I’m not so sure overturning Roe would have that effect. To be sure the pro-abortionists will curse and howl, and march and boycott, but it would not have to make interactions between states more difficult. From a practical standpoint overturning Obergefell I think would be the decision that would render national union a rather more awkward arrangement.
John, as a practical matter yes, because married couples move to other states rather frequently. But abortion is the sacrament of the Left. I don’t think they can let it ride.
Have you considered that some pro-life groups may not want Roe overturned because that could dry up the fundraising?
Dave, yes, that is a possibility with some. But it is also possible for some of our more ardent brethren to fundraise off of the “compromised” pro-life movement. Whenever there is fundraising at all, somebody is going to be doing it wrong.
About Roe, even it were overturned the impact would be that abortion would be thrown back to the states. And as we’ve seen in Ireland, the angels of light would organize so they could dance on the bodies of dead children. About Trump, I hope he has the courage to stay in this fight. The most disappointing Reagan did was not stand tall for Bork. What a different country this would be had he stood in the gap for that good man. As an aside, I don’t think VP Pence would have the backbone. He, the good Christian man, folded like a cheap card table when the alphabet soup lobby assaulted him concerning the RFRA law in Indiana. This illustrates what you’ve said before. A good man behind which we rally is elected and does poor things. Now we have a man of bad character who is doing what he said. It is enough to make one puzzle till his puzzler is sore.
Jeff, right. We live in a time of maximum puzzlers.
In response to “The UnRoeveling of America”—I feel challenged in a pretty fresh and unique way by this post, specifically the thought that the end-result of the end of Roe may be the end of the union. But my main comment is in response to your comment, “It needs much more development . . .” All I have to say is “Yes, please!” I lied . . . I also will say that I would be very thankful for any and all development you give to this in the coming days and months. Thanks for all you write!
Luke, I will do so if the Lord is willing and crik don’t rise.
On “The UnRoeveling of America” I think that given the premise that a case overturning Roe (and Casey) would return the question of abortion to the states, that your analysis is exactly right, and applies mutatis mutandis to the issue of (as William Briggs calls it) gmarriage. However, there’s a well-argued originalist case that the Fourteenth Amendment actually extends the protection of law to the unborn, summarized at First Things and elaborated in the linked legal essay. (One can acquire a PDF from that link without any paywall). I think your “house divided” analysis extends to many issues, not just abortion, but wonder if, aside from its correctness, this approach to abortion as a federal question merits consideration because it might keep the place together a bit longer?
Edward, thanks. And yes, it might.
Thank you for jack-hammering away at the Revoice Conference. Just wanted to add my vote in favor of heteronormativity within the church. To get a little testimonial, when I hit puberty, I had exclusively homosexual temptations for quite a long time. That was on top of wishing I was girl for a time when I was younger, and also low level frustration with the idea that I was supposed to be masculine well into my late teen years. In that context, it was an enormous blessing to be in a church with solid teaching where “heteronormativity” was assumed. When you find yourself drawn to something perverse, a direct, unfiltered “thou shalt not” charged with all the appropriate shamefulness is wonderfully bracing, like getting a whiskey shot of reality. I’m not saying it suddenly makes everything easy, but it does let you know where you stand in relation to God, man, and the world. By contrast, I can’t imagine receiving the confused, double-down-in-your-worst-impulses advice given by the Revoice people at that time in my life. Currently, I’m happily married with a child What would have happened if I had been told that, not only could I not change and should dedicate myself to celibacy, but that I should be trying to figure out, “What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time?” What a betrayal of sheep by their shepherds. Keep hammering away. People who were/are/will be in my shoes need people like you and the Bayly brothers to fight wolves like these.
NW, thanks. And yes, having heteronormativity assumed in the church does not make things easy. But it does keep things right side up.
I have recently heard of the Revoice conference on Sheologians. Having spent some time thinking over what I heard and trying to understand it, I have come to understand it as this . . . people with unnatural desires are getting together to share these desires with people like them, and encourage one another in the Lord and find true friendship. This would be the equivalent of me (being a heterosexual female) going to a conference where I can make attraction known to men, and spill my deepest secrets to men who will then begin to form a deep friendship with me. Seeing as I have a husband, who is my deepest friend, I do not share this kind of relationship with other men. I do not have lunch with men, or share my deepest hurts or feeling with them. This is all to protect my heart and marriage. If these believers are seeking deep friendship, they should probably not do it with people who share the same sexual confusion with them. If I struggle against a temptation or sin in my heart, I don’t try to surround myself with people who are entrenched in the same temptation or sin, and expect them to encourage me in the Lord. Also, they don’t make the greatest friends . . . I think the leaders of this conference have a good heart, but that it is a foolish adventure that will lead to sin.
Zion, yes. But it will lead to the kind of sin that will not be seen as such when they land in it.
I think that “a homosexual male should find a woman and marry her” is the worst advice I have heard in a long time. What about this poor woman. Is she not important? Her life, love, hopes and dreams not important. Her life, her hopes, her children. Not important? A friend of mine unknowingly married a homosexual. When he later left her for a gay friend her life and the lives of her children were ruined. Why is it ok to destroy a woman and children to cover the unholy lust of a man?
Leslie, I think you may have collapsed the advice into a much shorter time frame than I had in mind. No one in that condition to “just marry” with the expectation that marriage will “fix everything.” Everyone involved should go into it with their eyes opened, and with as much pastoral counsel and preparation as possible. But it can be done, as referenced by one of the letters above.
In response to entire series of posts on Revoice . . . Last I knew Reformed churches accepted the exegesis of theologians such as Schreiner and Wolters on 1 Tim 2:9-15. So here I am wondering why no one has objected to all the women teaching and having authority at Revoice? One of the keynote speakers at Revoice is described as a Roman Catholic lesbian. Strange that such a person is stepping into a PCA pulpit without any controversy or debate. Has anyone noticed?
Nick, very good point. And when you couple it with the understanding that for many Christians conferences “outrank” local church worship, this introduction of women teaching Scripture to men is going to accelerate compromise in that department as well.
Thanks for the thought-provoking articles over the years. Question re: Revoice— At what point might it be useful to call the faithful to fasting and praying? Praying that the faithless shepherds either repent or are replaced? Perhaps rather than ongoing discussion, which isn’t bad in and of itself but which isn’t, as far as I can see, leading to any change, we could engage with God in a posture of humiliation and repentance, asking Him to remove wickedness, compromise, and defilement from the church before He hands us over to whatever the current version of the Assyrians may be. To that end, I would like to hear your thoughts on a clear call to this kind of action. The conference is still a month away. Perhaps there is time to fast and pray for it to come crashing down like Dagon’s temple . . .
Mike, yes. The situation is certainly grave enough.
Re: The Mortification of Courtly Love: In addition to being a back-from-the-dead courtly love, it strikes me that these celibate gay relationships are a mutant version of the way-too-long Romantic Relationships that are far from unusual in the contemporary church. In practice, most young Christians seem content to appropriate the entire premarital Romantic Relationship construct from the pagans, only cutting out the sex and cohabitation parts, much like you’d cut the brown bits out of a banana. (“Look! It’s perfectly fine now.”) But in almost all other respects, the relationship tends to become a celibate almost-marriage after a few months: the couple holds themselves out as “officially together” and “committed,” they expect to have an exclusive claim on the other’s affections, and so on. (The breakups even amount to almost-divorces.) As long as everyone keeps their shorts on until the wedding night, nobody seems to have a problem. I suspect we Evangelicals are having a hard time answering “how far is too far” for same-sex attracted people, in part because most of us never came to a firm conviction about the issue when we were asked the same thing by the straight kids in the youth group. Jimmy and Harry are now asking to do indefinitely what Billy and Suzie were doing without much criticism for the three or four years before they got married. I say all of the above to add a little bit of support to your premise: the unmortified lizards of yesteryear have come back to us as dragons. Big, glittery dragons.
Sean, thank you. Outstanding point.
I’ve been following the “Revoice” controversy and similar debates over the years. One big thing I wonder in this context: Why don’t the rest of us who are “oriented” toward other sins get a special label and special conferences to celebrate our unique contributions in the church? Do the Revoice defenders not realize how much they are failing to be truly “inclusive. . .”? “I’m a Racist Christian. Now, realize, I don’t overtly practice racism, I choose to mortify that desire, but since that is my inclination, my orientation, I choose to identify myself as a ‘racist Christian.’ There’s nothing wrong with the inclination or orientation toward racism, but I realize I must not act on it.” “I’m a Christian miser. I have to choose to be generous with my finances, but my orientation is to be greedy and find security in money; as this is my true orientation, I choose to identify as a ‘Christian miser.’ There’s nothing wrong with the inclination toward greed in and of itself, so long as I don’t act on it.” “I’m an adulterous Christian. Now, please note, I choose to be faithful to my wife and not actually practice adultery, but this is my inclination and orientation, so I choose to identify myself as an ‘adulterous Christian.’ The orientation itself is neutral and should be celebrated, and gives me reat insight into relationships with other women, so long as I don’t actually act in a sexual way on those desires.” “I’m a wife-beating Christian, I have deep and unchangeable orientation toward losing my temper and striking my wife. Now, I try to mortify that desire and seek my best not to act on it, but this is my genuine, unchangeable orientation, and the inclination itself should be celebrated . . .” We don’t do this with the inclination or “orientation” toward any other sin. We don’t have conferences for “supporting, encouraging, and empowering racist, miserly, adulterous, wife-beating, and other RMAW-B Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrines of racial harmony, marital faithfulness, gentleness, and generosity.” The bottom line I can’t help but notice: We don’t give special treatment and special categories to those who are “oriented” toward any other sin . . . not even to those “oriented” to any other sexual sin (adultery, polyamory, pornography, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc.). Giving those inclined to these particular homosexual sins special treatment and a special category is clearly something that was learned from the world and its ideas, language, and categories, and which fulfills the world’s agenda on these things— this was not learned from Scripture.
Daniel, well played.
Trump Continues to Trump Along
On my way to the polls in a swing state (NC), I texted my sister-in-law, “For the babies!” At the time I was on the fence, right up until I found myself filling in the square by Trump’s name. I’m thankful for private voting. I think there were many people like me in swing states who didn’t want to be categorized in the “basket of deplorables” but who really didn’t want Hillary to win. To quote Bonhoeffer, “So now am I to keep my pious hands clean, allow others to do the dirty work?” Looking back, I’m glad I voted for Trump and helped him get North Carolina. It was a gamble, but look at where we are now. Hillary would have been disastrous for American babies. Shouldn’t Christians who didn’t vote for Trump be thankful for people like me?
Rachel, let me be the first to thank you.
“ . . . whatever inchoate conservative philosophy he might have . . .” surely does hew closer to the facts than “Trump’s . . . outlook, philosophy . . .” Let’s say he is only playing to a base. As long as he is playing some good notes, and he is some, we can all happily sing along when he does. Yes, that’s coming from me. Sometimes we do need to never mind the condition of the instrument. However, speaking of “never,” no matter what, some of us can never forget that Trump would not have gotten close to the White House at all had he not started out by playing to a baser base and stirring the basest instincts of an otherwise nobler base, at the potential expense of innocent people against whom those base instincts were stirred. That, and some other things, will continue to temper whatever enthusiasm we might have reason to feel.
John, exactly so.
Pay attention also to Trump’s DOJ doing massive take downs of gangsters, drug lords, and human trafficking rings. I don’t think the Lamestream Media has been saying much about it.
Joe, I haven’t seen much of anything.
“I did not vote for Trump because of character issues, and because I did not believe him.” As flawed and strange a character as Trump can be, I ended up voting for and actually admiring the man because I came to believe his character was not so horrible after all. The hysteria and unreasonableness of the NeverTrump right ended up driving me in this direction because I saw that they interpreted everything he did in the worst possible light. And I started to believe he was saying exactly what he believed. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, has pointed out that Trump has been saying many of the same things he said as a candidate and president for decades. There’s an integrity and decency to the man that is hard for many people to see because, well, he’s Trump! And I thank God for him.
Mike, yes, but I would reference John’s note just two above.
RE: “What Professionals Call a Supreme Court Nomination Rannygazoo”—Your analyses of Trump are the best in public discourse. I am thankful that God uses you to engage in politics. The majority of pastors who engage in politics handle it like they handle Scripture: they trumpet agendas at the expense of truth. The majority of pastors that handle Scripture well are unwilling to handle politics in any meaningful way, and that’s okay, but I am grateful that we have a few like you. Trump = Jehu . . . YES. I am just expressing my thankfulness and encouragement for you.
Chevas, thanks very much.
RE: Rannygazoo: The Wilson-ism “Desperate times call for faithful men, and not for careful men,” which is in the introduction to every episode of Apologia Radio, comes to mind. But Trump is not a faithful man, not faithful to God at least. The point is well taken, however, that careful men are not useful in desperate times. Indeed, Trump is not a careful man. As you say, he is a wrecking ball. Yes, God is granting us a wrecking ball. Only our desperate time makes this appealing. Let us not forget that Kennedy was a Reagan appointee, yet invented Obergefell and a number of other outrageous atrocities that are with us. He also made a very simplistic case while ruling against state sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas that previous rulings can be tossed out on the simplest of arguments: “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today.” There you go. Could it not be said of Roe or some other ruling we may enjoy, say Heller or McDonald, so easily, yea even by a man who was appointed by someone bearing the scarlet R? It is said that Roberts, the one appointed by an R who justified Obamacare, is now the “swing vote” in the SCOTUS. So, R’s had the swing vote last month, last year, and will have the swing vote again. Rejoice? While we sit back and enjoy this tit-for-tat tribalism and lack of careful leadership, realize that a P-I-M-P is being lauded by “Christian voters” in other areas of the nation, link here. A few days after that article, to everyone’s surprise, he’s being accused of improper relations, another link here. The wrecking ball is certainly having his day. What will society have after his day is done? Civility seems to be in great decline. The rule of law is certainly a victim of these desperate times. The evangelical fields may be more fertile and more hostile than ever in our national history. Liberty may be a great casualty. Even if we get to the endzone in Roe, let’s not have our dance be a celebration of the indiscriminate, careless wrecking ball (which is only faithful to itself), no matter how desperate we are.
Ron, just when you think it can’t get any weirder . . .
Re: “Rannygazoo” Pastor Doug, Do you have plans to write a “Practical Theology for American Politics?” We need one. This will seem like a change of subjects, but I think the reactions to Trump, and what I’m about to share are the same. Chris Pratt’s recent MTV awards speech was shocking. Given the climate and history of MTV, it is a mild statement to claim that the serrated edge Pratt used that night was far sharper than anything most Christian preachers will ever yield on Sunday morning (sadly). To be clear, this is a sharpness from relative contrast, not absolute truth. But that was not my first reaction. As a reformed, conservative Christian, Pratt’s speech called forth the armchair, nit-picking theology critic in me; “He showed too high a view of man—where was the Gospel?” However, given the context, I find it harder not to thank God for those words to lost snowflakes than to critique Pratt’s lacking theology. Pratt is not a perfect prophet—but neither was Jonah. At the very least, he seems to be trying harder than Jonah ever did. Back to politics—Is this not the situation with Trump? He doesn’t fit our Christian categories, but good is being done nonetheless. God has given us Cyrus instead of David, but this Cyrus is doing much good. Yet, instead of seeing the good God has sovereignly wrought through Cyrus, we find excuses to resist those very unwarranted blessings (Cf. Thabiti). We sheep need some help navigating the political maze of our democracy. Had we a monarchy, the Cyrus story would be easy to apply; wait for a decree. But its 2018—what are we to do now that God has given us the power to choose between a Cyrus and a Jezebel? What now, given that He ordains the Cyrus of our day through our votes? Do we vote for the “lesser of two evils” and liberate the exiles (Cyrus)? Do we vote for Jezebel because her policies are progressive (Clinton)? Do we do nothing (to include voting for a third party—a course of action that God has sovereignly relegated as a non-course of action in our two-party system) because doing something would tarnish our witness? How much is the fictional PERFECT an enemy of the realistic GOOD in this situation? If I consistently apply the evangelical voting rationale leading up to the 2016 election (i.e., NEVER voting for the lesser of two evils), I don’t see myself voting again until the King of kings returns, the only perfect ruler. But that seems to militate against the whole “salt and light” thing. These are not easy questions, but just the kind I think you have been uniquely gifted to answer. 2020 is just around the corner. Thank you for your ministry and courage,
Garrett, yes. We very much need to talk this through.
An explanation for American exceptionalism—you may already being feeling uneasy, but let me speak for a couple of minutes on said topic. It may sound jingoistic, but America has always been unique, or exceptional. That’s because from it’s very beginning, America has four things that no other country has had: 1. a Protestant religious foundation 2. the Common Law 3. property rights w/ written deeds 4. a free market economy. England has had the three out those four pillars but not real Protestantism. Anglicanism is basically Roman Catholicism without the pope. Germanic peoples had practiced common law up until Napoleon. Many Asian countries today practice property rights and free markets, but do not have much Christianity and Common Law. America has had all four of these pillars from her very inception. Comment or critique, if you like.
David, I have no problem acknowledging that America has been uniquely blessed. Up to this point in history, we have been given much. But the language of exceptionalism is, for me, far too eschatological. Seventeen nations coming after us might be blessed even more.
Soft Evangelical Left
Do you now consider Thabiti as part of the soft Evangelical left? Do you consider his advocacy of racial Marxism to be worse than advocacy for Trump? Thanks.
BJ, yes, I am afraid so.
Whether one agrees with Andy Stanley or not, most of the criticism I read of his “unhitch” comment is way off. At the extreme he is accused of Marcionism, by people who either don’t understand what that is, or are being irresponsible, if not outright dishonest. Neither is he “unhitching Christianity from Christianity.” Saying we need to unhitch the Old Testament from our faith was a poor way of putting what he meant, but read his explanation before you pass judgment. Of course the more Reformed you are the more likely you will pass negative judgment, but at least let your critique be of what he meant, and not something he was not saying. I’m not particularly a follower of Stanley, as in, not at all, it’s just, this one caught my attention.
John, thanks for writing.
Those Left Out Pedophiles
As to the video under the title “Nah, No Slippery Slope Here” in Thursday’s Content Cluster Muster, I suddenly feel like a prophet. Just earlier in the day, I had vocalized to my wife a thought that had been fermenting in my mind for a few days. That thought? If, as the sexual deviants and their cheerleaders on the left keep telling us, people cannot help their sexual preferences and it is hateful to suggest there is anything wrong with them living out their perversions, then how long will it be until pedophiles are the newest darlings of the Democrats? Of course to keep this all “above board” the pedophiles will only be able to officially molest those children who give their consent. As luck would have it, the groundwork for such consent is already being laid, with leftist’s heartily agreeing that 5-year-olds are perfectly capable of deciding they need a sex change. If they mature enough to make that decision, then the decision to have sex with men in trench coats can hardly be a big deal. LGBTP anyone? And, even more disturbing, how long before apostate Christianity follows suite?
Soylent, yes slippery slopes are slippery.
On Checking Out
Re: Babylon Bee and Thoughtcrime on FB: Maybe it’s time for Christians en masse to dump FB. Nobody even bothers to argue anymore that they aren’t evil. We just say it isn’t that bad. But FB has become the talebearer for the nation, in addition to being the Ingsoc enforcement arm. Trump is Goldstein “for now” but eventually Christ Himself will be the object of the two minutes’ leftist hate. It bears reflection, yes?
Steve, yes. Everybody, please share if you agree.
This is totally unrelated to this post, but I’m trying to find your book on Southern Slavery and can’t . . . can you please show me where I can find it? Thank you.
Lindsey, what I wrote in Southern Slavery has been revised, updated, cleaned up, and is now available as Black & Tan, which you can get here.
As the son of a father who is spending time in prison for what are administrative state infractions, I would like to hear a good explication of Romans 13 applied to the overbearing administrative state we live in. What do we do with Paul’s words in Romans 13 that “the (authorities) does not bear the sword in vain . . .?” Did God appoint the administrative state? If we resist the governing authority of the administrative state, are we resisting God? Do we get a pass since the modern administrative state is unconstitutional? When do we get to decide when not to obey—only when their demands go against God’s? What about when what they are doing is not allowed by the constitution? (I’ve heard you discuss this before with the example of a different state imposing state taxes on you when you don’t live there. Anyway you can expound upon that idea a bit?) Thanks.
TF, I would start by reading this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
On Not Taunting the Cows
Regarding not taunting the cows: Is it taunting a pig to keep it standing on a metal slat floor in a gestational crate for most of its life? Or is it taunting a chicken to keep it in a battery cage where it has to have its beak clipped to keep it from mutilating itself? I’m wondering how this cashes out for animal welfare. Man regarding his beast and all of that.
Demosthenes, I take your point. A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast (Prov. 12:10). It is possible to mistreat animals, even animals that are destined for your table. At the same time, we have to be careful not to be too fastidious. This statement from Proverbs would not appear to prohibit the kind of practices you mention. For example, there is the fatted calf in the famous parable (Luke 15:23), and there is the stalled ox in the book of Proverbs (Prov. 15:17). Restricting the movement of animals to make them better on the table would appear to have been standard operating procedure for a very long time.