Letters for the Dog Days of August

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Delayed Paedo?

At the church I attend, we recently had a baptism of the daughter in a family. The daughter was somewhere around age fourteen. The pastor asked the head of household to confess the faith, and took that confession as a covenant representation of the daughter. This seems highly unusual to me—where a person is capable of publicly professing their own faith, it seems appropriate (possibly even necessary?) that they do so, even if they are a member of a household. I can’t think of any church tradition that would sanction this. Have you written on this question anywhere?

KC

KC, yeah, I’m with you. Unless there was some other factor not obvious, but still relevant, like severe autism . . .

Sly Dogs

“ He judges them for their sins, whether or not they got tangled up in some misconstrual of the First Amendment. In fact, that misconstrual is one of the sins He will judge.”

Pastor Wilson, thank you for all the work you do to strengthen our backbones and defend our dictionary. Sometimes it helps to take a break from the (righteous) rhetoric and simply see with your own eyes a real example of what life was like before Earl Warren was anointed king. I hope you and your readers will get some refreshment out of the pages of this real life Illinois public school textbook from 1927, featuring more Biblical references than your average sermon:

My question to you: in addition to all important local revival, do you think there is any chance of creating a legal movement to do to the First Amendment constitutional misconstrual what the pro-life warriors did so patiently over the decades to Roe v Wade? Time to bring back the Old Deluder Act? Or is everything so far gone now it is better to focus all our energies on the private classical Christian school effort?

Best,

Adrian

Adrian, folks are working on it. But I believe it will have to be entirely done in the private sector.

Thank you for your work and ministry. My family has greatly benefited from it.

I am curious to know if you have seen or interacted with Charles Haywood’s proposed “Foundationalism”. I agree with Timon Cline’s assessment that we are in an incubation stage of political thought, evidenced by Wolfe’s book and your own and others. Haywood’s thesis seems worth interacting with. I’d be interested in your take.

May the Lord bless and keep your family!

Cagan

Cagan, I agree with the statement about the incubation phase. And I have heard Haywood’s name, but am not really familiar. I will take a look.

In this article:

Darrell Harrison insists that “I ask that you not interpret it as an argument for what is commonly referred to in cultural evangelicalism as ‘Christian Nationalism’ or, for that matter, that I am in any way suggesting, inferring, or implying that America be governed as a theocracy.”

Yet he reasons, “the standard of righteousness to which government is to be held must be nothing other than the Word of God. Any other standard of measure is, by definition, unrighteousness.” He resoundingly rebukes the concept that a secular order built on a secular righteousness apart from God’s own law is a non-starter.

. . . Which sounds rather theocratic to me, or at least how many of the high profile Christian Nationalists use the word “theocracy” in the limited government iteration they advocate.

Is Mr. Harrison already aligned in substance with the Christian Nationalist position, whether he wants to admit to the “unfortunate” yet accurate label or not?

Curious Onlooker

CO, it sure sounds that way. And I fully get why some good folks would be skittish about terms like theocracy, theonomy, Christian nationalism, and so on. But at some point they will be shouted down by our adversaries, yelling something like “if it walks like a duck . . .”

You write that our complaint against atrocities committed under Christendom is that Christian princes were being disobedient; not Christian enough. Well, no, not exactly. Our complaint is that they were being cruel and stupid and bigoted and tyrannical.

The difference that has to do with their being “Christian” princes is that—except when piety was a cover for more profane motives—we know they did it with all the more ardor as representatives of Christendom—The Church coopted and corrupted by Caesar —operating under the conceit and delusion that they were Christian rulers and that they were doing the work of God’s kingdom. No communist ever committed state sanctioned murder with more self-approbation than a Roman Catholic magistrate burning dissenters or magisterial Reformers drowning Anabaptists.

Which brings us to why, of all people, Christians have the more reason to fear Christian nationalism. Besides the powerful distraction from seeking first the Kingdom of God, and the spiritually fatal deception of mere cultural Christianity, the scary part is that under Christendom Christians not with the program were primary targets of the magistrate’s Pharisaic wrath.

Are you confident that under any Christian nationalism/neo-Christendom, Christians of your doctrinal persuasion, or at least close enough to tolerate it, will be in charge of the program?

John

John, three things. First, you say your complaint against these “Christian” magistrates is that they were “cruel and stupid and bigoted and tyrannical,” and that because they were doing it in the name of Christ, it made the cruelty more cruel, the stupidity more stupid, and so forth. But what standard does it violate for a “Christian” magistrate to be cruel, and stupid, and so on? You are applying a Christian moral standard to them, while trying to pretend that you are not doing so. As to your last question, I believe I would take Christians of any stripe over the tyrants we have now. And last, it is clear that the sources you learned your church history from were not exactly objective observers.

I’ve been paying close attention to your recent writings on Christian Nationalism, including your book, Mere Christendom. In your definition for Mere Christendom, you envision “a network of nations bound together formal, public, civic acknowledgement of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the fundamental truth of the Apostle’s Creed.” I am curious why you choose to use the Apostle’s Creed here. Is it simply a convenient statement of doctrine because of its age and widespread use, or do you believe there is something inherently special about it?

Thank you for your time,

Nathan

Nathan, because it is ancient, and because it is an accurate summary of the objective facts of the gospel, I thought that it was a good candidate for receiving widespread support from a broad range of Christians.

In the following blog, you say that:

“The American conservative movement has always been an amalgam of strange bedfellows—hawks and classical liberals and libertarians and anti-communists and pro-lifers. Depending on the circumstances, I am all of those actually.”

What does “depending on the circumstances” mean? Does this also mean that you sometimes consider yourself a classical liberal in the conservative/founding sense?

Thanks,

Jon

Jon, yes. I believe the classical liberal order is a Christian order, not a secular one. If I am talking to someone who insists on the secularism, then I would say “that’s not me.” But if I am talking about the order itself, and where it actually came from, I would want to own it.

“The normal people are all those who grant that many aspects of 2020 presidential election were extraordinarily dirty, and that it was 48% rigged, and the conspiracy theorists would be those who believe it was at least 63% rigged.” These days the only thing I object to about the term “conspiracy theorist” is the “theorist” part.

Ian

Ian, yes. It really is crazy.

“The Capitol surveillance tapes. And the list will no doubt be way longer than this. With everybody concerned under oath, and with the cameras running.” Why do you assume this will matter? I think the regime’s ability to craft the narrative will make all of this irrelevant. The public schools and popular media have done a great job of creating a populace of selfish, shallow, misinformed, disengaged voters. At this point Biden could go full Nebuchadnezzar beast mode eating grass on the white house lawn and the media would spin it as a health recommendation from his doctor.

John

John, what you say is a real possibility. But there are also indications that the natives are restless.

I have been disappointed to see Christians arguing over Christian nationalism as if the term represents a debatable difference of opinion between Christians. In fact it is a terrible term for discussing distinct flavors of Christian political theory. In this sense, it is perhaps regrettable that the term has become identified to some degree with Stephen Wolfe’s particular vision of a Christian political theory. Let us remember the term originated as a rhetorical device, a propaganda phrase, invented by the leftist hive mind. The significance of “Christian” in the term is nothing more or less than an attempt to shame Christians for daring to operate by Christian principles in their political lives. If someone has a Christian political theory, he is already, by definition, halfway to Christian nationalism. The nationalism part of the phrase was craftily selected to invoke fascism and world war. But anyone using the term is being made a fool unless he recognizes that today’s political establishment uses “nationalism” to mean anyone attempting to use the Federal government to secure the good of the American people and their posterity. If you don’t want to see the American nation looted, dissolved and deposited in the dustbin of history, then you’re a nationalist.

Please continue to bang the drum for the minimal version of Christian nationalism, namely, the end of secularism. I think as a simple matter of Christian solidarity, we ought all to adopt the label. Christians have become regime enemies and it will do no good to argue among ourselves, especially with a term as ill-suited to the purpose as Christian nationalism.

Nathan

Nathan, there is much of value in what you say. But I believe that our adversaries have the ability to make any term we select as odious as they want to, and at some point we just have to function with what we’ve got. But fighting for the admission that secularism has failed is the name of the game.

And Now, For a Change of Pace, a Lingerie Question

What is your view of the tradition, even among Christians, of an engaged woman’s friends throwing her a “lingerie party” in which they give her lingerie to use after the wedding? Do you believe this is something that can or should be lawfully used by a married couple? This strikes me as Christians adopting a practice that originates in an unbelieving worldview. Of course, if used by a married couple in the bedroom, the issue would not be modesty but that such materials would likely be used to simulate or imagine something ungodly and they would be bought in places that Christians would normally not think it was appropriate to shop. Am I missing something here?

William

William, I think such showers are certainly lawful, but you should want some wise Christian women to be involved to keep things from going off the rails because you don’t want a celebration of hooker-wear. At the same time, there really are tasteful ways of approaching, fully in keeping with the Song of Songs.

A Darla Question

I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve done serving the Lord and instructing his people. I know our family would not be the same without your books.

Your Dear Darla series was especially helpful for me, and thank you for putting out that content. I was just curious, have you ever read Debbie Maken’s book, Getting Serious About Getting Married? If so, would you be willing to share some of your thoughts on it? I’ve also listened to Single and Satisfied, and I know D.M. is approaching the problem from a slightly different angle, but she does not seem to advocate contentment with singleness in her book. (Her argument would be that the Lord commanded those of us who are not gifted with celibacy to marry, so we don’t need to be happy or content with our singleness).

I agree that we ought to pursue marriage and children in obedience to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, but I’m not sure if she’s thinking about it the right way.

Thank you!

Darla’s Younger Sister

DYS, I am familiar with Maken’s book, and appreciate her emphasis on not settling for the status quo. Years ago, Canon Press did something with her book, maybe audio?At the same time, you may be right on the issue of contentment.

Prayer Request for Ohio

I’m writing to you from Ohio, requesting some strategic prayer. I fully support the county before country movement but feel it would be a grave error for Christians in America to remain ignorant of the battles raging beyond their county and state lines. Thankfully the Bride of Christ isn’t hemmed in by such boundaries and we in Ohio are standing in need of some major prayers . . . sackcloth and ashes are appropriate but optional.

Yesterday, in a state-wide election, liberals defeated a last-ditch effort by our conservative legislature to protect our state’s foundational document before a battle over constitutionalizing abortion this November.

The unsuccessful Issue One proposed to raise the threshold necessary to amend our state constitution from the current requirement—a bare majority of votes (50% + 1 vote) to a more prudent 60% threshold. This is crushing.

As you know, in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, pro-life trigger laws went into effect in 13 states across the country including the Heartbeat Bill here in Ohio, which bans abortions as early as six weeks.

(Sadly, this law was only in effect for six weeks before it was contested in the court and rendered ineffective through a judicial restraining order. Our conservative state Supreme Court would likely uphold the law were it not for this what’s afoot now.)

In response to the overturning of Roe and the wave of pro-life trigger laws across the nation, the pro-abortion lobby has adopted a new tactic: state constitutional amendments. These state amendments cut right to the chase and have been a highly effective strategy.

Since the Dobbs ruling, three states, including our neighboring state Michigan, have passed constitutional amendments guaranteeing the “right” to abortion up to the very moment of birth.

Three historically conservative states: Kansas, Montana and Kentucky all tried to pass constitutional amendments to, in essence, protect the right to life. All three failed. That’s a total of six states in one year that have failed to secure constitutional protections for the unborn. We believe that pro-abortion activists in as many as eleven more states are pursuing this strategy. We expect them to target states, like Ohio, which currently maintain low thresholds for amending their constitutions.

The threat Ohio faces in November is dire. The Roe v. Wade ruling, though devastating, was limited in that it had no actual textual basis within the United States Constitution. The damage that will be caused by explicitly codifying abortion “rights” within the text of our state’s foundational document is nearly impossible to overstate.

Guaranteeing a broadly defined constitutional right to abortion means that any attempt by our state legislature to protect unborn babies and their mothers will be characterized as a violation or restriction of this right and thus unconstitutional. If passed, this amendment will nullify all of Ohio’s existing laws protecting the unborn, making us overnight one of the most aggressively pro-abortion states in the union.

But these amendments go far beyond abortion. Both the text of Michigan’s Prop 3 and Ohio’s proposed “Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety Act,” purposefully employ non-gendered language, replacing “pregnant woman” with “pregnant person.” And this isn’t just an issue of linguistic acrobatics. Legally the amendment paves the way for gender-dysphoric minors to obtain “sex-altering” therapies, hormones and surgeries without parental consent.

How so? Because the amendment language states that “every individual” has a right to make and carry out their “reproductive decisions,” rather than stating “every adult,” this amendment will be used to overturn Ohio’s parental consent laws when minors seek abortions. This of course will endanger children and allow predatory adults to cover up the consequences of their abuse. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, members of the coalition behind our Ohio amendment, have a lengthy legal history of attacking parental consent in the Buckeye state and across the country.

And they’ve covered all their bases. Ohio’s proposed amendment offers immunity to individuals assisting in the exercising of this new “right,” meaning that the ideologically driven teacher, abusive boyfriend, trafficker or pimp can now assist minors in obtaining an abortion or mutilative surgeries without the parent’s knowledge or consent and without worrying about any legal repercussions.

These state constitutional amendments nullify ALL of the life-saving state laws enacted over the years by pro-life incrementalists and essentially erase almost ANY hope of abortion abolitionists to ban abortion entirely. I fear that this strategy will transform many pro-life states with conservative representatives, conservative governors and even conservative state supreme court justices, into practically irrevocable havens for abortion. The laws of even the most staunchly pro-life states are easily undermined if they are flanked on all sides by pro-abortion neighbors. Those blessed to be living in unthreatened pro-life states cannot afford to hunker down and passively observe the fight raging a few states away. This is no time for a Bull Run picnic. We need your prayers.

Michigan’s Prop 3 passed last November with a 57% majority. Yesterday’s Issue One was defeated with 57% of the vote. The election in November will be close and we are not optimistic. I hope that God, in His great mercy, will spare Ohio this terrible judgement. I pray that He will not turn us over to the wicked desires of our hearts, be they the blood lusting idol of unfettered autonomy or the shiny idol of comfort and respectability obsessively polished by many in our evangelitists.

In light of all this I am asking, pretty darn near begging, you to encourage all of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Idaho and wherever your readers/listeners live to please pray, fervently, for Ohio. Please pray specifically that the Church in Ohio would loudly and clearly oppose this amendment. There are several Christian groups in Ohio doing an admirable job working against this initiative- the Center for Chirstian Virtues, Ohio Right to Life, Protect Women Ohio, etc. My husband (David) and I are volunteering with Together for Life Ohio, a very small group focused solely on encouraging and equipping pastors to speak out against this evil. If you’d like to see what we’re up to you can watch our presentation here:

Thank you, Pastor Doug!

Laura

Laura, thank you for writing. All the rest of you, pray for these saints.

Keep It Simple

Long time reader, many time questioner. I know Postmill is true for several reasons. 1) Jonathan Edwards believed (s) it, 2) it’s a lot of fun, 3) I convinced a girl to marry me!

So, here’s my question. What would starting family worship look like for a young couple with no children (on their honeymoon)?

Thanks a bunch!!

Chaz

Chaz, I would keep it straightforward and simple. In addition to your private devotions, I would read a chapter of Scripture aloud with your wife, and then pray for the day.

A Medical Metaphor

I’ve been listening to “Angels in the Architecture” on Canon+ and your chapter on “A Heritage of Harmony” inspired me to reach out and ask for some high-level principles in dealing with trust and authority in medical decisions. My wife and I recently welcomed our first child into the world and it has revealed a difference of backgrounds between the two of us when it comes to medicine. She came from a family that was very into natural medicine/homeopathy/supplements/etc. My family took antibiotics/cough medicine/etc. and let the bug runs its course.

When our daughter faced some early (minor) health issues after being born, I found myself quite frustrated and caught in a place where I couldn’t trust anyone. On one hand, there’s the medical-industrial complex that wants to pump our child full of prescriptions, send us the bill, and shoo us on our way. I have a hard time trusting such an impersonal and mechanistic system (especially when it, at-large, denies basic biological reality). On the other hand, I have a hard time trusting “natural” medicine due to (in my perspective) the considerable ratio of “quacks” to legitimate medical experts. Metaphorically speaking, I feel caught between handing my child over to the doctors at the N.I.C.E and handing her over to some snake oil salespeople and leaf-bandaging mystics. I feel this dilemma quite acutely as I’m aware of my ultimate responsibility in protecting my child and being accountable for final medical decisions being made.

Returning to “Angels” and the idea of Medieval harmony, what are some high-level principles for engaging with “advancements” in medical technology and practice? To what extent does medical technological progress inevitably carry with it a “modern” view of the world/the body/health? What are some criteria for developing trust for the advice of medical professionals in both the mainstream and natural medicine realms, without descending to cynicism?

Thank you,

Jay

Jay, I can’t really do much other than sympathize with your dilemma. It is a real one. The metaphor I use is that the world of conventional medicine is like the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic church, i.e. much folly and corruption. The alternative medicine world is like the fruitier wing of the anabaptists, running naked through Safeway again. We really do need a medical Reformation.

Editing My Catechism

As I use the Liberty Catechism in the government class I teach, I want to be able to support each question and answer with Scripture. So I am (slowly) working my way through it to add proof texts for each Q&A. When I recently arrived at question 14, “What are the responsibilities of these three governments?,” I was reminded of a brief exchange we had here of the lack of clarity in the world about where commerce and its regulation fall within the three God-ordained spheres of government: family, church, and civil. Which led me to slightly change the answer about the family from “the family is the ministry of health, education, and welfare” to “the family is the ministry of education, welfare, and commerce.” And come up with these as proof texts for the commerce ministry: Proverbs 31:10–18, Matthew 4:18–22, & Leviticus 25:14–17. I believe one of the biggest challenges we theonomists/advocates of mere Christendom face is applying the Bible to the regulation of commercial economic activity. So I’d love your thoughts on 1) replacing health with commerce and 2) additional commerce proof texts.

Bill

Bill, no objections here.

The Metaphor James Uses

“…it is indisputable that works is the animating principle of faith.” What do you mean by this? Can you explain this in more detail?

grh

grh, I simply want to do justice to the expression used by James. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. In that illustration, the animating principle of faith is works. But what James means by works is what Paul means by fruit, or by life.

Valid Baptisms from Rome?

POST: Roman Catholic Baptism (8/2/2023)

I have little problem with calling some Roman Catholics bretheren. But, I still have doubts about considering Roman Catholic baptism as valid and not requiring a do-over: If a man was baptized as an infant in the Roman Church simply by ‘rote’, i.e. simply because his parents were nominally Catholic but lacked real faith in what they were doing to their child, is his baptism still valid? Is the baptism valid if his parents lacked faith in the efficacy of the baptism? If he becomes Protestant, why should he not be rebaptized now that he can exercise faith? I suspect that part of the answer is that the baptism is indeed valid so long as it was done in a church according to the Trinitarian formula. But is this really the basic requirement? Isn’t the presence of faith (whether of the person baptized or his parents) necessary for the sacrament to be valid and efficacious (if those are the same things)?

I’d appreciate your answer, however brief.

Joseph

Joseph, it is not the Trinitarian formula alone, because the Mormons have that. It is the fact that they hold to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, and they use the Trinitarian formula.

A Hermeneutic of Doubt

In a recent post (not sure where), you made a comment about not teaching our kids a “hermeneutic of doubt.” I loved that phrase because it gave words to an intuition I’ve felt sometime in the evangelical reformed camp. I know this comment was—generally—in reference to the baptism debate, and the differences in parenting between Presbyterians (who baptize their kids and treat them as Christians) and Baptists (who assume the kids are lost until they are older and can then make a credible profession). But I can’t help but think of this constant hermeneutic of doubt throughout the reformed evangelical space. This recent article from Desiring God is a good example: Almost Saved: Four Reasons to Examine Yourself. There is a constant, overwhelming emphasis in the Reformed community on “examining oneself.” In my judgment, this is an overcorrection against “the sinner’s prayer” and seeker-sensitive churches. But the overcorrection comes dangerously close to the Galatian heresy. Desiring God even had a Twitter post once that said you aren’t saved by faith alone, and that works are necessary for final salvation.

Preachers of this “hermeneutic of doubt”—in an attempt to awaken nominal Christians—take biblical grounds for assurance away from the true believer so that you can never be encouraged.

Do you trust in Christ? Yes. Don’t be so sure. There’s a false kind of faith.

Is there fruit in your life? Yes. Well, it could just be you trying to earn your salvation.

Do you attend church and delight in the Scriptures? Yes. Well, there are a lot of fake Christians in the pews on Sunday morning.

Then, if you say you simply trust in Christ, works are brought back in, and they say you “have to really be fruitful to know you’re saved.” You can never know if you’ve done enough.

This seems to be a far cry from what Calvin said: “When you are engaged in discussing the question of justification, beware of allowing any mention to be made of love or of works, but resolutely adhere to the exclusive particle.”

Yet many in the Reformed camp want to elevate works to the level of justification to awaken nominal Christians, but in so doing are in danger of perverting the gospel of grace.

I’ve grown up in this milieu, and have been forced to live in a constant state of wondering whether or not I’m saved. One day, I’m going along, enjoying the finished work of Christ for me, and then I visit one of these sites and they “upset my faith.” But after this recent article, I’m angry. This overcorrection is the offspring of the Puritan “preparationism” heresy.

I only see one verse—“examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith”; written to a wild church (the Corinthians)—where self-examination is exhorted. And even still Paul assumes the Corinthians are largely believers. Yet the Reformed community has taken this single verse and developed an entire method of gospel preaching that sows doubt into a genuine believer’s mind and makes it impossible for an unbeliever to enter the kingdom. Exhortations to trust Christ alone are tacked on, but by then the damage is done.

I’m writing this to you to see if you would address this “hermeneutic of doubt.” It’s pervasive. I know there are the self-deceived who need to be confronted. But surely this shouldn’t be unremitting.

I’m writing to you on this, because though I don’t agree with everything you say, you say it’s Christ and Christ alone and leave it at that.

What are your thoughts?

Chris

Chris, my thoughts are that more needs to be done to address this. It is a real problem.

A Postmill World

Question regarding your interpretation of the word “world” in John 3:16 and other places, with respect to Postmil, from “The Rivers to the Ends of the Earth” I’m working through this sermon series where you walk through the case for postmillenialism. One of the interesting points you make is to challenge the common belief that either when God says “world” in John 3:16-17, he doesn’t really mean world (the Calvinist revision), OR God doesn’t actually mean Savior when he talks about Christ as Savior (the Arminian revision). Your stance, so far as I understand it, is that world means the actual world—this reality and planet that we live in which was tainted by the fall, but through Christ has been redeemed and is being redeemed through the Church until the last day.

If that’s the case, I’m curious how you would square that interpretation with John 17:9, where Jesus in the high priestly prayer specifically points out that He is NOT praying for the world, but for those the Father has given Him out of the world. If world means this planet/reality we live in, and Jesus is not praying for it, is this an indication that He holds this reality at a lower esteem, perhaps as He looks forward to the new heavens and new earth? Am I actually mistaken on your take on your concept of ‘world’ in the text? Is this a problem passage for the postmil position? If not, why not? Thank you for your patience with these questions, and for all the ways God has used your ministry in my life and in others.

Brandon

Brandon, the word for world is kosmos, and Scripture uses in about nine different ways. It means the world’s system of values (“love not the world, or the things in the world”). It means Gentiles as opposed to Jews. It means planet earth. It means non-Christians as opposed to Christians (“do not be surprised if the world hates you”). And, in John 3:16, it means all of humanity, redemptively considered.

Discipline Matters

Discipline HELP! Doug, your wisdom has been very helpful.

I need some guidance. Our child will not submit and allow us to spank her without me (the father) holding her down. I could really use some insight on how to handle this biblically without spanking her 20 times before she submits and puts her hands on the bed. Could you please help me? I would be happy to pay for counseling if that would be possible.

Thank you,

BB

BB, I would not make that submission the primary issue. If you have to choose between holding her down and spanking once, and spanking her 20 times in order to get her to cooperate with the spanking, go for the former. Work toward the latter gradually.

Delicate Questions

I had a couple of more sensitive questions about marriage and sexuality.

1. What are your thoughts on oral sex within marriage? It was historically considered sodomy, but I can’t seem to find anything wrong with it per se.

2. What are your thoughts on sex during the wife’s period? Is it all okay since we’re in the New Covenant? Is it just copulation that counts as “uncovering nakedness,” i.e. can a husband perform oral sex on his wife during her period or petting if she wants to have sex during this time? As long as blood’s not involved?

I’m sorry—I imagine you get this question a lot, I just can’t seem to find this talked much about anywhere, yet it also seems a pertinent question. Thank you for all of the work you do,

John

John, I treat these sorts of things in more detail in books like Fidelity, or Reforming Marriage. But the short answer is that oral sex should not be treated as a substitute for old school sexual activity, but the Song of Songs does indicate that it can have a role in foreplay. And for the other, I don’t think the uncleanness involved was simply ceremonial. That ceremonial ban is now lifted, but I think there is wisdom in sexual abstinence during that time.

Ukraine Question

So I was listening to the Plodcast (259: A Long Trail of Corruption) and I wholeheartedly agree with almost all of it except I do not understand what drives you to hope for the Ukrainians to prevail. Should other countries (specifically the U.S.A) keep sending aid to Ukraine at all?

AA

AA, sending aid or (far worse) troops is one thing, and can be debated separately. Hoping and praying that Ukraine prevails is as simple as recognizing that Russia is the aggressor.

Thanks for the Story

Your book Flags out Front really inspired me and led to an amazing experience at my Bible College. I live on campus at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Day after day I’d pass the flags and get frustrated because the American flag was higher than the Christian flag. Eventually, I read Flags Out Front and I began to pray for a change. One night a very powerful wind was blowing as I was driving to work. I passed the flag and prayed “Tear it down, Lord. Make your flag fly highest.” I returned the next day and the American flag was GONE! The wind had torn it down! The Christian flag was left flying high standing strong against the tumultuous winds. The next day I contacted our president and explained my convictions about the flag. I explained how God answered my prayer and tore down the flag and I requested that the American flag either fly lower than the Christian flag or not be put back up. For a while no American flag was put back up. Now all flags have been taken down. Not sure why that is, but I’ll take it as a win.

God bless you brother,

Jerry

Jerry, thanks for sharing.

Fun Fact

Isn’t it ironic that when Paul mentions baptism in 1 Cor. 10:1-5 as being performed on the people of Israel coming out of Egypt, all the people who were baptized as adults were scattered around the desert for the apostasy of that generation and only those baptized as babies actually entered into the promised land?

Rafael

Rafael, yes. Well worth noting.

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Jonathan
Jonathan
7 months ago

Methinks there was another formatting error today, as none of the responses appear.

elizabeth
elizabeth
7 months ago

BB, I would not make that submission the primary issue. If you have to choose between holding her down and spanking once, and spanking her 20 times in order to get her to cooperate with the spanking, go for the former. Work toward the latter gradually.

ShepherdingtheChildsHeart-TedTripp might be a helpful for you.

Jsm
Jsm
7 months ago

“ No communist ever committed state sanctioned murder with more self-approbation than a Roman Catholic magistrate burning dissenters or magisterial Reformers drowning Anabaptists.”

This statement by John is the most absurdly ignorant statement I have read in a long time. He clearly hasn’t read much on church history or communist history.

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago
Reply to  Jsm

What? You mean state sanctioned, murderous zealotry wasn’t invented by Christians?!? I could have sworn i was taught that it was…

Honestly, i LOL’ed at that sentence too. I mean, he’s not even reading his Bible carefully. Egyptians, Molech-worship, Sennacherib, pre-Damascus Road Saul, and on; sanctimonious state sanctioned murder is rampant in history.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Nathan it is you and JSM who are not reading my comments carefully. If I were unaware of non-Christian state sanctioned murder I wouldn’t have mentioned communists.

You’re not in danger of becoming a Molech worshiper, nor, I trust, a communist. The thing is to not be unaware of murderous religious zealotry that called itself Christianity, or self serving tyrants that used the church for their own political ends.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

I’m sure John will correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of his comment is nothing more than that Christians have demonstrated themselves just as untrustworthy with power as non-Christians, a point that I do not see how it can be disputed. Servetus might have a word or two to say on the subject.

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Hmmm, can you remind me of any Christian countries that, oh I don’t know, murdered 60 million unborn children? Yeah I can’t think of any.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

There’s a fairly significant distinction you’re not drawing. The US government did not murder 60 million unborn children; it merely stayed out of the way when their mothers decided to abort them. It’s not like Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia in which the government itself is actively perpetrating the slaughter.

The subject of this thread is using power over other people. Merely staying out the way and allowing other people to make choices, even terrible choices, is simply not the same thing.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, were you around for all the arguments for abortion in the 60s and 70s? The US government was heavily involved in passing the legislation that overrode the ability of individual states to outlaw abortion. Apparently, the government hasn’t run out of coat hangers yet. Here is a link to Alabama Senator Rogers arguing for abortion: https://twitter.com/RealSaavedra/status/1123727511987396609?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1123727511987396609%7Ctwgr%5E8cfbba44d6277005b40e6b7b1d3dc5f92a81554e%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.christianheadlines.com%2Fcontributors%2Fmikaela-matthews%2Fkill-them-now-or-kill-them-later-alabama-democrat-says-of-abortion.html Here is a portion of Senator Murphy’s calling for the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act last year: “And as I’ve said on this floor before, it’s also hard to take seriously, Republicans’ passionate pleas for this body to defend the existence… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I was around for that debate and until Roe v. Wade the US government had little to do with it. The states that passed abortion rights laws did so on their own. Rogers was not a federal official; he was a member of the Alabama legislature.

My point remans, though, that merely staying out of it is not the same as actively participating in it.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, I disagree as I lived outside D.C. in the years running up to Roe and there was plenty of interference by the elected officials trying to get abortion legalized at the federal level. That is no different than the multitude of attempts to give special rights to homosexuals in the works now. For the most part, Christians stayed out of the fray with Catholics carrying the banner for the unborn. Just like today, Christians fall back from confronting homosexuals, transsexuals, drag queen groomers and the like. In Idaho, bills were introduced this year to prohibit giving minors surgery or… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike (and Jonathan), Christians have not demonstrated themselves as “just as untrustworthy with power”. Faithful men of God with power have done most of the best and most worthy things in all political history. And the scale of corruption and murder committed by non-Christian governments dwarfs the scale of that committed by Christians. Read more history. Avoid false equivalence. Will a Christian government be perfect? Short of Christ’s return, absolutely not. Will it be better? History and Scripture confirm absolutely and loudly, “YES!” And for those of us who are not pre-millennial, we expect Christian governance to (overall, if not… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Nathan, does that include the Christian governments of the South that passed and implemented Jim Crow? Or the Christian governments of the US and Canada that engaged in genocide of the Indians? Or the Christian governments that gave us the crusades and inquisition?

I’m not arguing that non-Christians have distinguished themselves at being good at governance. Just that Christians haven’t either, and it takes a massive amount of confirmation bias to pretend otherwise.

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Yes. Christian governments and Christian historians are exceptionally forthright about our historical failings. But if you think those hold a candle to the atrocities of the communists, Muslim aggressions, Aztecs, Huns, Vikings, Romans, Assyrians, and on and on and on, then you truly have not been a careful student of world history, nor even of your bible. Don’t double down on this false equivalence. Read more history. Believe me, the confirmation bias is not on my side here. The anti-Christian elements of the world *love* to compare Christians at their worst with everyone else at their best. This is grossly… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Nathan, the issue is not whether you can find others who have behaved more badly than Christians. You absolutely can. But that’s not the standard. The standard is whether Christians, when in possession of political power, have objectively handled it well, and the answer to that question is no. Suppose I have two sons. Both of them would like to borrow the car Saturday night. One of them has four DUIs, the other only has two DUIs. I’m not loaning the car to either of them, because I don’t trust either one with a car. And if the son with… Read more »

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, your point is pushing Christian nationalism. Not the organized part where you get every dog under the sun, but preachers actually preaching the Bible and Christians living out scripture each and every day in every aspect of our lives. That means involvement in politics, business, family and personal lives.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, I am fine with pastors preaching the Bible and Christians living out their faith in every aspect of their lives. But earlier this week I saw on another blog a pastor saying that false religions — meaning everything except Christianity — should be forbidden to proseletyze, have the hades taxed out of them, and only permitted to practice their religion on their own private property. You don’t need to be a savant to see where that would lead. So yes, preach the Gospel and practice your faith, and do so in the public square. Just don’t try replicating Calvin’s… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

” because we have a pact — the First Amendment — that the government will not be the handmaiden of any religion.” That’s not what the first amendment states, but that’s somewhat beside the point. The enforcement of personal unprovable beliefs at the end of a sword is what laws *are*. The Constitution itself is a set of unproven beliefs imposed upon all. How do you make a rational distinction between belief systems so as to exclude Christianity from lawmaking, but include anyone else? By this reasoning, you are free to impose any beliefs you want, just so long as you… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Murder violates the tenets of Christianity, but there are also perfectly good secular reasons for banning murder. Spend a few minutes thinking through what it would be like to live in a society in which anyone were free to kill anyone else, and you soon realize that even if there had never been a Christianity, laws against murder would still be a good idea. And that’s the difference. If the primary purpose of a law is to foster someone’s religion, then it has no place under our system. But even without God we still need traffic regulation and laws governing… Read more »

RCjr
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

There are no perfectly good secular reasons for doing, much less banning anything. If there is no transcendent standard then your opposition to murder is no more compelling than a murderer’s embrace of murder. Your “compelling reason” is nothing more than “something I want to compel.”

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  RCjr

RCjr, that’s a really stupid argument, and as I already said, I’m not having my time wasted with it.

RCjr
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I stand corrected. I’ll agree with you that your time would be wasted arguing with it, as it cannot be answered. It gets in the way of you justifying your desire to impose your morality on the rest of us. Perhaps you could direct me to somewhere where you have actually demonstrated the stupidity of the moral argument, as it has been known through the ages.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  RCjr

You’ve not defined “transcendent standard” or told us how we would know when we had one. You’ve not stated why it’s relevant whether a standard is transcendent. You’ve just made a bald, unsupported claim. And that’s intentional: Your argument falls completely apart when held up to scrutiny. If you want to try defining your terms, go for it.

RCjr
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I’m sorry. I thought you’d know what a transcendent standard is. It is a standard that transcends us, that is, a law that all people have an obligation to submit to. I’m not arguing about when we’d know we had one. It’s relevant because without one the preferences of murderers are no less compelling than the preferences of the murdered. You are the one assuming a transcendent standard as a bald, unsupported claim in siding with the murdered. Maybe we can simply this. On what basis can we say it is wrong to kill innocent human beings?

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, our laws used to prohibit Muslims from occupying public office. They were repealed and now, we have a huge problem with the religion of peace destroying our country from within. In case you missed it, there are plenty of pagans practicing their religion in Washington D.C. and in each of the states. They pass laws that cripple Christians right here. They are in positions of power because God placed them there as punishment for our unbelief and inability to follow even the most basic of the 10 Commandments as a country and as individuals. Christians withdrew from showing Christ… Read more »

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

The issue is whether we can find others who have behaved more badly, when refuting the assertion that Christians have proven “just as untrustworthy” with power. If you’re shifting the goalposts from “equally bad” to “at times also did bad things” that’s fine, but own your previous false statement.On the whole, Christians as a whole have proved imperfectly trustworthy with power, but far more trustworthy than pagans and secularists.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

Jane, there are no shifting goalposts and if you’re going to accuse me of dishonesty perhaps you should be sure you understand my argument first. Good or bad governance is a continuum. Suppose we have the Garden of Eden at the extreme end of good governance, and the Third Reich at the extreme end of bad governance. In between those two extremes you will find some Christian governments that were better than some non-Christian governments, and some Christian governments that were worse than some non-Christian governments. My statement that Christian governments are just as untrustworthy with power is a statement… Read more »

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I understood you perfectly. You believe that Christian governments are on average as bad as pagan ones, which is historical poppycock.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jane
John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

You are correct about that comparison and it is important to know, and we can say it outloud. It has never been my point to say Christians in power have been the worst people ever. Neither has it been my point to say Christians, acting in accordance with their faith, are allowed no public influence whatever. That does not take away from what is my point, which is that state church and all the pre-eschaton attempts at theocracy have been bad to Christians and bad for Christians; that they distort and misrepresent the gospel and we shouldn’t attempt to repeat… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Mike and John, this country (assuming you’re American too, sorry) was founded as a Christian nation by men who were majority Christian nationalists. Perhaps you can bear with those of us who think that was worth repeating and even improving upon. It was not improved upon, we shall plainly note, by removing all the Christian ethics and Christian justifications for the laws of the nation. Mike, your statement about averages exactly misses the facts of history. On average, the Christian dominated governments in history were overwhelmingly superior. Your few bad examples do little to pull that average down. In fact,… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

If they were Christian nationalists they did a very poor job of expressing it. I should think if someone were a Christian nationalist establishing a Christian nation they would make some mention of Christ in the document that established the nation and organized the government.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

John, this is from the 1606 Virginia Charter. The founders understood the bedrock they were building on as did the Americans living here at the time. Unlike today, the Bible was read and understood by the majority of the population. “We greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their desires for the furtherance of so noble a work, which may, by the providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of his divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian religion to such people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

But Dave the Virginia Charter is not the founding document of this country and the men who wrote it were not founding the United States of America, or any other country for that matter.

Also, by the way, whatever they said about propagating the Christian religion to savages, that wasn’t their fundamental aim in establishing the colony, and they didn’t get very far with it either.

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

They were founding the government of the Virginia Colony. Why does that not count as a government?

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

What it doesn’t count as is the government of “this country”. Or any country for that matter, though that is beside the point that they were not founding the United States of America.

Jsm
Jsm
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

I read your point with perfect clarity and you revealed not only your ignorance but your slander. Yes men did horrible things in the name of Christ. You claimed they did it with more self satisfaction than any communist. First off you know the names of Servetus and many martyrs because they were relatively few. The victims of communism are millions upon millions and the perpetrators did it with more religious zeal than Tetzel on a hot night. Please before you subject us to more of your ignorance go do more reading.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jsm

Given the tone of your response I should know better but… If you claim to have read my point with clarity you ought to accuse me of something closer to the meaning of my words in response, and also not suggest what names I know when I named no one. I don’t need you to instruct me on the subject of communist mass murder. I’m afraid you really have missed the point, which is not “communists weren’t bad in comparison to Christians”, and I could have used other examples besides communists to compare to the track record professing Christians who… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago

Darla’s Younger Sister and Doug,

Consider that to be content is not not wanting. You may be content and still desire not to be single. Contentment is the state of a heart with strong trust in God’s sovereignty and provision today and for tomorrow, not a heart or mind that that has no ambitions or godly desires.

Zeph
Zeph
7 months ago

Raphael, that is not true. It is everyone under the age of twenty. All of the teenagers and younger who were baptized in the Sea got to go in the Holy Land

Last edited 7 months ago by Zeph
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago

Joseph wrote: “ But, I still have doubts about considering Roman Catholic baptism as valid and not requiring a do-over: If a man was baptized as an infant in the Roman Church simply by ‘rote’, i.e. simply because his parents were nominally Catholic but lacked real faith in what they were doing to their child, is his baptism still valid? Is the baptism valid if his parents lacked faith in the efficacy of the baptism?” It isn’t a viable rule even if the premise is correct. In order for a rule to function, it needs to meet three criteria The violation… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
7 months ago

Jay, i would commend to you the work of men like Vinay Prasad and John Mandrola. They are crusading medical reformers fighting for trustworthy analyses and studies and exposing the rampant corruption of our medical community (both the crunchy quacks and the standard pharma corruption), trying to teach good standards of evidence.

Alas, i can only commend it as hopeful. In practical terms, they are Luther over in Wittenberg, doing good work, while none of it is changing how your local congregation in Paris is being mismanaged.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago

Joseph, I’m Catholic. There are two issues here. Catholics believe that properly performed baptism is efficacious regardless of the beliefs of the parents or even the person performing the baptism. An atheist can perform a valid baptism. But the other issue is that, for at least the last thirty years, the Catholic church no longer routinely baptizes the children of nominal Catholics. Unless the child is in imminent danger of death,he or she will not be baptized if there is reason to believe the parents don’t attend church and are not fully committed to raising a Catholic child. In such… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

stop being Catholic in name only.”

I’m honestly not sure what this even means anymore.

That’s not a jab at faithful Catholics. Many of the most stalwart believers I’ve ever known have been Catholic. Just that an understanding of what is definitionally required to be a Catholic is so far removed from education or public awareness that it seems that, to most people who call themselves Catholic, the requirement for being a Catholic is to call yourself Catholic.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Yes, you’re right and, in the US, the fracture lines are becoming very apparent between cafeteria Catholics and those who say it must be more than a cultural identity or a sentimental attachment to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. But, for purposes of having your child baptized, it would mean joining a parish and actually showing up at church. I believe that Francis has a tender heart that leads him to speak off the cuff when his sympathies are engaged. This has resulted in unnecessary confusion as Catholics wait for Vatican theologians to clarify what he meant. It has given… Read more »

Zeph
Zeph
7 months ago

Chris, the issue I see is tied in Romans 7 & 8. When Paul, a covenant member, first became aware of sin, then he committed it and died. When our children commit their first sin knowingly is when they die. Being in the covenant doesn’t protect you from that. Jesus said that the seed of the Gospel falls on four types of land. All of those people, in those lands, at the time, believe they are saved, yet only one group is. I was in group three for most of my life. The presumption of those in the first three… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Zeph
Megan
Megan
7 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

What do you mean when you say that the first willful act of sin is the one that causes death?

Zeph
Zeph
7 months ago
Reply to  Megan

As I understand Scripture, from the time that a child sins until they are saved, they are vulnerable to going to Hell if they die. If you disagree, show it from Scripture.

Megan
Megan
7 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

So what you’re saying is that, before an act of sin is committed, the child is innocent before God?

Zeph
Zeph
7 months ago
Reply to  Megan

yes.

Zeph
Zeph
7 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

This is why every aborted baby, miscarried baby and infant who dies goes to Heaven.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago

Doug, it is turning the case on it’s head to suggest that Christians objecting to the state unjustly and abusively imposing on citizens an un-Christian interpretation of Christianity is the same as imposing Christianity on the state because our understanding of right and wrong is a Christian understanding. I don’t want the government doing bad things to me. You are not imposing Christian morality on a would be robber if you act to prevent him from beating and robbing you. Neither do you need particularly Christian standards to understand getting robbed and beaten is objectionalble and the robber is doing… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Neither do you need particularly Christian standards to understand getting robbed and beaten is objectionalble and the robber is doing a morally bad thing to you.”

Then who’s standards are you using, and how is imposing those standards materially different than imposing Christian standards?

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I’ve never been enamored of the argument that morality requires Christian presuppositions. “Beating people and robbing them is morally bad” can be found in the Koran, the Talmud, the writings of Buddha and Confucius, and probably a hundred secular philosophers, all of whom arrived at that conclusion without resort to the teachings of Christ. In order to make the claim that that value is uniquely Christian, you have to show that none of those alternative routes is sufficient to arrive at the same conclusion, and attempting to prove the negative is always a bit of a dicey proposition.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Funny how Mike “Earnest Christian” Freeman conveniently forgets that everything starts with God. Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created…” God created everything. Because He created everything, He and He alone is the arbiter of morality. The moral standard He set existed long before the Koran (which commands killing infidels (Sura 9:5)), the Talmud, the writings of Buddha (Buddhism teaches that there is no right or wrong, so moral values aren’t even their thing) or any number of secular philosophers ever came along. All these Johnny-come-latelies did is discover something that’s already there, which isn’t exactly hard to do when… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago

Of course the Koran authorizes killing unbelievers; so does the Bible, or have you forgotten Joshua and the Canaanites? In fact, Islam and Christianity have identical eschatologies: God/Allah kills all the unbelievers, gives their stuff to the believers, and then there’s peace. Christianity and Islam are both religions of peace in exactly the same sense of the term: Once you’ve killed off anyone who doesn’t agree with you, then there’s peace. Which is not to praise Islam; I lived in the Middle East for three years and know first hand just how awful a religion it is. Just saying maybe… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I’m not sure you are right with the notion of killing those who don’t agree with you as having biblical support. The Canaanites were judged for giving themselves wholly over to evil. When it comes to the new covenant things that carried the death penalty then as encoded in the law of Moses, like homosexuality, can now be forgiven if turned away from. The judgement at the end of the age is proof that the wages of sin is death, men receiving justice for what they have done. On the other hand a ‘Christian ‘ govt populated by Calvinists would… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Ken, we may not be that far apart on this issue. My bottom line is that I trust no religion with political power because anyone in charge will have a fallen, sinful nature. Which is why, while not being a pure libertarian, I have some tendencies in that direction. When Jesus returns, at that point a just theocracy will be established under his leadership, but until then I’m no more inclined to trust Calvinists with political power than I am Muslims, atheists or animists.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I think part of the problem is that for Calvinists that future just theocracy is now, before Jesus returns. I don’t trust them to get the “just” part right either.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, you already do trust a religion with the power of the state. That is entirely the point.

Who’s morality are the police applying?

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, no offense intended, but I’ve had the discussion far more frequently than I wish to remember about the claim that secularism is religion, that every world view is religious, and it’s a question of whose morality rather than whether morality. I consider that argument uncommonly silly and nothing more than a massive time waster of a distraction. Doug frequently poses the question, “By which standard,” on the assumption that the answer is self-evident and leaves Christianity as the only man standing. Well, it’s not self-evident, but I never comment on it just because I think it’s such a stupid… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

““By which standard,” on the assumption that the answer is self-evident and leaves Christianity as the only man standing. “ Why be so devoted to lying through your teeth to dodge the question? Well, I supposed its typed, so lying through your fingertips. No one made that argument. I am not Douglas Wilson. I am not trying to get you to agree that Christianity is the only morality. I am trying to get you to form a coherent set of rules for how you determine which groups beliefs are unable to qualify for governance. If you don’t have an answer that’s… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, do you in fact believe that there is no basis for morality apart from God? Because based on statements you’ve made onmaking other threads, I assumed that to be your position. If that is not your position, you are free to disavow it and I will apologize; otherwise, don’t accuse me of lying when I’ve articulated what your position actually is. You may not have said that here, but you’ve said it on other threads. And I do have an answer to what should qualify for governance; I just responded to that point above. If the main purpose of… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Your last two paragraphs fairly state my point succinctly. To “totalitarian” we can add “abusive”, unless you are assuming a totalitarian government will necessarily be an abusive one. We’re not guessing either, we do, as you note have the history to go by.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike: “Of course the Koran authorizes killing unbelievers; so does the Bible…” No sane person would make the claim that the Bible commands Christians to kill unbelievers. Forget your self-description of “earnest Christian”; I’m beginning to doubt your stability. Mike: “In fact, Islam and Christianity have identical eschatologies…” Oh yeah, except for the part where the Koran depicts Jesus, who is the Christ, the central Character of the Bible, the God of the Universe, as having the qualities of the anti-Christ, the eschatologies are exactly the same. Mike Freeman: “Just saying maybe your hostility to it [Islam] stems in part… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago

FP, my poor, addlebrained correspondent. I’m sorry you don’t understand that in Buddhism, “right and wrong” and “good and evil” are two very different concepts. Good and evil don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean that in a given context there isn’t a right and wrong way to conduct oneself. And of course, when I said the eschatology between Christianity and islam was the same, I was talking about methodology rather than the bottom line result of who spends eternity where. I’m not going to deconstruct, point by point, all the other nonsensical claims you make. I will say that your… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike: “…in Buddhism, ‘right and wrong’ and ‘good and evil’ are two very different concepts. Good and evil don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean that in a given context there isn’t a right and wrong way to conduct oneself.” My poor addlebrained correspondent, I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference between morality and pragmatism, or even Buddhism itself. Remember Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai? It also says, It is a mistake for people to seek a thing supposed to be good and right, and to flee from another supposed to be bad or evil. Buddhist scholar Thich Nhat Hanh: Right and wrong… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago

Oh, I’m not offended; I’m amused. Subtle differences simply escape you. “For their convenience” is a moral standard, even if it’s not a moral standard you or I would adhere to. I never said the Bible commands (generally) Christians to kill unbelievers, but there are plenty of examples in the Bible in which God told his people to kill unbelievers. Saul lost his kingdom in part for not being bloody enough, don’t forget. “God is the author of morality” and “Morality does not require Christian presuppositions” are not contradictory. Somewhere in the distant past some cook whose name is lost… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike: “And your argument that there is no objective standard for morality other than Christianity is precisely the silliness that I’m not going to waste time discussing. For openers, you’ve not defined any of your terms — what exactly is a transcendent standard anyway, and how do we know when we have one…” First, if you don’t know what the word “transcendent” means, then there are dictionaries available. I suggest you crack one open and cure your ignorance. Second, I’ve already defined my axioms. By definition, everything proceeds from there. You haven’t defined yours because, like the typical Democrat, you’re… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago

I’ve learned from past experience that how the dictionary defines things, and how you define things, are not always the same thing. So tell me, how are *you* defining a transcendent standard? RC doesn’t seem to be very good at providing an answer to that question either if it makes you feel better. And the fact that you think that me being a Democrat has anything to do with this conversation tells us all we need to know about your inability to follow a basic argument. And the burden of proof is on the person asserting the logical positive —… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Interesting you should say that about definitions, seeing as how you define morality and how God defines it aren’t necessarily the same thing. And if you don’t believe me, then let’s talk about a little thing called homosexuality.

As I’ve amply demonstrated by refuting your examples above, not everyone agrees on even “obvious” moral standards. So then, by what standard is beating people and robbing them bad?

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, I didn’t make that argument.

I asked which alternative morality was being applied. The point is not to say that all morality is owned by Christianity. The point is to establish that all laws are someone using the state to impose their beliefs.

Last edited 7 months ago by Justin Parris
John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The standard God put in your heart when He made you in His image, whoever you are. I expect beasts don’t really have a sense of being robbed, are not indignant over the way humans are. The material difference is someone wanting to impose unjust harm on someone else and the someone else not imposing anything by saying “I will not have you do that”. If you want to say it is imposing on the robber to resist or thwart him go ahead, but there is a qualitative difference between perpetrating harm and resisting it.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

You’re just playing a shell game.

Whose standard are you using for defining harm?

At the end of the day, someone is imposing their interpretation of morality. They are imposing their own beliefs on others through state force. So what’s your material distinction between which kinds of beliefs you’re allowed to apply in law?

Last edited 7 months ago by Justin Parris
John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, when you ask “whose standard are you using for defining harm” you are the one playing a game. Let someone stomp on your foot and see if you philosophize over standards. I don’t mind if Christians moral standards influence the law, I prefer it since Christians ought to know better, even if we are not the only ones who know at all. The thing is, I don’t buy the line that that is same as what Christian nationalism wants to do or that is all we are talking about when we talk about Christian nationalism. It doesn’t require Christian… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

“ you are the one playing a game.” Asking you a straightforward plain as day question is not a game. ” Let someone stomp on your foot and see if you philosophize over standards.” That there are cases where harm is obvious and agreed upon does not mean there aren’t issue where the existence of harm is in dispute. A child believes themselves to be transgender. The mother wants to take the child to a doctor and have the doctor surgically alter them forever to look slightly more like the opposite sex. The father thinks that’s harmful, and wants the child to… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The cases where harm is obvious and agreed upon does mean there is a commonly understood standard and it is obvious.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

No, kings cannot get away with simply honoring the Son with their lips while their edicts (and actions) manifestly disobey Him, distort and misrepresent His gospel, and abuse His children. Nor can they get away with opposing the gospel and persecuting the church if they do not honor Him with their lips. God knows, I do not, which kind of either will be the worse off at judgement.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Can a ruler obediently kiss the Son, and serve Him, without explicitly naming Him in public address and in law? I ask this because Paul used the example of the Athenean service to the “unknown god”. Would the Son be satisfied being the “unknown god” who is faithfully served by a Christian magistrate? How might the command against “bearing the name of God in vain” play into this? Matthew 10:32-33 seems to speak directly to this question also.

Last edited 7 months ago by Katecho
John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

If we mean the ruler is himself is a Christian, certainly he won’t hide that he is a Christian and I think if a king, president, etc. really is a Christian everyone will know it. Being a public figure who regularly speaks to the public on public matters, he may well speak of Christ at some points in his public address. On the other hand, if he does not do that in the discharge of his public duties shall we take that as sure evidence that he is not a Christian after all? A good law is not made better… Read more »

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

But Psalm 2 isn’t offering suggestions for rulers and judges. That’s not one of our options here. It’s emphatically not saying that rulers are free to acknowledge the Son, if they wish to. Kissing the Son is presented as a requirement, otherwise there is an attending curse on top of God’s derision of them. So we’ve established from Psalm 2 that all rulers are required and obligated to kiss the Son, without exception, and that kissing the Son is explicit and not the same as acknowledging some “unknown god” of the least common denominator. We also appear to agree that… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

It seems to me you imply I implied things about suggestions and options that I did not come close to implying. Everyone, high and low, has the same options: Believe on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, or die in your sins.

I meant a ruler will openly and not in a closet acknowledge Christ, just like every Christian will, except his Christianity will be more widely known as he is more widely known and the acknowledgement may sometimes be expressed in the course of public address.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

But some Christians suppose that Christ is somehow indifferent to whether rulers and judges should explicitly acknowledge Him. Some Christians try to assert that there is no such expectation on rulers, and that the name of Christ is best left unacknowledged, and best left out of all civic discourse and policy. Worse, some Christians suppose that it is actually counterproductive and disobedient for Christians to make any explicit reference to Christ in the civil sphere or in policy. Psalm 2 exposes all of that nonsense as a misguided attempt at a false neutrality, as if Christ were not asserting His… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

Psalms 2, 22 (“all ends of earth remembering him shall turn themselves unto the Lord”), and 110 (“…until I make your enemies your footstool) may be the three Psalms most quoted in the NT; and a book has been written about use of Psalm 110 in early Christianity.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

John, California thinks it is moral and A-OK to steal a thousand bucks of merchandise without any problem. And, you can do that at every store you visit each and every day.

Not only can you steal stuff, you can beat folks who try to stop you or sic the man on them as you are authorized by California law to steal whatever you want to.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

If California thinks that we need not feel for California. However, I imagine the Californians being robbed don’t think that. Gavin Newsom is a Roman Catholic. If I were a Californian I’d prefer a Muslim or a Buddhist, or a nothing in particular who does NOT think it is okay to steal and would do something about it to what they have.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

What we prefer isn’t the subtext behind Psalm 2 though. God is the source of civil authority (an all authority) and He established His expectations for rulers who wish to remain and not incur His derision.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

Governor Newsom comes no closer to His expectations than the alternative examples I mentioned.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

The (in)sincerity of Governor Newsom’s faith isn’t relevant to the question of whether God expects and requires Newsom to kiss the Son in all sincerity. In other words, we are discussing what ought to be expected of rulers, not what is the case with some particular ruler. Psalm 2 is quite clear that God’s expectation is that all rulers explicitly kiss the Son, or else face God’s displeasure and a curse.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

However, we are not only discussing Psalm 2, the discussion didn’t start there and it does not end there.

You think to kiss the Son (okay, can we just say “profess Christ”?) insincerely is more acceptable to God than to not do so at all? I do not think that. What ought to be expected of rulers is also addressed in Romans 13, and the Muslim or Buddhist or nothing in particular who will at least meet that expectation does better than the cultural Christian who will not try.

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

“Kiss the Son” and “profess Christ” are not the same thing. One is an objective action involving not merely religious affirmation, but ethical fealty. To Kiss the Son means to commit to obeying His Lordship, and to carry out that commitment. To profess Christ simply means to make a verbal statement about one’s personal beliefs that may or may not reflect the objective situation. There is absolutely zero value in a claim of faith — it is the faith that matters. And in this case, it’s not merely faith that concerns itself only with some relationship of sinner and Savior… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

Jane, I agree there are false professions of faith and they are worthless professions; see my comments on mere cultural Christianity, and my asking if it is acceptable to God to insencerely kiss the Son. However, when I said “profess Christ” I had in mind profession of genuine faith, and submission to Jesus as Lord is inherit in genuine faith. I do not believe it is possible to truly kiss the Son without truly having faith in Him.

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Agreed, but no more is it possible to obey the command to kiss the Son without actually submitting and showing allegiance to Him in action as well as word. And nations are commanded to do that.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

Yes, you are right, genuine faith will result in the fruit of willing obedience.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

“What we prefer isn’t the subtext behind Psalm 2 though. God is the source of civil authority (an all authority) and He established His expectations for rulers who wish to remain and not incur His derision.” I have nothing of substance to add here, but the removal of the “likes” system some time ago forces me into this position in order to express my extreme approval of this post. In my town, there’s a great big giant “welcome to” sign along the highway into town. It is in function the only road into town since this is Alaska and by and… Read more »

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Interestingly, Roman Catholics most frequently depict Christ still in a humbled state, either naked and nailed to the cross, or naked on Mary’s lap as an infant. If Christ is still humbled, then so must be our timid and mild gospel. But if the Church regains the proper arch of the story, our default conception of Christ should be His now ascended, glorified, and enthroned state, ruling as King of kings from the throne of the Father.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Newsom calls himself a “cultural Catholic.” He was baptized and raised Catholic but he’s not a practicing Catholic now.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

What does that mean though? When I speak of cultural Christianity I’m talking about religious identity assumed on the basis of birth or residence, and formalism or conformity without real belief or understanding or commitment.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

I think that your definition would apply to people who have grown up in a culture that was once definitely Christian and who still describe themselves as Christian when asked by pollsters. Quebec, for example, used to be predominantly Catholic which is one reason that thirty percent of Canadians identify themselves as Catholic–the largest religious group. But, according to polls, only about five percent of the Quebecois go to church weekly. I would say that, with them as with the Northern Irish, being Catholic (as opposed to Protestant) is also part of their historical ethnic and political identity. But I… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

That didn’t sound right to me so I spent some time on google. California does not think it’s A-OK and moral to steal a thousand bucks worth of merchandise. However, theft under a thousand dollars is a misdemeanor rather than a felony so the police don’t have time to prosecute it. It’s a lack of resources issue rather than a legal approval issue.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

It’s a lack of justice issue. Misspent resources falls under the lack of justice.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Gentle readers, if the law says is a misdemeanor rather than a felony to steal a grand of merchandise, there is a huge moral issue and California is saying it’s A-OK to steal.

For those who watch the grab videos, it is obvious that more than $1,000 is being stolen and the cops still don’t investigate or allow the stores to take care of the shoplifting problem.

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

“A-OK to steal” an overstatement, yes.

“Not something the government has any interest in addressing the justice of” would be more accurate, and still makes the point Dan is making. The government of California stands on the side of injustice and toleration of theft in this case, as a matter of formal legal practice. The fact that it’s on the books as a misdemeanor is fairly irrelevant because it is also stated practice not to pursue this kind of misdemeanor.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jane
MinistryAddict
7 months ago

I just wanted to acknowledge and thank Chris (in the Hermeneutic of Doubt letter) for this: “There is a constant, overwhelming emphasis in the Reformed community on ‘examining oneself.’ In my judgment, this is an overcorrection against ‘the sinner’s prayer’ and seeker-sensitive churches. But the overcorrection comes dangerously close to the Galatian heresy.”

I have noticed this issue, too, but haven’t been able to articulate it as well. https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/im-just-sayin-5/

katecho
katecho
7 months ago

Doug responds: “Hoping and praying that Ukraine prevails is as simple as recognizing that Russia is the aggressor.” What about recognizing the U.S. as one of the aggressors, with Secretary Nuland’s “interference in a national democratic election”? Or NATO, expanding ever eastward in recent decades, betraying its own commitments? Or what about recognizing Ukraine itself as an aggressor for lobbing random cluster bombs into the civilian Donetsk province for at least six years prior to Russia’s response? Are any of these facts still in dispute? All evidence points to this being a U.S. proxy war. Since the Russian response/intervention, Ukraine… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Katecho
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

“All evidence points to this being a U.S. proxy war.” I don’t believe that opposing American modern foreign policy and NATO’s eastward expansion and opposing Ukraine being conquered are mutually exclusive. Re: paragraph two: The actions Ukraine has taken *since* the invasion, and I certainly won’t pretend to be an expert on what they are, I innately distrust wartime news, do not effect the morality of the initial conflict. Some people oppose the use of nuclear arms by the United States against Japan in WW2. Many more people very rightly oppose corralling Japanese people identified exclusively by race into camps… Read more »

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Thanks. It’s good to see some familiar names. I’m not in favor of military conquest, regardless of who started it. I would rather folks work things out together with diplomacy. But if we’re going to assign one side as “the aggressor”, the facts matter, and the facts are not in favor of Ukraine, or of the West. The facts in this case are that Russia has expressed their willingness for peaceful resolution, and Ukraine has rebuffed even the invitation, at the explicit request of the U.S. and the U.K., as it turns out. As crass as it may sound, the… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

Russia started this war. It needs to lose. It is carrying it on in a blatantly evil way, massively targeting civilians. If NATO promised not to expand east, did Russia promise to respect Ukraine’s existing borders? NATO expansion east is not aggression against Russia; 31 NATO countries are not going to invade Mother Russia. The countries next to Russia prefer NATO to Russia; do you blame them? Sure, Ukrainians sin and goof and need reform. Sure, its borders were not revealed by a prophet of God, and maybe some inside those borders would rather be ruled by Mr Putin than… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

That’s the black-hat/white-hat, Marvel movie, oversimplified MSM version. Read some other comments here and watch presentations by Col Macgregor, John Mearsheimer and others to hear another side. And this isn’t a 3rd-grade playground. We’re not supposed to go to war unless Congress declares it–something that hasn’t happened in over 80 years.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

Katecho: “Ordinarily, the West would consider cluster bombing of civilians to be rather aggressive and provocative, and even criminal…” Indeed, it seemed like only last year when foremost Western leader, alleged President Joe “Ten Percent for the Big Guy” Biden’s own maladministration loudly condemned the use of cluster munitions: “It is — it would be. I don’t have any confirmation of that. We have seen the reports. If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime.” -Jen Psaki, then-White House press secretary, Feb 28, 2022, in response to a question about reports of illegal cluster bombs being used… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
katecho
katecho
7 months ago

In violation of many international laws, the U.S. is now supplying cluster munitions to Ukraine with full knowledge of their indiscriminate effect on civilian populations.

So perhaps Doug will take another look and expand on why we should be praying for Ukraine to prevail. The argument about who is, or isn’t, being an aggressor is not as favorable to Ukraine as he seems to think. The opposite, I’m afraid.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

In violation of many international laws”

Just, as an aside, I think the concept of an “international law” is a bit of an illusion we play on ourselves. There’s no presiding authority over international law, and so, international law is only enforced when it is popular to do so by most nations as you showcase here yourself.

Not that I’m supporting supplying them with cluster munitions. I am just easily baited into ridiculing international law.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Understood. Treaty is probably the more accurate term. Treaties are supposed to carry the force of law for many countries, but it’s correct to say that they are entirely self-imposed, until they aren’t.

Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

You didn’t address the bombing of the Donetsk province for 6 years before the Russians took action, though. Nor the 2014 color revolution that the Obama administration was clearly behind. Imagine a similar situation where Russia or China was behind a governmental change in Mexico…followed by 6 years of bombing a U.S. state or even a territory like Puerto Rico. Do you think we’d sit idly by? We invaded Iraq in 2003 for alleged “weapons of mass destruction” and super flimsy (if not entirely made-up) ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. In addition to the things Katecho listed, Ukraine has shut… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“You didn’t address the bombing of the Donetsk province for 6 years before the Russians took action, though. Nor the 2014 color revolution that the Obama administration was clearly behind.” That’s because they were reasonable arguments. I only make a habit of objecting to unreasonable ones. I’m not trying to convince Katecho into a new position. If Katecho’s argument consisted solely of those issues, I wouldn’t have commented. ” We invaded Iraq in 2003 for alleged “weapons of mass destruction” and super flimsy (if not entirely made-up) ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11.” Close, but this is the left wing MSM version of… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Justin Parris
Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, just a thought. Saddam did have various gas weapons that we authorized major European NATO countries to sell to him. During the first gulf war, the US watched the majority of those weapons move up to Syria. The rest of the story is still suspect, but Saddam did have stores of chemical weapons.

The gas was used extensively in the Iran-Iraq war and later a bit on the Kurds in Iraq. The media didn’t really want to report on the chemical warfare too much, but it did happen.

John Middleton
John Middleton
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

Katecho, I more or less agree, and, where have you been?

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  John Middleton

Just been pulled in many directions. God keeps my cup overflowing. I do miss the repartee.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  katecho

The Ukraine fighting is a huge tar baby and there is not much truth in the news that is promoted by East or West.

That being said, please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are caught up in the turmoil and that those representing their churches will be able to travel for the CREC Council and Presbytery this September.

katecho
katecho
7 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Amen. I’m praying that Christians in Ukraine and Russia, who already suffer pain and loss because of this conflict, will not allow it to divide us or them in our shared task. It would be very easy for ethnic or nationalistic grudges to form. This whole thing is a mess. Whatever we may argue in sorting out the actions and motives of the rulers of Russia, Ukraine, or the U.S. it shouldn’t be understood as justifying the bloodshed, or the boundary changes, or as an accusation against any faithful Christians in those countries. Especially in these situations, we should reaffirm… Read more »

Jennifer Mugrage
7 months ago

Chris – I too grew up with this hermeneutic of doubt. It drives me crazy! My pastor (who is also a blood relative) kept preaching against nominalism, and there I was, a sensitive child who was praying the sinner’s prayer every night and needed ASSURANCE and instruction in how to use the gifts of salvation and the Holy Spirit, instead of the constant “then maybe you’re not a Christian.” As an adult, I have tried to raise this issue, but it’s very difficult because they tend to hear it as a defense of nominalism, presumption, etc.

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
7 months ago

J. C.Ryle in Knots Untied on regeneration convinced me we gotta assume, subject to future evidence as it unfolds, that some people are regenerate. (So I say infant baptism is believers’ baptism and infant communion is believers’ communion, a wider point that Ryle’s; and he might assume more widely than I.) And thoughtless inclusion and exclusion from communion does nothing for assurance of salvation.

Jennifer Mugrage
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Agree. The usual argument is, “An infant cannot believe or confess,” to which I would ask, “Are we saved because we confess and believe, or do we confess and believe because we are saved?”