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, thank you for objecting. Hold the line.
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.”
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, 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.
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, 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.
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, 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
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, 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, 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).
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, 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
6 to 9: Civil government
-Last one: Conscience, self control Is this correct?
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, 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, 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.”
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, I have embedded a sample below. And here is a link to the Christ Church app with more.
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, 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.
Who is a contemporary writer or commentator who you frequently read who you also largely disagree with?
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, 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.
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, 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, I want you to observe how I dodge the question. I think you should read the whole series twice, and do it both ways.