Let Us Speak of Hearth and Home
God of Hearth and Home: Where should I begin? First, I would like to say that my breakfast this morning was excellent, a warm sausage-and-egg sandwich with coffee done just right. I do like a good brew in the morning . . . wakes me right up and sets the day straight. But what I mean is this: the family should be eating breakfast with me, not still sleeping in their beds, but I find this arrangement suspiciously impossible, given that I must be off to work at the ungodly hour of 5:00 am, when the others are just barely opening their eyes. School doesn’t start for another 3 hours, you see. But what do I mean by “ungodly,” you ask? Is there such a time of day that could—or should—be classified thus? Does God create an hour that is not good? Well, I suggest that He created the sun to shine and demarcate the day, thus giving us a pretty good indication of when we should be rising and sleeping. At least for those in the temperate zones. My alarm should not be ringing in my ears at 4:00am, that’s all I’m saying. Lest you be confused, I do not suggest that temperate zones are in any way hotbeds for tee-totalers. Felt I should set the record straight there. Beer is good, for as the wise poet once said: “Rain makes corn. Corn makes whiskey. Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky. Rain is a good thing.” But I think he probably should have spelled that final word “thang,” given how he pronounced it to rhyme with “rain.” So, where I was going with this? Ah, yes, I had a question re: your recent essay, entitled God of Hearth and Home. Several questions, actually, but I suppose with a little work I could melt them all down and distill them into a single point of inquiry. Namely . . . “What?”
Malachi, I am happy to respond, and I respond with a question of my own. Huh?
THANK YOU! In a side road sort of way, you have once again helped me nail some things down in understanding God and myself. One of the concepts that have been prominent in my theological understanding is the idea of “idolatry” and because of your recommendation of GK Beale’s book, We Become What We Worship, I did see that idolatry is a very big deal all the way through Genesis to Revelation. But then I noticed in my gospel-only readings that this concept came up all the time. Everything was becoming an idol. I was having difficulty making distinctions between idols that are clearly sin and the potential idols that can be made out of anything, including things that I know deep down are good “things of the earth” (Joe Rigney reference). Your conversation with John Piper moderated by Joe Rigney has been foundational in helping me understanding and fighting idols. (I listen to this at least once a year, it is like a classic novel, every time I listen to this I learn something new and helpful) and your article today is another important step. This distinction is huge for me. “With heart idolatry, the thing that is worshiped in place of God must not go.” YES!— thank you! This is so helpful on so many levels. It doesn’t make the battle any easier but it does help me better understand the sin in my heart and the greatness and power of the grace of God. (Titus 2:11-14) And like you say on the plodcast, we need to study sin like we study landmines. So, we can figure out how to maneuver around them. Soli Deo Gloria!
PJ, thanks so much.
Thanks for these helpful words. I wouldn’t disagree with anything you have said here, as I usually don’t. How would you advise a husband whose wife has made an idol out of her vocational pursuits at the expense of family (specifically, her duties at home, bearing of more children [no good medical reasons involved], and freeing up the husband’s time to work)? Asking for a friend. Or maybe not. Ha ha. We are members of a solid church and counseling is available, but for some mysterious reason her work schedule keeps getting in the way.
Long Time Reader
LTR, very sorry. I obviously don’t know the whole situation, and we haven’t heard her perspective, and I haven’t even heard your perspective. And these things can be complicated. But let me hazard something at a venture here. Take care that you don’t try to manage a situation like this one through hints or dark sayings. If you think that that her priorities have become skewed then you need to say this out loud, and clearly, with love and affection. If you are clear, then perhaps you might find yourself in counseling sooner than you thought possible.
The Wokeness of Eric Mason
Best part of Woke, Not Woke: “Radical Christian faith is not a defense of the old pagan order, or a striving for a new secular order. Radical Christian faith intends to see the world discipled and brought into submission to Jesus Christ. This will not happen in the next two weeks, but it will happen.” I can see clearly now. Thank you.
Christy, you’re welcome. And thank you for paying attention.
RE: Woke, Not Woke After reading Eric’s quotes and the last ~dozen paragraphs of your Philemon exegesis, I’m just excited and relieved that both sides agree on what the Bible actually teaches! So that means the less alert, more drowsy, less cool and relevant among us are at least seeing God and His teaching correctly, even if we’re sleeping in next to our awokened brethren. We can always welcome them to slap us awoke fully when we reach the Kingdom together, right after they finish slapping Philemon awoke and giving his Marriage Supper of the Lamb portion to Onesimus. After that eternity in fellowship awaits, so at this stage come on guys, what could go wrong? Love the aslope the same as you love the woke!
Patrick, that’s the spirit!
A comment and question. Comment: I think you will find that Pastor Mason is very good at expositing Scripture. Our church did a study on Jonah from him and it was quite solid. The church enjoyed the study and we were greatly blessed by it. I find it curious that he and Thabiti, who both had much good in their ministry, have suddenly jumped on this social justice train. I guess I don’t understand the social pressure that big name preachers have to conform to cultural winds, but I am finding that even solid Bible teachers are susceptible to this phenomenon in a big way. Question: The pattern that both you and Pastor Mason cite in regards to slavery and the gospel undermining it has been my understanding for as long as I can remember. But I was caught off guard when a member of my denomination (EPC) used it to argue against complementarianism in the home. In the same way that the gospel undermines the unequal relationship between master and slave, the gospel brings about equality between husband and wife. It of course assumes that male headship is a result of the Fall. I know my response. I was curious what your response would be.
BJ, the answer to this is exegetical. An egalitarian argument can be constructed that makes a parallel between master/slave and husband/wife, where all that is to be overhauled. The problem for this view is that the apostle Paul grounds the relationship of husband and wife to the creation order, and not as a consequence of the fall.
When we airbrush folks out of the hallway photos, what we are really doing is stripping the next generation of wisdom. Eric Mason can exegete and apply the book of Philemon because we have a book of Philemon, instead of a retraction with an asterisk. Re-writing history may feel good now, but our progeny will be left without necessary tools of survival.
Kyle, exactly right.
Your post was fine. But the post from 2013 was eternally sublime. I like to see His work in history in broad view as a postmill believer. But you caused me to see that His governance is a lot more than turning points in history, but also many events that He uses to bring people together, to cause that “inexorable” progress of the Kingdom. The leaven was a perfect example.
Paul, thank you. And what God is doing in history really is glorious.
On Incrementalism | On slavery, I get the gradual move to eliminate that particular institution biblically because nowhere in Scripture does it order the immediate elimination of slavery, God even allows for it. And you’re one of the few pastors that I’ve come across willing to look at all the appropriate texts regarding slavery and believe the beauty and truth of biblical incrementalism. What would you say, or better yet, what does Scripture say about man-stealing/slave-trading? Should it be eliminated incrementally or does it require a more immediatist approach? If slave-trading/man-stealing requires a more immediate abolition, and the Bible also requires the death penalty for murder, couldn’t there be a biblical argument for a more immediate abolition of abortion? Also, when are you going to try to do a conversation with Apologia Radio over the abolitionism versus incrementalism debate?
Trey, when Scripture identifies something as a crime (e.g. abortion, manstealing), then every Christian should be supportive of its abolition. But incrementalism here means making a distinction between what is morally right and what is tactically possible. With regard to tactics, we should accept and rejoice in every small victory while at the same time remaining unsatisfied with the small victories.
I am writing to inquire about your opinion of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Someone on Reformed Forum’s podcast Christ the Center recently stated that that hymn should never be sung in church. Given all the background issues, what is opinion of churches singing that hymn in a worship service?
Grant, I would agree that it ought not be sung. But it is not so much “background issues” as it would be the worldview and intention of the writer.
Getting Up to Speed
My mind tries to grasp what you are saying in this blog . . . the vocabulary that you use is beyond my comprehension, and I feel that this is a failure in my education. As I try to extend my vocabulary of my first language, and attempt to understand some of your more difficult blogs, I want my children to not have this difficulty. I am in the military, and abroad. My wife and I are considering Classical Christian Education, but at times this seems daunting. We don’t seem to have the resources, and the reality of our situation, moving every two to three years, makes it seem that it will be up to me and my wife to develop a syllabus for our children. Where do I start? How can I listen to Christ Church pastors who seem to be so educated in the Word, history, Latin, etc., and come up with an education, most likely homeschooled, that is thorough, biblical, and good?
Ian, one of the characteristics of the classical Christian school movement is that we are trying to provide an education to our children that none of us received. Fortunately, with the growth of CCE many online resources have been developed, and seem ideally suited to someone in your position. I would recommend that you check out Logos Online, and start from there.
Quote the Whole Thang
Doug! Don’t be cuttin’ off the rest of that classic Lenny Skinny bar, originally written from the perspective of someone who VOTED FOR the beloved Governor, modified slightly from its original ‘70s context.
Now Roe-v-Wade does not bother me*
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the Truth.
*Up here in Elizabeth Warren land, where folks used to sing their own sanctimonious tune after the ’72 election (“Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts”) my conscience would both me, IF I’d voted for her. But, having written her office a letter proposing something much like what Alabammy just did, and having received an unsurprisingly head-patting form-letter response (steady-as-she-goes with dumping those babies overboard and getting y’all to pay for it), my conscience bothers me less than reflecting on when I was on the other side, years ago, before my conversion to Christ.
Art, so the takeaway here is to always quote more Lynyrd, and not less Lynyrd?
Or just stop acknowledging or submitting to Roe at all. Roe is not law, it is the unconstitutional, unjust decision of seven unelected judges that is 46 years old and hasn’t aged well.
CS, yes. Roe simply needs to go.
What Could Go Wrong?
Pastor Doug, Have you seen this yet? Link. The federal gov teaching parenting . . . what could possibly go wrong?
Garrett, I think I have to say that your suspicions are not entirely ungrounded.
Keep it Simple
How would you respond to people telling you to put down theological books and focus more on “simpler things.” I have many friends who don’t see the value in studying eschatology, or ecclesiology, or even soteriology. They see secondary issues as unimportant. I understand being humble in understanding, and gleaning application from theological studies; but what do you think is at the heart of “focusing on simpler things?” Thanks,
Isaiah, many times simpler Christians are nervous because they have had genuine concerns about Christians who are just eggheads. In other words, there are many times when they have a point. And so if we want to showcase the value of learning, we should want to make it plain—through our lives, through rolled-up shirt sleeves and dirt on our hands—that our learning is what has equipped us to be so practical.
I’ve read your Future Men and to me, it ranks among your most valuable writings. Would you consider expanding on that legacy by blogging Letters to All Kinds of Fathers? Letters to a Pushover Dad, Letters to a Command Man Dad, etc. In my case, I can’t seem to gain the sort of authority a man should have in his home. I’m not a pushover and know how to feed my kids on God’s Word, rich books, etc. But I sense I’m not respected in my home. Liked, but not respected. I’ve long sought an example to look up to, but when I hunt for examples of dads who’ve gained respect, I find only dull men with unexamined opinions and a depressed looking wife and kids, whose method of keeping authority is to run their families ragged through streams of unnecessary commands. I don’t want that kind of wooden respect that comes from constantly keeping people on their toes. Or is that part of the strategy? All that to say, a series of Letters to Hapless Dads would be fun to read and helpful too.
Douglas, thanks for the suggestion. I will throw that in the hopper.
Try a Little Tenderness
Re: Husbandly Encouragement A while ago you recommended to a man that he encourage his wife on a regular basis, as she was snowed under with many kids and struggling.. My wife and I have just one kid, who is 4 weeks old, and I am surprised at just how effective husbandly encouragement is and how often it flows back as wifely encouragement. Thank you for your wise advice!
Ben, thanks, and good to hear.