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

Notice to Elders Concerning Possible Church Discipline: State of Ohio

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 24, 2016

Originally published October 9, 2014

To the Elders of Anywhere Baptist Church, Ohio:

Regardless of what is stated in your Book of Faith and Order, or any covenant signed by me, The Ohio Revised Code states the following under chapter 2905: Kidnapping and Extortion, and 2905.12 specifically, “Coercion”:

(A) No person, with purpose to coerce another into taking or refraining from action concerning which the other person has a legal freedom of choice, shall do any of the following:

2) Utter or threaten any calumny against any person;

3) Expose or threaten to expose any matter tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, to damage any person’s personal or business repute, or to impair any person’s credit;

Please be advised that I have a “legal freedom of choice” to vacate my membership at Anywhere Baptist Church at any time I choose for whatever reason.

Signed,
Joe Grace

Calvinist Husbands Need to Shape Up or Be Shipped Out

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 2, 2016

Written by  PPT/TANC Publishing ghostwriter one

1Corinthians 7:10 – To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Susan and I, for some time, have been presented with opportunities to counsel women married to Calvinists. Not confused Calvinists who are often confused enough to be good guys, but Calvinists that really understand what a Calvinist is and act like one. Nor are we writing about women who are Calvinist queens and couldn’t be happier. Happiness is a good thing; we are called to it. Look, if some gal is happy being married to an ISIS guy, more power to her—life is about choices. Don’t misunderstand me, that is only an analogy; I am not sure, but I don’t think I have ever compared Calvinism to ISIS.

Rather, we are referring to women in marriages where Calvinism is the crux of the issue. In some of these situations, the wife has been brought up on church discipline and declared an unbeliever. That is totally unacceptable, and grounds for immediate biblical divorce. Let me explain.

The thing that I like most about my life is that I am constantly learning, and would like to think that learning is leading to change. Something strange also happens when you are in a learning mode; you are completely comfortable not knowing stuff. If you are in the process of learning, you know what you don’t understand will come into focus eventually. So, we are about to look at 1Corithians 7:10-16, and some of it I understand, and some of it I don’t. This is about what I do understand.

What I do understand came together through these counseling experiences, my recent gig as an HHA, and the word of God. My recent experience as an HHA caused me to take a closer look at 1Corinthians 7:13 in context with the rest of the chapter. In recent history, “’deinstitutionalization,’ the policy of closing state mental institutions,” has led to mental patients being dumped into the realm of HHA care. Hence, HHAs are often saddled unawares, perhaps because of medical disclosure laws, with individuals who would have been institutionalized in the past.

My first two clients where Bipolar ODD/PAPD individuals. That’s Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder. Basically, every minute of the day, anything that involves conversation is a debate. These people suck the peace and civility out of every environment that they enter into. When these people were institutionalized, psych aids could deal with them because they were labeled and everyone understood why they (patient and aid) were in the situation and what needed to be done. The aid could simply ignore their verbal abuse and was not obligated to please them in any way, shape, or form because the institutionalized individual’s rights were taken away.

In context of HHA care, the aid is obligated to please a serial abuser, and their job will probably depend on it. I have already heard the horror stories of young single women suffering the verbal abuse day after day in order to support their children. In my own experience, these people have wreaked havoc on my own personal wellbeing. When you are with these clients, you walk on eggshells the whole day, and any conversation =’s conflict. You don’t sneeze, you don’t yawn, you don’t use their bathroom, you don’t chuckle because of something they are watching on TV, you don’t say that you like their dog, or their cat, everything you say or do is an issue or the rewriting of the Declaration of Independence.

And here now, finally, is my point in context: one such client is a faithful church attender and professing Christian husband married to another professing Christian. I never met her as she works a lot of hours; go figure. Apparently, she found a job as a live-in nanny somewhere. Well, I would imagine. As a professing Christian, is she biblically obligated to remain married to this man? I don’t think she is for four biblical reasons:

  1. She may treat him as an unbeliever because of his fruit that obviously comes from a bad tree.
  2. He is only pleased to live with her for unbiblical reasons.
  3. She is called to peace.
  4. She does not know for certain that she will ever be able to lead him to the Lord, and is not obligated to sacrifice her call to peace accordingly.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think I have ever compared a Calvinist to someone Bipolar or ODD/PAPD. However, on the flip side, the idea that a spouse who has been brought up on church discipline not having any rights as a spouse does sound familiar.

The windcock of this conversation is verse 13. “If” in this context is a conditional noun used with “and” stating two conditions: an unbelieving spouse that is “pleased”(KJV) to live with a believing spouse. It’s a conditional clause—if the opposite is true, so is the condition, and the imperative. However, in this case, “not enslaved” (v.15) denotes liberty, and not an opposite imperative. Even though the believing spouse is not obligated to remain married to the unbeliever if he/she is not “pleased,” “willing” or “happy” (NET) to live with the believer, divorce is a matter of liberty and not a command. However, if the unbeliever is pleased to live with the believer, he/she “should not divorce.

“Divorce” is the decision at hand. But, in regard to a decision to stay with the displeased unbeliever, one of the benefits is NOT “the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” While I do not know exactly what this benefit means, I do know that in context it does NOT apply to a displeased unbelieving spouse, but only to a pleased unbelieving spouse. In other words, this benefit will not be reaped by the believing spouse sacrificing the following: “God has called you to peace.” This benefit only takes place in a peaceful situation.

We now hone in on the word, “consent” (ESV). Uh, this kind of puts forth the idea that the unbeliever may agree to live with the believer for a myriad of different reasons and the believer is thereby enslaved to the marriage. In regard to the idea put forth by the word “consent” in context, and in regard to how I have counseled women in the past, I now say, “nope.” This is another thing about learning mode, admitting you were wrong isn’t as hard. Let’s look at the actual word:

4909 syneudokéō (from 4862 /sýn, “identity with” and 2106 /eudokéō, “seems good”) – properly, to consent in a “hearty” (personal) way, in keeping with the close identification involved (note the syn);enthusiastically agree to cooperate with a partner to reach solutions, i.e. to achieve the things both have committed to do together.

This is why the word is often translated “pleased” or “happy” in many English translations. It’s the idea of being in agreement with each other. It has the idea of being happily on the same page regarding life in general. This does not include any sordid reason under the sun that an unbeliever might “consent” to living with a believer.

But, isn’t this qualified by the unbeliever deciding to divorce? “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved.” I believe that “But” marks a contrast and comparison between a qualified situation and the likely mentality of a believer: “If I endeavor to stay with this person no matter what, God can use me to save them.” Paul’s answer to that is, “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” yes, it could happen, as it did with my grandmother 36 years later, but it’s not guaranteed.

Furthermore, it is very questionable as to whether or not “But” is the actual first word of verse 15 which seems to qualify the deciding factors for verses 12 and 13. In most interlinears, verse 15 abruptly begins with another “If” denoting another situation altogether. This is a situation where the unbeliever is obviously displeased about living with the believer, and decides to divorce or separate. A few English translations note this and leave out “But” in exchange for “Yet” (ERV) and “If” (WNT). The YLT even adds more delineation by adding “And” before “if” in the beginning of the verse. This puts forth the idea of an additional situation altogether rather than further qualifying the previous situations. I believe the YLT has it right.

Now let’s apply this to a situation where a married couple are at doctrinal odds, and the doctrine, in this case, Calvinism has created un-oneness in the marriage. The spouse, in most cases the wife, refuses to submit to the authority of orthodoxy. False doctrine promoted by any group is defined in the Bible as “heresy” or sectarianism; meaning a person or group that divides with false doctrine.

First, the wife is in fact married to an unbeliever because the husband believes a false gospel. Like in all cases, this doesn’t mean she knows his heart for certain, but because he professes a false gospel, she can treat him “like” an unbeliever. In only one of many qualifying examples, authentic Calvinism is almost always part and parcel with the doctrine of double imputation which is a blatant gospel aberration.

Second, especially in cases where the husband has had the wife brought up on church discipline, which isn’t in the Bible to begin with, it is apparent that he is not pleased to live with her. And additionally, in considering the texts used to support a phrase found nowhere in the Bible, “church discipline,” these verses demand a separation of fellowship. Uh, really? While you are still like, married? Does this mean that Matthew 18 is probably not meant to be applied to marriage? Ya think?

Nevertheless, the Calvinist, ie, unbeliever, has in fact left the wife via church discipline because the verses used in the orthodoxy of it, in fact, call for separation and disfellowship. Hence, the Calvinist, ie, unbeliever, is consenting to live with the believing wife who has rejected his false gospel for unwarranted and unbiblical reasons. She is free to divorce him immediately unless he repents posthaste. And additionally, she should take him to the cleaners financially. Well, that might be a little harsh.

However, all in all, the Christian spouse, whether husband or wife, should never violate their conscience if it is not yet at peace with this exegesis. If a spouse then says, “I have been in turmoil and walking on eggshells for _______ years and I am totally at peace with this exegesis,” alrighty then. The Calvinist needs to shape up or be shipped out. You are called to peace, not a false gospel.

Marriage is about oneness, peace, and love—not law.

Calvinism and the Cultural Spoon Feeding of Control and Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 26, 2016

potionOriginally posted January 22, 2015

I inadvertently stumbled upon the fact that Mark Dever’s 9Marks blog has pulled down their post on John Calvin’s power of the keys. The article* was an accurate rendition of the Reformed doctrine, but apparently not nuanced enough. One of the classic marks of cultism is truth on the installment plan or a bite at a time. You don’t actually show the pie in all its glory, you feed the pie to folks in truism-size bites until they become the pie without realizing it. It matters little to Calvinists if you understand how you are controlled, just so you are controlled.

Said another way, you never see the bottle of Christocentric potion, you only open wide and let Mark Dever et al spoon-feed it to you. So, as a service to inquiring minds that want to know, I dug up an article that I wrote about the overly overt Calvinist article. Enjoy.

9Marks Keys

Leeman’s article supplies the Cliff Notes to his book and explains something that I have seen among New Calvinist groups for a long time: they believe elders have the authority to determine/declare the salvation of a person. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant, God will honor it. I have seen firsthand how this teaching enables New Calvinist leaders to control parishioners. You see, I only write articles like “New Calvinism and Hotel California” to keep my sanity, but there is more truth to it than I like to admit. Unless you want to lose your salvation, you’re not leaving a New Calvinist church unless they say you can. And contending against their doctrine, well, that’s not for the faint of heart.

Leeman states the following in the article:

If the sinner still does not repent, round 4 ensues, which involves removing the individual from the covenant community—treating him like an outsider. Sometimes this is called “church discipline” or “excommunication.”

Jesus then invokes the keys of the kingdom again: whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever the church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven. And Jesus is not addressing the apostles or the universal church here. He’s envisioning a local church. The local church, it appears, has been given the apostolic keys of the kingdom. As a result…

The local church has heaven’s authority for declaring who on earth is a kingdom citizen and therefore represents heaven.

And….

Jesus has authorized the local church to stand in front of a confessor, to consider the confessor’s confession, to consider his or her life, and to announce an official judgment on heaven’s behalf. Is that the right confession? Is this a true confessor? It’s just like Jesus did with Peter.

And, when do new Calvinists have the authority to do this? According to Leeman:

Matthew 18, which is filled with even more earth and heaven talk than Matthew 16, presents a crystal clear picture of this authority in the context of church discipline. But the ability to remove someone from membership presupposes an overarching authority to assess a person’s gospel words and deeds and to render a judgment. This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.

In case you missed it: “This authority begins the moment a person shows up in the church building doors claiming, like Peter did, that Jesus is the Christ.” Told ya. In a New Calvinist church, they think they have authority over you whether you’re a member or not.

And what if they are wrong about their declaration? According to Leeman:

Will the local church exercise the keys perfectly? No. It will make mistakes just like every other authority established by Jesus makes mistakes. As such, the local church will be an imperfect representation of Christ’s end-time gathering. But the fact that it makes mistakes, just like presidents and parents do, does not mean it’s without an authoritative mandate.

Oh well, stuff happens, right?

Leeman ends the piece, like all New Calvinists do with a back door of escape in case somebody who matters calls them out on such outrageous teachings:

Does all this mean that what a local church does on earth actually changes a person’s status in heaven? No, the church’s job is like an ambassador’s or an embassy’s. Remember what I said about visiting the U.S. Embassy in Brussels when my passport expired. The embassy didn’t make me a citizen, it formally affirmed it in a way I could not myself. So with a local church.

This statement completely contradicts everything he said prior. If Christ binds it in heaven, WHY WOULD IT NOT CHANGE THE STATUS OF THE BELIEVER? Is it bound or not?

Of course, the message he wants parishioners to get is the authority part and the supposed fact that an elder declaration concerning a person’s salvation carries some hefty weight. But his contradiction makes my point. In Matthew 18, there is no such authority even being discussed, that’s why Leeman necessarily contradicts himself. By the time you get to the fourth step, several people are involved in what’s usually a messy situation. Several different scenarios could be in the mix here. Why did Jesus go from telling it to the whole church to discussing two or three people? I believe that Jesus is saying that heaven will honor the ones in the situation that are conducting themselves truthfully—even if it is only two people. I don’t think Jesus is assuming that church discipline always goes well.

Regardless of how weak you think that argument is, clearly, the salvific status of the person is not in view here. Only fellowship status is in view; they are to be treated “like” an unbeliever, NOT DECALRED AN UNBELIEVER. How do we know this? Because in the situation at Corinth regarding the guy that committed a sexual sin of the baser sort, Paul assumes that he is a believer, even in the midst of his excommunication:

1 Corinthians 5:5

Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

If one examines the Scriptures carefully, there is really no such thing as “church discipline” to begin with. There is self-discipline and the Lord’s discipline. We change a believer’s fellowship status so that the Lord will discipline them, but the church does not do the discipline. This point is much more than mere semantics and keeps so-called “church discipline” in proper perspective. There is much woe in the church because many elders think they do the discipline and not the Lord.

paul

*As it turns out, we found it uploaded to pdf format.  Thanks to whomever did that! ~~Pearl

Mark Dever: Church Membership is First Category of Church Discipline

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 23, 2016

Dever_bwOriginally posted January 28, 2015

Apparently, if you are in a Calvinist church, the pastor’s job-one is training you up in the way you should go so you won’t be brought up on church discipline. I have known for some time that Calvinists consider counseling the first step of church discipline, but must admit I was unaware that they also perceive church membership as a first phase of discipline.

According to Dever, all teaching is discipline, and seen as preventative medicine against “corrective” church discipline. So be advised: when you are sitting under the teaching of your local Calvinist pastor, listen carefully and take heed so he will not have to deal with you as a wayward adolescent in the future.

In the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, yet another Neo-Calvinist translation in addition to the ESV, Dever states on page 1649 that there are “two categories of church discipline.”

Aside: there isn’t even one to begin with. Nowhere does the Bible teach a discipline carried out by the church that affects salvation status. For the seven biblical procedures to resolve conflict in the church download this free ebook.

Another aside: there isn’t a one size fits all “church discipline” procedure as practiced by Reformed churches. The commentary by Dever is adjacent to Matthew 18 in the study bible. Matthew 18 is treated as a protocol for handling every wayward situation when the Bible describes six other procedures for dealing with conflict within the church.

Dever frames all church teachings and examples set by the leaders as “formative discipline.” Think about how these guys perceive you! You are such a spiritual loser that the only thing that will keep you from getting excommunicated is training you up in the way you should go. You are not being taught as a fellow heir, you are perceived to be a petulant little sinner poised to wreak havoc on the church at any moment. Everything modeled and taught to you is “preventative.”

This is Dever’s attitude towards people who work like dogs to pay his salary. Unbelievable, but hardly uncommon among the Reformed.

paul

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