The Rot of Liberalism
I’ve been following you and Christ Church for a few years now, and my Christian walk has benefited from your teachings, along with your wife and daughter’s books. I am a paid subscriber to Canon Plus, and it has become my source for many educational resources. I regularly listen to your sermons, as well as the sermons by your associates. I live in Ohio, so attending your church physically is not an option for me, however I want to express my gratitude to you for helping me to grow and expand my desire to live a more committed Christian life. My question/dilemma: My husband and I are currently members of a First United Methodist Church which is exploring disaffiliation. (The more I delve into what is happening in the UMC, the more disillusioned I have become with mainline denominations). I am for the disaffiliation. However, I feel inadequate to clearly articulate to those in my church my reasons for desiring to disaffiliate. I feel that the UMC has turned to a different gospel, and I feel abandoned and misled.
I’m looking for advice, or more particularly, resources outside the “Methodist jargon” to expose exactly (what I see) is the deviation from the true gospel message. All the Methodist propaganda being put out to “help” us sort out this disaffiliation is confusing “doublespeak.” It is so sad.
There are many good-hearted, well-meaning Christians in our congregation that have been blinded by the “social gospel” that has infiltrated our denomination along with other issues. I’m attempting to cut through the fog, and bring clarity and facts to the table of the true gospel message and the church’s mission.
Can you give me any advice or specific resources to help?
I appreciate you are a busy man with many more pressing issues than a church that you have no affiliation with, in an area far from you, and nothing to gain from your investment. However, I appeal as one who stands on the hope of the promise of eternal life, that any crumbs of wisdom you may be able to provide would benefit this body of Christ in Norwalk, Ohio.
God bless and protect you, Doug Wilson, along with your family and your church. (And please tell Nancy how much her books and podcast have meant to me in having the right attitude towards my husband, family and job duties that God has blessed me with!)
Mary, thanks for your letter. This is an old, old story, and the best thing I can do for you is to recommend the source book on all it, by J. Gresham Machen. His Christianity and Liberalism needs to be your starting point for all your thinking and speaking about the situation you are. God bless.
God bless you and your faithful work towards the expansion of Christ’s kingdom. Recently heard a full/hyper preterist say the following and wanted to get your thoughts on the comment:
“Partial Preterism believes in an “in-breaking” of the “already” in roughly AD 27 – AD 30, but has TWO eschatological “not yet(s)” and that is what is un-biblical. The NT and Paul teaches “ONE” eschatological “HOPE”—not two “not yet” eschatological hopes.”
Ben, just saying that “two” is unbiblical doesn’t make it unbiblical. And even full preterists have to deal with the same kind of thing. On the day of Pentecost, Peter says that the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled, but the second half of that prophecy wasn’t fulfilled until decades later. That is how prophecy works.
I watched this video of yours: I am new to preterist view from dispensationalist. I’m good with everything you spoke about including Jesus coming in clouds was a reference to Daniel and Jesus going to heaven to receive dominion. Then all the tribes mourn, etc.
I was hoping you were going to talk about Matthew 24:31. How did Jesus ascending into heaven as part of Daniel’s vision where did he send his angles to gather the elect in 70 AD? Do you have a sermon on this part of the Olivet Discourse?
Dwight, yes. The word angelos can refer to human messengers as well as heavenly, and my view is that this is referring to the Great Commission.
On “Don’t Waste Your 15 Minutes”
I have heard or read all of these accusations against you and the Lord’s work in Moscow and spent the time to look into them all. I have found that what you wrote above is accurate and that your detractors are factually incorrect and often intellectually lazy.
My prayer is that the ruling powers in my denomination (the PCA) will develop a small fraction of your God-given wisdom and courage.
Also, I studied at our denomination’s seminary and I am thankful that men like you didn’t study there. You didn’t miss anything that couldn’t be better learned by studying the great reformation thinkers as you have.
Please keep on being faithful to God’s calling.
Jim, thank you for such a kind response.
On Fifteen Minutes:
Pastor, there are few times I have been both amazed and appalled at the same time. Once was when my Scrabble opponent emptied his tray and landed all his letters across TWO triple word scores. Nothing says “game over” quite like that. Then there was the Presidential election of 2020, but I quickly digress . . . But now I find these incongruous emotions roiling simultaneously but for two different reasons. I am appalled by those who set themselves up as your enemies, especially those who also claim the Name of Christ. And I am amazed by the incredible grace heaped upon you, enabling you to withstand the onslaught, and to do so with a hearty belly-laugh, a spicy response, and an unwavering faith in the God who sustains you.
Most people I know would lash out or wilt. Clearly most people are not called to your station.
But God has called you to this, and He has provided an extraordinary measure of strength, charity, and grace to withstand. Joyfully. Graciously. Full of the Spirit.
Blessings on you, brother.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).
Andy, thanks very much.
Regarding: “Don’t Waste Your Fifteen Minutes:” Fantastic! It seems like November came early this year.
Jason, I think there will still be plenty.
RE: Don’t Waste Your 15 Minutes.
Pastor Wilson it’s not NQN yet! I’m not sure if I should celebrate an early November or echo Wallace in Braveheart: ” HOLD, HOLD, HOLD!”
Zach, okay. Holding, holding, holding.
Regarding Bapterians in “Don’t Waste Your Fifteen Minutes.”
Low views of the baptismal engagement to belong to the Lord do seem to prevail in American Reformed circles. But in your mixed Baptist and Presbyterian church, don’t the baptized children learn from the presence of unbaptized children that baptism is not all that necessary to be raised as a Christian? How do you pastorally exhort the children of the church to make good use of their baptism, when they’re not all baptized?
John, we try to teach them that the reality is greater than the symbol, however convinced we are in our own minds about our understanding of the sacrament.
When the Spirit Moves
What do you think about baptismal grace (the Holy Spirit, remission of sins etc) coming upon a child because of the faith of the parents? If the promises of baptismal grace and covenantal grace are given to parents ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN to believe, can we expect those blessings to come about when those parents trust God for them? J
J, no. There is a fine line between trusting God to do what He promised, and dictating to Him the best time for Him to fulfill His promise.
FV Is Still in the News
Thank you for your faithful ministry. My family has really benefited from much of your work. My wife has also really enjoyed your daughter’s film and book, Even in Exile. You’ve really challenged us to reevaluate our assumptions and reform them to be in line with God’s Word. We tend to adopt the culture’s thinking without even realizing it. So I’m writing about a topic you’re probably tired of addressing by this point: federal vision. When I was first introduced to you I looked you up, and that was the first thing I came across. I admit, Federal Vision is very confusing, but I know it was widely rejected as a heresy by nearly everyone in reformed circles. I was concerned that you were still a proponent of FV, but as I kept looking, I read that you had rejected it. It was a long time ago so I thought, “ok, he recanted, so that’s that. I can hear what he has to say. Plus he has the endorsement of some other folks I trust, like Jeff Durbin and James White.”
But the FV stuff has been gaining steam of late and I’ve been hearing it come up again. I know your star is shining a bit brighter these days so I tended to think it was an unfair attack.
But what if it’s not an unfair attack? Recently I watched this video from the Theocast with Jon Moffitt:
Now, I don’t know much about Grace Reformed Network. But the points he makes in the video are made using your words. He brings up your old and new writing and points out that you redefine faith to essentially say that obedience is the source of our justification and not the fruits of our justification. I know it’s a long video (over 28 minutes), but maybe you can do a reaction video? Or at least define what you mean by faith. Do you really hold to a different understanding than the traditional Protestant understanding of faith?
I’d really like to keep listening to you and reading your work, so I’m hoping you can shed some light on this.
Ryan, thanks for asking. Below is a paragraph from yesterday’s blog post, in which I laid out my position on justification. It is the classic Reformed Protestant view. Confronted with this, I believe my critics only have two options—to say that I am orthodox, at least as far as this point is concerned, or that I am lying about what I believe.
Justification is a forensic act of God’s free grace, in which He pardons the sins of the one justified, and imputes the obedient righteousness of Jesus Christ to that sinner, using the instrument of living faith, which God Himself gives to the sinner, lest any should boast. This faith is no dead faith because a living faith is the only kind of faith that God gives in justification. God accepts the justified person as righteous, not for anything accomplished in him or done by him, but solely on the basis of Christ’s obedience, both active and passive. Neither does God impute the value of the faith itself to him, or any act of evangelical believing or obedience by him, but rather He credits the all-sufficient obedience of Christ to him, which he receives at a punctiliar moment in time by faith alone, which faith is not of himself, but is rather the gift of God. This faith is the sole instrument of justification, but is never alone in the person justified, but is always accompanied with all other saving graces. The moment of justification is punctiliar, but because the faith that is the sole instrumental means of receiving this righteousness is not a dead faith, but rather works by love, the faith that is given is not punctiliar, but rather is the ongoing instrument of all true sanctification, and not just justification. Saving faith is no mayfly. The righteousness that is imputed to him fully discharges the debt that is owed by the one justified, and this is possible because the obedience and death of Christ makes a proper, real, and full satisfaction for his sins, and is accepted in his stead, so that the exact justice and rich grace of God might both be glorified in the justification of sinners. Although all this was settled in the decrees of God before all worlds, the justification itself does not actually occur until that moment in history when the Holy Spirit applies Christ and all His obedience to the one being justified. This justification, once given, cannot be reversed, annulled, cancelled, or abrogated, although a justified man may, on account of his sins, experience the disciplinary turmoil of God’s fatherly displeasure in the course of his sanctification, which will continue until the sins being disciplined for are honestly confessed, and faith and repentance are renewed. Every person ever justified in the history of the world has always been justified in this same way, whether in the Old Testament or New. Abraham was justified in exactly the same way that Abraham’s seed are justified.
Any books or other resources you recommend for understanding how to run a business? Looking for a summation of biblical principles, and helpful how-to would be a bonus.
Casey, one place to start would be Management by the Book, although the one I see on Amazon has a different cover. Not sure it is the same one.
My name is Brad, I am 20-years-old and live in the beautiful state of Wisconsin! I’m writing to you looking for some advice on an issue that I am currently facing. I have been dating a beautiful young woman by the name of Hannah for just over 6 months at the time of this writing. Hannah and I both come from families of unsaved parents (Her being saved by God’s grace when she was younger and I was saved less than 2 years ago.) I was listening to your book “Get the Girl” on Canon+ and was just wondering how far I should go to get Hannah’s fathers approval? Her family is from the suburbs of Chicago and subscribes to the progressive agenda fully, abortion and all. Her parents are not the biggest fans of myself and I have a good feeling that when I go to get her father’s approval to marry, he will say no. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you much for your time,
Brad, in a situation like this one, I recommend that when you and Hannah are engaged, you go to her father, and tell him that you are engaged, and that you would love to have his blessing.
A real life Dawson checking in again for more dating advice, this time regarding “dateability” / red flags as it pertains to theology.
As a reformed postmillennial, I don’t expect every girl to share all (or even most) of my theological convictions on secondary/tertiary issues. I am OK with disagreement on eschatology, soteriology, liturgical preferences, etc. as long as we agree on primary issues such as the Trinity, Christ’s Lordship, doctrines of Scripture, and vision for marriage and family.
My question is—how should I evaluate someone who belongs to the Church of Christ denomination? If she believes in baptismal regeneration, ought that to be a deal-breaker? What if she believes that the Church of Christ is the only “true” denomination? To me it seems like those should be deal-breakers but I think I could be guilty of setting too high a bar.
Thanks so much and God bless.
Liam, the only real issue here is whether or not she would be willing to follow your spiritual leadership, and submit to it. If you were to tell her that marriage to you would mean leaving the Church of Christ, and doing so gladly, and she does, then it should not be a barrier.
I hope you’re doing well. I appreciate your blogs and have learned a lot from them. Specifically, your letters to Dawson.
On that note, I had a question about finding a godly spouse from another denomination/church, and was wondering whether you had any experience or advice to share to a young man in my position.
For context, I grew up in a Pentecostal church my whole life. However, the Lord by His grace through the Scriptures has led me to leave my Pentecostal church, and I am now a member of a reformed baptist church where the Lord has blessed me immensely.
The question is, should I consider young women from my old church in seeking a godly spouse, or is that a recipe for disaster? Despite the bad theology at my old church, some of the young women appear to display a godly desire for holiness and the Word (ironically) that I have not unfortunately seen yet in many of the young women at my new church.
Please let me know your thoughts! I can imagine the uphill battle that it’ll be trying to change the theology of another Pentecostal, knowing that God took several years to finally pull me out of it. However, I have been encouraged by the piety of some of them.
Wishing you the best!
DB, great question, and see my answer to the previous question. If she is sweetheart, and understands Eph. 5, then go right ahead. It would be different if you were the woman, and a Pentecostal man came calling—because then the question would be whether you would be willing to follow him there.
Zeihan on the State the World is In
You reviewed the Zeihan book with Wade recently, titled “The End of Globalization?” I am listening to the Zeihan book on Audible, and you’re right . . . he makes compelling arguments for future happenings.
That said . . . what is a sound response for Christians? How should we move forward in a way that isn’t all hand-wavy and lacking in faith?
Aaron, that depends entirely on where you are. A farmer in Kansas? A missionary to Brazil? A stock trader in international commodities? There are actually billions of variables. The best thing to do is to get current of the major arguments.
Acts 29 Down Under
A few weeks ago you posted a “Doug Responds” video looking at an Acts 29 church in Australia titled “How Conservative Churches Cave on Transgenderism”. .
The preacher in the clip is Guy Mason from City on a Hill Church in Melbourne. If you google his name and the name of Andrew Thorburn (Chair of the City on a Hill church board) you will see that both are in the midst of a “tipping point” RE: religious freedom in this country.
Thorburn was appointed CEO of the Essendon Bombers football club (think Denver Bronco’s). After it was discovered that Thorburn was chair of the board at City on a Hill, certain people trawled through the church’s website and found videos where Guy Mason (from above) declared homosexuality a sin and likened abortion to the holocaust. The Essendon football club then forced Thorburn to choose between his role as their CEO or his board chair role at City on a Hill. Thorburn resigned as Essendon CEO after just 24 hours. The usual media “pile on” occurred with even the Premier of Victoria sticking the knife in and calling the church’s views “bigoted.”
The names here may well be foreign to you but the situation is one that you will know and understand all too well. Pray for this church and these Christians and for Australia for this feels like a watershed moment. A CEO was forced out not because of anything he had said, done or written but merely by his association with a church that was deemed “bigoted” by the “intoleristas”.
Andrew, very sobering.
There’s a sermon series on Canon+ by the title of “Surveying the Text,” where you essentially provide an overview of every book of the Bible. I’m listening to it along with my Bible reading plan.
Do you happen to know of/recommend any books that accomplish the same thing aside from commentaries? A one-volume survey of sorts?
Ruben, very sorry. I don’t have any “one-stop” recommendations.
A Terrible Situation
My husband and I are devastated and don’t know what to do. We just discovered that our 16-year-old son has for the past year been having a homosexual relationship with his best friend from school. He told us, respectfully but firmly, that he is “gay” and that is how he will live his life. He also told us that he no longer believes the Bible and will be leaving the Christian faith as soon as he leaves our house.
There’s not much we can do about any of it, because the other boy’s parents aren’t Christians and they approve of the relationship. They have made it clear that if we kick our son out of the house, he is welcome to move in with them. So what do we do? My husband thinks that for now, there is nothing we can do except pray for him and wait for God to intervene in his life.
Also, my husband is an elder in our church. Does he need to step down? We are completely lost at this point.
Heather, just a couple of things. Yes. Your husband should step down as an elder because of Paul’s requirements, one, and also because a shepherd should leave the 99 to go after the 1. And the way you should go after the 1 is by praying very specifically, and not telling your son how you are praying. That prayer should be along the lines of “God, we are asking You to do whatever it takes. If that means humbling us, and breaking us down, we ask you to do that. So if there is anything we need to know, in order to be good and godly parents in a situation like this, You know what it is. We are asking You to bring it to us, and we believe that because of our position as parents in the home, we have the right to lay this covenantal claim before You.”
Nations as Covenants
On Nations as Covenants: I want to hug you. Or at least shake your hand with enough joy as to flare up that bursitis in your right shoulder. Thank you SO MUCH for this second installment on Christian Nationalism.
I’ve long thought, said, and argued that we ARE a Federation, regardless of how we daily operate, because that’s what the founding documents say we are. The truth lies in the written words, and the fact we are operating like a dictatorship or an oligarchy, or a democracy, or even a full-throated train wreck does not negate the ontological fact of our charter. We are a Federation.
We are the ONLY Federation on the planet, in fact. We are not a nation comprised of fifty subdivisions who must obey the higher authorities (c.f.: Austraila, Brazil, Canada, etc.) We are, by definition, a Covenant of fifty sovereign nation-states, under God but quite divisible, and yet maintaining Liberty and Justice for all. But because we claim to be a democracy while behaving like a fascist dictatorship, many seem to think that the lie being told is true only because we’ve been telling it for so long.
Ichabod and Anathema! Or, as folks around here would say, “Hawgwarsh!”
The inestimable beauty of the American system is in the Covenantal documents, naming God as the source of our liberties and calling upon Him as witness to our covenants. To this day, our oaths of office at EVERY level end with “so help me God” as a solemn request for divine aid (and unspoken request for covenantal curses should the oath be broken).
We WERE founded as a distinctly Christian Federation. Eighty years later some of us tried again with a Christian Confederation. Eighty years later we hammered Nazism, Stalinism, and Imperialism into the ground, completely unaware that the marrow of our bones were eaten up with Progressive Fascist cancer. Eighty years later, our cancer has now fully metastasized, and we are a desiccated husk. I’d like to think that within the next eighty years, America will have once more bowed her knees to Christ. May my grandchildren see a renewed Covenant in 2096-ish, in broad daylight, as in the days of Josiah.
Andrew, I can tell that you feel strongly about this . . .
Christendom vs. Christian Nationalism: A clear concise article highlighted in the Aquila Report encouraging dumping the latter term.
DC, I don’t think it is up to us.
“Second, you can try to hold the whole thing together by means of a false and idolatrous principle. Or third, you can seek to hold it together by means of a biblical understanding of covenant . . . The second is being urged by the secular nationalists. The third is the way of Christian nationalism.” Notwithstanding the need for revival, I wonder those two categories are more blurred than you’re making out. Alcoholics Anonymous works without requiring a full conversion to Christianity because it at least drags people to admission that there is a higher power out there and that one is in need of it. In a similar way, do some of the atheists and non-Christians such as James Lindsay who have recently been drawing a line at the abolition of truth help us get across the line of renewing our covenants, even if we don’t get them across the line?
Ian, yes. I think people like that can be very helpful, and can contribute something. But they don’t have the solution.
I’m almost half way through Steven M. Bryan’s book Cultural Identity and the Purposes of God. It’s a very thoughtful book, and well written. I would anticipate agreement and disagreement between you and Bryan in ways that might be really illuminating for readers if you were ever to interact with the book over a blog post (or series?). Just a thought.
Mike, thanks for the recommendation. Ordered it.
You’ve mentioned a few times over the years the concept of “natural affection” towards one’s country. In our case, the United States. I’d love to hear you elaborate more on this. At times it sounds to my ears like a Socratic “the state is our mother” kind of thing, but I know better than to attribute that to you.
This becomes a real issue when things like the Pledge or the draft come up. I personally will never say the Pledge, even with “under God” inserted, because I do not think that any nation can command my allegiance, nor should any Christian swear allegiance to any earthly thing. The draft raises similar issues, for it is predicated on the idea that the nation has some sort of primal claim on my body, or that I owe the state my life. This seems profoundly anti-American, to use a phrase people like these days.
Perhaps I would feel differently were we a more Christ-centered nation; as it is, I find myself bored by most political debates. Sure, I’d rather Babylon not get sacked by the Medes, but I’m not going to lose my witness freaking out that Babylon may not be the world hegemon it used to be, for example.
Interested to hear your thoughts at length on this issue.
Paul, you are right about conscription. Even Israel did not force men to go to war. But if the apostle Paul felt the way he did about the Jews, his kinsmen, even after the abominable way they treated him, then surely we can have natural affection for our people. We cannot pledge absolute allegiance to any creature, but relative allegiance is biblical and right.
Thank you very much for your posts on Christian Nationalism on 3 and 5 October 2022. I live in Australia. Do you believe in the provisions regarding the civil magistrate in the original Westminster Confession of Faith, where the State is meant to have authority about (not “in”) the church, such as to suppress heresies and organise synods? I ask because I though the American presbyterians changed this part of the Confession in the 1800s to provide for a wrong type of separation between church and state. Do you believe that a nation should ideally be a Christian nation? To take a practical example, In Europe, there are many problems with violent Muslims terrorising communities by killing innocent people. Do you think the State should restrain this evil by banning mosques and restricting Islam in the law? Sorry, I realise that it’s a long question! Thanks.
David, yes, I believe that every nation should be a Christian nation. And I believe that such a Christian nation would have the right to protect its existence by means of who and who is not a citizen. And any criminal behavior, regardless of whether it started in a mosque or not, would be out.
I’ve been reading your book Ploductivity, thank you so much for this work. It is helping me in many different areas of my vocation. I do have some questions though. You said something along the lines of working for the work’s sake and using accolades as sign that you are on the right track. Do you have any tips for reorienting yourself to the work?
Is there some doctrine to get straight in my head so that it comes out my fingertips about the value of my work if I’m not enjoying my work?
Finally, I have a hard time taking compliments about myself or my work. It can cause me to stop working hard as if I’ve arrived. I think that this may be in part to my father not saying good job very often so when they do come it feels like I’ve completed something and can now coast. Now I don’t want to pass my responsibility off, but want to identify causes and make up for them now in Christ.
Any help on this is appreciated.
Ryan, it sounds to me like you have already named your temptations quite well. Include them in your prayer list every morning before you go to work. Ask God to remind you, and He will.
So Which One Am I?
I saw this and immediately thought of you. We are thankful for your ministry.
(I hope the link works)
Caroline, quite so.
Sabbath Dinner Sticklers?
I don’t have a specific post in mind, and perhaps you’ve covered this elsewhere, but how much of a stickler are you for attendance of your sabbath dinners? How do you balance between a mere standing invitation vs. a firm expectation of attendance. I love the idea of starting this tradition with my family, but I don’t want to be overly dogmatic or legalistic about it, especially around things like church get-togethers, vacations, birthdays, etc. I’m also curious why you chose Saturday instead of Sunday evening. I know I’ve seen some of your commentary on the day specifically, but can’t recall where right now.
Thanks for your continued faithful ministry!
Tim, we were absolutely not sticklers. Come if you want to, come if you can. It was a get to, not a got to. We observe the sabbath from 6 pm Saturday to 6 pm Sunday, in rough imitation of the Jews, who reckoned it from sundown. But the practical benefit of this is that the prep for the dinner falls on Saturday, and when 6 pm hits, the food is hot, and everybody can sit down to enjoy.
I’ve written before on occasion concerning the various ills of life in a PCA college ministry. I’ve been laboring for reformation for a bit, but the issues keep coming! I’ve found that all of the decent guys just gave up and jumped ship, leaving me with nothing but grumbled excuses and cop-outs. I’m still here though, plugging along. I genuinely love the people there and want the best for ’em, but things simply get overwhelming. To top it all off, I’m getting back into a frame of mind where I’d like to look for a girl to court, but the campus ministers actively teach egalitarian dogma when it comes to relationships, many of my female peers swallow it hook, line, and sinker, and many of my upperclassmen friends that I’ve asked are pessimistic about the possibilities of finding a good wife at RUF. All of this is heightened by the fact that I’ve been able to visit (and will intern at next summer) a CREC church that has shown me the potential there is for a robust reformed & evangelical community. How do I go against the stream of the political-third-wayist, nuancebro, functionally-egalitarian hogwash that is constantly being poured onto my peers and me by the staff? Is there anything to do but pray? What is a red-pilled guy to do in a blue-pilled world?
A sad state of affairs, to be sure, but I know the Lord will provide. I’m curious to hear your thoughts,
Caedmon, it all depends on how woke they are, and how much time before you graduate. If it is three months and mildly woke, stick it out. If it is two years and yellow cake woke, then leave now and start a Bible study.
And Sometimes Arranged Marriages Don’t Sound So Bad
Too bad this is not a match making site. I have an unmarried 34 year old daughter that sounds just like Mr. X.
Rob, I have enough trouble with correspondence as it is.
I am a young high school student currently employed as a barista at the local Starbucks. I enjoy my job and coworkers and am on my way to obtaining a management position. However, there is a new hire that I am currently training who came out to me as “gender fluid” meaning she changes her pronouns on the regular. She explained she has a no-tolerance policy meaning if I do not respect her preferred pronouns, she will take a complaint to management.
My question to you is—would you consider using these preferred pronouns anti-scriptural of dishonoring to God? Refusal to use the pronouns she wishes would result in losing my job—Is it a battle I ought to fight considering my obligation before God?
Sarah, my strong exhortation is that you absolutely avoid using those pronouns. You can call her by whatever name she chooses, but her pronouns belong to God and her chromosomes.
Leaders and Rulers
I remember you speaking on the difference between the terms “Rulers” and “Leaders.” The problem I’m having is twofold. 1) Was that in a Man Rampant episode or an Ask Doug installment? 2) Who is credited with the quote of preferring the term “rulers” over “leaders” and where can I find it?
Thanks in advance.
Evan, it is from one of C.S. Lewis’s shorter essays, and I am sorry I don’t know which one. Maybe all those helpful people in the cloud can help?
More on the Nephilim
Yesterday I read Genesis 6 as my devotion and was reminded of studies I’ve done in the past. Popular questions like “who are the Sons of God” and “what are Nephilim” came up. In my younger years my research had showed that there are parallels between Genesis 6 and parts of the book of Enoch.
It started a conversation with a friend and we’re not quite sure where to land with how seriously to regard the book of Enoch and if it can be useful in interpreting parts of the Bible and the world we currently live in.
I looked to see if you all had any video content on the subject but I couldn’t find anything. All I found was a book review Doug left on the book of Enoch. What I gathered from the comment was that it wasn’t fully dismissed.
Would love to hear further thought on this as I find it relevant to the days we’re living through considering the corruption of the earth and the strangeness and reality of some powerful people and their pursuit of tranhumanism.
Chad, try this.
If I had to pick, the post I’m curious about is your “Two Kingdoms?” post, though my question actually runs more to the core of theonomic civil ethics.
First, I want to note that I’m actually a huge supporter of much of what you do. This question is not meant as a “gotcha” but a sincere attempt at understanding.
Second, I know you distinguish your position of General Equity Theonomy from what I’ll call the old guard of Christian Reconstructionists. If at any point I accidentally attribute a belief held by that old guard to you when you do not hold such a position, that is my fault, and I am sorry.
Let me cut to the chase. It is my understanding that you would advocate for the general equity (from here on GE) of the Mosaic code to be enshrined in modern civil law as legislation. This seems to be the sine qua non of any theonomic position (if the term is to describe a distinctive position in evangelicalism). You and Bahnsen would both affirm that this will eventually occur through the outworking of the gospel from the bottom up, not through violent revolution which would impose law from the top down.
My issue is not with the passing of Christian laws per se but with the utilization of the Mosaic code for that purpose. My objection does not primarily stem from the idea that this was under a different covenant or meant for Israel alone; rather, my objection stems from the claim that, even in ancient Israel, the Mosaic “law” was not intended as legislation.
I won’t rehash all the arguments here in this already long letter. For now, I’ll state that a broad consensus has emerged in the study of ANE and Biblical law which disputes their status as statutory. Michael Lefevre’s 2006 work Collections, Codes, and Torah and John H. Walton and J. Harvey Walton’s 2019 work The Lost World of the Torah are good entry points to this whole issue if you haven’t encountered this already. I find the arguments in both quite compelling, though, of course, I cannot in good conscience condone all of the assumptions/ conclusions of either work. In my opinion, it is completely understandable why the old guard, as it were, did not address this matter, as they wrote their major works around the same time this consensus was beginning to emerge in a field nearly entirely separate from their concerns. Today, however, I cannot find a single Theonomist preacher, speaker, or writter who even demonstrates awareness of the Torah’s reappraisal in modern scholarship (both evangelical and critical) as a normative descriptive text, not a legislative prescriptive one. This is a difficult pill for me to swallow. If Torah is, indeed, non-legislative in character, it would almost seem like Theonomy is a non-starter, pressing the Mosaic code into a service it was never intended for. This isn’t something I feel like Theonomists can afford to ignore and still maintain intellectual honesty as they present their ideas to the people.
With all that groundwork out of the way, here are my questions.
1. If Moses’ law code is not legislative, what would that mean for Theonomy, GE specifically?
2. Are you aware of any writings by Theonomists who have interacted with this emerging consensus? If so, can you point me to them?
3. How would you go about demonstrating that the Torah is legislation?
Thank you so much for your time. I know how busy you are.
Jack, my view is not that the Torah should go into the form of legislation. I believe that it is a case law system, which in the Anglo Saxon tradition was the common law system. I am not aware of anyone writing today who is interacting with the scholars you mention, but I think there are many theonomists who would say that the Torah is authoritative, but it does not have to be legislated to be authoritative.
I was just listening to and enjoying your recent Man Rampant with Jared Longshore. You mentioned the the basic forms of God-ordained government, family, church, and civil. And also mentioned, as you have in the Liberty Catechism, man made governments like the sewing club, chess club, etc. I’m all on board with this. What I haven’t heard you mention, though, is business government. Which seems to me to be extremely important. Because at much as civil government violates the sphere of what we would think belongs to family government-education, healthcare, etc, it also can’t keep it’s hands off of economic activities conducted by business. So it seems to me that we sphere believing Christians have some work cut out for us explaining under which of these God-ordained spheres these man made governments, particularly business, fall under. Otherwise, we can’t very well complain that civil government is violating sphere sovereignty. My nomination would be family, but it explaining how Exxon-Mobile falls under family government is going to take some serious exegesis. Thoughts? Thank you,
Bill, yes, your point is well taken. And one of the first things that would happen is that we might find ourselves looking hard at things like limited liability corporations. In other words, the subject is complicated and enormous. But we have to deal with it at some point.
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