Why Not More Letters?

Why Not Take the Bait?

This is a question regarding your recent post about not taking the bait. First, I agree that we ought not to take the bait and do our best Quaker impression as you say. That said, could you clearly define the difference(s) between our current tyrannical situation and the tyrannical situation faced by the colonies, in regards to how it was correct for the colonies to “take the bait” and it is wrong now? It is odd how you say that “old George was actually a piker compared to what we have to deal with” and list out the long train of abuses so that it seems like our tyranny is worse, but then recommend a milder course of action. I don’t think the bit about giving them more mileage is sufficient to resolve the inconsistency.

Thanks for your time,

Joel

Joel, it is not saying that a stronger course of action would not be justified morally. It certainly would be. It would also be routed, and chased into the hill country. It would not be strategically wise. Jesus said that a wise course of action on the eve of battle would be to count your troops. The colonists had unified resistance and an enemy across the ocean. We have no unified resistance, chaos everywhere, including in our own ranks, and an enemy that has insinuated itself into everything. We need to do any number of other things before some hothead opens fire on Fort Sumter.

This is an excellent counterpart to your post against taking the bait.

Michelle

Michelle, thank you for the link. I would encourage everyone to behave as little like the gentleman to the right here. When it comes down to the point, I know that it will still seem like overwhelming odds, but that’s all right. We will need courage whenever that happens, but there is a distinction between brave and brash.

I am rather cynical that a change in the regime will accomplish anything. Effectively we have a Uniparty. One half would rather walk than run to chaos and tyranny.

Even if you reject that premise, every single one of the Nation’s institutions have been overrun with lunacy.

Unless sinners realize they are in the hands of an angry God, I cannot see anything changing for the good.

Jeff

Jeff, you are right that we are not at the point where any kind of jubilation is warranted. We are up against a lot. But I would point to Dobbs, and a number of other things, and encourage you to be encouraged.

KJV Issues Are a Perennial

People still ask about the KJV on your site, so I thought I would share this as a potential repost—here and here.

Christian

Christian, thanks for this, and for all your diligent work on this issue.

The Israel Affection Thing

Re: Affection For Israel

There was quite the scuffle around here Reformed parts about what kind of “affections” you were writing about in your article last Monday. Maybe to clear the air, or just to settle a bet—were you saying we should have natural affections for Jews at large, like what Paul had because of his genetics? And, do you believe that speaking about the vices of a collective racial group is sinful? Would love to see another article on the topic if this is too vast a subject for a small letter reply. Cheers!

Michael

MIchael, I do need to write a good deal more on this, but let this suffice for now. First, it is quite possible to speak about collective vices. Cretans are evil beasts, lazy gluttons, and liars. This testimony is true. But . . . whites, let’s call them . . . need to get the beam out of their own eye first.

The Lord’s Hermeneutic

In Matthew 5 Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount in which he does some “creative exegesis” on the Law of Moses, expanding on its themes. Harmonizing it with the Old Testament seems straightforward enough in light of Galatians 3:24, that is, the specific statutes and regulations of the Law of Moses pointed to deeper and more universal truths about the character and will of God that can and should be put to practice even if the specific regulations are not followed to the letter (e.g. the keeping of the sabbath, which most Christians do not follow to the letter of the law of the OT, but follow in the spirit of the law). My question arises from the passage in the middle of the chapter, in Matthew 5:17-20 where it is said that:

1. “The Law and the Prophets will not pass until heaven and earth pass and everything is fulfilled.”

2. “Whoever breaks **one of the commandments of these** even the least of it and teaches so to others will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

For post-millenial/partial-preterists it is quite easy to deal with point 1, that is, Christ has fulfilled a great deal of the law of the OT in his death and resurrection, and the old heaven and earth have indeed passed in the cataclysmic Flood of 70 AD (Matthew 24:35-39 and 2Peter 3:4-6).

But point 2 is trickier, since it seems to affirm the continued validity of the OT Law even to the smallest details. **Unless** the commandments that Jesus is referring to are not the OT ones but the ones he is giving in the Sermon on the Mount itself. Many commentaries seem to recognize the Sermon on the Mount as the new Sinai and Jesus as the new Moses but so far all of the commentaries I’ve read assume that Jesus is referring to the commandments in the OT (including Calvin’s commentary on Matthew).

Do you believe Jesus is referring to the commandments of the OT and its minutiae, or is he affirming that the minutiae of the OT passes along with the old heaven and earth, and thus “these commandments” is a reference to the Sermon on the Mount itself?

Thanks for your ministry!

Rafael

Rafael, thanks for the question. I believe that the OT law is still to be scrupulously followed, as interpreted and applied by Christ and His apostles.

Looks Slippery to Me

Background: Over the past few years, my church (Baptist with all male elders) have been doing women’s Bible studies with material by Louie Giglio, Anne Graham Lotz, and Beth Moore (just to name a few). These speakers, in my assessment, seem to give some sort of nod to Scripture while undermining its sufficiency, authority, and clarity by their egalitarian positions.

It was recently announced that all small groups will host the Transformed: How God Changes Us study by Rick Warren. Given the recent confusion signaled by Warren by installing “female pastors” and the “love letter” shared at the SBC 2022, would you say it is wise to use his material at this moment.

Or, given the trajectory based on previous materials used for Bible study, is this just another step towards the church’s unspoken mission to become egalitarian in its practice while having a veneer of complementarianism?

Would this situation be akin to singing ‘It is Well with My Soul’ given Spafford’s later reportedly false teachings?

Thank you for your Ministry!

Anonymous

Anon, yes, it certainly seems like a slow creep.

Child Discipline

I wanted to know what you feel would be appropriate punishment for a child around 6-9 years that disrespects their parents by raising their voice or somewhat talking back? Is the rod appropriate or different method would be more appropriate? Same if I tell a child to do something and they don’t obey?

Alena

Alena, a spanking is certainly warranted and deserved in such situations. But if such situations are routine, before telling parents to crack down (which they must do at some point), I encourage them to run an inventory on their relationship with their kids over all. In other words, I wouldn’t start with the spanking. Get some money in the account first.

Baptismal Cooperation

I have heard you and others from Christ Church talk about your Baptismal Cooperation Agreement. My church has an informal agreement in place, but we would like to implement something more official. I scoured the Christ Kirk website to look at what you have, but all I could find was the paper recommending the Baptismal Cooperation Agreement be accepted. Is it possible to get access to the official agreement?

God bless,

Cletus

Cletus, here you go. This is the text of the cooperation agreement, which can be found in the “Protocols” section of our web site.

“The elders of the church recognize, through admitting the head of the household (HOH) into such membership, that he is responsible before God for the spiritual condition of that household. The HOH therefore makes recommendations to the elders concerning his family on such matters as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Under the headship of Christ, the administration of church sacraments remains with the elders. However, in such administration, the elders are to respect the spiritual responsibility of the HOH.

Members of households who have been baptized in water, and have come to the Lord’s Table are considered by the elders of the church to be individual members of the church.Those family members who have not professed faith in the Lord through water baptism, and have not come to the Lord’s Table, are recognized by the elders of the church to be non-communicant members of member households, but not individual members of the church.

When a child in a baptistic home comes to a personal profession of faith in the Lord, the parents should notify the elders, and confirm to them their child’s profession of faith. The elders will arrange for the baptism of the child, and he will then come to the Lord’s Table.”

Hamartiology

I never heard of hamartiology before and have benefited from your sections of Greek words in the Bible that describe sinful acts. Are you getting your list from a book? If so, what book is it from? I’d like to do my own study. Thanks

Richard

Richard, I am simply going through Smith’s Greek/English Concordance, and pulling words that refer to sinful actions or attitudes.

James Lindsey

I know you’re aware of James Lindsay, who has exposed Critical Race Theory in the last few years. Now he’s exposing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and it’s very scary stuff. The World Economic Forum is pushing it and it’s a program/system designed to data-mine children, brainwash them into Marxist patterns of thought, and control entire communities including parents to support this, all beneath a pretty little guise of helping children from bad homes and/or helping children develop the skills needed for tomorrow’s workforce (i.e. they need people fit for the world of the Great Reset) . He has a long video on it and it sounds like they intend to either co-opt parents or go behind their backs with kids (as in the Trevor Project, which grooms kids further into transition). It could even come to be used as a tool to take kids away from parents who don’t support the regime. I see homeschooling and private schooling as a big obstacles to this that ergo must be eliminated or co-opted once they fully have the public schools, which they already do in some places like Illinois, and have some kind of legislation for it in most if not all states. So we Christians need to fight this, not simply by keeping our children out of public schools, but by exposing this and fighting it at the local, state, and federal levels. See here.

Jon

Jon, thanks much. I like it when atheists like Lindsay do the Lord’s work.

Porn as Deal Breaker?

The Suitor and His Porn: I appreciated your thoughts on evaluating a suitor who has struggled with pornography. My dad is not as able to be involved now as he was in my 20s (I’m 33), so I’ve had to navigate this a bit more on my own with counsel from others.

I am currently getting to know a man who came to the Lord within the past couple of years, and he has struggled with porn since being exposed to it as a child (he’s 35). He started attending church again about a year ago and has been clean from porn for the past 6-8 months.

He does not exhibit the misogyny, selfishness, or laziness described in your article (quite the opposite). So I’m stuck on the last one: Habit. How should I evaluate his decades of exposure to porn and the way it might affect the future?

The things I appreciate in him are his focus on the Lord, consistency in reading the Word, extensive church involvement, faithfulness in his work, sense of gratitude, love of family, and zeal for the future God has for him. He has more drive than a lot men I’ve dated recently who have been Christians longer and have less of a past (lack of drive seems to be a hallmark of singles our age). But should I be wary that this enthusiasm from a new believer might not have long term endurance?

I’m wary that I might be letting a sense of urgency make me less cautious. But then again, there is the practical truth that marrying in your 30’s often looks a little different.

Thank you for your help! I’ve enjoyed all the advice you’ve had for Dawson and Darla.

Susan

Susan, your question about habit is a reasonable question to ask, just so long as you let his life post-conversion answer it. He sounds like a good man.

Sorry!

I love reading your material and have for years. Two related inquiries: (1) Having received a shiny eReader for my birthday, I plan to buy out the store. I am wondering: to save me the trouble of 38 clicks, might you consider offering an “entire library” eBook bundle? I would even be open to a bulk discount. (2) Any thought of preserving your blog in eBook format, including tags and scripture references? I would pay good money for that as well. Crypto, even.

Thank you for considering and God bless your ministry.

Dan

Dan, very sorry. I am just not set up for that—as much as I would like to.

Canon, Not Mablog

I’ve been richly blessed by your writings over the years, since my campus days from late 2000s here in Kenya. You have stimulated my thinking scripturally over and over again. One that comes right off my head is the time I read Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Having devoured the book and even started implementing some of the thoughts, I found myself stuck. Then I thought of checking if you had written something on the same. I read your review and These on the Kindnesses of Christ and I was immesnsely helped.

Recently I’ve been scouring for books on Stewardship, but from an African Perspective but i couldn’t find any with rich content to help the African Christian. Again i decided to check on your blog and bumped into a series you did in 2004 on Growing Dominion. Have you compiled the notes into an ebook?I’d be really interestedThe series is packed full of gems of wisdom.

Elsewhere, I’ve seen you quote a certain Ploductivity book. Checking your store, I couldn’t find it. Where can I get the ebook, if it’s available?

Once again, thank you for stimulating me again and again to wholesome thinling.

Yours in Christ,

John

John, Ploductivity is published by Canon, not on my Mablog store, so you should check there. It should be available that way.

Decades Ago

Curious if you have seen the 1967 film The Happiest Millionaire? The method of evangelism shown in that movie strikes me as very Moscow-ian—something you would enjoy & appreciate—and all the better since it’s a true story. (Also it seems to provide a good example of how the upper-crust wealthy folks ideally should behave in a rebuilt Christian civilization—but I would love to hear your thoughts.)

Kristen

Kristen, sorry. I saw it enough decades ago that I have no views on the matter.

A Perennial Issue

In the past you have referenced C.S. Lewis and your appreciation for his works. I admire him as well for many reasons. Recently I heard this quote from him and wanted to get your opinion on its truthfulness. He says, “Hell is the greatest monument to human freedom.” Given the ongoing debate regarding God’s sovereignty and human freedom—what do you make of this quote? Is it biblical or not? Can this statement be true within the framework of Reformed Theology?

Thanks brother!

Travis

Travis, as it stands, at best it needs work. But I think that on this subject Lewis alternated between lucidity and muddle, depending on the book.

Many Thanks

I started watching you during the “pandemic” when your videos popped up on my feed.

I was the son of a preacher from the Church of Christ and I somewhat followed in my father’s steps, yet, being a gen-x dude, I’ve sorta gone another way. I appreciate your path that you’ve told, of migrating from Baptist to liturgical, paedo-baptist, post millennial, etc.

It’s been amazing this day and age where the internet has opened up influence to a broader scope than print-shops have done for the last 500 years.

I appreciate you as a (not now employed as) a preacher, a repatriated missionary, a home school Dad, etc. I appreciate what you’re doing and this is essentially a fan-boy letter, but I thought it may be an encouragement to know. Sincerely yours,

Brett

Brett, thanks very much.

Speaking of pre-marital content as in your Darla series, as a father of an older daughter who is still at home, should I be questioning any consideration on her part of getting involved with a man 12+ years older who has been previously married with a son? We know nothing of the circumstances of the relationship and divorce and whether there were biblical grounds without prying into his past. I suspect there to be the temptation on his part to be more charitable of his part of the break up and less so on his ex’s part, as it always seems to be the case when hearing about someone’s divorce. We now live in a very mobile society where it is hard to know things about relationships whereas in previous times it might be harder to hide. Should my daughter require more information on the divorce and the surrounding circumstances and possibly even check out his story through his ex-wife at the risk of spoiling the relationship? Should I, as her father, require to know more from the person of interest for me to approve of her going forward with marriage? I do not want my daughter or myself to be duped or at odds with scriptural requirements for divorce and re-marriage.

Thanks for all you do,

Rob

Rob, you and your daughter absolutely have the right to know more. And if he is offended that you ask, then that tells you something.

Discouraging It

Given Joe Biden’s recent executive order to forgive up to $20,000 of student loans for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for those who make less than $125,000 as individuals or $250,000 as married couples, is it sinful for the Christian to partake of this forgiveness? There are certainly legitimate concerns about the constitutionality of this executive order, but on a more fundamental level, this order seems to violate basic biblical principles of justice and impartiality. I have seen arguments on both sides, but tend to see this bill as unjust and unbiblical. So my questions are

1) Am I correct in my assessment of the bill? and

2) If the bill is unbiblical, does the Christian have a moral obligation to not partake of the debt forgiveness if they have student loans?

Thanks,

Ryan

Ryan, I think your assessment is correct, and while I don’t want to pronounce on individual circumstances when I don’t know all the variables, I can certainly say that I am encouraging Christians to refuse the debt forgiveness.

Critical Interaction

I appreciate your willingness to interact with a critic like myself. You’ve mentioned in previous correspondence that you don’t disagree with John Paul II’s predominant imagery for masculinity-in-marriage as that which initiates in self-giving love for the life and flourishing of the other, and femininity-in-marriage as that which receives, nurtures, and transforms life unto its proper perfection. And yet, as I’ve mentioned before, you use frequent wartime imagery—”penetrating, conquering, colonizing”—for masculinity, and “surrendering and accepting” for femininity. I’ve also read your other writings, and I get that you aren’t saying women are just passive doormats who submit to his every tyrannical whim; I’m certainly not accusing you of holding to such a view. But nevertheless, as you know, images have a predominant force in shaping the imagination—and in particular, how we imagine sex/gender and their instantiation in human life.

So to ask a few clarifying questions: do you agree with Michael Foster’s claim that Jesus’s life is not instructive for masculinity *qua masculinity* prior to the ascension, and that he really only assumes the Adamic role as the ascended and resurrected King? I can provide specific citations if you need those.

If you do agree with that, doesn’t that tell you something about the imagination of masculinity that your community is fostering (Fostering….) and cultivating? By muting the Christ who gives himself unto death as a *predominant color* (not just something men happen to do in marriage, but as a flavor and tone of their orientation towards their wives), doesn’t that mute a significant color in the picture of Christ at the Head of the Church? Wouldn’t you agree that if, with Foster, we ignore the pre-ascended Christ as instructive for reigning as restored-Adams, then we are left only with the sword of Revelation 19 without the humility needed first in wielding it?

In Christ,

Sean

Sean, without saying anything about whether you are understanding Foster correctly, I can answer for myself. The model that husbands are expressly given is the model of Christ laying down His life for His bride. Husbands, Paul says, love your wives “like that.” And hence my saying that I really do repeat a lot (as distinct from quotations that my enemies circulate out of context a lot), “masculinity is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility.” That is my definition, and a standard tag line.

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