If Letters Were Bullets . . .

Show Outline with Links

Refried Revoice

No post in particular: In your most recent Plodcast you talked about Revoice and mentioned the idea of Eros (facing each other) and Friendship (side by side). I was reminded of That Hideous Strength: “Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not. Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends—comrades—do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed.”

Isaiah

Isaiah, exactly.


I have been using “P” for a long time (LGBTQIAP+) but with reference to the upcoming movement of the future which is “postgenderism.” However yes, another “P” will do as well as another “B” for “bestiality”and surely, the incestuous will want to add an “I” and rapists will want to add an “R.” I suppose that is what the “+” is for.

Ken

Ken, they will say we are slandering them in this—nobody is proposing this right now. And the operative phrase is right now, and prompts a follow up question for them. Given your stated principles, and given how you are arguing this circumstance, why are you not arguing for this right now?


I have found your blog posts on the Revoice conference so interesting and cogent that the lack of interaction with them by other church leaders of prominent Internet presence is extremely surprising. Your name almost never appears when searching for discussions about the opinion of church leadership on the recent conference. This absolutely baffles me . . . You have publicly interacted with a number of high profile individuals (e.g. C. Hitchens, P. Hitchens, A. Sullivan, and you even successfully lured Dr. Wright into commenting on your blog once), so it seems to me unlikely that the body of prominent Christian leadership in the USA is simply unaware of your criticisms.

Timothy

Timothy, yes, well, it is hard for people who have no answers to want to talk with people who want answers, and are willing to ask pointed questions in pursuit of the same.


RE: Revoice These are people who want to have their cake and NOT eat it, too.

Ron

Ron, yes. But where does the Bible say that you can’t put your fork right next to the plate, just barely touching the cake?


On a Wife Leaving

RE: On a Wife Deciding to Leave Her Husband. In this letter, fiction as it may be, you describe the husband’s sins as, “what your husband does—constant anger, outbursts of wrath, sexually degrading behavior, ongoing manipulation and gaslighting, treating you like a slave, total control of all things physical and financial, and so on.” Those certainly are reasons for separation, at least. But the whole idea here is that, even though these powerfully outward sins are piling up, there are no witnesses. That seems impossible. At the very least their adult children would know these things—and be bitter about it. For that matter, why wouldn’t the elders receive the testimony of her family members who affirm these accusations? Surely family would at least be able to testify to the man’s manipulation that separates her from her family. Further, if there are no witnesses, wouldn’t you be wrong to affirm that her husband behaves in this manner? Yet you state them as plain as fact. It seems that you would have to acknowledge that these are her accusations but that you cannot affirm them. You would have to change your wording to allow for the potential that she could be making false accusation. She would then need, from you, a warning against false accusation. I’m afraid you’ve created something in the fictional realm that doesn’t look enough like reality. From that you have granted permission for the separation of what God has brought together. That is concerning. Please advise. What am I missing in your argument?

One more note: When you write this, “you have run it by others who are outside the circumstance, and who have an objective set of eyes. You have done this with both your brother and with me.” Are you not advocating that those, “outside the circumstance,” are better situated to deal with this situation? What about the Bible? The elders have been treated, by you, as part of the problem. Again, barring evidence, that is a damning conclusion. Obviously, elders sin and miss important truths. But, is this how you view your church and its elders too? Or, is that something you apply, without evidence, only to those outside of your purview?

Peter

Peter, you are correct about accusations requiring two and three witnesses. But this is not the same thing as “possible accusation by inference.” In the letter, I made it clear that no one is to be charged unless the charge can be independently verified. But that is the point of the runaway slave law. Using your reasoning, how would it be possible to refuse to return a runaway slave, who might be lying?


I have long been a fan of your work, but your article “On a Wife Deciding to Leave Her Husband” was certainly an exception to this. I do not know the situation to which you referred, nor do I know what a wife should do when in a marriage to an emotionally and verbally abusive man. I do, however, know what St. Monica did, and I believe I know what 1 Peter 3 commands. And I also know that one cannot characterize “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband” as “merely advice.”

Robert

Robert, here is the difficulty. First, I take I, not the Lord, and not I but the Lord as equally authoritative, divinely inspired. I believe not I, but the Lord refers to teaching that Christ gave on divorce during His earthly ministry (assuming two covenant members), and I, not the Lord is referring to Paul’s apostolic word, dealing with mixed marriages, where a pagan was married to a Christian. Neither of those should be considered mere advice. What was advice was Paul’s statement that a wife should not separate, but if she does, then she should either reconcile or remain single. A woman in that position was not to be disciplined simply for leaving her husband, which means that Paul did not expect his word at that point to be enforced by the church. And given the nature of these intractable situations, that was wise.


So you’ve shown that it is sometimes appropriate for a wife to leave her husband if he is a domestic tyrant. What about two other common situations: (1) he is pursuing a different religion or (2) he is impotent? I’m not implying that these situations are at all related, just that they are each common enough to warrant a response.

Andrew

Andrew, if a man pursues a different faith, the wife should refuse to accompany him. Her faith in God comes first, but she should not divorce him simply because he is not a faithful believer. That was the question that Paul was actually answering in 1 Corinthians. And if he is impotent, that depends. If he is impotent such that the marriage was never consummated, then that would be grounds for annulment, not divorce. Without consummation, the marriage is not really a marriage. If he became impotent sometime after they were married, say through an accident, then that was encompassed by the vows that included “in sickness and in health.”


The application of the runaway slave is very interesting. However, it does leave me wondering as to how we are left to deal with the children who are part of the marriage. Is it right for the wife to take them with her? Often children are used as bargaining chips or as the witnesses against the other spouse. What would be your thought in situations such as this?

Ken

Ken, if a wife is truly getting out of range, then it would be appropriate for her to get the kids out of range also, if she can. But given the legal situation, that is not always possible.


Re: “On a Wife Deciding to Leave Her Husband.” When she leaves, one thing that will become immediately clear, with as many witnesses as could be desired, is that this is a guy who does not have his household in order. If the other elders are genuinely, innocently deceived by him, they will at least quickly remove him from his office. That’d have several beneficial results. 1) A big chunk of the hypocrisy would crumble. At least he would no longer be a wolf in shepherd’s clothing even if he didn’t get excommunicated. 2) It might actually be a big enough blow to convict him of his sin. 3) It’d be bound to reveal his true colors: a truly godly man would quickly submit to this (in fact, would initiate it); a true scoundrel would resist the loss of this position. (I suppose there might be some particularly devilish fellow who could manage to fake even that level of humility, but I think that’d be a rare bird.) And if the other elders are in collusion, then anybody should be able to see that this is a church to steer clear of.

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, good points all.


On Wives and Husbands leaving: Doug, scenarios like this can follow from cases of husbands abusing wives, not necessarily physically, often as a result of the husband viewing pornography. Where Jesus tells us that looking lustfully at a woman is already committing adultery in his heart, and where adultery provides biblical grounds for divorce, would you say a husband viewing pornography is grounds for the wife to seek a divorce? I look forward to your opinion or direction to where you may have discussed it elsewhere. Thank you.

Jeremy

Jeremy, the exception clause that Jesus gives is “except for porneias.” That is a broad term, meaning sexual uncleanness. I believe that porn use could be an example of that, but not automatically so. If a husband confesses to his wife that while standing in the checkout line at Safeway he looked at the Cosmopolitan cover for longer than he should have, and she wants to divorce him because Jesus said that this was “infidelity,” then the wife is the one who should get a grip. But if he has a basement full of hard core porn that he won’t give up, I think that divorce could be an option.


Feminist Wives

The letter about being married to a feminist reminded me of a question I’ve been struggling with lately. I should say that we were not Christians when we married, I was a very committed feminist (with a women’s studies degree to prove it!), and so the idea of submitting to and respecting my husband was not on my radar for a long time. My husband and I both enjoy intellectual debate, and we are also both quite contrarian. He’ll often send me a link to an op-ed he read while he’s at work that he wants us to discuss when he gets home. He’ll often tell me, “I really want to know what you think about this,” so I know that debate and lively discussion is something he appreciates. But, lately I’ve been convicted that I have a tendency to slip from engaging in lively debate to being disrespectful of his point of view, and I’m struggling to know where that line falls. (How) can a wife engage in a spirited, lively debate about something, and challenge her husband’s ideas and arguments, while still being respectful?

Lori

Lori, I wouldn’t change anything on the basis of an internal worry you might have. Ask him. Ask him if your debating style ever comes across to him as disrespectful. If he likes it, you should like it too. If there are times when he doesn’t appreciate something you do, take that to heart, and work on not doing it. But don’t ask him, and then be hurt if he tells you.


I am somewhat mystified by the worldly examples used re: the key. (The weird double standard of women commiserating vs men mocking in a cheating situation makes sense). What on earth are you saying re: the master key and the worthless key? I don’t intend to trap you in your words, I’m just really puzzled.

Linda

Linda, if someone has a master key, and uses it to rob and defraud people, I am certainly not approving of that. It is a sin, an evil. My point is that it is a very different evil than that of being a busted lock. The difference can be seen in another way. We tend to enjoy heist movies, but nobody would go to a movie about a security guard who gets drunk and sleeps on the job, allowing his employer to be robbed blind.

Egalitarianism wants to say that a man who has sex with a hundred women is doing the same thing as a woman who has sex with a hundred men. But they are manifestly different sins, because men and women are manifestly different. So my point is that the man and the woman are committing different sins, not that one is righteous and the other unrighteous.


Future Men

My wife and I have three boys (oldest is 4.5 years old). We have recently been reading your Future Men book and have been greatly blessed by it and we have been implementing much of your wisdom. When I came across your reference to reading Tolkien to your 2-year-old I discovered how far behind I already was and I began immediately reading them The Hobbit. I was surprised how much my oldest wanted me to keep reading. I do have a question though. I just finished your chapter on schooling and masculinity. It was very good but I was left wanting more detail. We will be starting classical homeschooling this fall with our oldest son so this hits us right where we are. As a pastor I have noted both of the weaknesses for boys in homeschooling which you mentioned. They concerned me greatly before reading your chapter. I have seen both extremes in my church from homeschool families (the effeminate boy who is homebound and the one who can’t get along with mom at all). I was wondering if you have written more elsewhere on how to promote masculinity in boys through education? Or if there is a resource you would recommend? Any help would be appreciated.

Levi

Levi, I am very sorry that I can’t refer you to a book that covers it all. I say things about it here and there in my works on education, but I don’t know of one good source.


Happy Warrior

“Risk and Conflict are a Feature, not a Bug” Spot on. If I had to distill the problems plaguing the Church into a single issue (as a young Christian father of the current generation), the lack of this understanding would be it. So much of false doctrine coming out these days is based on the simply and ludicrous premise that “God wouldn’t want to put us in the position where we might have to suffer, so he simply must not be commanding us to believe this.” This is the . . . [one] who told Moses to spend the rest of his life wandering the desert because he got impatient. He is just fine asking you to live within a few loose gender role guidelines, and not letting you fornicate with who you’d like to.

Justin

Justin, right. There God goes again, telling us what to do!


General

God bless you Douglas.

Brendan

Brendan, thanks.


So I keep on saying “Thank You”—and here I go again—“Thank You.”

Melody

Melody, you’re welcome. And thank you for paying attention.


Those were definitely aspens. For an expert opinion and 10-second explanation of how to identify them, see the linked video at the 1:05 mark

Nathan

Nathan, thanks. And I would just say (to all my critics) that this was apparently a harder question than any of us initially thought.


Feminism in General

In general, I thought your response to Erin was good and fair, but in my opinion it is incomplete in answering why feminism is unacceptable. I’ll try to keep it simple: Feminism is not a posture, it’s an ideology. As such, it makes concrete claims about history, human nature, etc. One need only hold up those claims to the Bible to see that not only are most of them outright false, by many of them vary in evil from venial to outright abomination (ex. supporting such radical autonomy one supports partial birth abortion). Women often delude themselves by saying “I am a feminist, but . . .” However, that is irrelevant. We don’t judge an ideology based on the personal beliefs of a single adherent, we judge it based on whatever is generally considered its authoritative set of tenets. If someone were to say in church “I am a Communist, but . . .” we would rightly point out the absurdity and mutually exclusive nature of Communism and Christianity because the latter requires adherence to many things that are rejected by the latter. Even if you set aside every culture of death position enthusiastically embraced by mainstream feminism, you would be left with its view that rebellion against lawful authority is justified when the governed “withdraw consent” or “feel abused.” God is not a Classical Liberal and the Bible teaches against the Lockean understanding of authority in no uncertain terms. This doesn’t mean that women must suffer evil (your advice to the woman leaving her apparently quite evil church elder husband was sound), but it means that “I don’t agree” is no basis to be defiant or set aside the 2nd commandment by making her husband feel her anger at not getting her way. Hurting an authority over you—any authority—for simply doing what displeases you, not what is a clear violation of the natural and divine laws is gravely evil and ultimately often more evil than anything the authority actually did.

Mike

Mike, thanks.


Two and Three Witnesses

The principle of witnesses does apply in Deut. 22. The crime the passage is talking about is not rape, but adultery. It’s established that the accused have had sex. The man is thus guilty and condemned to death. The question under discussion is whether the woman is a willing participant. Rape is not the crime; it’s her defense The only first-hand witnesses to that are the accused themselves, so their testimony is unreliable. She will certainly claim to have been raped. He—who is already condemned to death—might or might not back her up on this, but there’s no a priori reason to assume he will be truthful. So case law establishes a principle: if the adultery took place in town, she is assumed to have the means to either avoid it or cry for help. In contrast, a man might come upon someone else’s woman alone in the country, and therefore the law gives her the benefit of the doubt

Andrew

Andrew, right. If the fact of the sex is acknowledged by all, then I believe you are correct. But if the fact of the sex is denied by him, and rape is alleged by her, then the principle of independent corroboration still applies.


Thanks for the comments on the Deuteronomy passage! This passage was raised by someone as an example of punishment being doled out simply on the account of the accuser. But I would guess that even though the passage doesn’t say “After a trial where both are questioned,” it hardly denies that such would take place since there is still the rest of the Torah as context for it. So if he has no alibi, presumably he would be guilty on her charge. Or no verifiable alibi, at least. If he says he was tending sheep 3 towns over but none of the shepherds remember him, then he’s guilty. I think the more troublesome verses to modern-day activists are the preceding verses about the alleged assault taking place in the city. Taking the passage as is, it would seem to disqualify a large number of cases in modern time—that is, any case where someone could have been heard by crying out. And thus also, implications for the narrative of “being intimidated by the powerful.” On the other hand, being assaulted while drunk would conceivably qualify under the standard of the fields, if one is unable to cry out. That the victim willingly got drunk would be a separate moral issue, even though it left him/her unable to cry out. My takeaway from this is that it’s hard to figure. Anyone with a book recommendation?

Kevin

Kevin, sorry—don’t have a book recommendation on your latter scenarios. But I am afraid I have to differ on the need for the accused to have an alibi. Even if he doesn’t have an alibi (he was on a three-day hunting trip by himself), he should not be convicted on the basis of one witness alone.


Random

Speaking of menus, I’ll have a bit of crow. I finally read the book, and that comment about recorders did make a lot more sense in context. Perhaps still not the example I would have chosen, but then, I didn’t write the book, did I?

Jane

Jane, thanks for offering to eat crow, but I don’t think you need to. You were reacting to an excerpt from Food Catholic that I posted without all the surrounding context. So if there is any fault to be assigned, then


Can I ask what your position is now on the relationship between HIV and AIDS? I ask because I have just finished reading Fidelity and your recommendation of Peter Duesberg’s work stood out as concerning in an otherwise good book. Would you continue to recommend to married people who are HIV positive that the HIV virus is harmless and that they should not therefore need to abstain from sex? Many thanks!

Tim

Tim, I have not yet been persuaded that Duesberg was wrong. But I would encourage married couples in the position you describe to read up on it, and I would encourage them to read both sides—Duesberg included.

65
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
9 Comment threads
56 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
JP StewartJonathanOKRicketybethyadaThe Commenter Formerly Known As fp Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jane
Member

On Ron’s comment: The original aphorism was “eat your cake and have it, too,” which makes a HECK of a lot more sense as a way of saying wanting to have it both ways. But somehow over time it got transmuted into the other form, and then people wonder what the expression is supposed to literally mean, and try to reverse it to make more sense of it. I learned this factoid decades ago, and decided I was going to say it right from then on. Over the years it’s become so much second nature to say it the original,… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I find it less confusing if one says: eat your cake and keep it too.

I also think it helpful to change “begging the question” to “assuming the question.”

Jane
Member

Yes, I cannot understand why that error is called “begging the question.”

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It was a 16th century mistranslation of “petitio” which could also mean beg but in this instance means assume. A similar misunderstanding can be seen with “leading question” which people confuse with “loaded question.” If you are in court being examined by your own lawyer, a leading question is a good thing because it suggests the answer he wants you to give for your own benefit. Which is why the other lawyer will object, and the judge will tell your lawyer to stop leading the witness.

Kong
Guest
Kong

Addressing the letter by Timothy about why leaders have not engaged with Doug. Firstly they cannot address the concerns of every person in the world, and Doug is not even a part of their denomination, so I expect that other people’s concerns would come first and be addressed first. Also some people have heard of him or read some of his things, but he isn’t high enough profile to really cause any stir in the PCA. I would also expect that titleing posts “on the PCA french kissing the world” does not exactly make them want to seek out his… Read more »

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“I heard one man (who has basically devoted his life to theology but isn’t part of the leadership of the PCA) say what he thought after his son asked him what he thought of Doug. Basically to many people a pastor in the Idaho pan handle, who is pretty far removed from these issues and is known for controversies, scandals, and as being very firy and contrarian is not someone that he really thinks is in a position to speak on the matter. ” Could you please be a little more specific here? You say that his son asked him… Read more »

Kong
Guest
Kong

Alright so the people are unimportant but not made up. This person addressed Doug Wilson’s points and agreed with some but the whole point is that what Doug thinks is kind of irrelevant for many reasons in the PCAs discussion.
A kindergarten level conflict resolution lesson would include the fact that you can’t talk trash to and about someone and then be upset when they don’t listen to you. Unfortunately this is what Wilson seems to expect.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

While this may be true, I think this rhetoric works against both you and this example of a man you have set. “I agree with Doug, but I won’t address his points publicly because I think he’s a meanie” is not exactly the most Christian and Godly minded behavior. If Doug is right, it’s your duty to speak out in your own circle about the moral ills of the events going on in your own church. If Doug isn’t right, it’s your duty to speak out about this wolf trying to go after your sheep. The most Doug’s insults could… Read more »

Kong
Guest
Kong

You can’t speak out against every raving lunitic online, and also he hadn’t heard of Doug’s big thing against revoice until my friend brought it up to him so it seems odd to think that it is required of him to publicly oppose an obscure internet argument that he had not heard of.
Does everyone have to address every argument ever made on the internet?

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

“You can’t speak out against every raving lunatic online,” Of course not, and unless you want to call Doug a raving lunatic, this isn’t remotely relevant to the discussion. “so he hadn’t heard of Doug’s big thing against revoice until my friend brought it up to him” Then why on earth did you bring up his impressions on Doug as a reason PCA hasn’t responded as though the impressions had anything to do with it? Clearly the more sensible takeaway is simply that Doug’s objections aren’t very well known in the PCA yes? Once again, it seems like this is… Read more »

Kong
Guest
Kong

Also another of my points was that someone as even keeled as this man is unlikely to get worked up about someone screaming about the PCA on the internet.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

And nobody suggested he should get “worked up” about it. It’s also fairly dishonest to characterize Doug as “screaming”.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Addressing Wilson would only make sense if his objections were shared by others, at which point you wouldn’t really be addressing him anymore unless he were the most prominent critic. Other than that it is pointless. Wilson has made up his mind and never changes it, so what is there to say?

Kong
Guest
Kong

Exactly

Jsm
Guest
Jsm

There are prominent men in the pca who have been more outspoken about the pca and revoice than Pastor Wilson. So far no one has responded with anything resembling a rational defense. The issue is they really do not have a biblical argument and the criticisms leveled at them by Wilson are spot on.

JP Stewart
Member

Amen. Where are all the guys who led the Federal Vision (FV) witch hunt? Agree with it or not, almost every part of FV had been introduced before–some by the earliest Reformers. On the other hand, Revoice is unprecedented, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, follow-the-culture nonsense. Find a Reformer, church father or other orthodox theologian from a past century (or even decade) who pushed the Revoice agenda. While issues like FV require time to sort out, Revoice should’ve been dismissed immediately. The PCA had a chance to do something about Revoice at the recent GA but didn’t. And there’s nothing but crickets from so-called… Read more »

Jane
Member

Revoice was not announced until after GA, and process does not permit bringing new business to the floor at GA unless it is coming from somewhere. An individual delegate can’t just stand up and complain about something — a Presbytery has to bring up a matter, which means a Presbytery would have to have previously met and written an overture about it. This wasn’t possible, because nobody knew about this before GA happened, let alone prior to a presbytery meeting leading up to GA.

The PCA actually *didn’t* have a chance to deal with it at GA.

JP Stewart
Member

Revoice was definitely announced before the GA in June. It believe it was announced in April. And it was discussed at GA:
https://warhornmedia.com/2018/06/18/response-to-cts-president-mark-dalbeys-pca-general-assembly-statement-on-revoice/

Whether there was time for overtures, etc., I’m not sure. They would have to be rushed through–I’ll grant that. I’ll defer to a PCA elder or pastor on this part. I haven’t been part of the denomination since I was pretty young

Jane
Member

Sorry, I had my timeline wrong. I became aware of it right as GA was convening and I assumed that, given the degree of (appropriate) outrage displayed by the sources I was hearing it from, nobody had been sitting on the story for two months. My fault for jumping to conclusions. At any rate, if the local presbytery (or another presbytery) was aware of it and had opportunity to meet and did not act, that’s a problem. But it is quite possible that none of those things happened, since Presbytery meetings are generally quarterly, and without a presbytery officially raising… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

Understood. There’s certainly enough time before the next GA, so we’ll see what happens.

Jane
Member

Yes, it definitely bears watching. I’m not saying I’m 100% convinced they’ll deal with it well.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

Very rarely does engaging with another public thinker have anything to do with changing the mind of that thinker. People don’t have debates to change the mind of the debator, they have them to change the mind of the audience. Now there are a variety of reasons they might not care to respond to Doug specifically. The more relevant question in my mind is “Could they reasonably debate Doug if they wanted to.” My personal experience with the PCA tends to expect the answer is “No”. They’re the “Make things up as you go along to reflect how you’d like… Read more »

Kong
Guest
Kong

Alright as part of the PCA this irritated me a lot. The PCA is extremely diverse. There are people that oppose revoice in the PCA more than Doug ever will. The PCA ranges for extremely conservative upper class elderly people to your progressives and includes everyone in between. Why would you lump everyone together like this?

JP Stewart
Member

The PCA is a confessional denomination. It has some diversity (like all denominations), but the WCF is very clear on what marriage is, and it doesn’t include SSA lifelong partnerships with cuddling, child adoptions and vacations (just no buggery)! In your words, it doesn’t need to include every raving lunitic (sic) progressive…there are plenty of other denoms they can join.

Jane
Member

“There are people that oppose revoice in the PCA more than Doug ever will. ”

I’m not really sure what that statement is supposed to mean. What is more than absolutely and implacably?

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

I’m not sure what you mean Kong. What I was describing was a behavior that conservatives and progressives alike can be guilty of. Why would ideological diversity be relevant to the question? This is like accusing someone of lying and their defense is “What do you mean? I brush my teeth every day!” Yeah, ok. I can see how that’s laudible in a certain way, but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Liars are firmly capable of brushing their teeth, just as progressives and conservatives are capable of ignoring sound reasoning in favor of believing what… Read more »

Jsm
Guest
Jsm

I noticed your book of the month post. You may not be aware but Joshua Gibbs wrote a book that was recently released called “How to be Unlucky, reflections on the pursuit of virtue” I am making my way through his book now. Since Mr.Gibbs and I are the same age many of his observations about evangelicalism in general and the reformed camp specifically resonates with me. I have embraced reformed theology for many years but have recently found myself sympathetic to many of the claims of Orthodoxy. Gibbs is a persuasive writer so I am reading it with an… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

I would love to see this as well. I have enjoyed Gibbs’ writing since he ran a little personal blog (The Cedar Room).

JP Stewart
Member

I’ve listened to parts of Revoice. I have neither the time nor stomach to handle the whole thing. The best summary I can come up with is “We’re persecuted victims like Jeremiah, Mary and even Jesus. Our enemies are like the Pharisees. Oh, woe is us!” There are links on Youtube, though some have been taken down. Some have been downloaded here: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/revoice-2018-sessions.96026/ There’s a lot of victimization with little to nothing about mortifying their sins and desires. Some even attacked the “idolatry” of the church worshiping the nuclear family. It sounded a lot like mainstream LGBQTers calling married heterosexuals… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

Glad to see DW reacting to Aimee Byrd’s book. I think it shares Revoice’s problems re: “spiritual friendships.” Byrd seems to think we can leapfrog right over men’s struggle with lust and women’s emotional attachments…and have close, sibling-like relationships with the opposite sex. From my understanding (I haven’t read the book, just some reviews), she thinks non-spouse, male/female lunches are just fine. (Maybe we should call them APNDs: anti-Pence non-dates?) She even thinks it’s okay to tease each other (AKA flirting or “negging” in the manosphere). Don’t we have enough adultery without this push-your-boundaries-and-self-control-but-stay-celibate stuff? I’ve seen more fallen pastors… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

All this is based on a staggering level of naivete. In the workplace, when some man told me I was pretty and invited me out for a drink, I knew exactly what he wanted and it wasn’t to discuss my prayer life. But when budding attractions and relationships are covered with a spiritual glow, it is very easy for people to fool themselves and each other. Their emotional guard is down, and they think it is okay to cross boundaries because everyone’s intentions are pure. I think this sort of thing leads to disaster and heartache. Adultery begins long before… Read more »

Jane
Member

But conversely because adultery begins long before the couple checks into the motel room, I think we should be leery of a “dancing leads to sex” approach to all friendly interaction between the sexes. Just going out for a drink with a guy just because, spiritual veneer or not, yeah, probably almost always a bad idea. Neglecting widows and lonely women’s real spiritual and material needs because no man will even stop by her house on the way home to make sure she’s doing okay that week, let alone fix her leaky faucets, not okay. Should he get in the… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

“the point is, the sake of others, not just because it might be fun to hang out with a man or a woman” I think this is the key issue. If an attractive 30-year old lady at church needs help moving, and only one man can help her on moving day, he probably should. (Or if she has adequate finances, maybe she hires movers to avoid an awkward situation.) My understanding is that Byrd goes beyond this. She talks about non-married men and women purposely developing sibling-like relationships. That may work in some cases where there’s zero attraction, but I… Read more »

Jane
Member

“(Or if she has adequate finances, maybe she hires movers to avoid an awkward situation.) ” Okay, I’m not picking on you here, but…. the one time in my life that I was able to have a mover (my husband’s company was paying for it) I spent most of a day alone in my apartment with a young man of about my age, who was doing the packing. My husband had already established himself in the new city and couldn’t come back just to watch a guy pack. It never even occurred to me that this would be a situation… Read more »

Jane
Member

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding her thrust. Her point is not to say, “It’s okay, it’s all good, there’s no such thing as temptation, we don’t need boundaries.” It’s more like, “We can use wisdom and discernment about specific situations, draw our own boundaries, and not be stuck with extra-biblical rules that can cause their own kinds of harm.” There is a fundamentalist culture around this stuff, and if you’re not part of it, then you’re not, that essentially alienates men from women unless they are first-order blood relatives, dating, or courting. And that’s the kind of… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

Her attack on “purity culture” is mostly a strawman in my view. Very few of her readers are big fans of the Pearls or Gothards. And most of her critics don’t follow an iron-clad Pence Rule that says a young or middle-aged man can’t help a 70-year old widow move heavy boxes upstairs. This review fom Goodreads (copied below) has some good insights on what she says…and often doesn’t say: “I will work on a longer review in the coming weeks and post a link here when I am done. But for now I will say this. It is not… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

I haven’t read the book, and i am very unlikely to. However, I used to listen to Mortification of Spin. It was a great podcast, mostly because of Carl Trueman but also because of the banter between Trueman and Pruitt, which was mostly mild jocular abuse. At some point they added Aimee Byrd to the show, and tried to continue the same sort of banter and it was very distasteful. No one involved seemed to realize that tht sort of banter was appropriate only in a male only space (or female only, though it would have a much different character).… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

That’s a great observation, Demo.

OKRickety
Member

Jane said: ‘ It’s more like, “We can use wisdom and discernment about specific situations, draw our own boundaries, and not be stuck with extra-biblical rules that can cause their own kinds of harm.”‘ Certainly extra-biblical rules can cause harm. But, supposing they are the result of incorrect interpretation and understanding, I presume the same would be true of incorrect wisdom and discernment. For example, the married person whose friendship at work develops into an affair. The original intention and behavior may well be innocent and well-intentioned, yet boundaries can be breached, justified (in their own mind)  because of desire,… Read more »

Jane
Member

Of course people can fail at wisdom. I am calling for people to actually BE wise, not waving “wisdom” around as an incantation that will insulate us from problems.

And you still have the problem that scripture calls us to be brothers and sisters, not mutually suspicious co-combatants. Somehow that has to be dealt with.

JP Stewart
Member

I Tim. 5:2 tells men to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (As much as I’ve heard the term “purity” denigrated by hipsters in recent years, there it is in the Bible). Paul doesn’t tell men (or women) to go around trying to develop close non-marital relationships–just how to relate when you’re around each other. Your moving example actually proves my point. That’s how Christians should behave in a situation like that. But it doesn’t mean you now have a special relationship that needs to blossom or something.

JP Stewart
Member

Put another way, I don’t think Byrd would write a 248-page book if the only point is to relax your Pence rule for short-term mercy missions (mow the widow’s lawn, help the young guy clean his apartment before he moves, etc.) She wants us to pursue healthy friendships and “siblingship” in Christ per the Amazon description. That’s very different than helping someone in need Like OKRickety said, I’ve seen these relationships start with allegedly good intentions but end very badly. And I don’t see Scripture encouraging us to actively develop strong non-marital, platonic friendships with the opposite sex. The #metoo… Read more »

OKRickety
Member

Jane, Most of us have the proper recognition that our physical brothers and sisters are not potential sexual partners. However, in the case of our spiritual brothers and sisters, we do not have this inhibition naturally. This is, of course, a good thing for those who marry. Once married, maintaining the proper relationship with others requires a conscious decision by both parties. If one of them succumbs to the temptation to desire a closer relationship, then the other may be tempted even more strongly and sin may result. I think it far better that they be aware (“mutually suspicious”) than… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I enjoyed Doug’s review and think there are plenty of good points. And it may be that Aimee is a little naive. My defence of Aimee would possibly be (having not read the context), that she is not clear enough in separating specifics from generalities. There is enough in the MeToo movement to oppose. Even so, there will be true victims among the crowd. Thus Aimee’s comments about MeToo could just be assuming a degree of truth behind the movement without accepting any specific claim as being true. It is the same if I were to comment about how sad… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Doug, I enjoyed your article about a women leaving her verbally abusive husband. It had some helpful points, and I the application from runaway slaves was food for thought. Some comments and questions. I have previously noted that I disagree with your use of 1 Corinthians 7 for separation. I agree that separation is mentioned, and that this is different from the word used for the husband about not “putting away” his wife. But the meaning in both cases is divorce. The difference was in how a male or a female obtained a divorce. We know this from the cultural… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I hope people take Pastor Wilson’s AIDS denialism seriously when weighing his words on other science topics.

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

If he suggests reading up and making an informed decision, as he does here, I should daresay it’s nearly impossible for him to do any harm.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Justin, I am not sure that most people have the scientific background to make informed decisions about whether a virus is lethal. This is probably not an issue with HIV as you would be hard pressed to find any reputable scientist who disputes the connection with AIDS. But, in general, when a couple asks a pastor about whether a transmissible virus might cause a fatal disease, wouldn’t it be wiser to send them to a doctor rather than tell them to read up on it?

Justin Parris
Member
Justin Parris

Jill, in general I lean in the “Doug is wrong on this one” camp. It’s just that both here and on Doug’s Facebook I’ve run into people arguing from the position of supreme scientific authority, without actually presenting any evidence or reasoning that Doug is incorrect, just declarations that he is so. My response here isn’t really disagreeing on content, but disagreeing on quality of response. “You’re a science denier” is not really true or useful. All sides here think they’re on the side of science. If you want to claim the mantle of correctness in a public forum that… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

What he said in his previous online review of the book as well as in a book he published went much further.

But that was not my point. My point was that if after all this time Pastor Wilson still has not been able to make an educated decision on this scientific topic of consequence, then it does call into doubt his authority in the other scientific pronouncement he makes.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Jonathan, what exactly is “AIDS denialism”? Is this anything like “climate denialism”? Call it a hunch, but I don’t get the impression that Doug denies the existence of AIDS.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

AIDS denialism is denying that AIDS comes from the HIV virus. Typical side effects are claiming that people with HIV should freely sleep with non-carriers without protection, that programs treating HIV should be stopped, and that people with HIV should be blamed for their illness because the real cause is too many drugs or something else. Here is an example: “If by AIDS you mean that the HIV virus is present in your body, then I would refer you to the book Inventing the AIDS Virus by Peter Duesberg. It is quite possible that your situation does not warrant abstention… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Also, Duesberg’s work helped lead to thousands of preventable deaths in South Africa. Promoting it is a serious mistake by Wilson.

Jane
Member

South African men were sleeping around and infecting half the country because they read Duesberg?

I find Doug’s continued support for Duesberg unsettling myself, FWIW. If Duesberg is right, then the anti-viral breakthroughs leading to the vastly improved life expectancy for HIV positive people wouldn’t be a thing.

But preventable deaths could have been very simply prevented, Duesberg or no, by simple behavioral means.

demosthenes1d
Member

Jane,

most of the infections could surely have been prevented by better sexual morals; however, it is still appropriate to state that the woefully bad medical advice and practice allowed deaths that could have been prevented. Additionally, many infants contracted AIDS from their mothers due to the lack of anti-virals and other preventative methods.

I see no way to present this as anything other than a travesty, and unfortunately conservative christianity has a real penchant for woo woo “science” which leads them to fall for stuff like this.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Jane, the problem is that former South African president Mbeki invited Duesberg to sit on a presidential inquiry into HIV and AIDS in 2000, and Mbeki accepted Duesberg’s insistence that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. This led Mbeki to institute public health policies that are believed to have led to countless preventable deaths. For example, in some years in the early 2000s, up to 75,000 babies were born with HIV. The drug companies had offered to provide AZT–which dramatically reduces the risk of mother to infant infection–at no charge, but Mbeki refused to have this drug dispensed in South African hospitals… Read more »

Jane
Member

Okay, yeah, refusing AZT was bad news. I hadn’t realized that was part of it.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

These are both quotes from Pastor Wilson: “If by AIDS you mean that the HIV virus is present in your body, then I would refer you to the book Inventing the AIDS Virus by Peter Duesberg. It is quite possible that your situation does not warrant abstention from sex at all – but only because the HIV virus is harmless.” “One of the worst things that can happen to such a person is for someone with the authority to write prescriptions to find out about it, and to start giving that person AZT–an FDA-approved, rush-job treatment of AIDS. The drug… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I think Duesberg is wrong.

But consider also the early data suggesting that circumcision decreased transmission rates. Many ID doctors refused to believe this. Now there was reason in the early days to be cautious, and further trials confirmed that circumcision is beneficial. But how many resisted the calls by the early adopters because circumcision is just not what we do in the 21st century, and circumcision is religious.

Anti-circumcision and anti-religious prejudice lead to increased transmission because circumcision was poo-pooed by several doctors.

demosthenes1d
Member

A doctor who, after the early 1990s, continued to hold that cicumcision didn’t reduce the transmission of HIV would be wrong and should be called to account. Now it is a more complicated question to ask whether cicumcision should be broadly practiced as a preventative measure. Circumcision for non-infected individuals and anti-virals for HIV positive are apples and mangos.

Also, this sort of what-aboutism does nothing to reduce the idiocy of, and the damage caused by, those who deny the HIV-AIDS relationship.

bethyada
Member

Well there were doctors in the 2000s questioning circumcision.

I am not defending Duesberg, Doug, or those doctors. Merely pointing our that prejudices exist and can delay our changing our mind. And I suspect Duesberg was an extreme outlier, any circumcision doctors were more common, and many still mock the idea that promiscuity should be a focus. Look at the current advocacy for giving non infected gay men antivirals before a night with strangers

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

And yet it was your ilk that promoted Rachel Carson’s “work”, which led to millions of preventable deaths, not only in Africa, but around the world. You’re simply not credible.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

That’s always been a false narrative. Carson’s work neither called for any ban of pesticides nor was it decisive in the fight against malaria in rural areas.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22245-silent-spring-didnt-condemn-millions-to-death/

JP Stewart
Member

Ah, an article in a leftist rag from a guy who wrote a biography about Carson–basically a promo piece for his book. Yes, you can support any view you want with an internet search. .

Here’s another take–from another leftist rag–by a professor of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-rachel-carson-cost-millions-of-people-their-lives?

Fredrick
Guest
Fredrick

Pastor Wilson–this gentleman (https://www.leonardsax.com/books/) has a good summary of the differences between the genders and interesting and concrete strategies for tailoring educational environments according to the general distinctions between the two. His work “Why Gender Matters” is a particularly helpful distillation of his observations and his recommendations (and might make a great entry for your book review segment on the Plodcast some future day).