Gaslighting is a Thing
I’d encourage you to avoid liberal categories like gaslighting. It definitely might happen, but which is more likely in our culture — a woman genuinely being manipulated, or one who just has a problem submitting?
Dan, well, actually, I have seen plenty of both. Gaslighting is a thing, and if I don’t use that term, I would have to coin a synonym. And the need for a term doesn’t disappear simply because of frequency of occurrence.
On Wives and Husbands Leaving
Do you think the permission given to wives in 1 Cor. 7 is restricted to wives? If not, it seems to give a large loophole for those gents with hearts like Hillel. Or, do you think it can be analogously applied to husbands, with the same condition that they may not remarry? Thanks!
Ty, I do think that it can be applied by analogy, and that men are sometimes confronted with impossible and intractable situations. But I also believe that husbands as a general rule have more options that should be considered and tried before a separation.
I find myself rather confused by the first in your latest series of letter posts, “So You Married a Feminist.” The fictional husband admits that his wife gets along with him and is a good mother and housekeeper . . . she just doesn’t agree with his politics on certain issues. Ok. Married couples don’t always agree, I get it. But why does that make her a feminist who must repent? Must a wife agree with every one of her husband’s political stances, in order to qualify as submissive? Is he always right, by virtue of being the man, despite her experiences that led her to different conclusions than his? Do I need to wait to read the rest of the series before worrying about any of this? Thank you for your time and attention. I’m not trying to be contentious, just looking for clarification.
Erin, no, you don’t need to wait. Each of these letters are stand-alone letters, not cumulative. I don’t believe that a wife has to agree with her husband on everything, especially politics, in order to be submissive. Submission is not the condition of having no independent thoughts. But I set this fictional scenario up in such a way as to reveal to the husband that all their disagreements had one thing in common, and it was the relationship between the sexes. And that meant that she was viewing their relationship in a very different way than he was. This is quite different than her viewing the Federal Reserve in a different way than he does, or the appointment of the next Secretary of the Interior.
Perhaps not directly related to this, but related to the #MeToo movement. The biblical requirement of two or three witnesses to prove a crime is clear, but how does that work in the context of Deut. 22:25-27? Does the Deuteronomy law not imply that, in certain contexts, the accuser’s word is assumed right and the accused is put to death on the account of one witness?
Kevin. I don’t believe so. I hold the two/three witness principle to be a universal. In that situation, there were obviously no witnesses to the rape (especially if it didn’t happen). But if he wasn’t there, then he was somewhere else—and he may have been where two or three people give him an alibi. Or if the rape did happen, and he is questioned about it, and he breaks, then we have two witnesses—the woman and the rapist confessing. But I believe we must require independent corroboration. If we don’t, then any man is vulnerable to false accusation.
Culture War Pause
Not responding to any particular post of yours, just a general inquiry. I appreciate your insight into the things going on in our culture. Have you seen the ‘Call to pause the culture war’ RNS has been pushing lately? I have written a little blog post on it here, if you have any interest in glancing at it: link. Blessings,
Josh, thanks for the link, and I couldn’t agree with you more. “Let us both lay down our arms, you first.”
I attended the University of Idaho from 1996-2001. During that time my interactions with friends and acquaintances connected to Christ Church left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I could use the excuse that I was immature in my faith, which is true to some extent, or I could be honest and admit that I found your approach to be slightly offensive to me and greatly offensive to unbelievers. Fast forward about a dozen years. I stumbled on your blog through a link to something you had written concerning some current event, and I found that the perceived offensiveness had faded (at least in my mind). I really started to follow it closely during the 2016 Presidential primaries. I shared your disdain for Trump and found your ability to clearly articulate why you couldn’t just go with the lesser of two evils, and eventually chose a 3rd party candidate. But I found your satirical wit and rather blunt, yet reasoned writing style to be quite scrumptious when compared with my aforementioned bite-size Costco sample. I doubt your approach has mellowed all that much over the years; quite likely my tastes have migrated from PBR to some local micro-brewed scotch ale. I now thoroughly enjoy reading your stuff, even the notes on Calvinism—which I still have a hard time swallowing.
Now on to what I was actually writing for: Your Cavalcade was outstanding, I have long thought that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and child-brides, and your suggestion of adding P to the ever growing list of depraved behaviors follows that same pattern. I know you have pointed out that the church in America (and Europe), across all denominations, has been making some stupendous compromises to be more culturally relevant—most of them centered around redefining all things sexual (Revoice being a prime example). It would be easy to become discouraged while observing that any attempts to point out where we’ve gone astray or calls to repentance are ignored, justified with emotionally paralyzing scenarios, or defiantly shouted down. But something that several missionaries to Africa have shared the last couple years at my church’s annual missions conference has been encouraging. They are seeing God change hearts in Africa at an amazing rate. In fact they report the rapid growth of Christians in Africa is outpacing the rapid decline of Christians in the West. I’ve been thinking that maybe as the Western Church continues to uphold self-centered, world-pleasing multiculturalism as their idol, it will be a tad ironic when the Church in Africa overshadows the West in preaching the gospel. Then I ran across this: link. Apparently the Anglican Church in Africa is calling the rest of the Anglicans to repent for the way they have distorted the gospel, and they are doing it from Jerusalem—even in one video clip I saw an Archbishop (Okoh) from Africa calling the Archbishop of Canterbury to read the Scriptures and repent. Clearly God is sovereign and His ways are higher than our ways, so this might not be going where I think it’s going, but this will prove interesting to watch. What thoughts does a quick study of this bring to your mind? Anyway, Blessings to you and yours, and please continue to serve up tasty tidbits. Peace,
Jesse, thanks for the kind words. I fully recognize that my writing can be an acquired taste, and am glad to have stopped bothering you. As for your larger point about global Christianity, I believe you are exactly right. There is much reason for optimism on that front, even though corrupt societies are falling apart. If you haven’t read Philip Jenkins on this, I recommend him highly. Here is a link to his The Next Christendom.
Any source recommendations for people struggling with the claims of modern historical-critical scholarship and text criticism that seems to undercut inerrancy? Specifically dealing with folks like Barth, Bultmann, Tillich, etc. I have had my faith in inerrancy shaken (but not destroyed) recently by folks like this, and I was wondering where I can find solid teaching that deals with these scholars honestly. I have found it somewhat in folks like Don Carson, but there don’t seem to be many out there who are tackling these schools of thought that are so influential and are growing more and more accepted in academia. I don’t take my morals or truths from the accepted standards of today’s academic tradition, but I respect their educated opinions and would like to have honest discussion with their findings and research. Thanks!
Jeeves, although he himself has inadequate views of biblical inspiration, I have found C.S. Lewis invaluable in puncturing the pretensions of “the assured results of modern scholarship.” And although I don’t know what your precise questions might be, I would start with a couple of basic books: F.F. Bruce has a book called The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? And J.I. Packer’s Fundamentalism and the Word of God. This is not to agree with everything such defenders of the Scriptures might say, but I think they help wonderfully in demolishing the scholarship shine that attends so much unbelief.
E-Books, Galore! Doug, so is there an e-book on what Justice is and it isn’t (as defined by Scripture) in the works? Thanks!
Trey, yes, there is. I hope it will be available within a few months.
Revoice and More
There is something insidious I find about the language used in these debates about homosexuality. In particular, some of the Revoice speakers are fond of using the language of Side A and Side B Christians. Why not simply use terms as “traditional” and “progressive” to describe the positions, terms which would certainly be accurate as far as they go? I cannot help but think that using those terms would illuminate the fact that the one depends on novel and newly invented interpretations while the other is rooted in a long and deep history of Christian theology, anthropology, and biblical understanding. Hence even this Side A/ Side B language seems an attempt to normalize, flatten, or create a perceived parity, between the two positions, as if either are perfectly legitimate biblical interpretations and equally endorsed by good saints throughout the ages, and which will have no impact beyond that one, isolated, limited disagreement . . . on the level of debates over sprinkling vs immersion. It reminds me of the duplicitous way I hear people refer to the “penal substitution theory of the atonement,” as if to imply that this perspective is simply one of a variety of possible legitimate theories (just as valid as Christus Victor, Moral Influence, etc.), and as if the embrace of one over against the other wouldn’t have deep ramifications in all other areas of our theology.
Daniel, you are exactly right. The first wave is not intended to convince everybody. The first wave is intended to make it a matter of legitimate debate, something “within the pale.” And thus far they are not winning the debate—but that is not their objective. They are gaining their objective.
A Buggy App
I downloaded your app on my iPhone 6. When I open it and start scrolling, it keeps skipping further and further down the page without me doing anything. I have a screen recording if you’re interested in seeing it. PS Under the “Book Log” where you list your “Dad’s books” you should list the book on bitterness that he wrote. I use it quite a bit in counseling. It is a great little book/booklet.
Michael, thanks for the nudge on both counts. I will pass the app bug information along, and will add the Bitterness booklet.
Re: This Cavalcade of Concupiscence Not long after reading your piece on “Adding the P,” I came across this in my inbox: Funny / not funny: you even got the TED Talk part right.
Dan, yes, it is all around us. But the TED talk jibe was not prescience on my part. I had already seen a link to that talk floating around.
On the bisexual topic from the last letters and the on the PCA French-Kissing the World: I am a bisexual man, who is church-going and in a monogamous relationship, without any celibate friend that I channel sexual energy towards, I’m completely fulfilled with my single relationship. You’re comments about bisexual people being allowed in church was quite hurtful, and the way you walked it back in your response to people’s letters was far from helpful. In your article all you did was condemn all bisexuals, you didn’t add any of the qualifiers that you did later. On the Revoice issue: I would be curious what your stance is. You are very quick to attack any attempt for the church to welcome anyone from the LGBT community, but you seem to have no solution. We live in a complex world and there are bisexual and gay and all the other type of people here, some of which God has chosen to save. What would you do with them? Would you rather ignore the issue and push them away? The PCA has at least made an attempt to deal with the complexity of the situation, for right or wrong. Also let me add that I do not think that this is officially sanctioned by the PCA, only some members. Prominent speakers such as from Covenant Seminary have expressed their disagreement with it. But all that to say, how would you deal with it? I would appreciate you putting forward a solution when you attack everyone else’s.
Kong, sorry, but I didn’t walk anything back. The fact that you take faithful monogamy as a given is hurtful and hateful to those bisexuals who do not want to be forced into a choice that permanently shuts off one half of their sexuality. Why should they have to choose, just because you are happy with having chosen? As for the message that I would have for bisexuals, it is the same as it is for everyone—repent and believe. My offered solution is the same—genuine pastoral care. Part of that pastoral care is teaching them that there is no such thing as gay and bisexual “types of people.” Past sexual practices do not define who a baptized Christian is. Christ defines that.
Let the attack begin! I live in rural Alabama and no such public schools exist anymore (if they ever actually did). Oh, yeah the school board may have such deacons and Sunday School admins on it, but the same godless information is being used to indoctrinate, including all the “woke” ideas about sexuality as the city public schools. Your suggestion that there might be a few learning institutions left that reject these new-fangled ideas and instead put forward the crown rights of Christ are better directed toward the current Christian schools, as the majority of these are also just public schools with a thin coating of “Jesus” over them.
BJ, thank you for your report from the front lines. And your point about many Christian schools is also well-taken.
Your logic is airtight. However as I see the trend of the Overton window the thing that used to be unthinkable but now has fringe supporters and is taken seriously as a discussion point is bestiality. That would be the next perversion to receive normalcy. Furries are not seen as perverts, just slightly kinky but otherwise ordinary neighbors. I’m not surprised if Huff Post has already interviewed someone and, with the only moral left being that it must be consensual, raised the possibility that animals willingly consent.
Luke, yes. Bestiality is certainly waiting in the wings. The second B.
I appreciate the pastoral wisdom in this, Doug. Thankfully my wife is not a feminist, but the principle of continually “growing in grace” as the head of a household remains most applicable. If there is real, supernatural heart change going on within the husbands, I suspect it will be difficult for the Christian wives to not follow suit. Thanks.
Thank you for your teaching here. I completely and totally agree with the fact that I, as covenantal head, need to take responsibility for family sins before God and my family. I do, however, have two epistemological questions related to this: (1) What is the line between exercising biblical authority and being a jerk? Does it have to do with the content and scriptural viability of my leadership and requisite decision making, as well as my motivation for making what feminists and liberal Christians would consider “demands”? (2) What would I do in a position when I am trying to lead biblically and my wife will have none of it? Key people in my life have basically told me that I need to respect my wife, let her be herself, and meet somewhere in the middle. I’m not so sure this is Scriptural. I’m not married, but I have observed situations around me that have triggered these questions, and when I eventually do get married I want to start off on the right foot.
Joe, in every marriage there are multiple day-to-day opportunities to be a bona fide jerk. If you are not being a jerk in any of those situations, then when you exercise biblical authority at a necessary time, it will be hard to identify you as a jerk in that situation, because everyone knows that this is not what you are. Secondly, the key people in your life may be leading you astray. The ideal of “servant leadership” is often grossly misconstrued. There is a kind of servant leadership that does imitate Christ, but there is also a kind of servant leadership that spends a lot of mental energy lying to wives. Take this for an example. What would the key leaders in your life say about this bit of advice? “Never, ever apologize to your wife if you have done nothing wrong.” If you have done nothing wrong, and you apologize to your wife simply in order to make peace, you are trying to build a good and godly relationship on the foundation of a lie.
Oh, you don’t know how I needed to read this today—and I on the feminine side of the equation. I believe that all women since Eve are feminists at heart and it is a loving God who helps us overcome it. If I were not born again, I’m afraid of what I would be today. All praise be to God!
Melody, thank you.
Everybody’s a Critic, Part 2
Birch? Poplar? I’m seeing aspen (which however belongs in the greater poplar family).
DC, take it up with Desmond.