Unfair to Trueman?
This is in reference to your blog, Crossway at a Crossroads. I also posted this on your Youtube site. Doug, you impugn Carl Trueman for (paraphrased) “analyzing Rousseau so well, but not knowing what was going on with Aimee Byrd.” How do you know what Trueman did or did not know? How do you know what Aimee Byrd has or has not gone through? I do not agree with what she has done recently but I also would condemn the behavior of the men on Geneva Commons who acted uncharitably toward Byrd—some of whom had charges brought against them by their presbyteries.
Your lack of charity and grace toward Trueman as a fellow believer—unless you have specific knowledge of Trueman’s failure in these things—is astounding. A bit of epistemic humility would go a long way here. Instead, you slide in this astounding example of an ad hominem attack. If Trueman deserves criticism, then give your source(s) and support your claim. Otherwise, you violate the 9th commandment.
Trueman certainly does not need me defending him but I would love to see a retraction and apology—or else additional information that shows Trueman’s guilt. Better yet, give your evidence over to the Stated Clerk of the presbytery to which Trueman belongs.
Mark, I basically said that Trueman had a blind spot. That is not the sort of thing that would make me want to bring charges to presbytery. And, as his book is public, I can tell the world how wonderful it is, as I have. And, as his support for Byrd has been public, I can wonder out loud about it, as I have.
The Postmill Questions Keep Coming
I’m just wondering how the parable of Luke 19:11-27 fits with postmillennialism? “They thought that the kingdom of God would immediately appear.” Doesn’t that mean that this parable is proving that the kingdom of God would not immediately appear? What do the rewards represent in vv. 17-19? It sounds a lot like the saints ruling over a kingdom when Christ returns.
Thank you for your ministry,
Jordan, the early disciples thought that Jesus was going to manifest Himself in glory right then, kick out the Romans, and establish His kingdom on the earth that way. Jesus said no—more like a mustard seed growing, or like leaven working through the loaf. The manifestation of His glory will happen at a certain point, but it was not going to be a coup de main in the first century. And yes, I agree. Vv. 17-19 mean that Christians who are faithful over their current responsibilities will be given much more responsibility in His kingdom.
Centrality of Family? or Church?
I recently had a conversation with someone about the importance of family in the Christian life. I believe that family is a primary way in which we have an identity, practice service, practice honoring others, etc. I think that the Church is also a primary way we grow and find identity and serve others, but we ideally should be able to be fully participant in both family and church to the extent possible. I was speaking with someone about this recently who said that she believed that after the Great Commission and launching of the New Testament church, we now live in an area where our primary allegiance is to the church—and in fact it would be better not to be married or part of family so that we can serve the church fully. She pointed to texts from Paul about hating your father and mother, it is better to be single than married, etc. And I think she believes that the family was a kind of type of the way our lives should be constructed in the new church—perhaps a similar analogy to the Israel in the OT being a type or foreshadowing of the NT church. And another argument of hers is that since there is no marriage in Heaven, we should be living into that better reality now, where essentially family is more or less irrelevant to one’s life and one should prioritize the church always.
Do you have any thoughts, or previous blog posts on this topic? I’m not sure really how to address this question.
Noel, thanks. I think you are right, and this sermon should help you some more.
I was wondering about Covid testing and loving your neighbors. I do not believe a test should determine my ability to fellowship with believers even after no symptoms. It feels like living an example of a lie to get a test for the sake of others who want to know when it is safe to meet with based on CDC guidelines which are not based on science. Since the test is actually worthless in helping me get better is it merely a a matter of loving them enough to take a test? Or is it loving to not take the test and live according to common sense and what I think would be love for the truth.
Stephen, I think your response should vary from situation to situation. I agree with you about the testing, and that a whole lot of this stuff is just theater, but if the rest home won’t let you in to see your dying grandma without a test, then I would take the test. If your elders required you to be tested in order to teach your Sunday School class, then I wouldn’t. So it depends.
Bible Versions and Translations
I have found myself considering Pastor Doug Wilson’s reasons for using the King James Bible. I appreciated his three reasons presented in the Ask Doug Episode titled “Why the KJV?” a few years ago. The presented reasons have challenged my views significantly, and I have asking myself what I am missing out on by reading other translations not the KJV. I do not want to “shelve” this issue any longer.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to satiate my curiosity regarding the points he brought up. I have a couple specific questions I would love to have answered by him, or anybody who adheres to a similar conviction regarding the use of the King James Bible:
1. Why is the NKJV not an appropriate “modernized” version of the King James Bible? Could you please elaborate your points regarding its use of the MT?
2. So far, I have truly enjoyed the Modernized Geneva Bible audio on Canon+. It has been beautifully modernized, and I appreciate the history we are invited to interact with as we read/listen to it. However, I am curious, does the MGB fulfill Douglas’s hope/desire for the Authorized Version to be modernized? If so, will he and others at Canon Press start referring to the MGB instead of the KJV? If that is not the case, why not?
I would seriously appreciate an answer in any format. I do not necessarily hope to be featured in a video or blog. I am genuinely just curious about what a modernized Textus Receptus using Bible translation could look like, and perhaps wanting to find out if it already exists in the MGB!
For the Kingdom,
Raul, I like the NKJV and use it sometimes. The one criterion from my metric that it does not meet is the fact that it is published by Thomas Nelson. I would have no objection to a modernization of the KJV that did not mess with the manuscript tradition. And I have read the MGB in the NT, and will read the whole thing when it comes out. I liked what I read. We’ll see.
On Reading the Field
Thanks Doug! Yes, not reading the field, not familiar with the players and playing by the wrong games rule book I’d say. They came to the field dressed to play basketball and to their ignorance didn’t notice the opposing team decked out in pads and helmets, headbutting one another. So we, the entire society, MSM, every school, church and nation on earth must learn to protect minorities that represent 2 bases points of a percent of the population but cannot stomach a decent protest to protect a third or more of the population, i.e. our children. We have not idolized family. No we’ve idolized virtue signalling, organic, special grain in-sourced pure grade hyperbole about an ever increasing minority as it approaches zero. God help the half lizard by sexual moonbeam sunflower multisouled gypsie weed find the help it needs. I say it because to name it a he or she would be an unforgivable injustice to phytoplankton! Can you imagine the gaffe, the immodesty? Let’s instead watch the FBI burn down Trump’s places for having done what every president since Washington has done while letting Patreaus, Clinton and Hunter off the hook for much worse.
Joshua, thanks for sharing. Feel better? I usually do.
My husband and I have 4 kids and the 3 boys play baseball and my husband is tired of getting on bad teams with kids who can just kinda play so he signed up all 3 for travel baseball against my wishes. This will require Sunday morning games and for the kids to be in different places at the same times and I feel that I need to go against his decision and go to church instead of attending these games on Sundays. These games start on Friday and go through Sunday so he sees absolutely nothing wrong with this but we are to raise our kids and teach them that God comes first. He also gets angry with the bad plays and attitude the kids sometimes has and will cuss at them or yell in front of everyone—but that part is getting better it’s just hard because I believe Sunday is the Lord’s day and we are to train our children in the ways they should go and I feel it is saying baseball is more important. I tried to get him to share with the coach that Sunday morning games won’t work for us but he insist I be quiet and that would foolish because then they would not let them play. Any advice or Scripture you could share with me would be very helpful. Thank You so much.
Amanda, very sorry for your plight. It sounds like you have already made your desire known in this, and so I would not encourage you to talk about it any more with him. It seems clear that baseball is too important to him, and will become too important to your boys. And so this would appear to be a situation where 1 Peter 3 comes into play. You should continue to go to church, and you should pray that a pastor sees your situation and intervenes. And if it starts to get worse, you should ask a pastor to intervene.
I’ve been listening to all your novels on holiday and having a whale of a time. Thanks for them. You’ve persuaded me of lots of things but two areas where I’m still holding out are 1) singleness for Christians as not a good thing because of how I’m reading the gift idea in 1 Corinthians 7 and also 2) your climate skepticism (insert joke about denying there is a climate . . .). I’m happy to give you a fair hearing but I’m trying to find where you address these things head-on on your voluminous works. There are lots of passing references here and there but I’m guessing there’s a worked-out version somewhere. Where would I best look for your exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7:8 and also climate stuff?
Courtship at a Distance
I appreciate your ministry. I would like to get your advice regarding sending daughters to college. My concern is related to courtship. The Christian liberal arts colleges I have in mind are 100s of miles away from Dallas, where we live. I think such a college would be a fine place to meet a like-minded spouse but I’m not sure how we would go about a biblical courtship in that situation. In your opinion, is biblical courtship possible in that situation?
Thank you for your thoughts,
Mike, yes, it is absolutely possible to do this, depending on the quality of your relationship with your daughters. It would also be possible to fail at it if they were in a college just down the street, again, depending on the quality of your relationship with your daughters.
An Objective Covenant
Do you see the objectivity of the covenant in verses like Psalm 76:1? God had no “ascribed glory” from all of the people of Israel, and yet objectively because of all that he had done for his covenant people, he was glorious and great, even if most of them didn’t believe.
J, while I believe in the objectivity of the covenant, that psalm appears to be describing a situation where the people did see and recognize that God had delivered them.
Can Men Be Hospitable?
I’m sure you get nickel-dimed all the time with little criticisms. That’s not what I’m trying to do here. This is in response to the “Come & See” announcement from Canon Press. Hospitality is like super-glue that holds the church together. I have also read one historian who says it was one of the major factors that lead to the advance of the early church. It has unfortunately been painted as just a women’s concern despite it being one of just a few qualifying traits of an elder. The commands to hospitality are found throughout the New Testament. Our neglect of it may be one of the primary reasons why the Church in our country is withering on the vine. I’m all for promoting hospitality, but the men should be all over this, not just the women.
DCH, my wife and I just watched the whole documentary. The message of the film is not that hospitality is the woman’s domain, but rather that she is the executive that makes it all happen, with the men very much necessarily involved. That point is explicitly made in the film, so I think we agree.
Sorry this is just a note dashed off by swiping on a mobile device. I’ve been doing some thinking on the topic of bibliolatry and I believe you give it unfairly short shrift in your post on Psalm 119.
Why are so many believers awkward in differentiating between the Bible and Jesus? Both are the Truth. Both are the Word Of God. Jesus is far away. My leatherbound deluxe commemorative edition of the Bible in whichever translation I adulate is right here in my hands…
You see my drift. Or perhaps not.
I tell people that Jesus is the living divine intelligence who is The Truth, literally the full technical specifications and the complete historical archives of the universe. When God created, he spoke the word and that Word was/is Jesus. Being a person of the Godhead, divine intelligence with all the characteristics of God, he is alive and sharper than any two edged sword. That verse isn’t about the Bible, it’s about Him.
The Bible is an anthology of divinely inspired human writings, miraculously written, selected, preserved, translated and passed down. The Bible is not God. It is a revelation of God. When you say God condescended . . . surely you are referring to Jesus ultimately.
If not, you should be. IMHO.
Steve, I think we agree. I think.
Ordain a Lady
Dear Pastor Doug, I don’t know if you have heard the true and perfect version of Ordain a Lady.
I think this one will most certainly represent what ordained ladies really sound like.
Shawn, thank you. As a public service, I have posted it below.
Re: Content Cluster Muster . . .
If your daughters (or, I suppose, your granddaughters) were to make a parody video of women’s ordination, how, exactly, would it differ from the Ordain a Lady video?
David, I suspect it could look a lot like the one above.
Lewis in the Dock
A wise man once said, “If I were to calculate the impact that various writers have had on me—and there have been many who have—C.S. Lewis would always come in first, and by a large margin” (wink, wink). And I have to concur that I am in the same boat with this gentleman cited above.
As a fellow lover of Lewis, I have been reading through his writings the last decade or so. I came across “Priestesses in the Church?” in “God in the Dock” and I had a question. Lewis, in both his fiction and nonfiction, paints a beautiful picture of masculine and feminine glory as well as their respective God-ordained natures and roles. He and Tolkien did this better than about anyone; and not just once. Both of the Oxford dons are about as non-egalitarian as it gets. (Praise God.)Yet I came across this quote in his essay which I found to be unsettling, “There were female preachers. One man had four daughters who all ‘prophesied’, i.e. preached. There were prophetesses even in the Old Testament times. Prophetesses, not priestesses. At this point the common sensible reformer is apt to ask why, if women can preach, they cannot do all the rest of a priest’s work.”
I understand that Lewis is alluding to Miriam (Exodus 15:20) and the reference to Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:9 and the prophecy in Joel 2:28-29. One can even add Anna in Luke 3:36 as another example of a prophetess in the Scriptures. Yet in none of these instances are these women “preaching.” Why does Lewis equate preaching with prophesying? And seemingly jump to giving them an authority (preaching) that King Jesus and the Apostles did not give them? It does not seem to be consistent with Lewis’s thought (or frankly, consistent with his own conclusion within the same essay.) Does he mean something different by his semantic use of “preach” than authoritative teaching as mentioned by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12?
Sometimes Lewis, on first glance, can seem off, but upon further glance is more deeply correct than you first realized. Other times, Lewis is actually off, but even then can be quite helpful. Yet this caused me to scratch my head. It does not seem like him. You have been helpful for me in the past with your thoughts in the Lewis canon on Queen Susan and Emeth — among other examples. Therefore, any thoughts on this subject would be helpful.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. I am planning on reading your book on Lewis this Fall and am looking forward to it.
Nathan, thanks. I think that this boils down to your definitions of prophecy and of preaching. The Puritan, William Perkins, entitled his book on preaching as The Art of Prophesying. And so when the women of Scripture spoke the Word of God, they would have done it authoritatively, but I believe that what we call preaching (ascending the pulpit and opening the Word) would have been forbidden to them. And I have trouble thinking that Lewis would disagree.
Big Question, Small Space
If I recall, you have addressed this topic to some degree before, but I am hoping you may go further in depth. Or, at least, as much as a letter response would allow.
I have been investigating Eastern Orthodoxy for several years. I’ve read numerous books and attended several Orthodox services.
Could you please kindly distill for me your spearhead refutation of Eastern Orthodoxy? Specifically, please sir tell me what you make of the doctrine of Theosis.
I’ve found myself growing more fond and warm to it over the last three or so years. Are they Christian brethren? Do we lie to refer to the oppressed Orthodox in USSR, for instance, as persecuted Christians?
Your insight would be much appreciated. If you could also direct me to further sources for your knowledge on this subject, I would well enjoy it.
Anton, I believe that EO is a corrupted form of the Christian faith, and that there are true brothers within her pale. When they are saved, it is because of the sheer grace of God, and not because of a consistent application of the tenets of their communion. OPC guys who are lost are lost because they ignore what their communion teaches. EO guys who are saved are saved because they ignore what their communion teaches. As for theosis, I believe that our participation in the divine nature in no way blurs the Creator/creature distinction. And try Letham’s Through Western Eyes.
Greetings from South Africa Pastor Doug About 2 years ago, under a since abandoned Twitter moniker “DancingDadBear” I commented that my journey of listening to Doug Wilson was (something) like the following:
“I’m a Christian, but not a Calvinist.
Okay I’m a Calvinist, but I am not Presuppotional.
Okay I am Presup, but not Postmillennial.
Okay I’m Postmillennial, but not Presbytarian . . . the journey continues?”
Well, this month my 5 & almost 3 year olds received the sign of Covenant baptism in the Reformed Church we had joined about two months ago.
We as a family we would like to personally thank you, and all those working behind the scenes. Your books, podcasts, teachings, sermons and articles are a true gift to the Church.
If you were ever to make the journey to South Africa we would rejoice in being able to host you as a token of our gratitude and our fellowship as Brothers and Sisters in Christ. If not, we will share a man-hug in heaven.
We greet you with much love, and tears of joy
Louis, Lillibet, Andreas & Elke
Louis, and may God bless you all.
I’m now a Calvinist. Not one of those “crawl-over-broken-glass-Calvinists” I’ve heard you speak about, I’m sorry to say. I’m one of those “dragged-kicking-and-screaming-by-the-book-of-Isaiah-Calvinists.” The verse that did it was Isaiah 6:10 —”Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy… lest they convert and be healed.” The fact that God has the right to do this is not something I necessarily like yet, but it’s something I’m coming to appreciate Biblically. Something that is still bothering me is Ezekiel 18. How can a righteous person “turn away from their righteousness” (v24)? If the wicked person truly is wicked (v21), then surely this righteous person truly must be righteous (v24)?
Fort, welcome. The bruises fade eventually. As for Ezekiel, I believe this is talking about the visible covenant, a professing believer who falls away.
Yeah, But . . .
As a frequent listener to Blog and Mablog posts I love them and everything else about your ministry. I have one suggestion that will help people like me and perhaps boost your listening numbers. The key to getting people to click and listen is to title your posts in such a way as to pique their interest, “The Kardashians join CREC.” That sort of thing. The titles of the blogs are too cute by half. The content is excellent but as a listener trying to figure out how to spend my precious blog-listening minutes, seeing titles like “A Daisy Chain of Non Sequiturs,” or “Hellbent in a Creepy Clown World,” I’m left bewildered as to what those posts are about. And if I click on the post (at least on the phone app), I get an ad rather than a description of the content under that title. The content is great, and I get the appeal of writing titles that make the writer giggle, but I wouldn’t want a listener to miss out on something helpful because it was hidden under a bushel basket of cuteness. “Unwrapping the Gift of Singleness.” This suggested alternate title for “No RomCom Ending,” is a little cute and yet informs the listener of the general subject matter. All that being said, I’m probably going to listen to them all anyway but perhaps the less devout may benefit from this suggestion. 🙂
Eric, yeah. I do recognize sometimes, going over old titles, that I occasionally get a case of the cutes. But taking one thing with another, I think that my titles draw more people in than they exasperate.
Enforcing the First Table
I’d like to follow up on Michael’s follow up to Leah’s question regarding the civil magistrate and first table enforcement. I don’t think anyone here is advocating enforcement of the first table by the government while simultaneously neglecting it themselves. That said, would you count your view as an exception to WLC Q. 99 (points 7 and 8)? And as for the ‘length of time’ you see necessary between the government obeying and enforcing the first table, what standard do you suggest they enforce in the meantime if not the law of God?
Clayton, yes. I think my view would be an exception to the WLC. But it is not over whether the magistrate should enforce God’s law, but rather over what is the wisest path toward that end. But one of the best ways to neglect God’s law yourself is to set yourself up as the enforcer of it for others prematurely. And with governments, this has happened countless times. One time they killed the Messiah . . . on a blasphemy charge.
A Bit of a Problem
What are your thoughts on working as a manager, or any other level employment, at a small company which is vocally pride-oriented? I feel differently about it if one were to work at say, Target, than a small business, when both are vocal about their beliefs. But I’m not sure if it’s something that can be avoided in either case, especially if it’s a good and long sought-for opportunity. And is it different if the small business has a bunch of pride decor but doesn’t actually fund anything or use the space for anything pride-related? What are your thoughts?
NS, this really is problematic. The issue is whether or not you can maintain a distinct presence. If you can, then do it. If you cannot, then the whole thing would be a constant exasperation.
Disqualified for Marriage?
On a more general note concerning marriage, you have said before that if one has occasional struggles with porn, it should not be a full disqualifier like an addiction would be. I do not have a pornography problem, and some things others have said suggest that I don’t quite know what it is. I am approaching thirty, and I know I do not have the gift of celibacy, because I get too lonely for that to be true, and I have always liked girls. I try to treat my mother and sisters well, and they think I do a good job. I live at home for strategic reasons, because I want to move to a different part of the country and can’t afford rent or housing around here, and I pay for most things pertaining to me. I have a job, which I have been able to hold for nearly a year. However, I have a mild self-injury problem which I have been clear of for nearly two months, which I have struggled with since middle school and had a serious problem with during the Covid era. The last respite before the latest relapse was three and a half months long. These last five months, with only two bad days, are in spite of many things going badly during that time. Should that alone be a disqualification for marriage, as many people say it is, until I have been clear of it for a year. Or, should the fact that I have been able to avoid it most of the time, in spite of bad situations, mean that I am eligible, given that I am otherwise at least marginally eligible?
Anon, I really believe that you need to get very specific pastoral guidance. It does not sound to me as though you are ineligible, but I am a long way away. I would say it depends entirely on the nature of the problem you have.
Toxicity Is as Toxicity Does
“So in speaking about differences, I am not referring to toxic differences. But I am talking about things that are simply bewildering to you, and not things that God’s Word flatly prohibits. All toxicity is different, but not all differences are toxic.”
Can you explain more about this? It seems this is a point of debate across many circles: What exactly is the delineation between toxic and non-toxic differences, and how does one make those non-toxic differences gel together in what is supposed to be a harmonious marriage? At what point do we draw the line between, say, a woman being the weaker vessel and therefore the man is to live with her in an understanding way versus using the fact of being the weaker vessel as an excuse to accuse the man at any point he does something she doesn’t like.
Or vice versa, the man holding fast to his masculinity versus using masculinity as a cover for harsh treatment and then viewing attempts to call him on the carpet for it as an attack designed to effeminatize him.
I think I’m now of the opinion that much counseling ends up doing more harm than good through confusion on this issue, and everything then ends up getting lumped into the boilerplate of subjectivity and “communication.”
Guymon, I do agree with you that a lot of damage is caused by misunderstanding this. I would only want to call sin toxic. Personality differences combined with sexual differences might make a marriage between two individuals “not a good idea,” but I wouldn’t call that toxic.
A Rushdoony Question
Just wanted to say I appreciate your generosity in answering letters- I learn so much through this part of the blog. And a question—given I have seen the name ‘Rushdoony’ on your site at some point—I thought I would ask you.
I have Rushdoony’s ‘The Biblical Institutes of Law’, bought ten years ago on a recommendation that I no longer remember. I was doctrinally inept back then—merely curious as to how the psalmist could say ‘I love the law of the Lord’ in earnest.
Now I’ve been having babies steadily since then, and am only up to the third commandment, but can say that the book has so edified me. I now can say with psalmist that I love the law, and see God’s great goodness to us, the longer I go on studying it. I also feel the depth of my neediness of Christ greatly.
Additionally, I can more and more see the many points of departure from God’s laws being as so many demented little pathways leading to Crazy Clown World (as you so aptly put it.)
Now, I have recently, several times, been warned off Rushdoony (without much specification) and some people have expressed concern that I am reading him. There seems to be a concern that to be interested in God’s law is suspect? Hints at legalism? I am not exactly sure.
So my question is—whilst I am enjoying the meatiness of the book— do you personally have any bones to tell me to watch out for?
I am not specifically concerned about legalism, or anything else for that matter. But thought it worth asking. I don’t want to fall into any ditches.
Lauren, I would encourage you to continue to enjoy the book. It is meaty, and of course, you shouldn’t simply “buy into” everything he says. But he has taught me a lot. It is worthwhile.
The Trinity and Everything Else
This spiel is about Christian fellowship and the Trinity. If you are pressed for time, please skip to the paragraph beginning “this next paragraph,” and don’t worry about going any further than the questions in the paragraph after that. Any help you can give is appreciated.
(The following letter contains some details of my life that I have deliberately changed to retain my anonymity).
I am 31. I grew up in a Christian-like religious group which is borderline cultish in some aspects. We take the “strangers and pilgrims” and “be not of the world” ideas to an extreme (although not so extreme as other groups, such as the Plymouth Brethren ‘Doctrine of Separation’). We reject the Trinity, and the immortal soul, and affirm a premillennial view of Christ’s return and the kingdom, as well as some dispensationalist-like beliefs about Israel.
About 6-7 years ago, I decided to do some research to see if my beliefs were accurate, and in so doing broke free from this group. I spent an untold amount of time studying the Bible and praying. Over that period I discovered postmillennialism and became convinced of it. This alone got me kicked out of my church, although I still have a fantastic relationship with my family (thank God). In addition, I came to believe in Calvinism, and the representative nature of Christ’s substitutionary atonement which I’ve often noticed you mention. Embracing ‘Sola Fide’ was another turning point for me.
I affirm the gospel: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he rose again according to the Scriptures, and that he was and is witnessed by the Holy Spirit through his disciples. Basically 1 Corinthians 15:3ff.
This next paragraph is a difficult one, because I don’t know how to convey the emotion I feel about it. I assure you, I sincerely pray along the lines of James 1:5 every day, and whenever I study the Bible. I want to know the truth. I really do. I have a deep relationship with God, and I know he has saved me from my sins. But despite all of this, I can’t see the Trinity taught in Scripture. It just isn’t there. The more I look, the more I become convinced of this.
What do I do? In your view, am I a Christian? Can I actually be saved if I don’t believe in the Trinity? Do you view me as a brother in Christ? Was my baptism valid?
In a debate you did with James White on “Are Roman Catholics our brothers and sisters in Christ?”, you mentioned that only trinitarian baptism is valid baptism. (I assume you take this from Matthew 28:19). I have been baptized according to the formula of Matthew 28:19, and yet I did not understand it as the Trinity. I understood the following: the Father is God (John 17:3), the Son really is God’s son who reveals him to us (Hebrews 1:2-3), and the Holy Spirit is the Angel of the Lord (Isaiah 63:9-10 cp. Exodus 23:20-21), who the Father would send in Jesus’ name (John 14:26). I understood their collective name to be “Yahweh” (God’s name), and I have no problem with all three being designated by one name because I also believe baptism includes all believers in this name as well (Isaiah 45:4; Revelation 3:12). Was my baptism thus invalid?
I’ve probably already asked more than you are able to respond to, but what is the strongest Biblical argument for the Trinity?
I understand the “trinitarian” nature of salvation: the Father’s will is obeyed by the Son, which is made efficacious by the work of the Holy Spirit in the church. To me, it doesn’t follow that therefore they’re all persons of the one God. It’s all the Father’s will and purpose. As such, he alone is the one God.
I’ve come across two arguments (that I can recall) that I find convincing, but neither of them have actually changed my mind:
– Firstly, how could we say “God is love” if God is not a community of persons from eternity? Who was he loving trillions of years ago?
– Secondly, John says Isaiah saw Christ’s glory in Isaiah 6 (John 12:39-41).
I don’t have brilliant answers to these points, and as such, I find them convincing arguments for the Trinity. But I don’t see that they can hold the weight of what must be such a fundamental and all-pervading doctrine of who God is.
So my question is, what argument does do that?
I appreciate any time you can give to answering these questions.
A. Noni Moose
Moose, here’s the deal. If you lived here in Moscow, and applied for membership, we would accept you (and your baptism) with one stipulation. You would not be allowed to speak about the Trinity with anyone except pastors and elders. In other words, you could not be disruptive. That said, I don’t think you are far away. The two arguments you mention are very strong. Here’s another one. The fundamental Christian confession is “Jesus is Lord” (Rom. 10:9). Paul buttresses his argument a few verses down (Rom. 10:13) by quoting Joel 2:32. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord (who we just confessed was Jesus) will be saved. And in Joel 2:32, the Lord there is YHWH.
I would like to offer a critique on your view of Jordan Peterson. I do not believe he is “not far from the kingdom.” It seems he is indeed quite far away, having taken up the occult-inspired work of Carl Jung to continue on where he left off.
I have been an avid student of Peterson’s since his Channel 4 interview with Cathy Newman. As I found his ‘rules’ aligned helpfully with my own convictions, I learned and applied his lectures and writings to try to solve my own challenges. Over the course of a few years, I found myself in the depths of depression, suffering fits of rage so violent I asked a close friend to hold onto my firearms for me.
In hindsight, this sounds like demonic oppression. As I evaluate those years, it seems to have been exactly what I should have expected, subjugating Scripture to the interpretations of a man parroting the teachings of an occultist and himself interpreting the Bible through his own “spiritual” experiences (see “Maps of Meaning”).
As I listen to yours and others’ commentary on Peterson, it seems his message is flying under the radar. I recently met with a small group of Christian men—all of whom would credit Peterson’s teaching with having helped them through significant personal challenges—and shared my observations. Though each of them claimed to have seen “everything he’s put out” not one of them was familiar with Carl Jung’s overt occult activities, Jordan Peterson’s own “spiritual” experiences, or especially the activity of the Peterson’s themselves.
“You know, he’s laughing at all of us.”
“How do you mean?”
“He talks this big game about the importance of monogamy, marriage, and upholding the family, meanwhile his own daughter – who works side-by-side with him in his business (read: ministry) burns through husband after husband.”
“I didn’t know that! I’d only ever heard her talk about eating meat!”
Many reformed, theologically learned, social-media savvy Christian men have picked up Peterson’s message, they have (as I had) integrated it into their worldview, and are even now mixing it into what would have otherwise been sound doctrine.
I don’t intend this message to ‘call you out’ so much as to plea with you to call a spade a spade and help the less discerning, less informed believers in your audience comprehend the fire that they’re playing with.
Devin, happy to call a spade a spade. I don’t think Jungian psychology is close to the kingdom, but I still think Peterson is. But if he is converted, the change will be drastic, and will involve a repudiation of his current foundational worldview.
Blessings on You, Brother
Last year, June 1st, 2021, I was terminated from my job at Stellantis (Chrysler). I had worked at the Casting plant in Kokomo, Indiana for 9 years. The reason? I stood on the Word, in recognition that God made us to have natural immunity. That natural, or God given immunity, is far better than man’s version. We have known this since the beginning of time and even more so in the modern world. Yet we are in a time, once again, where man is rebelling against all things God. Everything around us, even our own images are being struck. The hijacking of pronouns and the medical mutilation of genders top the list. With my Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination charges moving forward and the company and union acting in bad faith, I knew it was time to bring in a lawyer. This is not a popular subject, nonetheless, God has called me to it and to Him be the glory.
I ask for your thoughts, because during the hard times of the covid craze I found your Biblical leadership refreshing and many of my choices to stand on God’s Word to make a difference led me down the path I’m on. Thank you for that. Along the way I’ve moved my family of six to the Commonwealth of Dominica after being terminated from Chrysler. I did this upon feeling led by God to mission’s work on the island as well as give my family place to flourish.
So I have to help my lawyer understand God’s design in natural immunity. It could be a landmark case or it could be a lot of nothing, I leave that in the hands of God. However I feel the need to do my best to make a God-honoring stand in this evil judicial system that has no problems with making transgender a top priority while denying God’s natural immunity.
Faithful unto death,
Jason, blessings and good luck. I think you would be best served by arguing that natural immunity is a concept that free citizens should be able to embrace. You don’t have to convince them of natural immunity—just that you should have the freedom to believe in it.
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