Is the Zodiac a Thing?
I am currently reading through James Jordan’s book, “Through New Eyes,” and I was quite surprised at his discussion of the 12 zodiac signs in chapter 5. I had always assumed they were a thoroughly pagan superstition, but Jordan argues for their spiritual significance as they relate to the heavens declaring God’s glory etc. He even says “the 12 signs of the zodiac may have been designed by God as 12 portraits of humanity”; then, on the basis of their connection with the 12 tribes of Israel, suggests they may be “humanity in 12 dimensions, both as revelations of sinful Adam, and as adumbrations of Christ”. (I must clarify, however, that he clearly objects to the pagan practice of fortune-telling based on these signs, and many other common astrological practices).
Having successfully drawn me to the edge of my seat with intrigue, Jordan let me down big-time by effectively saying ‘we don’t have space to discuss this further’. Try as I might, I have not been able to track down anywhere else that he discusses the topic.
The reason for my intrigue is that I have many Christian friends and family who are rather immersed in the world of zodiac signs (specifically, using one’s date of birth to predict personality traits and interpersonal compatibility). They are mostly women (would you believe it), and I and my mates have always playfully mocked them for their adherence to pseudo-science, whilst secretly being slightly worried about the pagan influence on their lives.
Is this something I should be concerned about? Or (to do a complete 180) is there some truth to it, and I’ve been the fool the entire time?!
Also, since (as I understand) you know James Jordan personally, can you possibly clarify what his position is on this? I imagine not, but worth asking.
Blake, I am afraid I am not going to be much help. We can crowd source one part of this though. Do any of you denizens of Internetville know if Jordan discussed this in greater depth anywhere? But the use that your friends are interested in really should be considered worrisome, so I don’t think you need to eat crow there. As for more material on it, I would check the commentaries on those passages that allude to aspects of this—e.g. the Star of Bethlehem, the woman in Revelation 12:1, and so on.
Happy Lord’s Day: I listened to and enjoyed your appearance on August 28th’s Pugcast re: Chestertonian Calvinism. I’m currently reading his book The Everlasting Man. I add that Chesterton’s antipathy to Calvinism likely stems from his belief, though not mentioning Calvinism, that determinism not only ruins “the story” but by definition cannot tell a story because determinism denies “the ordeal of the free man” (p. 246, Everlasting Man). He seems unwilling to consider an absolutely Sovereign Author whose storytelling both dictates every detail yet engrosses the interactive participants with the unfolding of the most creative and compelling story. He accomplishes this despite having told His audience how the story ends. Chesterton’s misunderstanding of Calvinists may have added to his antipathy but I think it’s his misunderstanding of God and His sovereignty that is at its root.
Christian, agreed. For the sake of saving the protagonist he lost the author.
On the Hatred of All Things Wilson
As you are well aware, some people hate you. Many of those are people who are saved, but who fail to see the danger that comes from preemptively throwing your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ under the bus. I can’t say I haven’t done the same with those on the “other side” of the theological aisle. I can see that what drives the haters to this is a sort of paranoia towards church leaders. It seems there is a church scandal lurking around every corner, and we desperately want to avoid being a part of it. Instead of proceeding with caution, they decide to enter into the World of Douglas Wilson with their swords and guns already ablaze, with no intention of ending the war. So I thought I’d ask- what would you have us do when we’re faced with people we know who hate you? On one hand, I get angry on your behalf when I hear the slanderous nonsense they say. After all, they’re attacking your beliefs, many of which I share. The things they accuse you of are very well the things they’d accuse me of if they really knew.
I’m not convinced that my anger is righteous, and so most of the time I just stay silent out of fear of my own capacity to ruin an otherwise good opportunity for conversation. On the other hand, I feel a sense of guilt for failing to stick up for the reputation of a fellow believer. The online conversation around your ministry is reminiscent of a gossip-fest disguised as a ladies’ church luncheon. Shouldn’t it be my responsibility to break up the hen house? And yet, I cannot trust my temper.
I know that you hold your own fairly well, and probably don’t really need my help. I also sometimes feel as though my efforts might be better spent defending the Gospel itself, rather than the theological intellects who talk about it. I admire your ministry very much, but I also understand that I cannot put pressure on you and assume that you know everything there is to know about Scripture (though you certainly do know a LOT).
I’m hoping you are willing to speak on this, from the perspective of the main character. I want to avoid being a “cult follower” of yours. Hopefully, you understand that does not mean that I don’t still love your work and ministry.
L, thanks for the question. Galatians 6:1 says that if a brother is caught in a trespass, he should be corrected by someone who is spiritual, someone who is guarding his own heart. So when we are highly motivated to correct someone, we are frequently not qualified. And when we are qualified, we don’t feel like it. If you think that you might lose your cool, the obedient thing would be to remain silent. And if the Lord ever gives you the opportunity to say something, say something like “I heard Wilson say once that if his adversaries knew just a fraction of what God knows about him, he’d really be in trouble.”
I did not follow your Plodcast regarding infant baptism very well. What I did find very convincing was a debate between John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul on the topic. I have come down on the Baptist view. I would be interested to know if you feel R.C. Sproul could have defended his position better and if so, what you would say differently and/or what you feel is the weakness of John MacArthur’s argument. I expect you could find it or know about it already but here is the link to it
Peter, sorry, no, I didn’t have chance to follow that debate, so I am in no position to comment on it one way or another. But it is my general experience that this is one of those debates that I call paradigm bumper cars. The covenantal bumper car and the individual bumper car cannot occupy the same space, and hence there is a good bit of bouncing.
A question regarding paedobaptism, coming from someone leaning more and more that direction.
One hurdle I’m having a hard time overcoming with covenantal paedobaptism is that it seems to be an invention of John Calvin. Not paedobaptism itself, of course—that clearly goes way back in church history, for better or worse. But my understanding is that every church father before Calvin talked about baptizing babies with respect to baptismal regeneration, not as a sign and seal of the covenant akin to circumcision. What would you say to persuade me around this particular pothole to paedobaptism?
Brandon, I would say it is the combination of two things, both equally obvious in Scripture, but not obvious that they go together. But when someone puts them together—like chocolate and peanut butter—the results are magical. I take it as obvious that an evangelical soteriology is on the surface of the New Testament, in multiple places. I also take it as obvious that infants are not excommunicated from the people of God just because the Messiah had come. Both are scriptural data points, and covenant thinking harmonizes them. That harmonization process does not trouble me because that is what the maturation of the church is supposed to look like.
The Election That Isn’t Happening
I applaud your pointed argument about the election we are not going to have. I agree that everything underway in plain sight should mortify the populace. I also agree that there are far too few people with the intellectual capacity to digest these circumstances much less act on them. The public is mollified with promises of free stuff, no cost foreign policy and a general disconnect from the burdens of any sort of public service. Sadly, a “return to Christ” is not going to solve this issue. We may find some redemption there, but it will only come in the form of an abandonment of tribalism, narcissism and self indulgence. Christ’s teachings certainly point to this as a desired outcome, but the church has long ago lost its relevance and failed to maintain its currency in society. Too many years of polarizing sermons, scandalized priests and a failure to adapt to a hyper evolving society have left it bankrupt of credibility.
I look forward to continuing to read your work, it is refreshing, insightful and quite entertaining.
Jonathan, I think it is time for us to turn away from the lessons about how we lost our credibility, and start to study those eras where we gained our credibility in the first place.
I discovered you a while back and thought I’d respond to the blog, “Let’s you and me fight.” I appreciate the insight on blessing our enemies, not something natural to me or I suspect anyone else. In fact in the middle of 2020, the election, and all other shenanigans, I started praying just that. It’s interesting that our current president didn’t seem to feel the need to repent, but I left that in God’s hands. It’s also interesting though, as one who grew up in a historically peace Church (Mennonites) I’d never heard this. Also the pacifist bent has been in play since the 1400’s, so I’m curious about your statements regarding pacifism as being able to only exist in certain situations. Flourish, yes. Exist? Not so sure, although without a doubt there’s a price to be paid for such a stand. Full disclosure, I no longer attend Mennonite Churches, since many have become much to liberal for my taste. Anyway, I’ve come to appreciate your insights, and would be interested in your response. Thanks!
Richard, if I understand your question correctly, I would say pacifism can only exist in societies that tolerate that kind of thing. Totalitarian societies do not. Following an argument made by C.S. Lewis, this means that pacifism does nothing long term but weaken those societies that make room for them.
Re “The Kind of Election We Are Not Going to Have”
You used to say “sins come in bunches.” Does that apply to Trump? Or, does he have a unique insight into the depravity of the voting system which runs counter to his otherwise perverse, philandering, quarrelsome, faithless, striving, scoffing behavior? Not only the depravity of the voting system, but also the depravity of the system of judicial review which examined the claims of cheating?
You clearly think so, or you wouldn’t accuse the GOP establishment of turning a blind eye to the corruption of the system. Donald has the gnosis; the GOP has the blindness.
You say that the GOP’s desire to nominate a normal candidate indicate a naive trust in the system, but that running a normal candidate will be a waste of time, because the fix is already in.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
That’s a promise. I know that such simplicity in our political affairs is not as attractive as conspiracy theories. Or believing that a worthless man is the only one wise enough to see the level of depravity in the system.
But, it has the benefit of being true. Whatever other fecklessness the GOP might contain, I’m not about to start believing that ardently trying to find a righteous man, and ardently hating the ways of a worthless man, is a liability. Conservatism is boring in that regard. Just find the man who loves his wife, works hard, has some intelligence, and he can be president. Yawn.
If Proverbs is true, “the system” would behave a bit better if a righteous man were at the head. You once said, not entirely unappreciatively, that Trump was like chemo; not without some lament that it had come to that. Well, I’m proposing that allopathy isn’t the only medicine on the table. How about simple faith?
Regarding the soundness of the suffrage system; Alexander Hamilton tried to steal the election of 1800. And suffered no consequences! Talk about a broken system. Is the GOP naively pining for such days of yore? Or are you? I think the only way your appeal works is if nostalgia is true.
Despite your signaling moderate distaste for Trump, you seem to believe the same things Trump believes about where the most pressing political problem lies in our Republic, and furthermore that the answer is a singular man who will tackle them head-on.
Oh, I forgot your gospel appeal at the end. Yes, there’s that solution also. Unfortunately, in this blog post, the gospel appeal felt more like a tack-on at the end rather than the main deal.
It may be that I’m too simple a man, in the pejorative sense. I may have too much faith in “the system” (not really, but that’s another discussion). But don’t forget there’s a simplicity in the other direction; one which ends up agreeing with Donald Trump, a worthless man, about what’s really wrong with the Republic.
I’d urge no Christian to be simple in either direction.
Judd, I have no objection to the GOP searching for a righteous man. But if they find one, he would be in the front rank of those condemning this dog’s breakfast of a justice system. And if he wasn’t condemning it in a full-throated way, then, well, the GOP didn’t find their righteous man.
Thank you for your ministry which has greatly edified me. In “Lets you and him fight,” we have a timely and convicting word, and a great challenge. For many of us, loving our enemies seems like just about an impossibility, but for the grace of God to help us. We are reminded that God loved us even when we were His enemies. Many of us are still working on loving our FRIENDS. After all, at the moment we say, “I do,” the person we are marrying should be our greatest human friend. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce?
Doug, yes. We have two problems. The people we must love, and the person who must do the loving.
In “Let’s You and Him Fight” I would like to point out that you have taken a passage of Scripture completely out of context, and also completely misinterpreted the passage. In 2 Corinthians 10 and verse 4 where Paul tells the Corinthians, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” he is not in any way saying, “the weapons we as Christians fight with.” This becomes abundantly clear as you read the whole of the chapter. Put another way, there is no way in the world the Corinthians would have, or even could have understood Paul to be saying such a thing. Rather, it is abundantly clear the Corinthians would have understood this as a clear warning to them as a Church. This is also the case in the very next verse where Paul says, “and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Again, the Corinthians could not have possibly understood Paul to be commanding them to “take every thought captive.” They would have understood this to be a clear warning to them as a Church. Moreover, Paul is warning the Corinthians of judgment inside the Corinthian Church, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with being a command to take this sort of thing outside the Church in order to judge what may be occurring outside the Church. Therefore, if it is not possible for the Corinthians to have understood this passage in that way, then we as Christians today cannot take the liberty in order to make the passage say anything we please.
Jack, as someone once said to the Corinthians, don’t you know that we will judge angels?
Re “Let’s You and Him Fight” (resentment):
(1) On Biblical opposites that may seem contradictory, read Robert Rayburn’s book “The Truth in Both Extremes,” or enough to get his point: God knows how, say, divine sovereignty and human choices fit together, but it’s too big for us now, so pray hard since God is pulling all the strings and choose rightly because we do choose and are responsible. Etc.
(2) In at least one psalm, the psalmist prays, God, you know I prayed and fasted for this guy when he was sick (bless your enemy), but now, O God, GET HIM!
(3) When praying for enemies I do sometimes ask such blessings as won’t hurt their neighbors.
(4) McCheyne liked to tell people: for every look at yourself take ten looks at Christ. Re “examine himself,” we paedocons think it means what it says—not ‘let the elders pre-examine a man’—as even Phil Keyser’s examples in “Children and Communion” show—but such examination should drive us to Christ. At the brass snake, examine yourself—I been bit—and look at the brass snake! At the table, I’ve sinned—I need the Lord’s death and His coming for my life “until”—thank God He gives me those!
I’ve just finished watching/re-reading “The Kind of Election We Are Not Going to Have” and I have a few scenarios I would invite you to entertain:
1. Perhaps John Doe serves as President for a single term and does not get re-elected unto a second term. John Doe commits a crime during his presidency. If there is sufficient evidence of his crime, can the government bring charges against him and try him in a court of law? Or, because the crime was committed during his presidency, is John immune from any prosecution?
2. John Doe was a member of party A during his presidency but the current President is a member of party B. If there is sufficient evidence of John committing a crime during his presidency, can the current President bring charges against John? Or does the difference in party pose some irredeemable impropriety?
3. John Doe decides he wants to run for a second term as President. Does the existence of John’s political campaign prevent the government from bringing charges against him (again, provided sufficient evidence)? Or is the government free to bring charges against John?
I know the reality of the current situation is far murkier than the above hypotheticals (especially since #2 and #3 are somewhat intertwined), but breaking things into smaller pieces and building from there is far easier in my opinion.
I welcome your thoughts and await your response.
Your brother in Christ,
Daniel, I believe that the mechanism for dealing with all such things ought to impeachment, and not criminal charges. There would be a limit to this of course—e.g. for murder—but otherwise we risk weaponizing the justice system and putting it in the arsenal of politicians. If we don’t do this, we wind up with the corruption we are witnessing now.
Re: The Kind of Election We are not Going to Have Thank you for your analysis. I’m going to beta test this argument in my conversations that the surest sign the Dems will cheat in 24 is that they already are.
I am not yet convinced, however, by your argument that the baddies are prosecuting Trump SO THAT he’ll win the primary SO THAT he’ll lose the general. Here’s where I’m struggling to see that point:
(1) It assumes that the Dems believe without a shadow of a doubt that he is the weakest candidate in the general. But why would they believe that? They see the polls. They see his crowds. And what would have changed regarding their fear of him as such a foreboding challenger that they spied on his first campaign and still lost?
(2) I think you would agree that the deep state is frightened of a Trump presidency more than anything at the moment. It’s hard to imagine that they would let him get one step closer to the oval office rather than stopping him in the primary phase. In other words, it is more plausible to me that they are prosecuting him in order to stop him from winning the primary, not in order to help him win it.
(3) They have tried unceasingly from the start of his first campaign, in the words of Alan Dershowitz (who, by the way, fits the description of a man that despises Trump but sticks up for him), to GET TRUMP. Your hypothesis suggests that their unceasing interference shifted 180 degrees in purpose from Trump getting to Trump helping. But nothing in their behavior changed, so it just seems odd to conclude that their purpose is now opposite. I suppose one could argue, “Well, they finally figured out that their Trump-getting was having an opposite effect, after which they figured out that perhaps helping him was to their advantage all along.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that gives too much sight to those who are blinded by their hatred for the man.
(4) I’m still on the fences with this one, but there are some early indications that Vivek might be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. See here: . Assuming for the sake of argument that he is a dirty politician working for the deep state globalists, that would seem to be at cross purposes with their other strategy. Either the baddies want Trump to win because they think he’s the weakest candidate or they want Vivek to win because he is controlled opposition. Then again, maybe I’m talking myself out of this. Maybe Vivek is their backup plan. Never hurts to have a few options on the table.
JPH, you write like a reasonable man, and all of your points are worth pondering.
Women in Authority
I have been trying to understand Paul’s prohibition of women teaching and having authority over a man in 1 Tim 2, as there is a lot of this in my city. What looks like an obvious interdiction is explained away in any number of ways. I am having a hard time understanding Paul’s word choice of authenteo for authority. He didn’t use exousia, which he and other Biblical writers used many other places for authority. Instead he uses authenteo which, I have learned, is only used in the Bible in this place, and even in antiquity we only have 7 other surviving references of its use. After doing a deep dive on the word, I learned it had morphed by the time Paul used it to mean something like ‘domineering, or to get one’s way’. However, originally the word meant ‘murder’, then softened to ‘master’ or ‘master-mind’ and then was rounded off to the usurping kind of authority. I think it is interesting that by Paul’s day, even though the word had morphed it still carries the smell of murder. Paul ties his reasoning for this command to creation and the subsequent fall. It seemed to me that this kind of authority Paul talks about is similar to the kind God warns Eve and then Cain about, that consumptive desire that she will have for her husband and that crouching sin also has for Cain. So its no bueno.
I found all that fascinating, but then that seemed like it could also be an argument FOR women in authority. Like Paul saying he doesn’t want women to have that bad kind of authority over men, but the normal, good kind of authority is okay. It found several papers where that is exactly why people think Paul chose autoenteo instead of another word.
Is saying all authority that women have in the church is necessarily of the rotten kind—that there is no alternative good kind that women can hold? And why do you think he chose this word when others were available?
Secondly, trying to make sense of the women being deceived. Taken on its face, I think it is hard not to assume that women, as a sex, are not in some way more prone to being deceived than man, while man has his own issues. In what way are women more prone to deceit?
Tim, to your second question first, yes. Women are more susceptible to manipulation and deception. Eve was deceived. Adam sinned with his eyes open—he was a rebel, which is a masculine weakness. On your first point, this is the reason why some translations say that a woman must not “usurp” authority over men. One way to take it would be to say that women can have authority over men, just so long as they don’t get there by usurpation. The other way, and the way I would take it, is that when women exercise authority over men that is the usurpation.
Optimism Baked In
Postmillenialists tend to be more optimistic than premillenialists. Is that only because every generation believes the end is nigh? If the church age continues for another ten thousand years, you could have millennia of Christendom 2.0 before a great apostasy and rapture, or America could descend to millennia of paganism before it and the other nations turn to Christ. Why should that eschatological difference affect your mindset and behavior if we’re still possibly in the early days of the church?
Brian, my answer would be that the Scriptures do not just predict that the church will eventually win, but also that it will steadily grow toward that end. The mustard seed is growing the entire time.
There are several themes that you’ve been working with for years that seem to come together, and I was wondering if you are inclined to write a book or recommend one that does tie them together.
He’s the list as best I can describe: The Church in America needs to show the apostate nation how to repent. Authority is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. A husband is responsible for his wife’s sins. The churches in America that would receive a bill of good health from the apostles are covenantally united with the baal-worshiping churches. Individualism is the great sin of the last 500ish years that we need to repent of.
These seem to be deeply interrelated. I also know that there’s a great danger in becoming the mirror image of whatever we react against. I don’t want to say in any way that if I confess the sins of my community then vicariously the whole community is forgiven. But Daniel 9:1-19 surely means something to the need of our time. And Jesus healed the paralytic when He saw his friends’ faith.
John, yes. I agree with all of that.
Not so much a letter, but an enquiry;
I am reading ‘Back to Basics …’ (David Hagopian et al) and your chapter Part I: Back to Conversion had me desiring to have it as a booklet, through which I might evangelize my Arminian friends ;
Have you codified this chapter as a booklet and if so, where might I acquire it. Thanks much.
Brian, interesting idea, and we will check. But in the meantime you might want to use my Easy Chairs Hard Words.
God bless you richly!
Couple of questions. I have a dear friend who labels himself “messianic Gentile”, meaning he has the views of a messianic Jew but he says, he is not a biological Jew, thus, he is a messianic Gentile. Confused yet? The difficulty when discussing biblical definitions and issues in general, is that fundamentally we have a different view of what comprises the canon of Scripture. His view is that the Torah serves as a divinely inspired document, from which “everything else builds upon,” it seems as if the prophets, the writings, and the New Testament, is an authority, but less authoritative than Torah. All that to say, how would you navigate that with him? When pointing to verses like in 1 Peter 1 or 2 Timothy 3:16. he is quick to remind me that the God-breathedness of those verses speaks of the Torah not the New Testament documents. I have suggested to my friend that he and I work through maybe a book on the canon from Michael Kruger or even Mathison’s book on “The Shape of Sola Scriptura.” So! Two follow-up q’s, do you have any resources to better understand the view of messianic Jews? or any good biblical critiques? And what other books aside the ones I mentioned would you recommend on the issue of canon or sola Scriptura? Blessings.
Ben, sorry. This is a unique one, and I don’t think there are a lot of resources. At least not that I know of. I would start by talking about what he thinks of Jesus. I would make Jesus the issue first.
I have a weird request from my wife that I don’t know how to answer because it’s outside my normal book genres. Do you know of good quality science fiction/fantasy books written from a Christian worldview outside of the Space Trilogy? My wife would like to share them with our adult son. Any ideas that you might have would be very appreciated. Thank you sir.
Vernon, I think the most fruitful place to look is in the YA market. The good stuff there can be enjoyed by adults as well as by kids. I commend my son’s Cupboards series as a good example. Others may chime in here . . .
Leading Women into Battle
Thanks for posting your thoughts on conscription. As a guy just married and then told I’m getting deployed in half a year, what you said really resonated with me. I plan on getting out as soon as my time is up. But I’m really wrestling with what you said here:
“A Christian officer cannot in good conscience send women into battle, and should not lead them into battle himself.”
As an LT in the National Guard, I have women under my command, and I quite honestly never had any qualms with it until this blog post. I should add I recently finished the “warrior wuss” chapter in “How to Exasperate your Wife” as well.
My minimal thoughts on the matter prior to this was along the lines of, “Well the Bible more or less teaches women not to be the protectors of men, but these women here aren’t Christians so it’s actually understandable. And the women who are Christians have their heart in the right place or something, so I’m off the hook.”
I find now that I am having to choose between being a “good officer” and a secret hater of woman and of God’s word, or being a “sexist” and a God-fearer and an actual protector.
Just wanted to let you know that your post was heard by an officer somewhere, and it’s appreciated. Shoot up some quick prayers for me if you will on this matter. Courage comes slow to a tired soul.
Michael, thanks. And everybody out there, say a prayer for Michael.
But Was He Right?
The other day I posted this quote to Facebook: “There are only two things wrong with our schools: everything that our children don’t learn there and everything they do. The public schools, with their vast political and bureaucratic machinery, are beyond reform. That does not mean that persons of good will should not offer themselves up as missionaries of truth and goodness and beauty, to teach there, as 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘣𝘶𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘴. But we should be quite mad to send our children there. We send missionaries to cannibals. We do not serve the cannibals our boys and girls.”—Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture
As you may guess, it has gotten a good many folks in my church quite worked up. I’m being told by church leadership, in so many words, that it is not a winsome thing to say.
I do admit I have failed to attain to Oscar Wilde’s standard of a gentleman in this matter, as it has offended some folks I didn’t intend to offend. How do you suppose I can bridge the gap with those offended, without being a coward?
Kyle, on something like this, learn from it, file it way, walk more carefully next time. You really don’t want to start a firestorm accidentally. But whatever you do, don’t apologize for it.
The Abortion Battles
You wrote recently (a few months ago) about a template for downsizing the 4th branch of government. You said to start with an obscure, defunct department and just get rid of it. Not defund, not combine it with another, but completely crossing it off the books. You compared this strategy to the operation in Nicaragua in the 80’s that was the catalyst to the overthrow of the Soviet Union. No one thought communism could be stopped, much less rolled back. Then it was done in a small area that lead to folks realizing, “Hey, it can be done!”.
How do you think this compares, if at all, to the abortion conflict? No one thought Roe v. Wade would ever be overturned; it was established law (by 9 black robes); then it was no more. Pro-lifers were ecstatic; a victory we never thought would happen but had prayed for for decades had happened. But now, a year later, we see supposed pro-life leaders still not wanting to engage and seek to further the wins to protect the unborn. We seem to have reached a status quo of it’s states rights (heard that before, didn’t go over well for those States[I’m from GA]). Why can’t we seem to find the will to fight at a national level, or state level, for the unborn? Why can’t the overturning of Roe be a catalyst for your smash-mouth incrementalism leading to the complete eradication of abortion?
Just morning musings on my run.
Nathan, the one big war turned into 50 smaller battles. But those battles are still pretty big. But still, abortion is now severely restricted in about half the states. You are right, however, in that there is a long way to go.
Early Date for Revelation?
Concerning a Preterist Dating of Revelation
First off, I am a committed partial preterist post-mil! And much of that due to the work you and others in the CREC/Canon Press have done. So praise the Lord for that! Now, that conversion is based entirely on the text of Scripture (as it should) which I believe points very convincingly (from Daniel to Revelation) to the destruction of Jerusalem being the apocalyptic event foretold in Revelation (with of course other, future horizons, being foretold in Revelation as well.)
There is one last sticking point that I have not been able to fully understand. That is the dating of the book of Revelation. Scholarly consensus (not the be all end all, but still its there) seems to be behind the late dating of the book, 90-95 AD. Obviously if this is true then the preterist positions falls apart (both Gentry and Sproul admit this). However, as stated earlier, Scripture I believe clearly points to Revelation being about 70AD so they majority opinion must be wrong. So what are the proofs/arguments for Revelation being written pre 70AD? Do you have any resources/quick guides to help answer that question?
Thanks for all you do!
Andrew, yes. Try to get a hold of Gentry’s book on this, Before Jerusalem Fell, which I found to be slam-dunk conclusive. The evidences are both internal and external. The external evidence (basically Irenaeus) is dubious on several counts. And the internal evidence (things like, “five were, one is, and one is to come”) seems to me to be conclusive.
In the last set of letters, in response to a question about so-called ‘intersex’ individuals, you said “I think the biblical thing to do there is to pick one, and make the best of it.” I’m curious how much you’ve researched this. My understanding is that the idea that we “don’t know” about some people is really a pseudo-scientific myth by academics who have been liberal for the last century. Birth defects can be physically androgynous, and even chromosomes can have abnormalities, but every body is still set up for the production of either male or female gametes, NEVER both or neither. Thus, it is never actually a mystery.
If that is the case, then it would still be wrong to “pick one and make the best of it,” rather one (better yet one’s parents when they are still a baby) should find out which they truly are.
Some of this is from The Genesis of Gender by Abigail Favale. The book isn’t 100% great (she is Catholic, and several funny positions are in her book), but she is writing for young Christians against the Alphabet cult and their lies, and sees that there is a great deal of ignorance on what ‘intersex’ conditions actually are.
Jonathan, I agree that our current medical establishment is ethically rootless and no longer has the moral credibility to speak to any of this. And thank you for the note on gametes. I was not referring to physiological presentation, but rather to chromosomal oddities (XXY or XYY). But you are right that there would not be anything there that would enable the parents to “pick one.” I stand corrected.
The Pastoral Tithe
In response to your recent Saturday sermon post Honoring God in Personal Finances, I was curious about how the principle of tithing applies to pastors/elders. If the exhortation to generous giving applies to all members of a local congregation and the tithe is at least customarily reserved for the work of the local church, is it recommended for the “worker worthy of his wages” to tithe back to the church in which he serves or should he direct part or all of the tithe to other ministries or mission endeavors? It seems that the shepherd should be leading his flock in this spiritual discipline/act of worship, but the dynamics are a bit different and perhaps the expectations vary across denominations. I am not yet a pastor, although I hope to use my seminary training to that end at some point in the future. With your long tenure pastor and your mentorship of many so inclined within the Greyfriars Hall, you might have some personal insights and practical applications.
FMS, my assumption is that in the OT, the people tithed to the Levites and the Levites tithed to the priests. I don’t know who the priests tithed to, but I assume they did. Throughout our ministry, Nancy and I have always tithed, and some of it was to our own church and some to outside ministries.
My Master’s Thesis
You mentioned studying free will and determinism for your Master’s thesis, was it? I only did a philosophy course at Biola, but the prof had us dig deep into Hobart’s soft determinism versus one of the James (William?) boys and random chance. I always thought that to be a bit esoteric and wondered at its value to a Christian. Since rejecting my Too-Hip Calvinism lite (couldn’t hang with that “L”) and embracing the whole shebang, I’ve wondered about said soft determinism as an apologetic. I can’t remember Hobart’s real name (he used a pseudonym), but he was a contemporary of James and, maybe, Jose Ortega y Gassett (Meditations on Hunting- good read if you’re a hunter, but not Godly). Any thoughts?
Chris, it has been many years, but all the hard/soft distinctions seemed to me to be rhetorical and stylistic.