The Difference It Makes
Thank you for your tireless work, not only to start a restored method of education, but also to be such a defender of the faith.
My question is about the millennium. Your advocacy of post-millennial theology has been stimulating to say the least. From what I understand, I grew up congregationalist and amillennial. Probably Arminian as well. My wife and I have worshiped with a- and pre-millennial congregations. My problem is I’m just not sure what difference it makes. Yes, you say, “Your eschatology works its way out your fingertips.” and I can see where it would. However, in my everyday life, the two greatest commandments are to love God and love my neighbor, no matter how I look at the Eschaton. Could you be some help? What am I missing?
Russell, you are right that it should make no difference if we are talking the acts of kindness that any advocate of any of the eschatological position could gladly perform. If we are talking about changing a widow woman’s tire by the freeway, then your point stands. But what about building a hospital? Why would you do that if you believed the Lord was going to return before it was even done?
I have been so blessed by your teachings and I have a question about tax resistance. I understand those of the W2 sort don’t have much shot at this but I own multiple S Corps and let’s just say there are multiple ways to hide personal expenses on a business P&L that would in turn lead to less taxation. Is this sinful if I am not being totally honest with what my business expenses are? Naturally if the IRS were to audit me and find errors in my taxes I would pay it but should I do everything in my power to evade as much tax as possible without going to jail?
David, please note at the front end that I cannot give any specific tax advice for your situation, or anyone else’s for that matter. But here are some general principles to remember. Tax avoidance and tax evasion are not the same thing. Tax evaders frequently have a higher view of their abilities and /or arguments than they actually should, and this affects their ability to do the cost/benefit analysis as well as they should. Regimes can and do render themselves illegitimate through their behavior, such that the taxes they levy may be resisted in various ways without moral concerns. When Gideon was threshing in the wine vat, he was hiding from the IRS.
I have benefited greatly from your writing in family and child rearing, and am thankful for your ministry.
My question concerns the subject of manhood, fatherhood, and habits. I am nearing 40, have 4 children and am looking back over my life to see that I have not done much to set my family up financially. I have a good job, but I have been torn between pursuing ministry (I love teaching and have done some preaching) and pursuing a vocation that will provide for my family long term. My children are in a classical Christian school (praise God), which is going to hopefully be a 12 year haul by the time they’re all graduated. I suffer from bouts of severe depression and often take 2 trepidatious steps forward and 8 bounding leaps backward in any kind of serious pursuit of a calling. I keep battling the awful sense that time has slipped through my fingers and there is not much time left to rebuild the walls. I also possess less than adequate administrative skills, and really wrestle with organization, structure and planning well. You can probably see: that’s the mental finger trap I get myself into sometimes.
While my wife and I have done much to raise our children as best as we can in the fear and admonition of the Lord, I fear for the effect that indecision and a lack of wisdom will have on my family long term, as well as a void in giving them concrete skills for managing things well in their lives. My wife has done a tremendous job of this in many ways, a true Proverbs 31 woman.
But enough of the meandering. I suppose my question is multifaceted: what do you do when you do not feel certain of a particular calling or path forward when life is getting short? And is 40 too late to set things in order without working myself into the ground and being tired and absent for most of their young lives? What is the best way to, in the instance, man up and be faithful?
SA, I hope it is obvious that I cannot know all the particulars of your case, and so keep that in mind. I will only say what I think you should guard against in your situation. I think you will be tempted to think you need to change things up in order to “fix yourself,” and that is a poor motive for going into any vocation, still less the ministry. It also won’t fix anything. Everywhere you go, there you are. I believe that you should assume that you are currently where you ought to be—feeding your family is a noble vocation. I would stay there, albeit with a willingness to move if God makes it manifestly clear that you should.
I’m an author, media producer, and filmmaker. I recently did a mission/teaching trip to the most remote village in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo. The village’s grandparent’s generation were cannibals, but the whole village is Christian now. I made a film about it, and it is getting a lot of traffic. I wondered if you guys might be interested in publishing an article on the incredible transformation the gospel has had on this village or featuring the film. Village in the Sky. Here’s a link to the film. I would love to see this story and/or film featured on your great site. Let me know if this is something you guys would be interested in.
Lucas, no good place for a story, but the link is above. Thanks for sending it in.
Thanks for Watching It
This is no more than a short letter. Boy Oh Boy am I glad to have found you on Delingpole interview. Everything that I needed to hear. I’m in England & I wish I could come to your church in Idaho. I shall follow you from afar & learn from you. God Bless you & Yours & be with you.
Johnny, thanks for watching it. That was a fun interview.
I am faced with an incredibly difficult decision and I am seeking your guidance. Your books and blog have been a valuable source of answers for me in the past, and I hope you will consider my email. If you choose to share it on your blog, I pray that it will provide comfort to other women in similar circumstances.
I am married with three children under the age of five. Recently, I discovered that my husband, who professes to be a Christian, has been addicted to pornography, reading erotic novels, and engaging in masturbation for the past six years of our seven-year marriage. He deceived me throughout this time, despite my daily inquiries about his behavior. He has been pathologically lying and gone to great lengths to deceive me. This is the third time we have experienced such a situation, as it also occurred during our engagement and first year of marriage. On those occasions, he convinced me that he had overcome this sin through God’s help, but it was all a lie. Our marriage was sexless, (sex less than one time every two months on average), but I never had a high desire so I just believed him when he said that neither did he.
I have now brought this matter before the elders of our Reformed church, who are meeting with my husband. Both the elders and I believe that I have biblical grounds to leave him, and the elders would not prevent me from doing so. My husband has shown no signs of repentance and continues to lie, even to the elders, about his sin and the depths of it. They have assured me that if he does not repent within a certain period, they will exercise church discipline. However, I doubt whether he will respond to any of this, considering his tendency to lie.
Needless to say, I am grieving and utterly heartbroken. This is the most painful experience I have ever endured, and I am devastated for the sake of our children. It is important to note that he was physically and verbally abusive during our marriage, although I did not view this as a reason for divorce, I brought this up to the elders as well. Therefore, I am not reminiscing about “the good times” and desiring to return to him. Since he is also still actively living in sin, and being verbally abusive to me, I consider our marriage dead.
I have a few questions. Firstly, I believe that we are already divorced in the eyes of God, as he has broken our covenant, with the first incidence years ago. In my perspective, the dissolution of a marriage is determined by God, not the state, which merely grants legal recognition and asset protection. Many people divorce for non-biblical reasons, so having a piece of paper does not equate to being divorced. Our initial few months of marriage took place without marriage papers, and the church had no issue with this since it is God who establishes marriage, and we made our covenant before Him during our wedding ceremony in the presence of many witnesses. I see leaving him without the papers with the government in store, no different.
With this reasoning in mind, I would like to know if it would be permissible in my situation to begin courting someone new. I have not yet found anyone or even started to put myself out there. Of course, I would disclose that I am no longer bound to my husband and, if necessary, seek the elders’ approval before doing so. I believe it is unfair that I have been betrayed and yet must wait for a year or longer, depending on the duration of divorce proceedings. In my view, the separation itself is akin to leaving a spouse, and the divorce process mainly involves dividing assets and childcare, with little connection to the union itself. Additionally, I feel punished by waiting on the sidelines while both my husband and I are determined to proceed with divorce. In this case, it seems appropriate to engage in a biblical courtship with another man. I am reminded of Paul exhortation for the younger widows to marry so they do not burn in desire, I can see myself in an already broken up union desiring sex, companionship, a head of the home and, of course, provision monetarily for us all.
I am grateful for your wisdom and hope to find comfort in your response.
Thank you sincerely,
Rebekka, I am very sorry for your situation, and for the position the kids are in, and I am glad that your elders are involved. That said, my views on the necessity of divorce in a case like this would be different from yours. I believe that if you have grounds for divorce, with your elders’ approval, then you should not drag it out. You should not delay the inevitable. But until you are divorced, papers in hand, I believe you should not allow yourself even to think about any other prospects. I believe that there is no such social status as “married in God’s sight,” or “divorced in God’s sight.”
Not Un-Christlike at All
I know “pride month” is over now, but the recent actions of some Eastern-Orthodox Christians in Serbia and your articles on the perverse rainbow madness has got me thinking.
What on your thoughts on Christians conducting peaceful public protests against the LGBT movement, especially during June, and during a parade. Is it un-Christlike or unwise to physically stand in the way of a pride parade in protest while holding flags that declare Christ’s lordship and singing Psalms? It seems odd to have no kind of reaction or pushback to the public blasphemy, but I wonder what the ramifications of doing something like this would be. As someone with a gay relative and a gay friend, I am sure they would never speak to me again, along with some my more sensitive Christian friends as well. I am not sure if it would lead to me and others being arrested (who knows these days). Any insight or wisdom you could offer? I am seriously thinking of organizing something for next year, but I want to be wise about it and I am open to the idea that there are better approaches.
Mathan, no I think this kind of pushback is fully appropriate. This last June here in Moscow, a number of our families flew the Christian flag in celebration of the Dobbs decision. It was a good and valuable statement.
I have been enjoying your work for some time now (and have gotten in my fair share of trouble for doing so). The purpose of my writing to you is to see if I can prick your heart to give a thorough engagement with the Provisionist and Molinist arguments that are being propounded today, as I believe these scoundrels get away with too much and are gaining members at full speed ahead. Although I believe your book “Easy Chairs, Hard Words” and your work on Dynamic Omniscience, are sufficient enough a refutation of these anti-Calvinist positions, I can not help but think your pen could do the church some good in directly tackling the nuanced beliefs being put forward almost by the hour. You must know there is no shortage of content from the more popular (and insufferable) Provisionists, who are hell-bent on providing any answer that is not Calvinism, that you could look through. I am aware that any engagement from you will be fodder for a certain Mr. Flowers’ Cash-Cow, but this is a risk I’m willing to take. If you felt so inclined to write a book addressing the arguments, please know that you’d sell at least one copy. If you’d rather write blog posts, I’ll allow that too.
With all sincerity,
Matthew, thanks. That sounds like a really good idea. Would you (or any other readers) have any recommendations of who would be the best one to interact with? Which book to review?
A Tricky One
Having been recently married I have a lot of really exciting things to learn. I have been looking around and having a really hard time finding any Christian discussion on how New Covenant believers should apply passages such as Leviticus 18:19 and 15:19-24 (regarding menstruation). It sounds like according to the old law, there was to be a 7-day period in which the husband and wife were to abstain from sex due to her cycle. Why do you think it is so difficult to find Christian thought on this? Can you point me in some direction to help me understand? How does that relate to 1 Corinthians 7:3 and 5? How long can abstinence within marriage last before it would be considered “depriving?” A week seems like it may be a long time, and it would be a time that was much more difficult for the husband than the wife who is not feeling sexual temptation due to menstruation. If they don’t agree on a course of action because one is concerned about “depriving” and one is concerned about “uncleanness”, what steps would you advise?
NB, I believe that this is an instance of God giving a ceremonial law that provided benefits other than the ritual purity. The requirement for ritual avoidance is now fulfilled, but the other reasons remain. For example, the ritual washings were ceremonial, but they also prevented disease (Ex. 15:26). In a desert climate, there were also advantages to the avoidance of pork, and so on. If you get a copy of None of These Diseases, I believe there is a section there on menstruation that explains some of the benefits of abstinence during a woman’s period.
As I understand you from various sources, we should apply the regulative principle to the role of government, limiting its role to rewarding good and punishing evil, rather than sponsoring the poor and reforming the naughty.
If you were president for 3 glorious years, what/who would you expect to maintain the highway between my town and the next? What about the section of street outside my front yard? I’m worried that my neighbour might expect people on his section to drive on the opposite side of the road from mine.
Please help. Potential voter.
Pierre, I believe that the “king’s highway” system in common law is of ancient pedigree, and have no problem with the freeway system as part of our defense network. At the same time, I see no need for a government monopoly on streets and roads, and I believe that private roads should be encouraged (e.g. a toll road between two major cities). But if that started to happen, the government’s role could be to standardize requirements (like driving on the right side of the road) under the authority of an “equal weights and measures” approach.
Free Country I Suppose
After being inspired by Pastor Toby Sumpter’s message on “The Smashing Patriarchy,” I decided to design a shirt with your, Pastor Doug Wilson’s, face. I am a member of San Diego Reformed Church in San Diego. I am looking for an okay to not only use your likeness on a shirt I NEVER plan to sell, but possibly a better resolution of the cartoonist sketch used on this website. I have no problem sending you a screenshot of the design I have in mind so you can market on your page, where I can purchase. Either way, the shirt will be a great conversation starter outside the Planned Parenthood where we are frequently assaulted by “smash the patriarchy” antifa.
Timothy, a shirt with my visage on it might experience what marketers would call, um, low demand.
I am relatively new to Canon Press, but have found myself often (and with increasing frequency!) referring to your blog posts and content to help navigate many issues that I am facing both in culture and more specifically at work. This letter is not really response to any particular post that you have written, but more so a request for direction on a particular topic that I have not seen you address.
So, for a little background . . . I am a physical therapist and associate program director for a sports residency program at a relatively large healthcare system in the mid-West. Over the last three years, my employer has made several administrative decisions that I disagree with (I won’t name them, but I imagine you will be able to guess a few of them). I have tried to voice those disagreements through appropriate lines of authority, but am unsure of how much of an impact that is actually having . . . But, getting to the point, as I have found myself having to be fairly critical of the healthcare system I work for, this has prompted me to try and articulate what a godly healthcare system should look like. In this process I found myself asking several questions. How would I build a clinic that honors Christ? How would I articulate the mission of such a clinic to make it explicit that the clinic is serving the Lord? Is it even wise to do so? How would I handle finances, payment, charging for services? Should I charge for services or make it free and rely on donations? Should a clinic like this only hire Christians, or should only providers have to sign a statement of faith, or would the stated values of the clinic (provided they are expressly Christian) be enough? How should prayer be included in the care provided? Do we make room for faith healing? And the list could go on . . .
I would love to hear your thoughts on this whether that’s through a blogpost at some point in the future, or through direct communication with me (the latter would be preferable, but I understand you are busy guy). Otherwise, if you have touched on this subject in the past, if you could direct me to recommended resources, that would be appreciated.
Thanks for all that you are doing out in Moscow!
Trying to do my part to build the Kingdom,
Nathan, I would direct your questions to the good folks at Story Family Medicine here in Moscow. They have asked a bunch of your questions, and I believe have answered most of them.
In Place of History
Referring to your article, “Ragnarok and the Administrative State”, and taking your description of communism as having a “doctrine of history” . . . How would you contrast that with what the larger part of the church has today? As in, “by contrast, the church today has a doctrine of . . .”?
David, I would say a doctrine of escape, whether through the rapture, or through personal escape after death in a “this world is not my home” approach.
The Right Kind of Anticipation
Is it a sin for a man who’s engaged to be married to sexually fantasize about his fiancée or let himself be aroused at the thought of her? I suspect your answer would be yes, but regardless, I want to hear your reasoning.
In fact, my bigger question, one I have not been successful to shake, is this. How does an unmarried man have an attraction to a woman, and even desire to be a suitor to her with the aim of marrying her, and at the same time avoid fantasizing or lusting after her? I am speaking as one who is about to be married and I want to pass down wisdom to my future sons and daughters, and say, “Mommy and Daddy did this right, but this we did wrong and we repent of doing it this way.”
C, when a young man approaches a woman, he should do so because he finds her attractive. But it is possible to know that she is desirable without getting himself into a state. You can know that you have combustible materials without starting a fire. It is the same principle once you are engaged. It is not unlawful to anticipate the sexual union, but it would be unwise to awaken love before the time.
Imitating Biblical Speech
On Ride, Sally, Ride, and other works that sound a bit risque. I recently got into a micro twitter kerfuffle because I raised the following question: Doug Wilson is often accused of “crudity” in his works, and is dismissed by some because of the words he uses—but would we say the same thing to Ezekiel when he says some, lets say, sexually derogatory and descriptive things while condemning a particular people? Or what about when Paul wishes for the Judaizers to castrate themselves over the Galatian heresy? Or, you know, any of the more titillating parts of Song of Songs? Is there something we can learn from how God uses this kind of language in Prophetic utterance and utilize it today with prudence and sound judgement, or are we to simply say “God can say what He wants, it’s a mystery, and if you use anything anyone could construe as potty talk, it’s off to the evangelical gulags.” Thoughts on this, Pastor Doug?
The Ray Epps Brigade
In Re Ragnarock: You said: “I pick the FBI to go second because, among many other things, the J6 assault on the Capitol was a joint effort between the Oathkeepers and FBI agents . . . [and later] The FBI’s involvement in these dirty deeds is already widely known, and with very little effort could become universally known.”
Can you provide a link for further reading on this?
Jess, there is a section on this in David Horowitz’s Final Battle. In addition, I look at the absence of charges filed against Ray Epps, coupled with the refusal of FBI authorities in sworn testimony to say how many assets they had in the crowd.
Faithless in the Covenant
I have a question regarding Federal Vision and the meaning of Covenant membership. I watch a 13-year-old video response where you mentioned baptism making the baptized a covenant member and it being akin to having a wedding ring and ceremony but you are abhorrently unfaithful. First in general regarding Covenant membership, are we members of the Abrahamic covenant? If so, then I was under the impression that the vision Abraham had of the smoking furnace and burning lantern passing between the halved animals without Abraham symbolized that God would be the sole responsible party for upholding both ends of the Covenant. Then Christ’s death fulfilled the failings of the covenant members who sinned. If this is the case and any one baptized is a covenant member, then how can they not be covered by the grace of the covenant?
Then regarding the ring and ceremony analogy, would you say that baptism without faith, is like the wedding ring and ceremony without consummation and this not a true marriage at all? If this is the case, are they truly covenant members at all? If this is not the case and you would include consummation under the event of baptism, it seems Christ failed to be the redeeming husband exampled by Hosea to those members of His covenant.
Stephen, yes, we are in the Abrahamic covenant (Gal. 3:14), and those who have the faith of Abraham have the blessing promised to Abraham—represented by those animals cut in two. For them, God takes the curse upon Himself. The question arises for those who are in the visible covenant (like Judas) but who don’t have the heart faith. They can be cut out of the olive tree. But those who are elect cannot be, see above. In the wedding/ring analogy, it is not a wedding without a consummation, but rather a marriage without faithfulness. The unfaithful husband is actually married, but if he is off with another woman, then he is actually adulterous. And this is an image that is used in Scripture constantly.
We’re using The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies to introduce logic to our 12 year old. It’s far better than other books I’ve seen. In Begging the Question (Petitio Principii) you identified “I think therefore I am” as a fallacy. Can you expound on that. If I remember my Descartes correctly he reasoned that:
1. to doubt that I exist, I have to think.
2. to think, I first have to exist.
3. therefore it follows that in attempting to doubt my existence, I prove that I exist.
or “I think, therefore, I am (exist)”
Can you point to an error in his reasoning?
Is there also a deeper discussion in here as to why you’re a presuppositionalist and not a classicist?
Gene, yes. I think this is related to the issues related to presuppositionalism. In Descartes’ reasoning, he starts by quietly assuming an I, a discrete personality. For example, why doesn’t he start with “doubting is happening in some fashion”? He gets to an “I” because he starts with one.
No Shortage of Good Ideas
I was looking through VBS curriculum for this upcoming year and noticed that that are all either 1) weak sauce or 2) dispensational. As you know brother, this ought not to be.
So, here’s my question. Will Canon Press ever produce VBS materials?
Chaz, good idea.
The Force of Custom
If Congress could preclude the Court from reviewing something, what is to stop Congress from precluding their review of everything?
Zeph, they do have that authority, and they could abuse it in just the way you describe. The thing that prevents is the force of custom, and our unwritten constitution. But this is the case elsewhere. The authority of the Court could be circumvented through packing the Court, for example. But custom prevents, because it would be too obvious.