Believe It or Not, More Leggings Letters

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Happy Fourth!

I prefer to say “these united States,” emphasizing both the plurality and the preeminence of the States over the Federation. And thank you so much for that passing nod to our federation. I wonder many times if it might be proper to regain that “Federal Vision” once more, only in a different vein…


Malachi, the Latin word foedus means covenant, which is the understanding we must recover. But there is a Latin homophone which means stinky, which might be the source of all our troubles.

Happy “Freedom from Religious Oppression Day”!


Melody, and the same to you!

Make sure you tell your children and grandchildren that declaring independence isn’t exactly the same thing as founding a country, and that the latter did not really happen until: 1. September 17 1787, 2. June 21 1788, or 3. March 4 1789—pick the best answer. Tell them one of the above dates really ought to be the BIG celebration. If you like we could hold a straw poll here on which one.


John, I think you might have an uphill climb there.

Which of the Four?

Re: the culprit, outlaw, bystander, idiot—after reading your article my first thought is that we are doomed if we are waiting for the bystanders to find courage. It’s been missing for several generations, it is unlikely to appear any time soon. I think there is also a fifth player involved, the Donor, who continues to give out of habit and not out of discernment. The donors have the real power to stop the woke tide.


Ben, right. We need to start something like Donor Awareness Month. Only we don’t tell the recipients which month it is.

Re: Outlaws & Bystanders, Culprits and Idiots.
I am precisely the “outlaw” in your article. You have described my life within the church organization precisely (exiled, frog-marched to the curb). You have also described my hard edge cynicism precisely. I am seeking the Lord and am repenting of my hardness and bitterness, at present it is more of an on-going process than instant deliverance. And when a family man is exiled his family is included in that exile. I suppose I can blame myself for lack of forethought but to have remained acceptable would have required me to be a “Bystander” instead. And I simply cannot do that.

I ask; Is there any hope for a man like me? Unless the “culprit” and “bystander” have a serious change of heart is there any hope of an “outlaw” ever finding grace within the church again?

Having sounded the warning, having been confrontational with the truth against deception, can an “outlaw” be let back in without having to admit that maybe he was right?

How do I lead my wife and children when there seem to be no options? First I am exiled, then I am condemned for not having a home church. I honestly don’t think that being free of hard edge cynicism on my side is bringing restored fellowship. It seems like my only option for fellowship is to compromise and be a “bystander.”

Am I missing something? To what extent should I be doing something different and to what extent am I just along for the ride?


Gerry, sorry about your trials. This might be too obvious, but have you considered relocating?

I’ve catalogued six years of aggressive racial reconciliation preaching by misuse of Scripture and misuse of language. Turns out the fundamentalist racial reconciliation movement mistakes ALL also apply to the genderqueer theology movement.

Although I’ve been leading worship for 6 years and doing music for 21, I’ve just been removed from all public service without process or charge . . . so I think I’m now officially an outlaw.


Joe, don’t let it eat you. God loves to use outlaws.

Written with cold hard steel, this is a seriously humorous yet penetrating analysis of the disintegration of Evangelical institutions.


Linda, thanks.

So, you made some fairly universal claims in this piece. While I agree on these four useful categories, it does seem that you have included yourself in this picture since you too are involved in an evangelical denomination and several other institutions that I’m sure employ more than 3-5 people. So, just to be clear: you’re not saying that everyone is one of these four people, but that these four people will appear in every evangelical institution, correct? If that’s the case, then which do you see as the predominant type in the Reformed world, CREC particularly?


Carson, I was not excluding the institutions of which I am a part. In varying degrees, I have seen this kind of thing happening everywhere. The difference between a healthy organization and a seriously diseased one is the strength of the antibodies, and how those antibodies are thought of by the regular folks.

I’m not quite as pessimistic as you, but it’s impossible to not see this happening all over the place. For some reason I’ve been getting Christianity Today, which I would never buy. I can’t stomach it. It’s not all the way down the rabbit hole, but . . . .


Mike, how is it possible for you to be getting Christianity Today AND be less pessimistic than I?

A PCA elder recently told me “we are trying to get away from the term ‘evangelical’ (the noun) because it no longer seems to be a meaningful, useful term.” I get that, and in fact much of your writing (e.g., Outlaws and Bystanders, Culprits and Idiots) points to why this might be the case. So if we can’t use the old dividing lines of Catholic, mainline, and evangelical to discern where the faithful church is, what do we use? It would seem useful to me to have some shortcut method of saying “these are (generally) the churches where we will find the gospel preached with power and precision.” I used to think I could count on that anywhere in the PCA, but, alas, that seems not to be the case. Maybe this might be best addressed in a post, but I’d love your thoughts here or there.


Bill, the problem of terminology is a tough one. As soon as one is introduced that might seem promising, the devil will start to corrupt it. And then we resort to the adjectives—i.e. “no, no. Bible-believing mome raths.”

Have you gotten a chance to view the talk that Mohler gave to the Gospel Reformation Network this week? Also, in particular the comments that Duncan gave afterwards? Curious to know your thoughts on their conference and the general tactical (or deeper still) differences you see between Mohler’s thoughts and Duncan’s. Duncan calls their approach “Augustinian.” I had never heard that given as a banner over a strategy for cultural engagement.

Setting aside, for the moment, any actual or perceived capitulation to the racial rec, preparation, wokies, et al, do you see this as a failing or a winning strategy for protecting the American Church against the pink invasion? Or do you suspect that the issue they are fighting isn’t far enough upstream of the pomo river?

PS: Also, a good band name: The Upstream Wokies


Jeramy, I haven’t heard or read them on that, so I can’t really comment there. But I can say this much—if associating with people who are talking nonsense and distancing yourself from people who don’t talk nonsense is Augustinian, then Augustinianism isn’t what it used to be.

In a Twitter discussion regarding ReVoice with a conservative office bearer in the PCA, I was told that the wheels move slowly for a reason in Presbyterian government (Full disclosure: I’m a Baptist). Sadly, it seems that the cancer is not. With that in mind . . . How would you envision the CREC handling a similar situation if (hypothetically!) something like ReVoice occurred within the communion? The principle about which I am curious contained within the question is as follows: Do all Presbyterian governments move slowly? Is speed of Presbyterian church courts a function of size, conviction, or a bit of both? Thanks,


Mike, I think that all large bodies tend to move slowly. The problem is that fighting off an infection can go slowly, but it is also true that succumbing to an infection can go slowly also. And sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.


Thanks for the response. If only it were as easy as an appeal to 1 Timothy 2 . . .  Apparently it is a thing to interpret that passage to be about flaunting “status” and not applicable to dress that is “sexually provocative.” Although this seems way too narrow of an interpretation, I am not sure how to argue with it. And even then, legalism is still the most to be feared. There must be some ground between making up new “thou shalt nots” and leaving an issue completely to the realm of individual conscience. Seems like that is what the pastoral epistles, like 1 Timothy, do . . . They instruct, they offer guidance to those of us who “profess godliness.”

Concerned Christian Woman

CCW, that passage does exclude ostentatious display and the flaunting of status. But where the ESV has “modesty and self-control” the KJV has “shamefacedness and sobriety.” The NKJV has “propriety and moderation.” The NASB has “modestly and discreetly.” I cannot imagine a universe in which the apostle Paul would be shown an example of the kind of leggings we have been talking about, along with our application of his words, only to have him say, “No, no, no. I was talking about the women who were flaunting those expensive designer leggings. You know, for status. These are totally okay. These are K-Mart leggings.” This is kind of reasoning that hears the apostle say that we are not to get drunk on wine, and concludes that he plainly did not mention beer.

Heh, heh, the only things that tell the truth all the time are drunk men, very young children and leggings.


John . . . thanks for sharing. Anyone else?

Climate Change

5th reason to dismiss Climate Change “Consensus”—the paper (from NZ, I believe?) that posited said consensus was yanked within (I think) two weeks due to faulty methodology. They just did a computer search through scientific papers for references to climate and if the paper wasn’t explicitly skeptical, then they assumed the author supported the theory. They never talked to most of the scientists, and I hear that several scientists threatened to sue if their names were not removed from the list. The paper was published just long enough to get the rumor started before it was retracted. (Source:


Craig, thank you.

The Christian Roots of Religious Liberty

This comment is about “The Cut Flowers Kind of Religious Liberty.” Conditioned as I am by a public school education, and then a history major at a waffling Christian university, I find myself unable to put actual historical facts to the assertion that Christian civilization produced the very idea of religious liberty. On the other hand I have plenty of historical hooks on which to hang the prevailing narrative, that secularism produced the greatest religious liberty ever known.

For example, the history of Europe was a history of bloody wars over which version of Christianity would prevail at a state level. Heretics have had their tongues ripped out and be burned to death with red hot tongs, (this at least happened to the weirdo cult of Anabaptists who led the Munster rebellion, and others, I’m sure). European wars between Christians don’t make a great case for us developing religious liberty. On the other hand in the Muslim world you could have your religious liberty as a Christian or a Zoroastrian, as long as you consented to be a second class citizen. I’ve never heard of Muslims or paganism existing in the west during the middle ages, so I’ve nothing to compare this to.

Knowing that internecine wars tended to be a problem of conflicting national churches the founders of our country made clear there would be no national church. So far so good, this allowed a religious liberty for Christians, and cults. On the other hand Native Americans tribes had their children forcibly removed and educated at Christian schools. The federal government’s Indian bureau had the expressed intention of removing children from their homes to educate away paganism, whether the parents consented to this or not. How would we feel if this was the tact being taken with us Christians who seek a Christian education for our children? Oh wait . . . It already is . . .

Is the argument here that true religious liberty allows for most Christian, and Christian cult offshoots, but not for pagan, Muslim and tribal religions, and this is a good thing? Is there a vast history of religious liberty provided to non-Christians in Europe and at the foundation of our country that I am missing? Where can I find hooks to hang this argument on?


Joel, I would recommend starting with this book by Douglas Kelly.

Ends and Odds

You mention that marriage requires a covenant and consummation (A Brief Sexual Catechism). In a moment of temptation, I visited a massage parlor, and received a “happy ending.” Because I was feeling uneasy about doing it, I made a “marriage covenant” with her privately, deceiving myself that this made it OK. She agreed to this covenant, although I suspect she was probably just going along with it for the $$$. Afterwards I repented, but I want to know if this covenant stands before God or not.


T, no, that would not count for a covenant. The kind of covenant I am referring to is public, and is socially enforced. The only thing you need to do with regard to that covenant is to repent of it, and the rationalization that drove it.

You say that Mr. Falwell should apologize for his statement about Rev. Platt growing a pair because St. Paul said not to speak evil of a ruler of your people. In what way is a minister a ruler of the people? In the Old Testament the high priest was given great judicial power, but ministers are not given any such power.


Jahiero, I would say that ministers of the new covenant have a great deal of authority, as given to them in Scripture. We live in an individualistic age, one that likes to pretend that this is not so.

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I thought founding the country happened in 1607. John might want to tell his children and grandchildren that founding a country is not the same thing as founding a government.


Only if Virginia were the country – or even A country – which Virginia is not. Arguably, if you wanted to use “nation” in the tribal sense, and “American” is your tribe, you might, by a stretch, say 1607 was the founding of your nation. I wouldn’t. I doubt anybody in Jamestown thought of themselves that way. In the sense I would use the word, founding the *national* government very much was founding the *nation*, and founding the nation is synonymous with founding the country. Noting that happened in 1607 did that, and really what happened on July 4 1776… Read more »


Fair enough. I still think distinguishing the country from the existing form of government is important, though. Think about other countries in the world — did France not exist as a country until 1945? Was Russia not a country before 1989?


Yes, distinguishing the country from the particular government existing at the time makes sense. However, France, for example, had a national government under republics prior to 1945 and under monarchs before that. I don’t know when I would say France as a country came into existence, but it would probably be sometime in the medieval period. My point is, although between 1776 and 1788 (or ’89, take your pick) there were united States in America there was no United States of America.


Jill’s examples below of Germany and Italy are more germane. There was no country Germany, or Italy until 150 years ago. But there were many Germans and Italians. One of the great questions of our age is what makes a people, what can bind us other than mere consent?


Yes, those are better examples. I won’t stand by all my examples or precise contentions, but something just rubs me the wrong way about saying there is no “country” until particular documents instituting a form of government are in place.


I would say more or less the same thing about Germany and Italy. There has long been, and to this day still is, within Germany a place, a region, called Swabia – just to name one example – and a people called Swabians. However, Swabia is not a country. Germany was a place and not a country, until it was.


I wonder if you asked a Swabian in the 17th century what country he was from, what his answer would be? “I don’t come from a country.” “I come from a place called Swabia, but it’s not a country.” Neither of those seem likely. Country is a looser and less formal designation than nation or nation-state, but it is still something that has reality to the people who live there. It’s sort of a “how many hairs make a beard” question. North America in 1338 wasn’t one. The United States in 2019 is. Exactly where the dividing line is isn’t… Read more »


I don’t know for sure, but perhaps if our 16th century Swabian understood your meaning he would answer “From the Duchy of Wurttemberg”, or he might name the lands of a Graf, or if he were from a free city perhaps he would answer with the name of his Stadt. He might answer “Deutschland”, but if he did he wouldn’t mean to identify a place where he was a citizen or subject, or held allegiance. By the 17th century, even before the revolution, someone from any of the colonies traveling in Europe might have identified as being from America, and… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan

It’s only partially true that Germany and Italy are 19th century creations.

The modern iteration of Germany was created as a centralized, Prussian-run version of the decentralized, Hapsburg-overseen Holy Roman Empire of the pre-Reformation era. The modern iteration of Italy looks back to the pre-Empire Roman Republic and to Dante Alighieri’s codification of the Italian language in the Middle Ages.

France can look back to the confederation of Gaulish tribes that almost defeated Julius Caesar at Alesia in 52 BC – an event immortalized by Goscinny and Uderzo in “Asterix the Gaul”:
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However the decentralized “Holy” “Roman” – Empire? was not a country. Modern Italy looks back a long way, rightfully so, but not to being a country. Unless maybe we count the very early Roman empire after the Romans had unified the peninsula under their rule. But not really. The Gaulish tribes that occupied the territory that became France were not French, and did not form a country, even if some of the French want to think so.


Inhabitation =/= founding a country.


Right, inhabitation =/= founding a country or it would have been much earlier than that. But it was the first establishment of a settled group of people for the purpose of building a society.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith

Does it matter about the intention of the first arrivals? Samuel de Champlain sailed up the St. Lawrence River and claimed Quebec for the King of France. In 1605 he established what later became the first permanent European settlement in Canada. But while he is credited with “founding” Canada, he was not a colonist in the sense that the Mayflower pilgrims were. I don’t think most people came intending to stay, or they would have brought their families along with them. What if your strongest ties are to the mother country, and you see your time in Newfoundland, for example,… Read more »


“Wouldn’t it make more sense to see the birth of the nation as happening at the point that most people transfer their allegiance from the far-off land…”

I think it would. However I also maintain those people would also need a unifying national government, independent of that in the far-off land, in order to say they founded a country in the place they actually live.


I think the easy distinctions are thus: Prior to 1607, various European people explored and “discovered” this land, sometimes claiming the land for their actual countries back home in Europe. We recognize 1607 as the time the first successful settlement was established, and it was called Jamestown. Still, it was barely an outpost, and the point of it was not to form a new country. In reality, the settlement (and many others that followed) were beholden to England and/or other motherlands. Between this and roughly 1776, we had what were called “colonies,” which were each strictly and formally tied to… Read more »


For Jahiero: Hebrews 13:7.


Also I Thessalonians 5:12-13, I Timothy 5:17.


Gerry and Joe,

Luke 6:21-23
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,

when they exclude you and insult you

and reject your name as evil,

because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan

Calvin is a rather curious selection as an inspirational figure for a society of ordered liberty. As CS Lewis points out, he was essentially part of the authoritarian left of his day and the mobs he inspired were the 16th century equivalent antifa, attacking conservative Christians and ransacking churches in multiple countries.

If I’m correctly understanding Pastor Wilson’s view of a properly organized, religiously-oriented society, then it is closer in spirit to the thoughts of Desiderius Erasmus or Robert Bellarmine (though, of course, differing from them in some important particulars).