Love the liberty catechism. Could you suggest some further reading for parents to supplement the catechism, other than Slaying Leviathan (since I already read that)?
Michael, I would read Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto, Kelly’s The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World, and Steward’s Justifying Revolution.
Do you think that we’ll have a civil war this 4th turning or some sort of external threat that causes nationalism to surge and the country to band together?
Rocky, I think our Fourth Turning crisis, already in process, will be a crisis of internal civil disorder, but not open war.
Great work, as always. I have a tangentially related covenant question. I affirm infant baptism for covenant children, but I am unclear about their status of regeneration under this sacrament. Ought we follow Kuyper in presuming regeneration of our covenant children? Or ought we call them to repent and believe the gospel?
I will tip my hand and say I anticipate you affirming the second, though please correct me if not. But, if we affirm the second, what difference is there, covenantally speaking, between us and the Reformed Baptists? Specifically, if covenant baptism does not confer the presumption of regeneration, then what does it confer?
Thank you for your ministry.
BJ, I am actually closer to the first, while affirming the need for the second—the call to repentance and faith never goes away. My complaint with the first would be the connotations of “presumptive,” which brings presumption immediately to mind. I believe that we should, by evangelical faith, trust God for the salvation of our children and walk accordingly.
Theonomy Once More
Apropos to no specific post of yours (or perhaps to all of them!), Stephen Wolfe recently wrote a piece on Classical Reformed Theonomy, setting out a political view that appears fairly in line with things you have said/written in the past. I’m not really sure where, if anywhere, you would disagree with it. Political views like Wolfe’s, yours, and others seem to be getting more and more jumbled together as the years go by…
Thanks!, and link to Wolfe’s piece here:
Michael, thanks for the link. I’ve not had time to get through it, but the intro looked promising.
A Terminology Thing?
You use the term same sex mirage to show the alphabet sex community, inside and outside the church, that their concept of marriage is a false social construct and totally unbiblical. So, following the same reasoning, isn’t the use of the term same sex attraction in the same category? The Bible promotes opposite sex attraction that is to lead men and women to marriage and condemns the sin of adultery and fornication as a betrayal of that institution. Opposite sex attraction is biblical. However there is no biblical framework for same sex attraction and for the church to bow to that language twisting is problematic. To put them both on the same footing is myopic and will only lead to more fog around what is clearly a biblical prohibition. What do you think?
Tony, I take your point, but there is a yeah, but. I don’t want to call a homosexual arrangement a “marriage,” because we are talking about what something is. A homosexual marriage is not, in fact, a marriage. But a homosexual is, in fact, attracted to someone of the same sex. Your point is that he shouldn’t be, which is true, and which is why “same sex temptation” would be better. But same sex attraction is not false, the way same sex marriage is.
Perennial Eschatology Stuff
I seem to remember that you believe the son of man is currently sitting on his glorious throne (Matthew 19:28), but if that is now, how does Jesus then say in Matthew 25:31 that at that time, “then”, shall he sit upon that throne, at the final judgment when he judges the sheep and the goats?
Jonty, my answer would be that the final judgment is not the time Christ ascends to the throne, but the time which, from His throne, He settles as the day of judgment.
Regarding post-millennialism and the end of Revelation 20:4;
“. . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
If we are currently in the millennium, then where are those that are currently living and reigning with Christ? If they are alive in heaven and have been resurrected, then would their graves be empty here on earth?
This question was posed by a dispensationalist friend, and I didn’t have a clear answer for him. Hoping you would.
Thanks for all you do.
Myles, I would say that God has made all His saints “kings and priests,” and they share in the Lord’s reign from wherever they currently are. Those who have died and are in the intermediate state are reigning through Christ (and their graves are not empty) and those who have not yet died are reigning through Christ, and are not yet in the grave.
This terrible Pride month has seen young adult children of some of my friends “come out.” They are heart broken. Let’s assume for the sake of argument they have repented of any bad parenting that they may have done—at least as best as they honestly know how. How do you think through helping parents in these situations?
Bryan, I am afraid that this answer won’t be much practical help because everything depends on the situation. Do you invite them for Thanksgiving? Can they bring their partner? What about sleeping over? Etc. The answers to those three questions are yes, it depends, and no. The main thing is to love God, and to love your child in a way that exhibits the love of God to them.
Under the laws of almost every state in the USA, marriage is actually less than a contract. One spouse (70% of the time it is the wife) may divorce the other for any reason or none at all, and suffer no penalty for his or her faithlessness. What can the church do to turn back this injustice?
William, you are exactly right. The “no fault” approach to divorce has been a plague.
Man of Lawlessness
Today Pastor John Piper published a podcast/article regarding “the man of lawlessness.” Do you have a preterist perspective regarding these verses?
Jen, yes. The thing to do is to look up at my menu bar, and click on About. In the dropdown menu is a Blog Post Scripture Index. Enter Thessalonians in the search bar there, and you will find plenty of preterist takes on the relevant passages.
Random Liturgical Question
I’m a new listener, subscribed to Canon+. I’ve found your content intriguing. (I’ve loved your Daughters, Eve in Exile) I have a question regarding something I heard in your podcast “ Parenting Young People”
At the start it seems as though you are in a congregation and you recite something to the congregation in regards to confessions and forgiveness of sins as a corporate body. I’ve not heard this before and am wondering if you can explain what this is, and where I can find the biblical reference to this, as it seems liturgical and not biblical. Isn’t repentance required for forgiveness? I can’t see how this done in a corporate setting is biblical.
Sarah, yes. We have confession of sin as an established part of our liturgy. That is only unbiblical if the people confess with their lips while their hearts are far off. But we have an exhortation right before the confession which routinely charges them not to do that. So the order in that part of the service is Exhortation>We all kneel>Corporate confession>Silent personal confession>Stand>Assurance of pardon.
Finding a Wife
In response to: “7 Reasons Young Men Should Marry Before Their 23rd Birthday”
I am a single 21 year old dude, working in a school district as a long term substitute teacher, and making decent money. I consider myself reasonably attractive but I live in a smallish town of around 15,000 people. I agree with the general idea of marrying sooner rather than later! Yet there is no mate in sight currently. At my church the only female that is in my age range is my sister. So as far as marriageable young ladies I’m left with 0 in my church. Beyond my church, there are no solid females of my age range that I know of either, to which I would want to be married to. So for all these reasons, my spousal “prospects” are limited to say the least. What am I to do? Leave my town and find a woman in a city yonder? Is that what it would mean to leave my “father and mother and cling to a wife”? That seems complicated. Scout out the neighbor churches? That seems mildly creepy. Do I persist in the town that I am in, praying that God brings a wife to me? That seems possible, but does not seem to be in the spirit of pursuing a wife. It seems as if this situation will not improve any time soon. What advice might you lend to a young man like myself?
Payton, not to be too blunt, if you want to hunt deer, you have to go where the deer are. As I see it, your options would be, in ascending order: 1. start attending a lot of conferences sponsored by thriving local churches. Meet people there. 2. cautiously approach online connections, or 3. move.
One Thought About Atheism
I am facilitating a study using “Father Hunger” as a resource. We are currently on the chapter dealing with atheism. Please share with me your thought as you wrote that chapter.
Thank you and Be Blessed
Chuck, it has been some years so I can’t answer precisely. But I can make this general observation. When I was with Christopher Hitchens, I observed that two things would set him off. One, interestingly, was the vicarious death of Christ on the cross. But the second one was the fatherhood of God. It was very clearly a sore spot.
Fourth of July Stuff
So this is a throwback to your Forth of July post from last year 2021), which was pretty awesome. One point you made is that the colonists resisted taxation by Parliament because Parliament was not their government. The colonies were populated by Englishmen and Scots, all of whom had the legal rights and political heritage of Englishmen/Scots, but the colonies were not Britain and were therefore beyond the legislative power of Parliament. The only governmental link the colonies had with Britain was the fact that they all shared the same monarch, the same way Britain and Australia today have separate legislatures but share a monarch. This position is essentially the Dominion Theory of Empire that animated the arguments that Colonial lawyers like John Adams, John Dickinson, and James Wilson were making against the Stamp Act and the Townsend Duties. My question for you is whether you are familiar with the work of Harvard historian Eric Nelson? He goes a bit further and argues that the men behind the Revolution who were advancing the Dominion Theory were not doing so from a Whiggish perspective, but were actually Tories, if not Jacobites, wanting a return to the old Stuart view of royal prerogatives and limitations on Parliament. This is somewhat of a “New Perspective on the American Revolution.” Like the New Perspective on Paul, it questions the way we’ve understood what the colonists were reacting against and what their prevailing political persuasions were in the 18th Century Trans-Atlantic Context. Just wondering if you were familiar with familiar with Nelson’s work, and if so, what you thought of it. Here’s a short vid on his view:
Also, speaking of Revolutionary War historians, in the past you have plugged Gary Steward’s book “Justifying Revolution.” I actually met Dr. Steward a couple weeks ago at the Western Conservative Summit where he was giving a talk on the theses of his book. I think he would make a great Man Rampant guest. You should have him on to talk through the issues he addresses in his book. I think his work is especially relevant given the number of woke-leaning Christians who operate on a neo-Beardian, quasi-Marxist understanding of the American Revolution and the Founding.
Joe, thanks very much.
To my inquiry:
Any updates on your thoughts on Aquinas? I heard you and James White did a sweater vest dialogue on him . . . When is that content going up? Is it? How would you sum up James Whites’ aim with his fiery rhetoric towards all-things-Aquinas? What is Dr. White calling for?
Also, how is summer summa going? Some of your authors with Canon Press love Aquinas, like Glenn Sunshine and C.R. Wiley. Are they in the wrong?
Here’s a thought: Maybe you could host a debate on Aquinas. Friend or foe? Carl Trueman says friend.
Silas, I am still reading up on it. The issue is not whether Thomas can be really useful. Rather, to be clear, my chief complaint is with the Thomist purists, who use him and not Scripture as the benchmark of orthodoxy. So my challenge to them would be, “Please name one orthodox Christian, not a Thomist, whom you consider to be fully orthodox.”
The Corruption is Far Advanced
I’ve written before and I wanted to start by thanking you for the insightful and brief response you gave to me then. Let me begin by giving some context: I’m in college and involved in a PCA campus ministry called RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). After the overturning of Roe, I was amazed and overjoyed, as I am sure you were too. Out of the overflow of this joy, I typed a message into the RUF group chat to encourage my brothers and sisters there to celebrate, and more importantly, to extend an invitation for them to visit my house and celebrate there. Much to my disappointment and surprise, I was met with messages decrying my message as insensitive and inflammatory. I was told that everyone there were “my brothers and sisters in Christ despite their differences” on the issue. Mad does not begin to describe how I felt. I talked to our minister, and was told that while abortion sure was bad and all that, I needed to “earn the right” to change other people’s opinions and “develop a posture of curiosity.” Also got a lot of rot about the church “advocating for women” and so forth. All of this is in a conversation about the murder of children. As a homeschooled student who moved around for a lot of my youth and didn’t have many friends, I was delighted to find a place in RUF that seemed to have many good folks to relate to, and I am now distraught and disappointed about the situation currently unfolding before my eyes. Fault lines (to use Voddie Baucham’s insightful terminology) are developing in a community that I love and I feel powerless to stop it. So now we get to my question. A couple of guys with similar concerns reached out to me and we agreed that we needed to meet and do something. I just don’t know what we can do or ought to do. What course of action should I aim to propose when we meet? I trust that you will prove as insightful on this issue as you are on others.
P.S.—If you could do an “Ask Doug” video on the subject in general, I’m sure that would prove edifying to many brothers out there, just sayin’ (:
Caedmon, I would encourage you to meet with those friends in order to pray for RUF, and for reformation and revival to break out.
Just Starting Out
We are a young couple, soon to be married, moving from California to South Carolina. We are both originally from the Southeast and are excited to return. This question may seem unusual, but what advice would you give to a young married Christian couple regarding the purchase of their first home together, especially in this market? What kinds of things should we prioritize? For example, should we look for a large family room? Extra room for future kiddos? Land? Guest space? And what about budget and financial stewardship? We want to intentionally make a home with Christ and his Gospel in mind. What practical insights do you think are worth knowing?
Mitch, I will assume that you are going to be like most newly-weds, just starting out and doing so with not very much money. That being the case, don’t try to buy your final home now. Buy a home that has two characteristics—the first is that it will one you can work on fixing up together, and second that it is one that enables you to keep debt to a minimum.
Blue State Pastor
As a pastor in the capitol of California, thanks for your comments for us blue-staters at the end of “Roe Reversal Rainbow Month.” Sometimes, especially when the next family moves to Idaho, we feel like the 51st Highlanders at Dunkirk. But this is the foxhole the General has called us to fight in. So I was glad to hear that we are not forgotten.
Because it is quite the ride. We pray at the Capitol, and it turns into a crowd of Christians, and then a confrontation with BLM and Antifa, and then to speaking the gospel to both. We voice dissent with legislators about infanticide, and we are joined by yet another crowd of Christians looking for leadership. And when relativism’s stranglehold here seems too great to surmount, God reminds us to stop disbelieving Rhoda, and then He overturns Roe.
So we’re grateful again for the encouragement that the immigrants to the New World not forget the Old. This victorious army of His has many parts, and we need each other.
P.S. Don’t forget: without California, how much material would the Babylon Bee really have to work with?
Jed, I never thought of it that way before. California as a jobs program for the Babylon Bee.
The Romantic Bond
“When romantic or sentimental young girls think that marriage is simply about being soul mates, or best friends, or anything like that, they are leaving out most of life. Not only so, but they are seeking to have some nebulous feeling of love be the bonding agent. And then, when that feeling is gone, or has shifted into a form that they don’t recognize, they feel like the marriage is dead.”
What is the difference between this and attributing to a spouse the sin of abandonment if these things happen to have become the case?
DM, I can’t say without more detail. Is it a case of the husband no longer feeding his wife, or a case of a wife going on a hunger strike. Did the marriage die, or did somebody kill it? These would be the sorts of questions I would raise in the course of pastoral counseling.
The Next America
I really appreciated your recent post “Roe Reversal Rainbow Month.” I think your predictions for a divided America are very solid; however, it seems to me that the one wild card is all the moving going on right now. Many liberals are moving to conservative states and bringing their political views with them. How does this dynamic interact with your predictions?
Thank you and God bless
Landon, I think that element is there, with some folks tracking their blue into the red states. But in the main, I think that the refugees know what caused the mess they are fleeing from.
Abortion and Natural Revelation
One thing from your recent piece on the reversal of Roe struck me as an unfortunate figure of speech. When you said, “we do not get to kill the babies because of what Jehovah God said to Moses on Mount Sinai,” you said something likely to be misunderstood. Now, misunderstandings will happen, but this one goes right to the heart of the relationship between the law of God and the civil government. I’m sure you will acknowledge that it was wrong to kill babies even before Sinai, which is why the Lord was pleased with the Hebrew midwives. The delivery of the Mosaic law wasn’t the origin of objective morality. It wasn’t the moment man received knowledge of right and wrong. It wasn’t the beginning of civil government or of God endorsing man’s punishment of murderers.
When you say we can’t kill babies because of Sinai, it suggests that the prohibition is an arbitrary, artificial commandment that applies to only a particular time and people. There are injunctions of exactly that sort in the Mosaic law, such as not eating unclean animals, or wearing mixed fabrics.
Again, I wouldn’t bring this except it goes right the question of how our laws relate to God as the supreme authority and original lawgiver. It seems to me we should be as clear as possible about the submission we are advocating our society render to the Almighty, and what relationship that has to Sinai.
“Thou shalt not kill” is part of the deep magic, and not something applied to the surface of the created order.
Nathan, thanks. We agree on the substance, and need not differ on the chronological order of things. The evil one was a murderer from the beginning, and inspired Cain to kill his brother—and the sin was the sin of murder. But we need not quibble over how we phrase it when appealing to the law of God. When Paul says “love does no harm to its neighbor,” and quotes the ten commandments, the implication is not that love was unnecessary before Sinai.
Just a quick question. It seems that you are appealing to natural law in this article in a couple places. Could you point me to some resources that make the case for natural law being Biblical? Thanks!
Robert, I am not sure which article you are responding to, but perhaps you could start here.
Another kind of answer to another kind of question:
I dunno if you like John Murray, but he’s got some great essays on people being just body and soul, and not three parts. I think it was Luke that asked. You’ve probably read them, but just in case you hadn’t I wanted to mention them.
Matt, yes. I like John Murray and have his collected works. Thanks for the recommendation.
A Good Report
My question has nothing to do with a particular post. The good news is I finally got married to a fine Christian woman with a charismatic background. A month prior to meeting her, she described having demons cast out of her. She’s connected with a charismatic ministry tied to Neil Anderson where they claim that Christians can be possessed. Other than listing experiences as their basis of truth, I’m trying to answer this question using the Bible. Do you have any recommendations where to find out whether Christians can be possessed? I don’t think it is possible but my wife is sincere and has been a Christian all her life. She’s had a lot of trauma. Thank you. Sincerely,
Brent, everything hinges on what you mean by “possessed.” I would emphasize to her what Scripture says about all true Christians having been ransomed, redeemed, purchased, bought with a price, etc. A demon can’t own or possess one of God’s possessions. At the same time, a covenant member can be afflicted and tempted by a demon. In Luke 13:16, Jesus says that a “daughter of Abraham” had been afflicted by Satan for years. Job was afflicted by Satan (Job 1:12). The apostle Paul was also worked over by Satan (2 Cor. 12:7). But those who are owned by Christ cannot be owned by another. No man can serve two masters.
The Metrics for Next Time
What are some questions that folks exploring potential church homes could use to gauge their leadership’s competence (especially in light of the last few years)?
One I would ask is under what circumstances would leadership choose to not meet in person.
The church I have been attending is solid on core theology and yet I perceive a naive hope to return to “normal,” perhaps having not learned from all that’s transpired. As if Covid and all that came with it was all just a run of bad luck. Now this is just my gut feeling but to tease out whether my intuition is accurate it would be helpful to have questions that are pointed but not too specific. Does that make sense?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
PS: it could be someone has produced this resource but when I searched the results were extremely underwhelming. Please feel free to point me to an existing resource if you are aware of one.
Dan, I think it is a fair question to ask. “Under what circumstances would you agree to shut down your worship services?” And I think that question covers the waterfront.
“But agree together with your wife (when things are calm) that you want to walk through that specific incident together with her, the next time you have a counseling appointment.”
What is the line between filing things like this away for future discussion and 1 Cor. 13:5, where love is not to keep a record of wrongs?
Guymon, it is the difference between one player yelling at another one after a blown play, and watching the game film with the coach later. The player who sinned doesn’t have to a avoid watching the game film.
Privileges will be what the ruling elite grant themselves. Permission is what they will grant their subjects.
Jeff, I wish you were not as correct as you are.
Yes, There Was a Problem
Housekeeping concern only—why aren’t the recordings of your blog posts populating to the podcast feeds currently? Also, I’m missing my weekly plodcast.
Continued blessings in your ministry.
Tom, it should be fixed now. We got a similar complaint a few weeks ago, and I believe our resident exorcist dealt with the problem. Check it out now.
Two Reformation Questions
I have 2 questions I was hoping you’d answer..
1. What verses would you cite to refute those who say that the elect are made up of visible saints only and that the doctrine of decretal election is not explicitly taught in Scripture, but merely a logical deduction from the fact that God has decreed all things? Those being the fine gentleman named John Barach and James Jordan and the like.
2. What are the books you’d recommend reading to get started on the history of the 16th and 17th century reformation?
J, I would point to Paul’s whole line of argument in Romans 8-11. Nothing can separate the elect from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, which is at the end of chapter 8. So naturally the question arises, at the beginning of chapter 9, why then, Paul, are the elect of God chasing you around the Mediterranean trying to kill you. Paul’s answer is the key to all of this. Not all Israel are Israel. That means that not all the elect are elect. For reading, why don’t you start with D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation in England?
What Does the Patriarchy Require in Adult Sunday School Classes?
I am not writing in response to a particular post but about a practical and theological question that has become increasingly relevant in my church. My church is Reformed and very much dedicated to biblical patriarchy; they are not “soft complementarians.” The women even got together recently to watch “Eve in Exile.”
However, one woman mentioned something last Sunday that stuck with me. I was teaching Sunday School, and this woman told me afterwards that she thought about speaking up with a couple of thoughts on one of the verses, but “as a woman” she was not sure if she should. Our Sunday school class normally does include some discussion, and a couple of the women will occasionally speak up with a question or thought. This has always troubled me a bit, but I had unintentionally shoved it to the back of my mind. However, I have been thinking about it a lot, and it seems to me that the patterns of biblical patriarchy and female submission in Scripture, notably in I Cor. 14:34-35, prohibit a woman from asking questions or contributing to discussion in that context. This particular issue of a woman in Sunday school discussions appears to be rather absent from most conversations about “complementarianism,” and the idea that they should remain silent in that context would be quite foreign to everyone I know, even my Reformed friends. That is why I thought I would ask your thoughts on the matter.
Thanks and God bless,
Adam, I believe that Paul’s injunction to “ask their husbands at home” is talking about the worship service proper. They didn’t have Sunday School classes back then, so those were not in view. We also have the example of Priscilla and Aquila correcting Apollos (Acts 18:26), and the text is clear that they both set him straight. That happened in the synagogue parking lot. And so the question becomes whether or not your class is an informal time (closer to the parking lot), or a time of formal instruction in the voice of the church. And so my definitive answer is “it all depends.”
Dealing with Pushback
Thank you and all the saints there in Moscow for the abundant amount of resources! I am currently teaching a class in church on The Biblical perspective of civil government/ an overview of the history of Church and State. This past Sunday one person pushed back quite firmly when I made the point that the Bible teaches consent of the governed, and that kings were elected. My primary verses were Deut. 17:14, 2 Samuel 3:17-19, 2 Samuel 5:1-3. In the end I think the discussion was helpful, but I also left doubting myself a little bit. As I read the verses above they seem to imply that the people hand over power to the king in an election, but in 1 Kings 1 it seems as if David hands the power off to Solomon. I wonder if you could help clear this up, and if you know of any academic resources (perhaps on Canon +) that address this more specifically. Also, if you have time, could you share wisdom on the appropriate way to respond to push back while teaching. I was happy to listen and respond, but it took up a good half hour of class. I wondered if there was a way to be patient yet to move on more quickly, or if these types of extended back and forth are good and healthy from time to time? I am in the early stages of learning how to teach so I’ll take all the advice I can get
B, on a topic like this one, I think dealing with the questions during class time would be most profitable. For further study, I would recommend Canon Press’s recent release of Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos. And with the succession of Solomon, the nation was on the brink of civil war, and both sets of popular opinion had made their “nominations.” David, responding (remember) to a revelation from God, named his successor. But Solomon still required the approval of the population—notice the role of the people there (1 Kings 1: 39-40).
The Dobbs Vote
Probably other have brought this to your attention, but, just in case, Dobbs was decided 6/3, not 5/4 as your article “Roe Reversal Rainbow Month” states.
Thanks for your ministry!
Wendy, on the basis of what I first heard, I wrote 6/3, but later I found out that Roberts did not vote to overturn Roe, so I corrected it to 5/4. Roberts was willing to adjust the viability standard, which is where the 6/3 comes in.
Regarding the Roe reversal . . . and as you stated . . . this ruling was by the sheer grace of God. But that is where I might draw the line. As for being grateful for Donald J. Trump, I think the real sheer grace is that God did something good for His people in spite of Donald J. Trump. Do you not think any Republican president worthy the office would have done the same, appointing conservative judges who would defend life? Anyway, it was Mitch McConnell that did all the heavy lifting, pushing the appointment through. Yes, God raises and removes kings but, for the hardness of our hearts He just might have given us the king we deserve, an immoral man, and still accomplished His will in saving the lives of the unborn. We might have had a much more worthy and upstanding leader and got three conservative judges to boot. We are so easily pleased. Sorry to be a wet rag but I think immoral leaders regardless of their strips [?] will have a detrimental effect on society at large which will not be fully understood until all is made known.
RM, in my piece I gave all due credit to McConnell as well—because the sovereign God uses means. Those means include men who are sinners, all of which is fully granted. But the fact remains that Roe was overturned, on the earthly level, because Trump kept his word.
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