A Tool Chest Full of Excuses

"Failure to look these facts straight in the eye will tend, inexorably, to transform the claims of theocracy into ecclesiocracy, and from that into a separated ecclesiocracy. And when our separated ecclesial community gets out to the woods of Montana, we will not practice homosexual marriage among ourselves out there. But we will have absolutely nothing to say to the infidels in San Francisco, and if anybody suggests that we send them a prophet to declare their wicked ways to them, we will find our theological tool chest to be empty of tools and full of excuses. You see, we don't believe in natural law and nature/grace dualisms" (Rules for Reformers, p. 146). … [Read more...]

Push Function Quit

Video Games

Video games might well make your son ignorant and corrupt, but they won't make him stupid -- although I trust this might require further explanation. I have recently received some requests from parents about how to govern or regulate their sons' taste for video games, and so here goes. But before rushing to the question of how to govern or regulate, we should begin with the question of how to think about them. Concerns about the influence of video games usually reduces to two categories -- morals and education. If someone asks if all this gaming is "good for" my little Johnny, these are usually the two categories they would have in mind. The question about morals can't really be answered unless we are talking about specific games. It is like asking whether your son will be negatively affected by "books" or by "movies." What books? What movies? Grand Theft Auto is a cesspool of corruption, and the video game of Pilgrim's Progress isn't. Note that I am not here talking about … [Read more...]

A Mound of Pink Cotton Balls

Double Standards

More needs to said about the idea of cultural justification. Apart from an understanding of this, there is no hope of grasping the deep divisions that the debates over same sex mirages are revealing. Note that I did not say that these debates are creating these division, but rather that they are revealing them. Same sex mirage is the earthquake; different approaches to cultural justification are the tectonic plates. Justification is of course a theological category. For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. When God looks at believers, what He sees is the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our federal representative and head, which means that He is the appointed face of the new human race, the appointed face of the new humanity. And when God wants to communicate with that new human race, He addresses us to our face. All that righteousness, that goodness, that obedience, is credited to us, imputed to us, declared to be ours, and bestowed on us by a … [Read more...]

In Which C.S. Lewis Holds Up a Mirror in Front of the Internet

Screwtape

"The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there's a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they're all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere 'understanding.' Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants we make Liberalism the … [Read more...]

Inescapability of Natural Law

"Worship and honor were required by the knowledge that natural revelation brought. This they refused to do, in defiance of this light from natural revelation, and this light from natural revelation can certainly be called a natural law. It has all the ingredients -- a lawgiver, a standard, a subject, and moral responsibility. Nothing is missing" (Rules for Reformers, p. 144). … [Read more...]

Keep It Up, Boys

Abortion Graphic

The graphic is from a pro-abort article at Mashable, which you can read here. This is a real sign of genuine progress. We are not where we need to be yet, but we are well on the way there. And this should be an encouragement to those Christians who have clearly understood the nature of the evils we are up against. This really is a war between fruitfulness and fruitlessness, between harvest and pillage. Because self-restraint is not their strong suit, they jammed Roe v. Wade down the throats of the overwhelming number of states in the hope that everyone would eventually come around to see it their progressive way. But it is now a full generation later, and the majority of our states still don't want it. The left is poised to make the very same mistake via the Supreme Court's decision of same sex mirage next month, and so, if they do, we should respond in precisely the same way. The only difference should be that now we require no time to mobilize, and the push-back should be … [Read more...]

My Role As Evil Genius

Okay. I guess I need to say something. For those readers from out of town we have a small local dust-up going, having to do with some irrelevant bigotries from the ebbing world of print journalism. What happened was this. Our town has a locally-owned food co-op, and a number of our church members get their groceries there, and are consequently members of the co-op. The co-op recently had their regular board election, and a couple of members of Christ Church were elected. One person who attends Christ Church was already on the board. This means that three of the seven board members are now from our church, which ought to be as alarming as running into a couple of church folks at Les Schwab Tire Center. An alarm was sounded, but unnecessarily, because nothing is going on. There is no conspiracy to do anything going down, and all the board members themselves appear to be rubbing along well enough to work it out. We disagree about a lot of things, but if we can't agree to rally … [Read more...]

Millennials, Screwtape, and the Homo-Tsunami

Before making the illuminating comments I would like to present this morning, I need to prevail upon you to do a little refresher as necessary. As the sexual controversies of our day continue to unfold, the need of the hour is for believers to understand what is actually going on, and how we got to this place. In pursuit of this noble objective, I am going to be talking a little bit about millennials -- bless their little round faces -- and so I would refer you to this previous post I once wrote about hiring millennials. I do so because at that time, I surrounded my assertions with a host of refined qualifications, but after the fact got the kind of blow-back that ignored all the qualifications, and made me think bulls-eye to myself. Because this post addresses another weak spot in the millennial psyche, I make these prefatory comments in the hope that nobody makes me say bulls-eye to myself again. Self-congratulation is spiritually dangerous, and I would therefore ask you all to … [Read more...]

Now Hiring . . .

"So we should be in the market for young Christian men and women who are willing to be trained in genuine cultural engagement. They won't be embarrassed by old-fashioned virtues, like hard work and discipline. They will respect authority and defy the authorities. They won't get fired from jobs because of laziness, and they will get fired from them because of something they said about homosexuality. They won't resent money and success, and they won't be dazzled by money and success. They will laugh at the hipsters, and they will laugh at themselves laughing at the hipsters. They will loathe the enticements of corrupt entertainment, and they will love a true story. They would rather die than become one of the cool kids. They will be cool" (Rules, p. 138). … [Read more...]

They Think They’re Jesus

Last night I had the privilege of sharing the platform at an event in Coeur D'Alene with Aaron and Melissa Klein. They were the owners of the bakery in Oregon that was shut down by the sexual totalitarians. They were then fined a chunk of cash by some despotic bureaucratic flunky, and when a GoFundMe campaign promised to raise the necessary funds in a matter of hours, the Liberal Forces of Enforced Tolerance did enough screaming to get that shut down. GoFundMe changed the terms of service, and said that Aaron was not a worthy recipient because he was guilty of a heinous crime. That heinous crime was that he told someone that he was very sorry, but that he could not bake a cake for their event. If you want to help them now -- and you should -- go to continuetogive.com, and search for Aaron and Melissa Klein. Give now, while there is time, before Christians helping Christians becomes a heinous crime. In my remarks, I basically made four points. First, these controversies are not … [Read more...]

No Handles on the Right

"Those who had taunted these religious conservatives for being disengaged were dismayed by what their engagement looked like, and so they began to taunt them for that. We were only to be allowed back into the public square if we immediately veered over to the left" (Rules, p. 137). … [Read more...]

Two Cheers for Nominal Christianity!

In this post, Russell Moore makes a sharp distinction between Christianity and almost-Christianity. He did so in a way that made me think of the distinction between a great point and almost-a-great-point. Moore is talking about the results of a Pew Center study which shows that nominal Christianity is taking it on the chin. Christians who actually believe what they say they believe are holding their own, and Moore rejoices in the vibrancy of faithful churches, and rejoices also in the collapse of the ecclesiastical also-rans. What he says is all quite true, and pretty helpful, and . . . almost a great point. But there is a vast territory to be explored in this sentence of his in the penultimate paragraph. "We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down." Right -- but what happens in an upside down world? What then? There is absolutely no way to create a vibrant center without also creating a wanna-be periphery. If there is … [Read more...]

My Militance

Reaching out to new dialog partners . . .

One of the stockbook arguments that liberals use is that conservative militance is "offputting." By "liberals" I am referring both to those who are openly so, as well as those who have that crisply moderate evangelical shell surrounding a gooey center. A sure way to identify a liberal disposition is to listen for warnings about hypothetical offenses. But if this were as real a concern as it pretends to be, surely someone would have taken note of the fact that liberal denominations are hemorrhaging all over the floor, while those offputting religious groups are keeping their blood inside the skin, and are continuing to grow. What if the key to growth in the next generation is standing strong against same sex mirage? Trying to anticipate all the people who might be offended sets up a demand for such people to start showing up, which they then do. If you build it, they will come. If you establish an infrastructure for catering to the Hurt Feelings of a particular class of duly … [Read more...]