Benedict and Beza Options

Don't Know

Many thanks to Rod Dreher for taking the time to interact with some of my arguments on the Kim Davis case. Our theological differences notwithstanding, I have appreciated having his voice as part of our public debates, especially now that the welter of voices is trying to drown out the few remaining sane ones like Dreher's. I appreciated his questions, in other words. Rod poses a number of questions/scenarios concerning the Kim Davis knock-offs. These what-ifs basically seek to apply the golden rule to what Davis is doing. What if it were our ox that some secular county clerk in question was goring? How would we like that? Well, of course, we wouldn't like it at all. But that, though a nice statement of the problem, does not answer the problem. We need a solution to the impasse created by political polytheism, which is what under-girds our incoherent system of pluralism and diversity. Schizophrenia doesn't work for cultures any more than it does for individuals. So all these … [Read more...]

The Critique of the Bluestockings

She subjects her legs to quantitative analysis and decides, upon reflection, that there are two.

Introduction: I have been subjected, I fear, to quantitative analysis. I have been JEDP'ed, to use an oblique analogy, and am sorely tempted to retreat into my cave to join the other Deuteronomist editors. A couple of bluestockings over at Jesus Creed have weighed and counted my words, particularly words offered in the course of various wedding exhortations. They also quote my words, a good many of them in fact, but alas, they do not appear to have read them. You may check out the sad tale of woe here. Two Kinds of Disagreement: There are two kinds of disagreements. The first is when someone attacks you for saying x, and you, after you recover from your surprise at the assault, rally to the line, and defend the truth of x, or possibly, in these troubled times, defend having said x even although it was true. This is what you might call an old school disagreement. Then the other kind of disagreement is when you said x,y,z, and your interlocutor multiplies what you said by … [Read more...]

In Which I Paint With Some Bright Yellows

File this under sentiments which seem extreme at the time, but heroic when the danger is over, and you are reading them inscribed on the base of a polished marble memorial.

A consensus appears to be developing among otherwise reasonable people that Kim Davis, of Rowan County fame, either needs to start issuing marriage licenses or quit her job. For those just joining us, a county clerk in Kentucky is refusing to issue marriage licenses against her conscience and is also refusing to resign. Her name, which should be on a bronze plaque on the side of the courthouse, is Kim Davis. A federal judge has ordered her to appear in his courtroom Thursday to explain why Davis should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses. But there is a difference between contempt of court and seeing that the courts have become contemptible. Now while florists and bakers and photographers enjoy a great deal of active support from the broader Christian world, the most people like Davis will get is a sympathetic lack of sympathy. It falls out this way because Christians generally understand the private sector -- that's where they live, … [Read more...]

Remember That Much of What They Are Doing Is Already Illegal


There is obviously much more to say on this latest video from CMP, but it will have to wait a day or so. Another issue is pressing, which I hope to address in the morning. In the meantime, remember that the center of this atrocity does need to be against the law. But much of what they are doing, already against the law, ignores the law with impunity. … [Read more...]

Book of the Month/September 2015

Biggest Story

The Biggest Story is a Bible survey, a biblical/theological/historical/redemptive review of the great theme of Scripture, and all done for little kids. Written for kids, it treats the great realities represented by those words, but without using any of those words. It is the biggest story, but without the biggest words. The subtitle is "How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden." This book is really wonderfully done. It begins with the story of creation, works through the Flood, the promise to Abraham, the Exodus, the reign of David, the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the gift of the Spirit, and then our return to the Garden. The illustrations by Don Clark are quite festive, and invite examination. It is quite likely that your children will read and reread this book, and it is also quite likely that they will study the pictures. If you want a sneak peak at some of the pictures, you can take a look here. The book is pitched to an age group that … [Read more...]

Review: The New Testament

The New Testament by Richmond Lattimore My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have read through this translation once or twice before. It is by Richmond Lattimore, the noted classicist, and is quite good. This time through I read it aloud with Nancy in our morning ingestion of both kinds of caffeine. View all my reviews … [Read more...]


And so let us react to the coercion more than the cussing . . .

There are two kinds of tolerant societies. The first is one which contains the principles of liberty within its framework of foundational values, and the second is a society in transition, flipping from one set of intolerances to another set. During the switch, during the transition, demands for tolerance are the battering ram used against the establishment intolerance, in order to make way for the new set of intolerances. As it suits them, advocates of the rising intolerance may pretend to be principled in their tolerance, but it is all just a sham. Speaking frankly, just between us girls, the first kind of tolerant society is a Christian society. Liberty of conscience is something that we Christians invented. "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship" (WCF 20.2). This is a topic well worth pursuing, and I would recommend this … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text/Haggai

Introduction: Haggai’s name means “festal,” and this gives us a key note for the book. Like other prophets, he rebukes the sins of the people. But unlike most other prophets, the people listen to him, and he promises great glory to come. What we know about Haggai is found in this book, and in Ezra 5:1-2. Along with Zechariah, Haggai is a post-exilic prophet, and his entire recorded ministry lasted only a few weeks in the year 520 B.C. Exiles had returned to Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus in 539 B.C. They built the altar and the foundations of the Temple, but then got distracted, and began work on their own homes and estates. It is now some 19 years later, and the word of the Lord comes to Haggai. The Text: “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, And I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: And I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of … [Read more...]

Common Sins in Marriage/The Covenant Home 2

Introduction: As we consider some common sins committed in marriage by both men and women, remember the context of federal headship. The responsibility for all these sins lies with the husband. A woman can and should recognize her individual sins before the Lord; her husband's overarching responsibility should in no way lessen her sense of personal and individual responsibility. Properly understood, it should have precisely the opposite effect. The Text: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (Jas. 1:23). On Seeing the Back of Your Own Head: The Word of God is given to us in order to enable us to see ourselves. Apart from this, we cannot really see ourselves. When we examine our own hearts, there are many parts of it which we cannot see. In order to see ourselves properly, we always have to hold up the mirror of the … [Read more...]

Odd Gifts

Love makes a Christian community grow, but gifts give that growth focus and direction. When the Lord ascended into Heaven, He gave gifts to men, and He did this for the edification of the church. “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 8, 11–13). The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit must always be distinguished. At the same time, they must not ever be separated. God intends for them to function together. Now of course, if you had to choose between a church of godly people and a church full of gifted people, you should choose the … [Read more...]

Obligated to Receive

As we learn from Tertullian, our word sacrament comes from sacramentum, a term that was used to describe the oath of enlistment that a soldier would take. This is a covenant meal, and covenants are God-given bonds and obligations. These bonds are not burdensome—His yoke is easy and His burden is light—but His bonds are in fact bonds. We are engaged to His service. When we come to this meal, we are engaging to be faithful. We have already confessed those sins and occasions where we were not faithful, and we come here in order grow in our commitments to Him. We gather here in order to cinch the knots tighter. We do this self-consciously, knowing what we do. The battles we are fighting are difficult, and we need sustenance. What happens here is that we renew our commitment to be faithful and at the same time, for those who come to it honestly, we are given grace to be faithful. We obligate ourselves to be strong, and we are given strength. The Lord is present in the person of His … [Read more...]

Pretty Sure It Is Not You

Flannery O'Conner wrote that everything that rises must converge, but this must also be said of everything that is circling the drain. The shared worldview of our chattering classes appears to me to be nothing more than a vast epistemic sinkhole. This is the kind of thing that could make Turretin exclaim, were he present with us, something like zut alors! which when translated means something like holy smokes. You know, a little inside term of art from one of the great scholars of the Reformation. In order to be cast as a radical and/or a crazy these days all you need do is say something like "a man should be judged by the content of his character, and not by the color of his skin." Total wingnuttery. If you insist on equal weights and measures, no thumb on the scale, whether that thumb be black like Al Sharpton's or white like David Duke's, or Daisy Duke's for that matter, if you maintain something along the lines of "all thumbs matter," as in, keep any kind of thumb off the scale, … [Read more...]