The First Table
Thank you for your article, “A Daisy Chain of Non Sequiturs.” I wanted to know if you think that the civil government should enforce the first table of the Ten Commandments. If so, how do you envision that? If not, why not?
Leah, as I have argued elsewhere, I believe that the civil government must first obey the first table of the law. After they have done so for several successive centuries, we can talk about them enforcing it on others.
Postmill in General
Re: Heaven Misplaced and Postmillennialism in general.
I recently listened to “When the Man Comes Around” and “Heaven Misplaced” on Canon+ and am very persuaded by the train of reasoning. At present however, I would not call myself a postmill because of passages of Scripture like 2 Timothy 3:12-13: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (ESV) or John 15:18-25, the essence of which is “The world isn’t going to like you very much.” It seems to me as if Jesus and Paul guarantee all believers some persecution at some point in their lives, so how does that fit with the postmill view that Christianity will spread throughout the world? If unbelievers at some point in time will be a minority, how will all Christians be persecuted?
If I’ve misunderstood the post-mill view, or overlooked a resource you have on this subject, please direct me.
Nate, to borrow O’Conner’s phrase, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd. While I don’t believe that Christians will be fed to lions near the end, I so believe that the godliest among us will always be the odd man out. They will always be misunderstood, misconstrued, and mistreated.
Reading through the early chapters of Deuteronomy recently, I was reminded of your observation in “Hebrews Through New Eyes: Christ and His Rivals” that “the book of Hebrews [is] a New Testament Deuteronomy.” Both books, then should have meaning and application for how we Christians should “conduct [our]selves in the land that the Lord [our] God [is] giving to [us].” In the case of Deuteronomy, a passage like 10:16, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn,” seems straightforward, though challenging. But what about 7:2: “… when the Lord your God gives [the nations] over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them”? I understand we are fighting with a different weapon today—the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, rather than a steel sword. So how are we to apply such passages today not only with our new weapon in hand but in light of the teachings of Dispensationalism, Reformed Two Kingdoms, etc. that we are to (essentially) surrender the culture to the nations?
Bill, no. We are still to destroy our enemies. And what better way to do this than by making them friends of God?
I am having a lot of trouble with Galatians 3:16, where Paul quotes the land promises of Genesis 13 (“and to your seed”). Since Paul says Christ was the promised seed, (a) in what sense will the land promise be fulfilled in Christ, (b) in what sense was it fulfilled in the nation of Israel, and (c) how can the nation of Israel also be Abraham’s singular seed?
In other words, is Paul saying “here’s the real meaning of the promises to Abraham”, or is he saying “here’s the allegorical meaning” (in a similar way to Gal. 4:24ff)?
I’m looking for a way to explain this that might be convincing to someone who hangs their dispensational hat on the Abrahamic land promises.
Thanks very much for your help,
Fort, I believe the conquest of Canaan was a type of the coming evangelization of the world (b). I believe the land promise will be ultimately fulfilled when the earth is as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. That would mean Israel is covered also (a). And the nation of Israel can only be the singular seed of Abraham by means of union with Christ, who is the singular seed of Abraham (c).
What are your beliefs on concupiscence, and specifically, as it pertains to homosexuality?
Noah, I believe that the stirrings of such desire are temptation, to be resisted but not confessed, and that indulgence and expression of such desire is to be confessed to God as sin. Under no circumstances should it be made an aspect of your identity.
Is Michael Jesus?
I am currently listening to Reading the Bible (Again) for the First Time on Canon+. In the fifth lecture at 39:33, Jordan nonchalantly says that Jesus is Michael the Archangel. I was caught off guard because I’ve never heard this. Could you go into more detail and explain this? Did he mean that they are literally the same being, or that Michael is typological of Jesus? Based on a preterist interpretation of Revelation, it seems to me that he is saying that they are literally the same being.
Thank you for your time,
Levi, I believe he would say they are the same being. A handful of orthodox believers hold to this, as do the JWs, but I don’t buy it. For example, in Jude 9, it says that Michael dared not bring a charge against the devil, but instead said “The Lord rebuke you.” This makes no sense if Michael was the Lord.
A Wonderful Phrase
The purpose of this brief letter is twofold. First, I want to encourage you in your faithful courage. You are a valiant example to us men. You once wrote back to my wife, telling her to thank me for having a backbone. The context of that gratitude was that I had defended you to others and in the process lost a number of friends and the church I pastored. Your example of manly fortitude is somewhat contagious.
Secondly, I wanted to tender a phrase that I think I have made up on my very own. I don’t think I’ve heard it anywhere yet. The phrase is “sexual alchemy”. It can be used to describe the current trans madness. The left only has magical thinking left and nothing else. So if you agree that this is not been used elsewhere feel free to use it. I’ve not trademarked it or anything. It’s yours as far as I’m concerned. And if you use it in writing I guess it will be.
Sam, thanks. Wonderful phrase, and it touches the thing with a needle. Sexual alchemists want to turn lead into gold. Don’t be surprised if this shows up elsewhere in my writing.
Starting a School
I was told by people at both Christchurch and ACCS that this is the best way to get in touch with you. I am wanting to start a school in my home town of Covington, Georgia. I have recently taught at the Rhetoric level of a Classical Christian school in my town; now I own my own business. I am very favorable to the Classical model because of what I saw in the 12th graders that I taught (Give them anything to mentally munch on and they will spit out gold) and am leaning heavily towards using it for my potential school. The only reason I haven’t already decided on going the Classical route is because I have been somewhat mentored by a man who runs a school that uses the Principle Approach model. I’ve looked into The Principle Approach and it seems to be very good for the type of school I want to start (More of that in a bit). I want to do what God wants me to do, and in doing that I have asked many across the country for advice about which route to go in. However, cue the crickets. It turns out that most have never heard of The Principle Approach. After trying to figure out what the Principle Approach is all about, how it differs from the Classical, and why I should go with one over the other I am at a loss. Neither would be a failure, but I want the best one for the type of school I want to open.
So the type of school that I have in mind is this: A 3 part school that is made up of (1) A University Model School that uses either the (2) Principle approach or the Classical model. In a nutshell The University model governs the pace and schedule of the school, and either The Principle Approach or the Classical model governs what is learned and how. Using the University model will free up enough time and money to be devoted to (3) a focus on an adventurous aspect. I don’t have this set in stone yet, but I would like to incorporate some type of curriculum that allows for a hands on/outdoors/adventure aspect. There are others within the University model system that have written a curriculum for outdoor education and have subsequently turned it into a whole organization devoted to it. Ideally the doors would open Fall 2023.
So ultimately my questions are:
What do you think of The Principle Approach? (Is it a good idea? Is it terrible and needs to be thrown into the sun?)
What do you think of my school idea?
Thank you. I need all the help I can get, and I welcome any advice and criticism you are willing to give.
Wayne, sorry to disappoint. I have heard of the Principle approach, but not enough to be helpful. You certainly know more about it than I do at this point. Your other ideas sound solid to me, and are certainly workable. The only thing I would say is that you are likely to have a lot more resources and help available with the classical approach—many more are involved in this movement.
Directed at no post in particular, but something I’ve had spinning around in my head for a while now. I was baptized as an infant in a Lutheran church but growing up evangelical I of my own volition decided in high school to be re-baptized, since I grew up in a credo baptist church. Recently I’ve become a paedobaptist and struggle with feeling like I did something wrong by being re-baptized. I now see my infant baptism as legitimate and feel like I made a big mistake (sacrilege??) by acting against that, even though at the time I truly believed what I was doing was biblical. In your opinion, did I make a mistake in doing what I did, and if so, how do I assuage the guilt I feel about it? Also, a side note, I love your content, especially the Letters to Dawson. “Calvinism and Girls” was the first content of yours I ever came across and its greatly helped me!
Isaac, yes, I believe that getting baptized again was unnecessary and a mistake. But I also think you should confess it to God, and then forget about it. He does forgive things like this, you know. And in the future, when you are asked about when you were baptized, use the earlier date.
I pray this letter finds you and your family well. I had a question for you, however, it is not from the blog. I attended the Logos School teacher training conference earlier in July. You presented a plenary presentation “Mission True/Mission Drift.” While reviewing my notes and preparing for my school year I ran into a question from your presentation that I would like to ask. My apologies if this is not the most effective or proper way to ask such a question.
You spoke of mimetic rivalry in the school; this idea that we are not in conflict with those who are different with us, but at conflict with those who are like us. Would you say this is the case biblically across the board? I could see that you are referring to what conflict will come for the school and staff specifically. We should be not as concerned with secular opposition to what we do, but be wary of conflict with one another for the same goal. Is this true in all facets of life? That we do not find conflict with the atheist ( as I would call them angry deists), Islamic, Buddhist, etc. We are not surprised by their hatred because Christ has told us to be ready for it. Instead we find conflict with our fellow Christians, who argue about eschatology and call each other heretics over pre, amil, or post viewpoints. Or when a church chooses to only sing from the Psalter, or really pick most arguments that are not issues of what we all must agree on to be saved.
It’s an interesting thought to ponder the latter. What is the greatest opposition to Christ’s kingdom? Sin of course, but how we as humans sin what is the greater deterrent? I think us arguing and hating each other because of the color of the bathroom in a church is the greatest form of opposition. It is so detrimental for it is the least noticeable, the least prayed for; it is not the big billboard sign in most churches to be wary of stunting the growth of the kingdom for petty differences. Instead we are told to be wary of those who hate Christ and His church.
I shall leave my thoughts there, if I have struck appropriately I would love to further the discussion. If I am, however, off base will gladly take the critique. I appreciated you being able to speak with us teachers at Logos! I have had a lot of growth this summer as a Christian, a teacher, father, and husband. My prayer is for God to continue to be glorified in you and through you.
In His Service,
Justin, yes. You have summarized by point nicely. External opposition has the advantage of being clear. Internal opposition gets tangled up, almost right away. I do believe that you can see this pattern in Scripture, all through Scripture. Internal dissension, based on envy, is a true destroyer.
Baptism and Submission
I have a question about baptism. My husband and I attend a baptist church and my husband (and everyone else I know) does not believe infant baptism is valid. I have however been very convicted by the arguments for paedobaptism in the materials on the Canon plus app. First question, am I right in assuming that submitting to my husband in this takes priority over trying to force him into accepting paedobaptism for our children? Second question, how do I speak to my children about baptism as they get older but are not yet at the culturally acceptable age for baptism in the baptist church? I don’t want to imply that their father and our church are wrong and I also don’t want to cause them to question their own salvation at such a young age. Thank you.
Charlotte, yes, you are right that this is an issue where you must be submissive to your husband. You should be praying that he would be thinking that you becoming paedobaptist has made you even sweeter than you were before. And when the kids grow older, and questions arise, just refer them to their father. Let them see how sweet you are also.
What’s the Deal?
Another Wednesday has come (and nearly gone) with no Plodcast. What’s the story? On hiatus? Out of topics? Or have you just forgotten about those of us who feel the week is incomplete without a new episode?
Jane, these things are hard for me to explain. I record four at a time, approximately once a month. Because I just go where I am pointed, if it shows up on my calendar, I go and record. We probably ran out because of inadequate preparation for my vacation time. But the good news is that I am going in to record four more later this morning. For that is where I am pointed.
My Take on Calvinism?
I’m getting around to analyzing your perspective on Calvinism, a project I’ve been meaning to undertake for some time now. I come away with very different impressions of your Calvinism depending on which speech or interview of yours it is I am watching at the time, and would like as close to a single complete sourcing on the subject as can be had. The extensive selection on Canon+ makes this hard. Is there a clear pick for a single audiobook or similar on Douglas Wilson’s reasoning on Calvinism?
I’ve been considering a personal pilgrimage of sorts to Moscow. A spiritual maintenance visit so to speak. With the resource of cost of organizing such a trip, its not something I can do a lot. Is there a particular time of year that this would make more sense to do? Thanks
Justin, I think you would get the best view of what is going on if you were to come in the autumn, after school starts. As far as Calvinism goes, my book on that is Easy Chair, Hard Words. That is written in dialog form. I also contributed a section to Back to Basics, published by P&R, and my section is on Calvinism—no dialog there, just straight prose.
What About the Plain Girls?
I have been reading your blog a good deal lately, particularly your letters to Darla and Dawson. I think they are very helpful, and though it has been a huge paradigm shift for me I think you are right, and hit the issue much more on the nose than anyone whom I have ever before heard speak on the topic before. I do have some questions, though, which need some clarification. First, Darla is quite a beautiful young woman, I’m sure. But what about us less pretty girls? It doesn’t seem quite fair that men should be judged on their actions (which can be changed) and women on looks (which are much more permanent). Do uglier women have to settle for effeminate milksops? It would be better not to be married at all.
Second, in your letter entitled “The Right Kind of Beauty Treatments,” you say that men find it very attractive when women openly admire their masculinity. What exactly does this openness entail? It seems rather forward to openly admire a fellow in the first place.
Third, what are your thoughts on makeup? I have never worn it because of its history of being used by prostitutes, and I don’t want to become what you so rightly term an attraction. However, being pretty is a good thing, and something which I certainly want to be. You see the conundrum.
Thank you so much for these letters, I cannot express how helpful they have been in thinking through everything.
HS, I will start with your second question first. To openly admire one guy that you just met is not what I was talking about—that would just be flirting. What I was saying is that the women should openly admire the men as a class. The men should be able to see that you are not put off by masculinity, but that you respect it. Your first and third questions go together. A woman can do something about her appearance, and in two ways. Cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit, as Peter describes it, is not the biblical way of saying that an ugly girl has a “nice personality.” What he is saying is that there is an inner beauty that does work its way outward, and men can see it. When Lucy saw Aslan in the Dawn Treader, Lewis describes her as growing (unconsciously) beautiful. And this brings us to your third question. You are right that you should not overdo it with the make-up—don’t put it on with a trowel, in other words—but putting on make-up wisely enhances your appearance, and it communicates that you care about your appearance. This is not in the spirit of flaunting it, but rather in a spirit of self-respect. Find a woman in your church whose godliness you respect, and whose use of make-up you admire. Ask her for help.
To Build and Fight
I’m a young pastor in a small church in a rural community (county population = 12k) desiring to bring reformation and revival to a parched land full of nominal Christianity. When I think about blog posts such as “For Your Kids Sake, Find a Place to Build and Fight,” I very much feel called to build where we are, and I believe there are Christians scattered in the surrounding churches who are hungry, zealous, and even angry about the current state of the churches in our area. So my question is about reaching them. I’ve always verbalized a “don’t take from other churches mindset,” but for the sake of Christ, His Kingdom, and the malnourished souls in the God-forsaken churches I’m beginning to feel like we need to be calling Christians from other churches to join us, to take up the sword of truth, and go make disciples. Would you encourage this? If so, how? After reading Mother Kirk, I want to begin a literature ministry, and this could be a way to reach believers and unbelievers. I have also considered targeted Facebook ads with sermons and blog posts, but when I think about the words “targeted ads,” I grimace and see images of foggy stages, tabletop pulpits, and skinny jeans.
I would appreciate any thoughts.
Thanks so much
Luke, I have the same views on sheep stealing that you do, but I think the situation is altered when other shepherds have chased their sheep away. I also think targeted ads are fine—the technology used can be the same as used by the skinny jean churches, while the content of your ad is completely different. So go for it.
A Patriarchy Question
He casts a wide net but pulls it in at the end and I think his conclusion would 90-95% match yours.
If you have read or read it will you comment?
Robert, thanks for the link, and I have read it now. I like Kevin DeYoung’s work, and this article is no exception. His thinking is good, and we apparently only differ concerning my willingness to use the term patriarchy positively. But that is just a semantic difference, and because I never want to be accused of being anti-semantic, I’ll just stop there.
Teaching in the Government Schools
I am well aware of your stance regarding public schools and not handing our children over to the state. My wife has already starting homeschooling to avoid that mess… But where do you stand on good, Christian men teaching in the public school system? I respect and look up to several solid men that teach in public schools. And I am looking at possible backup plans, should the military finish its backwards slide into woke-ism. Do you think it’s more or less dangerous teaching in the public school system than it is to continue in the military?
Greg, I don’t think it is the same thing as having little kids in there. The second grader cannot know what is being done to him, and an adult Christian teacher can know what is going on, and be part of the resistance. So I don’t think it is a sin to be a teacher in the government schools. But I do think it would be a total headache and exasperation. If you think the military is going woke, just wait until you get into America’s K-12 system—it is as woke a small pox blanket.
An Ecclesiastical Dead End?
Thank you for your teaching and the clear-headiness that you bring to subjects that confront us in the Church everyday. I have been greatly blessed by your work and the work of your compatriots there in Moscow.
I am a member of a church plant for a conservative Presbyterian denomination. We have been involved with this operation for about 4 years, and I am really considering leaving the whole affair because of what I deem a lack of leadership. We have a borrowed session, that is mostly absent, and we have no elders of our own. The preaching is—ahem—lackluster. Our pastor has said something to the effect that he doesn’t need to make application of the Scripture because the Holy Spirit makes application in each person’s heart, and that line of reasoning really shows up in his preaching. There are several indicators that lead me to believe that he is just plain lazy. There has been virtually no effort put into cultural engagement or outreach of any kind. He is near retirement, but I just don’t have faith in our nearly non-existent session to replace him with someone that has the energy and ability to see this plant off to a good start. I’ve voiced my concerns to one elder 6 months ago, but haven’t received any feedback. He listened and then we parted ways.
What is my responsibility in this? Do I have to address these things with the whole session and try to sort through all the things I see wrong, or can I simply part ways with minimal explanation? Or, should I just be quiet and wait?
Guy, I obviously am not there on the ground, but from what you describe, it sounds like you could leave with minimal disruption, and probably ought to.
Playing Catch Up
I am a 68 year old Christian man.
I wasted my youth when I should have laid a solid foundation of investing/accruing educational “capital” but since age 30 or so I have been trying to make up for it on my own. At first, largely motivated by wanting to understand the Bible, as well as the Puritan writers, etc. (e.g. English grammar), Then along with the Bible: Christian history (e.g. and world history), culture (and e.g. U.S. History), etc.
Rushdoony (and his associations) with his wide ranging knowledge was a big inspiration, and the Puritans, etc. (I understand that an understanding of the “pagans,” including the pagan philosophers, was a standard part of a good education for many of the Puritans and their kin.) Then with our boys I was motivated to learn about homeschool, curriculum, classical education, the trivium, etc., and your influence (e.g. “Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning”… e.g. Dorothy Sayers’s essay)… All these influences plus all the associations/”ancestors”/networks/offshoots from all these I chose to track down. So now… although in a *very* limited/deficient way… I appreciate all the things that in school I used to call “stupid”.
My point, Sir, please is… Through all my exposure, reading, listening, etc. it occurred to me that one of the biggest holes/deficiencies I have in my educational/mental framework is the fundamental mental organization/apparatus supplied by the pagan philosophers… Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (right?).
As I understand it (and having listened to R.C. Sproul’s introduction/Overview of Philosophy series several times), from a strictly human—i.e. Natural Revelation—point of view, these big 3 pagan philosophers (and others) had the natural world/reality all figured out and organized… and since then nobody has really been able to improve much on their fundamental, foundational, framework of organizing and classifying knowledge, thinking, observing the world, etc., etc.. Even in some of their quaint understandings (e.g. earth, air, fire, water): I understand that they got things right in a sort of fundamental way that hasn’t really been improved upon since. i.e. in really getting a grasp on the nature/essence of things/reality. (i.e. from a Natural Revelation point of view).
My theory is that it would be beneficial for me (under the guidance/authority of Christ and the Bible) to spend a reasonable, prioritized amount of time/effort to try to learn/retrofit the mental organizational principles of understanding the world/reality as contained in and taught by the writings of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. as part of God-given Natural Revelation (e.g. science). All this may sound vague, and it is sort of vague to me, but I think three or four concrete examples of what I am talking about are (1) the rules of logic and inference, etc. to understand the world. (2) I have heard that the “Socratic Dialogue” is a sure-fire way of “teasing out” the truth of a matter and clearing up fuzzy thinking. (3) Also it is generally acknowledged that a man should be some capable in the art/craft/science of Rhetoric. (4) Also, the 3 or 4 types of “causes”… material, formal, efficient, final… not to mention sufficient or necessary… these seem to pop up by smart people that are organized in their thinking…. so I’m thinking all these particular examples are things are good and useful things to know and use to think and reason and organize one’s mental apparatus and framework… and if these particular “fruits” are good, then the tree — the source… their books/writings/”science”—must also be valuable and useful to help one observe, and reason, and think, and organize, analyze, evaluate, etc. insofar as God’s Natural Revelation goes…. i.e. all under the authority of Christ and His Word.
Do you think this is a reasonable theory and worthwhile undertaking?
If so, do you have any recommendations of book(s), etc. to guide me or start me off in my journey, to gain what there is to gain for a 68 year old Christian man from (e.g./i.e.) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle?
I know C.S. Lewis said that it is best just to dive in and read the classical giants themselves instead of someone’s (i.e. inferior) interpretation of them . . . but I feel I need some kind of guidance to help start me off in order to be most efficient and not spin my wheels.
However . . . on the other hand . . . David said that he was wiser than all his teachers because he knew, loved, and obeyed God’s word…. Without any help from any pagan Greek philosophers…..
What do you think, please?
Thank you for reading this and for any help in guiding me toward (or even against) these guys.
Robert, I think your goal is reasonable, but quite aspirational. I would recommend you start by reading John Frame’s History of Western Philosophy and Theology.
This is in reference to the David and Bathsheba post and the art chosen which included a large amount of female skin.
In raising young boys, I am trying to be honest about male temptations and also cautious about what photos are available to them. This has included me asking my wife to use permanent marker to cover nudity in some books of oil paintings we have in the home.
Could you please explain your reasoning behind using the photo you chose, and why you picked one with female nudity? How should we teach our boys about self-control in these things? Where would you draw the line when it comes to “art”?
Ian, thanks for the question, and thank you for being careful with this whole issue. I chose that picture because I thought it represented the theme of the post quite well, and it never occurred to me that the nature of the nudity in that picture would present a stumbling block to anyone. In my view, that is the sort of picture that your sons need to learn how to just take in stride.
First off, I wanted to thank you for your ministry. I have profited greatly from it, and in particular, your whole idea of using the New Testament quotes to understand the Old Testament (the “Apostolic Study Bible”) has been one of the most life-changing exercises I ever did.
While doing that I came across the differences between the Septuagint family and the Massoretic family of texts, and after reading about it I was curious about your opinion on that:
1. Given that the Septuagint text is roughly 1000 years older than the Massoretic, in the places where they differ which one would you give preference?
2. Given that the Massoretic Text was written down by Jewish authors that rejected Christ as the Messiah, after some 8 centuries of anti-Christian sentiments, do you believe this opposition was reflected in the text? (For example the difference between parthenos vs almah in Isaiah 7:14).
3. Would you make arguments (on a sermon or a book) based on a passage or variant only found on the LXX? (For example Psalm 110:3 saying the the Messiah was begotten before the Morning Star)
4. If my church body uses a translation based on the Massoretic, is it sectarian for me to argue for the LXX translation in some passages? Am I crossing a line (I’m a layman)?
Rafael, this is complicated. I will say this. There are places where the NT writers use the Septuagint, meaning that it is obviously okay in some instances. Where the Massoretic text has been confirmed by manuscripts that were prior to Christ (e.g. the Dead Sea scrolls), I would want to give preference to the Hebrew. So in my view it is largely a case-by-case sort of thing. But your questions are not necessarily sectarian at all.