Letters Today About Yesterday’s Post

Paula Misses the Point

Regarding your snotty article that strangely still seems all too ready to shame people for rightly being horrified and indignant about the sexual sin and predation in the church . . . Steven Sitler. Maybe sackcloth and ashes would suit you better.

Paula

Paula, the point being made there was not to shame people for being horrified by horrible things. The point was to shame people who refuse to believe that I am horrified by them. The mark that fanaticism has set in is when people refuse to let you agree with them. As for Steven Sitler, I would suggest mildly that there are people out on the Internet who are, to use an outdated phrase from the theology of another era, liars.


CJ and Al

Thank you for being courageous enough to write Effectively Neutralized. Thank you for being brave enough to speak truth. I am a second generation member of a SGM church and one of our core beliefs and values is we believe Gods Word to be infallible and applicable to every area of life—as any Christian should. Since allegations were made against CJ years ago, I have been aghast at how quickly men who I used to love and respect will turn on their fellow pastor or friend because they have been accused. I hate and abhor any instance of child abuse. Period. But that didn’t cancel out holding fast to God’s Word and due process. Innocent until proven guilty. What has happened to CJ and his family and other friends of ours who have been accused of these heinous crimes is despicable. If CJ was proven guilty in a court of law I would condemn his sin. But not only has he not been proven guilty, he denies it, his character speaks against it, and due process has been carried out. But the voice of the social media Mob has drowned out common sense. I’m a young mom with four young children and I’m ashamed of so many of the men I once held in esteem as bold and courageous leaders. It’s one thing to see the culture rip apart swallow one up another up in accusations and scandal. But when it’s men who have taught you from God’s Word and you thought they would hold fast to its teaching even in a Me Too movement….. the cowardice and fear is shameful. Stand up for your brothers until there is proof you should condemn him. Lead your people to follow God’s Word in how to be different than the world and not give in to the voice of the mob. Where there is convicted sin we should be the first to speak out against it. But until it’s convicted, we must remain loyal and true and believe in innocence until proven guilty. So thank you for being willing to speak out and point men like Mohler to the Word of God. I am praying for Dr Mohler, for CJ, for my dear Sovereign Grace Church family who suffers every time an article like the Chronicles comes out. I am praying I won’t sin in anger in response to all this. And I am so grateful I trust a God of Justice—who is also a God of grace and mercy. I stood accused at the cross—fully guilty and stained and foul. But Jesus did the unthinkable and became the accursed for me and in exchange gave His righteousness to cover all my sin. If this awesome grace and mercy can erase my unthinkable sin, how much more can He redeem this situation for His glory?

Lauren

Lauren, thank you.


Since you are willing to say that Southern has made some unfortunate hiring decisions, without necessarily naming names, is there something in particular about the theology of the professors you have in mind? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Brian

Brian, I did not have in mind anything to do with their statement of faith. I had in mind susceptibility to things like social justice, which in turn will cause internal pressure to be applied whenever external social justice pressure is being applied.


Even in the trial with Denhollander, as a pastor I have to admit I cringed a little at their description of leaving their church. It could be that they were not communicating well, but the general gist was: “we left our church because we knew that if we went to our pastors, they would not have supported us.” Well now they don’t have that chance, do they? And I suppose a similar argument can be made for remaining out of church fellowship: “if we join this church, they will . . . .” Whatever fears, prejudices and doubts we have are already attributed to pastors and churches we don’t know. A dangerous trend and mindset, even within that righteous trial.

Matt

Matt, a fair point. And we should always remember that this kind of thing can always cut both ways. “The reason we didn’t offer counsel is that we knew it would not be received.” Not a good way to do business.


Re: Effectively Neutralized “What they are doing is offering Christians an easy way out that is disguised as the hardest thing that any of us ever have to do.” But they are not offering a way out. They are offering a rope, with instructions on how to tie the noose. Once you’ve been accused, and once you’ve been associated with the accused, the apologizing, the confession, the self-castigation—these will never gain you the good graces of the wokeverse anyway. It was never sincerely intended that they would. Your hope is vain, and worse, your apology is just self-incrimination to those who would demand it. There really is no point in bothering, you’re condemned; deal with it and hew to the truth.

John

John, fair point. It seems like the easy way out because you are usually given a reprieve. But a temporary reprieve is not the same thing as a pardon.


Thank you for this sensible, thought-provoking article.

David

David, thank you.


Help me understand how organizations filled with hundreds of thousands or even millions of conservative Bible-believing Christians consistently come to be ruled over and eventually destroyed by leftists. The PCA and SBC are the current examples, but the PCUSA, ELCA, Methodists and others have had the same phenomenon occur. Even the Boy Scouts fell to this. Is it just elitist derision of the rubes? Or is there something more at play? Is this just a leftist tactic we just keep falling for? Or is there a bigger reason?

BJ

BJ, I think the short answer is that solid conservatives tend to be too diligent at their own station, and too trusting when it comes to what people are promising to do at theirs.


You cannot be implying that the manly and strapping Dr. Russell Moore is behind these hysterical outcries intended to take the patriarchy off its game, can you? Because I for one will cry and cry until you stop if you are.

Not Frank

Not Frank, there are lots of people who are not Frank, and I don’t even know you anymore.


Girard and Job

I know you have approvingly mentioned Rene Girard before, and I wonder if you have an opinion on his take on Job here: http://girardianlectionary.net/res/job_girard.htm It is my first time reading him, and I notice he doesn’t seem like much of an inerrantist (“the text is occasionally so bad”), but this essay has helped me start to get a handle on the book.

Matt

Matt, you are right. He is no kind of inerrantist at all, and there are parts of Job that he exegetes with rusty hedge clippers. But his central insight in that book, that Job was a prince, or king, or ruler, and that his friends were political counselors trying to get him to follow the Oedipus route, and take one for the team, was pure gold in my view.


Is Hockey for Girls Ungodly?

I wanted to email you directly, as I don’t have Facebook or Twitter. So I wrote here in this comment section—your teaching on eschatology combined with the biblical narrative showing human history changed my perspective on eschatology. I believe the Church will, by the power of Christ, overcome this wretched world, and that the whole world will be redeemed one day. Since discovering you, I put a lot of stock in your teaching, but as always, weigh it alongside what the Bible teaches. The other day, your friends at that podcast where they are always asking me to go baptize my kids (wink wink) mentioned that girls should not play ice hockey. This hit me kind of hard. I have two teenage Christian daughters who share the complementarian perspective and want to be homemakers and mothers to many children. But being in Minnesota, playing hockey is a deep cultural thing, and they do play ice hockey. They only play against other girls, and are not trying to emulate boys at all. There is no checking in girls hockey either, making the game fundamentally different. But I wanted to learn more about this, and found that your precious wife Nancy had written a blog where she said girls should certainly not play hockey. Is this a position you share? Is adiaphora something that would apply here? Am I doing wrong as a father to let my girls play ice hockey? If I felt for a single second that girls ice hockey was assailing their femininity, I would make them quit myself. But I don’t see that happening. In fact, it has presented my girls a chance to share the gospel with girls through the bonds of being on a team together. I would really like to get your view on this. Most of all, I want to honor God, and in part, do so by celebrating the proper roles of men and women which the greater society constantly assails. I thank God for you and your ministry. Thank you for standing up for truth in the face of an increasingly hostile public. Thank you for also taking a stance against the social justice nonsense which is hurting unity in the church. As always, you and Christ Church in Moscow are in my prayers! In Christ,

Erick

Erick, I have the same view on this as I would on other related sports—lacrosse, say. If there is a sharp division (in the rules, and how the penalties are called) between the boys’ version and the girls’ version, then much of my objection would diminish. I don’t think girls should play full contact sports, but have no problem with girls playing field hockey, for example. If the ice hockey is like field hockey, only slicker, then the objection goes away. But keep in mind that in a sport like basketball, the distinction that should exist can, because the rules are not that different, be erased by the style of play adopted by a coach, and that’s not good.


Psychology and Brain Damage

So do you think that the clutch pedals of our brain can be damaged or have a cable loose? Is there room for physical medication aimed at the brain to help us combat sin?

Griffin

Griffin, yes, I do believe that physical brain damage can directly affect behavior, and have no problem with effective treatments. But I believe that we are frequently too quick to think that we have addressed a “sin” problem when we have done nothing of the kind. And we also can believe our treatments are effective when they are merely masking symptoms. When it comes to the brain, I think all of us are in way over our heads.


Sam Harris and Others

Thanks for writing on Sam Harris—and others. I have been listening to the rather lengthy discussion between Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson (Link). Man, is it fascinating. I’m 31 and work with some younger guys so we talk about them, and Joe Rogan, since they are current cultural intellectuals, as it were. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate your worldview critiques since not all of us have more than basic philosophy/logic/worldview training and these guys are very influential right now. On a side note, I would love to see you on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Thanks again!

Eric

Eric, thanks.


Politics In Brief

Well, with regard to Trump, God has already spoken: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” With regard to Fairfax, he appears to be reaping what he and his party have sown! “Consensually” even! With regard to the GND, when “Cocaine” Mitch brings the GND to a Senate vote, “Meth” Markey will be like totally bummed. And finally, who better than AOC to sniff out the problems with bovine flatulence?

Jason

Jason, if you ever get a gig on a television talk show, that would be about the time your mic went dead.


Dems may lose the upcoming election, but the leaven is already in the bread. AOC probably knows they can’t win immediately, but she is young enough to see this through over 15-20 years, and she knows where her votes will come from. The old folks may win 2020, but my guess is that their children will increasingly believe in a socialistic system. Socialism is already popular among 20+ year olds and I see nothing so far on the table that will inspire conservativism in American youth. Trump’s final legacy will likely be that of a capitalistic demon.

Thomas

Thomas, that well might happen, but not for good. As Margaret Thatcher put it, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. And when that happens, and there are no outside players to prop you up anymore, the thing goes down. In the long run, in other words, stupidity never works.


The Inimitable David Wells

I cannot find the book Whatever Happened to Truth? by David Wells. You mentioned it in your plodcast today. Could it have another name?

Jonathan

Jonathan, yes, it has another name—the correct one. Sorry for mis-remembering. Here it is. Great book.

How Much More?

Could 1 Corinthians 6 be the basis for a good a fortiori argument here? If it’s wrong for Smith and Jones to go to an unbeliever to settle who owns this cow, how much worse is it to take unbelieving counsel on whether Jones should leave his wife?

Tom

Tom, yes, I think so. Worldly counsel is always hazardous, and especially on sexual matters.


Free Speech Apocalypse

A couple questions: 1. Last night I watched Free Speech Apocalypse again. Holy cow, how prescient you were. Any plans for a sequel? What with all that has transpired since, you could do a few trilogies, it seems. And do you know if you were the first (@ IU) to be shouted down with such a show of force like that on a college campus as it pertains to the current manifestation of Gramscian rot/identity politics (Just to confirm—are those the same thing?)? Obviously since then we’ve had a plethora of others have the same type of thing happen, but I don’t remember hearing of any before 2012 . . . 2. Regarding reparations for slavery—I’m in agreement with what you’ve said on the subject, but I also remember agreeing with you about some sort of restitution you mentioned regarding the Nez Perce a while back, something about giving federal land or something? So could you expound on the difference between how you approach sins against American Indian tribes (only certain ones at that, I’d assume) and sins against slaves. Thanks much.

Andy

Andy, no current plans for a sequel. I don’t believe I was the first to get that kind of treatment, not at all. We were fortunate to have our cameras there though. The Gramscian rot takes many forms, with this identity foolishness being one of them. I would be supportive of reparations for broken treaties, where you could have the text of the treaty right in front of the judge.

Hey, Everybody! Northam is Still Governor of Virginia!

The reason that Northam even felt relaxed enough to entertain the idea of moonwalking in that press conference is because he knew that virtually every single person asking him questions was on his side, politically. He didn’t get pushback when he said he’d be alright with a killing a newborn, so why he get any pushback from some old yearbook photos? And, he was more or less right.

JD

JD, right. He only got pushback when the immediate frenzy made the media pay attention to it.


25 Theses

Thanks, Doug, for your challenging and convicting 25 Theses on Pastoral-Care post. Can you suggest a couple of your preferred authors or resources to someone who finds himself in over his head, and desiring to learn? Thanks for your writing, and please type faster. P.S. On a recent Tuesday, Mark mentioned a bug when typing in the search box. I get it too, using any web browser, when using the search box within a post. It works fine on the home page. Hope this helps.

Dave

Dave, our counseling center here in Moscow utilizes the resources of ACBC. And yes, you described my search box bug well. We need to have it looked at. In the meantime, you have to go back to Home to search. Chesterton could have done something with that.


Thank you for sharing your 25 Theses on Common Grace, Natural Revelation, and Pastoral Care. This is timely, since in my neck of the woods we’ve been running into this subject a lot lately. I have had a hard time articulating what’s wrong with integrating secular psychology with the Bible in the church, besides the point that worldly philosophies underlie much (if not most) of modern psychology, and that there is this thing called the antithesis over here that is rather inconvenient at times. Psychology is infused with worldly philosophy like biology is infused with evolution. And of course it is a challenge to say intelligent things about a subject that I haven’t studied in depth. My lack of understanding of the separation between body and soul makes it more difficult. Can you recommend a book on the subject?

Sean

Sean, the best I can do is refer you here.

Go Greg Morse

Greg Morse at Desiring God recently wrote a great article on effeminacy. I saw that you tweeted it and also mentioned in this Content Muster Cluster. Would you consider interacting more with Morse’s piece in a separate blog entry?

Cody

Cody, I am not sure what more interaction would look like, other than saying amen.

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JP Stewart
Member

As for BJ’s question, he may find this helpful (the video was taken down, so you have to listen to the audio):
http://www.worldviewconversation.com/2019/02/whose-funding-evangelical-social.html

Some may call it conspiratorial, but following the money is an effective way of getting to the bottom of things. The organizations/foundations mentioned are real and their agendas aren’t exactly hidden.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Thanks, brother.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Doug,

I feel like that answer falls short. We are just too busy or too trusting to notice until it is too late?

That doesn’t speak very highly of us.

JP Stewart
Member

I’d wager that very few people in PCA/SBC/etc. churches in the conservative South and Midwest have any clue about Revoice; race hustlers (Jemar Tisby, Thabiti, Anthony Bradley, etc.); feminist inroads; Michelle Higgins (all of the above); and other issues.

While these church members tithe and give generously, they have no idea where their denoms and even part of their offerings are going. The flow of information is very well controlled unless you visit a few obscure sites or follow a handful of people in the know.

Robert
Guest
Robert

I know a woman who used to be married to a chaplain who cheated on her. The church backed the chaplain and wanted to keep him at his post. In situations like hers, forgiveness is weaponized. You have to forgive him. His ministry will be damaged. People will go to hell if he isn’t here and it will be all your fault. That is what people hear in the abusive churches. When they break away from these toxic places, they don’t really know where to go or who to trust. How do you minister to such people?

Robert
Guest
Robert

Regarding girls and sports: this is mores a question for readers outside the US. What is your take on Netball? For American readers, netball is an all female sport, a variant of basketball which is popular in Commonwealth countries.

Edward
Guest
Edward

> an all female sport
As opposed to basketball (personal foul, hurting the shooter’s feelings, shooting 2)

lndighost
Member

Netball was always a ladies’ game. It was designed with victorian femininity in mind and early regulations promoted decorum, propriety, and not too much exertion. I remember reading one set of rules in which the ladies were to begin the game by approaching the other team and enquiring after their health. Anyone who shouted or ‘scrambled’ would be sent off the court in disgrace. It was to be more a social pastime than a competitive endeavour. Now it’s a highly physical and competitive sport, not to mention commercialised. The powers that be are trying, with limited success, to get boys… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

I’ve put an unusally large amount thought into games and sports, so I’ll just volunteer this. When the victorians hoped that netball wouldn’t be played hard, they were being really silly. If you don’t want X, you need to design a game that doesn’t reward X. If you want a laid back game, play darts, or croquet, or crokinole. It’s never a good answer to say “let’s just not take it seriously,” because the person who takes it more seriously has the advantage, and thus wins. What do you expect players to do, compete at playing poorly but with style?

lndighost
Member

Nathan, I agree that no one would enjoy a game played poorly, no matter how well-behaved the players. But would you agree that whether a game is well played is defined at least in part by how well its rules are followed? You can play as hard as you like, within the parameters of the game. The reason netball is a changed game now is because the rules are changed. I don’t know that the inventors of netball intended the game not to be taken seriously. I think they were serious about decorum and propriety in women (however silly the… Read more »

Nathan James
Member

My comment keyed off the phrases “not too much exertion” and “anyone who…’scrambled’ would be sent off…” But I also note your statement “It was to be more a social pastime than a competitive endeavor.” I am incredulous that the rules ever failed to reward speed and thereby exertion. The nature of the game is that players are competing for space and possession of the ball. This naturally rewards scrambling, thus there was evidently some kind of penalty for it. Contrast this with golf, where time is not an element of the competition and you are never rewarded for rushing.… Read more »

Barnabas
Guest
Barnabas

“They tie up heavy, burdensome loads and lay them on men’s shoulders but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
Isn’t C J Mahaney federally responsible for sexual abuse? Isn’t Doug Wilson federally responsible for statutory rape? When it comes to husbands and fathers, Wilson says that it doesn’t matter if they were aware of any wrongdoing or had any means to prevent it. It happened on their watch, right? With the standard you judge others, so shall you be judged. Stop making excuses and running from responsibility.

kyriosity
Member

You assert that a pastor has federal headship over his flock. Scripture does not teach this. It does teach that a his own home must be well ordered, but not that he should be playing husband and daddy to the whole congregation.

Barnabas
Guest
Barnabas

Ah, no federal headship for pastors. So that means Mahaney is only responsible for actions he could know about and had means to address, and he can enforce his authority through excommunication, etc without being an abuser, and there is some standard of evidence since rather than “runaway slave” Kabbalah. That’s a relief. I’d hate to see pastors families, livelihoods and freedom put at risk by some shifty and untenable standard of blame…er, headship.

Jane
Member

As I predicted, an answer to the question was not really what Barnabas wanted, just a platform to accuse. Again.

kyriosity
Member

Yeah, my response was more for those who might be reading the comments section and wonder the same thing. Didn’t expect Barneyboy to be persuaded.

Nathan James
Member

You assert that a pastor has federal headship over his flock. Scripture does not teach this. It does teach that a his own home must be well ordered, but not that he should be playing husband and daddy to the whole congregation.

How can you say this? Scripture tells us that there are rulers in the church. Are we really to believe that rulership in the church is of an entirely different sort than rulership in the family?

kyriosity
Member

“Different” and “entirely different” are different. Of course they’re not entirely different, but they are different.

Jane
Member

“Entirely different sort”? No. Distinguishably different sort — I think so. Rulership in the church being precisely the same as rulership in the family would look very odd, indeed.

Nathan James
Member

Then much more needs to be said.

I would say that authority in the home differs from authority in the church as to jurisdiction, but that each authority functions in the same way within it’s own particular jurisdiction.

Jane
Member

Unless elders are in the habit of spanking and grounding the members of the congregation, then it doesn’t function in the “same” way. It might function in a similar, or parallel way, but not same. The role of the elder is NOT the same as husband and Daddy, though it has many similar properties.

Nathan James
Member

This isn’t really informative or persuasive. You write as though there’s no such thing as discipline in church. Maybe no one has the time to answer, and I can’t really complain about that. Still, I think that if we were really well versed in authority an appropriate answer wouldn’t be that hard to craft. The question is a good one even if it was asked for a bad reason. Elders rule over the church and should rule well. They are given are given authority and may come bearing the rod when necessary. They are to take oversight and must give… Read more »

Jane
Member

“You write as though there’s no such thing as discipline in church.” I do not write that at all. I write as though insisting on the word “same” for two things, requires that we use the actual definition of the word “same.” Of course there are sanctions in church discipline, but they are not the “same” as the ones in the home. Therefore, the authority is not functioning in the “same” way. Everything else in the above comment I agree with, which is why I think your insistence that it is the “same” is misguided. Two things can be parallel,… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Nathan James,

“Elders rule over the church and should rule well. They are given are given authority and may come bearing the rod when necessary. They are to take oversight and must give account to Christ for the condition of their flock.”

They may come bearing the rod? Based on 1 Cor. 4:21, or something else?

Nathan James
Member

Yes, OKRickety. And rod being used as a metaphor for discipline.

kyriosity
Member

Pretty much exactly the comment (Jane’s) that I thought I’d posted this morning, but it must not have “took.”

Barnabas
Guest
Barnabas

Wilson’s federal headship standard for men is his own concoction, short on logic or scriptural support. He ginned it up because he wanted to preserve the responsibility while throwing out the authority.

Daniel Fisher
Member

Even in the military, where commanding officers bear great responsibility for the actions of their crew unlike anything in the civilian world, and where they can be relieved of command even if they are asleep and their junior officer on watch runs a ship aground….. they are not relieved of command simply due to the free choices and violations, however egregious, of any one or more of their crew members. They could be relieved if they do not properly prosecute such behavior, or if they foster a culture where such behavior is allowed to thrive…. but commanders are not responsible… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

After 15 years in the AF, this is not accurate.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/255721

The top two figures ion the AF were resigned after subordinates made some very stupid, but serious errors.

I have also seen lower level commanders, usually either at the Wing level (Colonel) or even at the Group level (Lt. Colonel), asked to step down to varying degrees for the poor conduct of their subordinates. It actually happens rather frequently. The answer is almost always that they created a “culture.” It is nebulous, yes, but it happens.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

You are right, it happens. Not in every instances, but it does. Sometimes it should happen, as when a second very serious error of a kind occurs within a short time span. It doesn’t always have to be a serious error though; one that embarrasses your superiors will do. Anything involving nukes probably fulfills both criteria. None of that has any application to husbands (and Daniel was mis-reading Barnabas) since a husband has no power to regulate the behavior of his wife similar to the power of a commander, or for that matter an NCO, to regulate the behavior of… Read more »

adad0
Member

“When it comes to the brain, I think all of us are in way over our heads.”

Hey! I see what you did there! ; – )