25
Sep
12

Drinking Kool-Aid with Paul Dohse

There are several blogs that identify themselves as “Discernment Ministries.” It is their clear belief that they can see things that no one else can see. They are able to parse statements and find in them meanings that even those who made those statements didn’t intend. My fear is that since there are actually many people who do lack discernment, these people will be successful in leading them into their false teachings and prodigious misrepresentations.

I dropped by a blog called “Paul’s Passing Thoughts” and was amazed not only by some of the comments but also by the host’s failure to respond to some of these comments with clear biblical arguments that would correct their errors. I would have left such comments had the host not banned any future comments from me. He has not singled me out. He bans anyone who begins to press him for actual quotations and who presents biblical arguments for which Paul has no answers.

I have hesitated to identify his blog by name because I didn’t want to dignify it unnecessarily, but I feel it is necessary to warn you of this “boar [perhaps I should say “bore”] out of the woods.”

The following is a post by a person who calls himself Argo:

Christ did not die to make us holy. Christ died because we were not holy. His sacrifice was the testimony of Gods mercy…in spite of our lack of our sin, the perfect sacrifice is why we can still be saved. Holiness is not a prerequisite for salvation…thus Christ did not die to make us holy. He died so we could be saved. There were no other motives. We are to be holy as evidence of our salvation and the Spirit’s power. Christ’s sacrifice has nothing to do with our “holiness” but everything to do with our lack thereof. Claiming that Jesus died “to make us Holy” is merely another way these Gnostics attempt to separate the believer from the Holy Spirit. If they ever concede that it is the Spirit which makes us holy, they understand that their “authority” blows away…that the believer first answers to God and conscience, not Kevin and his comrades. Jesus’s work on the cross is finished. And He may die so that the Spirit may come, but remember, the Spirit comes of His own accord, and does His own unique part. Holiness is thus by the power of the Holy Ghost, not Christ.”

Though this comment is egregiously erroneous, the statement itself didn’t bother me as badly as did the sinful silence of the blog’s owner, Paul M. Dohse Sr. One wonders if these people have ever read the New Testament Scripture. Statements like these not only betray a profound ignorance of theology and biblical truth but also a blood thirsty desire to denigrate those who are actually involved in the work of the gospel. One reason these people are so deluded is that they have selectively eliminated any opinions that disagree with theirs, then the three or four of them sit around the campfire, singing Kumbaya, and drinking Paul’s Kool-Aid. The views they express are so far out of the mainstream of biblical Christianity the sky isn’t even blue in their world.

At the risk of insulting the intelligence of someone reading here, I want to answer a few of these statements.

1. Two passages immediately leapt to my mind when I read, “Christ did not die to make us holy. Christ died because we were not holy. His sacrifice was the testimony of Gods mercy…in spite of our lack of our sin, the perfect sacrifice is why we can still be saved. Holiness is not a prerequisite for salvation…thus Christ did not die to make us holy. He died so we could be saved.” They are Ephesians 5:25-26 and Titus 2:11-14. Consider these passages with me.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25-27,

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

These verses clearly have reference to Christ’s purpose in giving himself to die for the church. Verse twenty six begins with the words, “that he might sanctify her. . . .” Then, verse twenty-seven ends with the words, “that she might be holy and without blemish.” Both these clauses are “purpose clauses” They begin with a word translated “that” or “in order that” and express the purpose for that which preceded them. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, IN ORDER THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY HER. Since the words “sanctify her” could rightly be translated “make her holy,” we may conclude that CHRIST DIED TO MAKE US HOLY.

The other passage is Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Paul tells us without equivocation why Jesus Christ gave himself for us. What he gave himself to accomplish sounds a great deal like sanctification to me. He gave himself for us to redeem us (set us free) from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession.

2. The second observation I would make is that these people are woefully imprecise in their use of biblical and theological terms. Consider this statement. “Holiness is not a prerequisite for salvation…thus Christ did not die to make us holy. He died so we could be saved.” Aside from the fact that this statement makes very little sense, it is woefully vague in reference to the terms “saved” and “salvation.”

First, he states, “Holiness is not a prerequisite for salvation.” The reality is, holiness is salvation. It is this sense in which Paul used the word “salvation” in Romans 13:11, “. . .for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” It is holiness for which God chose his people before the world began (see Eph. 1:4). God predestined his people to be conformed to the image of Christ (See Romans 8:29). God did not elect his people merely to forgive our sins, but to restore his image in us.

* Please see an extended comment below.

Then he states, “Christ did not die to make us holy. He died so we could be saved.” I suspect he meant, he died so we could be justified, but his imprecision renders his statement nonsensical. It is true, holiness is not a prerequisite for justification but justification is but one aspect of God’s great work of salvation. In reality, holiness is not a “prerequisite” for any aspect of salvation. It is the ultimate goal of God’s redemptive plan. The only prerequisite for salvation is that we be sinners, lost and without hope.

3. He wrongly bifurcates the ministries of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He states,

Claiming that Jesus died “to make us Holy” is merely another way these Gnostics attempt to separate the believer from the Holy Spirit. If they ever concede that it is the Spirit which makes us holy, they understand that their “authority” blows away…that the believer first answers to God and conscience, not Kevin and his comrades. Jesus’s work on the cross is finished. And He may die so that the Spirit may come, but remember, the Spirit comes of His own accord, and does His own unique part. Holiness is thus by the power of the Holy Ghost, not Christ.

It is true that in the economy of redemption there are unique tasks performed by the members of the Trinity. The Father does not sacrifice himself for us. The Son does not call us. The Spirit does not choose us. It is also true that Jesus acted as the agent of the Father and the Spirit acts as the agent of the Father and the Son. Since this is true, it is correct to say that the Father is doing what the Son does and the Father and Son are doing what the Spirit does. “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19). The Spirit acts as “The Spirit of Christ.” Contrary to Argo’s statement, “the Spirit comes of His own accord . . . .” Jesus said, “”But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26). Notice that not only does Jesus send the Spirit but also the Spirit “proceeds from the Father.” Additionally, notice also that the Spirit will “bear witness about” him. It is the Spirit’s ministry to speak for and reveal the Son just as it was the Son’s task to speak for and reveal the Father.
The Spirit does not “come of his own accord” to do his own thing. His work is to apply what the Father planned and the Son accomplished. Apart from the Son’s accomplishments, the Spirit would have nothing to apply. It is erroneous to suggest that since that it is the Spirit’s ministry to make us holy, Jesus couldn’t not have died to make us holy.

4. The reference he makes to “these Gnostics” is merely a mindless parroting of Paul Dohse’s assertion that Calvinists are followers of the Gnostic heresy that emerged in the middle of the second Century. No one who has studied the teachings of the Gnostics could take this charge seriously. Paul has somehow convinced himself that he is the great seer and defender of the faith who discerns what no one else can see. Intelligent people can’t see it because it isn’t there.

It is time for Paul to actually show a bit of discernment, begin to do a bit of exegetical spade work to find out what the Scriptures actually teach, and stop his attacks on those who are actually doing the work of the gospel.

*I would be so bold as to suggest that making the elect holy was not simply one purpose of Christ’s redemptive work; it was the primary purpose of that redemptive work. Justification, though absolutely essential to this long range purpose, is but one step toward that ultimate goal. Why and how is justification essential to God’s work of restoring his image (the ultimate goal of sanctification) in his elect people? The answer is simple. People who feel guilty don’t draw near to God, they run from him. People who feel guilty don’t love God. People who feel guilty don’t worship God. Guilty people will never progress in sanctification. This is how justification relates to sanctification. It is not that sanctification in any way adds to our meritorious righteousness in God’s presence, (the only meritorious righteousness we possess is the righteousness of Christ) but that having been declared righteous in God’s sight, there is no obstacle blocking our free access into his presence.

There are two approaches to sanctification, one biblical, the other unbiblical and unsuccessful. These two approaches are illustrated by a passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Please understand that I am not suggesting that we should ignore any aspect of this passage. The issue is whether we should emphasize one aspect of the passage almost to the exclusion of the other. There verses I have in mind read as follows:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 12-16).

Wow! The first part of that passage is tough. How many of us have heard this part of the passage preached with such fervor that we felt we were sitting directly under Mt. Sinai with lightening crashing all around us. “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” What a fearful and searching text. We dare not detract from the gravity of these words. We must live all of life with the intense consciousness that God sees and knows us completely.

The other part of the passage reminds us we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens and has been accepted at God’s throne. This one is a sympathizing priest who is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses.

I am convinced, especially since I was at one time of this mind set, that there are those who believe they can keep people from sin by making them feel as guilty as possible. If you make people feel as if God is going to get them if they get out of line, they will be motivated to obedience. The first part of this passage as a major soul searcher. What a great passage to use for crowd control.

My question is, which part of this passage is followed by these words, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”?

He doesn’t say, “Everything about us, our thoughts, words, and deeds, are exposed to the one to whom we must give an account, let us, therefore, draw near to the throne of grace . . . .” That doesn’t work very well, does it? To quote the words of a song that was popular a few years ago, “. . . guilty feet have got no rhythm.”

We must never fail to focus on the truth that we must give an account to a God who knows our most secret thoughts, words and deeds. That is reality. But, we must never allow ourselves to focus on that truth without also remembering that we have a great priest who represents us before the throne and whose presence there secures our acceptance.

Justification is not salvation; it is a means to an end.

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1 Response to “Drinking Kool-Aid with Paul Dohse”


  1. 1 seventh son
    October 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Very helpful scriptures and explanation, thanks.


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