06
Jan
15

Thoughts on “Calvinists:Going to Hell and Proud of it,” by Paul Dohse

I thought it might be interesting to post a few thoughts about Paul’ s Dohse’s latest post,“Calvinists: Going to Hell and Proud of it” and invite my readers to discuss these ideas here. I am not going to go into great detail; the brief observations I will make will no doubt be expanded in answer to the comments you make.
Paul wrote his article in answer to a blogger named Frank who posted an excellent summary of the gospel in response to one of Paul’s videos.
One issue on which Paul and I are in full agreement is that we are proclaiming two distinctively different messages, only one of which is the biblical gospel. The other message stands under condemnation and the one proclaiming it is cursed by God (see-Galatians 1:8). This is a matter of extreme importance.
I would invite you to read Paul’s article at http://www.paulspassingthoughts.com before commenting here. Since I do not wish to misrepresent his views in any way, I would like you to see them in context before you comment.
The following are my observations:
1. He builds much of his argument on a Dispensational view of the Scriptures that makes distinctions between things that do not differ. The better manuscripts of Rom. 14:10 state that we must all stand before God’s judgment seat. The passage is cited from Isaiah 45, a salvific context, in which Jehovah declares that every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall swear allegiance.
2. As usual, Paul confuses justification, sanctification and regeneration. Although I have heard some Lutherans give the impression that sanctification is unimportant, Calvinists generally agree that those whom God has justified are in the process of being sanctified and that their obedience gives evidence of the reality of their faith. When we deny that we have any righteousness of our own, we are speaking of justifying righteousness.
3. He continues to argue that the Calvinist’s believe in Christ’s active obedience means Christ continues to obey for us as long as we resolve to do nothing in sanctification.
4. He argues that we advocate returning to the gospel to keep ourselves saved. In reality, what we advocate is that once a person has trusted in Christ alone for justification he will never trust anyone or anything else for his justification. Faith is not a one-time act but an ongoing reliance on Christ. We don’t keep ourselves saved. God maintains the work he has begun and enables us to continue to rely on Christ alone.
5. He speaks of our belief that the judgment is determinative. In reality, what we believe is that the judgment will be declarative. The destiny of those who stand in the judgment has already been determined.
6. He sets a redemptive historical approach to Scripture over against a literal grammatical historical approach to Scripture. These approaches are not contradictory.
7. He advocates justification based on a believer’s personal righteousness, not on an alien, imputed righteousness. He writes, “Believers, who are already deemed righteous because they are in fact righteous (Italics mine), will be judged for rewards. . . .” This accords with the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. The Scriptures teach us that God justifies the ungodly (see Romans 4:5).
8. He views the standard of justification as a righteousness that is less than perfect, unless, of course, he believes in the sinless perfection of believers. He believes we are accepted by God, not because we are acceptable but because Jesus has simply removed the law.
9. He fails to understand that “hupo nomon” [under law] is a covenantal distinction, not an existential distinction. Gentiles were never “under law” yet we were still condemned. It is not that prior to faith we were under law but now we are not under law. Rather, it is that the time of promise and type has ended and the fulfillment has come. As John states it, “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth [reality or fulfillment] came by Jesus Christ.
10. He fails to understand that believers are not under the law because we are united to Christ who has fulfilled the law. He is the one to whom the law pointed [the end or goal] for righteousness. People should not look to the law for righteousness. We must look to Christ for righteousness.

There are several other false and misleading statements in Paul’s article, but these should be sufficient to provoke a meaningful discussion. I encourage your comments, but please read the rules for commenting before you opine.

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6 Responses to “Thoughts on “Calvinists:Going to Hell and Proud of it,” by Paul Dohse”


  1. 1 Peace and Grace
    January 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Paul’s ministry associate, Andy Young, has commented that Frank left out “free-will”. Paul added this comment: “Moreover, this speaks to why I had no assurance of salvation all of my Christian life. Whenever I did a good work, I struggled with whether or not it was from a heart of love, or just merely trying to earn justification points with God. Here is what I did not understand: law-keeping has NO connection with justification whatsoever. Law-keeping can only be for love. I had a misunderstanding of law/gospel.”

    So, the solution is to throw the Law out for justification? No one has to keep it, including Jesus? The Law is only a “will” your sins are imputed to?

    When Jesus was speaking to the people on the Sermon on the Mount, He was teaching the Law, and teaching it to the fullest of what is demanded. The Law demanded perfection. The Law is to show people their depravity ( Paul D. denies sinners are totally depraved). The hope is that one day they will come to terms with their inability to be obedient, and also recognize the Law does nothing to change their hearts or transform who they are.

    http://desiringgod.org/articles/how-christ-fulfilled-and-ended-the-old-testament-regime

    http://desiringgod.org/sermons/what-does-it-mean-to-fulfill-the-law-in-romans-8-3-4

    • January 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      I found Andy’s comment about “free will” interesting. He defined “free will” as follows: “making a conscious decision to believe (ie. “free will”, making a choice)” Where is there a true Calvinist who does not believe that sinners make a conscious choice to believe? What we deny is that such a decision springs from the soil of sinful nature. We also deny that such a decision renders Christ’s death effectual.

      Paul D. used the wrong tense when he wrote “I had a fundamental misunderstanding of law and gospel.” He still has a fundamental misunderstanding.

  2. January 7, 2015 at 1:02 am

    My wife and I read Frank’s initial comment and then Dohse’s tirade against his straw man of Calvinism and Reformed Theology. Neither of us is sure what Dohse is trying to say, although it’s apparent to me he loves to make comparisions to prove his point.

    ‘Tis a pity Frank went on to disclaim limited atonement; which is a poor way to describe the topic. Everyone’s theology limits the atonement of Christ . Those who believe in general atonement limit the effectiveness of the atonement – it helps everyone but saves none. Those who believe in particular atonement limit the scope of the atonement – it helps only those who are called, but it thoroughly redeems them.

  3. 4 Peace and Grace
    January 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Repost now up from Jan.2, 2013 “The Calvinist’s Greatest Fear: The Spiritual Peasantry Will Understand Law And Grace”

    “All people born into the world are born into it under the law, and will be judged by it at the end of their lives if they don’t escape it. Christ was the only one man ever born under the law that could live by it without sin and was therefore the only man who could die for our sins. We escape the condemnation of the law by believing what He did made a way of escape for us.”

    (But Paul…you continually say it doesn’t matter who kept the law, and that the life Jesus Christ lived didn’t matter.)

    “We are “under” grace, NOT “under” law. (Cites Romans 6:14) The word “under” here is HUPO which is a primary preposition. Calvinism teaches that we are still under the law. This is the main reason it is a false gospel.
    Now, they would vehemently deny this in the following way with red faces and veins popping out of their necks:
    NONSENSE! We emphatically state constantly that no man is justified by the law unless he can keep it perfectly and we all know that no man can keep the law perfectly. We constantly cite James 2:10 which states if we break the law at one point—we are guilty of breaking the whole law. HOW DARE YOU SLANDER US IN THIS WAY!!!

    This argues the point by making “under” a verb ( something we do or don’t do) rather than a position. Therefore, they are not arguing jurisdiction, they are arguing practice in regard to how we are justified. Position is the issue, not what we do;, i.e. keeping the law or not keeping the law.

    ( But Paul…you already admitted what Jesus DID, i.e., living a sinless life under the law is the reason we can escape condemnation of the law. What He DID matters.)

    Calvinists believe our position stays the same; therefore, what we do becomes critical. In fact, what we don’t do keeps us saved; e.g., “You don’t keep the law by keeping the law.”

    (Huh?)

    We supposedly remain spiritually dead, which as we know is clearly synonymous with being under the law in Scripture.

    ( By this does he mean Reformed pastors using the words “totally depraved” rather than “remaining sin”?)

    Maybe the reason Paul Dohse is so confused is he believes he can understand Scripture by using a dictionary? He will only use the Strong’s concordance, and has told me Greek Lexicons were written and published by institutional church hacks to make millions. He has thrown out all his commentaries except MacArthur’s for the cross references, if indeed he had any in the first place.

    • January 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      I don’t have time to respond fully now, but I want to make one comment about something Paul wrote in that article. He wrote, “As we have noted before in our Romans study, being under the law comes part and parcel with being lost and under the power of sin which is provoked by the law.” If he is right, Jesus was lost and under the power of sin.” What both he and many Reformed people need to understand is that “under law” refers to Israel’s covenant relationship under the law.

  4. 6 Peace and Grace
    January 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    God gave rules for civil and religious behavior before Sinai. Moses told Pharaoh the Israelites wanted to leave Egypt so they could offer sacrifices and burnt offerings in the wilderness. Before they left Egypt they sacrificed Passover lambs.

    The Old Covenant law ( Jewish law) had a mediator and it was a covenant. The Old Covenant is obsolete…..and is referring to the whole package of O.T. law. Some individual laws are still valid, but the package as a whole is not authoritative. We are not under the law of Moses, we are under the law of Christ.

    If I remember correctly, Paul D. replied back to my mentioning “the law of Christ” as being New Covenant Theology. Lydia freaked out because cataclysmic change in her mind has to refer to being born again…not a change of covenants. My observation has been that outside of reformed theology the emphasis is “me,me,me”.

    Reformed people don’t understand “under the law” means under the Jewish law of the Old Covenant?


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