Letters Filled With Nothing But Words

What We Came to See

Re: The Bottom of the Empathy Hole I come to NQN to see something lit on fire. I was not disappointed!

P.S. I detect the smell of empathy burning.


jph, well, we aim to please, kind of.

In your post “The Bottom of the Empathy Hole” you refer to RUF (We could easily add to the list-Christianity Today, RUF, and Calvin University). Are you referring to Reformed University Fellowship, the campus ministry of the PCA? If so why?


Jerry, yes, I was. The reason was multiple communications over time from folks testifying to how woke it was.

RE: The Bottom of the Empathy Hole Good article, but I would change only one thing. Where you said, “They worship at another altar. They serve another god. What altar is that?”

They worship at the altar of *self*. They are their own narcissistic idols which, like all the others, will perish from the earth in the due course of time.

But, in a way even Alanis would understand, these self-absorbed woke pagans are anything but individualistic. They despise individuals and any expression of individuality. They are part of an identity cult—a collective blob. As lurches the blob, so they too stumble about. Yesterday, it was Ukraine. Today, it’s Hamas. Their soviet, through the mouthpieces of TikTok and the Democrat-media complex, tells them what to think (to the extent that’s even possible), how to feel, and where to collect their paycheck after every protest. So if the blob decides it’s “Queers for Palestine!”, then any thoughts about queers *in* Palestine and tall buildings are considered, well, queer, and are forthwith banished.

Conformity to the collective, which tries to arrogate to itself the authority to determine good and evil, is the purest validation of self to the woke pagan.

The dichotomy is there to keep the rest of us on our toes.


FP, yes, actually. That is a better way of getting at what I was getting at.

Great Merch Idea

You are probably aware of this already, but while reading American Milk and Honey I’m struck by how the device of reformation printer Robert Estienne would make great throwback merch. A Canon Press T-shirt or mug with this would be pretty cool.

I greatly appreciate the book. It will help bring clarity to anyone not looking only for quotes to solidify their opinion of you.


John, good idea. I passed it on to the guys at Canon. Let’s see if they do the right thing,

A Problem Occurring More Frequently

First of all, thank you for all of your writings over the years. My wife and I are members of a 1689 reformed Baptist church in Montana, but we have both been persuaded of the paedo-Baptist position. My wife is pregnant with our first child (you can probably see where this is going) . . . Do we submit to the authority of our church elders, or attempt to baptize our children elsewhere?

In Christ,


Zach, while there, you need to honor their authority. And having the baby baptized elsewhere, even with their blessing,, just kicks the can down the road. This is because the question of communion is going to arise soon enough, and they are responsible to oversee that. Which they will do, according to their lights.

Isker and the Jews

After reading this past week’s letter batch, I went and listened to your discussion with Andrew Isker.

I’ve written in before about these “Semitic” topics, and I wonder if you’d be able to take another moment to help me out in this area.

When I reached the part of the talk when you mentioned that Mr. Isker is not an angry man, as those who know him are aware, I realized that through the course of my listening I had thought that he was. But in reality, I was the one becoming angered, not any of the speakers. So I was hoping you could offer a line or two of advice for some “soul searching,” without my being too melodramatic.

To cut to the chase, I saw much of the discussion, particularly from Mr. Isker’s end, to be inappropriate. Not to level anything against a brother I haven’t actually met, it reminded me of Paul’s injunction in Romans, for the grafted-in branches not to boast over those who were natural and those which, even while being natural, were cut off. But you see, I am also Jewish by descent, and there is in fact a long line of my ancestors (confirmed by DNA) which were both Jewish and baptized Christians. And yet, the ancestry remains and the Jewish characteristics which distinguish many Ashkenazim from their Gentile European neighbors have been retained as recently as my own father, who looks far more Middle Eastern than my mother who is 100% Dutch.

I am a member (hopefully in good standing) of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church; I read and occasionally converse in Hebrew; I pray the Shema in the morning; and I have been working on translating John Calvin’s Institutes into Hebrew, the portions discussing baptism and circumcision because they are so beautiful.

But my question is: what covenant would Mr. Isker and yourself consider me and my Baptized-Christian, Jewish forebears to be a part of? I know that the dividing wall has been torn down. But what I heard from Mr. Isker is as if to say that God has in fact rejected His people, which Paul says can happen “by no means,” and that Mr. Longshore is right: this antisemitism business in the Reformed world is not a matter of sociological number-crunching. It seems to me that people either want to say that I and my ancestors were either not Jews of any kind; or, that we are and we are evil because of it. But, at the same time as being particularly predisposed to high concentrates of transgression because of our Jewishness, we’re actually not even Jews at the end of the day anyways.

Smells like envy to me too.

Any advice or insight would be much appreciated. I may be simply not seeing Mr. Isker’s position straight at all. But it has all the regularly tropes of Jew-but-not-Jew disdain.

Finally, I am grateful to have benefited from the stance you took and the calm demeanor with which you took it. I have a lot to learn about that last part I think.

Thank you kindly,


Jacob, I think their position would be that Jewishness is just one more ethnic identity, right alongside all the others. But then they betray themselves in that there is no reason why this one ethnic identity would be uniquely malevolent. That’s not right alongside all the others. In other words, the demonization that occurs in virtually every YouTube comment thread refutes the contention that is being made. But there will be more on all of this tomorrow morning.

DeMar Update?

I’m just curious if there’s any updates yet regarding Gary DeMar’s situation. (Obviously I am awaiting an official ruling by his church on the matter.) Do you know if that is forthcoming, or has happened already? Thanks!


Jon, sorry. I have not heard anything.

UK Strategy?

I frequently listen to you podcasts and have found help especially with regards to the Biblical role of males (e.g husbands, church leadership, courage as societal salt), eschatology ( of hope) in the face of secular deconstruction of the UK culture , and more recently Christian education. I am the headteacher of one of a handfull of Christian schools in Scotland and sensing that the tide is changing as parents are seeing the non-neutrality of their Government’s interference in their children’s moral lives. The question I’m asking, is Classical education the best option to push when Scottish parents are still “wary” of Christian schools or are we just adding another barrier with “different” pedagogy from the mainstream’s?

Yours in Him,


Steve, I would say it is the best option. As things continue to deteriorate in the outside world, when Christians build our alternatives, we must avoid the trap of trying to be just a “little bit” different.

Just Can’t Help It

Just wondering why you have a consistently amiable, “nice-guy” tone in your Plodcast. I presume that is intentional, and am hoping to glean some pastoral wisdom here.


Pierre, I never thought of that so it is not really intentional. That is just how I talk.

Sinful or Just Stupid?

“Of course democracies can sin, and our most common and widely unacknowledged sin is called secularism” Maybe this is just semantics, but I’d like to know if you agree:

My pastor likes to frequently point out that there’s a wide gap in between sin and righteousness that’s just generally labeled “stupid”. Along that argument seems to me that secularism isn’t a sin, but foolishness, as in “The fool says to himself there is no God”. It’s not that secularism is directly a sin, but that it is a stupid way to live that will flirt with sin of every single kind.

Agree, disagree?


Ian, yes but. Along the spectrum of stupid there is a range of culpable down to non-culpable. And many of the people who are leading us in the paths of stupid were responsible before God to know better.

Catholic Nationalism?

“In fact, so decided a Protestant as Machen even thought it important to note that the differences between Protestants and Catholics were much smaller than the differences between any of them and the liberals.” But would you still attribute the term “Christian” to Catholics? At that juncture, I would say that the differences between Protestant and Catholics dwarf any other difference.

If you say Yes, then I think that would explain (at least partially) Scott Aniol’s beef with Christian Nationalism. But I could see arguments for both sides of the “Yes” answer.

Any clarity you can provide?


Grh, yes, I would. At Christ Church, we receive their baptisms, for example, in line with the practice of the Reformers. They are still Trinitarians, at least until Mary gets her big promotion. But they have, in their formal pronouncements, anathematized accurate statements of the gospel, and they tolerate and encourage practices that rob common people of real gospel hope. So, real mixed bag.

Good Luck, But . . .

Are you familiar with the recent movement called the Protestant Reconquista? It is a movement to restore the mainline churches to Biblical faithfulness. What are your thoughts on this movement? If you’re not familiar, the strategy, in a nutshell, is to let the liberal churches die out, but join the few remaining conservative to moderate churches in those denoms and strengthen them


Joe, it just might work, once the mainlines are so weak that they are not worth taking over.

Husbands and Bitterness

I’m writing to ask about the command given to husbands in Col. 3:19, to “be not bitter against your wives.” Obviously, Paul thought this was something husbands in particular needed to hear. Still, my newly-married mind has trouble imagining what would provoke me to bitterness against my wife, barring some great sin against me. But husbands sin against wives all the time too, and Paul doesn’t caution the wife against bitterness. Why does Paul single this out as a particular temptation for husbands?


Nate, good question. I would pair it with Peter’s admonition for husbands to live considerately with their wives, as with the weaker vessel. When men don’t live that way, it is easy for them to get exasperated, and then that slides into bitterness.

Prerogative of Silence?

Given the latest revival of the accusations of mishandling of sexual abuse cases by Christ Church, and the KSP/Rigney clash on Twitter I went back to read the timelines on your blog, the testimonies from those involved and that long Shubin report. Since I first read the accounts I’ve always found it weird how fixated people seemed to be on your culpability, since everyone involved seems to agree that you reported all the abuses after being informed of them and all the abusers were disciplined in one way or the other.

There is one unstated point however that seems to be central on the ongoing denunciations: The supposed prerogative of the abuse victim to conceal the abuse for as long as the victim wishes.

It has been simply assumed that the abuser’s sin is directed to the victim *alone*, and that the victim holds the prerogative as to when if at all the abuse should be made public, such that any doubts stemming from such extemporaneous accusations are met with charges of “blaming the victim”. It seems fair to assume that the worse the abuse the higher the likelihood that the victim would speak up contemporaneously (i.e. there would be contemporaneous witnesses to the abuses), but formulating this out loud is bound to get you cancelled today. But if we consider that a sexual abuse is first a sin against God, it seems that it would be unjust and therefore sinful to conceal it either as a third party or a victim. When the victim comes out, they usually demand a speedy sentence to the crime, but they themselves were the first deterrent to it, and as shown by some of the cases you dealt with, the perpetrator is free to find and abuse other people in the meantime.

Here is the question:

Does the abuse victim have a prerogative of concealing the abuse? (Excluding safety concerns, like being hostage etc)


John, excluding safety concerns, speaking generally, I would say that victims do not have that prerogative. But I would also want to budget for age and maturity considerations. A young child doesn’t have the capacity to know what her prerogatives are or are not.

Appreciate Turley Having Me On

I just watched your interview with Dr. Steve Turley and was blown away by your insight and ability to define the state of current American culture. Your optimism and discernment are refreshing, to say the least. I must confess I have not heard of you or your books prior to the interview, much to my detriment. However, the Lord has his perfect timing. I am the author of the new book “American Christian: A Treatise of Spiritual, Cultural and Political Discernment” (self-published on Amazon) and I also have a blog, The Discerning Pundit (discerningpundit.com). Watching your interview and hearing your take has encouraged me that I am on the right path.

Thank you for leading the way with all you do.

I will make your blog my daily stop and will purchase your newest book “Mere Christendom”. In the meantime, I will be praying for you, your family and your ministry.

May God richly bless you in all you do.


Dex, thanks very much.

Just Up the Road

Re: Evangelical Doctors, Coughing Up Blood

As I pray and watch up here a little north of you—in a country where almost 10% served to liberate other countries from a grievous evil that at one time;

I grieve every day as I see justice perverted:

-Our leaders condemn genital mutilation abroad while not only committing it at home—but jailing those who confront this evil.

– I have said often, as you stated, we kill more babies and seniors before breakfast than terrorist groups do in a year—we are what they hope to be

– Public Death Canada (formerly Public Health) pushes for legal access to illegal drugs while its employees who didn’t take a particularly ineffective drug are fired

– this drug was made out to be a way not to kill grandmothers by the same group who killed more grandmothers via lethal injection than they said the virus killed—as of August 2022

– Our leaders state that we legislate reality but anyone who says we don’t is not afforded that right

I lament and am vexed everyday

Then I am reminded that the Lord reserved 7000 who did not kneel to Baal

And that no one could take Jesus life—only He could relinquish it

And that John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude wrote in a time of utter madness to which we not only appear to be headed—we are in it.

Thanks be to God who gives us an opportunity to live like his Son

Thank you, Doug

Your words are of great encouragement to me and my family


Murk, thank you. And stand fast.

The Stable Question

I just finished listening to Blog & MaBlog #304. Loved it as always, but had one qualification (even though it is November, sorry… oops, sorry for saying sorry when I have no reason to apologize… and no, I’m not Piper’s friend from “Forbidden Child”, though I could be…). Ok, seriously, Jesus was NOT born in a stable, probably…

This is the most basic article, but it was one I knew I could find easily. If you want more details, the original article I read was from biblearchaeology.org “Away in a Manger, But Not in a Barn: An Archaeological Look at the Nativity” and that itself came from an article by Kenneth E Bailey “The manger and the inn: A Middle Eastern view of the birth story of Jesus.”

It makes so much more sense and some day I’m going to put a little two-storey house on my front lawn with the animals in the bottom and Mary surrounded by loving family helping her to deliver her little boy. 🙂


Laurel, but what shall we do with all these nativity sets?

The Future Men Doc

I’ve been watching the Future Men documentary and had a thought about the “ditches” of effeminacy and machismo. I found those ditches to be right on, yet a little old-fashioned because I think one more ditch has been dug, and it is filling up with boys, young men, and men. It is the ditch of inconsequence, uselessness, and slavery. This ditch is known by non-productivity, non-proactivity, and the unquenchable desire to be entertained. The ones in this ditch are consumers, and they are being consumed. They don’t look or sound effeminate, and they don’t dominate. What do you think: is this third ditch a new danger because of our world of leisure, tech, porn, pot, and all the other various and available entertainments? Or, is the third ditch more of the same, just an offshoot of effeminacy?

Even so, Future Men (The Series and the Book) provides the right direction: show them the masculinity found in the Bible. I’m thankful for that.



Charles, what you describe is a big problem. But I would locate it as a subset of effeminacy.

What Dead Means

I have a couple questions about soteriology: First, I was having a conversation with someone about Ephesians 2:1 and I was making the point that Paul says we were dead in our sins, not simply sick or on life support. If we were dead, this means there was nothing we could do, dead people have no ability to respond or make a decision. He responded to this by saying that in Romans Paul says we are now dead to sin, and this does not mean that we are totally immune to or unaffected by sin, so being dead in our sins must not mean that we are totally unable to respond on our own. How would you respond to this argument? It seems to me that these are two different metaphors, and even though the word “dead” is used in both cases, we can’t just take the meaning from one verse and assume it means the same thing in the other verse.

Also, what scriptures would you cite in support of the idea that faith is a gift? The verse I usually hear cited is Ephesians 2:8-9, but I’m not sure that this is clear in this verse. When Paul says “this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” the Greek word he uses for “this” (touto) is grammatically neuter (unless I am mistaken about that), so it does not match with the word he uses for faith (pistis) which is grammatically feminine. As a result, when Paul says “this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” it seems to me that he must be referring to our salvation in general (being saved by grace through faith), rather than to faith specifically. Am I missing something about this passage or are their other scriptures that teach that faith is a gift?

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this!


Will, Paul uses the metaphor of death to point to our total inability to fix the problem. He does the same thing with the metaphor of slavery. Of course we can still move around. We were dead in our transgressions and sins, in which we used to walk. The grammatical issue you point to in Ephesians 2 doesn’t apply because it is dealing with an abstract noun. But that faith is a gift can also be seen elsewhere. “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29).

Well, Maybe

I’m a fellow lover of the phrase “Bad Juju,” but I’ve told my wife that for the Christmas season, in honor of Louis Armstrong’s song, I’m going to replace it with the (ostensibly clunky) phrase “Not cool yule”. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to do the same in a blog post, if for no other reason than for the fun of working in strange phrases in engaging ways like you seem to have a knack for doing.

I’m envisioning something like this: “if you’ve been following my engagement with Owen Strachan’s attack on Wolfe’s book, which was a bit of a punch below the belt—totally not cool yule, Owen—then you know . . .”

Alright, the longer it takes me to write this post, the more crazy it sounds, but on the off chance it’s one of those things you find amusing and it becomes one of your new go-to phrases, I’ll hit submit.

(Prompted by the “Anthony Bradley, Conflicted Apologist for Bad Juju” blog post.)



Landon, not cool yule. There.

Not Uncommon Problem

I attend a Reformed Baptist church. This church prides itself on being “Gospel-centered.” It is a relatively conservative church. However, recently there have been a number of controversies stirred up and I wanted your take. A dear friend wrote the elders a lengthy letter (33 pages) outlining some of his concerns. The first page was a statement of appreciation for the pastors and elders and all that they do for our congregation. Namely, the letter was addressing what some perceive as a leftward movement. Our pastor is very open about his love for Tim Keller and the TGC-ites. Our whole staff attends their conference every year. Naturally, this sort of flaccid Calvinism has found its way into our church. My friend’s letter was calling out the use of these resources as well as a plethora of other concerns: accepting same-sex attraction as a legitimate identity for Christians and not something to be repented of, elders lobbying for women to be added to the diaconate in a symmetrical role with the men, ruling elders that are theistic evolutionists, and much more.

My elders found the letter to be incendiary. Our lead pastor refused to allow him to meet with the rest of the elders and present his case. Unintentionally, I waded into these waters when I spoke with an elder about his bizarre take on not speaking out against false teachers. The exact quote was, “I am not ready to label Andy Stanley a heretic out of fear that I might rip up legitimate wheat with the weeds.” Bizarre. I openly disagreed with him and told him that an irrefutable part of a shepherd’s role is the protection of his flock from wolves. This same elder is pro-BLM and hates the word “woke.” I sympathized by telling him I hate the word “tribalistic.”

To make a long story short, my friend is no longer at this church after he was threatened with church discipline if he did not stop bringing these issues up to the elders. As I stated before, I have now been lumped in with him because I have openly confronted the elders and defended my convictions.

While the elders and I are on much better terms than my friend, I am being labeled a legalist. The charge to me is simply: major on the majors and minor on the minors. My response to them was: who gets to decide what is major?

I have been labeled a dissenter, fundamentalist, legalist, kinist, and more. I do believe they love me and my family as a parishioner but I am wondering if the chasm has become to wide to bridge.

Any advice would be appreciated. Additionally, if you could address the idea of majoring on the majors and minoring on the minors, that would be very helpful.


Nathan, from what you describe, it sounds like your time there is limited. As far as majoring on the majors, that might be a reasonable suggestion, but only if everybody did it. If they just preached the gospel, and said nothing about BLM, and nothing about women deacons, etc. They are not leaving the minors alone, right? So what they are saying is that they want to agree with you on the majors, and they want you to shut up while they do what they want with their minors.

Helpful Article

You’ve mentioned before the benefit of the KJV being in the public domain, but I was only peripherally aware of the issues there. This is appalling.

Perhaps this needs to be an agenda item for believers who are looking for more ways to push back against the Evangelical Industrial Complex . . .


Michael, thanks very much. Very informative.

Crowd Source Help?

I have this vague recollection that a few years ago you wrote a series of posts that analyzed some patterns people walk in as they’re drifting from their church. But I’m having trouble finding anything that fits my recollection. Any chance you’d have post titles or quick links to those? I’m a pastor and have been reflecting on these patterns myself for a few years. Speaking with another pastor the other day he said, “It’s like when people finally get around to telling you they’ve left the church they all read from the same script.” That got me thinking about those posts again and wondering if I could track them down. Thanks so much!


Cory, I vaguely remember doing something like that, but don’t know where I did it. Anybody else remember?

FV and Paedocommunion

I think about a year ago I had asked you about this book by Phillip Kayser, which analyzes the paedocommunion and “mature”/adult communion positions, and ultimately comes down on a young credo-communion view. I believe you had responded to my letter from last year and said you were going to purchase the book. You can also read it online here for free:

Have you had a chance to read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

I’d love to see the Moscow crowd distance themselves from (in my view) the aberrant paedocommunion position which is outside of the Reformed faith, especially given that some in the so-called FV dark crowd like James Jordan have essentially said that paedocommunion is a revolution and own the fact that they are not Reformed/Presbyterian.

You’ve got ministers like myself who have benefited greatly from you yet differ on the paedocommunion matter, and I do think if you had a “PC No Mas” post similar to your FV No Mas post, it would go a long way with some to really persuading them you are mostly a “vanilla Westminsterian” as you have labeled yourself, and aren’t really still FV of some shade.


Thomas, sorry. I do have the book now, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

A Book List for Kids

In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace gets in trouble because he has not read the right kinds of books. Is there a list of books that you would recommend for me to read to my children so that they will know what to do when they find themselves in a Dragon’s Cave? Or could you direct me to someone who could give some good recommendations?



Rhys, putting something like that together is a great idea. Someone should dig in, and do it right. Working title: What Eustace Should Have Read. Off the top of my head, I would say Narnian, all of Middle Earth, Wind in the Willows, King Arthur stories, Robin Hood stories, Ashtown, and Cupboards.

Helpful Taxonomy

I have been a listener of the this blog cast for some time now and have been greatly blessed. I was curious if Pastor Wilson would do a response to Doc Sandlin who was recently on the podcast for cultural reformation by the Ezra Institute (an organization that has also been a great blessing to me). Their latest discussion was on Christian Nationalism, Christian Pietism, and Christian Culture. Since Pastor Wilson has written a great deal on Christendom and he’s a pastor, I thought he would be the best to respond. Rather than jump to social media where things are more often than not turned into a war zone, I thought your blog would be a better medium to discuss this important topic, especially since this is a intramural debate amongst brothers. Thank you for your consideration.

Grace and Peace,


Micah, good news. Christ Over All is going to be publishing an article by Andy Naselli next Monday that does a great job comparing and contrasting all these positions.

The Fall of Minneapolis

Been following you blog, Canon, and CrossPolitic for a while now – appreciate all you brothers in Moscow are doing for Christendom. My wife and I are members at Joe Rigney’s former church, Cities Church in St. Paul.

I had the privilege of shooting & editing a documentary entitled “The Fall of Minneapolis” that was released today. The film illuminates many of the facts that were suppressed after the death of George Floyd and the riots that followed. This whole process has shown me in great detail the utter destruction and despair that secular-paganism wreaks on our society’s safety, justice, and sanity. We truly have no other hope besides Christ himself.

I’ve heard you mention the Floyd case and the riots many times before and I hope this film will equip you with more facts that will help you analyze and engage these topics with more ammunition (or gasoline for the flamethrower I suppose).

Thank you for you consideration and keep fighting the good fight.

Blessings from your baptist brother,


Josh, thank you for your work. I had already scheduled your film to run in this week’s Content Cluster.

An Encouraging Word

I found it interesting that this morning’s Bible reading included the following verses from Ezekiel chapter 3: “7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. 8 Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”


Melody, thank you very much.

Wright and Benedict

Thought this might interest you,


Brendan (of Ireland)

Brendan, thanks much.

Can’t Recall, Frankly

Thinking of the Navy training you to roll your socks, did they teach you to make smiles on your rolled socks? If so, what negative affects did the Navy have on you by *forcing* you to make your socks happy for inspection? lol


David, I don’t remember learning the “happy socks” trick . . .

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