Against All Hope, More Letters

Jury Rigged

Wow, great stuff. Thanks, Pastor Doug. All the things I’m no longer surprised I didn’t learn in my public school education 🙂

Gil

Gil, most welcome.

Why is it NOT a legal requirement to instruct jurors in the rights of juries?? Before any trial begins?

HC

HC, because the check that juries provide is a check against legally-trained entitlements. And those in favor of such entitlements have a lot of power.

I am not, in theory, opposed to jury nullification, but it is definitely a two-edged sword. If you succeed in getting a nationwide ban on abortion, do you really want that ban to be nullified by juries in New York and California? Where I’m from, prosecutors don’t even bother to bring drug charges because juries routinely nullify. You’re assuming that juries will largely be made up of people who think like you, and in Idaho that may well be true, but not so much in large parts of the rest of the country. I once tried a criminal case in which the crime victim was Pakistani. The evidence against his assailant was overwhelming. It took a rural all-white jury two hours to acquit the defendant, and nobody in the courtroom had any real doubt that racism was the reason.

Not to say that there might not be instances in which jury nullification can’t be a good thing, but keep in mind who is likely to be in the jury pool.

Kathleen

Kathleen, I agree completely. And that is why I had a section on how juries could abuse righteousness in just the ways that the professionals are doing now.

Grove City

This IS very encouraging. We’re so used to things going the other way, you know where it’s hot and fire burns for eternity. It so happens I was listening to Carl Trueman’s podcast, The Moritification of Spin (great name, that) today, and was thinking, how could he stay at Grove given where it’s going. I wasn’t expecting to read this today given I’m pessimistic about these things. So glad I was wrong on this one, and hope it continues the right way. Thanks!

Mike

Mike, yes. Not there yet, but going the right way.

Warren Throckmorton seems to me—via his past writings—to be a ‘conservative’ apologist for liberals. In his efforts to speak the truth he finds fault with even his own friends but doesn’t actually find fault with liberals. The term “wolf in sheep’s clothing” comes to mind.

Melody

Melody, thanks. What he does in response to this declaration by the board will tell us a lot.

A Much Appreciated Thanks

Thank you for your sermon from a couple of years ago on confession of sin to one another. I had been keeping a bit of a doozy to myself. I knew as soon as I heard the sermon that I was going to confess said doozy, to the one person to whom I did not want to confess, at some point.

Of course I pushed it down for a while, sought divine permission to not follow divine wisdom, etc . . . but eventually I caved. I confessed the worst thing I’ve ever done, outside of hating and blaspheming God, to the person I love the most.

Forgiveness was IMMEDIATELY extended, which I did not expect. I am no longer being killed from the inside out by my hidden sin. Know that God’s Spirit used your human words powerfully to bring me to full repentance, fruit and all. You were right. The reason I couldn’t get fully unhitched from sins in the same category is because I wouldn’t fess up. Thank you for your unflinching proclamation of hard truths. You’re getting a seriously enthusiastic high five once we get to Heaven. Maybe an awkward, side angle dude hug. We’ll see what happens.

Thank you, sir.

Sincerely,

Repentant in the Upper Midwest

Repentant, thanks so much for writing. I hope this is an encouragement to others in the same boat.

A Pressing Question

Thank you for your ministry. You’ve blessed my wife and me incredibly, and I’m hoping you can do so one more time if you grace us with an answer to this question in order to satisfy our curiosity.

Knowing that whatever the truth is, it will be perfect and all sufficient and all satisfying and God-glorifying when we get there and know, and acknowledging that we may not have a sufficient answer here on earth at all; purely speculating how would you answer the question,

“Do we sleep in the new heavens and new earth?”

Isaiah

Isaiah, let me answer this definitively. If the answer is no, it is because there is no more night and day, and also because awakening from sleep is resurrection practice. If the answer is yes, it will be cause God withholds no good thing from his children. And what could be better than perfect sleep?

That Wicked Slave

Re Sunday night CP with Bahnsen . . . Parable of talents . . . We aren’t given the result of one of the servants trying to invest and losing it all (or most). Thoughts on why not?? Thanks.

BJ

BJ, I don’t think there is a deep reason. You can’t teach everything all at once. One of the marks of genius the parables have is that they reward centuries of study.

On the “Misinflation” quotes recently: I just finished reading your book with David Bahnsen after reading the quotes on the blog. I really enjoyed it. It is an encouragement during a busy time where I am starting a business (online courses marketed in China), facing the uncertainty and the risks, and dealing with the discouragement and uphill struggle it is for both my wife and myself. Specifically I found it encouraging reading David write about how the spirit of enterprise and individuals creating value is what is the need of the hour, and the commentary on how informed risk taking is a good and godly practice, done our of love. I’d never heard it put that way before. There is a lot of self doubt and frustration that must be slogged through at the beginning of a venture and it is incredibly unglamorous. On the same book, I think there is a good deal to be said for ordinary folks viewing their sweat equity as the “talents” God gave them. Not a lot of people get 2 million dollars dropped in their laps to go make an investment, but a lot of ordinary folks don’t need 2 million to offer a service or product they are adapt at, like swimming lessons or parenting advice.

Joel

Joel, thanks. That’s the right takeaway.

I have read your stuff for a couple of years and it has been very influential, so thanks for that and keep on going! This is a short letter —there may be others at some point on different topics.

I am a believer that has worked on the front line of global financial markets as a currency and interest rate trader for about 12 years. I was converted a few months before my first job. I started off fairly sympathetic to the Austrian school of economics—the simplicity and moral framework were very compelling, and the world had just been through a debt induced crisis so it looked like an answer.

Over time I have come to be more cautious on relying on the classic Austrian stuff, because it just doesn’t work at making good investment ideas—which ultimately in my position is a fatal drawback. To improve my idea generation I actually actively avoided the Austrian thinkers and had basically avoided your musings on economics (I hope you don’t mind, I have been getting through quite a bit of other content from you . . . ) until watching the Mis-inflation video and I was so utterly relieved to hear you articulating some of the same things that had caused me to stop being a rigid classic Austrian guy. I am a fiscal conservative and think that monetary policy has been way too loose, but the way it all actually works is super complicated. Making predictions is really hard. Looking back and saying “oh that happened because of the debt” or whatever is really easy, and people like Ron Paul were always great at doing that, but their forward looking predictions (the only thing a trader cares about) were hysterically bad.

Anyway, this quote above. I don’t really get it so maybe I will have to buy the book. But a trade deficit means that more STUFF is coming in than going out, and more MONEY is going out than coming in, which is kinda not where you would want to be for a household. Maybe there is some context I am missing but I thought I should mention it. A country running a trade deficit is running up its debt to other nations.

So yeah what’s the bigger quote ? Have I missed the point?

To reiterate: your writing has been super important for me so many thanks. We have 3 kids (one is not out yet) and we are moving some distance so they can attend a lovely small Christian school. I was raised Baptist before being converted and baptized at 21 after a fairly dire unconverted teenage period. Have always seen the Baptist idea as obvious … until I read your Hebrews commentary. That was a light bulb moment, seeing Hebrews as a NT Deuteronomy, with analogous curses. We are about to join a Presbyterian church plant and I am 90% of the way to baptizing the kids, have spent some time working through it. On that note I would love to see a blog post on Gal 3:16 from your perspective. I haven’t cracked on post mill yet (I am agnostic, but keen to reform and conquer the culture, I don’t really recognize the “pessimillenial” thing but I think because in the U.K. there is barely any dispensationalism…)

Anyway I am rambling now, I may write again. Thank you.

James

James, thanks for all the kind words. On trade deficits, I think you should get the book . . . but of course I would think that.

Canon +

Really appreciate your ministry in these crazy times. Thanks for the willingness to be used by God for his purposes. My family and I are attending a Reformed-ish Baptist Church. I am currently in a community group who’s leader is very earnest and sincere, but often shoots wide of the mark. The Lord has given me the opportunity to speak into these situations without sending people running for the door.

I would like to gift our leader with a subscription to Canon+ but have not seen a way to do so. Could you please point me in the right direction?

Blessings,

Jim

Jim, that is currently not possible, but I should be possible very soon. They are working on it.

Is Depression a Sin?

Is depression always sin? Almost always? When is it not? Thank you once again

Thomas

Thomas, it depends on what you mean. It is a sin to not trust God, and it is a sin to reject what He says about your identity in Christ. But it is not a sin for your body, as the doctors would put it, to be lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Suppose you had a bad case of the flu—you would be wiped out, and your body would be depressed, and yet you should be able to trust God. But if you were refusing to trust God from the midst of your own private black cloud of personal recriminations, that would be a sin. But it is not a sin to be “low.” It is a sin to trust your feelings instead of Christ. You can be low and still hang on.

Cosmological Revolution

I heard you say in a video that the Christian aeon has a different cosmological hierarchy that is no longer God, angels and then man but instead, God, then man in Christ and then angels underneath the church. Do you have teachings on this and what scriptures would you point me to look at? Thanks

Jonty

Jonty, I describe the cosmological revolution that happen between the old covenant and the new covenant in my commentary on Hebrews, Christ and His Rivals.

Anti-Semitism Again

Allow me to correct myself re: my last letter reacting to your “Anti-Semitism and Envy” plodcast. At the time I hadn’t been duly diligent in searching out and viewing your “Anti-Semitism as a False Flag Operation” video. Forgive me for claiming you’ve been skittish on this issue and displaying a combative tone. I wrote in ignorance and I’m taking a closer look at my own thinking and disposition. Thank you.

Now that I see more clearly your positions on jews and culture, a whole new set of questions arise. Not all the ones raised in my last letter were addressed, but many were. As an example of a residual question, I’d love to know whether matters of intramural concern such as radical Dispensationalism/Christian Zionism should be prioritized. Also curious your take on the Whoopie Goldberg thing and, to toss in one more, the work of Andrew Joyce at Occidental Observer.

You can find the others posted at “dregsofallthings.com” on wordpress. I’d also be curious on your impression of “bannedhipster” as well before the both of us are canceled. It seems the guys who are getting de-platformed nowadays may be bombing over the real target whereas the Church is still bickering about settled matters of the 16th century. When will we get with it? Would’nt Luther scratch his head?

Tom

Tom, I am not up to speed on most of the issues you mentioned, but I do believe that radical dispensationalists are perpetrating a serious error if they say that Jews can be put right with God apart from Christ, or that a restored Temple can renew the sort of sacrifices that God would accept. Those would be serious errors.

Taxes

I have been following your content for a long time and greatly respect your ministry. You have been profoundly helpful in my Christian walk—thank you!

My question is at what point should we as Christians stop paying federal taxes because of their corruption, punishing the good, praising the bad, and general support of heinous crimes such as abortion and gay marriage? (I recently read Slaying Leviathan and greatly enjoyed it!)

Follow up question—can we go ahead and stop paying portions of federal taxes by ‘identifying’ as Mennonite since they don’t pay social security or medicare taxes. I know many Mennonites and greatly respect them in regards to their church community and commitment to provide for their own. I agree with those ideals and will provide for my own family and those near me when they are old. If the government recognizes gender, race, and sexual preference as ‘fluid’, then so should my religion and tax payments. I figure the 15% I’ll stop paying to the government over the next 30 years will by far exceed the costs of caring for my parents. (I’m 31). This is totally legal, btw.

Brady

Brady, there are actually two questions. One would be the question of whether it would be a sin to not pay taxes. The other would be whether it would be stupid to not pay taxes. I have long believed that our government is run by pirates, and I would be happy to entertain the idea that we captives on this pirate ship could hide some of our goods from them without sinning. But it might still be stupid.

Young, Restless, and What Was That Again?

Thanks for all your work. As a younger Christian coming from a Methodist background, I am extremely thankful for how the Lord has used your teaching to steer me away from a lot of wonky doctrine.

After hearing some podcasters talk recently about the Young Restless Reformed movement, it got me thinking of the current resurgence of dominion-oriented theology thanks to yourself and other faithful men. This return to our Reformed (and postmill) heritage seems to be spreading like wildfire, praise God. With that being said, where do you see potential for pitfall in this movement?

Originally, the Young Restless Reformed movement was solid in terms of re-introducing the doctrines of grace. However, we see much of it has turned into a liberal crapshoot as of late.

What do you see being potential issues in this theological resurgence and how do we avoid dissolving into sin as did the YRR movement?

Thanks and SDG

JT

JT, I am fond of saying that you can’t keep money (and its corollaries) from doing what money always does. So I pray that the Lord keep us influential by denying us too much influence.

Dear Darla

I was thinking about the comment I sent last week on dear Darla. The obvious occurred to me, I had felt compelled to respond because your perspective seemed incomplete and I wanted to apologize for that because I think it was probably premature so early in your series. I also wanted to thank you for the post about guarding one’s heart. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way several years ago, and I ended up pretty broken and healing took years and the miraculous healing power of Jesus the Christ, who was so gracious to me. I disagree on where you draw the lines, and I would emphasize the importance of having close and meaningful relationships with wise women (and men) who were able to help me navigate my relationship with my current boyfriend, and able to begin having those conversations with them long before me and my boyfriend began dating. One of the reasons I felt the urgency to pursue those mentors years ago was because I deeply felt the need to learn the things described in Titus 2.

Nelly

Nelly, thanks very much for writing. Please read the rest of the letters, and I hope that by the end we don’t differ as much as we do now.

Can you do one on frumpiness in women? I cant get over the feeling that I am being proud if I level up or wear things that make me look on trend. What differentiates pride from good effort in appearance etc? Especially if one looks nice and does not want the envy of other women.

Frumpy Me

Dear FM, thanks for the suggestion.

You should consider writing one of the Darla letters to answer questions from fatherless girls

Zeph

Zeph, thanks. Also noted.

(Rachel ghostwrote this one, didn’t she?)

Kristina

Kristina, no, but I bet she agreed with it.

Unfortunately my letter did not make the providential cut last week. I, like you, will also assume that God did not think the question nearly as important as I did. Here’s to round two.

What qualities would you encourage a young man to look for in a young woman he’s interested in? Likewise, what are some things a young man should be wary of? (Red flags)

Like a previous letter that you responded to a couple weeks ago, I also was worried when meeting women who did not share the same desire and passion for discussing God’s word. However, I now believe I may have been too simplistic with my judgement. I would appreciate any advice you could offer.

Dawson’s brother, Dennis

Dennis, a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Look for character over person

It was a great pleasure to read your letters to your fictional nephew, Dawson, and I came away from reading that series of posts with some new perspectives. The impact of those letters is also heightened because I was dating a girl at the time when you were releasing those blogposts, and they caused a change in my perception about dating that eventually led to a breakup. Thankfully, God was gracious throughout the whole ordeal and we parted on fairly amicable terms. Now that that relationship has ended, I find myself in a bit of an odd spot. I am 18 years old, about to graduate high school as a home schooled student, and I feel strongly that I ought to hold off on actively pursuing any romantic relationships until I am in a much more marriageable position (i.e., financially stable, more spiritually mature, etc. In short, I want to be the sort of man that I would be comfortable handing my daughter off to if I had one). But as a college student who is actively involved in campus ministry, interactions with girls is inevitable. How can I cultivate healthy and charitable acquaintances with girls in a way that aligns with my newfound patriarchal convictions? I see a lot of my friends talking about how certain girls are “their best friends” and the whole thing reeks of egalitarianism. It seems like all the advice that I receive is to be close buddies with girls in the same way I would relate to “the boys.” I know that that sort of thinking is incredibly out of line with reality, but at the same time I don’t want to be a reclusive hermit, avoiding girls like the plague, because that seems like a bad idea as well. There’s a middle ground, I’m sure of it. So I was merely interested to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Thank you for your time,

Caedmon

Caedmon, I don’t think you could do better than to follow the advice of the apostle Paul, as he exhorted Timothy. Treat “younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:2, NKJV)

Things Happen

I want to thank you for your ministry in Moscow, Canon Press, the Canon App, etc.

I briefly explained to you in person how I grew up in an Arminian, premillennialism church all my life. I didn’t even know those 2 terms were a thing. I thought that was what all Christians believed. In a long round about way I was introduced to Calvinism, improperly represented so I was set against it. It wasn’t until I watched your “sovereignty of God” video in Reformed Basics that I was totally convinced. So now I’m reformed and biblical by the grace of God. Of course, it didn’t stop there. It wasn’t long after, that I learned about postmill and adopted that.

After realizing how valuable the Reformed Basic series is, I started teaching my wife the things I learned but I wanted to have a bigger impact. So I invited 4 or 5 of my closest friends over to sit down, watch this together and discuss it. After a couple weeks of meeting every Wednesday evening, I realized this is turning into a men’s leadership group, exactly what our town is lacking! There are 3 of us that have leadership quality gifts. We all go to separate churches, they aren’t ideal churches in terms of being likeminded or having strong, biblical leadership; however, we go to them to be in fellowship somewhere. We are not in leadership positions, besides, we don’t feel restructuring would do any good anyway.

We look around in our small town and surrounding areas and don’t see any churches that are likeminded with us in our group. A 3 hr drive to Moscow every week, doesn’t seem practical.

Then last week, I gave 2021 Grace Agenda another listen, and your talk titled, “ a man and his church” described our situation perfectly. We have been feeling led to plant a church, and bring Christ Kingdom to our county. We want to increase the depth of the living water described in Ezekiel 47. We want to increase the knowledge of the Lord.

Im reaching out to you, asking for your advise, experience, and wisdom on how to go about doing just that; planting a church. Is denomination something of importance? We want to be sent by a church, we don’t want to start something on our own authority. We want God the Holy Spirit to pour out his spirit into this mission because it’s something he claims.

Appreciate your time and thoughts brother,

All of Christ
For all of life
For all of Soap Lake.

Pete

Pete, that is a huge question. I would suggest you contact the presiding minister of our presbytery, Gene Helsel. He pastors King’s Cross in Wenatchee.

But It Takes All Kinds

Would you say that belief in things like the Chupacabra, Bigfoot, Covid-19 vaccine efficacy, Dogman, the efficacy of cloth masks and surgical masks against Covid-19, alien life (ET), designated hitters, and the like would be a cause for concern for a Christian?

For example, if a Christian says something like, “I don’t know, man. You can’t prove to me that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. He might be out there.” Should that really be taken seriously or is it just silly talk? Even if it is just silly talk, wouldn’t it still be cause for concern if a brother is leery about such things?

On a scale from ‘callow’, to ‘just plain weird’, it seems to me to be very much on the callow side. Whaddayou think, pastor?

Michael

Michael, some people are more gullible than others. I think the church should have room for those who believe, but I also believe they should be kept far away from positions of influence.

Reading History?

As a beneficiary of your elenctic work on theology and history, I was wondering if you could point me to some good books on ‘how to read history?’ I’m semi-familiar with the Christian Humanist/Renaissance motto of ‘ad fontes’ and ‘history as moral philosophy by example.’ Let’s just say I’ve stumbled into the history section of the library, and I can’t get myself to leave; it seems like there’s something important in here and I need to find it.

A Brother

Brother, I would start with Singer’s A Theological Interpretation of American History.

Odd Baptism Question

My wife and I have been considering the matter of baptizing our son, currently three, and have arrived at the conviction that this is something we ought to do. Our understanding on this has been greatly helped by your work, most recently the excellent debate with Dr. White, for which we thank you.

Trouble is, we were raised Baptist and are currently part of a faithful congregation in a Baptist tradition. These are our people, and we don’t really want to leave them, but we’re starting to break away on the matter of the inclusion of short people. We’ve pulled out son out of the “Kids’ Church” program so that he can be with us through the service and have been gratified by how well he’s been able to track and participate after a bit of training. It’s clear that much of the profession-of-faith-based reasoning that we’ve grown up with has been gatekeeping based on ability to articulate. As the story of your 1-year-old grandson beautifully demonstrates, children can know who made them, who died for them, and who lives in their heart, from a very early age.

Knowing that a request to have our son baptized in front of the congregation would be met with incredulity, we decided to sprinkle him in the tub in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but are uncertain whether this was the correct move or whether other “moves” might be necessary. We understand Baptism as being analogous to circumcision, a visible sign of his inclusion in the covenant and the body, but we’ve administered this to him in a less-visible way while part of a body that wouldn’t consider it legitimate.

We’ve looked at other churches, but when we visited the only Reformed church in the area (URCNA), we mentioned your name and were (gently) admonished that if we were looking for that sort of thing that we were in the wrong place. (I believe the primary objection was to your Federal Vision position and is probably the sort of thing that could be worked out, but it was a bad first impression.)

Overall, we’re not sure what the best course of action is. We don’t really want to leave over this (and don’t know where we’d even go), but we’re not sure how to faithfully navigate going forward. Nobody is checking Baptism papers around here, but it feels weird to have done it in “secret” and we imagine it will create some confusion in the future when all the kids at youth group start hitting the height requirement and he explains that he’s been there done that.

We’re 2000 miles away so I know that specific advice is difficult, but any thoughts you have on the matter would be appreciated.

Paul

Paul, if you were to move here, your son’s baptism would be received as legitimate—but irregular. I think it would have been better to pursue other options first. But you are there now. The issue is that if you stick it out where you are, they might not admit your son to the Table until he is baptized the “right way.”

Ficto-Fictional

I knew that “Ride, Sally, Ride” was only a few days ahead of real life. However, some are not content with human-like mannequins. There’s a new group (at least new to me) called “fictosexuals” who relate to representations of characters from fiction.

The article in the link focuses on Japan, a wealthy, non-Christian society with a complex set of expectations regarding honor and performance. Methinks there could be a connection. Betting money says this happens in China, but the media keep it under wraps.

Perhaps “fictosexual” is a better generic term for anyone who has a fictional view of sexuality. It sure beats memorizing all the letters in LGBQTAPMB2+. (P=Pedophiles, M=Mannequins, B2=Bestialitists—I know I’m leaving out something.)

The Big Question: When confronted with situations like this, is it more appropriate to laugh or cry? Laughing is the first instinct, but less winsome and not socially acceptable. Crying makes me feel holier, but it doesn’t seem winsome either, perhaps because it is less manly. I have to admit that keeping a straight face and sharing the gospel seems even harder.

Maybe I should consult our new Supreme Court Justice. She wouldn’t know, of course, but might be able to recommend an expert of some kind.

John

John, honestly, I don’t think it is an either/or question. I think it is possible to leave room for both responses.

History of the CREC?

I would like to know if there exists a fairly comprehensive historical description of CREC: especially, since there a number of orthodox Reformed presbyterian churches in the USA and Canada, the “why—the specific reasons behind the founding of CREC.

Thanks and blessing! I am in touch with the folks at Christ Covenant in GP.

I’m a Regent College graduate, did my thesis under Dr. Packer. The Embattled Christian, published by Banner of Truth, Edinburgh.

Bryan

Bryan, no, there is not a definitive history of the CREC . . . yet.

Stay Away from the Military Right Now

Re: Joining Military—She Don’t Lie, She Don’t Lie, She Don’t Lie . . . Ukraine—Thank You

Hello Pastor Doug, I am a mid 20s born-again believer, a Baptist, down South in remote Appalachia, who was looking at joining the National Guard to the point of choosing an MOS. I am an Eagle Scout, software engineer, a farmer, and a Volunteer Firefighter/EMR with my local vol fire dept.

I have been fighting a burning desire for years to join the military, and with 2 kids and a wife I was seriously looking at dropping the farm and joining the guard. I want to serve and be of service to my community, and state. I don’t fear death, nor am I a coward. I’ve hauled people out of houses in body bags, and have had to stoically treat severely injured adult patients with bad injuries while they cry for their mother. I have a spine and grit by God’s Grace.

The last section in “She Don’t Lie….Ukraine” discussing joining the military has forced me to change my mind on serving. I don’t believe I can serve while being a son of God in the current military woke climate. Thank you for approaching the subject from a Biblical perspective. I will redirect my desire to serve, to lay down my life for others, fully into my local fire department. I think this is the only honorable conclusion due to your logic and based on my call to serve.

I have the utmost respect for you Brother. Thank you for what you do for us Christian men and fathers. Thank you for providing me clarity on this and thanks to God for giving us both the Holy Spirit and God’s Word as a guide to write and receive instruction.

God Bless,

Mr. P in Appalachia

Mr. P, thanks. And God bless.

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