The Kind of Election We Are Not Going to Have
“But there is no way for us to return to our senses without returning to our God. That’s it.”
Pastor, how can we maintain any hope when Christians are praying He grants mass repentance and He doesn’t answer? The only person in the equation who can actually *do* anything doesn’t seem to be. It’s not like there aren’t passionate Christians building, but Clown World gets whatever it wants and there’s nothing to give us any shred of hope anywhere. Seeds are being thrown but nothing is taking root, even though there are honest gardeners. I’m not being saucy, I’m genuinely deeply struggling.
One argument I hear often is “Well we deserve all this.” Actually, no, my unborn baby does not deserve this. The people who deserve this are currently slapping “Spending my kids inheritance” bumper stickers on their brand new RVs and riding happily off into the sunset. While arrogantly insisting all their destruction is actually our fault because avocado toast or something.
We can’t return to God unless he lets us, because repentance is a gift. I can’t protect my kids and I’m helpless, but I’m supposed to still have faith even though that faith is getting punished when evil is not.
I’m not sure how to phrase what I’m asking for other than “please help.” I know I’m not the only one out there trying to keep my head above water, spiritually.
H, if it helps, please know that this particular challenge is an ancient one. God’s people have always had to deal with it. A particular help is learning how to sing the psalms. Psalm 37 comes to mind: “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found” (Psalm 37:34–36).
Re: The Kind of Election We Are Not Going to Have I’m sorry, but whatever one wants to say about election interference from the left, the fact remains that Trump’s offense in this regard was worse. Or if it wasn’t worse, it was at least more blatantly and openly defiant of the law. If he had been successful in his schemes, he would have had state legislatures just handing him their electoral votes, in spite of their state’s popular vote, based on nothing more than a Gish gallop of largely incoherent allegations.
If a vote for Trump is a vote for election integrity, then a vote for Biden is a vote for cognitive acuity and youthful exuberance.
Ken, thanks for your input. We have noted your dissent but unfortunately a federal judge has determined that you don’t have standing in this case, and so we have decided that you thought my article was wonderful.
Hermeneutics and the Rod
I’m struggling with the hermeneutical principle that says we must take the rod “literally” in Proverbs 22:6, but then it’s not advocated for taking it literally in Proverbs 26:3. If we’re being consistent wouldn’t the husband have authority to strike his wife with the rod if she were being foolish?
Would pastors have authority to use a literal rod on foolish members?
In Proverbs 20:30 it says, “blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.” That doesn’t sound a lot like “don’t leave a mark” that many promote today.
What hermeneutical principle allows us to take it literally but also not literally at the same time? And why is it okay to strike children with a rod but not foolish adults?
Lindsay, for starters, Prov. 26:3 is not talking about husbands and wives. But your more general point is a reasonable one, and I would in fact argue for a return to a civic administration of corporal punishment.
Employers Who Delay Payment
Thank you for your ministry. I have found you very helpful. I have a question for you which I would value your thoughts on. Does the below excerpt from Gary North (p. 48) mean Christians cannot work for employers who delay payment because it is an oppression of the poorest people in society?
“We need to consider three parties in our economic analysis: the employer, the employed worker, and the excluded worker. The text does not speak of the excluded worker, nor is the average Bible commentator likely to consider him, but he is crucial to the analysis. A less destitute worker may decide to accept the terms of employment: delayed payment. A destitute worker cannot afford to accept it. The excluded worker becomes the primary victim of a delayed-wages contract. He cannot afford to take the job. The less destitute worker takes the job. He would of course rather be paid early, but his willingness to accept delayed payment is a form of competition on his part that gives him an advantage over very poor people in the community. The Bible calls this form of competition oppression. The primary economic beneficiary of this form of oppression is not the employer, for whom the interest gained by delaying payment is minimal, but rather the worker who can afford to have his wages delayed, and who therefore gets the job. He excludes his competition through oppression. The employer here acts as the economic agent of the employed worker. This representational relationship is not readily understood. No one without economic training will blame the employed worker for the unemployment of the destitute worker. If anyone is blamed, it will be the employer. The employer is to blame, judicially speaking: he imposes the illegal terms of employment: robbery, a form of oppression. God’s law designates the employer as the initiator of an evil contract, and hence judicially liable, as we shall see. The fact remains, however, that the worker who takes the job on these terms becomes the agent of economic oppression, while the excluded worker is the primary economic victim. The person who appears to be the victim— the worker who takes the job—is in fact the primary economic beneficiary of this labor contract. He obtains what both of the competing workers needed: the job.”
Once again, many thanks and would value any thoughts,
Andries, if he is talking about an employee who can afford to be paid every two weeks or every month instead of being paid at the end of every day, I am afraid I just flat disagree. Delayed wages are a form of theft when the delay runs contrary to the agreement that was made. “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” (James 5:4).
An Atheist Writes
No need to answer unless the spirit moves you.
Just wanted to tell you I’ve recently watched the documentary featuring you and Hitchens.
I’m on his side and have been since I left Catholicism at 18 many years ago. I thought you held your own better than most he goes up against and I’m glad for the friendship you had. You seem like a good guy.
Very glad for your statement that you’re Christian because your parents are. If you’d been born in Mecca, you’d be a fervent Muslim. If in Calcutta, a devout Hindu. I think it’s important for us to look at the traditions of God and country each of us were given and see if we need to rise above them. I hate that so many people just sort of slouch out of theirs without thought or study. I’m sure you’ve seen people come to Christianity and I’m sure you’ve seen them leave it. We both know where the flow is stronger.
I have been editor for six of Adam Hamilton’s books and I have studied Christianity all my life. I like many of its people but am convinced it’s untenable. Still, if you’re ever in Nashville, say hello. I love such conversations.
Rob, I would love to buy you a beer sometime. But there is one thing I would add to my comment in the movie about being a Christian because my mother spanked me diligently. That is the fact that coming to a knowledge of God in that way appears to be a design feature. And though you are right that if I had been steeped in a false religion from childhood I would likely have gone that way. But I would still be responsible for it, and those who brought me up in falsehood would be responsible as well.
Anointing Oil for Healing
I have a question in regards to James 5:14. Specifically, what is the purpose of anointing with oil? Does it make our prayers extra powerful? Is that for us in this day and age?
I am genuinely curious due to the fact that in our church there is a sister that has just been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. We do pray and have been praying for her, her husband , and their children.
This past Sunday during our announcements after the service our pastor stated that he and another elder were going to fulfill the James 5 principle and personally go and anoint her head with oil for healing.
To me it seems as though James 5 is more so about salvation then physical healing.
I don’t know how to proceed and would very much appreciate some guidance on this issue. Thank you.
Glory be to God,
Dustin, at Christ Church the elders regularly pray for the sick, not limiting the prayer that James mentions to matters of salvation. When we do this, we lay hands on the sick person and pray for them. We don’t use oil because we believe that in the first century, the anointing with oil was frequently a medicinal application, and not necessarily part of a religious ritual. For example, this is how the Samaritan treated the robbery victim in the parable—“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:34). The example of Mark sounds more like a ritual anointing, but it is not clear. “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:13).
What to Do?
I am in a town that’s about to have an illegal “all age drag show.” I have already called on our officials to be God’s deacon of righteousness (Rom 13:6) through email.
My question is, should I go with a sign and street preach at it? I’m a minister at my church, to the youth, and want to set a good example for them. More than that, I just want to seek the protection of our city’s children. Is holding up a “millstone” sign the way to go? Sharing the gospel and calling the drag queens pedophiles?
Or, is there another option I should go for?
Chaz, it is hard to tell from this distance. Are you quick on your feet? Are you good at street preaching? Is your session of elders behind you? Would you be representing the church? And so on. Sorry, but the answer is “it depends.”
“grh, when God gives saving faith, the kind of faith He gives is living faith, not dead faith. As living faith, it moves around and does stuff. James calls those motions works, while Paul calls those motions fruit.”
So by “animating principle,” do you mean something akin to the formal principle/material principle that was said of the Reformation (sola scriptura being the formal principle, and sola fide being the material principle)?
In this case, faith being the “formal principle” (i.e., the cause), and works being the “material principle” (i.e., the effect) . . .
grh, you could understand it that way. But what I am saying is simpler than that. A man is justified by faith alone, but it needs to be the kind of faith that God gives. The only kind of faith that God gives is living faith. If it is dead faith, then God didn’t give it.
To what extent should a wife honor her husband’s preferences about her appearance? I can understand accommodating things like dress, makeup, hair, etc. to some degree. But what if he is being unreasonable? How can you tell when a request is unreasonable? Especially when it comes to weight?
Growing up, my dad was very strict about how my mom looked. She had to have her hair a certain color, was not allowed to put it up, had to stay within a certain weight range, couldn’t wear certain clothes. If she did step outside these bounds, she would face biting comments and ridicule. This was considered normal in our extended family as well. One of my uncles harassed and shamed my aunt so much about her appearance that she went to get an expensive surgery so that he wouldn’t point out her flaws every time she undressed around him. I find this kind of behavior to be appalling and therefore have a hard time not slipping into the other ditch and assuming that any request a husband makes of his wife in this department is just outrageous and should be rejected.
So what are the principles here? How far can a husband go before he’s just being picky and discontent with the wife that he has? How much of her time should a wife devote to making sure she ticks off all the boxes for him?
MN, this is also a hard one to answer because there are situations where the husband is being entirely reasonable and the wife prickly, and there are other situations where the husband is browbeating his wife. But one way to tell which way it is is by comparing her to the way she was when she married him. If she is basically the same woman he married, but he wasn’t the big critic during their courtship and he is now, then he is the problem. But there are many ways this could go.
Follow Up Question
I was a little concerned my question was unclear. I’ll cite some verses here to hopefully fix that.
Based on my understanding, Chapters 7 & 8 are discussing the priestly administration of the MC, recognizes the insufficiency of the priests (7:23-8:2) and subsequently the covenant (8:6-7). Christ established the New Covenant, which was spoken of in Jeremiah per the citation that follows.
On the other hand, Galatians 3 discusses the fulfilled promises of the AC in Christ, who we are co-heirs with, promises made to Abraham included.
With those texts established, my question is this: don’t these two truths nullify the Baptist’s argument regarding NC membership? They (and I used to) seek to use Hebrews 8 as a proof text for all having an abiding faith, when Hebrews 8 is speaking of the priestly sacrificial system. Meanwhile, Galatians 3 affirms continuity of the promises of the AC.
I also didn’t know if distinguishing MC and AC at this point made sense or not.
Thanks for the recommendations.
Cagan, thanks. That clears up what you were asking for me. As I understand the Baptist argument though, he would just say that Hebrews 8 is talking about the new covenant replacing the priestly sacrificial system. In the Levitical system, they didn’t all know the Lord, but in the new covenant they will. I would prefer to take the Baptists at their word in the citation. When Jeremiah says “they will all know me, from the least to the greatest,” I want to ask why “the least” would exclude infants. And I would encourage them to look at all the places in Jeremiah where that phrase is used.
Thanks yet again for the work that you’re doing. We really appreciate and try to put it into practice here in South Africa.
Could you perhaps point me towards good resources on missiology? I’ve been trying to work through Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, but some of the theology in there is a bit questionable and there is a real lack of long-term thinking. Is this perhaps something that we will see more of on Canon+ in the future?
Willem, I am very sorry. It has been years since I have read much in missiology. But one book I remember being impressed by was Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?
I have a question about Satan being bound with the post-mil view. Is he currently bound now in heaven and loosed on earth? I am new to post-mil partial preterism stance.
Thank you for any help,
Nick, my understanding is that Satan is bound with regard to his ability to deceive the nations. No longer can he run empires the way he used to do.
Age of Consent
Do you believe there is any biblical basis for there being a minimum age of marriage? Do you believe there would be a certain age at which a marriage would not be valid? For example, if a 13-year-old girl’s parents married her off to a 20-year-old man, would this be a valid marriage that she would be bound to for life (outside of her having biblical grounds for divorce or her husband dying)? While we would think that marriage at this age would be unthinkable today, this was common place in history, including in Jesus’ time. In a number of missionary contexts today, it is still common for young women to be married off not long after hitting puberty, should a missionary object to such practices? What would the biblical grounds for such an objection be?
Will, I believe that age of consent laws are entirely appropriate, and that prohibition of very early marriages is a fruit of Christianity. In our current setting, I don’t believe that a young girl is bound for life just because she was trafficked early on. But with regard to some eras in the past, where everyone bought into “the rules,” overcoming those rules would require a different strategy other than just walking away.
You kindly gave your wisdom on if a newly converted Christian woman should marry or leave her unmarried partner when there are children as fruit of the union. We are in Australia which has no common law marriage. I have read a few perspectives that she should marry the man as that redeems the hitherto sinful situation. The reasoning for this is 1 Corinthians 7:12 onwards.
“To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
Do you think this is misapplying the passage, as it requires the woman to first marry an unbeliever, which is normally considered sinful. It seems that many people think the children nullify the command to not marry an unbeliever.
Do you think this thought process is a possible solution to allow marriage? I feel it is wrong but humbly trying to consider if I am being legalistic.
Laura, right. I believe that there is a marked difference between “not divorcing,” which Paul teaches here, and “having to marry,” which is not the point of this passage. There is a difference between dealing with an existing yoke, and putting a new one on. At the same time, I would also say that there could be details in a specific situation that might make someone consider the option of marriage. For example, could the presence of very young children constitute a yoke?
A Mystery, My Son
Is the Calvinist view of free will similar to other mysteries of the faith such as God being three persons in one? Something our human minds cannot possibly comprehend? God is both sovereign over all things (including salvation) yet we also have free will (including to choose to follow Christ). In our minds they seem mutually exclusive yet both are true with God.
Cloe, yes. The Bible teaches that God is exhaustively sovereign over all things, including the actions of men. The Bible also teaches that we are responsible agents, not puppets, and we therefore have moral agency. Our job is to affirm and defend both. Our job is to not to attempt doing the math.
Submission to Church Elders
I’m wondering if you can help me with a topic that is pressing on many, that I can’t seem to find clear and direct teaching on: how and when to submit to church elders. There’s been an abundance of penbuckling back & forth lately over Rom 13, and appropriate limits of the state’s authority. The same can be said with respect to families and limits to the authority of a husband and father.
I find myself at odds with my pastor primarily on his understanding of and attempts to leverage his authority as a pastor. He’s used such phrases as, “the shepherd tells the sheep where to graze (to warn us against supposed false teachers),” “the shepherd is to lead & the sheep are to follow (trying to encourage volunteers for separate Sunday children’s program),” and, “how is it submitting if you only submit when you agree?”
There’s been some problematic personal behaviour on his part that I’m in the process of confronting, along with several other families, but at the same time I want to honour God by submitting to proper authorities.
What authority do elders have in the government of the church?
Stephen, the examples you cite don’t seem to me to be outrageous in their content, and if you put all of them in the mouth of a trusted pastor, there would likely be no difficulty. But if there are other problems, such that trust is evaporating, then small exercises of authority can be a real problem. So your question should not be “do I have to do this particular thing?”but rather “do I trust this man over all?”
The Voice of God
What are your thoughts on teachers and preachers who advocate ‘hearing the voice of God’ as integral to Christian living? (not God speaking through Scripture, but ‘still small voice’ type stuff) Do you think ‘learning to hear God’s voice’ is something that ought to be cultivated in a Christian’s life?
I am suspicious of this teaching, but it is incredibly pervasive in even the most conservative churches. I am also hesitant to write all notion of God speaking to someone’s heart completely off.
Thank you kindly.
Kyle, I do believe that God does lay burdens on the hearts of His people, and we should learn to follow those promptings. At the same time, we should do this without appealing to any “thus saith the Lord” stuff. And teaching young Christians to function this way is inviting disaster. They are going to muddle up God’s direction with whatever spontaneous idea came into their head.
Hope you are well. Would love to hear you interact with this shorter video from Alastair Roberts on Ephesians 1
Benjamin, I just listened to a bit of it. I don’t have a problem with his general sketch of God’s dealing with the church as a corporate entity. But I would go on to add that the truly elect within that general body are always those who look at the general promises and see themselves there, individually. The promises are apprehended by faith. This is what creates the confidence—on the individual level—that we see in places like Romans 8. Who can lay a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. So the application is always a matter of individual election, of necessity.
Earth Into Heaven?
You’ve become a sort of spiritual dad to me, both by way of discipleship and well-crafted, heady dad jokes. I’m new to this optimistic view of the next few thousand years or so, but I’m inspired by it. I know the core question will forever be whether or not it’s true. However, I’m troubled emotionally by the functional goal (over-generalizing, I know) of seeking to turn earth into heaven. Of course we should desire for earth to become more like heaven like the Lord tells us in his model prayer, but I’ve been trained to smell utopian-minded movements and be repelled by them. I’d love to see you interact with the differences between a postmillenial optimism and the secular utopian heresies (means justify the ends, authoritarian certainty, demonization of opponents of all kinds, etc).
Austin, I think the difference has to do with whether or not the cross of Christ is central. If it is preached, and you can see plainly that the Christ of the Bible is being exalted, it is not utopian. But if the gospel is drifting out, you can be assured that the worship of man is drifting in.
A Delicate Situation
A co-worker of mine whom I have gotten to know pretty well over the years is terminally ill with some sort of brain cancer. It came on suddenly. His family has handled his illness in an unusual way from the beginning by shutting down all lines of communication between him and the outside world. It’s weird. I, along with others from work, have called and texted with no responses.
I talked with him about God and about Christianity over the years enough to know that he believed in God but that being a good person seemed to be enough to keep you out of hell. He didn’t need saving. Of course I let him know that was not what Christianity teaches, and then I didn’t push him on it. All that to say, I felt like the door was open for future conversations. With his future likely being short now, and other lines of communications being cut off, I’d like to write him and present the gospel plainly in the hope that God has used this illness to soften his heart and ready it for the gospel.
Given what I’ve written, do you have any advice about how I present the gospel to him? Writing a letter to a dying man, that may be read by his family first, feels tricky. I will not soften the truth of our sinful condition and the reality of hell, but I also don’t want to make his family angry. He knows I’m his friend, but they don’t know me. I’ve written a draft letter, laying out the gospel, but as I stare at it I wonder if there’s a good way to get to him. Or am I trying to do God’s job? I have prayed for him for many months and I have prayed for God to give me the words that he needs to read. If you have any wisdom, I appreciate it.
John, I would write and send a card. On the card, I would reference your former conversations with him, and that you would really like to send him a follow up letter. Would that be all right with him? And also indicate that if you don’t hear, you will assume that the answer is yes. Wait a couple of weeks, and then send your letter.
NSA Lectures on Westminster
This message is for Pierre, here is the link for the Lectures on the WCF from the NSA website.
Privation of Good?
I am a freshman at New Saint Andrews, and recently got into a debate over whether Augustine’s definition of evil (evil as privation of good) is really accurate. I found myself saying no, then couldn’t remember why. What is your belief about this topic, and what would be some good books to read on the subject?
Thank you for your time,
George, sorry. I don’t have any good books to recommend. I don’t buy into Augustine’s reasoning here because it seems to be assuming that good and evil are metaphysical things, rather than actions by individuals. I think it is a category mistake, in other words.
Coming from Louisiana. Your work is great. Keep pressing on.
Will you be attending conferences? If so, where can I find the locations?
Dallas, I do need to figure out a way to post where I am going to be. I am going to be at the Fight Laugh Feast conference at the Ark Encounter this fall. And I will be at Joel Webbon’s conference in Texas in the spring. And ACCS in Atlanta this summer.
I have two question about your views on Christian Nationalism / Christendom 2.0.
As far as I can tell, Christendom 2.0 is basically what we had in the United States at the nation’s founding, before it was corrupted by secularism. Would you agree?
Second, since the ideas that lead to our new American form of government (the “reign of political Protestantism” to quote Sam Adams) seem based on the philosophical ideas of separatism (the Plymouth variety at least), which seems more aligned with congregationalism, how do you reconcile that with your Presbyterian views on church government? In other words, if you lived in Cape Cod in 1635, would you agree more with one of the separatist communities in the Bay (Plymouth, Salem etc.) or would you agree more with the non-separatist Puritans reformers of the Church of England (i.e., Boston)?
Note I don’t have objections to Presbyterianism. I’m just trying to better connect the dots, so to speak.
I’ve made a lot of assumptions in there, so you might rightly call out some logical error. But there you go.
Mike, I would be more in line with the Boston Puritans at that time. But a century later, I would be in complete agreement with what the American Presbyterians did with the Westminster Confession at their first General Assembly. So on church/state relations, I am an American Presbyterian.
Still in Clown World
I don’t mean to be a nuisance, (my third time writing in haha) but truly I have found no advice on this topic anywhere, which I found quite strange, considering its now commonplace character.
I have just finished my first day of college. I attend a smallish school in my hometown in the South, where I am studying in anticipation of either a degree in music or transferral to a liberal arts school. Because of my inclination towards the liberal and performing arts, I have learned that this semester I will be exposed to a startlingly large number of young liberals (for the South, that is). I should not be surprised, I know, because this is after all a university, but I came face to face with a problem today that I did not expect.
In my choir class there is one (1) lass by the name of Peaches (whether legal or otherwise I do not know) who wishes people to use they/them pronouns when addressing her. My choir director, a very nice man, humors her and allowed her today to interrupt his lecture and ask everyone in the room what their pronouns were. (To my amusement, everyone happened to identify with their God-given bodies except for her and most of the folks in the room, including myself, seemed quite discomforted by her inquiry.) She clearly has some influence on my poor, misguided director, who I like and respect as a teacher, and I suspect that what follows was partly her doing.
The assignment for this week is to fill out a survey about yourself; therein lies my problem. The question was “which pronouns would you prefer to be addressed with” or something along those lines. What am I supposed to say to that?? On the one hand, I could troll, which I am very inclined to do, but on the other hand, I don’t want to make a bad impression, as I very much enjoy choir and want to keep this class. But I also don’t want to participate in the fable of the times and put “she/her” as my answer. (My father has already advised me against doing so, so that isn’t an option for me.) I’m stumped. My father and I have done a small dive into internet forums looking for playful trolls or respectful bypasses with no success. I can’t leave the space blank and I know I will be coming up against this again in the future, so after searching your site for a blog post or podcast episode and finding nothing, I turned to letter-writing. I would appreciate any advice you have. :)
Alice in Clownworld (again)
Alice in Clownworld (again), I would say that when it comes to what other people call you, your feelings won’t be hurt regardless. Call me anything you like, just don’t call me late for dinner. The real issue is what you will call others, and if they are among the pronoun people, just use their name.
Oh Good Grief
Don’t know if you saw this little gem about trapping your friendly, helpful demon.
Jeff, it won’t be long now . . .
Have you interacted with anyone (in the church or elsewhere) who would be considered “intersex”? Either way, I know someone who would like to talk to you about this topic (and who is not a subscriber to the LBGTQIA+ agenda at all) and appreciates your various teachings you volunteer on the internet.
Stephen, the intersex condition is rare enough that I have not encountered it. I think the biblical thing to do there is to pick one, and make the best of it.
Thanks for the Recomend
Not a question per se, but your statement “the fact that America was a Christian nation is obvious” inspires me to highly recommend to you and others the “American Minute” newsletter by William Federer. Even if you’re already aware of our Christian heritage, you’ll find his consistent historical examples of that fact to provide good weekly inspiration and reminders of our true national origins.
Ben, thanks very much.
I know this is somewhat controversial, but I am curious to know the degree to which you think the government intelligence agencies (IAs) are affecting the leaders of the church. Recent years have revealed that IAs are conducting active “Ministry of Truth” operations against many sources of truth in our society, particularly in social and mainstream media. It would only seem logical that they would actively work to shape the narrative from the one group whose job it is to share the Truth: Christ’s church. I have wondered that when we see evangelical leaders do a very bizarre about-face from a conservative/orthodox position to one that reinforces central government authority it is because they are being acted upon by the IAs. That is, they are being induced with either carrot (e.g. large sums of money and access to important people) or stick (e.g. blackmail that could destroy their marriage and/or ministry).
If this is the case, how would we rescue these leaders? Also, how would we identify them?
David, I would be astonished to find out that such was not the case. But I don’t think we need to do any deep investigation about payoffs—I would leave that to Christian journalists. As for pastors and elders, we need to remember that the church is a city on a hill, and we should act like it. If feds want to come and hear the gospel preached, we should be glad about it.