Lock Her Up?
There were a cluster of letters on this same theme, which I will try to answer at the end.
Thank you so much for the gift of your writing. One question in regards to your post on “the fragility of order.” I am a conservative first and foremost. I tend to vote republican. Seeing what is going on with the deep state right now and how far they have gone to set up, discredit Trump (not a huge fan) and HRC seems to be heavily involved. Would you prosecute her for things she did before becoming the DNC candidate—i.e. Uranium one, pay for play while SoS? I would I think. If there are not consequences for her actions and other people involved would not that make them try that much harder to destroy people in their path to power? Thanks again for your gift of writing and furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“My concern is that I do not believe we should allow the ritual of our election cycle to culminate with the losing candidate being hauled off to jail. This would be an incentive for far more corruption, not less. It would encourage the elections to get dirtier, not fairer.” Doug, I think this is a rare instance where you are off on your logic. One of your big first principles is: “Reward what you want more of, punish what you want less of.” If and when Hillary Clinton is prosecuted for any of her many crimes, security negligence in particular, she would be prosecuted because she showed probable cause. She would not be prosecuted because she was an awful, dishonest, sanctimonious candidate. She should be prosecuted and punished because she broke the law. Hillary should be punished because we want less kooky liberalism! As proof of the rightness of prosecuting Hillary Clinton for her criminality alone, I predict that perennial presidential candidates, like your good friend “Vermin Supreme” will never be prosecuted, just because they were more honest political candidates! They would only be prosecuted if they were suspected of a criminal act. Vermin Supreme should be rewarded! We want more kooky liberals like him! ; – ) Especially the part where he wears a big rubber boot on his head!
Pastor Wilson, please clarify. Prior to this paragraph you advocated for no prosecution/indictment/conviction of Hillary as she was the DNC POTUS candidate and we don’t want to conclude elections with jail time for the loser. In the basketball sans refs analogy, aren’t you making the case that we need rules/laws to be enforced lest we descend into chaos? You’re simultaneously saying that the game needs to have boundaries, enforced by NEUTRAL third parties, but we agree that NEUTRALITY is a myth (see recent theocracy posts). In lieu of neutral refs, should there be no rules to the game, no boundaries of the engagement? If so, what non-neutral actors shall enforce them? Agreeing that tribalism isn’t Godly or positive to society, shall we fear it so greatly that we invite chaos by removing the refs? Is this where we land, that unless there’s a GODLY theocracy, (agreeing that theocracy is inescapable, but the object is variable) we are destined to a sinful corrupt government that is lawless? That the current madness in untenable, and therefore cannot continue indefinitely. Without a well-educated and morally upright citizenry, what stops corrupt governments in other parts of the world throughout history? Are you for the legal ramifications on FBI personnel, Judges and other bad actors who are not candidates in this scheme? I agree that making a routine practice of jailing failed candidates isn’t healthy. If they pass all the proper due process methods to have their liberty removed from them, I would advocate for incarceration, as is the proper function of civil government. How do we advocate for civil government, however partisan, to abdicate their role in bearing the sword, simply because this person was a candidate, or worked on the campaign? . . . I’m not advocating tribalism as an answer. There need to be checks on government power. There need to be safeguards benefiting the citizens. Advocating for the silence of refs, as you desire prior to the basketball analogy, will only increase the tendency toward the tribalism we reject. Lost faith in the system can happen on either side of the (mythical) aisle. If the ethical behavior by one party begets unethical responses by the counter-party, shall we advocate the ethical actors stand down?
“Does anyone actually believe that in our postmodern times, when truth is defined as whatever has that truthy feel, the reverse would not happen the next time around? The dishonest candidate, seeing what happened to the last dishonest candidate, pulls out all the stops, and wins the election by hook and by crook and by lots of dead people voting. When the election is over, and it comes time for the honest candidate to be hauled off to jail, the partisans of the dishonest candidate jeer at all the protests. ‘Sauce for the goose! Don’t like it now, do you? Ya!’ Matters like guilt and innocence, and trials, and evidence, seem like bizarre concepts to them. When people lose faith in the system, they do not lose their faith. Their faith simply transfers to their faction, to their tribe. And when one faction is bound in the same civil order to another faction, with both factions inflamed to the same degree, then that civil order is fragile. It is hard for me to evade the fact that this is what has happened, and is happening, to us.”
“My concern is that I do not believe we should allow the ritual of our election cycle to culminate with the losing candidate being hauled off to jail.” The problem facing Trump is that the losing candidate (and party) have not accepted their loss. They are actively engaging, through the bogus Russian collusion narrative, in an attempt to take him out—the “secret society,” “insurance policy” and “OUR task” referred to by Page and Strzok. He can’t let Hillary fade quietly into the sunset because she has no interest in going. He can’t allow Obama the usual ex-Presidential privilege because Obama’s bishops are still on the chess board, coming after him. What would you do if you were the Donald?
Good post, Doug, but I can’t see how prosecuting Hillary for crimes committed outside of the election process could ever be a wrong move. “Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,” after all. Civil order is indeed fragile, but the fact that the Right holds back when it might have gone for the gusto will cut no ice with the Left when their turn in power comes. We are not dealing with individuals, who might be reasoned with, but with a mob.
There are many federal judges who should be in jail. The judicial system and judges are not above the law.
All, I do agree that no one is above the law, and that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you penalize. And I agree that no one is “too big to jail.” The difficulty lies in what will necessarily happen if our judicial processes are thrown into the middle of a high-order political scrum. I want our elected officials to not be corrupt, and that means accountability when they break the law. Agreed. But I care more about our entire process not being corrupted, and the politicalizataion of the judiciary would be one such corruption that I don’t want to see. What I had in mind was something that would forever disgrace a corrupt official like Hillary (removing her as a threat), but which would not threaten her with jail (protecting the system from the banana republic stuff). Combine a special counsel with a promise of a pardon if indicted so that she can retire in disgrace. But with all that said, Ginny makes a strong point when she notes that Hillary and her allies are not playing the “retire quietly” game. Under such circumstances, I do believe it is the responsibility of the refs to call fouls as long as someone is on the court.
Pastor Wilson, Good evening to you. As a father trying to shepherd my family faithfully under the authority of our great Shepherd, I have found your writings to be very helpful and encouraging (Future Men has been the most helpful to date). With that in mind, I have lately been considering how much thought I should be putting into where my food, clothes, and technology come from. From what I understand, we have freedom to exercise our God-given conscience in these matters—but if we are told explicitly that this food, shirt, or phone is made in honor of an idol then we are to reject it. With that in mind, I found myself wondering if my owning an iPhone is one of those gross inconsistencies in my own life. Apple is a company that has not shied away from its support of gay marriage-yet almost every believer I know owns an iPhone along with several other Apple products (myself included). A few days after thinking through this, I came across the following paragraphs in your post titled “On Taunting the Cows”:
“Full disclosure: I do own an iPhone myself, but I have managed to do this without being one of the cool kids. The issue is not the thing, but rather our approach to the thing. Same as with food. Our temptation is to objectify the problem, trying to locate sin in the stuff—in the tobacco, in the alcohol, in the gun, in the donut— instead of where sin is actually located, which is right under the breastbone. On matters of gross injustice in the production of my dinner, I quite agree with the principle. In other words, if I knew a restaurant in town with the best-tasting steak got those fantastic results by flogging its cooks out back, cheating its wholesalers, double-crossing the waitresses on the tips, and sending representatives out to the stockyards every month to taunt the cows, I would not patronize that restaurant. I don’t want to bless known scoundrels with my business. So the principle is fine.”
I understand the first paragraph—the phone in itself is part of the earth which is the Lord’s “and the fullness thereof.” My question comes from the illustration given in the next paragraph—how are we not “patronizing scoundrels with our business” when we gladly (and too often in my case) make use of our iPhones? Thank you for your time.
Robert, I believe we are to reject the meat if we are told that it was offered to idols by someone who was recently delivered from idol-worship, and who is in live danger of being sucked back into that worship because he sees “strong Christians” partaking. Under those circumstances, I abandon my steak rather than cause a brother to stumble. But I have no obligation to forswear something simply because sin was involved in its production somewhere upstream. If that were the case, then Paul’s observation on another subject holds good—we would have to leave the world to do that.
If I give up some manufactured good because of how I read that its production was unrighteous, I am running a greater risk of participating in unrighteous anti-capitalist propaganda than I am likely to free myself through giving it up. Possible complicity lies in every direction.
Church and Kingdom
Re: “The church is therefore at the center of the kingdom, but the church and the kingdom are still very different.” [from State of the Church #7.] This goes way off in the weeds, but I’ll give it a try: Adam is designated God’s regent (not king) on earth, which is the kingdom of God, with the task of preparing the kingdom for its habitation of God with man. He rebels and loses his job. In the process, Satan establishes his kingdom on earth. The angels, including Satan, become intermediaries between God and man, since man (now a little lower than the angels—Psalm 8:5) can no longer stand before God. God uses good and fallen angels in some ways to replace the lost functionality of man as regent, not really reigning (Satan?) but somehow directing. Christ comes. In the process of living obediently, dying, and being resurrected, He defeats and deposes Satan, destroys his kingdom, and establishes His kingdom, the kingdom of heaven (or God), which was at hand (Matt 4:17) and which covers the earth (Matt 13:38). After a period of transition, lasting until A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the new order of Christ’s kingdom (of heaven) is fully in place, with Christ reigning from the right hand of God and governing through the Holy Spirit (not so much the angels anymore). In this kingdom reside two types of subject, the loyal sons of the kingdom (sowed by the Son of Man) and the disloyal sons of the evil one (sowed by the devil) (Matt: 13:38-9). Satan may still be sowing, but is no longer (faux) reigning. The Son of Man’s servants (believers in the church), anxious to eliminate the troublesome weeds (the sons of the evil one), want to pull them up now. But though we are now (in Christ) higher than the angels, that is not our job. Instead, we are to wait patiently continuing our preparatory kingdom work until the full harvest is gathered in, at which time the angels will gather out the lawbreakers (weeping, gnashing of teeth, etc.). Thus, the kingdom parables aren’t saying the kingdom of heaven is the church with the sons of the evil one being members of the visible church but not the invisible church. Instead, the kingdom of heaven is the entire earth and both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one are its subjects and either might be inside or outside the visible church at any particular moment, notwithstanding their eventual destination. Is this even close?
Bill, way to go.
Pray for a Hudson River Landing
The Fragility of Civil Order. Doug, I concur that this is going to stop, though I believe our wings are already falling off and we wondering aimlessly at 30, 000 feet. Justice was long ago cast off in the streets of humanist America, but thank God our Sovereign Lord is the Chief Justice over all. May He be merciful and bring us in for a survivable crash landing from which we can rebuild a Christian culture.
“Say you have a bunch of people in a pick-up basketball game, the kind with no refs. If one team takes the continued existence of the game for granted, and then prioritizes winning over everything else, and consequently throw all the elbows they want, the thing they are not taking into account is the prospect of the basketball game turning into something else entirely—a melee or a fistfight.”
RE: The Fragility of Civil Order. While agreeing with your main point, isn’t it also prudent to lay up guns and ammo in addition to praying?
Dave, well, I have some. As Oliver Cromwell once told his troops during his campaign in Ireland, as they were about to cross a river: “trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry.”
Your article dovetails quite well with this essay I recently read: This way of thinking is critically important in our time. I applaud it wherever I see it and try to spread it around as much as possible. Thanks for doing the same.
The Fragility of Civil Order This is a great reminder. And a prayer for this type of peace should be coupled to a prayer for a wide repentance and revival across the country. I think the two go hand-in-hand. I doubt we can have the peace without the repentance, and it’s only our flesh that would want it. So throw in personal repentance as well. Hand-in-hand-in-hand?
Nathan, yes, all of it together. I do not believe that any political solution is to be had apart from a massive reformation and revival within the church.
Nuts and Bolts Theonomy
A further clarification on my question about the practical working-out of a case law theonomic system . . . You answered my question, though, I guess what I really meant to ask is how punishment for crime works in a case law system? I’ll use Deut. 22:23-24 for an example. So in a case law system, a man has sex with an engaged virgin in New York City. Do the proper authorities take them out to the country and stone them? I am curious because this is a specific form of capital punishment. It’s not just “put them to death” it’s specifically “take them out and stone them.” How does a case law system work in this instance? I apologize if I’m being annoying or if it seems like I’m attacking your position. I’m genuinely curious. Because, while I actually agree with the theonomic position in theory, I’m not that clear on how it practically works out. Thank you. In Christ,
Avery, this is obviously a huge subject, and so I will try to do justice to it within these space limitations. While I take issue with some his reasoning, I do agree with Joel McDurmon’s general take on cherem penalties like stoning, which were connected to protecting and preserving the holy land and the holy seed prior to the coming of the Messiah. For more on this, see his book The Bounds of Love.
Ironically, when the Messiah did come, His arrival was under just this very cloud—had the seed been polluted? But because they were under Roman law, not the Mosaic law, Joseph had to make do with what he had. “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19, ESV). Thus we see that under changed circumstances, it was legitimate to honor the principle while adapting the method—in this case with divorce as a substitute for execution. Notice also that Joseph’s unwillingness to shame her, his mercy, is described as an aspect of his justice.
With regard to your specific question, I don’t believe that a betrothed woman in ancient Israel and an engaged woman are in strictly comparable circumstances. That is a situation where (in an ideal biblical republic) you would have to do some case law reasoning, mutatis mutandis.