A Couple of Spicy Ones
When all those who are suffering eternal conscious punishment and torment in the Lake of Fire, who consciously decided NOT to follow Jesus, even after hearing the Gospel preached a dozen times, and whose only “sin” (in between taking care of the planet, and performing random deeds of kindness to others, and rescuing animals from abuse and neglect, and involving themselves in a thousand other charitable offices, in many cases directly benefiting Christians bound for Heaven),—whose only “sin” was to strive to be good and faithful Hindus or Muslims or Jews or Buddhists or Sikhs (or whatever),—when all these shall cry out after 1,000,000 years of suffering for mercy to be shown them, and the Forces of Good arrive to rescue them from their eternal torments, whose side will you be on? In which direction does your moral compass point? You see, human consciousness cannot be cheated or deceived, and belief is not simply a matter of choice. No amount of faith can bridge the gap between make-believe and reality. Think about this long and hard and honestly, even after you delete this message: a worldview is at stake.
CT, thanks for the argument, and you have set your thought experiment up nicely. You have arranged for a very good and sincere person to go to Hell, whose only “sin” was that of being good and gracious to others, albeit grounded on the wrong premises. But before we conduct our raid on Hell to liberate this unjustly damned fellow, I would submit that before we attempted the difficult task of rescuing him, we would first have to accomplish the impossible task of finding him. The person you describe doesn’t exist.
Why do you support sexual predators like Jamin Wight and Steven Sitler? Why did you blame Greenfield’s father? That was so bizarre and confusing—you seem like a normally functioning person, but what normal person would think blaming the victim’s father is a good way to go, either morally or from a publicity perspective? Did you support those men because you do not see women as fully human, and therefore you don’t think we have autonomy over our bodies and it’s okay for men to do what they want to us? Do you not believe it harms us? Or is it that you are a sexual abuser yourself, so you don’t want to give credence to the girls who were assaulted? Or, most likely, it’s that you’re concerned about your church’s image, and willing to sacrifice girls and women for that purpose. I am genuinely curious about your motives and would love to hear back from you, thank you for reading.
Wylie, I am afraid that your letter is a nothing more than misinformation stacked upon confusion, which in its turn is resting upon ignorance. It is clear that you don’t have anything close to all the facts. I’ll start with the most recent event, which was widely publicized. What do you make of Natalie’s recent apology to me? How do you understand your foundational disagreement with her?
Schaeffer and Tucker
“Theological Deplorables” Pastor Wilson,
My wife and I belong to a church that Francis Schaeffer pastored early in his ministry. Not only does one never hear “A Christian Manifesto” referred to there anymore, but most aren’t even aware that one of his last (and in my opinion, best) books was “The Great Evangelical Disaster”.
As usual, you are on target.
Jim, thanks. Evangelicals love legacies, just as long as they don’t have to remember what they were all about.
On Tucker Carlson:
You know, Tucker once did a piece on redballoon.work, and he covered in brief the Stickergate scandal when it first broke. It might be a nice turn-about to see if he would accept a feature interview on CrossPolitic. He has declared his love of reading, history, and education, and he has hinted strongly at his Christian faith. While I don’t know how deeply rooted that faith is, there are nightly indicators that he has a joy and exuberance for life, truth, and Christ. It would be interesting to explore that in the CP Studio . . .
Andy, yes, that would be . . . interesting.
I’ve been reading Dr. McFall’s _Good Order In The Church_ and _The Life And Times of Jesus Christ the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim. Great books. I’m wondering if you are aware of any historical book that tracks church practice from the early Christian synagogues through modern times? In particular the worship service and practices around that.
Tyler, you might try some sources like Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, by Gillespie, or perhaps Witherow’s The Apostolic Church.
Head Covering Still
I am so grateful for your response to my previous question regarding 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 on head coverings. I have bought and read your commentary Partakers of Grace and found it helpful and refreshing in comparison to other commentaries I have read on the same passage. I see a key issue with your argument that is holding me back from accepting your conclusion.
On page 163, you say, “to take ‘uncovered’ as not having an artificial cover requires us to say that an uncovered woman with long hair might as well get a buzz cut. But this seems to contradict verse 15, which says that long hair is a woman’s glory. As that glory, it is either an analogue to the required artificial covering, or it is that covering itself, provided by nature.”
But the last sentence seems to be a false bifurcation based on a false equivocation of the object being covered. I think verse 15 can be seen as speaking of the role that a woman’s hair plays in the physical realm and how it parallels the role of the spiritual covering that the husband* provides, which is what the artificial covering symbolizes. Likewise, verses 5 and 6 would then show the parallel that women would/should feel at having a buzz cut with the shame she brings on her husband* when she does not artificially cover her head during prayer and prophesy.
Specifically, hair could be seen as the natural covering of her physical body and is physically glorious in its beauty, where as the covering applied during prayer and prophesy could be a symbol of the spiritual covering that her husband* provides, which is a glorious picture of Christ’s covering of the Church.
So rather than a woman’s long hair being, “either an analogue to the required artificial covering, or it is that covering itself, provided by nature.” It could be a physical and glorious head covering that also points to the importance of a spiritual covering that an artificial covering symbolizes.
It is this 3rd option that I find myself siding with and was unaddressed in your commentary. Do you have a significant objection to this interpretation? Again I hate the idea that I am putting unnecessary hindrances on my wife and daughter and would love to be convinced out of my current convictions.
Stephen, I do think that your argument here makes sense, in that it is a reasonable take given the data. But I also think it is reasonable to let nature do it alone, without a supplement.
State Indoctrination Network (SIN)
Have you watched the documentary “IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America”? I co-produced that film with Colin Gunn and we released it in 2011. I just released another film (not a sequel but a kind of follow-up to IndoctriNation) called “Truth & Lies in American Education,” which I produced for an organization called U.S. Parents Involved in Education. If you’re inclined to watch either one of these films, you may do so by using the promo code FREE2RENT at their respective Vimeo pages, linked to below. Thank you for everything you and your tribe do, I enjoy it thoroughly. In His service,
Joaquin, thanks for the info.
Single and Stuck
Thank you for writing this article there is a lot of very helpful advice in it. I’m 31, single, saddled with student loan debt and not making a lot of money at the moment. I definitely don’t make enough to support a family. I’m trying to find a good paying job I can support a family on, but haven’t had any luck. These are all the cause of tremendous anxiety for me. I know that’s a sin and I keep praying for God to make me content with my current set of circumstances until I do finally get married and get a decent job, but it doesn’t feel like anything has changed in my heart. I still feel such intense anxiety and loneliness. Also, my level of confidence has been greatly diminished by the fact that I am in no financial place to support a family, it makes me not even want to try until I am in a better place financially; however, I have no clue when that could be. It could be years from now which is scary to think about. What would your advice be for someone in my set of circumstances? PS I love your ministry you guys have been so helpful in my Christian walk and I’m grateful for that!
Matthew, remember that this advice is offered from a distance, and I know that I don’t know all your circumstances. But I would encourage you to start praying about reversing the order of your prayers. Pray that God would lead you to a girl that would motivate you to find a gear you didn’t know you had.
What advice do you have for Christians who find themselves seeking marriage in later stages of life? I can’t recall ever hearing this topic discussed (by anyone), but I’m seeing more and more of cases like this.
I’m thinking of a couple guys over age 35 in our congregation. They weren’t raised in the faith but are now established and live godly lives. They’re ambitious and have built thriving (and, frankly, lucrative) careers. They own homes. They’re ready to provide for a family. No major issues in sight. They love the Lord. By all accounts, they’ve stewarded their gifts well.
As one guy explained “Any attractive girls you’re interested in?” (apparently a common question) isn’t helpful when his primary concern is whether she’s likely to be a good helper and partner in his mission. He’s not looking for “godly and pretty”, he’s looking for “godly, trustworthy, competent, and pretty” (in that order).
The other guy is more acutely aware of the risks of marriage today. Both of his parents (both now deceased) each went through multiple divorces. He has no other living family. He wonders how much he can count on his church community to be a resource in helping him cultivate a good marriage (his tentative answer: “some, but not much”). He’s open to marriage, but he’s guarded, and not looking to get catastrophically hurt.
Jaxon, this sounds like two completely different situations. For the first, I know for a fact that there are many eligible women. He should find a pastor of a church he trusts, and ask for an introduction. For the second guy, I think he should look for a church that would be a help to him if he were to marry.
What’s your take on age disparities between husband and wife? It seems to me that the order of creation would have the man be older, or at least the more mature, in a spousal relationship. Adam was created first and was therefore older (less than a day, I know). Both Milton and Lewis present their pre-fall first man/husband as possessing characteristics typically found in the more aged and experienced (wisdom, maturity, etc).
As I’m sure you guessed, I have more than just a philosophical interest in the topic. I am a 30-year-old unmarried man and member of a CREC church. I recently received a recommendation from an elder regarding a 37-year-old woman attending a CREC church in another state. I initially recoil at the thought of pursuing a woman 7 years my senior. But I’m seeking counsel to see if I’m onto something or if I’m entirely off base.
JT, I think it is a lot less relevant now than it was when she was 20 and you were 13. So I would not rule it out. My mother was 8 years older than my dad. When he found out their age difference, he asked, “Why didn’t you wait for me?” She said, “I didn’t know you were coming.”
A Family Snarl
Our wedding is in a few short months, but my brother and sister are at severe odds with each other. Their disagreements range from money, my mother remarrying after my father passed away, and many other petty disagreements.
How would you recommend dealing with family who are in illogical disagreements, for example: brother has failed to repay a single cent in 5 years from his mother’s $30k loan, and when it was brought up at all, he cut her off completely. Second example: my mother has remarried and my sister is very upset, and now looks for any and all times when anyone on my mother’s side of the family- including my mother—have ever said something possibly hurtful, or done something wrong (sometimes from 20 years ago).
It’s very tense when my mother’s name is brought up, so I’m coming to you for advice on how we should approach this situation now, so it may be at least fractionally resolved before my wedding, before, well, they fight like cats and dogs.
Your brother in Christ,
Matt, I would not try to resolve everything before the wedding. I would write to everyone and say something like “it is obvious that we need to work through some issues as a family, and after we are married, I would like to volunteer to broker some family meetings to that end. But since the wedding is almost on us, I would simply like to ask all of you not to refer to any of our disagreements during our time of celebration. We can do this without hypocrisy because we all know that we are doing to address it.” This will keep your wedding celebration from becoming the hostage in a stand-off.
James White and Me
Regarding your recent debate with James White on: paedo communion—it seems Dr. White’s primary concern was with the (expressed) FAITH of the communicant, whereas your emphasis was on the INCLUSIVITY of those participating, as understood within God’s covenantal, familial relationship. Here’s my question: is it not reasonable to understand that Paul’s instructions, as found in 1 Cor 11, would be targeted at the “troublemakers” at that church? His admonitions here are directed toward those who were promoting divisions; not sharing the meal; getting drunk, etc. ADULTS were the source of the problem, thus they are the object of Paul’s rebuke and his admonition for self-examination.
Obviously, this is not an argument to include the wee ones , nor can it be criteria to exclude them. This is intended to more fully understand Paul’s instruction, at that place, at that time.
Brian, yes. I think that is most reasonable.
Waiting on the Lord
Re: most recent Man Rampant with Michael Foster. Amen, amen, and amen! Thank you to both of you for your resources and ministries. Understandably, a brief video can’t cover all the relevant issues. But how would you direct your encouragements to young married men whose wives are clinically infertile (as opposed to infertile by choice)? As you may remember it was 13 years before Jen and I were able to adopt. What would you tell my younger self, who wanted (and with my wife was trying for) children, to whom God was saying not yet, and not in that way? How would you articulate the core principles of the video to a young man in what was my situation?
Thanks as always!
Joe, my exhortation to you at those earlier stages would be “don’t lose heart.” God is always playing the long game.
Your quote from Dabney about sentimental books has been rattling around in my brain. It has me thinking about catharsis. I suppose I’ve always thought catharsis was probably good or at least usually good. Is catharsis just a pagan concept that should be tossed aside? What do we do when a piece of media stirs our emotions? I remember being moved by Treebeard’s song in The Two Towers. Can you help me find the principle in this?
Thank you for doing another season of Man Rampant,
Thomas, Dabney’s argument is not against be stirred or moved by literature. He was arguing against being stirred within a closed system, and not having that emotional response result in action.
I Quite Agree
We are homeschooling our boys (age 14 and 11) with a Christian curriculum. They each have a Bible course that they enjoy, and as a result, they are really good with Bible history and facts, However, sometimes they struggle with articulating the tenets of the faith, particularly my younger one. I talk with them a lot about it, but I think some more structure would be helpful. My thought is I want to add a catechism to our nightly devotions, so we could then reinforce those truths I want them to understand. Do you have anything you would recommend? Or is there another thought you have on this subject?
Ryan, yes. It sounds like a catechism is just what the doctor ordered. I would recommend either the Westminster Shorter, or the Heidelberg.
A Little Gonzo Law
I thoroughly enjoyed your book Ride Sally Ride. I have a scenario for a little gonzo law with all the gun grabbers that I think is kinda funny. If the gun control advocates desire to take away AR-15s would it be okay for the Christian to consider that AR-15 as their spouse? I mean in a day and age when guys marry sex dolls and computer programs why can’t conservatives have a little fun by marrying beloved firearms? Maybe this might be the basis for a Ride Sally Ride sequel. You can even put a line in there from the lady who married the Brooklyn Bridge saying something like ” I think that’s taking it a bridge too far” or something like that.
Shawn, I like the cut of your jib.
The Debate With Michael Brown
Perhaps I missed it, but in your debate with Michael Brown, I didn’t actually hear where in the Bible that it says all prophecy must be considered as Scripture. To me, this could create a scenario in which a word that God gives me during my morning prayer must beyond a shadow of a doubt be written down and inscribed for eternity in a bound book.
I simply see no prerogative from Scripture that all prophecy must be added to the Bible. But I could totally be missing something here.
Ben, the issue is whether the prophecy is considered to be a Word from God. If it isn’t, then why are we calling it prophecy? If it is, then why aren’t we treating it the same way we treat other words that we believe to be a Word from God?
I saw your debate with Michael Brown regarding cessationism. I have one critique of Michael Brown’s assertion that the NT exhorts us to pursuer the gift of tongues. BUT Michael Brown has not given any proof that the practice of tongues as currently done by the Pentecostal church IS THE SAME gift of tongues that Paul invokes. It’s called the chain of custody—there is no evidence that the gift “restored” through the Pentecostal church is THE SAME as that of Paul. How does Michael Brown know that the tongues he practices is that of Paul? Has Paul certified Brown’s utterance exercise lately? In fact the woman who was the first one under Charles Parham to speak in tongues in Topeka later in life wrote a pamphlet saying that the tongues practiced by the Pentecostals was NOT what she experienced! Her exercise was speaking in Chinese (which she had never learned) as she was studying to be a missionary to the Far East. She denied in writing that the gibberish as practiced in the Pentecostal church was anything like that which the students experienced in Topeka under Parham. And that was the first outbreak of tongues recorded.
So how does Michael Brown KNOW that his utterances are the same as Paul’s? He’s never presented any evidence for that—it’s called the chain of custody. There are no known historical links tying the contemporary Pentecostal practice of tongues two thousand years across time back to the original churches. What Paul did with tongues may be completely different from Michael Brown thinks he has resuscitated 2,000 years later . . .
Ben (different from the one just ahead of you), you raise a good question. And there are good scriptural reasons for not equating the phenomena.
Running for Office
Thank you for being a tremendous resource to me and my family. I have subscribed to canon+, and it is a wealth of wisdom that I am praying through implementing in my life. Thank you for your video blogs addressing current events and how biblically minded Christians should be reacting to those events. These blogs have helped to encourage and shape my own thoughts and actions as I’ve tried to make some progress to help Christ build His kingdom.
My question is regarding your idea of Mere Christendom and your blog “White Boy Summer, or How Republics Rot”. I’m taking to heart your idea that secular society must be rebuked and replaced by Christian society, but my challenge is in the specifics. In my case, I’m running for constable in my county in Middle Tennessee. I’d like to use the position, if elected, to begin to create neighborhood watches to prepare for some of the events I think are likely going to happen. These events might include various forms of crime, rioting, food shortages, and child exploitation. After listening to your blog, I feel uncomfortable starting a neighborhood watch that is not exclusively run by and training Christians. I don’t feel like building the kingdom of Satan. It’s a bit complicated. Of course I can simply create a neighborhood watch as a private citizen with no badge required, but having a badge, a uniform and some authority, I think, will likely cause my efforts to be more successful psychologically. The other complication is that I’d like to leverage an archaic part of Tennessee Law to provide some legitimacy to the neighborhood watch, but I’m not sure how far I can go with that yet.
Tennessee grants some of its constables, my county’s constables included, all the authority of a constable under the common law.
“Every constable, so elected and sworn, in those counties set out in § 8-10-108(b), including counties added to § 8-10-108(b) at any time subsequent to 1969, is a conservator of the peace and vested with all the power and authority belonging to the office of constable by common law.”
In William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769) he says, “The constable may appoint watchmen at his discretion, regulated by the custom of the place; and these, being his deputies, have for the time being the authority of their principal.”
Putting these things together could be a tool for turning the tide on various forms of lawlessness. However, judges may not be so convinced of that. It’s difficult enough to get them to understand and act upon what “shall not be infringed” means.
My current options would be 1) to start a private neighborhood watch that I head up outside of a constable role with a mission to serve the whole community or 2) damn the torpedoes of potential lawsuits and boldly do it as a constable excluding non-Christians from being watchmen. I’m not able to afford lawyers at this point so that course of action might lack discretion.
This is all a bit hypothetical as I need to win the office first. My question is, given the current unlawful threats to governing/business owning Christians how should a Christian begin to take practical steps towards a renewed Christendom. If you have any advice on my situation, I also would appreciate that, but the situation is a bit specific so it probably won’t be useful to your readers/listeners, and you seem to have so many important things going that I would almost regret reaching out and taking you away from bigger priorities to give me advice on my specific trifle.
May God bless you for all that you have done for me, my family, and His Church.
James, if you win office, I wouldn’t begin by shooting the moon. I would not limit the watch to Christians only. I would play the long game. But I would encourage you to do what you do as an open and avowed Christian.
Thank you for the never ending torrent of content you continue to churn out on a daily basis. It’s edifying—and sometimes convicting—to parse through, and it often spurs me to do better, more efficient and consistent work myself.
I have heard much lately—from sources I highly value—regarding Natural Theology and Thomism, and that they are not things to be entertained, at least as Aquinas presents them. Can you point me in the direction of some resources that detail Thomism, and why it’s best to stay away? The (admittedly brief) research I’ve done on the subject is convoluted and answered no questions for me.
Brock, you should start with The Failure of Natural Theology by Jeffrey Johnson, as well as his book on Thomas, Saving Natural Theology from Thomas Aquinas.
All the Different Subjects
Would you consider writing a book or producing some sort of material on the how Christians should think about individual school subjects? You’ve written prolifically on Christian education in general, but I’m thinking more of a “My Life for Yours” style book, like a walk through the subjects and how the gospel manifests in each. I’ve learned things from you as well as your family and others in your community here and there, like Matt Whitling (poetry), CR Wiley (music), Nate (story/narrative/poetry), and others, as well as Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, etc. Perhaps there could even be different contributors to the book, like each chapter with a different author. For a content example, I stumbled across an article somewhere on your blog several years back about how beauty in art is not in the eye of the beholder, but that there is an objective standard of beauty by which art can be evaluated—God’s standard. This blew my mind.
It seems parents who are now deciding to pursue Christian education are still greatly shaped by the modern public education they received as far as the nuts and bolts go (for example: reading only realistic stories/no fairy tales, God is irrelevant to math, poetry doesn’t seem very important, the content of books doesn’t matter much as long as kids are learning to read, dissecting things is how you really know them).
I think this could be helpful for two groups: we parents who are aware that we have errant thinking and are seeking to think more biblically about the subjects, as well as for those parents who don’t even realize how secularized their perspective is (the former group could suggest or gift the book to this group). I think it could help both those who are homeschooling (for obvious reasons) and those who are choosing private Christian schools to more effectively evaluate the school in consideration (is it a public school education with a Bible class tagged on?).
I know you and those around you have a wealth of wisdom to share, and I think this could have a substantial impact on the Christian education front. More Christians are doing Christian education, but I think this could help them do it really well.
Thanks for reading this, and blessings on you and Moscow.
Mallory, this is a really good suggestion. We are still up against the old “how many hours are there in a day” problem, but it is still a great idea. Consider it thrown in the hopper.
Hello! I’m writing in regards to the latest Darla letter, about hypergamy. I have read about this concept elsewhere (in Christian and non-Christian circles alike), and while I get the concept and agree it is real, what doesn’t sit well is this: if women are ‘marrying up’, does that mean men marry down? Or that most men (husbands) are in fact ‘better’ or more ‘valuable’ (in the hypergamous sense, status, wealth, intelligence, etc), than women (their wives)? In the same vein, I’ve seen several other Christian leaders make the same point as you, that the the male making the ‘married up’ jokes is unbecoming and insulting (and I agree), but I wonder, would it be appropriate for women to make those jokes? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the concept but seems to point to women being of less value, and men therefore, generally ‘settle’ for a wife. The logic would seem to me that one party cannot marry up without the other party marrying down or settling. Thank you!
A, thanks for a great question. The difference between the sexes means that the woman marries up (she marries her head), while the man marries down (he marries his own body). But “up” and “down” have a wider definition than just the natural hierarchy between husband and wife. In other wider situations, up and down would include things like education, wealth, family heritage, and so on. Your point is legit with regard to the natural relationship. But with regard to the wider definitions, a woman can easily marry a man in her own league. With the wider definitions, they can be peers. But also, with regard to the wider definitions, it is less offensive for the man to marry down than for the woman to do so. Curdie notwithstanding, the prince marrying the peasant girl goes down better than the princess marrying the hot dog vendor.
Book Recommendations for Andrew
Hello- 3 comments/questions 1. The book that Andrew may be looking for is ‘’When a Nation Forgets God” by Erwin Lutzer. It is specifically about spiritual decline in the Weimar republic. It may have some ‘outsider errors’, but it is informative nonetheless.
2. Are you planning on putting the Dawson and Darla letters into a book? It would be super helpful.
3. A question I have been throwing around in the back of my head lately—
If boys and girls are, as they mature, heading toward quite different futures and roles (biblically speaking), why do they receive almost cookie cutter educations? I feel like such a question requires a great deal of disclaimers (i.e. I am not saying women don’t need to be educated as thoroughly or as long as men, although I am not even saying the opposite, etc etc)
I am just wondering, as I home school my pack (4 boys, 2 girls in ages 2-14) toward and through adolescence, how to even assess this. Previous thoughts and approaches, that I have encountered and adopted, have been genderless and individual (“develop them in the gifts and talents God gave them” etc)—but I am thinking—if they are arrows, and we are launching them, we should be thinking a great deal more about the target, as we plan the shaping.
A couple of examples.
My very motherly, sharp and well-read fourteen year old daughter is learning logic, beginning this year. A fine thing and, I believe, useful for a woman in the home or anywhere.
However in our program, this will lead into rhetoric and debate—and I can’t see that oral debate skills and speech-making are helpful for the woman in the home—or should I say ‘as’ helpful when weighed against other things.
When I have brought this up (hesitantly) with friends or my husband- I receive variations of—‘well a woman needs to be able to take on a man’s position in the world in case Prince Charming doesn’t come along or she is widowed etc.’ Which I can understand, but seems rather like forming all the arrow shaping efforts toward exceptions, not the target.
I notice a trend in our home school community of young ladies saying they don’t want to marry and have children, but want to study and have a career. Conversely, many of the young men flounder.
I wonder if have you written on this, or know anything good by another? I lack the resources to think this one through, and I am worried about becoming even more radical about biblical gender roles, perhaps accidentally and unnecessarily.
Lauren, thanks for the book recommendations. The letters to Dawson have already been published as Get the Girl. And with regard to your last question, I don’t believe girls should be educated because we are aiming at careers. We provided a rigorous classical education for our daughters because we believe that is just as necessary in the home as anywhere else. For starters, remember—especially in home schooling settings—the level of education your daughters receive will likely be the same level that your grandsons receive.
Book on Weimar Republic for Andrew: “The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class.” By: Frederick Taylor. A good companion piece (though very disturbing) is “Savage Continent” By: Keith Lowe.
Brendon, thank you very much.
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