The Letters B Good

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On Wuh Supremacy

Speaking of wuss-supremacy . . . I am in the PCA in the St. Louis area. In fact, I served as a RE on a Presbytery “Complaint Review Committee” regarding Revoice. My impression was that we were expected to endorse the presbytery’s exoneration of Revoice without question. When I objected, the other RE and one TE stood up with me, and the complaint was referred back to the presbytery to deal with in detail.

The presbytery re-endorsed its earlier rejection of the complaint.

My honest appraisal, gained from many years of being a sinner and observing other sinners, was that the majority on the presbytery knew they needed to address the issue head-on but were unwilling to face the wrath of the “wuss-supremacists”.

BTW, I am no longer a RE.

There is a desperate need for courage right now.

Jim

Jim, thank you for objecting. Hold the line.

Chalcedon Stuff

A Chalcedon Christmas #1

It’s interesting when certain topics sometimes tend to pop-up repeatedly when you are studying them. Lately, I’ve been disappointed in myself and in my church for our lack of studying/knowing the Word of God better. My church is a seeker-sensitive church and I only recently learned that term. I kept complaining to my wife that I felt our sermons were light and watered-down. Who knew they had a name for that?

I began to dive into the Word more on my own, using commentaries and also started to read more Word-adjacent books. It so happens that while I’m reading James White’s book on the Trinity and also 2000 years of Christ’s Power (Volume I), that I receive an email from my church’s Early Childhood Pastor (paragraph 2 below):

“A little boy was born. Part man and part God, His purpose was to become the Savior of our world! Leaving the glories of Heaven He came to earth to show us how to love one another.”

Chalcedon indeed.

Shawn

Shawn, golly.

Meds

You have poked another sore spot for me, and I want to complain to you about it. It’s undeniably true that a lot of people take medicine that they may or may not need. Good heavens man: Mick Jagger pointed this out in 1966, and in a much more sardonic and unsympathetic way than you have. The problem with both of your views is that some people abusing medicine is not the same thing as understanding why the medicine is necessary in the first place. If half of American adults take blood pressure medicine, is that good or bad? How can we tell? See: it seems to me that while I am 100% sure that some part of the people who take antidepressants are stupidly seeking joy from Mother’s Little Helper, let me suggest something: it can’t be most of them. It will surely be some of them because we are fallen humans and as such we screw up everything we find, but these medicines are not coming over the counter like sugar or aspirin. They are coming from Doctors who are using the science they have to treat the people they have before them. And again: some of those Doctors are lazy and stupid, but it’s quite unlikely that most of them are. You know: our million abortions a year in the US come from about 11% of OB-GYNs. Obviously, the Devil has a use for idle hands, but that means that most doctors abhor what is abhorrent.

I say all this to say this: sick people need a doctor, and it turns out there are more kinds of sickness than lock jaw and smallpox. When we generalize mental illness as fundamentally spiritual and shame people for taking their meds, we are doing something legalistic and spiritually-harmful to them. I know you know better than this, and No-quarter November isn’t a reason to forget it.

Frank

Frank, I am afraid I have far less trust in the medical establishment than you do. Set aside for a moment how many doctors perform abortions, and simply look at what the AMA says about it. Or about trans surgeries. Or about hormone blockers. And then follow the money. And please note that I have no intention of shaming people have been genuinely helped.

Nepotism

Hey Doug,

Have you written anything about nepotism towards family members?

It seems that a lot of people have an automatic pushback to favoring family and friends when hiring or promoting, but I can’t get around why it would be unreasonable for a father to favor his son when picking who to run the business (even with the qualification that the son would be at least competent enough to fulfill the responsibilities required by the given job). I figure this ties in on the family level with inheritance as a blessing, but I was curious if you had anything particularly dealing with this sense it’s tangential to the inheritance topic.

Jake

Jake, thanks for a great question. Here is something I wrote on the topic in 2006, and it is funny to read now because my kids have gone on to do a whole lot more than what was the case then.

Good Question

I am struggling to understand exactly what the New Covenant brings and how it is different from the Old Covenant, apart from us having God’s will revealed in a much fuller sense than OT saints had. If being circumcised in the heart is what it means to be born again, and this was given to saints in the Old Testament, what do we say about Cornelius? He must have been born again to be worshiping the Lord the way he was, which was pleasing to Him. Then, he was given the Holy Spirit after Peter preached. If Cornelius was already born again, what happened when the Spirit fell on him?

Kevin

Kevin, my understanding is that Old Testament saints were regenerated just as believers in the New Testament are, and that one of the key differences is that in the times of the new covenant, the blessing of the Spirit would be that this blessing, relatively rare and contained in the OT, would be massively dispensed. The world was going to be inundated.

A Hard Question

Hello,

I recently came across this quote from John Macarthur:

And for a woman to be the breadwinner? You say, “Well, our house payment requires two jobs; we both have to work.” Then get another house ad have a family. In fact, for men, 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone”—meaning a man “doesn’t provide for his own, especially for those of his household, he’s denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” The point is the man is the provider, and the protector, and the security, and the woman is there for the children and the home. Working outside removes her from under her husband and puts her under other men to whom she is forced to submit.

I’m having trouble with this. Not that it’s biblical, but how to faithfully believe and submit to it. I am a man (today is my 26th birthday), and I am wanting to marry my girlfriend. I don’t feel ready to do that mainly because I don’t make enough money to make rent. I work at a good job, but I don’t make a lot of money. I also live in southern California where rent and homes are astronomically high priced. Both my girlfriend and I come from families where our mothers were the breadwinners and work full time. I had always assumed that women work too, and I am struggling with the idea of being faithful to God’s word to be the sole provider for the home. I am trying every single day to figure out my life and find a job that can make that happen, but I feel defeated each day.

Here’s my thought-process:

A modest home in our area is around $800,000 (if you can find one for that price, it will be a small home or condo, and possibly will be purchased for way above asking price by some Chinese corporation or something). A 20% down payment is $160,000, and monthly payments will be upwards of $4,000 a month. Taking the Dave Ramsey approach, which I have found to be wise, he recommends that your home payment or rent should not exceed 25% of your monthly take home pay. Meaning that I would need to be making at least $16,000 per month, or around $200,000 per year just to barely scrape by in a small place here. I make as much as a McDonald’s employee at my insurance job. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about my next few years of life. I refuse to put blame on the commies or the corporations, even though I fall into that temptation regularly. I want to be faithful and marry my girlfriend ASAP and start a family. I’m worried I’m worse than an unbeliever.

Sorry for the rant, but that’s what I’m dealing with. How do we go about living life? John MacArthur pastors in Southern California, so I guess every man in his congregation must make a lot of money?

If anything else, please pray for me.

Gary

Gary, it sounds like to me you have a girl in your life that you want to marry, and so I would encourage you to marry her and figure it out together. That said, and I don’t mean to sound calloused here, I would encourage you to add an additional question to your prayers. Instead of asking whether you can get married in California, rather ask whether you can stay in California while married.

How Much Separation?

My name is Matthew, and I am a 37 year old father of two young boys. I was raised Baptist in a conservative family in the midst of California. I am recently (the past 3 or so years) reformed, and as to eschatology, I have been a pessimistic pre-millenialist for the majority of my adult life. That said, whenever I hear you or Jeff Durbin or Gary Demar talk about post-millenialism I find myself wanting to believe.

My wife and I sincerely desire to serve the Lord by living in a manner consistent with the truth of scripture and our own consciences, and I wish to train up my sons to be courageous and faithful in a faithless generation. To this end, I have found your writing, both blogs and books, to be a valuable resource.

One conviction that has been weighing on me is the need to spend our money in such a way as to avoid supporting evil. This started with no longer buying coffee from Starbucks because of their support of planned parenthood. Next, we started avoiding any other business that supported planned parenthood directly or indirectly. More recently, we have endeavored to avoid buying anything made in China, in order to avoid supporting slavery or communism. This last decision has taken some real effort.

Here is where I begin to feel conflicted. Where does this end? Do I boycott Vietnam? What about New Zealand, or Austria?Do I stop buying my favorite cigars, because they are made in socialist Nicaragua? There seems to be no end of corporations pushing a “woke” godless agenda here in the US. Will I even be able to avoid buying from China longterm? What happens when I need to replace my cellphone or my car?

So here is my question. How do I reconcile my desire to not financially support evil, without ending up becoming some sort of Evangelical equivalent to the Amish? Am I correct in my conviction that God will hold me accountable for where my money goes? Have I just been moralizing, or am I just looking for excuses now because it’s getting harder?

I appreciated how you addressed a theology of wealth in your book Ploductivity, but I have not been able to find any Pastor who has addressed this issue. Thank you for your time, and for being a voice for truth in the midst of chaos.

Matthew

Matthew, thanks. I think I have addressed the basic questions you raise here.

Creeds and Eschatology

Thank you for all hard work and your “Bible-centered” clear thinking and speaking.

Would you please comment on the fact (as I understand it) that no (major) orthodox creed or confession contains any specifics about eschatology, except for the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ will physically return to earth in judgement and to usher in the eternal state (right?).

With this in mind…would you please comment on my theory that (most) all views of the end times have something we can appreciate and incorporate into our lives: e.g.

Pre-Mil—Always to be looking for and be ready for Christ to return at any time.

A-Mil—Realize there will always be a battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil as long as we are in the world and that this world will never be our friend

Post-Mil—Christ’s Kingdom is here now and is growing and no matter what “setbacks” happen in this world, Jesus is Lord of All and will one day and forever be seen by all to be.

So there is enough there for everybody! (hearkening back to comment on the creeds and confessions, above).

Thank you!

Robert

Robert, yes, I think you can say that there is something of value in each of the positions. And I think you can also say that the church universal has not yet spoken on the question of eschatology (apart from our rejection of hyper-preterism). But believing as I do in objective truth, I don’t think we can say that all the positions are equally edifying.

When the Man Comes Around | This is for you, as well as your compatriots who thoroughly enjoy your particular brand of “troublemaking” (and even your favorite enemies who come to Blog&Mablog to purposefully take offense at your thought crimes). Speaking of the man coming around and people’s favorite book of the Bible that everyone *thinks* they “know” what John the Revelator actually meant. Here is a sermon series on the Book of Revelation, that is as thorough as a technical commentary on Revelation, that is sure to blow everyone’s mind: https://revelation.biblicalblueprints.org/sermons. This series is the result of 30 years of studying the best eschatological arguments. Agree or disagree with Dr. Phil Kayser, this sermon series needs to be a part of one’s study of eschatology. I hope this series edifies the Blog&Mablog community!

Trey

Trey, thanks for the recommendation.

Commandments and Governments

I watched ‘Carnival of Duncical Folly’, thanks for that amazing insight on Romans 13.

After that, reading the Ten Commandments, I suspect of some correlation in them with the instituted governments:

1 to 4: Church

5: Family

6 to 9: Civil government

-Last one: Conscience, self control Is this correct?

Caio

Caio, that is very good.

Couple Random Questions

In your book giveaway today, Joy at the End of the Tether, you mention that the sermon series that led to this book was one of the more significant milestones in the history of our church. I’d like to listen to the sermons, but can’t locate them. Can you tell me what the series called, and when you delivered it?

John

John, I am sorry but I don’t remember the name of the series. But I am pretty sure that Canon Press has audio of them available, and they should be able to help you track them down.

Mr. Wilson, Is there any way to jump to earlier pages in the blog without having to scroll through one page at at time? Not to tech savvy but am enjoying the blog… Thank you, Robert

Robert

Robert, I am not quite sure I understand your question, and so I invite others to chime in. If you are talking about navigating within a particular post, you either scroll up or down, or you click on the headers in the table of contents at the top. If you mean navigating between blog posts, then you would go to the front page, and click on the button that says “see all blog posts.”

Psalm Singing

You frequently mention your church sings the Psalms. I’m really curious what that sounds like and how I can sing them myself. Are there recordings? If so y’all should put them on the Canon app.

Erik

Erik, I have embedded a sample below. And here is a link to the Christ Church app with more.

Tithing

I have a request for clarification. You’ve written before on the principles of tithing (amount and direction) and I have appreciated it. I have pondered your point about the discretion that Christians have to direct their tithe to ministries of their choosing. It doesn’t necessarily all have to go to the church. Given some of the events of the last two years, and the way my church has handled some things, I would really like to send a portion of my tithe in a direction that I feel I could “get behind” a bit more, but I struggle with the practical problem that a church would have if all of their members did this. A church’s budget could really take a hit. Do you have any qualifications on this principle that I should consider? Any kinds of organizations that shouldn’t be supported with tithe money? For example, is it ok to support Christian nonprofit legal orgs that are trying to stop abortion, or only certain types of mission work?

Thanks, and may God continue to bless you.

John

John, it is true that the budget of the local church would take a hit if all the members did something like this. But the real question is whether a church that is starting to drift ought to take a real hit. And the answer to that is yes. One of the principal causes of unfaithfulness in the modern church has been gullibility and/or tenderheartedness on the part of donors.

Good Question

Who is a contemporary writer or commentator who you frequently read who you also largely disagree with?

Philip

Philip, great question. The answer would have to be someone like Rene Girard. I find his insights particularly fertile, and in certain key areas, extremely dangerous.

Advice to Young Men

Thanks for the good video on advice for teenage young men. It was edifying, as usual. However, I think this advice is perfect for public schooled Gen Xers but not for millennial teenagers or anyone after them. The big advice I would give is that they need to get a job.

What is interesting about homeschoolers is that they often have a good standard of masculinity, but an environment of femininity (mom manages school, chores, and the house). For many of these young men, they live in an incredibly sheltered environment and when they hit the teen years, they aren’t getting challenged enough. This is particularly bad since that’s the time of sexual temptation.

It is a sin for young men not to obey their mothers, but mothers should not be managing that much in the first place. It is a messed up system. I think that the advice you gave to young men is great—but it’s only if there is a healthy environment of physical and intellectual and social challenge which I would say most of them don’t have, as far as I have seen them. This applies to a lesser extent to kids at Christian schools and in the public school, but even there helicopter parenting seems to be a devastating problem. Think, for instance, how masking up has completely dominated the public school systems: they have some real nastiness, but they are also feminine environments nowadays.

Thank you for your good words though. Respecting parents is definitely something to always remember to do.

Brian

Brian, thanks, and agreed.

Newton is Great

Doug, have you read John Newtons “On Controversy” or portions of? () Do you have any objections/qualifications or are you simpatico with it?

I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your Rules for Reformers but after reading this excerpt from Newton, I thought maybe there was something else to be considered—at least in my own heart.

Thanks

Caleb

Caleb, yes, I have read that, and have quoted it often. I am entirely simpatico with it. And I believe that anyone who finds himself called to controversy, as some are, should have his principles internalized, down in the bones.

Well, Thanks Back

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and as I am cataloging the sheer amount of Deuteronomic blessing that God has so graciously lavished upon me, I thought it fitting to write a letter to a man I am most thankful for. That man, of course, being you.

I will not bore you with the long version of my story, but the short version is this. In 2016, I was well on my way to becoming a woke-scold-social-justice-warrior for Christ—an oxymoron to be sure, but you get my drift. At any rate, I am ashamed to admit that, in those dreadful days, I believed the kind of nonsense that was often told of you in Gath and published about you in Ashkelon. I often thought to myself, “It’s guys like that Wilson fella who are ruining the reputation of Christianity!”

But then, I had a rather revolutionary thought. Namely, that I ought to actually read your own writings to see what kinds of things you yourself actually said. It started out as a “know thy enemy” sort of thing, which then progressed to, “Huh, well, he’s actually not at all like those folks are saying,” to, “Man, he’s actually making some good points,” to, “God be merciful to me, he’s a sane man who speaks the truth!”

Suffice to say, God used your ministry to pull me out of an insane place. Now that I look back on those times, it feels like I was right on the edge of jumping into Pandaemonium itself. But God was faithful, and didn’t let his son stumble over the precipice—and your writing was instrumental in all of that. I am now a *reformed* Reformed Christian, who has been happily adding as many of your books as is responsible to my library.

So today, I give thanks to God for your Chestertonian Calvinism and your sharp gospel wit. May your tribe increase.

Grace and peace

Josiah

Josiah, thanks very much, and thank the Lord. But what did you mean by “as many as is responsible . . .”? That seemed to imply something less than all of them. But seriously, thank you.

A Perennial Question

I am interested in reading through the Chronicles of Narnia books, since I have not read them in years and do not remember much of them. However, I do not know where to start. Knowing you to be a big Lewis fan, I thought I’d ask if you would recommend me read the books in the order they were written or the chronological order of the series.

Thanks for your time,

Levi

Levi, I want you to observe how I dodge the question. I think you should read the whole series twice, and do it both ways.

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Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
8 months ago

Trey, that sermon series by Dr. Kayser is excellent. Especially useful is his Principles for Interpreting Revelation…

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago

To Levi,

If you haven’t read the chroniclesi n many years definitely read them in publication order. There is a logic to Lewis’s creation, and even unexplained details, that make much more sense if you read them in the order they were released.

After that you can read them in whatever order you like!

Ken B
Ken B
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Let all books be read decently and in order …

Jane
Jane
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Seconded. Some of the books that come later in the narrative chronology work better as a backstory or a flashback origin story, than if you read them in narrative sequence. Also, given the fact that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe includes but skips over the time frame of The Horse and His Boy, there is a certain respect in which those two books will be out of sequence regardless.

Robert
Robert
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Agreed! In the *original* order.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago

Jim, in the top letter. “There is a desperate need for courage right now.” I honestly don’t think its a lack of courage. Its a lack of having ever believed things for the right reasons in the first place. If you believe the earth is round because you have a comprehensive understanding of the solar system, climate zones, gravity, or as the ancient greeks, just the arc of the bend of shadows across distance, then there’s no way someone is going to convince you the earth is flat. If instead you believe the earth is round because the big important… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I think Jim is right. If this happened 25 years ago, pre-SSA friendliness, pre-Obergefell, pre-wokeness everywhere, even squishy PCA elders would oppose such nonsense…and find something else to compromise on. They may not be the most well-read bunch, but they know what the Bible says about sodomy. This is about the Overton window, Reformed/Evangelicals no longer pretending to be orthodox and Obama’s “fundamental change” running through the institutions like melted butter.

Jim Lauerman
Jim Lauerman
8 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Perhaps both.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

25 years ago is a full generation. One generation further of a lack of basic education spreading.

The same people who we so consistently say don’t have courage never seem to have any lack of courage when it comes to standing up *against* God’s word.

I’m not declaring facts though. Just an opinion.

Cherrera
Cherrera
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I think we mostly agree–especially on the sad state of current affairs.

Re: 25 years and a generation–I’m saying some 55-year old men who won’t stand up to Revoice and other garbage would’ve laughed off such a scenario when they were 30. I know some of them. They thought the PCA was too stuffy and conservative and the idea of feminism or homosexuality gaining traction was ridiculous. But here we are…and here they are–too afraid or conformed to this world to fight it.

Last edited 8 months ago by C Herrera
Jim Lauerman
Jim Lauerman
8 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

It struck me that on the committee I was on, concern about Revoice was inversely proportional to the elder’s age. This was true of both Ruling and Teaching elders.

Jim Lauerman
Jim Lauerman
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Lauerman

Correction: directly proportional. I was the oldest elder and the most concerned. As ages went down, so did the. concern.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago

A few thoughts about having a family in expensive places: 1. Every place has a working class population. LA county has a median household income of something like $75k, which is pretty similar to the median across the whole country. The bottom quintile is poorer than the country at large. People in the bottom end have to live somewhere, perhaps you have your sights set too high regarding the type of place, size of apartment, local demographics, etc. I know there are areas that are too crime-ridden/dangerous for you to want to have your family, but perception and reality of… Read more »

Jane
Jane
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

That is a boatload of wise advice, if I may say so.

JohnM
JohnM
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, regarding your last point, do you hold that the permission of the woman’s father is required, and the prospective husband should be asking for it? If so, would you grant permission to
a man who was unemployed and otherwise lacking in means?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

John, Good question. I hold that, in ordinary circumstances, a good suitor should ask permission of his intended’s father before requesting her hand, and further that a lady should expect that any man worthy of her attention would do so. However, I don’t think fathers have absolute veto power over their daughter’s wishes, and there are many situations where I think a young couple can and should be married despite objections (or indifference) on the part of the family. And I say this as a father of many daughters, so I have skin in the game, so to speak. As… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

According to the real estate sites I just checked, the median price for homes sold in the city of Los Angeles this October was $901.5K. The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment is currently$2,888 (undoubtedly lower in the County as opposed to just the city); the average for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,902. Only 11% of LA apartments have rents below $2,000 a month. The housing situation here is really dire. My daughter’s friends, all in their late twenties and early thirties, are living with mom and dad or are sleeping on people’s sofas. My condo complex has… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Jill Smith
demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jilly, I was probably a little too glib about being able to find housing. But it appears to me that the median income in LA county is near the national average, and clearly most people are housed (despite serious homeless issues). I have trouble believing that 40% of people in LA are living stacked up in hovels with 50 SF/person. I would guess that some sort of rent control/benefits/section 8/housing vouchers/who knows what else makes up some of the gap, but I really don’t know. It really may be that LA has become so hostile to families that the only… Read more »

Malachi Tarchannen
Malachi Tarchannen
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

What LA and many other cities are experiencing is the Law of Supply & Demand in action. It’s not the whole thing, but it’s a large part of it. There are more people demanding to live in LA (and many other cities) than there are places for them to live. This is a cause of the exponential price increases and the growing homeless communities. Yes, there are other factors at work as well–Chinese intrusion, government meddling, escalating taxes, real estate moguls monopolizing, and just plain ol’ greed. But running through it all is a classic imbalance of supply and demand.… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago

Malachi, I agree that it is an issue of supply and demand. It’s hard for me to believe, living in my rural paradise, but cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston are enormously attractive to a lot of people. And the economists tell us that, despite technology that would seeming make needing to be proximal less important, returns to locations and location specific networks are increasing. So it actually makes sense for companies to pay 3x the wages in Silicon Valley rather than relocate in a less explosive location. There is also a big political component. In the best if… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago

Malachi, I am of the opinion that the supply and demand problem is because decades ago, preachers failed to strongly preach the Word accurately and Christians stopped believing the Bible is the answer to today’s problems. Every problem you mentioned is because Christians stepped out of the market place refusing to stand for Christ in their daily lives, in government, at work or at home. There is a very small percentage of homeless in LA who lost their homes from inflation, lost jobs or shrinking wages. Some of those who retained lesser paying jobs started living in rented storage facilities.… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Further comments from someone a bit older who just lived through a very similar series of events: In my late teens and early twenties I suffered under a combination of extreme sin of laziness, combined with the modern educational training that encourages passivity about your life. What I call “conveyer belt culture”, we are trained throughout the education system to disassociate our input from relevant output. If you do an assignment really well, it actually has very little effect on you immediately than if you did it only acceptably, and things only change slightly if you don’t do it at… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Justin Parris
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Also remember that the average new house in 1950 had less than 300 SF per person, and that was upgrading on housing stock that was even smaller

Thank you Demo, I swore I was the only person who ever points this out.

And every situation is unique, but it is quite possible to live happily on far less than that. The largest obstacles to a smaller home are usually simple habit, comparison to others, or an overabundance of material possessions.

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 months ago

To Brian’s letter, what do we want the mom to do then? Be obeyed, but not be in charge, not manage her household? Let her teenage sons be in charge? The home, schooling, chores, etc is the woman’s domain. A good wife is then necessarily a manager of the home. Of course the husband/father is the head and she reports to him, but to say the ‘mothers shouldnt be managing that much in the first place” seems unfair. On the one hand we believe and teach that the wife belongs in the home, educating and raising children and serving the… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Ms. Anonymous, I think Brian’s point was that mothers shouldn’t be managing that much [in the lives of their teenage sons], rather than that they shouldn’t manage that much generally. Meaning that he need to be pushed out into the society of men. If his father works in a trade, or works at home, then this transition is easier, but if his dad has a typical office job it may require more intentionality. Though, in general, I think the fear about boys being raised in feminine society are overblown. What matters isn’t that their mother is overseeing their education/work at… Read more »

Zeph
8 months ago

Regarding giving your tithe to places other than the church, I have been doing this for years and almost all of that money goes to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. I don’t actually give money, but I take the money to stores and buy things that are needed. For Black Friday, I bought a couple of sets of sheets for $15 each. Keep an eye open for liquidations at Walmart. I have bought children’s winter coats for as little as $3 each. In summer, I buy 12 in. oscillating fans. At first, the ladies were dubious about that one, until… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Zeph
Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
8 months ago
Reply to  Zeph

As a counter to this idea, I never read in the scriptures where Israel was commanded to stop tithing to the Levites and start giving to a third party. In Matthew 23, Jesus assumes that the tithe is still valid, even under a corrupted priesthood…

23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Thanks, Sam. I’m pretty well convinced from scripture and circumstance that we are required to find a local assembly to belong to and place ourself under the authority of the elders there, and then contribute to that body as we are able. I’m not completely convinced that 10% of our increase is the absolute required amount, but I think it should generally be considered the minimum we should put toward maintaining the church body. We definitely should not be trying to push our elders around by starving them of funds. If the church isn’t preaching the gospel then you need… Read more »

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Would you agree that a 10%, across the board tithe is a heavier burden on lower income earners. A $4500 annual tithe for a couple with 2-3 children earning $45,000/yr, would certainly be a stretch on their budget compared to the same family earning $125,000/yr. Since it appears that your branch of Christianity encourages larger families, that could become an even heavier burden on lower income families.

How does your congregation determine compensation for pastors? Do you compensate elders, too? Are they full time or elected volunteers? I’m sorry, but I’m not familiar with your ecclesiastical polity.

Last edited 8 months ago by Will
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Would you agree that a 10%, across the board tithe is a heavier burden on lower income earners.”

This is pretty definitionally true, people who make less tend to *need* a larger portion of their income. That’s only relevant though if this practical truth doesn’t interfere with some larger moral policy.

Mostly, whether or not 10% is required by Scripture. If it is, then any reasoning about the sensibility of the number doesn’t matter. God said so. If it doesn’t, then presumably an appropriate enumber would vary from circumstance to circumstance. Times of plenty, vs. times of need.

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

It’s hard to believe God would impose an unfair burden on the poor. As it is, don’t they already suffer more than their share?

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

If God is imposing it, it is by definition not an unfair burden. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death. The poor deserve to suffer and die, as do we all. That we haven’t yet is by the grace of God. In that context, calling a 10% tithe “unfair” seems more than a little silly. More importantly though, the means you suggest of interpreting scripture is fundamentally flawed. If a Bible verse *can’t* be right because you disagree with it, then it is impossible for God to teach… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Can you apply your principle to the New Testament words on giving? Because honestly, most of the time that I bring up these verses here, they are almost immediately rejected, ignored, or marginalized into meaninglessness, and usually without much discussion at all. Imagine if we took any of these verses as literally and seriously as we take an OT message on tithing to a no-longer existent priestly body. Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Well the first thing to remember Jonathan is I did not actually say that 10% tithing DID apply. I said that if God says it does, how we feel about it isn’t very important. The same would apply to all of your verses here, the trick is in determining what is a generalized principle being expressed, what is a specific rule but a rule given to a specific group of people, and what is a rule for all people in all time. As such, they are all context specific. To your very general point, people should be more giving, I… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

There would be dozens of clear rules among among the verses I have listed here and below, though I don’t find the distinction crucial.

Tithing can’t be our “rule”, considering our lack of Levites, yet it is taught as a rule. Whether we consider these rules or principles, my issue is that they are not taught seriously in our congregations, including here. Our wealthy pursue wealth, store up possessions, charge interest, throw banquets with only their rich friends, and so on without their pastors telling them it’s time to sell off what they own and give it to the poor.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Well, I may or may not agree with you. The problem is just about every part of what you just said needs a short essay’s worth of specification. “ yet it is taught as a rule.” By whom? Where? What constitutes teaching it “as a rule”, per se? This is a broad generalization about all of Christianity. That’s……. that’s quite a big unwieldy thing. “my issue is that they are not taught seriously in our congregations, including here.” What constitutes being taught “seriously?” Are they being taught unseriously somewhere? How are you making that distinction? You say “here”, do you mean… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, most of your objections could be made to block discussion of virtually everything. Where are they taught? Well, here, on this blog, for example. I already proved that robustly, that should be good enough. To teach seriously means to teach as if you hope for people to follow. If someone claims, “But I did teach on that passage!” and you find where they mentioned it once in the last 5 years and in that case only to speak on how it didn’t really apply, then no, that’s not teaching it seriously. Yes, I am basing this on sermon choice… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, last week I gave good examples concerning scripture you used woodenly. Concerning John 7, you said that I turned it upside down when, in fact, I only used the verses above yours to give the entire context. You never answered why you considered Matthew 20 to be relevant. Two weeks ago, you indicated that Wilson did not gore any of your oxen and that in fact you didn’t own any. In that same thread, you said that you wrote to Wilson using Matthew 18. If you don’t have gored oxen, why would you think that Matthew 18 applies? Why… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, it was J.F. who brought up Matthew 18 not me, I explained the relevance of Matthew 20 in clear terms last week, we were discussing Luke 7 not John 7, and I accused you of flipping the burden of proof, not flipping Scripture, because you insisted a rule was Scriptural and then refused to show where it was found in Scripture but instead insisted I prove the opposite rule was in Scripture.

This has gotten to the point of unhelpful rambling.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, you are correct it was Luke 7.

Explaining the scripture in context isn’t flipping the burden of proof, but showing that the context needs to be addressed instead of a wooden cut and paste.

The point is and will remain that none of us may demand anything from a host.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will, Yes, any sort of fixed percentage will fall more heavily on the poor, because they have less expendable income. That is why we have progressive taxation (which I approve of). But in the case of a functional church it isn’t so simple. For one thing, I think the 10% should be a minimum and Acts 4:35 is operating here. Those with more should be giving more and should be helping to support those with less. Also, the church can and should directly aid poorly families. It should be no shame for a family to give $2500 in a year… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Very good answer Demo.

I don’t know if it truly works that way all too often (with the well-off giving much more than 10% and those in need receiving more than the 10% they can give), but I agree that is the ideal if the 10% rule is held.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

For the life of me, I can’t follow the calculus your group uses in bringing forward OT laws from iron age tribal cultures into the modern age.

On a side note, Wilson has several side gigs besides pastoring. Should that in any way diminish his compensation as a “full time” pastor?

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will, taken at face value your comment could appear to some to dismiss Biblical wisdom entirely. If that is not what you intended then you should clarify. Personally, I think it quite obvious that there is much in the Old Testament (prohibitions against interest, calls for equality in land distribution, condemnation of those who accumulate at the expense of others, regular forgiveness of debts, rules requiring regular fallowing of the land, and so on) that elucidate principles our modern church has quite forgotten. That being said, of course there are other things in the Old Testament that were only allowed… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Dismissive is the way I take it, but it is always good to give someone a chance to clarify.

You’re right about the possibility of elucidating principals from the Old Testament, but sometimes what we find quite obviously applicable, or, clearly, no longer applicable, is a product of our indoctrination in a particular Christian tradition, or of a world view shaped in part by influences outside of scripture.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

Yup yup.

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

That may be your reading of my comment but it wasn’t my intention.

Your second paragraph was what I was driving at. I don’t see where Wilson or his followers give much, if any attention to these particular OT injunctions.

Regarding your last paragraph, who determines what was “appropriate for the times”?

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will, the Bible determines what is appropriate.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Will, Applying the scripture to our lives isn’t like reading a recipe book. It requires actually reading and engaging in the text, understanding the logic given for various laws, when logic is provided. How do the prophets and the wisdom literature interact with it? Is it referenced in the new testament, if so how? It starts with an understanding that God does not change, his law is good, but we are not pre-incarnation Israel and that change should be taken seriously. The old testament says a lot about giving. It is for the maintenance of the temple and the priesthood… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Agree with the first two paragraphs. I actually would disagree on that last paragraph. though I don’t consider it important enough to make a big deal. If we go by the New Testament examples of the church congregants giving up their excess wealth to the church to distribute, along with the numerous commands against holding wealth and accumulating possessions, then I don’t see the point of taking a salary from the church if one is already comfortably supported via other work. Since the only real destination for such excess wealth is additional giving, taking the salary is basically saying that… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I think John Piper has been a great example in this regard. He has taken a fairly modest salary for himself and all of the proceeds from his books, desiring god, etc. Go to the church, or the ministry they are under. However, it doesn’t follow to me that a church shouldn’t pay a pastor who is making money through other routes, for a couple of (off the top of my head) reasons: 1. Churches should be in the habit of paying pastor and paying them adequately. Don’t muzzle the oxen while they tread out the grain. It should… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I can see your argument, more #1 than #2. I think we’re also imagining different situations that do exist in different churches, one where the pastor is largely directed by the church and the other where the church is largely directed by the pastor. Different congregations have very different power balances. You can likely guess which of the two I favor.

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I appreciate your reply. I’m aware that the scriptures are not a recipe book and that they require engagement, though many, in the various fundamentalist camps do treat it that way. I simply don’t understand how your branch Calvinism calculates what to keep and what to dismiss. It appears, at least to me, not to value the basic premise that God is agape, e.g., Doug Wilson’s screeds.

I agree with Jonathan’s assessment below concerning pastoral double and triple dipping.

Last edited 8 months ago by Will
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Considering that we don’t have Levites, it makes little sense that we would continue tithing to Levites. The concept of the tithe can be used to assist in understanding a principle but it makes no sense to adhere to it legalistically when it literally cannot be adhered to legalistically.

Of course, Christ’s actual commands regarding giving are far stronger and the example of the early Church was far more radical…which I suspect is why most congregations almost entirely ignore them and instead preach 10%.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“which I suspect is why most congregations almost entirely ignore them and instead preach 10%.” Not a particularly fair comparison, as the church is by definition directly involved in the 10% rule, but not necessarily involved at any point in the generalized spirit of giving Christ commanded. Any given church doesn’t actually have any idea how much giving their congregants are doing. Though I’m curious what churches you’re running into that preach tithing at all. I’ve been to innumerable churches over decades and never once have seen it mentioned outside of a casual reference in passing. Churches don’t like to… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Pastors preach quite extensively on numerous aspects of their parishioners’ lives which they lack direct knowledge of, from impure thoughts to domestic relations to voting decisions. In fact, I think how people spend their money is one of the more outwardly apparent in many cases. When John Chrysostom lambasts his congregation for their profligate spending on themselves while they are failing to support the poor, there is no illusion that he has misjudged his listeners. In addition, since Pastor Wilson states that the tithe is generalized for all giving (which, as you say, he knows little about), every time he… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, you really ought to focus your posts to be a bit more concise, because I could have saved you a fair bit of writing. “Pastors preach quite extensively on numerous aspects of their parishioners’ lives which they lack direct knowledge of……  Pastor Wilson states that the tithe is generalized for all giving (which, as you say, he knows little about), every time he preaches on the tithe he is preaching on the exact same subject that all the verses he ignores are preaching on.” You’re ignoring the context of the conversation. We’re defining what is a rule in Scripture,… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Justin Parris
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

No, when he preaches on tithing, as in 10%, he is not automatically preaching on all those other verses that call for far more and by a very different measure. For example, a congregant’s tendency to chase after wealth or accumulate material possessions can be an issue (often a visible issue) quite apart from whether or not they’re giving 10%.

You are excellently demonstrating my earlier point when I said that these verses are only responded to with deflections, not actual reasoned attempts towards obedience .

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

I’d also be interested to know why this verse about Levites is supposed to still be applied today, yet passages such as Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 15:7-11, and Deuteronomy 23:19-20 are wholly ignored. I certainly don’t see where Christ told us to stop doing any of those things.

And if you really wish to disrupt the status quo, take a look at Leviticus 25…

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I don’t think Lev 19-9 quite has the effect you’re gunning for.

The premise here is the poor have to actually do the harvesting. You do not harvest it for them and give it to them, they have to do the work. This trains them for being productive people who are simply qualified to get a job anyway.

Not necessarily disagreeing with you on the Deuteronomy verses, but every time I’ve referenced a verse that applies to a “brother” in practical application, it always devolves into bickering over what qualifies as a “brother”.

Last edited 8 months ago by Justin Parris
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Yes, I have seen that bickering about what a “brother” is. Always as an excuse not to apply the verse.

If the only reason you ever bring up a verse is in order to marginalize or limit it, then you’re probably not following it. And that is abundantly true for most congregations in all the verses I listed.

And there’s no need to play a mind-reading exercise regarding my thoughts on Leviticus 19:9-10. It is neither preached nor followed, full stop.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m quite curious when it was you ascended to your status as a Deity Jonathan.

How you know how questioning the term “brother” works in ALL circumstances “always”, involving conversations amongst people you’ve never met is a quite impressive feat of omniscience. Though not nearly as clear cut a case of omniscience as declaring that no one, anywhere, preaches leviticus 19.

My apologies, I must be mistaken in having learned it from being preached to. I’ll go rewrite my memories to accommodate your obvious wisdom.

Last edited 8 months ago by Justin Parris
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I suggest you look back to the previous comment, where you claimed to know what I was thinking when I brought up Leviticus 19:9-10, and then view your own hypocrisy when you claim that I couldn’t possibly know what someone else was thinking when I saw them bring up “but who is my brother anyway?”

The parallelism with “who is my neighbor?” should not be missed.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Jonathan (the conservative one)
Jonathan (the conservative one)
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I actually agree with you. Those passages should all still apply. The only problem is the Leviticus one is built on different cultural practices, so we should utilize the principle there. The other two are absolutely and directly applicable. It is a sin for a Christian to charge interest to another Christian, or someone who is excessively needy. As to tithing, I think you are mostly right as well. It’s not that we “give 10% only”, rather that is the minimum. In reality, all our possessions are God’s, and we should be willing and trying to use them all… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan (the conservative one)
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago

Thank you Jonathan TCO.

But there’s no need for a deflection to government. I’m not speaking of government at all. If a billion Christians did their duty financially, especially the 300 million or so wealthiest among us, then there would be no need for government aid to the poor. Government safety nets are necessary because Christians by and large are disobedient.

I care far more about what Christians do than about what governments do. And Christians are not following the Bible’s instructions on money.

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“Government safety nets are necessary because Christians by and large are disobedient.” Jonathan above

Gentle Readers, this is a social justice statement and is not backed by scripture. It is not a deflection.

For decades, Christians have not stood firm for Christ and the result is that we allowed government to replace God.

If the US government followed scripture, Christians would not be forced at the point of a gun to give to that which is not authorized in scripture. Then Christians could do lots more with the bucks God gives them.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I was not stating it as a Scriptural rule Dave, but as a practical reality. And there is no evidence that American Christians would do significantly more for the poor if taxed less, considering they already have an enormous amount of disposable income and yet give a miniscule proportion of that to the poor, and in fact the proportion does not increase as one becomes wealthier. Instead they buy bigger houses, more cars, bigger TVs, go on more expensive vacations, get nicer phones and other devices, and so on and so forth. This last near retail sales hit record highs… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, government safety nets are not practical reality. That is pure, unadulterated social justice. God makes the pie larger and larger or smaller and smaller at His command. Scripture does not give the government authority to take from one and give to another. That is theft. Joseph stored food for the coming famine. He did not redistribute it to those who didn’t work during the years before the famine. There is no way anyone may argue that Christians would give less or support the needy less if the tax burden were lifted and all were allowed to use their bucks… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, you are misreading what I stated as “reality”. My statement does not judge “social justice” as good or bad, it is a statement of fact regarding to what degree Christians have been supporting their poor.

And aside from your unlikely hypotheticals, what is your evidence that modern Christians would sufficiently provide for the poor if their tax burden was lowered?

Since the tax burden has been lowered multiple times in the last 40 years, and since the tax burden varies from one area to the next, you should have many opportunities to prove this claim.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, the Bible judges social justice as bad. As Christians, we all should. “Now I say this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows generously will also reap generously. Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” 2 Thessalonians 9:6-8 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure,… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Yet again you’ve quoted verses out of context that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic.

We already established extremely well that the Bible demands we provide for the poor. The question isn’t whether we should provide for the poor, the question is why our churches preach on those passages so infrequently, and why modern Christians choose so much more to build up their own wealth and material possessions instead, directly in violation of Biblical instruction. You continue to deflect from that point by focusing on the government boogeyman rather than even addressing the church’s responsibility.

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“And aside from your unlikely hypotheticals, what is your evidence that modern Christians would sufficiently provide for the poor if their tax burden was lowered?”

Jonathan, I did not quote out of context. The topic was whether or not Christians would give more if God blessed them with more.

When Christians move away from the Bible social justice moves in.

Go to church tomorrow and worship with fellow Christians. Take off your mask, sing loudly and praise God for all He has done.

Happy Lord’s Day.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

They were quite clearly out of context. For example, Luke 6:38 clearly doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with your claim “the Bible judges social justice as bad”. Here is the context: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind?… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“And aside from your unlikely hypotheticals, what is your evidence that modern Christians would sufficiently provide for the poor if their tax burden was lowered?” Jonathan, what part of good measure pressed down and for the measure you use will be measured to you did you not understand? or Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Dave
Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, those verses don’t support either claim.

They don’t show “social justice is bad”. All societies should have laws that ensure fairness and Israel was no different in the OT. Were OT laws promoting fairness somehow wrong?

And tens of millions of American Christians already have incredible excess wealth. Far more than most 1st-century Christians could imagine. And yet the vast majority are not using it to serve the needs of the poor. So why would they suddenly start doing so just because they had a little more wealth at their disposal?

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, If your stance is that government run charity is against the Bible then you are telling us you are a better reader of the Bible than Calvin, the magisterial reformers, and the puritans. The reformers were instrumental in providing relief for the poor, from government funds. Sometimes these were administered by the church (deaconate), sometimes by the city magistrate. The Puritans were very gungho and developed the first universal, free (to the student), state run education that I know of anywhere in the world. They may have been right or wrong about this, and there was certainly disagreement among… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, in general it all sounds good. In particular, especially here in the good ‘ol USA, it falls apart. Didn’t Calvin mention that giving to the poor had to be watched carefully as there would be many who would take advantage of the rich? He also said something along the lines that only 1 in 100 were worthy and should receive aid. Calvin was strongly in favor of giving to the church and having the church take care of the needy around it. Calvin was in favor of the king taking care of his subjects and in Geneva at the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, jumped very quickly from “Scripture does not give the government authority to take from one and give to another. That is theft.” to “Okay yes Calvin did it and that was a Godly government but our context is different.”

Those statements can’t both be true.

But either way, this is a massive deflection from the original topic, which is the question of why the church preaches on OT tithing so much more than it preaches on NT responsibility for the poor. Only you are obsessed with government, which has nothing to do with the church’s own responsibility and preaching.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, You are changing the subject in a dramatic fashion. The question of whether the state should provide aid to the poor is one of prudence, not one of biblical principle. You said, with no qualifications whatsoever: “Scripture does not give the government authority to take from one and give to another. That is theft.” I was simply pointing out that you are accusing the magisterial reformers (and many other wise statesmen and churchmen) of encouraging, condoning and participating in theft. Now you are trying to walk that back without admitting fault, but what you should do is recognize that… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave,

Just to be clear, in case I wasn’t before. I wasn’t promoting the welfare system of Calvin’s Geneva, or the Mass Bay Colony, or Kuyper’s Holland, or Roosevelt’s America. I am not a partisan on this issue at all. I was just taking issue with your pronouncements the Bible does and does not allow.

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, this is what I referred to.
“The reformers were instrumental in providing relief for the poor, from government funds.”

The reformers went to the Word. I maintain that we should also run to the Word for all of our problems and all our rejoicing.

Where does scripture allow the government to forcibly take from everyone to pay for social programs taking care of the poor?

Happy Lord’s Day to you and your family.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave,

I can’t parse your comments. What are you trying to say?

1. The reformers went to the word. –> I agree!
2. The reformers approved of state run programs for the poor that were funded by confiscation. They also often supported compulsory tithe. —> you agree, right?
3. Scripture doesn’t allow 2. –> ???

Dave
Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, where does scripture allow the government to take the increase from those who work and give it to those who don’t work? On point 2, I don’t agree entirely. In Geneva, the reformers used confiscated public funds to help the needy. The thought being that the king should take care of his subjects. Spurgeon, who followed the reformers in England, did not use public funds, but instead set up a huge, successful enterprise without government funding. Those institutions provided for the needy along with training training them in a trade so they could help others. I think he was… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Um, that example doesn’t help your case Dave. You explicitly claimed that government anti-poverty programs are against Scripture. Demo is pointing out that you that the Reformers would disagree.

Do you believe the Reformers misinterpreted Scripture in that respect?

And you keep flipping the burden of proof. If you claim something is against Scripture, then you have to prove that. You keep insisting on arguments by omission despite the fact that Scripture is silent on numerous topics, not the least of which is modern democracy.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave

And Spurgeon scholars appear to think that Spurgeon would say you are dead wrong as well, and in fact if Spurgeon wrote here you would likely trash him with the sort of vehemence you use when you speak to me: As Jonathan Merritt notes, the “prince of preachers” criticized capitalism. He favored government welfare policies to alleviate poverty. And he denounced Christian participation in war.“He was very active in preaching about certain social issues,” says Nettles, author of the forthcoming Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. “Spurgeon preached in support of making government low-income housing projects… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
8 months ago

2456317

Let the reader understand.

Thomas Bauer
Thomas Bauer
8 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

8675309

Let the reader understand

Kristina
Kristina
8 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Bauer

For the price of a dime I can always turn to you!

Elle
Elle
8 months ago

Robert,

To jump to different pages of the blog simply type a new number into the URL at the top of your web browser. For example, my URL reads https://dougwils.com/blog/page/2… you can manually change the “2” to whichever page number you wish and then you can jump to that page by clicking “enter” so that the page reloads in your web browser.

Here are a few other examples so you get what I mean:
https://dougwils.com/blog/page/52
https://dougwils.com/blog/page/85

Elle

Last edited 8 months ago by Elle
Robert
Robert
8 months ago
Reply to  Elle

Perfect! Thank you Ellie! I’m a baby boomer and that should explain everything when it comes to computer illiteracy.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago

I started digging around for data on antidepressant use, and a few things really surprised me. Even before COVID caused an enormous spike in the number of people using psychiatric medications, the data between 2015 and 2018 show that an astonishing 24% of women over 60 regularly took antidepressants. For women of all ages, it was 18%. Yet, over the same time period, only 7% of all adults reported having been diagnosed with clinical or subclinical depression. It’s hard not to conclude that the drugs are being prescribed for symptoms less intense than those the SSRIs were designed to treat,… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jilly,

The numbers provided usually mask the magnitude. Nearly 50% of white women over the age of 45 take an SSRI… this group of women make up almost 60% if long term users! What is going on here? Like you I can’t imagine a physiological explanation. It also doesn’t fit with the typical image of emotionally troubled young people.

I have to admit that I am something I an SSRI skeptic…

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

The Alexander article was really interesting. I think an inevitable flaw in the research methodology is that you really can’t count on a lot of people–depressed or not–to accurately assess and report the state of their own emotions. The depression inventories are like the smiley-face pain charts they give you in the ER. Some people think a broken ankle is the worst pain possible; others think anything short of a broken spine is “not that bad.” Items like “I can’t concentrate as well as I used to” pretty much invite an overstatement from anyone over 60! A really useful scale… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Jill Smith
demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, There are more objective measures like time in bed, sleep quality, etc. but I agree that it is hard to get your hands around what us going on… but that is partly because I don’t think think depression is likely to have a small group of truly physiological causes. It is much more amorphous than that. And the chemical imbalance theory, which is confidently pronounced by GPs everywhere has basically 0 evidence for it. I think it is likely that SSRIs do help a lot of people feel better and function better. Otherwise people wouldn’t take them. But that… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

The IQ-enhancing potential of Adderall (short term, obviously) is hotly disputed. One study showed that children taking Adderall for ADHD gained an immediate seven points over their baseline unmedicated score. But couldn’t it be argued that the enhanced score represents actual IQ and the unmedicated score reflects lack of focus interfering with cognitive performance?Same with this study: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Cognitive-enhancement-of-IQ-by-20-mg-of-amphetamine-Benzedrine-An-early-formal-study_fig2_259350386. It seems to me that if amphetamines can raise a depressed patient’s IQ by 15 points, at least a few of those 15 points had to be there originally! The health risks of long term amphetamine use rule it out for most… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

BTW- Scott has written a characteristically excellent explainer/evaluation of SSRIs here:
https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/07/ssris-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Looks like my other comment may have been eaten, sorry if this is a double post… The numbers you provide hide the real magnitude of the issue. Almost 50% of white women over the age of 45 take and SSRI and this (relatively small) group makes up almost 60% of “long-term” users. Like you I can’t believe that half of these women have a physiological problem. It also calls into questions some conventional wisdom about the connection between youth and SES and mental health. I don’t know what to make of it, but I think we should acknowledge there are… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

When my HMO began prescribing SSRIs, it required a consultation and ongoing treatment with a psychiatrist and a definite diagnosis of depression–just as amphetamine prescriptions for adults required a psychiatric consult and a firm diagnosis of ADD existing since childhood, and prescriptions for narcotics for migraine sufferers required a neurologist to affirm that no other treatment option had worked. At some point (though not with my own HMO), general practitioners were authorized to prescribe all three–and I think that is a major factor driving the numbers up. SSRIs were designed for what used to be called endogenous depression arising from… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I’ve kept my immediate family off of SSRIs completely (despite one prescription and another casual recommendation), but I feel like half of my female relatives and half of my close male/female friends my age have been on them at one point or another. I am quite concerned that they are overprescribed, both in terms of masking deeper issues that need to be addressed as well as appearing to lead to long-term addiction in some people.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I think one of the problems is that there is little evidence that psychotherapy on its own is of much use in addressing “deeper issues.” For most depressed people, even an aha! moment–“So THAT’s why I would rather feed my hand into a wood chipper than let someone know I’m mad at them”–doesn’t change anything. It’s kind of interesting on an intellectual level to know why you do what you do, but a lot of people tend to get stuck there and focus too much attention inward when they need to be trying to form deeper attachments to the world… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

When I said “addressing deeper issues” I was not referring to psychotherapy, but of addressing the circumstances of their lives. Most of the people I know who are depressed need to switch jobs, move back to their old community, or make some other sort of radical life change, because the reason they’re depressed is that they don’t like their life as it is and for good reason. I’m not sure if this was the article I originally read but it covers the same subject – researchers are starting to look at the social causes of depression rather than just treating… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan
demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hari doesn’t have the most scientific approach and there is plenty to criticise (though the criticism has at times had a whiff of insecurity induced brutality, to my ear), but I think he is worth reading and attending to. It is obvious to me that a lot of people just really really are not throwing despite material abundance. The anomie and ennui that people feel needs to be combatted with changes to their life, more and deeper social connections less time in performative environments, etc. rather than with drugs. I also think that people are profoundly social and imitative and… Read more »

Robert
Robert
8 months ago

Pastor Wilson,

Thanks a lot for addressing/answering my comments/question about the various viewpoints on the “end times”.
Keep up the good work, sir!

Robert

David J.
David J.
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert

Robert, as an a-millennialist (and, like you, a former pre-millennialist), I assure you that your summary of the attitude of post-millennialists is also shared by a-millenials.