Marry Young, I Say
So . . . that’s why the average godly guy should be married by the time he is 23! You said it even better this time, Wilson! Hang in there gals! I expect some decent guys might get the right idea after this post!
Will you say anything to young women about being the resistance a young man might join?
John, yes. I would say that young women should not lower any biblical standards they have, not an inch. At the same time, they should run an inventory on how biblical their standards actually are. In other words, if their idea of a Spirit-filled man is actually a beta male, then they should recalculate.
I would agree with as to why there has been a lack of young men suitable for marriage in the church. When these men realize the scam that has been run on them, they will go in search of the truth. And when they do, they will also avoid anything that resembles the scammers and their coded Marxist language and guilt-driven tactics. Many of these men may then only be presented with two options: they can go to a church and be lectured about honest-dialoguing conversations about the nuances of systemic racism and white privilege, or they can watch a Jordan Peterson lecture. [Now] I think Jesus is the truth, not Jordan Peterson. The “truth” I was saying the men would be seeking (and consequently the lies they would be avoiding) would be truth, in general, on the social justice or cultural Marxism front, not “the truth.”
Bill, yes. The reason Peterson has been such a hit with young men (“at last, a father!”) is that the church, in a far better position to meet this need, has refused to do so.
I fear you may have hit the nail to directly with this one. This is the big issue behind all of our current cultural decay. The devaluing and debasing of marriage, modesty, and purity. May we repent as a culture and return to sanity, by the grace of God.
Economics of Sexual Purity (or, The New Sexual Revolution): As the father of three teenagers–two girls and a boy—I am seeing your laments play out exactly as described. My daughters long to be noticed, wooed, courted, and married . . . by a real-life, Christian, young man. Emphasis on man. Thus far, there has been absolutely no one to step forward and meet these simple but all-important requirements. And my girls ain’t butter-faces! My son, then, being raised to aspire to Christian manhood, has already embarked on the goal of satisfying his—er—economics by telling a real cutie of a Christian gal that he likes her. As she was flattered and taken slightly by surprise, he smiled politely and said “take your time; I’ll be right here.” At the risk of sounding like I’m from Arkansas (which is true but not relevant to my point), my daughters need someone like their brother to show some interest and ask them out. You understand what I mean . . . besides, I live in Texas now.
Malachi, blessings and good luck.
Is the West Really Dead?
It seems you’ve shifted your model a bit from two steps forwards, one step back to an endless cycle of death and rebirth. I won’t deny a pattern of sin and repentance in the Old Testament but I only see a few such cycles over a period of thousands of years. I think that, in your grasping at straws, you’ve grabbed onto a bit of Eastern mysticism there. Again with Chesterton. He tends to throw out these grand, dramatic assertions but you can’t allow them near sharp objects. Do you think you could convincingly support this claim that Christianity has died and been reborn many times? I know your closing comments was due in part with concerns about harm to your attempts at bridge building but I think it was also because you adopt the style of Chesterton which doesn’t hold up to interrogation. It’s been said that you can believe God is powerful or you can believe God is good but it’s difficult to believe both. I think your optimistic eschatology in the face of conflicting scripture and historical evidence is an attempt to ease the burden. “Secularists.” I still think this is an inaccurate term. Inaccurate language is both a cause and effect of inaccurate thinking. There may have been a time when the Church was threatened by direct opposition but now the threat is mimetic assimilation, a process that’s well advanced. If they take over entire denominations and completely redefine what it means to think and act like a Christian are they still secularists? If things continue as they are going a lumberjack dyke will one day stand in your pulpit and a Marxist liberation theologian will run your school. I don’t know if there is anything you can do to prevent that but I can tell you that the threat will not come from outside from someone identifiable as a secularist.
Barnie, sure. External enemies always send infiltrators. But don’t give up. One of their central lies is the myth of “inevitable” progress.
Re: The West is Dead (19 April) Thank you for reminding me that there is a “vast difference between being attacked for your sins and being attacked with your sins.” If you may clarify this point, what rightly should be our response to those who weaponize our sins and flaws? Do we still confess them openly, despite the fact our confession can be used against us as well? It is interesting that you raised the likelihood of Islam filling up the vacuum left by secularists. In a Muslim-majority country like mine, many people including fellow believers embrace secularism as the answer to Islam’s pervasiveness. As you probably could guess, secularism anywhere will never hold water. While there is a longing for mere Christendom, I don’t realistically see that becoming a reality for my country (Malaysia) anytime soon, not on this side of eternity anyway. Once again, very well written and adaptable for audiences even outside of the West. Thanks.
“Micro-aggressions are to real sin what LaCroix is to fruit juice” Good one! So, homeopathic sin?
Jeb, so to speak.
In Black and White
Ethnic Metrics I would like to see a skit about a schizophrenic, multi-racial racist. “I hate you, I hate you too, and you and you.” I myself could have up to three different ethnic personalities, if you lump all Europeans together, and northern and Mexican Native Americans separately. Counting different countries in Europe, I could be a Heinz 57 multi-racist-phobic schizophrenic. Which of my ancestors was the most offensive, that I should hate the most? Can I count warring Indian tribes? French vs. German? English vs. Celts? A long lost Moorish granddaddy from Spain? What about Attila, who I hear 1/4 of us are related to? How far back should it go? Is there an expiration date?
RE: What Makes Racism Sinful (https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/makes-racism-sinful.html). Sometime back you wrote this short post which I found quite helpful. The categories of animosity and vainglory are certainly biblically defined sins that can fall under the term ‘racism,’ though, as you point out, many other things can fall under this term that aren’t biblical sins. I wonder if you consider ‘partiality’ in a similar way also as a biblical sin that can be racially motivated and thus ‘racist.’ I’m specifically coming from James 2, just to clarify. Would you consider partiality simply a sinful ‘subheading’ under either animosity or vainglory (it seems to be a vainglory for others if not for self), or something else entirely? Thanks for the consideration, and I haven’t read your racism books yet, so if your answer is to look there because you cover it, that’s fair.
Nathan, partiality is a good suggestion. If you made it a third category, that would be defensible. But I would lean to grouping it under vainglory—you are being partial because your group is “special.”
I wanted to ask where you got the reference for the assertion that blacks are more likely to descend from slave owners than whites. Thank you!
Adam, the vast majority of whites in the South before the war were not slave owners, and would have had little opportunity for sexual interaction with the black population. Their descendants would therefore would not be descended from slave-owners. But sexual exploitation of slaves by slave-owners was relatively common, and accounts for much of the white blood among American blacks today. But that would not be white blood so much as it was slave-owner blood. Hence the statement that blacks today are more likely descended from slave-owners than whites are.
I think you got some of your tenses wrong here Pastor Wilson. When you say: “If you reduce generational complicity to something as simplistic as skin color, the chances are excellent that you will simply perpetuate the evils rather than resolving them. You will slug the wrong kid.” You submit this as a potential in the future. The truth, and I suspect you’re quite aware of this and are changing your tense for the sake of politeness, is that this is what he is already doing. You’ve already illustrated why this is the case in discussing that white families were and are still immigrating here after the murder of MLK. If you agree with me on this assessment and this phrasing was made knowingly, be cautious that politeness does not stray into dishonesty. The letter of your statement is technically correct so I would chalk this line up to “wise as serpents, innocent as doves,” but it’s a very narrow line to walk.
Justin, I was trying to be polite, but wasn’t trying to be coy. I did want to make that point clear.
While I’ve always been suspicious of this race-baiting movement, I am actually surprised to see anyone compose a compelling gospel rejoinder. I still can’t articulate why I remain suspicious of being guilty of white privilege, and I still can’t fully articulate why I agree with you. My question is this: what then do we do with our racist history? My father’s side is Mexican; my mom’s side is white—with both English and Scotch-Irish. I’ve seen a picture of her ancestors with a slave girl standing with the rest of a family for a photo (we’re all from Texas). I think it was her great-great grandparents—even then, I’m not entirely sure. How now should I pursue restoration?
Lindsey, when the duty of restitution is plain and clear, we have an obligation to pursue it. But when the whole thing is murky (as this most certainly is), we are to leave it in the hands of God.
You presented a beautiful description of the conscience cleansing power of the gospel in “Dear Thabiti.” However, when I read this as well as your rejoinder to Thabiti, I am still left with the question: “I am a forgiven man. Now, what should I do?” The gospel cleanses of guilt, but after having experienced freedom should I still not repay WinCo for the muffins I stole 15 years ago? So, given what you say about tax paying money being used for abortions, what should an average Christian man do? If one Christian man belongs to a group that has, in general and on the whole been less than charitable to those of another, what should that average Christian man do? Or, assuming we can separate such actions from guilt-ridden penitence performed in the hopes of receiving absolution, should churches as a collective perform anything akin to restitution?
Timothy, yes, you should repay WinCo for the muffins because you remember the muffins. Restitution is a Christian duty. But we have a responsibility to make restitution for known sin, with a known culprit, and a known amount. We have no responsibility to try to fix ancestral wrongs on the basis of wild guesswork. Maybe an ancestor of mine beat his slaves. Should I pay restitution for that? Maybe someone else’s ancestors were lazy slaves. Should they pay for that? How on earth did we come to think we are competent to judge such things?
I read Thabiti’s response to your blog. I’m a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and have unfortunately been subject to the “gospel of racial reconciliation” for quite some time. Admitting white privilege, ripping down monuments, supporting affirmative action, supporting the kneelers etc. are all unspoken sacraments offered up to prove doctrinal purity to the Marxist concept of justice. I have been the target myself of the administration’s purging of “heretical” views. A professor who did not agree with the recent direction confided in me that if he were to oppose the social justice direction he would be fired. Anyway, I very much appreciate and support your response! It’s a breath of fresh air, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s the information I wanted to share with you. Thabiti says he shares the gospel as the solution when preaching. He doesn’t. Here’s a recent chapel message he gave to the students of Southeastern. Among other things, he tells them they’re not doing enough to promote justice, they ought to be “liberal” since God is liberal, Whitefield and Edwards did not support justice since they were associated with slavery, but he never gives the gospel as the once-for-all solution. He gives a message of hopelessness in a sermon which overturns his response to you. Thought you’d like to know. Here’s the link.
Jonathan, thanks very much, and God bless.
I am curious as to why black people insist on being called African. I have more claim to Italian or Lithuanian than they do to Africa. One set each of my grandparents came from there. It gives me pause to wonder if the African designation helps to feed the slavery-racist-oppression theme. Would it not be more helpful, and accurate, to identify as a black American? It would probably be best to drop any adjective at all if we want to move forward in unity.
Re: But Thabiti… How is it scriptural to be held responsible for grandparents in anything? Did Ezekiel 18:20 get mentioned anywhere? “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” This seems to be the missing link in the thinking of every Christian I speak with who gets swept up by the inequitable “equity” rhetoric. They have a very incorrect view of God’s equity. If my dad robbed someone, I am not responsible for the inequity (a.k.a. iniquity). I do not owe the victim anything except to love. (Rom 13:8) I think it’s time the Church learn the theology and truth about God’s equity and our iniquity all over again. These are two very powerful and far-reaching words in Scripture. Our ignorance of the theological definitions of these two words is our great vulnerability right now. Maybe you could do a post on them? Maybe Thabiti is a respectful man but the teaching is abominable . . . “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight” (Prov. 11:1). Do we tell today’s Germans they were complicit in Hitler’s sins? Yeah, right. I do wonder about racial reconciliation, fostering healing between groups /categories, corporate sins and repentance and if it even matters. Does it make sense for a man to apologize or confess on behalf of men to a woman who was abused?
Matt, yes. The entire topic is a lot less simple than it is being made out to be.
Many of you wrote very kind notes concerning my cancer, and I don’t have the ability to post them all here. But thank you all. The surgery is scheduled for May 7, and I will update you all as I have information.
Healing in Jesus name. Even if the cancer is there in obedience to Yahweh, could one possible purpose for its presence be for you (with us) to take authority over it? Sincerely, a huge fan of your God Is book.
Joe, amen, just so long as it is faith and not presumption.
I am praying for you and yours, which I have done on occasion over the last 20 some years. This time in particular regarding this cancer that has been discovered. You have helped me train my six children in the love of Christ over the course of their childhoods. Thank you. They will also pray.
Evonne, thanks so much.
“God didn’t send cancer to teach us a lesson, He sent Jesus to teach cancer a lesson.” Paul Manwaring from his book Kisses From A Good God. While I do believe in the sovereignty of God we must see Jesus and His revelation of the Father. He came to destroy the works of the enemy. He healed the sick (He didn’t accept sickness as the Father’s will or He would have been going against it by healing), raised the dead and cast out demons. I would caution my Calvinistic brothers from extending the sovereignty of God to an unbalanced extent and hence partnering with the things that don’t come from God. If sickness or disease is a gift from God then it would be cruel for the Father to submit His Son (Matthew 8:17) to suffer for our sin and sickness and then use illness to “teach us” something. Just a thought. I just don’t accept sickness personally as something God wills to stay. We pray for healing, trust His will for our healing and press for the breakthrough! If the breakthrough doesn’t come soon enough and death takes place, we leave it as “mystery” and declare His goodness regardless while not attributing or assuming it must not have been His will to heal. It’s a mystery why we don’t always see answers. But we must never attribute to God’s character things that bring death and destruction. Let’s just take His authority over those cancer cells and command them to bow to the name above all names! Amen? Love in Christ our conquering King!
Scott, not exactly. We certainly pray for healing. We know what direction to look, what direction we should go. But we still know that in the mystery of apparently unanswered prayer, God still has instruction and comfort for us. As Job teaches us, something can be from Satan and also from God, on different levels. Satan struck Job, and Job said, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away.”
Sorry to hear about your cancer. I will pray that the surgery goes well and you have a swift recovery. Don’t die. The Internet would be so boring without you.
Noah, check. Don’t die. I’m on it.
Prayers extended for you and for the whole family. Thank you for making even these moments fitting reminders of the glory and sovereignty of God, and being an example to all of us by His Grace. I’m curious if this tumor will also be named by the family, as was Nate’s :)
Kevin, Nate’s kids have suggested that we name this one Neil. But the idea has not yet caught on.
Because Someone Asked About the Cover of Reforming Marriage
The painting is The Sleeping Couple, Jan Steen, c. 1658-1660
Re: “How the Queen of Sheba Crossed the Border” This piece, and the two you referenced for your position on immigration, are great. You do a great job of explaining what biblical immigration would or should look like with true liberty and true open borders if every country were to repent and turn to Christ en masse. And diagnosing the real problem of our rebellion from Christ. But what about those instances between now (America and others rejecting Christ en masse) and utopia (America and others repenting and turning back to Christ en masse)? What if America were to not be destroyed for our sin and a new, completely different nation/kingdom isn’t raised up, instead America is restored and redeemed because we finally repented and turned back to Christ, but we’re the only nation who became Christian again (the other nations are still unrepentant). A scenario where we have one law and they have a different law, and immigrants coming to America have virtually no intention of assimilating into our one law, which is based on biblical law (because we have ideally repented and theonomically returned to Christ’s Lordship)? Does biblical open borders make sense or work in a scenario like that where we’re right with God, but the world is yet to become the ideal, utopian biblical world of ideal biblical republics? If so, you need to explain how biblical open borders in one direction can work because I don’t see how it does? If not, what does a biblical immigration policy look like for that scenario when not every nation is at the ideal and utopia point yet? The SJW open borders Christians, the ones being used by the likes of Marxists like Soros, confusingly misapply Scripture passages on compassion to the sojourner and refugee to appeal to the bleeding hearts for unfettered immigration, while the biblical open borders Christians apply the correct passages rightly, but they tend to focus almost exclusively on the ideal and utopian biblical republic and give zero help and discernment on what to do between the unrepentant now and the utopian biblical world not yet. If my question requires a more in depth answer than a simple answer on a “Tuesday Letters,” feel free to work on an immigration follow-up addressing the scenario that I’ve have asked about. Thank you.
Trey, I believe the answer lies in recovering a robust sense of citizenship. In other words, the fact that someone is allowed to come and live here does not mean they get to vote, etc. I believe we would have to get rid of the “anchor baby” policy, because that is what would allow people with an alien faith to establish a foothold. And citizenship would need to have some kind of mere Christendom component.
Doug, many thanks for your writing here. I’m in the middle of reading your Evangellyfish novel, and I came to a sudden realization last night after finishing a chapter. You provide such an astute, clear, honest depiction of each character, they sound so . . . human. Found myself wishing that I had someone in my life who knew me well enough to be able to write something similar. Funny how difficult it is to figure out oneself. Perhaps one day down the road in marriage I’ll see some of that understanding come from someone, but in the meantime I’m trying to fix my eye on Christ, who stands perfectly at the intersection of knowing-me and loving-me.
Alexander, thanks for the comments on the novel. We all tend to long for a person who can see us as we are. And we all tend to wonder why we were longing for that after a couple of doses.
Heaven and Hades
In one of your Ask Doug videos, you helpfully explain the difference between Hades and Hell; Hades being a type of holding place for all the dead (though the good and evil are separated) before Christ came while Hell (as we think of it today) is the Lake of Fire, the peace of eternal suffering. Christ descended into Hades, not Hell. You also mentioned that believers today, after the resurrection, go to Heaven to be with the Father, not Hades. But didn’t mention the destination for unbelievers. Do they now go straight to the Lake of Fire?
Bill, I didn’t mention that because there is not a lot of biblical data for saying anything. But my supposition is that unbelievers still go to Hades because when the last judgment comes, Death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14).
Is Jesus Your Boyfriend?
Pastor Wilson, There seems to be an increasingly pervasive tendency in evangelical circles (including reformed circles) to refer to Jesus as the husband of individual Christians. By my observation, this used to be largely limited to counsel given to women who wished to marry but had not yet found a mate, and were working their way through the difficulty of that longing. In such cases they would be exhorted to be content to be “married to Jesus,” or to consider or realize that “Jesus is your husband.” Increasingly, I hear this applied more widely and generally, not just to unmarried women, but to men as well—and not just to singles in regards to their coping with longing in singleness, but also more generally (to married and single alike) as a sort of general devotional exhortation towards faithfulness, holiness, and contentedness in Christ. The end result is that men and women, married and single, are being told fairly frequently to view Jesus as their husband. Now, I don’t want to be too cute or sophomoric here in my criticism of this tendency—a lot of smart-alecky jokes could be made here—and while I’m not necessarily above making them (but they would be about the practice, not about Jesus, of course) I also want to recognize the legitimacy of the underlying scriptural truths which such exhortational attempts are trying to get at, namely, that the Church as the Bride and Body of Christ is supposed to be ravished and satisfied by and in Him. I also acknowledge that inasmuch as individual elect are part of that body, there should, in some sense, trickle “down” to us some manner of individual application as well. However, to translate the analogy or symbolism directly and flatly into “Jesus is my husband,” seems more than a stretch, in light of the creation ordinance of the sexes and of marriage, among other things. I am not eager to simply dismiss the exhortation as simply because it has a certain weirdness to it, although it does. But nor do I want to simply accept it simply b/c there’s an underlying doctrinal truth at which it’s aiming. I used to think this kind of exhortation was something that was simply off-putting and bizarre to some of us, but that was of no real lasting harm—just a touchy-feely manner of “personalizing” the exhortation to be content in Christ. But it seems to be increasing in prominence and frequency, and ironically enough, often without being accompanied by a very robust articulation of the corporate sense which Scripture does speak. The end result just feels so very . . . feminist, touchy-feely, un-Old Testamenty (un-New Testamenty, for that matter), and un-eschatological; even more—it feels like we are being exhorted to abide in Christ by striving for an emotional, quasi-romantic “high” from the idea of Jesus as “my husband,” even though all of us, male and female, were designed to have such desires for another human so that we may mirror the Glory of Christ and his Church collectively. So my “question”/request here is very open-ended, I just want your commentary on this matter generally—big deal? Not a big deal? If you find an appropriate place on your blog, Plodcast, or elsewhere, I’d love to hear your reflections on this. Much Thanks
Matt, I think it is a very big deal, and I am with you. The whole thing gives me the fantods. I will try to get to it sometime soon. In the meantime, let me recommend the book The Church Impotent by Leon Podles. He traces the genesis of all this stuff.
Telos and Tactics
Thanks for your post Telos and Tactics. I found it very helpful and reasonable. The question I would like to raise to you is whether or not you would apply something similar to church politics (for lack of a better word). To give an example that we are dealing with in our Presbytery (I’m in a PCA church), what do you do with the matter of racial reconciliation, where I was witness to what can only be described as a white guilt sermon by a black minister at a presbytery meeting (one in which the majority of the other ministers, red, yellow, black, or white, didn’t seem to have any issue with what was being said). The essential idea was that if your church didn’t have a balanced mix of ethnic diversity represented in your church membership, you were automatically a racist church. Or in a previous presbytery that I was in, some elders were contemplating allowing unrepentant, practicing homosexuals to become members of their churches, at least on a provisional basis (they affirmed homosexuality was a sin but suggested that some people coming from a PCUSA church might be genuine Christians who just had a “blind spot” concerning the matter of homosexuality, not unlike King David had with polygamy!). From my perspective you can’t negotiate on these matters. If we let sermons multiply which are essentially reverse racism, and if we let unrepentant, practicing homosexual couples into membership, incrementalism isn’t the answer. I’m not even sure what incrementalism would look like here. Maybe a compromise is worked out to where you can only take one potshot at white people per sermon, and in the other situation it is proposed that we let practicing homosexuals become members in our churches, but immediately place them under church discipline until they repent. Not that anyone seems to be interested in compromising on these issues in this fashion; sadly to me it seems more like full steam ahead for the progressives and the conservatives are left scrambling, denying how bad off things really are, or are quietly muttering to themselves and hoping to strategically avoid having to deal with these issues. I’m seeing a few groups forming that give me some hope for the PCA (The Gospel Reformation Network and a group called MORE, standing for More Orthodox Ruling Elders) though I have a little bit of fear that their solution might be some application of the spirituality of the Church doctrine or a modified form of the two kingdom approach, which is kind of like punting on the issue. At any rate, I agree with your original post, but I have a lot more revulsion to this kind of thinking within the Church, and wanted to know how you would compare/contrast the two.
Thomas, yes. We are at a place where captains of ships are incapable to seeing that the hull is filling up with water.
This is a very balanced approach to the issue in my opinion. There is something about calling for the hanging of women who have had abortions that has been bothering me. Somewhere between that and just calling for parental notification laws is a middle ground that is both daring and effective at taking ground from the enemy. I think the battle right now should be to try to get state legislatures to enact laws or constitutional amendments declaring the (obvious) fact the human life begins at conception, then we work out the penal codes later.
Pastor Wilson When you embed videos in WordPress, you need to enter the HTML code in “Text” mode, rather than “Visual.” Like this: https://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/edu/wordpress/wordpress-introduction/adding-html-wordpress I love your writing — even when I hate it. In Christ,
Noah, yes. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. That is because sometimes WordPress gets the wind up, and is kind of temperamental.
Grant, thanks. I will pass this on.