Re: Denhollander and Boz I’d like to see you apply the principles of rules-of-evidence and due-process to your statements against Boz’s previous execution of his office (such as it is, and wherever he got it) and character. Qualifications: 1) We live in an age where I need to say that the above is not sarcastic or passive-aggressive in the slightest. I’d genuinely like to see it. 2) I don’t expect application of principles to be mirror-symmetrical. Something something mutatis? 3) My sins are such that I’m much more likely to hastily conclude against Boz than for him. 4) My sins are also such that I like to know much more about such things than I have a right to. That said, it seems that if a negative statement can be declared publicly, its supporting evidence can be as well. 5) I understand that something which can be declared is not necessarily something that should be declared. Thanks for your work, dear brother. Warmly,
Keith, when our controversy a few years ago “hotted up,” a number of random Internet warriors began declaiming against us, denouncing not only what they assumed had happened, but also against our character, etc. Boz was one of them; he joined right in with all of this. He was deaf to private entreaties, and as I said in the post, those efforts ended with us receiving the threat of a lawsuit.
Even if he says that his intention was to bring about an “objective investigation”—as he is currently saying about the SGC situation—this is not to the point. It is like saying that the “health department really ought to test the quality of the city pool, but in the meantime I might as well continue to pee in it.”
My concern is with the statement: “We cannot assume we live in a time when sexual abusers can simply be handed over to righteous civil authorities.” (Please note from the outset that I am not referring to anything that happened at Christ Church where I understand the civil authorities were told.) It is undeniable that there are miscarriages of justice where the innocent get put through the wringer. It’s also true that we can look askance at the moral integrity of the justice system. But I am not sure that there is a more cautious way to proceed that doesn’t expose victims to substantial risk, and that can adequately bring additional past offenses to light while preventing future ones. Things I learned from a ringside seat at the priest scandals have shaped my views. Sexual offenders, who are often sociopathic, are extremely plausible. It is extremely difficult for ordinarily nice people to see beyond the mask. Parents who have acted unwisely in allowing access to their children can fend off guilt by retreating into denial. People who have invested love and trust in one another in the most important part of their lives, their church, may be paralyzed with disbelief, or conversely, they may become fiercely partisan and add to the victim’s misery. I think it is a rare church where people are skilled in recognizing symptoms of abuse and the characteristic behavior of child victims—who may tell their stories in pieces, who may wait years to tell, and who may retract under pressure. The police and the DA may be far from perfect, but it is hard to see how a group of untrained but well-meaning amateurs will be more successful in stopping a child sexual predator in his tracks. Some of the stories I have read where victims were forced to offer forgiveness to their abusers in a face to face meeting were very disturbing—especially when the matter was deemed to be settled. No going to the police and no bringing up again. I can’t think of a surer way of emboldening an abuser to commit fresh crimes. Yes, the justice system can get it wrong. But that doesn’t deter us from reporting parishioners who may have committed other heinous offenses. If I saw my neighbor standing over her husband with a bloody knife, I would call the police before I told anyone else. If I had credible evidence that she was running a child sex trafficking ring, I wouldn’t feel I needed to approach the church before turning her in. I think there need to be penalties for people who file malicious and false reports. But when a major felony may have been committed against a child, I don’t think churches can responsibly decide to evade the police and the courts by handling it extra-judicially.
Jill, not only do I not differ with what you are saying here, but I sympathize with it deeply. You are exactly right about the scenarios you describe. But here is a hypothetical (but not far-fetched) different scenario—Family A discovers abuse of their five-year-old going on and they call me. I tell them to call the cops, which they do. The cops arrest Perpetrator A. CPS visits the family, and request an interview with the child in private. Despite misgivings, the family gives permission. CPS discovers that the parents discipline through spanking, and place the child in foster care. Family A is now in a pitched legal battle with CPS. In the meantime, because we warned the church about Perpetrator A, Family B discovers that he had done the same thing with their three-year-old. They also are a spanking family. They are trying to decide whether they can even risk telling me. Now what?
“I was being mature, so I held off from calling him the Wizard of Boz.” Apophasis much?
James, well, not a whole lot.
I have one issue with a statement made here: “Sometimes it means taking a pounding because a sexual predator has professed repentance and wants to attend your church.” The problem with this, is professed repentance is easy. 2 Cor. 7:10 shows there is a sorrow that leads to life, and a sorrow that leads to death (it may have the appearance to true repentance, but is not). 2 Cor. 7:11 continues on to show some of the ways we can identify true repentance: “See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” I wish I could bold the “Readiness to see justice done.” [Did it for you, DJW] Here’s the thing. My son might cry and say he’s sorry for hitting his little sister, apologize to her and to God. But then he might get angry when I follow through with not letting him play video games for the next 24 hours (or what have you), I see his repentance is not genuine. He is not willing to see justice done Against Himself. If a sexual predator, someone you wouldn’t trust alone with your children, is unwilling to turn him/herself in and endure the consequences of his disturbing behavior, because of the crushing weight of guilt they are NOT experiencing, that is a sign the repentance is not genuine. If they want to quietly integrate into the church with no one the wiser aside from their ‘accountability partner,’ that is a sign of taking advantage of the system, of the cheap forgiveness they purchased, which could very well open the door for them to have access to more children. I knew a lady who was a druggie, who was saved. When she started to get her life together, debtors she had been dodging found her. And she was HAPPY. She was glad to face the consequences and start paying off her monetary debts. After seeing that, there was little doubt in my mind of her true salvation. Although the Secular Civil Authorities are corrupt in many ways, (like in the days of the Roman Empire when Paul appealed to Caesar, and Jesus when was unjustly killed for our sins) we as Christians should be willing to do what is right even when it is to our own hurt. And God is still Sovereign, and carries the government on his shoulders.
Cheryl, absolutely right. Paul says this: “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar” (Acts 25:11). I would not receive anyone into membership who was trying to evade responsibility for anything he had done, even if the evasion techniques were perfectly legal.
Honest question from a minister on the ground. I generally take the approach that I will work as hard as possible to keep the children in our ministry safe, and also to keep my name above reproach. I hate child predators and will gladly toss them to the civil authorities, corrupt or not. But I have to say that if I am ever falsely accused of sexual impropriety, I am fully prepared to resign and walk away from the ministry that day. I am called to the ministry and will spend the rest of my life growing the kingdom of God in some form, but preserving my family and our reputation is far more important to me than any specific job. The current hostility to ministers by inside folk like Boz, and even by folk on this very board at times, combined with the fact that most churchmen are simply far too cowardly to face the secular forces against us makes me think that I would not have the support necessary. I have been told by at least 5 other ministers that they have the same attitude. Are we wrong for this approach? Sometimes I feel like this might be the cowardly way out, but at present far too many of our Christian elders are more concerned with placating secularists, who openly hate Western culture, than protecting innocent ministers. The fear of being accused of protecting predators by RHE and the leftist Nazis in the media for standing up for due process is too much for most of American Christianity. I would happily push back against something like if I thought it would be worthwhile. At present I don’t think it would be. Am I wrong for having this attitude?
BJ, I understand the attitude, and I think you are right about how the leadership of the modern church generally is more interested in peace and quiet than in biblical justice. But if we are in the battle, this is what the battle is like. And I am not sure about walking away “for the sake of your family.” I am not sure they would let you walk away, and besides, sometimes the best way to protect those you love is to turn and fight. There could be a way of walking away that demonstrates that our secular age found your breaking point, just like they found the breaking point of cowardly temporizers a lot earlier.
Re “Who Wants to be Post Darwinian?” The statement “It is striking that postmodernists never want to be post-Darwinian” seems both untrue and unhelpful, in that it cuts Christians off from a large group of potential allies. There is a massive industry within the postmodern, cultural-Marxist, SJW movement devoted to hysterical denial of the basic scientific facts of human biology, heredity, and evolution, i.e. to the view that humans are magically exempt from the Darwinian processes observable in the rest of the animal kingdom: see especially the ruthless efforts to shut down any assertion (or even discussion) of the biological basis for human sexual differences (as rooted in some billion-odd years of evolution, from the Darwinian perspective) or the biological heredity of human intelligence and personality traits. During the current phase of our spiritual warfare, any honest Darwinian atheist and rationalist is going to find himself in the position of the character Angus MacPhee, from the C.S. Lewis novel That Hideous Strength: fighting alongside the followers of a God in whom he doesn’t himself believe, against a system of lies and indoctrination that is as fundamentally irrational, unscientific, and unnatural as it is unchristian. Best regards,
Jonathan, actually I agree with your analysis here, except for the part of how making my point in some way “cuts us off” from such allies. After all, Ransom’s views were absurd to MacPhee, but MacPhee was still with him. A modern example would be Jordan Peterson, who is a Darwinist (see below), but who is not hostile to Christians, and Christians are not hostile to him. We differ, but I think we understand the differences. And while I grant that the radical egalitarians are denying some of the consequences of Darwinism, they don’t deny the root. We need to challenge them to deny the root.
I read with interest your piece on Rachael Denhollander. Very good as usual. At one point you appealed to the Proverbs, “He that answereth a matter before he hearers it. . .” and “He that first in his own cause. . .” Very right and proper and important to remember in our current cultural climate. However, I think this is a thing you stumbled into yourself a few weeks back when the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee released their memo. I intended to write you at the time. I was troubled for two reasons. That there are illegal and unethical goings on is to be expected. However, to pass judgement as you did before a response has been given and while so very many facts are still unknown to us seems the height of folly. In fact, Trump repeatedly blocked the Democratic response from release and when it was released, depending on the reader’s prior commitments, it could be understood as significantly undermining key claims of the Republican memo. So it seemed to me your hasty and strong response was wrongheaded on two counts: You answered before all the facts were known (which in this case may prevent us from ever commenting on the case). And you answered before hearing both sides, basing your conclusions on just one sides account. In spite of my differing opinion on this issue, I enjoy your writing and appreciate the why you help me think. Keep it up.
Martin, thanks. Let me first say that what you allege is an ever present possibility when talking about national controversies. I grant the principle applies even there, in other words. But I thought I knew enough from other sources to be able to say what I did, even though both memos had not been released. But had the Democratic memo contained a real surprise, it would have been my responsibility to retract and apologize.
Dear Doug: I don’t know if you’ve been following this, but Idaho appears to be at the forefront of fighting against ObamaCare. https://wp.me/p3Oxl5-sM Not everything the state is pushing is promoting liberty, but for the most part whatever y’all are putting in the water seems to be working.
Bill, the water is all natural and that is why it is so healthy.
Belated Response to the Wim Wams
I just sent “Woke With the Wim-Wams” to my mailing list with the following introduction: “This will make you shout. As powerful a presentation of the gospel as you will hear. It leaves today’s attacks upon it helplessly exposed and useless. This will not only break your chains, but set your feet a’dancing! Read, remember and believe.” Thanks, Doug,
Robert, thanks much.
I share Seth’s website problem and I am on Chrome.
Matt, very sorry. Others . . . are there any Chrome users out there who don’t have a problem accessing the site?
“Check the Back Seat” My family and I were wondering what the joke was supposed to mean.
Anna, whenever there is a cartoon, make sure you click on it to open up the post. Sometimes the caption doesn’t show on the front page.
Trump Is Still the President
Keep Jehu in office as long as possible to keep the slaughter going. We can always elect a Solomon years down the line to build the temple with less, red-, er . . . blue-stained hands.
Patrick, so to speak.
I thank you for this. From the beginning, the character in the Bible which Trump mirrors most has been Samson. Like Samson, Trump is morally compromised, not the kind of man you want your lovely Jewish daughter to marry. Like the Jewish leadership of that time, the Pubbies have been in cahoots with the Philistine Lords who rule the Democratic Party. Like Samson, Trump held out the hope that he would be a disruptor. And, so, he has been. And so he promises to continue to be a disruptor. He is running against the Republican party every bit as much as he is running against the Democrats. Our Heavenly Father, whose love of irony knows no limits, has given us (i.e. we orthodox Christians) a Samson to provide us some wiggle room. Will we recognize Samson for who he is and what he is doing? So far as I can see right now, the verdict has yet to appear.
Bill, right. We need to focus less on what Trump is doing with God, and more on what God is doing with Trump. This is not an ordinary situation.
On Plodcast last night you mentioned a little diddy about Trump being accused of being Hitler, but also being asked to take away all of our guns. You stated you couldn’t remember where you saw it. I believe you were referring to a Babylon Bee article.
Todd, thanks much.
Pastor Wilson, Examples of choosing the king via democratic process are not so plentiful in Scripture in contrast with, say, God hand selecting through one of His prophets. As such, so it is not obvious to me that we should always select our President based on our traditionally accepted conservative Christian parameters of evaluation (look where it’s gotten us). I am not big on the principle of voting for the lesser of two evils either. I much prefer to write in or not vote in protest of bad choices. But as I ponder the question you put forward (“would’ya vote to re-elect Trump?”) here is another evaluation principle worth considering: vote for the one that God seems to be presently using for His purposes. In other words, would a reasonable rationale for which a conscientious believer could vote for Trump be that against all odds, and much to our consternation, God seems to have placed Him in power and is using Him for His good purposes. In light of that, and without a compelling reason to believe things have changed, we should keep the ball rolling, and confirm God’s consternating choice. Thus, our vote is not, “I love this guy and want to re-elect him,” but rather, “I think God intends to keep using Him, even though it makes my skin crawl.” What do you think?
Joseph, yes. I think that is precisely the question we should be posing. I haven’t answered it for myself yet, but I do think we know enough to see that it is the question.
Peter Leans In
“. . . the feminist mind starts by banning AR-15s, and ends by banning anything that might, in any possible world, remind them of one. The liberal mind starts by saying that it is ‘common sense’ to keep guns out of schools, but they always end by expelling the kid who ate his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.” Wonderful clarity! Except for knowing something about the origin days of Pop Tart, one would think that that was a direct quote of GKC. Might one quibble ever so slightly with using the term “lean in?” The term occurs often in that specie of feminist cant that you regularly challenge. Hearing a man say “lean in” generates a cringe similar to that created by a reformed pastor mis-over-using (thank you Mrs. Malaprop) “gender” to avoid even an implication of antithesis, instead of the incisively correct word “sex.” “Lean in” is solemnly invoked by feminized oh-so-woke males these days. That may be redundant but woke-ness is one heck of a virtue signaling moving target. With or without the wim-wams. “Lean in” seems like another Trojan Horse Term with a surface semblance of straight-forward meaning. But once dragged inside the gates of our thinking, it empties its enemy occupants to pillage any law abiding ideas milling around unarmed in there. Forgive me if this is a “frivolous Friday” complaint, if the critique doesn’t pass Wordsmithy etymological review, or if the irony of pigs leaning in slipped right by. Keep up the enjoyable good work,
Peter, in my deep desire never to join all my Reformed brethren in becoming one woke sister, I promise that I will try to do better.
So am I to understand that good Christian men are cowards for following the bad teaching in the church and they need to have the courage to defy their wives, their pastors, and their culture? You have just made the ultimate argument for MGTOW, which I am sure was not your intent. How about you doing something courageous for a change. Start blaming women for becoming the tarts and harpies. They weren’t forced by society into this role. They need to be admonished to start exercising biblical submission in their marriages instead of being placated with all the things submission does NOT mean. Every pastor who preaches on Ephesians 5 these days is basically cowering before the women in the congregation, “Relax, ladies, submission doesn’t mean you are a doormat, it doesn’t mean your opinion doesn’t matter. Please don’t hurt me.” I am so tired of the celebrity pastors telling men to “man up.” I am so ready for them to “man up” and start confronting the tarts and harpies in their congregations to knock it off already.
Mitch, cowering before the ladies is really bad. Running away from them is worse. The former call it servant leadership and the latter call it going their own way. And, just curious, how did the words tarts and harpies first get into this conversation? Who uses them, and words like them?
Men should be trained to ask their prospective wives if the prospective wives are willing to submit or not. The husband will agree to sacrifice for his wife and her children, and the wife will agree to respect her husband in all things, which includes his headship of the family. She will agree not to lecture him, and not to instruct him. If she is not willing, then the man in question should move on. He can go his own way in celibacy, maintaining his hard-won freedom, until such time as he finds a woman who is willing. That is extra hard these days given the disaster of feminism, but it is better to be celibate and free, than married and enchained.
Joseph, there are more options than those two, but given those two options, you are exactly right.
As I live through the wreckage of this fatherless epidemic, both personally, as my dad left when I was 9 (I’m now 41), and as a teacher in the city where the vast majority of my students have no fathers in the home, I wonder if there’s any sort of precedent we can compare this to. Do you know if losing darn near 3% of the male population during the Civil War had any sort of similar ripple effects leading into the 1900s? As always, thanks for your faithfulness.
Andy, I think our situation is worse. It is not just the physical absence of a father that cripples boys. If his father died in battle, honorably, in a very real sense a boy still has his father. But if a father deserts his family because he found somebody cuter than his wife out on the east coast somewhere, the situation is devastating.
In the wake of the destruction of healthful relationships between the sexes, both sexes are pressed into worse behavior. Reacting to the “hookers or harpies” dilemma, a large and growing group of men have decided to just blow off the whole “building a cooperative relationship with women” idea. The MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement is the growing secular answer from men who won’t capitulate to the feminist trap. They point out, and in the absence of God are quite correct, that the current secular idea of marriage holds absolutely nothing to the benefit of men, so why exactly should they be interested in volunteering to be a doormat for women? With the abolition of real marriage, nobody gets what they need or want.
Justin, I agree that they are avoiding one feminist trap, but only by falling into another one.
In the circles I run in (PCA), servant leadership has consistently been defined identically to your definition of masculinity, that is “the glad assumption of the sacrificial responsibilities that God assigned to men.” What that means to me is clear leadership without lording it over my family or flock, no bluster or intimidation. That includes leading by example, not from behind.
Douglas, I am glad it is presented that way in your circles. I am not concerned to quibble about words—servant leadership is great, provided a man really has a servant’s heart, and provided he really leads. But the phrase has (in circles other than yours) a phrase to cover for cowardice.
Re Masculinity: You have beaten this drum often, and I heartily agree. However— although you seem to acknowledge that Abigails exist—I have not seen your advice to them. By Abigails I mean the wives who fear the Lord, who gladly embrace Biblical womanhood / submission for themselves and Biblical manhood / leadership for their husbands. But their husbands are fools, perhaps not in every area, perhaps not to a degree that would serve as grounds for divorce, but nonetheless in crucial and heart-breaking areas. And these Abigails have sought the Lord, and searched their own hearts, and sought counsel from trustworthy individuals. What do you say to the Abigails among us?
Let me give some examples. Husband is in chronic pain but refuses to go to the doctor. Husband embitters children by harsh treatment, not enough to call child protective services, but enough to create significant relationship barriers and destroy the peace of the home. Neither of these is grounds for divorce, but should the wife just submit?
Laura, on some things she should just submit (e.g. the back pain scenario). On the harsh treatment issue, that is the kind of thing that should go to the church leadership. But with that said, you are right. I need to write more practical help for the long-suffering Abigails.
How much are you paying attention to Jordan Peterson? Have you listened to any of his lectures, especially the psychological interpretation of the Bible ones? Do you plan on reading 12 Rules? I would be very interested in seeing you interact more with things he’s said.
David, I do plan to interact some more. I am listening to 12 Rules now.
Re: Masculinity without Permission That last paragraph about Peterson echoes something I’ve been thinking for the past few months. I like Peterson’s way of doing it better than the church’s way of not doing it. We should try and emulate his courage and obvious penchant for stating hard truths compassionately before poking holes. The article also reminds me of my own cowardice in several areas of my life. So thanks for that. I think :P As an aside, your “Kill the Dragon, Get the Girl” theme helped inspire my children’s book, so thank you for that and the first Wordsmithy that I had the pleasure to attend.
Masculinity without Permission-possibly the best article of yours that I have ever read! BTW, I really enjoy Jordan Peterson. He speaks to this often. This exchange between him and my favorite lesbian/atheist Camille Paglia is really enlightening. Begins at 1:40 ish but the whole thing is good. Many Thanks,
Nat, thanks. There was no link though.
“Jordan Peterson is not a Christian. That’s right, he isn’t. So why is he sounding more biblical than you guys? The fact that he is not as Christian should not be the foundation of your argument. It should be the foundation of your embarrassment.” Dang. That’s good.
Chris, thanks very much.