The Inevitable Letters of June [06-07-22]

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A Couple of Spicy Ones

When all those who are suffering eternal conscious punishment and torment in the Lake of Fire, who consciously decided NOT to follow Jesus, even after hearing the Gospel preached a dozen times, and whose only “sin” (in between taking care of the planet, and performing random deeds of kindness to others, and rescuing animals from abuse and neglect, and involving themselves in a thousand other charitable offices, in many cases directly benefiting Christians bound for Heaven),—whose only “sin” was to strive to be good and faithful Hindus or Muslims or Jews or Buddhists or Sikhs (or whatever),—when all these shall cry out after 1,000,000 years of suffering for mercy to be shown them, and the Forces of Good arrive to rescue them from their eternal torments, whose side will you be on? In which direction does your moral compass point? You see, human consciousness cannot be cheated or deceived, and belief is not simply a matter of choice. No amount of faith can bridge the gap between make-believe and reality. Think about this long and hard and honestly, even after you delete this message: a worldview is at stake.

CT

CT, thanks for the argument, and you have set your thought experiment up nicely. You have arranged for a very good and sincere person to go to Hell, whose only “sin” was that of being good and gracious to others, albeit grounded on the wrong premises. But before we conduct our raid on Hell to liberate this unjustly damned fellow, I would submit that before we attempted the difficult task of rescuing him, we would first have to accomplish the impossible task of finding him. The person you describe doesn’t exist.

Why do you support sexual predators like Jamin Wight and Steven Sitler? Why did you blame Greenfield’s father? That was so bizarre and confusing—you seem like a normally functioning person, but what normal person would think blaming the victim’s father is a good way to go, either morally or from a publicity perspective? Did you support those men because you do not see women as fully human, and therefore you don’t think we have autonomy over our bodies and it’s okay for men to do what they want to us? Do you not believe it harms us? Or is it that you are a sexual abuser yourself, so you don’t want to give credence to the girls who were assaulted? Or, most likely, it’s that you’re concerned about your church’s image, and willing to sacrifice girls and women for that purpose. I am genuinely curious about your motives and would love to hear back from you, thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Wylie

Wylie, I am afraid that your letter is a nothing more than misinformation stacked upon confusion, which in its turn is resting upon ignorance. It is clear that you don’t have anything close to all the facts. I’ll start with the most recent event, which was widely publicized. What do you make of Natalie’s recent apology to me? How do you understand your foundational disagreement with her?

Schaeffer and Tucker

“Theological Deplorables” Pastor Wilson,

My wife and I belong to a church that Francis Schaeffer pastored early in his ministry. Not only does one never hear “A Christian Manifesto” referred to there anymore, but most aren’t even aware that one of his last (and in my opinion, best) books was “The Great Evangelical Disaster”.

As usual, you are on target.

Jim

Jim, thanks. Evangelicals love legacies, just as long as they don’t have to remember what they were all about.

On Tucker Carlson:

You know, Tucker once did a piece on redballoon.work, and he covered in brief the Stickergate scandal when it first broke. It might be a nice turn-about to see if he would accept a feature interview on CrossPolitic. He has declared his love of reading, history, and education, and he has hinted strongly at his Christian faith. While I don’t know how deeply rooted that faith is, there are nightly indicators that he has a joy and exuberance for life, truth, and Christ. It would be interesting to explore that in the CP Studio . . .

Andy

Andy, yes, that would be . . . interesting.

Book Recommendation?

I’ve been reading Dr. McFall’s _Good Order In The Church_ and _The Life And Times of Jesus Christ the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim. Great books. I’m wondering if you are aware of any historical book that tracks church practice from the early Christian synagogues through modern times? In particular the worship service and practices around that.

Thanks!

Tyler

Tyler, you might try some sources like Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, by Gillespie, or perhaps Witherow’s The Apostolic Church.

Head Covering Still

I am so grateful for your response to my previous question regarding 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 on head coverings. I have bought and read your commentary Partakers of Grace and found it helpful and refreshing in comparison to other commentaries I have read on the same passage. I see a key issue with your argument that is holding me back from accepting your conclusion.

On page 163, you say, “to take ‘uncovered’ as not having an artificial cover requires us to say that an uncovered woman with long hair might as well get a buzz cut. But this seems to contradict verse 15, which says that long hair is a woman’s glory. As that glory, it is either an analogue to the required artificial covering, or it is that covering itself, provided by nature.”

But the last sentence seems to be a false bifurcation based on a false equivocation of the object being covered. I think verse 15 can be seen as speaking of the role that a woman’s hair plays in the physical realm and how it parallels the role of the spiritual covering that the husband* provides, which is what the artificial covering symbolizes. Likewise, verses 5 and 6 would then show the parallel that women would/should feel at having a buzz cut with the shame she brings on her husband* when she does not artificially cover her head during prayer and prophesy.

Specifically, hair could be seen as the natural covering of her physical body and is physically glorious in its beauty, where as the covering applied during prayer and prophesy could be a symbol of the spiritual covering that her husband* provides, which is a glorious picture of Christ’s covering of the Church.

So rather than a woman’s long hair being, “either an analogue to the required artificial covering, or it is that covering itself, provided by nature.” It could be a physical and glorious head covering that also points to the importance of a spiritual covering that an artificial covering symbolizes.

It is this 3rd option that I find myself siding with and was unaddressed in your commentary. Do you have a significant objection to this interpretation? Again I hate the idea that I am putting unnecessary hindrances on my wife and daughter and would love to be convinced out of my current convictions.

Sincerely,

Stephen

Stephen, I do think that your argument here makes sense, in that it is a reasonable take given the data. But I also think it is reasonable to let nature do it alone, without a supplement.

State Indoctrination Network (SIN)

Have you watched the documentary “IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America”? I co-produced that film with Colin Gunn and we released it in 2011. I just released another film (not a sequel but a kind of follow-up to IndoctriNation) called “Truth & Lies in American Education,” which I produced for an organization called U.S. Parents Involved in Education. If you’re inclined to watch either one of these films, you may do so by using the promo code FREE2RENT at their respective Vimeo pages, linked to below. Thank you for everything you and your tribe do, I enjoy it thoroughly. In His service,

Joaquin

Joaquin, thanks for the info.

Single and Stuck

Thank you for writing this article there is a lot of very helpful advice in it. I’m 31, single, saddled with student loan debt and not making a lot of money at the moment. I definitely don’t make enough to support a family. I’m trying to find a good paying job I can support a family on, but haven’t had any luck. These are all the cause of tremendous anxiety for me. I know that’s a sin and I keep praying for God to make me content with my current set of circumstances until I do finally get married and get a decent job, but it doesn’t feel like anything has changed in my heart. I still feel such intense anxiety and loneliness. Also, my level of confidence has been greatly diminished by the fact that I am in no financial place to support a family, it makes me not even want to try until I am in a better place financially; however, I have no clue when that could be. It could be years from now which is scary to think about. What would your advice be for someone in my set of circumstances? PS I love your ministry you guys have been so helpful in my Christian walk and I’m grateful for that!

Matthew

Matthew, remember that this advice is offered from a distance, and I know that I don’t know all your circumstances. But I would encourage you to start praying about reversing the order of your prayers. Pray that God would lead you to a girl that would motivate you to find a gear you didn’t know you had.

What advice do you have for Christians who find themselves seeking marriage in later stages of life? I can’t recall ever hearing this topic discussed (by anyone), but I’m seeing more and more of cases like this.

I’m thinking of a couple guys over age 35 in our congregation. They weren’t raised in the faith but are now established and live godly lives. They’re ambitious and have built thriving (and, frankly, lucrative) careers. They own homes. They’re ready to provide for a family. No major issues in sight. They love the Lord. By all accounts, they’ve stewarded their gifts well.

As one guy explained “Any attractive girls you’re interested in?” (apparently a common question) isn’t helpful when his primary concern is whether she’s likely to be a good helper and partner in his mission. He’s not looking for “godly and pretty”, he’s looking for “godly, trustworthy, competent, and pretty” (in that order).

The other guy is more acutely aware of the risks of marriage today. Both of his parents (both now deceased) each went through multiple divorces. He has no other living family. He wonders how much he can count on his church community to be a resource in helping him cultivate a good marriage (his tentative answer: “some, but not much”). He’s open to marriage, but he’s guarded, and not looking to get catastrophically hurt.

Jaxon

Jaxon, this sounds like two completely different situations. For the first, I know for a fact that there are many eligible women. He should find a pastor of a church he trusts, and ask for an introduction. For the second guy, I think he should look for a church that would be a help to him if he were to marry.

What’s your take on age disparities between husband and wife? It seems to me that the order of creation would have the man be older, or at least the more mature, in a spousal relationship. Adam was created first and was therefore older (less than a day, I know). Both Milton and Lewis present their pre-fall first man/husband as possessing characteristics typically found in the more aged and experienced (wisdom, maturity, etc).

As I’m sure you guessed, I have more than just a philosophical interest in the topic. I am a 30-year-old unmarried man and member of a CREC church. I recently received a recommendation from an elder regarding a 37-year-old woman attending a CREC church in another state. I initially recoil at the thought of pursuing a woman 7 years my senior. But I’m seeking counsel to see if I’m onto something or if I’m entirely off base.

JT

JT, I think it is a lot less relevant now than it was when she was 20 and you were 13. So I would not rule it out. My mother was 8 years older than my dad. When he found out their age difference, he asked, “Why didn’t you wait for me?” She said, “I didn’t know you were coming.”

A Family Snarl

Our wedding is in a few short months, but my brother and sister are at severe odds with each other. Their disagreements range from money, my mother remarrying after my father passed away, and many other petty disagreements.

How would you recommend dealing with family who are in illogical disagreements, for example: brother has failed to repay a single cent in 5 years from his mother’s $30k loan, and when it was brought up at all, he cut her off completely. Second example: my mother has remarried and my sister is very upset, and now looks for any and all times when anyone on my mother’s side of the family- including my mother—have ever said something possibly hurtful, or done something wrong (sometimes from 20 years ago).

It’s very tense when my mother’s name is brought up, so I’m coming to you for advice on how we should approach this situation now, so it may be at least fractionally resolved before my wedding, before, well, they fight like cats and dogs.

Very respectfully,

Your brother in Christ,

Matt

Matt, I would not try to resolve everything before the wedding. I would write to everyone and say something like “it is obvious that we need to work through some issues as a family, and after we are married, I would like to volunteer to broker some family meetings to that end. But since the wedding is almost on us, I would simply like to ask all of you not to refer to any of our disagreements during our time of celebration. We can do this without hypocrisy because we all know that we are doing to address it.” This will keep your wedding celebration from becoming the hostage in a stand-off.

James White and Me

Regarding your recent debate with James White on: paedo communion—it seems Dr. White’s primary concern was with the (expressed) FAITH of the communicant, whereas your emphasis was on the INCLUSIVITY of those participating, as understood within God’s covenantal, familial relationship. Here’s my question: is it not reasonable to understand that Paul’s instructions, as found in 1 Cor 11, would be targeted at the “troublemakers” at that church? His admonitions here are directed toward those who were promoting divisions; not sharing the meal; getting drunk, etc. ADULTS were the source of the problem, thus they are the object of Paul’s rebuke and his admonition for self-examination.

Obviously, this is not an argument to include the wee ones , nor can it be criteria to exclude them. This is intended to more fully understand Paul’s instruction, at that place, at that time.

Brian

Brian, yes. I think that is most reasonable.

Waiting on the Lord

Re: most recent Man Rampant with Michael Foster. Amen, amen, and amen! Thank you to both of you for your resources and ministries. Understandably, a brief video can’t cover all the relevant issues. But how would you direct your encouragements to young married men whose wives are clinically infertile (as opposed to infertile by choice)? As you may remember it was 13 years before Jen and I were able to adopt. What would you tell my younger self, who wanted (and with my wife was trying for) children, to whom God was saying not yet, and not in that way? How would you articulate the core principles of the video to a young man in what was my situation?

Thanks as always!

Blessings

Joe

Joe, my exhortation to you at those earlier stages would be “don’t lose heart.” God is always playing the long game.

Dabney’s Argument

Your quote from Dabney about sentimental books has been rattling around in my brain. It has me thinking about catharsis. I suppose I’ve always thought catharsis was probably good or at least usually good. Is catharsis just a pagan concept that should be tossed aside? What do we do when a piece of media stirs our emotions? I remember being moved by Treebeard’s song in The Two Towers. Can you help me find the principle in this?

Thank you for doing another season of Man Rampant,

Thomas

Thomas, Dabney’s argument is not against be stirred or moved by literature. He was arguing against being stirred within a closed system, and not having that emotional response result in action.

I Quite Agree

We are homeschooling our boys (age 14 and 11) with a Christian curriculum. They each have a Bible course that they enjoy, and as a result, they are really good with Bible history and facts, However, sometimes they struggle with articulating the tenets of the faith, particularly my younger one. I talk with them a lot about it, but I think some more structure would be helpful. My thought is I want to add a catechism to our nightly devotions, so we could then reinforce those truths I want them to understand. Do you have anything you would recommend? Or is there another thought you have on this subject?

Thank you,

Ryan

Ryan, yes. It sounds like a catechism is just what the doctor ordered. I would recommend either the Westminster Shorter, or the Heidelberg.

A Little Gonzo Law

I thoroughly enjoyed your book Ride Sally Ride. I have a scenario for a little gonzo law with all the gun grabbers that I think is kinda funny. If the gun control advocates desire to take away AR-15s would it be okay for the Christian to consider that AR-15 as their spouse? I mean in a day and age when guys marry sex dolls and computer programs why can’t conservatives have a little fun by marrying beloved firearms? Maybe this might be the basis for a Ride Sally Ride sequel. You can even put a line in there from the lady who married the Brooklyn Bridge saying something like ” I think that’s taking it a bridge too far” or something like that.

Thank you

Shawn

Shawn, I like the cut of your jib.

The Debate With Michael Brown

Perhaps I missed it, but in your debate with Michael Brown, I didn’t actually hear where in the Bible that it says all prophecy must be considered as Scripture. To me, this could create a scenario in which a word that God gives me during my morning prayer must beyond a shadow of a doubt be written down and inscribed for eternity in a bound book.

I simply see no prerogative from Scripture that all prophecy must be added to the Bible. But I could totally be missing something here.

Ben

Ben, the issue is whether the prophecy is considered to be a Word from God. If it isn’t, then why are we calling it prophecy? If it is, then why aren’t we treating it the same way we treat other words that we believe to be a Word from God?

I saw your debate with Michael Brown regarding cessationism. I have one critique of Michael Brown’s assertion that the NT exhorts us to pursuer the gift of tongues. BUT Michael Brown has not given any proof that the practice of tongues as currently done by the Pentecostal church IS THE SAME gift of tongues that Paul invokes. It’s called the chain of custody—there is no evidence that the gift “restored” through the Pentecostal church is THE SAME as that of Paul. How does Michael Brown know that the tongues he practices is that of Paul? Has Paul certified Brown’s utterance exercise lately? In fact the woman who was the first one under Charles Parham to speak in tongues in Topeka later in life wrote a pamphlet saying that the tongues practiced by the Pentecostals was NOT what she experienced! Her exercise was speaking in Chinese (which she had never learned) as she was studying to be a missionary to the Far East. She denied in writing that the gibberish as practiced in the Pentecostal church was anything like that which the students experienced in Topeka under Parham. And that was the first outbreak of tongues recorded.

So how does Michael Brown KNOW that his utterances are the same as Paul’s? He’s never presented any evidence for that—it’s called the chain of custody. There are no known historical links tying the contemporary Pentecostal practice of tongues two thousand years across time back to the original churches. What Paul did with tongues may be completely different from Michael Brown thinks he has resuscitated 2,000 years later . . .

Ben

Ben (different from the one just ahead of you), you raise a good question. And there are good scriptural reasons for not equating the phenomena.

Running for Office

Thank you for being a tremendous resource to me and my family. I have subscribed to canon+, and it is a wealth of wisdom that I am praying through implementing in my life. Thank you for your video blogs addressing current events and how biblically minded Christians should be reacting to those events. These blogs have helped to encourage and shape my own thoughts and actions as I’ve tried to make some progress to help Christ build His kingdom.

My question is regarding your idea of Mere Christendom and your blog “White Boy Summer, or How Republics Rot”. I’m taking to heart your idea that secular society must be rebuked and replaced by Christian society, but my challenge is in the specifics. In my case, I’m running for constable in my county in Middle Tennessee. I’d like to use the position, if elected, to begin to create neighborhood watches to prepare for some of the events I think are likely going to happen. These events might include various forms of crime, rioting, food shortages, and child exploitation. After listening to your blog, I feel uncomfortable starting a neighborhood watch that is not exclusively run by and training Christians. I don’t feel like building the kingdom of Satan. It’s a bit complicated. Of course I can simply create a neighborhood watch as a private citizen with no badge required, but having a badge, a uniform and some authority, I think, will likely cause my efforts to be more successful psychologically. The other complication is that I’d like to leverage an archaic part of Tennessee Law to provide some legitimacy to the neighborhood watch, but I’m not sure how far I can go with that yet.

Tennessee grants some of its constables, my county’s constables included, all the authority of a constable under the common law.

“Every constable, so elected and sworn, in those counties set out in § 8-10-108(b), including counties added to § 8-10-108(b) at any time subsequent to 1969, is a conservator of the peace and vested with all the power and authority belonging to the office of constable by common law.”

In William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769) he says, “The constable may appoint watchmen at his discretion, regulated by the custom of the place; and these, being his deputies, have for the time being the authority of their principal.”

Putting these things together could be a tool for turning the tide on various forms of lawlessness. However, judges may not be so convinced of that. It’s difficult enough to get them to understand and act upon what “shall not be infringed” means.

My current options would be 1) to start a private neighborhood watch that I head up outside of a constable role with a mission to serve the whole community or 2) damn the torpedoes of potential lawsuits and boldly do it as a constable excluding non-Christians from being watchmen. I’m not able to afford lawyers at this point so that course of action might lack discretion.

This is all a bit hypothetical as I need to win the office first. My question is, given the current unlawful threats to governing/business owning Christians how should a Christian begin to take practical steps towards a renewed Christendom. If you have any advice on my situation, I also would appreciate that, but the situation is a bit specific so it probably won’t be useful to your readers/listeners, and you seem to have so many important things going that I would almost regret reaching out and taking you away from bigger priorities to give me advice on my specific trifle.

May God bless you for all that you have done for me, my family, and His Church.

Sincerely,

James

James, if you win office, I wouldn’t begin by shooting the moon. I would not limit the watch to Christians only. I would play the long game. But I would encourage you to do what you do as an open and avowed Christian.

Thomism?

Thank you for the never ending torrent of content you continue to churn out on a daily basis. It’s edifying—and sometimes convicting—to parse through, and it often spurs me to do better, more efficient and consistent work myself.

I have heard much lately—from sources I highly value—regarding Natural Theology and Thomism, and that they are not things to be entertained, at least as Aquinas presents them. Can you point me in the direction of some resources that detail Thomism, and why it’s best to stay away? The (admittedly brief) research I’ve done on the subject is convoluted and answered no questions for me.

Thanks,

Brock

Brock, you should start with The Failure of Natural Theology by Jeffrey Johnson, as well as his book on Thomas, Saving Natural Theology from Thomas Aquinas.

All the Different Subjects

Would you consider writing a book or producing some sort of material on the how Christians should think about individual school subjects? You’ve written prolifically on Christian education in general, but I’m thinking more of a “My Life for Yours” style book, like a walk through the subjects and how the gospel manifests in each. I’ve learned things from you as well as your family and others in your community here and there, like Matt Whitling (poetry), CR Wiley (music), Nate (story/narrative/poetry), and others, as well as Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, etc. Perhaps there could even be different contributors to the book, like each chapter with a different author. For a content example, I stumbled across an article somewhere on your blog several years back about how beauty in art is not in the eye of the beholder, but that there is an objective standard of beauty by which art can be evaluated—God’s standard. This blew my mind.

It seems parents who are now deciding to pursue Christian education are still greatly shaped by the modern public education they received as far as the nuts and bolts go (for example: reading only realistic stories/no fairy tales, God is irrelevant to math, poetry doesn’t seem very important, the content of books doesn’t matter much as long as kids are learning to read, dissecting things is how you really know them).

I think this could be helpful for two groups: we parents who are aware that we have errant thinking and are seeking to think more biblically about the subjects, as well as for those parents who don’t even realize how secularized their perspective is (the former group could suggest or gift the book to this group). I think it could help both those who are homeschooling (for obvious reasons) and those who are choosing private Christian schools to more effectively evaluate the school in consideration (is it a public school education with a Bible class tagged on?).

I know you and those around you have a wealth of wisdom to share, and I think this could have a substantial impact on the Christian education front. More Christians are doing Christian education, but I think this could help them do it really well.

Thanks for reading this, and blessings on you and Moscow.

Mallory

Mallory, this is a really good suggestion. We are still up against the old “how many hours are there in a day” problem, but it is still a great idea. Consider it thrown in the hopper.

Hello! I’m writing in regards to the latest Darla letter, about hypergamy. I have read about this concept elsewhere (in Christian and non-Christian circles alike), and while I get the concept and agree it is real, what doesn’t sit well is this: if women are ‘marrying up’, does that mean men marry down? Or that most men (husbands) are in fact ‘better’ or more ‘valuable’ (in the hypergamous sense, status, wealth, intelligence, etc), than women (their wives)? In the same vein, I’ve seen several other Christian leaders make the same point as you, that the the male making the ‘married up’ jokes is unbecoming and insulting (and I agree), but I wonder, would it be appropriate for women to make those jokes? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the concept but seems to point to women being of less value, and men therefore, generally ‘settle’ for a wife. The logic would seem to me that one party cannot marry up without the other party marrying down or settling. Thank you!

A

A, thanks for a great question. The difference between the sexes means that the woman marries up (she marries her head), while the man marries down (he marries his own body). But “up” and “down” have a wider definition than just the natural hierarchy between husband and wife. In other wider situations, up and down would include things like education, wealth, family heritage, and so on. Your point is legit with regard to the natural relationship. But with regard to the wider definitions, a woman can easily marry a man in her own league. With the wider definitions, they can be peers. But also, with regard to the wider definitions, it is less offensive for the man to marry down than for the woman to do so. Curdie notwithstanding, the prince marrying the peasant girl goes down better than the princess marrying the hot dog vendor.

Book Recommendations for Andrew

Hello- 3 comments/questions 1. The book that Andrew may be looking for is ‘’When a Nation Forgets God” by Erwin Lutzer. It is specifically about spiritual decline in the Weimar republic. It may have some ‘outsider errors’, but it is informative nonetheless.

2. Are you planning on putting the Dawson and Darla letters into a book? It would be super helpful.

3. A question I have been throwing around in the back of my head lately—

If boys and girls are, as they mature, heading toward quite different futures and roles (biblically speaking), why do they receive almost cookie cutter educations? I feel like such a question requires a great deal of disclaimers (i.e. I am not saying women don’t need to be educated as thoroughly or as long as men, although I am not even saying the opposite, etc etc)

I am just wondering, as I home school my pack (4 boys, 2 girls in ages 2-14) toward and through adolescence, how to even assess this. Previous thoughts and approaches, that I have encountered and adopted, have been genderless and individual (“develop them in the gifts and talents God gave them” etc)—but I am thinking—if they are arrows, and we are launching them, we should be thinking a great deal more about the target, as we plan the shaping.

A couple of examples.

My very motherly, sharp and well-read fourteen year old daughter is learning logic, beginning this year. A fine thing and, I believe, useful for a woman in the home or anywhere.

However in our program, this will lead into rhetoric and debate—and I can’t see that oral debate skills and speech-making are helpful for the woman in the home—or should I say ‘as’ helpful when weighed against other things.

When I have brought this up (hesitantly) with friends or my husband- I receive variations of—‘well a woman needs to be able to take on a man’s position in the world in case Prince Charming doesn’t come along or she is widowed etc.’ Which I can understand, but seems rather like forming all the arrow shaping efforts toward exceptions, not the target.

I notice a trend in our home school community of young ladies saying they don’t want to marry and have children, but want to study and have a career. Conversely, many of the young men flounder.

I wonder if have you written on this, or know anything good by another? I lack the resources to think this one through, and I am worried about becoming even more radical about biblical gender roles, perhaps accidentally and unnecessarily.

Lauren

Lauren, thanks for the book recommendations. The letters to Dawson have already been published as Get the Girl. And with regard to your last question, I don’t believe girls should be educated because we are aiming at careers. We provided a rigorous classical education for our daughters because we believe that is just as necessary in the home as anywhere else. For starters, remember—especially in home schooling settings—the level of education your daughters receive will likely be the same level that your grandsons receive.

Book on Weimar Republic for Andrew: “The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class.” By: Frederick Taylor. A good companion piece (though very disturbing) is “Savage Continent” By: Keith Lowe.

Brendon

Brendon, thank you very much.

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Dave
Dave
6 months ago

Dear Doug,

I could not help but to chuckle, as one (perhaps well meaning ) individual wrote to you and in their bewilderment, described you: “…you seem like a normally functioning person, …”

I thank my God daily, you are not a normally functioning person. Keep up the good work–you are a great encouragement to many.

Ben Greenfield
6 months ago

Regarding cessationism, I think John Eldredge’s book “Walking With God” does a good job differentiating between “checking your spirit” and listening to God with constant, unceasing prayer vs. God’s voice to you being interpreted as prophecy from above that must be blasted to the four corners of the planet. ;)

Nathan James
Nathan James
5 months ago
Reply to  Ben Greenfield

The idea that anything revealed supernaturally to anyone at any time must be recorded for everyone for all time is silly, and not biblical. Unfortunately, cessationists often pay very little attention to the biblical evidence pertaining to their arguments and this is one example of that. In fact, Peter specifically compares the experience of hearing a voice from heaven to the trustworthiness of the scripture and tells us the scripture is superior. John tells us in Revelation that he had things revealed to him that he was forbidden to record. Even if prophetic gifts had ceased, they were clearly operative… Read more »

john k
john k
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan James

There is a difference between supernatural illumination for us to understand and apply God’s word with wisdom, and any kind of “God spoke to me” revelation, whether whispers, inklings, voices, or visions. If God says the scripture is superior, we probably should not expect additional supernatural revelations. More than that, what about this biblical evidence, often given very little attention? Chiefly that prophecy was given at clustered times in Old and New Testament history, to explain works of redemption God was doing at those times. Sure, not all prophecy was written down. But enough was progressively written for continuing explanation,… Read more »

arwenb
arwenb
6 months ago

<i>I can’t see that oral debate skills and speech-making are helpful for the woman in the home</i>

How else is she going to argue the children (or her friends and acquaintances) out of their ill-considered ideas?

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
6 months ago
Reply to  arwenb

Or answer the constant stream of “why? Why? Why?”

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
6 months ago
Reply to  arwenb

I was once involved in a case in which a husband and wife had been sued over an automobile accident. The husband said that because he was the head of the household, and therefore only he had the right to speak on behalf of the household, he would not allow his wife to testify. The judge said that if she didn’t testify he would decide the case against them. The case ultimately settled before trial so the issue never came to a head. But I’ve wondered since then if he would have allowed his principles to cost him the case… Read more »

Lauren Hughes
Lauren Hughes
5 months ago
Reply to  arwenb

Critical thinking, Socratic questioning and logic figure into a good classical education long before late high school (when Rhetoric figures in).
I didn’t say that rhetoric is useless for women, but that, given time constraints, and the lack of absolute need for learning persuasive oral speech-making skills (not positively needed for discussing and persuading friends, children etc, of fallacious reasoning), perhaps an older teen girl’s time would be better spent elsewhere and fit her better for her future duties.
(Lauren from the original letter)

Last edited 5 months ago by Lauren Hughes
Michelle
Michelle
6 months ago

Ryan, you may want to check out a wonderful devotional book by Jonathan Gibson called Be Thou My Vision: A Liturgy for Daily Worship. It is organized as a daily prayerbook on a 31 day rotation. It includes both the Westminster Shorter and Heidelberg Catechisms in an appendix, as well as the M’Cheyne yearly Bible reading plan in another appendix. I am really enjoying it.

Ken B
Ken B
6 months ago

Stephen – I never thought I would ever encounter the old covering error again (part of the shepherding submission discipleship covering errors propagated from Fort Lauderdale in the 80’s that did enormous damage). A husband is never said to be ‘covering’ to his wife, nor an elder/pastor to a Christian believer for that matter. A wife does not need a human covering like a kind of additional mediator between her and God. The effect of this error is to build a dependency on the supposed human covering, and in the 80’s produced a control-freak’s paradise. The issue in 1 Cor… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago

Ben – I have often been amused by a verse in Acts 21 regarding Phillip the evangelist, and how he would be received today in many churches that regard themselves as sound: … and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. And he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. Philip would be welcomed, we like evangelism, but his daughters no doubt would be told they had to be ‘silent’. They didn’t even have husbands to be their head, let alone ‘covering’ as discussed in my other comment. Shouldn’t the… Read more »

Nathan James
Nathan James
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Some good points here.

It really is a pity that the scripture about women prophesying is treated as some kind of second-class revelation by the non-egalitarians.

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan James

No, those aren’t good points by Ken. He’s often minimized if not denied Paul’s clear teaching on women elsewhere. Now he wants 4 daughters prophesying to somehow be prescriptive today? While miracles are still possible today, we’re clearly not living in Acts, when around 20 amazing miracles happened (including people being raised from the dead, delivered from prisons via earthquakes and angels, evildoers smitten instantly with blindness or death, multitudes being healed, etc.). And if women are to prophesy, where should this happen in light of 1 Cor. 14:34-35? And what if their prophesies are inaccurate or unbiblical?

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

No, those aren’t good points by Ken. Yes they are. :-) He’s often minimized if not denied Paul’s clear teaching on women elsewhere. No I haven’t, but I am increasingly bothered by the potential for misuse of the submission texts. My main difference with you is that although I don’t agree with CBE I do understand what they are objecting to when women are treated as second class citizens in the kingdom. And if women are to prophesy, where should this happen in light of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 In the gathering of the church. This is where they will pray and… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

I have replies to multiple statements by different people. I’m just going to organize them here in one response to keep the board a tad cleaner. Ken B “Philip would be welcomed, we like evangelism, but his daughters no doubt would be told they had to be ‘silent’.” You may or may not be right, but criticizing a broad group of people for how they *might* react in a theoretical hypothetical is not exactly very fair. One would assume that, in the advent of claimed prophesy, the first step by anyone, anywhere, would be to try and verify some prophecy… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
5 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin “That’s not what he (Ken B) said.” I believe it is or can be inferred pretty easily. He said “Philip would be welcomed, we like evangelism, but his daughters no doubt would be told they had to be ‘silent’.” Obviously Ken thinks this wrong, and believes we should (at least in some circumstances) accept prophesying women, whether unmarried daughter or not. And you can’t just look at this in isolation. Ken has made MANY broad, unsubstantiated claims about women being subjugated in Reformed churches at large, and downplays the weight of Paul’s teaching on women. Justin “Saying women can’t… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“ Ken has made MANY broad, unsubstantiated claims about women being subjugated in Reformed churches at large, and downplays the weight of Paul’s teaching on women.” Which makes his position likely biased, but a biased position isn’t necessarily wrong. You still need to defeat the underlying point, which raising his prior tangentially related opinions doesn’t do. Based on the definition of subjugate, I wouldn’t say he is incorrect. I would just disagree that’s necessarily a bad thing. 1 : to bring under control and governance as a subject  2 : to make submissive As a Christian, I wish to be subjugated myself so long… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin – I know from personal experience just how hostile churches can be to the gifts of the Spirit. I was given the left boot of fellowship because amongst other things they thought I was an over the top tongues speaker. If they had bothered to ask, I would have told them I didn’t have the gift! The early days of charismatic renewal before it imploded into charismania revealed clergy who felt threatened by the emergence of body ministry – ever member contributing, and not a one-man band or small group of leaders. The clergy laity distinction was undone, and… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Ken B
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Your first three paragraphs are hearsay. Nobody is capable of scrutinizing these claims, because nobody has any access to the people and books and organizations to which you ambiguously appeal. Hearsay evidence isn’t allowed in court for a reason, its beyond scrutiny, and you can take any position in the universe if you’re allowed to present evidence that can’t be scrutinized. After getting past the hearsay problem, they’re anecdotal. You can’t determine a broad truth based on a specific experience. I’ve been mistreated by a foursquare church before. That is not evidence that foursquare churches will mistreat all people in… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Your first three paragraphs are hearsay. At least not heresy! I don’t think I am indulging in hearsay, I’m talking from experience, and exercising some discernment on what I have read. My claim about clergy realising they didn’t have to do all the ministry came from books by clergy describing their own experience. In the 70’s and 80’s there was a lot of grief over charismatic gifts, a lot of people were hurt in church splits. This is a comments section where you can speak from your general experience. I don’t think providing links and quotations is really necessary as… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

“I don’t think I am indulging in hearsay, I’m talking from experience,” The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The common misunderstanding of hearsay is that you’re referencing someone else’s remarks. Hearsay is any form of evidence presented for the truth of the matter in which the substance of the thing can’t scrutinized. There are numerous ways to have your testimony in court be disqualified as hearsay even if you’re quoting yourself. “This is a comments section where you can speak from your general experience. I don’t think providing links and quotations is really necessary as would be if you were writing… Read more »

Prince of Tides
Prince of Tides
5 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Your long winded replies are, in my humble opinion, the modern equivalent of speaking in tongues.

That’s not a compliment.

Last edited 5 months ago by Prince of Tides
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago

If the worst you can say about them is that they’re long, I’ll take that as a compliment indeed.

Prince of Tides
Prince of Tides
5 months ago

Polonius would be proud of you.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago

Your barbs would sting a great deal more if you had established any venom beforehand.

Since you at present carry all the substantive weight of “neener neener, you’re a poopy head”, I’ll hold off on the great moral introspection just a tad bit longer.

Kyle French
Kyle French
5 months ago

My wife has a master’s in public health, which has helped her a little in being a homeschool mom. But we have a 14 year old who wants to be a lawyer, and *boy!* has logic and rhetoric come in helpful for her.

Heather
Heather
5 months ago

In response to Lauren’s question, I would add that you can begin discipling your daughters, while your husband disciples your sons, in being godly women and men. We are in a classical University-model school (home 2 days, on campus 2.5 days) and have 3 sons and 2 daughters. Our oldest are a 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son, and my husband spends a lot of intentional time teaching our son how to work, about finances, about what it means to love his future wife (to practice in how he treats his mom and sisters), plumbing, yard work, etc., while… Read more »

Lauren Hughes
Lauren Hughes
5 months ago
Reply to  Heather

Thank you for the practical advice, Heather, I really appreciate it. I appreciate that you took the answer seriously and didn’t ‘straw man’ me (as have other commenters)
I actually have a very high view of a woman’s role in the home and think a rigorous education is a gift. Perhaps that didn’t come across in my original question. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment, and God bless your family.
(Lauren from the original question)

Heather
Heather
5 months ago
Reply to  Lauren Hughes

I thought it was a great question. It seemed to me in your original post that you do value you the classical education and certainly women’s roles in their homes. This is our first year in a university model, and having homeschooled for years before that I can definitely see where you may feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all of that with your daughters. Sending my kids to a campus now for a few days has freed me up to focus more on those other things since I’m not the one primarily teaching,… Read more »

Amanda Wells
Amanda Wells
5 months ago

Stephen, I go to a traditional Anglican church and many of us wives and daughters wear beautiful “chapel veils” during worship both out of caution for the teaching you’re referring to, but also out of respect for the tradition of the church. It’s not oppressive at all, and all of the little girls, un-indoctrinated by fundie associations and/or feminism, absolutely love it. Visiting cousins ask if we have a veil they can wear too and we moms agree that it’s easier to focus on worship while wearing one. One of my friends was always concerned about the phrase “because of… Read more »

Zeph .
Zeph .
5 months ago

I learned how to speak publicly in Toastmasters. If you don’t know how to give a speech, commit six months to joining a Toastmaster club. You will learn how to give an intelligent articulate speech after that time. Your community probably has at least one club.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
5 months ago

“Why do you support sexual predators like Jamin Wight and Steven Sitler? “ I’m always fascinated by reactions like this. I actually know literally nothing about either of these people, but even if I had read everything publicly relating to them, I still likely would not be able to verify whether or not they are those things. But even more importantly, what do you mean by “support”? I support, for example, everyone’s right to a fair trial, and for their right to confront both their accuser and the evidence of their crime, before being sentenced. This means I must “support” murderers… Read more »

me
me
5 months ago

I’m responding to Ben and his mention of tongues. I have had the exact same concerns over tongues for a very long time, though this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone else bring it up. I have always asked people who claim to have the gift of tongues if what they are doing is the same thing that they were doing in the New Testament. Of course they say it is, but I always want to know HOW they know? We really don’t know what “speaking in tongues“ meant in the context of the New Testament. We do… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  me

I don’t think this is so terribly difficult. The first occasion when tongues occurred on pentecost involved the disciples speaking in languages they had never learned, enabled by the Spirit. Tongues is simply an older English word for languages. I take it that subsequent occasions when this happened it was the same phenomenon. The question arises whether these have to be human languages, or simply Spirit-given language so the spirit of the believer can express the inexpressible to God. I am inclined to believe both are true from reading 1 Cor 14 – Paul describes a gift that no-one understands.… Read more »

me
me
5 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Hello. I understand the “tongues” that happened at Pentecost as it’s pretty clear that it was other human languages being spoken by and understood by the people present. I have no doubt that such things can and do happen now. But where I have always been unclear is that bit where Paul talks about “speaking in tongues more than you all” and “the gift of tongues.” This is the thing, in my experience, that charismatics and Pentecostals will claim to have, but there is no way to know if what they are doing is the same thing Paul was writing… Read more »

Ken B
Ken B
5 months ago
Reply to  me

I have been the only one in a meeting where singing in tongues was occurring who couldn’t join in, and it did make me feel very out of it. I also don’t like the idea of people being told to practice such a gift. Most of those whom I know have received simply started speaking. They weren’t under the law of tongues promulgated by Pentesostals that you have to speak in tongues to prove you have been baptised in the Spirit. I believe I have experienced the prayer language variety, but if this is not the genuine thing then it… Read more »

Bryan
Bryan
5 months ago

Brock, I’d recommend reading this review of Jeffrey Johnson’s The Failure of Natural Theology before paying $25+ for the book.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 months ago
Reply to  Bryan

Jeffery Johnson replied to Feser’s review here:

Doubting Thomas Indeed: A Quick Response to Edward Feser

Feser then wrote a response further detailing how Johnson was misinterpreting Aquinas:

The failure of Johnson’s critique of natural theology

Johnson seems to have dropped the conversation after that. There are some interesting extended debates among the commentators on Feser’s blog post.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Callaghan