Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Problem with Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 18, 2016

hitler1I was reminded just yesterday why believers must begin taking a much closer look at the subject of authority. A client of mine complained that her adolescent’s social services counselor actually suggested that her son should sue her! This immediately brought back to mind something Susan, my wife, had shared with me concerning outside counseling that one of her sons had received prior to our marriage that was also divisive.

Authority is bad for the family unit. A major theme of TANC Ministries of late has been the love versus authority issue. If you give the subject serious thought, it would almost seem like authority is a necessary evil. Remember, the undisputed greatest nation in history, America, was founded on less governmental authority in exchange for individual liberty. It was founded on the idea of self-governance. Until America, freedom of the individual was greatly feared and thought to be a sure catalyst of chaos that would bring an end to human existence.

But authority divides, and can only bring about conformity and nothing else. The apostle Paul said it best:

1 Timothy 1:5 – The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…

The law is used lawfully when it is used for love. Love fulfills the whole law (Rom 13:10, Gal 5:14, Jms 2:8, Matt 22:40). The law asks, “Did you sin today?” Lawfulness asks, “Did you love today?” Authority asks, “Did you do what I told you to do?” Love asks, “What do you need today?” One seeks to outdo each other in meeting needs and honoring one another (Rom 12:10 ESV), the other seeks to outdo each other with control. I have been around long enough in pastor clicks to know that the pastors who are respected most “run a tight ship.” The famous Jack Hyles, the “best preacher since the apostle Paul,” once displayed his pastoral savvy by ordering a deacon to stand up and sit down upon his command of which said deacon obeyed on cue. Parishioners sought Hyles’ permission to go on vacation and buy new cars.

The scope of authority and its true usefulness in this age is extremely narrow. Governments are God’s ministers only when they fulfill His purposes of rewarding good and punishing evil. But Romans 13:1-10 reveals something astounding: we owe the government payment for such services before God, but we only owe each other love. Government is an institution—God’s people are a body. We give money according to the needs of others, not an authoritative religious establishment.

However, the main concern of this post is how outside authority divides families and marriages, especially religious authority. In general, when there is strife and division, authority is always lingering in the shadows someplace. And most troubling is the assertion that “If everyone would just obey the Holy See there would be perfect unity.” But herein is the glaring problem: God will judge individuals—NOT institutions. Even in this present age, how many have been hanged on the gallows of justice for following the orders of those in authority? During WWII, an adolescent could totally circumvent their parents’ authority by joining the Hitler Youth movement. The authority of parents over their children was completely usurped by the state.

Likewise, due to the New Calvinist movement unmasking the true orthodoxy of the Protestant Reformation, the present-day institutional church openly claims authority over the family unit and labels husbands as sub-elders over their families. Wives who don’t buy in are stripped of their salvation by the completely bogus concept of “church discipline.” Whenever I challenge someone to find “church discipline” in the Bible, they always cite verses that invoke… “Ok, so, where is church discipline in this passage?” Take Matthew 18 for example: where is church discipline in that passage? And for that matter, where are the elders? Most absurdly assert that “tell it to the church” refers to the elders. But in regard to the way “church discipline” functions, it’s always the elders informing (telling) the congregation. So, in order to make Matthew 18 about church discipline, the church is the elders, but when it comes to applying the concept, the elders tell the church. Sigh.

And unfortunately, many husbands are all too eager to buy into the sub-elder concept. As long as they agree with the church’s orthodoxy, the wife either obeys or supposedly loses her salvation. And many of these men have the gall to object to wife spanking that is more prevalent in the institutional church than we would like to admit, but pray tell; what is the logical conclusion of all of this nonsense? Wife spanking or not is merely the difference between authority pizza toppings, plain cheese or supreme.

And it also cuts both ways. Wives who want to get rid of their husbands for whatever reason only need to become Reformation queens. Once they establish themselves as a present-day Joan of Arc, the church would not dare deprive them of having a Reformed Kool-Aid drinking husband. Hence, church sanctioned divorce is presently an epidemic.

Once one is tuned into the authority issue, the senses are flooded with data in the milieu of our culture. After hearing what the client shared with me yesterday, I came home and was channel surfing while eating dinner. A documentary about “conscience” on the EWTN channel (Catholic) caught my attention. It went something like this:

So, there are some things wrong by their very nature…So conscience, since it is a judgment of reason, and not the voice of God, can err…To avoid error, conscience must follow the teachings of the Church. Vatican II did not change this. In Constitution on Divine Revelation #10: “The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition] has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.

But again, we stand before Christ individually. I have actually heard people say that they will not stand in the judgment before God, but Christ will stand in for them if they obey the church who represents Him. So, “This is my Son…hear ye Him” is now “Hear the church.” This seems like a really bad idea to me, and obviously results in a plethora of interpretations accordingly. Even if everyone obeys an authority, there will be disagreements among the authorities.

We call that “war.”


Why the Hope of Home Fellowship is Desperately Needed

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 28, 2015

ppt-jpeg4I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me; recent changes in my life have taught me things I need to know as I strive to see a vibrant network of home fellowships come to volition. This week, I was made aware of a vast reality that most of us do not think about often. I found myself in a situation with my new employment were I was subject to a person in the realm of psychosis. Though, in the final analysis, I have choices, in regard to some employees who had to deal with this guy, not so much, if at all. In the realm of unskilled labor in an employer’s market, if you don’t want to endure the hardship, someone is waiting in line to take your place, and the food that you put in the mouths of your children.

So, I endured working for a client with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder for about four days, and during that time I had the New Testament on my mind. During New Testament times, workers were literally and legally owned by people just like this. Quitting was not an option. If you quit, you were a fugitive—slaves had no rights in that culture. The only known culture where slaves had rights was in Judea during the Old Testament era. By the way, the Sabbath was part of that.

Evil desire is a most unfortunate human reality. The Bible states that sin starts with a desire, and when the desire is obeyed, sin results. Unfortunately, the desire to control others, torture others, and kill others falls into the realm of these desires. Be sure of this: in regard to organizations like ISIS, religion is an excuse to fulfill these types of evil desires. In my situation, I could only imagine what it is like when people like this have the right to flog you.

At some point this week, I exercised my right as a free man and clocked out; the Bible lesson was complete enough in my mind. And by the way, this guy is a member in good standing at a local institutional church. During my time there in his home, he was very inquisitive about my church life. He was incredulous that our home fellowship meetings do not have “praise and worship.”

Full stop…

…this is the difference between true home fellowship, NOT cell groups of an institutional church posing as home fellowship, and the institutional church: what I was doing for him IS our praise and worship. The problem is the placard over many double doors of the institutional church: “Enter to Worship, Leave to Serve.” The single biggest issue with the institutional church is exactly that—the dichotomy between service and worship. And it is also disingenuous if you understand the core ideology of church; it is only our job to worship, and “service” flows naturally from that in the form of manifestations not really performed by us lest we have a “righteousness of our own.” And trust me, this guy had no righteousness of his own. And of course, what church is complete without one or two such as this fellow accused of being a pedophile.

So, what does the institutional church have to offer for slaves? Well, if I was a member of his church, it was clear that I would have been brought up on church discipline, and that according to him. Should we laugh or cry? Neither, we should consider why the home fellowships of the first century turned the whole world upside down. I went with this guy to deliver something at the home of a church member, and of course, he was a totally different person. Church enables people to live double lives, and have their cake and eat it too. Salvation is by being a member in good standing, ie., the elders say your in. If I did go to this guy’s church, I suck it up, repent, and make it “right” or I lose my salvation because the guy tithes more than I do. This is just the way it works.

No, slaves don’t need more slavery, they need people who gather where they live under the authority of truth and not men. They need to gather where the banner over the door is love. In the first century, Christian slaves had hope. There was much need in that culture, and this is probably why Christians assembled every day of the week. In fact, every home probably had an evening meal at roughly the same time and was open for a gathering nightly. The gatherings would have been small, and focused on need. Though the general format was a meal, Lord’s Table, some sort of spiritual discussion around the word, and encouragement towards good works, the method is and was incredibly fluid and adaptive to any situation. Christians in the worst of situations found love, purpose, encouragement, wisdom, hope, and endurance. This is particularly relevant in our culture because people in bondage of all sorts can find encouragement in a system that God designed to meet individual need.

And the last thing we need in that system is what we find everywhere in the world and its evil desires:

more authority.


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.


Notice to Elders Concerning Possible Church Discipline: State of Ohio

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on May 26, 2015

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.


Joe Grace

New Calvinist Changes in Church Discipline Policies and the Uninformed Unsaved

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

PPT HandleWill church history repeat itself in regard to the New Calvinist resurgence of the authentic Reformed gospel of progressive justification? Is New Calvinism, the fifth resurgence, dying the same social death as the prior four? Only time will tell, but the movement is clearly on the ropes.

New Calvinist churches, it is hard to say how many, are modifying their policy of bringing attendance slackers under church discipline. The mystic despot Mark Dever was the first to blaze John Calvin’s trail on this by excommunicating 256 members for nonattendance.

Now, in a reversal of this policy, many New Calvinist churches are merely sending out letters notifying the slackers that they have been removed from the membership list. However, if you carefully note Reformed ecclesiology, this is merely backdoor excommunication without the drama. John Calvin, as well as Martin Luther, were in no wise unclear about church membership being synonymous with salvation.

Undoubtedly, the New Calvinists have appeased tithers by saying they are no longer disciplining members for nonattendance, but merely removing them from the membership list…which is synonymous with removing them from the Book of Life.

I wonder if that minor detail is included in the letters.