Aaron Renn and The Masculinist
I think there is one thing that Mr. Renn missed; that very thing, I think, is foundational. I think that “men” (from back when that word had an objective, meaning sort of like “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”) are created to gravitate to those aforementioned attributes (vigilance, steadfastness, strength). That very “Thing®” is something that was cleanly elucidated by A.D. Robles regarding the umbrage and vitriol. Even though I am paraphrasing, I think that I am accurate in narrating his point and the Thing : “The reason that they hate him as they do is due to the fact that he is not embarrassed by anything that the Bible says.” That is what God says, and so, deal with it. We do not judge the Word of God; The Word judges us.
I think that when that principle was customarily preached in the U.S., the Church, and respectively, the culture, was strong. As that message was relinquished, the Church and culture grew weaker. In a certain sense, that form of faith and preaching is like Moses’ arms held high, or low as the case may be.
Gray, yes. When space is cleared so that Smith and Murphy can give themselves to their work, it must be cleared by men who understand the purposes of masculinity.
Re: In Which We Have An Opportunity to Talk About Ourselves in the Third Person “Redneck Pope” is more misleading than not but captures something of the vibe you’re describing.
Rob, not sure . . .
Once again I must write. Please don’t be annoyed. I think I follow your posts and podcasts so much because you put into words what I can only think:
“We fight because fighting is most necessary, but I have also discovered that fighting is a very effective filter. It helps to prevent people from joining your church for no better reason than that it is a good place to sell insurance. Meeting in a gym for decades has also helped with this — when we build our (very nice) church building we will have to double the guards.”
This has been much of my ministry, but add Amway to it.
Keep it up! Please also–get Ride Sally Ride into an ebook. Shipping to Canada from the US is almost always more than the price of the book! I’ll wait, and review it after I read it; maybe I’ll review the reviews.
Scott, an ebook is on the way.
I forget if we’ve corresponded before. I’m using this “Letter to the Editor” feature to reach you because it’s easiest to find. I’m a Cancelled economics professor at Indiana University (2003, Nov. 2019) and am googleable. I’m a fan, generally. We may have met in Oxford once, where my wife knew your daughter (in-law?) a bit.
I write about three things:
The main occasion of writing is that I am astounded at your saying that you don’t think your church has the authority to require those attending services to wear masks. I hope this was a mistake. I wrote a blog post on it here. Your post was August 10, Littlejohn, MacArthur, and the Binding of Conscience. It doesn’t seem to fit with your general stance on things.
I was just in a Twitter discussion of your sex robot book. Someone was saying you write pornographically, and it being satirical and in a good case was no excuse. Someone else said it was a good excuse. I commented that too many conservatives are starting to use obscene language and matter, and that I wished someone would write an essay on Mind Pollution. Your supporter tweeted back asking if I’d written to you, who I was obliquely criticizing. So I am doing that. Really, what I ought to do is write said essay and send it to you. I haven’t, and will forget by the time I do. So instead I’d like to suggest that you write the essay. I haven’t read your book, so there and here I can’t address the charges against it, which may well be wrong.
At the top of the Blog and Mablog webpage is a list of items that includes My Cart. That’s crass. I noticed it on Pastor Sumpter’s blog page too once, I now recall. It is fine and good to sell books from your website, but I don’t think you want to be someone in a business, selling products to customers. Churches that have Donate up there at the top are in the same situation. Do keep on letting people know how they can buy your books— an important part of your mission is getting people to read your books, and it’s fine to sell them (I’m an economist, after all: you don’t want to waste resources by giving people things they are going to throw away instead of use, so a price is useful even if you could afford to give them away). It’s even OK to sell them directly, instead of via Amazon or something. But you already have CANON PRESS up there at the top, so you can dispense MY CART. You can use the extra 10 characters free up room for CANON PRESS: MY BOOKS AND OTHERS.
Eric, thanks for raising these points with me, and thanks also for doing it so graciously. In order:
I have taught for years that the human institutions of church, state and family have true authority, on the one hand, and that no human authority is absolute, on the other. The question then becomes “what are the boundaries, what are the limits?” When does a true authority go beyond what they were entrusted with? Now American churches already have a hard time with the open and shut cases — say when a man runs off with his secretary and is excommunicated. Part of the deal is that we can show that when he joined the church, he signed up for such a response from us if he were to violate his vows. But this thing with masks was not on anyone’s radar. For elders to simply assume that requiring it is within their authority, without debate and discussion, particularly when it becomes obvious that some of your best people have a profound problem with it, I believe to be unwise. But if the elders who make this mistake have been otherwise godly elders, I believe that members should forebear with them, just as they wished the elders had done with them.
As far as Ride, Sally, Ride is concerned, the whole point of the book is to fight against mind pollution. The Twitter spasm that happened did so because a bunch of trolls who hadn’t read the book decided to publish their psychic reviews anyway. The book has no sex scenes in it, the book is not erotica, and the book promotes and exalts marital love over against perversion.
And last, on the My Cart thing. Canon Press publishes almost all of my hard copy, regular books. The books in the Mablog Shoppe are my surplus ebooks, dedicated to creating an avenue for me to get a bunch of the content in my computer organized and available. There is a pile of stuff down there, and I am trying to whip it into shape before I am caught up in the fiery chariot. All those books are sold for one dollar each. I work hard at not appearing to be merchandising, and the phrase My Cart never occurred to me a possible stumbling block.
I never really understood what it meant for God to throw armies into panic until now. It is terrifying to observe God’s power first hand. The Almighty has the whole world in panic and I hope and pray it spells the beginning of the end of the secular state.
Ben, yes. I believe that it is certainly spelling the end of a number of things that needed to be gone.
I think you may want “douse” rather than “dowse.” Both have to do with water, but dousing with water is certainly more Presbyterian than water dowsing for a couple of reasons. Your loyal Anabaptist reader,
Steve, never argue with an anabaptist about dousing. Fixed.
Warhorn, Moscow, and Binding Consciences
My apologies if this has already been addressed, but what is your opinion on how Christians should interact with private businesses that require their patrons to wear a mask? More specifically, nearly all big box stores (Walmart, Target, etc) ask their customers to where a mask. Should we oblige? Is their signs posted outside of their building, requiring that we wear masks, enough to compel us to wear a mask? Thanks
John, yes, we’ve addressed it before, but here it is in a nutshell. Private businesses should have the right to refuse service if you are not wearing a mask, and when you know that is the conviction of the owner, you should honor it. But private businesses are also being bludgeoned by the state to become their dragooned enforcers, and when that is happening, and the business owner is not into it, then you don’t need to be into it either. The difference can be seen if the business just puts up a big sign, and that’s all.
Post: Moscow, Warhorn, and Binding Consciences
Dear Pastor Wilson,
Prior to Grace Agenda, I was attending another church next door due my church’s compliance to Wisconsin’s mask mandate, which is unjust. I was deeply saddened by my leadership’s decision, which was based on Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:17, and I was planning on writing a letter to object, accusing them of aiding and abetting tyranny with prose on the order of the Book of Ezekiel. I was not enthusiastic about my task because my pastor is a friend and saved my life this past March. I was delighted to hear from a brother at arms in my church that my pastor invited him and his family to attend church unmasked after my friend discussed masking with our pastor. After returning from Idaho, I talked to my friend and he said that my pastor is sick of the restrictions and he’s not going to do anything else after the mandate expires (I doubt it will). I listened to his sermon from last Sunday on Psalm 37, and he said that obeying a mask mandate for 9 weeks is obeying God according to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:17 and is not equivalent to Nebuchadnezzar’s decree in Daniel 3. I disagree with him, but should I still pick a fight with him? I plan on returning to my home congregation unmasked tomorrow. Thank you.
Brent, blessings. Whatever you do, don’t let your emotions escalate. Stay respectful. Honor your elders. Don’t burn bridges. Pressing the issue is not the same thing as “picking a fight.”
Regarding mask mandates: Our board has decided that the same goes for Christian schools — they should fall under the same rights of conscience as churches. No governor should have the right to dictate what Christian teachers and students wear at Christian school and whether we operate in person or online — especially where the school receives no government money and therefore has no strings attached. While we complied in March and sent everyone home during the initial “emergency” edict, we will open live and in person in September as usual. Praise God!
Christy, yes. Praise God.
I would like to address just one of the points in your article “And Now For Some Words of Encouragement” that I believe is misplaced.
“The weekly wearing of masks will have had a far greater impact on the congregation’s theology than the reasoning of the session’s position paper that less than half of the people read. And it will have been a destructive impact.”
Perhaps if you are concerned about the welfare of your congregation’s theology in the midst of mask-wearing, then there are pre-existing holes in your congregations’ theology. More specifically, this may be a lapse in the understanding of the relationship between God’s work and human action. I hope you would agree with me that it would be foolish to pray for safe travels while choosing to leave your seat belt unbuckled. Or pray fervently for a good grade on an exam while neglecting to devote time to learning the material. Proverbs 22:3 states that “a prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” The action of taking shelter is the means by which God provides protection to the prudent. While this is not to deny that there are certainly times when God uses divine, supernatural methods to protect us, He has called us to be wise in our actions to avoid danger. Masks (surgical, not cloth) are a means by which God protects us from the coronavirus. When God has given us such a simple way of protecting ourselves from the virus, are we being fools for walking towards danger while disregarding the means that God has given us? Are we praying for God to protect us against COVID-19 while failing to see the protection that God has already placed in front of us?
With this in mind, mask-wearing does not have to be a confession. Rather, when we offer up thanksgiving for the means of protection that God has provided, our prayer fuels lives full of gratitude for the simple and daily displays of God’s mercy.
I appreciate your time in reading my thoughts.
Abigail, the problem is not with your reasoning on things that have undoubted safety value (e.g. seat belts). The issue has to do with a mandated application of a “remedy” that is highly debatable, and which may be counterproductive.
My wife and I quite appreciated Grace Agenda, thank you and Christ Church for everything involved. Sabbath Dinner was a special treat as well. We are still chewing on all the delicious morsels taken in – talks on bitterness and confession were much needed. What an exciting thought to be trained well in practicing confession in our marriage and other relationships! I hope to do my part in growing the same boisterous and joyful faith down here where I’m at.
Alexander, thanks for coming.
I see that you have a side gig writing for “The Onion”. However, the absence of profanity makes me think you meant to send it to “The Babylon Bee”.
Don’t forget a submission to either site when it becomes apparent to all that this year’s Chinavirus wasn’t close to being a reason to shut down the world economy and that the elite won’t admit it. I think you have less than a month to write it, although it will take you only five minutes.
John, thanks for the great idea . . .
I have two (semi-related) questions about language.
One, when referring to a singular generic human you use the masculine pronoun “he” and when you refer to a collection of humans you say “man” or “mankind.” I recognize that’s the standard usage in historic usage—but I’ve noticed it’s going out of style in favor of more gender neutral words like “humanity” or “humankind.” Any particular reason why you persist in the older language?
Two, your Scripture references almost always come from the King James Version. Count me as a KJV fan— its Psalms are particularly majestic—but I also recognize that much of its language is aged. The KJV certainly is one of the most artistically moving translations, but I worry its clarity suffers among contemporary English speakers. Do you have a particular reason for preferring the KJV?
Logan, yes. I persist in the old usage because the new usage is the result of pressure from feminism. With regard to the KJV, I lay these arguments out in greater detail in my book Mother Kirk, but here they are in brief. I believe the manuscript family under the KJV to be superior, I believe the translation philosophy of the KJV translators to have been admirable, and I don’t like the Scriptures being under the copyright authority of businesses as opposed to the church.
My name is Garrett Soucy. I’m a pastor in rural Maine. Our church is a candidate member church in the CREC. I’ve long-appreciated your work. I’m just passing along this morning’s post from my blog, Tribute, in case you have time to check it out. Thank you again for your work. God bless.
Garrett, well done. Good article.
More on Masks
Regarding “You Keep Having Things to Say”
Pastor Doug Wilson,
Thank you very much for your reply. I am not married, and I am therefore not contemplating divorce. I certainly hope no one would get divorced over masks. You wrote, “I don’t think it would be wise for him to do that. But I think that he does have that authority (within limits).” To clarify, do you mean that it would be unwise for a husband to bind his wife’s conscience regarding any issue, or do you mean that it would be unwise for him to do so regarding masks? What would the biblical limits of that authority be? Why should a woman willingly enter into a covenant in which her conscience can be bound? This seems to make marriage an insurmountable risk which would justify a woman putting an almost unending number of hoops in the path of any man wishing to marry her. Or alternatively, it might leave the woman disinclined towards marriage at all. I realize that this last question is a question of pragmatic concern and I am not suggesting that good theology should be sacrificed to such. It just seems that the matter ought to be addressed.
MW, the main thing is to marry someone with a godly character. There is no way to anticipate every issue that might come up. That means a woman has to agree to submit on some things “sight unseen.” And that is why it is important not to marry a foolish man.
If I’m tired of having the “mask” discussion, I’m sure you’re equally as tired of having to answer questions regarding masks. Nevertheless, I do need some help.
For quick context, my family and I are members in the PCA. We live in a mid-size NE Georgia town where we have a decent pick of Reformed (in name) Churches.
The gents who Shepard the flocks in the Churches around us (PCA, OPC, Reformed Baptist) have all decided that, sure enough, this is Black Death and you’re not coming to Church unless you preform an extra-liturgical ritual before coming into the Sanctuary. That ritual includes baptizing your hands with anti-bacterial water (I know…it doesn’t matter that the Black Death is a virus and not bacteria) and being cleared by a Levite Sentry (Bouncer?) at the front door who has traded his—or her—sword for a laser thermometer.
Where we had originally one service, our Church has seen fit to straddle one testicle on either side of the fence picket by holding a “mask only” service at 9a, and a “mask optional, but highly recommended—so for all you weaker brothers, we have you covered by forcing non-maskers to sit 6′ apart from your ‘family units’ and besides, the Elders will serve communion with gloves and masks just in case” service at 11a. As an aside, I was not part of that discussion and so I make an assumption when I speak of testicles on either side of the picket. This is the PCA after all, and for all I know the Eunuchs could have very well made that decision from on high. Regardless the service, the extra-liturgical act is still required for admittance.
This notice came to us yesterday and after stewing a bit, I’m done with the whole lot of them. I’m so highly irritated that I don’t know where to start. There is no end game strategy for our Church in particular and I assume the same of those around us. It appears this is now Church in America, or at least NE Georgia.
With that, is it simply time to pull up stakes and leave; or stay and fight with reasoned protest? If it’s time to leave, what about the interim time between now and our move to Anytown, USA? Do we try to slip in through the backdoor of the 11a to evade the new ritual? Walk right in, shoulder bump the Sentries? Protest loudly in the outer court and then leave when refused entrance?
Because my sin nature is not above a Road House fight scene over this, I seek your counsel Pastor. Thank you in advance.
Jereami, the first thing is that you need to not hold back. Tell us what you really think.
And no, no Road House fight. Be as respectful as you can be, and if you cannot remain without a brawl, then it is time to (peaceably) leave.
I’ve been reading your responses to the COVID crisis over the last few months and while I share your opinion on panic porn I don’t find your arguments against mandatory masking or church shutdowns very compelling and I’m not sure you are winning over your detractors with the civic vs ecclesial reasoning either. I mean sure, fair point, but it tends too much in the direction of that annoying kid on the playground who keeps appealing to the constitutional rules of cops and robbers or hide and seek when everyone else is busy playing the game. In other words the people that need to listen (elders, mayors, health officials) won’t because even if you are right it comes off as esoteric and just as desperate.
I agree with your sense that our civic authorities keep compromising themselves though I’m doubtful that it is as malicious as you have at times made it out to be. I think people honestly don’t know how the virus works and they are grasping at straws for a solution. It’s desperation in the face of uncertainty and it looks like “they” are out to get “us”.
It’s not fair of me to offer a critique without providing an alternative line of reason so here: I wear a mask like I pay taxes. As much as required and nothing more. I’m not convinced this is our Rosa Parks moment quite yet. (I purchased a Mablog burka and I’m excited to wear it with sunglasses and hat into my local banking institution!)
To win over the detractors (Romans don’t have patience for Jewish quibbles) I would avoid dropping websites and studies, though it may at times seem useful, and stick with basic reason, which to your credit you have done but you are not banging that particular drum loud enough.
Do masks work? In my own city daily confirmed cases continue to rise in spite of mandatory public masking. Outbreaks occur in hospitals and care centres where one would assume everyone has got all the PPE, sanitizing, and social distancing down pat unlike the rest of us. When schools are back in this fall any sense of “progress“ will be lost because the virus will spread. So why restrict churches and not schools?
I sometimes think about the smouldering onions of the Bubonic plague. They seemed to help but not for the reasons that plague doctors claimed….
Oh and enough the quinine business — I can’t find tonic water anywhere!
Jordan, you may well be right, and our stand may be proved to have been quixotic. But our main goal is not to be persuasive in the moment, but to seem increasingly sane in retrospect as the panic starts to fade. Who will be listened to after the panic is gone?
Abortion and Welfare
I am hearing with more frequency the argument that welfare programs reduce abortions. Perhaps you have observed this angle, too? It strikes me that there is an inherent fallacy to this framing; almost like, “If welfare policies were not put in place, then there would be more abortions.” Have you discussed this before, or do you have sources you would recommend to research further?
Thank you in advance,
Paul, no, I don’t believe I have interacted with that before.
Pastor Doug –
Thank you for all your helpful blogging—during this time especially. You (and MacArthur) have been vital points of sanity when I couldn’t figure out if it was just me.
Regarding the Thomas Sowell book you linked in your Huguenot post, it seems that Amazon will be happy to clear out their inventory, but not so happy to do anything else to further getting it in folks’ hands. See attached regarding the Kindle version.
Art, just amazing. Thomas Sowell “under review.”