Greetings, Not addressing any particular post, rather a technical question—in my quest to get away from social media I’ve started using an RSS reader to keep up with sites that I follow. I distinctly recall seeing an RSS feed for this site in the past but cannot find it at this time; is the feed still available? Thanks,
Austin, if you open up the “read more” option on any post and scroll to the bottom, there is a subscription form there.
I’ve thought that all your musings on Trump have been spot on, so I was excited to catch your latest Plodcast to hear about your Trump Theory. And, sure enough, you didn’t disappoint: that all of the good things occurring under Trump’s watch are due to God’s grace is a theory that every good Calvinist should embrace! Teasing aside, I too have been amazed at (and to your point should have given God more glory than I have for) the many scripturally-sound public policies that have emanated from an administration headed by a man whose life to this point hasn’t seemed too grounded in Scripture. I didn’t vote for Trump, in part, because I thought there was the possibility that he might turn out worse than Hillary. To date, I’ve been very wrong, and am glad to admit it. There is still the future to consider, though. You made the point that if the next president is a liberal then he will have much more to undo than we could have imagined because of Trump. Or if a conservative then he would be much further down the road toward reining in government. Yet we are only in year one of either four or eight years of a Trump administration so that prediction may only hold true if Trump continues to more or less replicate the achievements of his first year. The signs at the beginning of year two are not all that encouraging: tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels (i.e., fair and reciprocal—rather than free-trade), a $1 trillion budget-busting infrastructure package, paid family leave, etc. God’s grace abounds, so it could be that for His glory He has much more good than bad in store for us during the Trump administration. But I’d love to hear your thoughts about how your theory plays out in light of the not-so-great start to Trump Year Two.
Bill, my theory right now is still in “wait and see” mode.
“The sun is not the moon. The land is not the sea. The evening is not the morning…” And for those who argue for deep time in the biblical record, the evening is not evening and the morning is not morning. You point to evolution as the root, but the unbiblical position of deep time makes the necessary space for evolution. You should move your argument one step further back. Either we believe Genesis or we knock down the first domino in this progression.
BJ, no argument. Deep time represents deep confusion.
This reply regards Huguenot Hustle/State of the Church #5. First off, this is an excellent exhortation as it deals with the heart of Christian community as it involves the work of our hands and our wallets. Martin Luther once said, “There are three conversions necessary to every man: the head, the heart and the purse”—the purse or wallet being the evidence of the conversion of the mind and heart, for faith without works is dead. This not only applies to our own wallets but how we relate to our brother’s wallets (10th commandment), a potentially explosive area where offenses readily occur through misunderstandings, forgetful minds, covetousness, and outright defrauding. Having been involved in numerous business ventures and partnerships over the last thirty years, I speak from experience. This why I do not recommend partnerships between brethren as they are in fact business marriages, where assets and liabilities are pooled together in a legally binding entity. Like in a marriage, partnership squabbles and/or downturns often lead to all kinds of offenses, suspicions, accusations, and sorrows, a rich field for the wicked one to work division among the brethren. Rather, I recommend forming business alliances where two or more parties come to together to produce a product or service, but they retain their assets and liabilities to themselves. These are not as easy to form but work much better, especially when the time comes to end them. Yes, they have their own set of challenges and issues, but they don’t end in bitter divorces between Christian families, often splitting churches, that are more often than not resolved in the courts of men through lawsuits. Lastly, on a larger scope, what kind of economic system should a Christian community employ to build Christian culture? The means, as defined by Scripture, are most important. Are the debt-based, fiat currency economics that dominate the world today in accord with the commandment to use honest and just measures? “The mother’s milk of a pagan culture is pagan economics. Like a child that bears the unique physical features of its biological parents, so all cultures reflect the economic parentage (funding) that brought them about. Our overtly pagan, hedonistic culture is a classic example, as its colossal central government,” built and empowered by fiat currency and usurious debt sanctions, funds, and protects all manner of perversion, idolatry, and murder—all in the name of human freedom, of course. The economic DNA of our lawless culture points directly to the secular (pagan) economics of fallen man that funded and built it.” [Your Hard Working Dollar: The Delusion Of Debt-based Economics] Looking at the current state of American Christendom, I think we all can agree that we are definitely the tail (Deut. 28:43-44) within our ever encroaching pagan culture. This is due in part to being forced, as captives (by the Lord’s hand), to live out our daily lives under the enslaving debt-based economics central to American life today. In building Christian community that will grow and thrive generationally, I believe at some point we must turn from the ways of our secular (pagan) culture we have embraced and turn back to God’s law (Neh. 10: 28-29) as the standard for our economics. I realize this is a very touchy topic, as so many believers are trusting in our economic system to continue unabated (perpetually expand through debt) because their nest-eggs, retirements, and investments are totally dependent on it. Thomas Jefferson warned us of the very situation we Americans find ourselves in today, as slaves (to various extents) of a debt-based economic system, the same one that funded the overthrowing of our once Christian culture in the last one hundred years. “And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.” I think we are far closer to this reality then we want to admit. Normalcy bias can be a big obstacle in smelling the roses. Oh well, there is some food for thought.
Thanks, Thomas. Note to the reader. In transferring his letter over to WordPress, some of the punctuation got garbled and I had to guess at the reconstruction of it. Also, Thomas, are business alliances a standard thing state to state?
Re Huguenot Hustle (which I understand was a big hit in the French discos in the 70s): Surely you meant, “Navy Seals for Adonai (NSA)”?
Kyriosity, yes, yes. That’s exactly what I meant.
Critical Comments About My Critical Comments on Critical Comments
“When we are critical of others, we are in it for one of two reasons. We are either critical because we are loving them, and are seeking their best interest, or we are critical because we are loving ourselves, and are seeking some way to compete effectively with them.” This isn’t true in the strictest sense. Off the top of my head, in any context in which your criticisms are open to a 3rd party, your interest can be in the third party. Few public debates are done with the intent of convincing the other participant. The interest is in the viewers coming to the better decision for the public good. If I were to be debating, say, Sam Harris on television. Communicating in the way most likely to convince Sam Harris of something is almost completely at odds with communicating in the way most likely to convince a third party. After all, solidly half of the basis of people’s following Sam Harris is a blind trust they have in the man’s credibility. A credibility he has achieved for very poor reasons. Pointing out that the credibility has been achieved for very poor reasons and proving that case is likely the best means of helping those who would otherwise fall for his song and dance. That same method would obviously fail at convincing Harris himself. Placing the listener above Harris in my priority listing does not necessitate “loving myself” as my only cause. This is especially true if it’s a “defensive” debate. By defensive debate, I mean a debate who’s premise is that a base idea such as Christianity is not necessarily provably correct, but merely a reasonable conclusion to come to, worthy of the same respect as other popular ideas. If the topic is “Resolved, Douglas Wilson is a nemesis of the common good,” my first concern in defending you will be in defending you to people in general. The last concern I would have is to convince the person slandering you, who is almost certainly inoculated to caring about what I have to say. It does not then follow that I’m only loving myself, after all, caring for and defending you would be my only interest. That said, I’ll more than admit that I fall into your negative category here far more than I should. Please don’t confuse my adding this point for disagreeing with your overall premise. I have the nasty habit of losing patience halfway through such conversations.
Justin, thank you. A scriptural example of the distinction you are making can be found in Acts 18: 27-28: “And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus” (Acts 18:27–28, ESV)
Always More on Theonomy
Sir, Appreciate your observation regarding law/gospel distinction in application vs. in texts. In “Theonomy is a Many-splendored Thing,” you asked, “with law in blue and gospel in red, what color would the Ten Commandments have to be?” Given that the preamble also established that all 10 commandments were in fact a response to God’s prior saving act, rather than the prerequisite for a contingent future salvation, I can’t help but think all 10 commandments would be some shade of purple. For that matter, given that one usus legis is to convict of sin in order to drive sinners to Christ, would not the entire Bible simply be various shades of Purple?
Daniel, or to follow my point out, all red for one kind of person and all blue for the other kind.
The last comment about just passing through shows the dangers of the two Kingdom theology. We are called to have dominion over the earth. Just passing through seems to me like you keep your head down and out of trouble and maybe make it through with minimal effect. Sad. We have a glorious purpose, to glorify God in our lives.
In light of your posts on the Roy Moore situation, I wanted to share the following link. The author shares many of your concerns and is probably one of the only (well-known) journalists in Canada who is willing to address this.
Could you describe a bit more how case law Theonomy would work practically? From the post “Theonomy Is a Many-Splendored Thing.”
Avery, okay, just a bit more. In my ideal biblical republic a judge hands down a decision that women are not to serve in combat roles. Why? He cites Exodus 23:19. The argumentation is that biblical law prohibits taking something intended to nourish life and turn it into an instrument of death. Women are life-givers and should not become death-dealers.
In my SBC circles many are making the case that you are straining at a gnat. It is claimed that Moore essentially agrees with you but is using the term, “theocracy” in a more specific manner to refer to bad theocracies and especially to Robert Jeffries types in his denom. And, that in actuality Moore does believe the government should be in submission to Christ and the Bible. I grant that Moore should use his words more carefully, but is there anything to this. Are the two of you simply ships passing in the night?
Brandon, that is possible. But it seems to me that it would be a very simple point for him to clarify.
RE: “Theonomy Is A Many-Splendored Thing” Pastor Wilson, I never tire of your writing, but sometimes I find alternate/possible titles in posts that you’ve either missed or left on the cutting-room floor—usually of the Wodehousian sort. Imagine the blowback if you had entitled it “Love Looks Like Leviticus.” Now wouldn’t that have been fun? Sounds like a good future book title to me. You can thank me later. Keep writing,
Matt, actually I agree with you. That was a swing and a miss on my part.
RE: Theonomy Is a Many-Splendored Thing Mr. Wilson, I have been a faithful reader of your blog for several years and greatly appreciate much of what you have to say as well as how you say it. It is encouraging to see the integration of your theology with all of life, for that is how it should be. So, let me get to the point. I think you have it backwards. Love does not look like Leviticus, but rather Leviticus looks something like love. The Old Covenant Law was a shadow and type of the love that was to come. The law points us to love and not love to the law. Love fulfills the law, not the other way around. That is why Jesus had to come. Law did not do it, it was not enough and in fact law was counter-productive to righteousness, according to Paul. Which leads to the beautiful Romans 3:21ff, justice and mercy unite in one magnificent act of love to God and love to man (fulfilling law though love). The contract of obedience to Moses is fulfilled in Christ and now we have a new authority (Jesus) in our lives as believers. In the Old Covenant, law was graciously given and was the predominant feature of covenantal life. In the New Covenant, grace is the predominant feature and law is written on the heart. Both grace and law exist in both covenants, but grace certainly is the main feature of the new covenant. I think your efforts in expounding the need for theonomy are misplaced. I am not sure how a fallen society needs more enforced law (sword); which somehow leads to love (though Luther’s use of the law is of course helpful to the gospel). The need is really for more gospel, more grace. The gospel is for individuals (not groups) to respond to and does not seem to be compatible with the sword. Yes, God sovereignly uses earthly powers and the sword to punish sin (Rom 13) but as Isaiah 10 illustrates, that does not mean that God is a fan of the king or the king a fan of God. I believe we may be diluting the power of the gospel by also advocating for the power of the sword (1 Cor 2:2). I also believe we can call sin what it is, from the Bible with “barrel chested” authority and also avoid advocating the sword as a solution. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this perspective.
Darryl, two things. Of course I agree that love is ultimate in the sense that the triune God is love in a way that the triune God is not Leviticus. But this goes back to my point about the regenerate and unregenerate man. For the unregenerate man, the law is a slave driver. For the regenerate man, who sees God through it, the law is sweeter than honey. And I quite agree with you that the need of the hour is more grace, more gospel, more Christ. And that is why we need to preach the law more.
“Kyle, if we allow biblical rhetoric only if we are speaking to an issue where a requisite number of worldviews overlap and concur, then we have created a question about how this parliament of religions is to function. And which religions are excluded, and why? Again, by what standard?” Thanks for responding, Doug. Those are all good questions. Unsurprisingly, I have some ideas (and, perhaps surprisingly, I don’t think you would hate all of them). But one thing to notice about them is they push the debate away from boring and formal matters about whether anti-theonomy is incoherent, and towards more interesting and substantive matters about whether a certain form of it is feasible or desirable—like I think your most recent post does.
Kyle, thanks. And yes, we do want to get to what we are advocating and not just what we are opposing.
Re: Theonomy, a many-splendored thing Thanks for the helpful overview of some positions. A “friend of mine” has the following position, possibly identical to creation/redemption theonomy—I was wondering if you could elaborate/clarify what you think about it. It is that the Mosaic law is in no way binding on Christians—it has completely passed away as far as having authority over a Christian. Nevertheless, because it is a complete and perfect application of “Love God and love neighbour,” applied to Israel, we learn not only the redemptive themes that are fulfilled in Christ, but how to structure a Christian society. As I say, I think this is similar to one of your points above, except that the law is a source for our Christian law, rather than still functioning in a modified form (which I think is more like Poythress’s view in The Shadow Christ and the Law of Moses). Thanks!
Paul, right, but at the end of the day we either have to say that we ought to follow this example, or that we have the option not to. If we ought to, then it is still law. If we can take it or leave it, what good is it?
I see that you’ve chosen to use the modern egalitarian definition of adultery, unknown in Scripture on in any premodern legal tradition. I can see some potential problems with altering scriptural categories to conform to current sensibilities. How long before Christian leaders adopt in similar fashion the recently expanded definition of marriage?
Barnabas, I assume you are arguing that the only way a man can commit adultery is by having relations with another man’s wife? But whatever you think of the Westminster Larger Catechism, I don’t think it is possible to dismiss it as “modern” or “egalitarian.”
139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks; impudent or light behavior; immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life; undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancing, stage plays; all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.
Already Baked In
In reference to “Already Baked In”, indeed anyone surprised by this accusation/revelation needs to return to the ostrich farm. On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that we might have it all wrong. The Babylon Bee via guest journalist Jim Bakker offers a more charitable possibility about pre-President Trump’s motives for meeting with Ms Daniels. This is entirely consistent with pre-President Trump’s involvement with the WWE to promote exercise and Christian competition and the goal of his casino to channel money into food programs for the needy.
Al, thanks for sharing.
Throne and Altar
Money quote: “He wants evidence? Shocking! There’s a moral panic to go along with here. ”
When I read this, it reminded me of your stuff so much I had to send a link. It goes to show how low public discourse had fallen, when just the reminder not to blur categories stands out. (Disclaimer: I have no idea about the story this guy is reacting to here-I was just struck by his deliberate take).
Y’all keep it up.