man is to separate. Does this mean God predetermines every marriage in regard to particular spouses? I doubt it. This probably refers to God’s covenant of marriage and the theology of vows. At any rate, death, unrepentant adultery, and an unbeliever who abandons their believing spouse are the only exceptions.

How does one live happily with a spouse who has become difficult? For Protestants, that is a hard question because the focus has been on justification for 500 years with little emphasis on the biblical art of godly living (sanctification). When you are supposedly sanctified by a perpetual “return to the gospel afresh”… knowledge on how to repair a marriage is going to be what it is today, practically nonexistent. And of course, living by the same gospel that saves us (not saved us) is a very complex matter needing the ongoing “research and development” of gospel-centered experts.

Add to that: Protestants don’t even have justification right. Little wonder then that the institutional church is a train wreck after 500 years of scholarship and trillions of hard-earned laity dollars. What is the answer? The answer is a laity movement that will reclaim the priesthood of believers seized by Gnostic hacks dressed in biblical garb.

The answers will come through one Lord, and one word interpreted by individuals indwelt by the Spirit who gives all knowledge needed for life and godliness liberally. In case we forget the obvious, “I was only obeying the elders” will not cut it when you stand before Christ and His blazing eyes of fire. The Nazis were very good at being “subordinate,” and many were hanged accordingly. I realize Reformed elders claim God gave them His authority to rule on earth, but you may want to rethink that claim.

As predicted, the biblical counseling movement overseen primarily by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) has become a divorce mill via its efforts to build marriages that “look like the gospel.” And the smoking gun is a book written by Leslie Vernick titled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope that is widely used among ACBC counselors.

The obvious problems here are first seen in the title of the book. As Christians, is it really our goal to, “find our voice”? I thought it was our goal to please God in every circumstance. Secondly, the idea of emotional destruction is subjective at best and a ticket to do anything you want at worst. To make the point here, Google “American Civil Law.” In a culture judging anything that causes bad feelings to be abuse, such an approach to “biblical counseling” should give one pause.

Thirdly, why do Christians need a 240 page book written by a serial regurgitator of other people’s thoughts to FIND hope? You would think that by now Christians would be fairly certain about where hope is found.

Chilling is the examination of the 61-question survey found in the book that supposedly determines if one is in an abusive relationship or not. In the hands of a person that is unhappy in their marriage, the outcome will be a foregone conclusion. It’s like asking a chicken if Colonel Sanders is an emotional abuser.

The lynchpin becomes the ACBC’s loose interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:12-16. If the spouse is already an unbeliever, emotional abuse is tantamount to departing from the marriage even if they have not left physically or filed for divorce. Church discipline takes care of the pesky obstacle of the “abusive” spouse being a believer—they can be declared an unbeliever…actually MADE an unbeliever by elder authority supposedly vested to them by God. This paves the way for sanctified divorce.

It boils down to this: whoever is handed the book by the counselor is coronated as the abused spouse. Be sure of this: if both counselees in a bad marriage were handed the book, both would be guilty of the same thing. This is the smoking gun: it depends on who the ACBC “biblical counselor” wants to label abusive for whatever the motives might be.

I think a present situation that I am involved in says it all. I know enough about the situation to know that if the person I am talking with took the book’s survey, the other spouse would be judged as emotionally abusive hands down. The other spouse was handed the book because of who the ACBC counselor wanted to label “abusive.”

This is the niche service that Leslie Vernick now supplies to ACBC counselors.

paul

How and Why “Gospel-Driven” Sanctification / Sonship Theology Creates Cult-Like Churches

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 21, 2015

PPT HandleOriginally published January 31, 2011

In all of my writings on gospel-driven sanctification / gospel sanctification, and its apparent mother, Sonship Theology, I have primarily addressed the error, and not its ill effects on discipleship and people’s lives. Basically, refutation of false doctrine has prevention in mind, not theological debate for entertainment purposes.

My firsthand experience with a “gospel centered” church is applicable here because this same church and its leaders are well respected in Reformed circles, and especially among those who propagate gospel-driven sanctification. Paul David Tripp speaks at this particular church often, and others such as Stewart Scott and Robert Jones have recently participated in major events there as well. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that this particular church’s activities are not considered to be abnormal among “gospel centered” persuasions.

The church I am using as an example regarding the “what,” (I will write about the “how” last) would classify themselves as being a New Covenant Theology church. They consider “Theology of the Heart, redemptive-historical hermeneutics, gospel-driven sanctification, and Christian hedonism to be tenets of NCT. What does this church and many others look like as a result of this theology?

Foremost, the leadership is very controlling. Members must have permission from the elders to vacate membership status. Those who attempt to leave membership for “unbiblical reasons” can be placed under church discipline. I have personally counseled former parishioners of said church on how to “get out of there” with minimal stress, and how to leave without being placed under church discipline. At this particular church, leaving for doctrinal reasons is considered “unbiblical.” In one particular case where the elders deemed the reason for departure “biblical,” the parishioner informed me that the chairman of the elders told him, “We would never prevent you from leaving for that reason.”

These elders are also very controlling in the area of thought. In a sermon preached by one of its elders entitled, “How to Listen to a Sermon” the following idea was introduced: Christians are not able to grow spiritually from personal study, but must only learn from sitting under preaching; specifically, preaching by the elders at that church. Here is an excerpt from the manuscript:

“You think, perhaps, that [you] can fill up the other half of the plate with personal study, devotions, or quiet times, or a radio program. Beloved, you cannot. Scripture is relatively quiet on such practices. [Particularly on the issue of radios]. But on preaching, the case is clear and strong. Neglect preaching and neglect your soul. I know that some are kept from services for legitimate reasons which are out of their control, but I doubt that is the case for most. I beseech you, change your ways for the good of this people and for the good of your own selves. Give the Word its rightful place. As I have often said, there is no better place you could be than here, under the preaching of the Word.”

Of course, the first thing that would come to mind for any thinking Christian is the biblical account of the Bereans who studied the Scriptures on their own to determine the truthfulness of Paul’s teaching. But according to this elder, the account in Acts 17 wasn’t referring to that, but rather was illustrating the proper way to listen to a sermon:

“The text here implies that there was an interactive nature between three entities: The preacher, the hearers, and the Word. Note this cycle: Paul, from the Word, delivers words. The Bereans, from Paul’s words, go to the Word. The Word cycles from God, through the preacher, to the people, back to the Word, and this, verse 12 tells us, produced belief in the God of the Word.”

In other words, personal study alone cannot produce belief; preaching from an elder must be part of the “cycle” that produces belief (notice the emphasis on “belief” rather than increased knowledge per the progressive justification element of gospel sanctification). In fact, he said that personal study only “flavors” the preaching:

“So a good preparation for the public preaching of the Word is the private consumption of the Word. It will be the seasoning that brings out the flavor – salt on your French fries, if you will”

So, personal Bible study isn’t the food, it’s just the flavoring. And, personal Bible study is for “flavoring,” not discernment. Buyer beware.

In another category under mind control, separate small groups that meet during the week under the supervision of individual elders in homes of members are instructed not to associate, or speak with members who have left for doctrinal reasons. Also, the primary purpose of the meetings is to get feedback from the parishioners on what was taught the previous Sunday, and fielding objections or concerns. In other “gospel centered” churches, these mid-week meetings are closed to outsiders, or non-members. These meetings have also been known to produce weird occurrences like the time an elder unexpectedly produced all of his financial records in plain view of the group for their inspection. A parishioner confided in me that he found the incident to be surreal, and more information than he cared to know about.

Unknown, for the most part, is the gospel-driven use of what’s called redemptive church discipline. It is a staple of these churches, and it is a very broad use of church discipline. Reformed Christians who join “gospel centered” churches assume it is a reference to traditional forms of church discipline. Parishioners can be placed in this process for any sin, and without any prior notice or inclination. It is not the normal process of inquisitive steps to determine a Christian’s willingness to repent, but more like a counseling process in which elders judge when the parishioner has actually repented. Verbal repentance on the part of the subject is not accepted. Members are not free to leave membership while in this process without being excommunicated for supposedly attempting to vacate membership while in the midst of an unresolved sin issue. Those who dispute gospel sanctification are often placed into the process to convert them to a “redemptive” view of sanctification. They either convert, or they’re excommunicated. Accounts of “gospel centered” churches using this process to control parishioners is vast.

However, the major complaint coming out of these churches is the ignoring of clear biblical mandates by their elders. Parishioners are often perplexed by this. But this is because the elders of these churches believe the Bible is solely for the purpose of showing forth redemptive principles (ie., the gospel) and not instruction. Per New Covenant Theology, they are only obligated to a “higher law of love” which replaced biblical imperatives. The idea is the following: all actions done with the motive of love are righteous. As Francis Chan wrote, “….because when we are loving, we can’t sin”(Crazy Love p.102). As in one case when an elder was caught counseling someone’s wife without the husband’s knowledge – his defense was that he did so “in love.” Therefore, just about anything goes in gospel-driven churches, and well published accounts include excommunicating hundreds of members at one time for non-attendance, which is a questionable act when Scripture is considered to say the least.

How does this happen? First, it begins with a niche doctrine. Propagators often admit that gospel sanctification is a “radical departure” from orthodox doctrine. Those are the words of the propagators, not mine. Any movement that begins with a niche doctrine is in danger of becoming a cult, that’s Cult Apologetics 101. My research has made the following evident: the doctrine was conceived by a man named Jack Miller in, or about 1980.

Secondly, the niche doctrine draws leaders who are more interested in being unique than being in the truth. Take note of what one of the elders of the aforementioned church said while introducing a Sunday school class teaching Christian hedonism: “This doctrine is what makes us unique.” Whenever the goal is to be unique, trouble is not far behind.

Thirdly, niche doctrines and a striving to be different leads to subjectivity and confusion because the leaders are constantly striving to make the doctrine fit with reality and orthodoxy. This results in the kind of events mentioned above.

Fourthly, these elements mixed with the fact that most Reformed churches are autonomous in their polity is an extremely dangerous combination. Basically, the leadership is not accountable and the congregation is on their own.

Niche doctrines, the control of members in thought and action, the ignoring of clear biblical mandates, misuse of unbiblical church discipline in order to control parishioners through fear, manipulation, and intimidation; this is how the “gospel centered” leaders of our day adorn their vile doctrine. Therefore, perhaps they should be named with the cult leaders of ages past accordingly.

paul

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