Discussion with Paul Dohse–Enemy of the Cross

A few days ago, I emailed Paul Dohse Sr. the following question:

Would you, or a member of your group, please comment on whether you believe a person´s “righteousness” in sanctification ever rises to the level of perfection that it merits God´s declaration of justification? This is really the issue.

He posted the following as an “answer”:


After a great deal of prodding, I persuaded him to post my response to his misrepresentation of my position. The following is what I wrote:


Since it is my email you are discussing, I don’t think I should be excluded from the discussion. I can tell you exactly what I intended. As I think we can all agree, it was a question, not a statement. Questions are intended to gather information, not impart information. I used quotation marks because I was responding to statements that were being made, based on John’s First Epistle, about believers being righteous. Since you have refused to post my comments, I resorted to email. For that reason, the question and hence the word “righteousness” was out of context with the discussion. I wanted to know if she or anyone else on your blog perceives the believer’s personal righteousness as a justifying righteousness. As you know, there is an ongoing debate not only with the RC’s but also with the “New Perspective on Paul,” regarding “righteousness.” Is the basis of justification an imputed righteousness or an imparted grace that enables our obedience in righteousness that becomes the basis of our justification. The latter would be “progressive justification.” My question is whether this righteousness we possess in sanctification can ever bear the weight of God’s righteous requirements.

Please let me answer some of the charges you have made about my beliefs:

1. In keeping with classic Reformed thought, I do think believers possess a personal righteousness that is produced by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to what one of your commentators has charged, we hold that the Holy Spirit indwells and leads the believer into obedient behavior.

2. As I have stated to you on numerous occasions, I believe justification is a declaration that occurs at the point of initial faith and that it does not “progress” in any sense of that word. It is, however, perpetual. Believers STAND in this grace of justification as well as in every other aspect of grace. It does not need to be maintained by Christ’s present obedience. Jesus is no longer in an obedient relationship. His obedience belonged to his state of humiliation, not to his current state of exaltation. The only work he carries on now is the APPLICATION of his once for all finished work. That finished work of redemption maintains our standing before God. Not only was he crucified but he is the crucified one. When Paul speaks of preaching Christ crucified, he uses the perfect tense. That tense speaks of an action that was completed at a point in the past with results continuing into the present. I stand justified before God because Jesus stands crucified before God. The reason the Law cannot condemn me is because I am united to him who fulfilled its last demand. It can exact nothing from me, because it collected everything from him.

3. Nothing I can do in sanctification can or needs to complete anything having to do with justification.

4. There is no reason to reject either a finished declaration of righteousness at the point of initial faith or an open manifestation of that righteousness when Jesus returns. One idea does not exclude the other. Relative to our adoption, another judicial declaration, we are heirs of God in the present, yet we earnestly await the full manifestation of that heirship and sonship when Jesus returns. Thus, Paul wrote that we “wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). One idea does not exclude the other.

5. What we do in sanctification does not determine whether we will be justified in a future judgment. It does indicate whether or not we have been justified in the first place. You, yourself, believe our obedience in sanctification gives us ground for assurance that we have been justified. Not everyone who has professed faith in Christ has been justified.
The evidence a person’s faith is real is his obedience to Christ. A person who has not been justified through faith in the here and now will certainly not be declared righteous in a future judgment.

6. I do not believe “perfection must be maintained in sanctification for the purpose of meriting God’s declaration in a final judgment.” Perfection has been and is being maintained for every believer because we are united to him who is perfectly righteous and holy. If my perfection in sanctification were the basis of my justification, I would be doomed.

7. I do not believe –“We must have a righteousness in sanctification that “rises” to the level of perfection in order to “merit” God’s declaration. And therefore, the old self did not die with Christ, and the works of the old man are therefore held against us.” That is exactly the opposite of what I believe. That is Roman Catholic doctrine.

8. The Reformed construct does not eliminate our works of obedience on sanctification. I believe we are called on to obey. The issue is whether a person trusts in those works of obedience as the basis of his right standing before God. The Galatian problem was the tendency of the Galatian “believers” depend on something other than Jesus Christ ALONE for their justification before God and for the evidence of their heirship. They had begun well, but they were in the process of turning away from Christ and the gospel. If their turning away became complete, they would be lost. Christ would profit them nothing. True believers do not turn away. A person who trusts anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ ALONE has never trusted Jesus Christ at all.

If I were to offer a criticism of the Reformed, it would be that, at times, in seeking for evidence of saving faith in their works of obedience they begin to trust their “evidences” instead of trusting Christ. We must understand that “evidences” are never perfect; only Christ is.

9. We do not live “by faith alone” in sanctification. We do live alone by faith. Any walk that is not by faith is a sinful life. Nothing we do is acceptable to God apart from faith. It is “faith that works by love.” We don’t simply “learn and do.” We learn and do “by faith.” We “trust and obey.”

10. Paul, you wrote, “Works must be added to our Christian life by faith alone. How in the world would you do that? This would seem to lead to all kinds of complicated introspection and fear that we are working by faith alone, and not “in our own efforts.” [Perhaps you meant, fear that we are not working by faith alone but “in our own efforts.”]
As I stated, we do not believe in sanctification “by faith alone.” There is nothing wrong with introspection from time to time. If there is no reason for it, it can be a distraction from Christ. We can know if we are walking by faith simply by asking the question, “Am I trusting my feelings, my evidences, my obedience etc., or am I trusting Christ alone?” We do not finish the Christian life differently than we began it. It is a matter of faith in Christ from start to finish. We must live and obey “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. . . .”

After referring last night to my post as “Reformed trash,” he posted the following response this morning.

paulspassingthoughts said, on January 21, 2013 at 8:06 am

I can just about poke your lengthy treatise and get doublespeak and the ever-so-slight twisting of words here and there to posit deception. Example: “6. I do not believe “perfection must be maintained in sanctification for the purpose of meriting God’s declaration in a final judgment.” Perfection has been and is being maintained for every believer because we are united to him who is perfectly righteous and holy. If my perfection in sanctification were the basis of my justification, I would be doomed.”

First, you say that perfection doesn’t have to be maintained, then you explain how it is, but imply that it’s not a maintaining because of our union with God and that’s what maintains it. The perfection that doesn’t need to be maintained. It’s like MacArthur saying that we should never separate justification and sanctification, but if we don’t it would be progressive justification. You, like all authentic Calvinists, can’t grasp that there is NO standard in justification and where there is no law there is no sin.

Randy, you are a vile, false teaching snake in the grass and I don’t want you trying to comment here anymore, and I don’t want you emailing me.

Type away if you will, but your correspondence will be ignored. Like all authentic Calvinists, you are a troll, stalker, and control freak. Why don’t you go and be an elder at MacArthur’s church. They have their own in-house police force and everything. People who ask too many questions are escorted to their vehicles and told not to come back. You would be right at home. Go where your need can be fulfilled, but it will no longer be fulfilled here.


This was my response by email.


Let me get this straight. You think people in charge at MacArthur´s Church are controlling because they physically remove hecklers who ¨ask too many questions,¨ and yet you ban me when all I want to do is try to keep you honest. As I have stated often, I don´t mind if you disagree with my views, I just want you to represent them accurately.

Re: your contention that there is no longer any law to be satisfied, you need to remember Paul wrote, ¨To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law¨ (1 Cor. 9:21). The Law as Jewish covenant has indeed been fulfilled, but that does not mean God no longer holds sinners accountable to obey his holy law. The only reason believers need not fear the law´s curse is that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. We are not justified apart from any keeping of the law, but apart from our personal keeping of the law. How else do you deal with Paul´s phrase, ¨the doers of the Law will be justified?¨ It seems to me, that clearly identifies the basis on which sinners are to be declared righteous in God´s sight.

When Paul wrote, Romans 3:21, his meaning was not that righteousness was apart from the law, but that this righteousness of God i.e., his method of putting sinners right with himself in fulfillment of his covenant, is revealed apart from the law.

Your entire argument is based on a false premise.


9 Responses to “Discussion with Paul Dohse–Enemy of the Cross”

  1. January 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Dohse is a doozy. Name calling and hatred and judgment that is personal. I think your only error is trying to open Dohse’s eyes to what he rails against. Perhaps all he needs is the gospel.

  2. January 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm


    I think what I wrote to him is the gospel, don’t you? My purpose in answering his insane arguements is not to open his eyes, but to warn others who might be taken in by his falsehoods.

  3. January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Yes, Randy – you were (as I have come to expect of you) faithful to the gospel in your messages to Dohse. As tightly as he controls his blog, how much opportunity to you expect to have to expose his followers to that Truth? I am not saying you’re doing wrong – I am simply perplexed by Dohse’s stiff-necked attitude and his predilection of calling names. Reading Dohse causes me to sin. That’s probably what’s bothering me.

    • January 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      I get a headache when I try to read Dohse. I don’t think I have every encountered an individual with such a penchant for twisting and misrepresenting the views of others. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views, but it would be nice if they would at least make an effort to understand my position before commenting on it. You are probably right about the limited effect my meager efforts will have in exposing his followers to the truth, given his veto power over anything that exposes his folly.

      If people turn from truth for truth’s sake, that is one thing, but it pains me to see people turning from truth because they have been spooked by a “straw man.”

  4. 5 seventh son
    January 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    The argumentum ad hominem betrays a weak argument and a worse character.

    Will mark and avoid.

  5. June 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    The more I read of Dohse’s rantings and name calling, the easier it is for me to sympathize with CCC for placing him under discipline. Moreover, after his ouster it would appear that he chose to go out, anoint himself, and start what looks like a church with his wife. These are the actions of a man who is incorrigible, arrogant, and not in submission to Christ’s church.

    • June 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Did you ever hear about the kid who had gone to see his older brother march in a parade. When the band passed by, he said to his mother, “Look Mom, everybody’s out of step but Johnnie.” That is Paul’s story. Everyone is out of step but Paul. He has not been able to fit in anywhere since CCC so he has decided to take his ball and go home. The sad thing is, there are people who are gullible enough to listen and believe what he writes.

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