As the Letter Cometh

Intransigence is Such a Great Word

Regarding your well detailed essay on godly intransigence I have experienced significant whiplash on this matter. Back in 2004 I had moved to my new home in an area populated with Democrats. Since this was a presidential election year I knew the overall sentiment was for John Kerry based on the signs populating the yards—signs for Kerry and those deriding President Bush. As a dutiful Republican I went to the local Republican office and picked up my Bush sign. Here’s the issue: I had a neighbor a few houses down who had signs expressing his displeasure with the President, and those in particular disturbed me. I stood facing his yard and with less-than-godly intransigence I jammed the sign into the ground and I’m sure muttered a few ungodly words. Now remember, I had just moved to the area and no one really knew me. Well they did now, at least they thought they did, because I was a Republican—or worse a Bush supporter. After several days I started to think about what I had done. I became convicted that my sign-jamming was less than pleasing to God. Not because it was wrong to show my support, but it was not the right manner of intransigence. I realized it was out of order. I declared my support of the President to my neighbors before they had a chance to know me. I had made my Christian faith secondary. Before one word was uttered from my mouth I was branded by my neighbors as one of “those guys.” I realize it’s not wrong to be one of “those guys,” but I regretted that I didn’t get to know my neighbors first before declaring political support without providing context. That’s why I appreciate your statement: “Intransigence is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to life, as a handful of hard cases seem to believe.” That is the essence. Sometimes godly intransigence may be a firm resolute statement confronting wrong or evil thinking, sometimes it’s more nuanced. My lesson has been godly intransigence requires humble prayer and an awareness that were it not for God’s grace, I would be on the receiving end of correction for my ungodly ways.

Ron

Ron, thank you. Good distinction.


I have been reading for some time and count myself among the young men seeking to chart a faithful course in these choppy seas who find your writing a very helpful guide. Indeed, I find myself forming certain thoughts as I continually try to assess our culture from a biblical social imaginary only to find you saying it as well and better. Sort of like thinking God’s thoughts after Him and after you, in the proper order and in the humility of our human limitations. Finding some alignment in that sense helps me to think that perhaps I am not insane after all. This intransigence piece is a prime example. Having attended one of Andy Stanley’s churches in my early adult life and with many friends and family still there, I cannot understand how a move toward complete reliance on the trustworthiness of Christ could feel like a retreat to the citadel and not a charge into the whole Earth of which He is Lord and Master. So it is that your writing unabashedly for the reformation of our society explicitly on the basis of Christian faith is equally inspiring and heartening. My sense is that others like myself find a growing itch to fight—and your insights help us to know when, where and how, recognizing that much of the battle remains within. Thank you for leading the charge.

Mike

Mike, thanks.


Re: Intransigence as the Key to Reform Amen. We’re testing an intransigence club here in Godly Southern California. It turns out even lefty jurists don’t like government entities withholding business from even casual vendors on the basis of their political opinions. The penalties are substantial and they can be used to put fear in those who face off against Christian intransigence. Link.

James

James, thanks for the link.


Put your church and denomination on notice that: You aren’t going anywhere. And you aren’t going to change. Is this as opposed to the practice of the orthodox over the last two or three generations, which has been “You aren’t going to change. I’m going away somewhere?” Wonder if it would work in reverse. For example, what if the orthodox showed up in numbers in, say the PCUSA, and announced “We’re baaaack! And we haven’t changed!?” Wonder what would happen then?

John

John, exactly. We have been taking our ball and going home for a long time now. Maybe we should try something else.


A Vaccine Question

I am so appreciative of all the wise counsel your family provides in the way of books, articles, and speaking engagements. Thank you! I hear what you are saying in your “brief word on vaccines,” and I respect where you are coming from. Can you provide your thoughts on aborted fetal cells being used as vaccine ingredients, and the morality of participating in the end product? According to the CDC website, there are a decent handful of vaccines using specifically WI-38 and MRC-5 (aborted infants according to the CDC). The only life-honoring choice that I plainly see is to refuse these particular vaccines on account of the morality of the issue. I welcome your thoughts.

Kasey

Kasey, thanks for the question. In my mind, the use of the remains of aborted children at the headwaters of some vaccines is the one (very) strong anti-vaccine argument. And I am pretty sure I wrote an article on it somewhere here at Mablog, and the only problem is that I can’t find it. So, with your permission, can I crowd source this one? Does anybody remember if I wrote on this and, if so, where it might be?


Food Catholic

Saw the following and had to send it: link : There is a 3D printed vegan “steak” out there. The reaction of the diner is exactly everything you opined in Food Catholic. Smug to infinity! There’s so much to grin about here that I wanted to thank you again for Food Catholic, my wife and I are enjoying every scrumptious page.

Ron

Ron, thanks. Glad you are enjoying the book.


On Keeping Your Kids

Sanctification and the Bell Curve/Keep Your Kids: How do you distinguish between promises and principles? For instance I have heard parents cling to Proverbs 22:6 as a promise when their little Bobby is off at college living like a heathen. I have been taught that this verse is a principle (as well as most of the Proverbs) to live by, but not a promise. Do you agree and how do you go about deciphering which it is? Thank you!

Chadd

Chadd, yes. I believe it is a proverb, which means it is not in the same category as “all triangles have three sides.” But proverbs are generally true, which is not the same thing as meaningless. Hard work leads to wealth, laziness to poverty. There are exceptions, but we are supposed to use proverbs in order to teach in a way that affects behavior. And Proverbs teaches us that when children live disgracefully, and parents are ashamed, this is an appropriate response. And besides, parents who cling hard to Prov. 22:6 ought to lean in the direction of the conditional. Did they bring him up in the way he should go?


Was Adam Chinese?

Correction. Adam and Eve couldn’t have been Chinese, because if they were, the Fall would not have happened . . . they would have eaten the snake.

Steve

Steve, my hypothetical did not consider that angle.


I read somewhere years ago that there was archaeological (human remains) evidence of a Caucasian presence in now-China before the evolution/arrival of Asiatics in the territory? Info was stated or implied to be suppressed or minimized, like alleged evidence about early “white” presence in the Americas. haven’t read anything about Chinese being in Cleveland around Adam/Eve time—maybe they were (!), but have to ask: were the Asiatic races separated out from other races at time of biblical first couple (whenever that time was)?

Malcolm

Malcolm, here is the short answer. I believe that the different ethnic groupings that we have today are all downstream from the Tower of Babel, and are the result of genetic traits being reinforced by intermarriages within cultural and linguistic communities. That said, the antediluvians would have looked more like one of our current races that the others, and the point of my joke is that we should not consider that antediluvian type to have been Caucasian.


On Learning From Women

Thanks for the recommend! This seems like a fitting place to ask a question that I’ve been meaning to run by you for some time. I know there is a difference between women preaching from the pulpit, and reading female authors. And in the black and white cases (such as pulpits and books) it remains fairly clear. How would you articulate the boundaries in terms of something like a college campus ministry? There is actual preaching (as in when I speak), but then we also have invited some of the older ladies from our congregation to give their testimony to the mixed group. I feel fairly comfortable with that, since they are simply telling what God has done in their lives, and as such is profitable for all of us. But would there be a place for Mrs. Dillehay to come and give a talk on envy in that setting? Would CRF ask her to come give that talk to a mixed group? If so, how would articulate the difference between that kind of theological instruction and the pulpit? If not, how would you articulate the difference between men reading the book, and men listening to her give a talk on the topic? Thanks!

Joe

Joe, I distinguish between women teaching men and men learning from women. The former is prohibited, and the latter is inescapable. So I would boil it down to intention and presentation. If Nancy is speaking to a women’s group at a church somewhere, and their sound guy up in the booth learns something, that is no problem. That is not how Nancy was setting herself up. So panel discussions are fine, testimonies are fine, even if men learn something. But an approach that opens the Word with authority, if a woman is doing it, and if men are present, and if she is addressing them in that way—not fine.


Love and Respect

As a cardiac surgeon in today’s work environment, I have many female colleagues, both as fellow surgeons and as support staff (PA’s, nurses, etc.). Is it appropriate to use the understanding of the love/respect dynamic in work relationships? Obviously there are barriers and lines not to cross, and there is the inherently backward cultural phenomenon of mom leaving the home for 80-100hrs/week to do her cardiac career . . . but with those qualifications, should I “be a companion” when my female colleagues have a hard time in a case or lose a patient?

Nathan

Nathan, I would use the love/respect dynamic at work only in the broadest possible contexts (e.g. groups). In any other way, you are playing with a lit stick of dynamite.


Regarding “Loving Her, Respecting Him,” I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it better said than this. My husband chortled heavily, and I’m quite sure “you’re messing with my nail” might become a byword and a proverb in our home. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/5O11_Ma20Rk

Monique

Monique, yes. That clip is a good example why the Internet can be such a blessing.


How Jesus Picked Fights

I recently watched your YouTube video of how Jesus picked fights. So, I began to read the gospel of Matthew through the lens that you set forth in your video. I discovered that Jesus was a hard nose on many occasions especially when interacting with people who were in positions of influence and he ripped on his disciples pretty often and at one point declared that he was getting tired of a group seeking for signs as foundations for their faith. And Paul was no slacker either. He is was a master at sanctified sarcasm. Thanks for the new perspective on Jesus. I think it makes me love him more. He’s the big brother that makes the bullies back down.

Tony

Tony, exactly. It is amazing how many people read the gospels and come away with the idea that Jesus was a buttercup.


Our Interaction Continues

With no desire to continue the dispute—as I also understand and believe to be your desire—in light of your latest letters column, I simply wanted to make sure that you had seen my public reply in the comments thread of my last article, replying to your “A Gent Named Hohn Cho” piece, which I will re-paste below for convenience:

“I will simply say in response, hopefully for the benefit of clarity rather than being trivially quarrelsome: 1) No offense was taken by me at all for Wilson’s use of “gent,” I quoted it with bemusement, and at the end of that paragraph I reiterated that I really do consider myself someone of no real account. With that said, I greatly appreciate his clarification, and he has my earnest thanks for it. 2) To be clear, I’ve never called CREC a “toy denomination” and certainly didn’t intend to imply that. I would never feel comfortable doing so, based on the little I know about them. My only point in raising the issue of (again, potential) bias is because that is an inherent danger in ALL in-house investigations . . . not that they’re inherently invalid, but that the pressure to soft-pedal is real. Whether and to what extent that happened in the CREC Report, I couldn’t and wouldn’t say, because that is precisely the type of irresponsible charge without evidence that I deplore. 3) I agree on the importance of impartiality and share Wilson’s (and God’s) hatred of double-standards. Here’s an article where I wrote about precisely that, and I’ve referred to the concept in several other articles. And based on what I’ve seen so far, I do think an independent investigation of issues in the SBC could be appropriate as well. With that said, I know that they’re also in the midst of their own investigation from the 2018 annual meeting, and so with the same caution about in-house investigations that I raised above, I think it’s also appropriate to see how that turns out in a couple of months. As for when and how one calls for investigations, I agree with Phil’s point from his last article: “My position is and always has been that serious charges of spiritual or sexual abuse should never be automatically rebuffed by the elders of a church. All such accusations do need to be investigated thoroughly and without partiality.” And I think one could extend that to any crime or serious wrong, such as a morally disqualifying charge. I think the rub lies in what would constitute a “serious charge” and perhaps that’s a good topic for a future article. In any event, as with all matters of wisdom, there is danger in straying too far to the right or left, on one side you have the danger of sweeping things under the rug and allowing real problems and even crimes to persist, on the other side you have the danger of investigation-palooza distracting you from anything productive . . . or even sucking you into the “wokehole” Wilson has warned about. Regardless, sincere thanks to Wilson for his final reply.”

. . . and some private comments.

Hohn Cho

Hohn, no, I had not seen your comments, and so thanks for posting them here. And thanks for tying this off with some gracious words. Let me do my part by agreeing with you that the pressure to cover for old friends can be a very real one. Good old boy networks do exist, and we have proverbs about sweeping things under the carpet for a reason. But we also have words like scapegoat for a reason, and the pressures to throw somebody out of your club when they become a PR liability is also a very real pressure. So for the sake of consistency, I am glad that you are open to the SBC calling for an investigation, but until they figure out how to do so in a way that honors biblical principle and their established polity, they really must lay off of CJ and the Sovereign Grace Churches. It is a really bad look to be distancing yourself from someone because he is not doing what you are simultaneously not doing, and with more manifold reasons for needing to do it. Equal weights and measures. If you think the SBC should consider an investigation, then your opinion should be that Sovereign Grace should consider one.

In my view, what has happened up to this point is just not right, simply not equitable. My fear is that it is ecclesiastical politics, and not biblical justice.

Hohn, thanks again for posting here.

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demosthenes1d
Member

Doug,

Regarding your use of “the bell curve” in yesterdays post: I hope they don’t let you teach about distributions!

Armin
Guest
Armin

Demo, why don’t you actually explain where he went wrong instead of being snarky.

demosthenes1d
Member

Hey Armin,

“why don’t you actually explain where he went wrong instead of being snarky.”

Because nobody asked – it was purely a drive-by on a dead board. If you ask nicely I will explain why the following sentences evince no understanding of a normal distribution (bell curve):

“And when you have one hundred thousand people using it, you can always slap a bell curve right on top of that baby. And precisely half of the people involved will be using the phrase inadequately, improperly, and without suitable qualifications.”

demosthenes1d
Member

Doug, I understand your point, but I don’t think it holds. Every distribution is unique (and many aren’t at all gaussian)… If we ask several hundred people off the street to explain cosmic inflation and have a panel of physicists review and rate their answers the results may form a bell curve, but the median response certainly won’t be high quality. The response 2 standard deviations to the right of the median will still probably be “using the phrase inadequately, improperly, and without suitable qualifications.” You can easily think of a thought experiment going the other way. Where the median… Read more »

Jane
Member

But “good enough, but could have been better” vs. “quite good” does not analogize to “didn’t get it” vs. “got it.” It may be the case that you could describe a bell curve of “how much” people grasp a Christian worldview, but it does not follow that the number of people who fail to grasp the essentials vs. essentially grasping it breaks at the top of the bell. Maybe the top of the bell is “got it, but could have been better,” or maybe the top is “didn’t get it in an important sense, but at least have some idea… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Doug,

I am going to agree generally with demo here. It does not appear you correctly understand what a bell curve is or what it really means (nor, probably, more sophisticated concepts in statistics). Perhaps you should, as a current television ad states, “Stay in your lane, bro.”

You might have still succeeded in making your point (because it’s likely the majority of people don’t understand the bell curve either), but, for a wordsmith, “it could have been better.”

Katecho
Member

When one is disposed to pick, any nit will do, but how it is picked matters.

demosthenes1d
Member

Remember, Katecho, if you ignore a nit it grows into a full grown louse.

Katecho
Member

How it is picked still matters.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Malcolm, look up the Tocharian branch of the Indo European language family. It is an extinct, eastern branch that extended into what is now Western China.

Robert
Guest
Robert

I want to follow up on Joe’s initial question. Pastors who I respect often hand out books by Ten Boom and Elliot for wide reading. Do you think there is a problem with this?

Joe Carlson
Guest
Joe Carlson

Thanks for the response! Another follow up would be, how about Bekah giving a lecture on Eve in Exile to a mixed group?

kyriosity
Member

I wonder if the post about vaccines you’re thinking of (and I’m sure I remember reading it) was actually something you wrote in a comment that disappeared along the way. I think I remember you saying that the old comments still existed somewhere in some form, so if that’s handy and searchable, it might be worth a look.

demosthenes1d
Member

I think you are right, I recall him weighing in, but it was to the effect of “the origins of some of these vaccines is a real concern and should be considered.” It may very well have been a comment.

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Regarding Vaccines: Here is a link to a chart of vaccines made from the aborted fetal cell lines vs those made from other sources: https://cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/vaccineListOrigFormat.pdf The biggest problems are the MMR and MMR-V shots which are made by Merck, mandatory in public schools and many universities, and are only available as produced from the aborted fetal cell lines. Here is an organization trying to educate folks about the dangers of aborted fetal cell line products: http://soundchoice.org/aborted-fetal-products/ My son had a severe reaction to the MMR-V shot. He experienced a low grade fever, abdominal pain (around the area of the abdominal… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Ginny, We had a similar, though less severe, response to MMR with one of our children. About 2 weeks of high fever and listlessness and pobably a month of lower grade effects. MMR has one of the worst risk profiles of common childhood vaccines (especially since the pertussis vaccine has been modified) and causes side-effects including occassional febrile seizures in some children. I am generally in support of vaccines, but parents should feel empowered to look into them and made the right choices for their families. We should also remember that herd immunity is a public good. It is subject… Read more »

Ginny Yeager
Guest
Ginny Yeager

Demosthenes1d, I agree that it is a blessing that vaccinations have, on the whole, prevented many diseases in the developed world. However, I think there are inherent risks in culturing vaccines in human fetal cells. Viruses are DNA delivery packets and mutate very readily. One could easily surmise that, if cultured in pluripotential human fetal cells, these viruses and the resultant vaccines could be incorporating human DNA, undetected by researchers. Human-fetal-cell-derived vaccines could be altering the DNA of the recipients, or triggering immune responses because of foreign human DNA, in ways not experienced when vaccines are cultured in non-human cells.… Read more »

timcraider
Member
OKRickety
Member

For any who might be interested, this can be found rather easily, if one knows the word “vaccines” was in the post title, by using Google (this may work in other search engines, too) and searching for "site:dougwils.com inurl:vaccines". Note: Using “vaccine” instead finds absolutely nothing, so one must be specific. Also, this works because the post title is used to create the URL for the post.

kyriosity
Member

Yeah, I found that one, too, but it doesn’t address the specific issue of aborted fetal cells.

Katecho
Member

It’s unfortunate for Hohn Cho (no relation) that he chose to reach for the Sitler and Wight cases in an attempt to discredit Wilson. The internet vigilante handling of those two cases was a primer on INjustice, so it’s ironic that Cho would go there to make any sort of case. In choosing to link to various internet hit pieces, and in choosing to quote only carefully selected portions of the CREC report, the effect was simply to undermine Cho’s own credibility. Rather than attempt an ad hominem dismissal of Wilson, Cho should have given attention to the relevant points… Read more »

adad0
Member

” no relation”! ; – )
That was pretty good.
Also, I take from the above exchange, that Mr. Chi and our host are more reconciled than they had been.
Let’s do be thankful for that!