Letters to Keep You All Engaged & Interested

Exactly So

Reading your article about the commotion over Gilder’s book I was reminded of Greg Krehbiel’s book “Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap.” It is a fun read, and it might help some to understand those basic biological realities . . . I believe you’ve recommended it already, but a second dose might help.


Thiago, yes. I thought of that book when I was writing that response, but then forgot to link to it. I am remedying that now.

Infusion and Imputation

Would you care to explain how this comment is in line with WLC 77? Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?

A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued; the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.

I recently heard you take an orthodox view in a sermon from Philippians via the app Canon Plus, in which you clearly state that the instrument of our justification is faith alone. The two statements contradict each other, do they not? Thanks for your time.


Nate, the quotation you are referring to was this:

“What is regeneration? That is an existential and experimental reality. God takes away a heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. Now, when does regeneration occur? According to the traditional ordo . . . regeneration is first, then repentance, then faith, then justification. Imputation arrives with justification. What is the righteousness that this new heart has, both experientially and practically? It is an infused righteousness. Regeneration is not imputed, right? Regeneration is a change of heart, from an unrighteous heart that hates God to a righteous (but still imperfect) heart that loves Him, repents of sin, and believes in Him . . . At the end of the day, this means . . . infused righteousness as the instrument of imputed righteousness.”

This was an excerpt from a larger article in which I was pointing out the tension between the classic ordo and the orthodox view of justification as imputation. On the one hand, when the ordo is taken in a chronological way, as though an angel was timing it with a stopwatch, this causes problems. In that ordo, regeneration is first, then repentance, then faith, and then justification. In this order, regeneration (an internal work) is upstream from justification (an external juridical declaration). This is not a position I am urging, but rather it is a problem I am identifying. And I think that Gaffin sees the problem and handles it nicely, working from a “union with Christ” model.

Women Deacons

I am a member of a SBC church of the 9Marks variety. We are, as the pastors say, “reformed-leaning”.

The elders are proposing a change to the church constitution and by-laws that would permit women deacons. Do you have any words of advice for how I can fight hard but clean?


Jay, I would advise you to fight this by asking basic questions. In other words, ask for the reasoning behind the assumption that women deacons hold the same office that the male deacons do. I have a detailed argument for the view that they were different offices here.

One Man Can’t Do It All

I love the project that’s going on in Moscow. However, I confess that as I dig into the banquet provided by Canon Press I continue cycling from excitement to exhaustion and dread.

I think it amounts to being like the wicked servant, so afraid of his master’s hard expectations that he buried the talent for fear he’d lose it. It’s not that I think I must fulfill the Great Commission myself. One talent alone is more than I feel like I can handle. I don’t pray or read my Bible as much as I could. I’m not “on fire” for evangelism. I fail to help everyone around me who needs it. Truthfully, I just want to build a house, plant a garden, and seek the good of the city I’m exiled in.

I don’t want to recreate the “carnal Christian” category. I want to keep the Ten Commandments. However, I feel like I’m not being obedient to a call if I’m not making use of every resource that’s now available to me. To whom much is given much will be required. There’s always more to do. I want to keep up, but after a while I just get exhausted and feel so bad that I can’t do more. I feel like I’m disappointing my Father.

I don’t want to be a useless servant, but I don’t know where to find the energy and motivation to do what I need to do. The times I think I’m most depending upon God for progress are the times I seem to be doing the least. I don’t feel dread of Him then, but then I go back to working myself into fits for being so inadequate to the tasks at hand.

Is the answer to accept that I just can’t do it all, even if the “all” is just within my little sphere? Am I failing to understand justification by faith alone? Am I actually just failing, and I need to try harder? How do I examine myself rightly, to know whether I am reaching too far or not reaching far enough?

Thank you for reading such a long letter and for any response you may give.


John, the one thing I can say confidently that you should not do is “try harder.” What I would encourage you to do is to stop comparing what you did to what you assume you ought to have done, and instead compare what you did to what you did this time last week.

Two Eschatological Qs

I have two eschatological questions related to two chapters.

(1) Joel 3 – What is the battle being described here? The context of Joel 2 sets it in the time of the first century (Acts 2), but Joel 3:1 talks about “restoring the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem” which sounds like the opposite of AD 70. So when did this happen?

(2) Zechariah 14 – This also seems to be about Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 (v1-2), but what about v3? In what way did God “fight against” the nations that destroyed Jerusalem (e.g. Rome)?

Thanks for your help.


Jost, the best I can do on Joel is here, and as for Zechariah 14, this would be my basic take.

A Swing and a Miss

I regularly enjoy your posts, including this one. However, I think you got a key fact wrong in this one. As far as I can find, Dave Rubin has never worked for Daily Wire. He is on Blaze TV.



Jay, thanks. I do stand corrected. In my defense, I was left unsupervised.

Funerals Don’t Change Anything Really

What would you advise in the below situation:

Someone wants to have a “woman pastor” involved in their relative’s funeral (pray or “say a few words”) at a church that does not recognize women pastors.

Should it be allowed because of the occasion? What are the options here and what would be the wisest?

Thank you for your ministry.


Shimar, I don’t believe that a “woman pastor” should be allowed to do anything pastoral.

The Lord’s Day Sabbath

In regards to the “11 Theses on the Glory of the Lord’s Day”—I greatly appreciate you broaching the question of Sabbath. I am a believer in my 20’s who comes from a Jewish family and as such have wrestled greatly with understanding the Christian perspective on the Law, and more specifically the Sabbath.

After reading your blog I have found myself most perplexed by the first thesis on which (at least it seems to me) all the others stand. While the references that we have to “the first day of the week” in the New Testament seem sufficient to constitute a new practice it does not seem entirely apparent to me that it would replace the Sabbath. From my admittedly elementary understanding of Church history, it seems as though the early church thought of the Lord’s Day as distinct from the Sabbath. For instance, in Canon 49 of the Council of Laodicea it is stated: “During Lent the Bread must not be offered except on the Sabbath Day and on the Lord’s Day only” and in the Epistle to the Magnesians by Ignatius we find: “And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival.”

Further, given that the command of the Sabbath is to rest (Exodus 20:10) and not teach, gather, and give offerings, it appears plausible to me that they could both exist independent of one another. Paul seems to live this out by continuing to teach (Acts 13:14) and pray (Acts 16:13) on the Sabbath while also commanding the offerings to be taken up on Sunday. The lack of “noticeable controversy” that you note seems more likely to me to be accounted for by a lack of belief that there was a “cosmological shift” in the Sabbath. If such a shift did take place it seems much more likely that it would have been an issue of great debate and one that would be addressed directly by the Apostles or Jesus.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Thank you for hearing out my (likely hamfisted) musings.

In Christ,


David, not ham-fisted at all. But I think you have misunderstood the point Ignatius was making. Just before that he says, “Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner,” meaning that we should feel free to work on that day, and that we should keep sabbath spiritually, in our hearts. This, in effect, makes it no longer a sabbath.

Helping Boys Standing Up Straight

Any tips on helping boys carry themselves confidently in the world? My son plays sports and is regularly unsure how to stand up for his friends or himself when picked on. The way he would phrase it is, “I need help with my comebacks.” How do I teach my son to have a serrated edge like Christ?


Joel, I would sit down with him and come up with three or four situations where he gets “picked on.” As in, what sorts of things does he get teased about? Girls? Grades? Athletic performance? Then have him prepare a comeback or two for each kind of situation. That way he can have a loaded pistol in his boot, ready for the occasion. He will discover that the real potency has to do with actually saying something, and not because his timing was exquisite.

Paul and Tom Mixing It Up

I frequently read your stuff to my husband on short car trips. Recently I started out with reading the title “Why the Apostle Paul Punched [W]Right.”

Like Winnie the Pooh, “his mind ran on.” My husband immediately assumed it was going to have something to do with the Apostle’s likely reaction to “New Perspectives on Paul.”

We laughed and laughed.


Carole, I can’t believe the two of you could possibly think that I would countenance fisticuffs between two Anglican clergymen.

Here’s Why I Think It Does Work

I’m not a full-preterist, but I don’t think the 2 Tim. 2:17 (Hymenaeus and Philetus) argument works. Wouldn’t the full-preterist just say, “yeah, the resurrection didn’t happen yet then, so Paul was right to issue the warning. But it did happen later.” What am I missing?


Steven, because Paul was writing in the sixties, such a take would mean that he was treating Hymeanaeus as a reprobate because he was a few months off in his calculations.

Resurrection of the Lost

Since all people are to be resurrected at the final judgment, does that mean that all people (including the wicked) will receive incorruptible bodies as described in 1 Corinthians 15? And if so, would this imply that those who experience the Second Death will find that their punishments are somehow increased or enhanced due to their resurrected bodies?


Mike, we are given very little information about the resurrection of the damned, other than the fact that it will occur. But given that fact, I think something like what you say is inescapable.

Tipping Point?

Thank you for all of your content. I’m a Canon+ subscriber with a truly grateful heart for all that I have learned about theology and Christian living. My marriage is better, my parenting is better, and I am understanding the Word far better than ever. That being said, I have something I’m pondering over regarding reality and one of your fiction works. From what I can see, there is a strange convergence between Ride,Sally Ride and the reality of our soon to be televised kangaroo court hearing of Trump. I’ll admit that he is no Ace Hartwick, but the circumstances feel similar in spirit, even if this is no Phineas moment with a sex bot. With the televised kangaroo hearing, half the nation in outrage, and corruption abounding over an unresolved cocaine case in the White House with an obvious suspect, do you think the anger will spark something like your novel, or will we all just sit back drinking our Bud Lite in rebellion to the leftist schemes? I’m curious what your prediction on something like that would be without the brave governor from Wyoming like the novel? Would this spark a quick war, or would it likely spark angry letters from the GOP? I always enjoy your take on this stuff because it has that same air to it as Asahel’s worldview thinking that turns out to be pretty accurate. Thanks for all of your hard work.



Erick, I think we are still in the slow build-up phase of all of this. But we are certainly getting closer and closer.

Jew Malice

This is regarding your post on punching right. I have no issue with the overall premise. However, I’m not sure #3 on your list of errors should be there. Definitely Jew-malice is unacceptable, but I see antisemitism (is that the same thing?) far more often, and overtly, from the left. See Ilhan Omar, “the squad,” Trayon White, Keith Ellison, etc. If you made a post on punching left, I think Jew-malice would go on that list.


Joel, I don’t disagree with you about the antisemitism of the Left. It is really bad. In fact, that is one of the things I find so distressing about the emergence of the Jew thing on the right. I have no idea why we would want to imitate those guys in something like this.

Silent Bells Are Still Silent

I was wondering if there will ever be an option to purchase the Silent Bells in a book format?



Lucas, yes. The plan is to get it out between two covers before the Eschaton. Apologies for the delays.

Har Har

Re. Why the Apostle Paul Punched Right-

I’ll admit I had never heard of chelation therapy and so had to look it up. This from Wikipedia:

“Chelation is a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions. It involves the formation or presence of two or more separate coordinate bonds between a polydentate (multiple bonded) ligand and a single central metal atom.[1][2] These ligands are called chelants, chelators, chelating agents, or sequestering agents. They are usually organic compounds, but this is not a necessity, as in the case of zinc and its use as a maintenance therapy to prevent the absorption of copper in people with Wilson’s disease.[3]”

Well, huh. While you have been a tremendous blessing to me and mine for so many years, come to find out all we needed along was zinc.


John, zinc is how I keep the symptoms at bay.

“Nails It” Is Right

First off, this young man nails it.

Second off, I’d be willing to bet, based on his speech, that he was raised in a Classical Christian school, reads Uncle Doug, and took some cues from Jeff Durbin and Stickergate. Maybe the CrossPolitic dudes can have him on and confirm my suspicions! As Bane once said, “The fire rises”. And it is exciting to watch it spread!


RK, yes, he certainly did a fine job there.


I have a man in my congregation with left-leaning sympathies who thinks abortion is allowable as long as it’s prior to the development of the baby’s brain. He has no Scripture to back this up. He keeps repeating that the Bible says an unborn baby is a life, and the Bible never says that life specifically begins at conception. Do you have any advice for how to reach someone like this?

Also, at what point is debating with someone futile? When does a Pastor say “I love this sheep, but my efforts are better spent elsewhere right now”? I’m thinking I might be close to that point, but I’m not sure if it’s true futility or if it’s just the laziness of my flesh.


Bryan, it would depend on whether you are a fellow parishioner, or his pastor. If you are responsible for him, I think you should look for any kind of movement at all. If so, keep shepherding him. If he won’t be budged, I would move on. But I would also tell him that he is not permitted to circulate that view within the church, and that if he does, he would be disciplined for it.

Mom and Dad as Civilizational Verities

Also, after reading this on your blog today,

“The dual ordinance—the institution of marriage, and birth from a mother—is therefore the foundation on which antirevolutionary politics stands first.” — Abraham Kuyper

I came across this gem from Chesterton. 

“The triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” — G.K. Chesterton


Todd, thanks. GKC saw things from quite a distance.

Here’s An Idea

Free idea: Get Canon Press to 100K on YouTube stat so you can blow up the little plaque they send you for NQN. You’re welcome.


Andrew, thanks for sharing. Anyone else?

The post Letters to Keep You All Engaged & Interested appeared first on Blog & Mablog.






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