Reactions to Chemosh
Re: Christ or Chemosh Doug, a simple thanks for your faithful stand and posts always seasoned with salt. You and I wouldn’t agree on everything secondary (baptism, end times, etc), but if we ever hang, we’ll hang together for “the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” I praise God for men like you (and especially my own pastors) who are not ashamed of the gospel of our Lord.
Dan, thanks very much.
When my “To the Word” morning reading highlights the standoff between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal, and then I come across this . . . the lump that forms in my throat is large and suffocating. “Gulp,” I say. I suspect there are times when you, Pastor, feel like you’re the only one hitting that fire alarm. But never forget that while God was utterly destroying Israel for gross and hideous sins—idolatry, child sacrifice, whoredom, sodomy, etc.—He promised a distraught Elijah there were a few thousand faithful who had not and would not bow the knee to Baal.
So, God is destroying America for our gross and hideous sins. But He preserves a faithful remnant who will not bow the knee to the State or its gods, sacrifice our kids (literally or metaphorically), or refuse to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
As to this specific atrocity, I wonder if we could gather a coalition of black-hooded blokes to climb atop that courthouse, spray paint that demonic image with a huge red Cross, and then rip it down as they sing Psalm 68 at the top of their voices. What fun it would be to topple over that idol in the Name of the Lord! And then chop it into little pieces—the kind of pieces our babies must endure. And then burn the pieces into slag. And then bury the slag in a smoking landfill. And then burn the landfill.
AT, and haven’t we been taught to follow our dreams?
Re: A Woke Framing of the Classical Christian School Movement
I’m interested in how you think the admissions office of a classical Christian school should determine whether or not a prospective family is missionally aligned. If you were the headmaster of a small classical Christian school in some flyover state and could only ask three questions of parents applying to get their kids in, what would your three questions be?
Josh, there would only be two questions. One would regard their views on the school’s statement of faith. The second would be their reaction to the much more specific mission or vision guidelines that you would use in hiring faculty. The second question for the parents would be “are you willing for faculty who think and teach this way to be the instructors of your kids.” So the fine-tooth comb is necessary, but I think the focus should be on hiring the faculty, not the admission of students.
“Jessica denied being woke, and said that she spends much of her time in the medieval period, back when the woke population was pretty thin.”
I wonder if Jessica is aware of the war for wokeness in Medieval Studies. Wokeness is a jealous religion that demands total adherence, and it keeps on coming through in the weirdest of places. Gamergate, Sad Puppies, freaking knitting . . .
As Instapundit has paraphrased Leon Trotsky, “You may not be interested in the gleichshaltung, but the gleichshaltung is interested in you”.
Ian, exactly so.
So, the Christian classical school “movement” has gone down this road. Doesn’t surprise me. Everything she writes begs the question.” She assumes white supremacy” exists and is a threat, and “diversity” is an ultimate moral value, and anyone who doesn’t push “diversity” is an implicit racists or misogynist. Four references to persons or writers “of color” is as bad as using the term “social justice.” It accepts the premises of progressives and Marxists about social relations, and one could go on. I would never ever send my children or grandchildren to that Christian classical school, that’s for sure. It’s a hop skip and a jump to full blown progressivism from there.
D, yes. Once outside the bubble, the bubble becomes visible.
Regarding the accusations of white supremacy in classical Christian education, why not just offer up the same defense you do for the Jews? Are White Europeans not High Performance People? Bleating about how you aren’t a racist doesn’t convince anyone who cares about that, so you might as well at least defend your own ancestors as zealously as you defend the betrayers and murderers of Christ.
John, all of us were betrayers and murderers of Christ. Otherwise, whose sins did He die for? As for your first point, it is funny you should mention that. I am currently writing a book on the Jewish question, and a significant part of my argument has to do with the key role that Deuteronomic blessings have in transforming believing Gentile nations into high performance people. But if you want to join us, you will have to knock off the Jew-hatred. It only gets in the way.
A Goodreads Question
It’s been three years since you posted on Goodreads. Howforwhycome? What would it take for you to return? I know you post tons of reviews here, but it’d be nice to also still find them at the go-to “Who all’s read this title and what’d everybody think of it?” one-stop shop. Your 3,390 followers there seem like a neglected audience opportunity.
Kyriosity, I would have to go back and look at the issue now. I would certainly be willing to post on Goodreads. The problem started when I upgraded my blogging software, and apparently the Goodreads code was ancient, and couldn’t talk to my software anymore. If things have changed, I would be happy to hear about it.
Toxic Media Question
Strategy question for you. I firmly believe that the combination of the smartphone and social media (Twitter, Youtube, TikTok) have turned our society into a group that can’t stand to not be looking at their phones. Everyone’s attention span is shot and it’s doing real damage to the younger generations. No one seems to have the patience to ever read a book anymore. So for any ministry, there’s a decision to be made. Do I reach people where they are (social media), or do I reach them where I wish they were (books, sermons). Reaching people where they are has the potential for being ‘seeker-sensitive’ and being a contributor to the attention span problem. Reaching them where we wish they were has the likelihood of not reaching them at all.
Your church seemed to go with a bit of both. Yes, you publish books. But there’s short Youtube clips, social media accounts, etc. Do you ever feel like you’re contributing to the attention deficit problem? Or is it more important to reach people where they are despite the contribution?
Roger, to answer your basic question first, we think it is more important to reach people where they are. But this is not an “end justifies the means” approach because we don’t think the effects of social media are as dire as some maintain (although with human sin, it could always become even more dire than that). For more on our take on tech usage, see my book Ploductivity.
About Those Lutherans
This is not terribly pressing, but I am curious about something. What are your thoughts, in a nutshell, on conservative Confessional Lutherans, of which I am one? Just wondering.
Andrew, I like them. I like Christians who wake up in the morning knowing what they think.
I’m wrestling with the passages about elder qualifications. I recognize that I’m a minority position (even historically) but I can’t get past what seems to be the clear reading of Timothy and Titus. Namely my view is that it is necessary for someone to be married and to have children who are faithful/believers (Titus 1:6). I’ve been reading online discussions on the matter (puritanboard) and some commentaries and most of the arguments simply sweep it away without argument. (Matthew Henry simply says “not that ministers must be married; this is not meant”) I don’t understand how it is such a common view to allow ministers to be unmarried.
I’m examining these things because my church is considering putting a young man into the role of elder who is 25 years old. He has all the qualifications found in Timothy and Titus even being married. But the only thing he lacks is that I’m not sure his kids are faithful/believers (Titus 1:6). They are 2 and 3, not unreasonably disobedient or bad kids by any means, but I don’t know how to evaluate Titus 1:6 as a qualification without requiring them to have credible profession of faith. But many people simply say that it isn’t a necessary qualification.
All of this to say, I’m curious your thoughts on the need for an elder candidate to be married and what we are looking at in regards to his children in light of Titus 1:6.
Shea, I wouldn’t want to read Paul’s requirements in a way that would require us to exclude Paul himself. I believe the assumption is that a man should have a well-managed household if he has one.
Some Hard Cases
My wife is having what you might call a “crisis of faith”. She alternates between bouts of depression, rage, hurling insults and profanities at me, making ridiculous accusations against the church and God, to beating against the walls and causing damage to our house, and then later expression deep remorse and deep sorrow over her words and actions. She made a profession of faith a few years ago and has been baptized in our local church, and except for these bouts I would have no reason to question any of that. During these bouts, she also says she is no longer a believer, doesn’t believe in God, thinks God is out to get her. She has a whole lifetime of growing up in an abusive home and has been generally treated badly by almost everyone in her life, so of course those facts contribute greatly to the situation. We are seeking pastoral counsel as well as trying to get her to see a medical doctor to see if there’s anything in that realm going on that needs to be treated. I am trying my best to be there for her and respond to her biblically with love, but it is a) very difficult for me, and b) almost impossible to be successful at.
I know you are at an extreme distance to this, but is my wife a Christian and how do I deal with this beyond what we are doing now?
WN, yes, but with an emphasis on what you said about being at a distance. When she is in her right mind, she is connected to all of reality in a sane way, and not just to the Lord in a sane way. I would take that as the base line. At the same time, the other sinful episodes do need to be addressed, and it sounds to me that you are taking the right approach.
My wife’s brother was arrested on two counts of sexually molesting his 4-year-old daughter after confessing his crime to a counselor and being investigated by CPS. He has a reputation of being a lying manipulator. After my daughter’s death, we received a letter from him from jail. The letter is composed of shallow consolation, attempts to elicit sympathy, and flattery. His sentencing is next month and his plea deal is a slap on the wrist. We’re convinced he has not become a Christian during his incarceration and will still be a threat when he is released from jail.
My wife and I are at a loss of how to deal with him. We knew of his poor character and his Christianity was a lie. We were shocked to discover he is a pedophile and are praying for his salvation. How do we interact with him at family gatherings in the near future? How do we love him like Christ while he is still a danger? My wife and I have no other children and will not allow him to touch our future kids, but my wife’s family gatherings will at least be disturbing in the future. Thank you.
Brent, the first thing is that I think that the family as a whole should decide to have someone on duty the entire time, charged with having him in sight at all times. Rotate the duty as necessary. Your standard with regard to your own kids is good. In your personal interactions with him, make sure you are loving him, and want the best for his soul, and that means you share both law and gospel with him. But if you cannot be assured of the safety of your kids while there, then it is your duty to not be there.
Imagine a Christian man married to an unbelieving woman for over 20 years. Through a lot of difficulties the man worked pretty hard at staying married for the sake of getting to raise his sons in the faith. When the kids were young and the parents had a serious disagreement, the woman would usually get her way (unless it was a direct biblical issue) because the man couldn’t stand the idea of losing his kids. The woman knew that divorce was not an option for the man, and so she had a lot of leverage. The woman was and is never agreeable to correction of any sort. (Yes, never).
The man and woman are now older, the kids are not little anymore, the woman doesn’t like to work, and the man provides for her and her elderly mother. So she doesn’t have much leverage anymore.
Imagine that the woman spends 10-12 hours a day looking at her phone and has virtually no interest in doing anything else. The man is saddened and troubled that his spouse would want to live that way. He has prayed for a long time that she would be won to Christ, and is not wishing for a divorce. He feels a duty to confront her about her lifestyle, but history says that she will ignore him and do as she pleases. He has made mild remarks to the wife but it has not risen to the level of a serious argument. They have a tacit agreement that things will stay peaceful if he looks the other way and doesn’t make any demands of her.
Does the man have a duty to continue to confront the unsubmissive, unbelieving wife on issues like this? When the man asks something of her and she ignores him, what is his recourse? When a believing man who is “not the leaving kind” says “do this or else,” what is the “or else”? Is the man virtuous if, out of fear of the Lord and the hope of winning his wife, he “allows” the wife to persist in this behavior? Or is he a coward for not pressing the issue further? Is smashing the phone with a hammer on the kitchen table an option? Just kidding.
Anon, you need to smash the phone in your prayers. In an untenable situation like this, you need to pray the situation to a head. Whether or not your wife recognizes your authority in the home, God does. I would incorporate into your daily prayers something like the following: 1. God, please correct any wicked way in me. The chances are outstanding that you are a player. 2. Pray that the Lord would bring true conviction of sin to her, without you lecturing her. 3. Have that conviction be such that either she repents, or she leaves.
Greetings from Argentina. I’m having trouble reconciling two issues. For one thing, my two-year-old son doesn’t want to sit in the service, even though he is in church weekly. I would like to discipline him at the moment of disobedience, but not by embarrassing him in public. in that case, would it be advisable to discipline him, despite the brothers being present? how should i proceed? Thanks. Peace of the Lord.
D, don’t discipline him at church. At home, institute sessions of “church practice,” sitting still for 15-20 minutes. Teach and instruct him there, and discipline him there as appropriate.
Corinthians and Culture War
In response to, “When False Teachers Strut” I have to say your exegesis of this passage is exactly correct. The fact of the matter is, I have been making this very same argument against those who are using this passage attempting to convince Christians we are commanded by Paul in this passage to, “take every thought captive” who then go on in an attempt to make the argument this would involve taking captive the thoughts of those we engage in the outside culture. However, as you have explained to us, this is not a command to Christians in the least. In fact, the Corinthians could have never understood this to be a command. Rather, they would have clearly understood it to be a severe warning. Moreover, it is abundantly clear this warning was confined to those you call “false teachers” inside the Church and had nothing whatsoever to do with those who are outside the Church. Let us add to this the fact that Paul had already explained to the Corinthians they were free to associate with the immoral unbeliever outside, but were commanded not to associate with the immoral inside the Church, going on to state plainly, “for what do I have to do with judging those who are outside”, and it is abundantly clear Paul could not have had any intention of these things being applied to those outside such as, “the cosmic forces of unbelief—Darwinism, postmodernism, atheism, relativism, and the universities that house them”. Rather, it is clear Paul had only those in mind who were inside the Church. The Church has no jurisdiction over those who hold to, “the cosmic forces of unbelief—Darwinism, postmodernism, atheism, relativism, and the universities that house them,” because these would be outside the Church and as Paul explained, this would be no business of mine. However, as this passage clearly demonstrates, those inside the Church were indeed the business of Paul. Your whole argument here seems to be, since Paul tells Timothy to, “drink a little wine for your stomach sake”, and since we can rightly use this passage to oppose a “teetotaler” when Paul would not have had this sort of thing on his mind in the least, then we can also use this passage in Corinthians to engage those outside the Church even though this would not have been on the mind of Paul in the least as he wrote. The problem here is, Paul is not giving a command to the Corinthians, nor us as Christians, when he says, “WE take every thought captive”. Paul is not speaking of Christians when he says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete.” Paul is not telling us that Christians have these abilities. He nowhere explains what it would even mean to, “take every thought captive” and yet we have Christians attempting to convince us they know exactly what it means to “take every thought captive” and we are to “take every thought captive” even the thoughts of those who do not belong to Christ. However, all the while these Christians are making the bold claim they know what it means to “take every thought captive” including those outside the Church, the culture becomes ever more immoral. And let us not pretend the reason for this is the fact that the Church has not involved itself in such matters, because the Church has been involved in what it calls the “spiritual war for the culture” for decades now, and it has not only lost the “culture wars,” it is also losing the war inside the Church as our Churches are emptying out. It would seem the Church would have learned from this and begin as Paul to focus on those inside the Church. However, the Church continues to double down on the “culture war”.
I have heard a good number of pastors, preachers, and teachers inside the Church over the years, who continue to use this passage in order to insist this is a command to the Church to involve itself in the war for the culture, but as you have demonstrated this passage would have nothing whatsoever to do with this in the least. Therefore, it seems as if, since these folks cannot actually find a legitimate passage to support such an idea, we have “false teachers who strut” in order to manufacture one.
Jack, I agree with the things you write here, which is not surprising in that you were agreeing with me. But the reason the application is legitimate is that in the Great Commission Christ has commanded us to bring the whole world into the Church. And in the process, their vain imaginations have to be dealt with.
You know about the movie The Whale? It was written by a former Logos School student. Do you have any thoughts on this or recall this gentleman Samuel Hunter?
SS, yes, I remember Sam very well, and still think of him with affection. He was a very talented kid, and he did fit in well at the school while he was here. But he was correct that the trajectory he was on was inconsistent with the Christian culture of the school. His decision to leave was really unfortunate for him. Pray that he finds rest in Christ, and a respite from his” demons.”
Thanks, And . . .
I am almost done with “Death by Living,” which will be my third Canon+ book this year. It moved me to tears. Looking at your family and the obvious fruit, and seeing how my first child is due in May, I have one question:
How did you and your wise produce an atmosphere that made your children so happy and holy?
JH, thanks very much, and God has been very kind to us. The central thing I would point to, and which I learned from my father, is the principle of maintaining short accounts with God, confessing sin. When you confess sin, you keep the garden weeded. When you don’t, the weeds grow to choke out everything good.
Bible Study on the Psalms
RUF: As far as commentary on Psalms, I highly recommend the sermons on individual psalms by the esteemed Doug Wilson
Time Stamps and Math
Been a very long time since your father talked to me at the bookstore and explained the Gospel to me as he gave me a Tract. 2 weeks later I talked to you at the bookstore to tell someone I did what the Tract said. Anyway, that was 1979 and I thought you had at least 1 child already. That’s 44 years ago (did that without calculator). So was the chief cook and bottle washer living in sin or is your math in need of correction? Another option is you have been counting for 4 years. Enjoy your blog as I am also trilingual, speaking fluent Snarkanese, Sarcanese, and dabble in English.
Rich, good to hear from you again. I think you are referring to the 40 years and counting in the bio. That was written some time ago, and which I have now updated—spurred on to love and good works by you as I have been.
Great Fiction Idea
Are you concerned that BibleGPT may eventually put you out of any Biblical counseling aspects of your job?
Seriously, though, after typing in a few questions (e.g. “I get impatient with my kids”, “I eat too much food”, “I don’t sleep well at night”, etc. to https://biblegpt.org/ I was impressed with the results.
There *must* be a potential satirical sequel here to Ride Sally Ride, Evangellyfish or both . . .
Ben, you’re right. There must be.