On Masks and the Study of Masks
Jeff, thanks very much. Masks have become a religion for many, and not only a religion, but one that that developed a hardened orthodoxy in a matter of just a few weeks, and then was able to grow an Inquisition in just a few weeks more. And like many orthodoxies, it is impervious to evidence.
I’m a pastor in Iowa and we put out this statement opposing mask mandates (link attached), I was wondering if you would be interested and willing to do something similar in Idaho?
As a debtor to grace,
Sam, thanks for your work on this.
You have continued to make the point that the pandemic is intertwined with our American politics. Without disputing that politicians have co-opted it for their own ends, how do you explain that the rest of the world is also undergoing the same pandemic and responding in similar ways, though without our politics involved? For instance, Hungary is imposing strict measures. I picked Hungary as an example because they have been implementing other policies that we would approve of, such as restricting abortion access.
CR, I would respond with three observations. One is that many politicians are simply spooked. In other words, a global panic has affected them. It is not necessarily a power grab for them, but simply a panicked reaction. Second, American politics is global politics at some level. And third, politicians have the temptation to be power hungry everywhere, and can roll the crisis into their own local situation.
I’m stuck. As I have been studying Romans 13 and 1 Pet 2, it seems like there is an unqualified command to obey authorities. “Let everyone be subject to governing authorities” and “Be subject to the Lord’s sake to every human institution” whether kings or governors. However, as I dig into it there seems to be some clear assumptions made by Paul. He says subject yourselves for, or because, they exist to reward good and punish evil. Good here meaning intrinsically good, and evil intrinsically rotten, not whatever twisted definition humans want to use. The authorities bear the sword to punish rottenness and reward truly good things. But what if the government isn’t acting in this way? And what if, as I think is clear in our country, the government is the one that is perverted? This makes me think that we are then freed from some obligation. But what government in human history hasn’t been perverted? Paul’s letter has been read in some pretty crappy governments over the past 2 millennia. Is our obedience conditional to the government? If so, what are the criteria of our conditions?
Also the term ‘resist’ seems like there are some clues to our position. In Greek, resist here means to set yourself in opposition, to take a complete stand against, as in a 180 degree, contrary position. This seems to me more like a spirit of rebellion where I would set myself against anything and everything whatever, just because it comes from authority, despite what the law would be. This is oppositional defiance disorder and I understand why this would be disobedient and counterproductive.. But if this kind of resistance is not in our heart and we truly want good for our country, does this change how we understand this text?
Tim, yes. You have stated the question well. I would say that those passages only seem unqualified if you limit the context to the immediate context on the page. But if you read those passages in the light of all Scripture, including the behavior of the two men who wrote those passages, the lights begin to come on. Paul evaded arrest, running the road blocks set up for him at Damascus, and Peter escaped from prison, and disappeared from the book of Acts as a wanted man.
I have been deeply encouraged by your writings and particularly the Man Rampant series. Surely it won’t be known this side of eternity what a profound effect a number your insights have had on my life, many confirming and elucidating things the Lord was already showing me.
I recall a blog post of yours several months ago regarding masks wherein your grandson was pictured in a quite comical outfit at the local convenient store. Made me chuckle. What is your general opinion on the use of such mockery as a tool to highlight the nonsensical nature of some of the things we’re being “mandated” to do? I live in New England where the mask requirements is rather strictly enforced most places, and while I do think it may be appropriate to wear an exaggerated get-up to point out the stupidity of all this, I want to remain dignified in a way that does not bring unnecessary reproach on the name of Christ.
Thanks for all you do,
Eric, a lot of it really is dependent upon context. Not every joke will be read the same way, depending on where you are. You have to know your people, and adjust accordingly.
Ah, Yes. The Election
I see your warnings about being a citizen as opposed to a partisan, and I appreciate the reminder. It’s crucial that we act with integrity and honesty, so as to not be ashamed before our God or create an opportunity for blasphemy. But what keeps running through my mind as I witness the info blackout on the election fraud, the deep commitment in the media to dishonesty and manipulation as well as the manifest intention of the leftists to destroy Christian family, churches and communities is “You can’t have a country like this.” I mean that citizenship seems absurd and impossible under these conditions.
Of course, I can practice neighborliness, and refuse to lie. And I would like to engage in responsible, informed citizenship with my fellow Americans from coast to coast, but when the institutions or our society are so craven, dishonest and abusive, what actually connects me with men of goodwill thousands of miles away? It seems to me that decent information is a minimum necessity.
What duty of citizenship do I owe to the leftists who fraudulently change the dictionary to cover for revolutionaries in Congress? Even Christ treated his brothers as enemies, refusing to speak plainly to them, when they suggested he go to his death at Jerusalem.
I would ask you to talk me off the ledge, but I’m not sure I’m standing on one. It seems to have evaporated beneath my feet.
Nathan, yes. These really are troubled times. But remember, as Corrie ten Boom once said, God has no problems, only plans. And He has a perfect plan for us in these times (Eph. 2:10). We were made for this time, and this time was made for us. And we can live like citizens even when the commonwealth has evaporated.
This is going to be a challenge for me to follow the biblical command to rebuke an older man like a father. I typically agree nearly everything you write. This post however, is so poorly reasoned it is difficult to know where to begin. The first problem is your characterization of what people who voted for Trump were voting for. I know so many marginal pro-lifers who voted for Trump. They voted for him because he didn’t speak to them like a politician. They felt like he spoke to them and not at them. They hoped for good jobs returning to the US. They hoped for less government waste, lower taxes, and secure borders. The abortion issue if it was an issue at all, for them it was secondary. These people were in no way judiciary repenting of abortion with their vote. For you to miss this I have to conclude your view is clouded by the environment you live. My son is a student a Logos Online School. He tells me there are pro-abortion students even in Logos. Every mainline denomination in the US supports abortion. Every mainstream media outlet supports abortion. Pop culture supports abortion. Where is this repentance coming from that you speak of? Even many evangelicals support abortion.
Your critique of those who believe we elected Biden with eyes wide open misses how the critique cuts the other way. Your argument is every major media establishment, multiple local governments, and tech companies are corrupt enough to conspire to steal the election while there was mass repentance of abortion by the electorate.
Your prayer should be that your eyes would be open to the actual condition of our country. You should pray that the Lord would grant real wholesale repentance of our nation not this pathetic excuse for judiciary repentance you speak of. I am not even sure what you mean by that.
For those of us who believe there was election fraud but reject this idea of our country voting for judiciary repentance of abortion, we know that the mail in voting system was enough to get the Democrats the needed votes to take the Executive Branch. They didn’t steal our repentance because our country has no desire to repent.
Finally, I’ve heard it said in our circles, abortion is a judgment from God for sexual sin. I believe we will certainly be given greater judgement for the sin of abortion. However, how can we repent of a sin that is in itself a judgment, without repenting for the initial sin of adultery that brought this judgement?
John, thanks for the kind words at the beginning, and thanks for the spirit of the admonition. I think we differ, but I don’t think it is the result of “poor reasoning.” I would attribute it to differences in the premises. I do agree with you that things are in a really bad way, even within the church. At one point above you say that you are not even sure what I mean by juridical repentance. I am not talking about the spirit of repentance that drove all Judea out to see John the Baptist. I mean some closer to what Ahab once did (1 Kings 21:29). And God responded to it.
How much of the current milieu do you think can be attributed to Fatherlessness? From Candace Owens Twitter feed:
The daddy issues are strong with many. It’s pretty incredible to consider that right now governments are like “in order to keep you safe, we need to impoverish you, imprison you, force mask and vaccinate you, plus separate you from your family” and there are millions of people out there that are just like “okay!”
Sam, I believe that fatherlessness is at the root of just about all of our problems.
On “Believing the Election Was a Fraud Can Be Key to Your Future Prayer Life” The little baggie of coke on the toilet seat from Antrim county Michigan looks more like a baggie of talcum powder suspiciously placed, see here: Given that this was a major part of the thesis for the election being stolen, my prayers will be leaning more towards option #2, Americans did this terrible thing with eyes wide open. It is not such a ridiculous proposition that at this moment, the other side appears to be winning.
Joel, Antrim County was not a major part of the thesis—it was a “for instance.” My conviction about the election is based on a comparison of the Trump and Biden campaigns, the media’s behavior during the campaign, Big Tech’s brazen censorship of voices questioning the results of the election, the last minute changes in voting processes, court battles to prevent third party forensic analysis, and the physical possibility of fraud. Let us assume for a moment that nobody cheated. And then assume that they did. What would be different about this second aftermath? I can’t think of anything.
Regarding your most recent blog, given the corrupt nature of this election, do you oppose him invoking his 2018 executive order to get to the bottom of this fraud?
Thanks in advance for your consideration
Bob, it depends entirely on what he invokes the executive order in order to do. If he goes in one direction, I would support it. If he goes in another, I move into opposition.
I love you and the men in my church love you (Cornerstone Church of Knoxville).
I am concerned you have closed your mind on this issue of massive election fraud and a stumbling block/idol altar is being established. Obviously a problem I’m confident you would avoid and have in many many cases! I also believe closing your mind is a good thing when the thing in your mind is worthy of biting into.
“In the hands of a capable prosecutor.” I guess Trump doesn’t possess any of these cause the court losses keep piling up. This is the key information I have to discredit the stolen election narrative. I’m still suspicious of foul play but where’s the beef?
Which brings me to my next question. Does the failure to prove massive fraud in multiple court cases not disturb your confidence? What’s the counter argument? Continued demands of fraud, if it in fact wasn’t fraudulent, would be unjust to those losing their vote in the process. The fraudulent narrative is HIGHLY actionable information! Which leads many in the church into action, but what if it’s misguided?! Do they become participants of evil?
I know this quick email is scattered but I’m trying to do this on my phone and I really do respect your thinking. Sorry if it’s not entirely clear.
Todd, thanks. I really am willing to bow to the facts. But there is a difference between bowing to facts and deferring to authorities. Facts cannot be threatened, or bribed, or intimidated. See my answer a few letters up. I don’t need a court to view the macro-situation the way I do. Sum it up this way. IF there was massive fraud, nothing about t
Re: “Why Believing the Election Was a Fraud Can Be Key to Your Future Prayer Life” This was enlightening (and deeply moving, incidentally). Since the election, I’ve been struggling to really believe that we could deserve anything other than a destruction like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, let alone a Trump victory. Apart from that, I am fully in your “massive fraud” category. While I absolutely believe that Trump won in a landslide, and even that there is still hope that this truth will result in another Trump presidency; and while I pray for justice to prevail according to our laws, and also pray such maledictions against the traitors as the ones you suggested; I can’t help but think that true justice for our atrocities as a nation would be a Biden presidency, and far worse. In that sense, I have been believing as you said the second group should logically believe, but does not (and I would note that I believed this consciously, and have been seeking a solution to this dilemma of conscience).
I had overlooked the point that you made about our votes as a form of societal repentance. While I need to think and pray about it some more—and talk to my priest—before I can be entirely sure of the problem in my thinking, I believe that this concept fills in the gaps. In that sense, your post is a timely and reassuring answer to prayer; I’ve listened to it a few times, and will likely listen a few more times, as I keep gleaning more with each review.
I appreciate your application of biblical principles and examples to our nation, because it’s harder for me to see that than it is to see how they apply to the realms of individuality, family, and the Church. Also, I highly value your reading of these posts.
Liv, thanks very much, and God bless.
Another thing: in either case, many Christian officials sinned against their consciences (smelling something but saying nothing, etc). We should pray that our Heavenly Father be kind to them and give a good repentance and strengthen them in defending the defenseless and restraining evil. We need all the sane lesser magistrates we can get, and a magistrate with a bad conscience can’t be relied upon.
Keith, yes, and amen.
I have a practical question. I believe that evidence of fraud in the election is overwhelming. It is clear to me that Donald Trump won and the DNC stole it in a few key locations. As I write this, there seems a very real possibility that Trump may impose the use of his 2018 executive order regarding foreign meddling in US elections. I am very concerned about the cheating in this election. I am also very concerned that Trump may refuse to leave office based on an executive order. I think there has been foreign meddling in this election and I think Trump is the rightful president. If Trump were to pull executive fiat out as a means for staying in power, should Christians support Trump’s bid to stay in the White House or condemn that as a naked power grab? I would personally prefer Trump be the president, so I know what I want to be the right thing. Perhaps he won’t do this and this is moot, but I would like to seriously consider a response in advance if possible.
Terry, I believe that Christians should be opposed to every form of arbitrary power. And if Trump moves into that territory, we should be opposed to that. At the same time, since he would be likely to leave evangelicals alone, we should use the respite we would likely get as a time of repentance and teaching, so that we might grow to the place where in the church knew what we were supposed to do.
Remember this conversation between Studdock, Hardcastel, Filostrato and Feverstone?
“Ah. It’ll hardly affect her. In the meantime, you and I have got to get busy about the account of the riot”
“But—what’s it all for?”
“Emergency regulations,” said Feverstone. “You’ll never get the powers we want at Edgestow until the Government declares that a state of emergency exists there.”
“Exactly,” said Filostrato. “It is folly to talk of peaceful revolutions. Not that the canaglia would always resist—often they have to be prodded into it—but until there is the disturbance, the firing, the barricades—no one gets powers to act effectively. There is not enough what you call weight on the boat to steer him.”
States of emergency seem to benefit the State.
The state is like the hydra who looks to have one of its heads cut off in order to grow two in its place.
May God grant us a Hercules.
Todd, thanks for the citation. Lewis saw a lot of things coming.
Why Believing the Election Was a Fraud Can Be Key to Your Future Prayer Life “Those Christians who believe the election was honest tend to do so because they believe that our system is still basically healthy.”
Well, no, not exactly. They tend to believe the election was honest for lack of any evidence to the contrary. They tend to dismiss the charges because the plaintiff was afforded multiple opportunities but offered up nothing of substance.
They consider too that the fraud alleged would require too many co-conspirators in too many places, both Republican and Democrat. If indeed the election was fraudulent, if “they” could pull it off, our political system is more deeply and thoroughly, and fundamentally corrupt than even you seem ready to acknowledge. If the election was a fraud and Trump actually won, our system is hopelessly corrupt in a somewhat different way than you mean; not only morally depraved but corrupt in a more basic sense of the word when it applies to politics. If it is corrupt in that way and to that degree, *every* purported election result is suspect, not just the reported result of the Presidential election. In that case, nobody should feel bad about not voting at all. If you believe that make sure Georgians get the memo. Me, I don’t believe that and I’m hoping the Republicans keep the Senate. I will pray for governing officials in any case and my prayers for them will be the same no matter who they are.
John, I am quite prepared to believe that things are really, really bad. And again, see above.
There is one thing that makes me thankful amidst all these goings-on. If one side was going to cheat in plain sight of the American people, (cheat literally in real-time, with most of the nation watching as suddenly 35,000 votes for Biden were entered), I am thankful that it was the Democratic party who did it. Republicans are also capable of corruption of course. But I think there are honest, well-meaning people who previously believed the lie that the Democratic party was the party of love, honesty, care, and goodwill. Now their true colors have been revealed and honest people everywhere are being given the opportunity to rethink their political assumptions.
Leslie, thank you.
“Reflections on a Pig’s Breakfast Presidential Maneuver” John Adams once said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The problem with America is that a large portion of our population has become immoral and irreligious. Yet most Christians in our nation are exasperated because the dry bones of what used to be our republic aren’t standing up and operating without the Spirit. When we are governed with diverse weights and measures, we are simply experiencing the reality of being governed by men and women who have a name that they live, but who are yet dead in their trespasses and sins. As Christians in America, I feel that like Ezekiel, we are standing over the dry boneyard of our once great nation with God asking us, “Son of Adam, can these bones live?” And all we can say is, “Lord, you know.”
God help us! Give us utterance to prophesy to these bones, and by your grace and Spirit grant our nation repentance unto life! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, and has always been, the only thing that can save America.
Josh, amen, and amen again.
You have had a tremendous influence in my life, more than what the average person might realize if they don’t know me. Thank you for shaping and molding me by God’s grace through His Word and for His glory. Serious question, and a little bit random: Have you read “How the Nations Rage” by Jonathan Leeman. I have found that he gets knocked quite a bit by people in our crowd but I have found quite a good deal of overlap with you like how politics are war of religions and that all politics will serve some form of worship, that all governments will serve some god, and that all laws push someone’s morality. Clearly, there are also somethings that he is more neutral on compared to you. (Probably, more interactions living in the DC area for so long, and trying to find essential common ground with folks to “live peaceably with others”.) But would love to know if you’ve read it and your thoughts on some areas of differences. And if you haven’t, would love for you to check it out in the future and write a review/give your thoughts.
You are almost like a father to me. Thank you for so much.
Ace, I have not read it. But on your recommendation, I just ordered it.
Montessori Education? And Gary North on Education?
Recently I have been thinking of it in two different sections: newborn to three years old and school-age education.
Having had several students transfer to our school from a Montessori school I find that they struggle in ways that students transferring from other schools do not. Specifically with keeping to a schedule and engaging in topics that are not ones they chose. We have also had students transfer from Montessori schools that seem diametrically opposed to one another. One transferred because they were not learning enough academics and another because their Montessori school was demanding that kindergarteners learn multiplication. I have a hard time understanding how both of those schools are under the Montessori umbrella. I find that many of the child-centric principles both put students at a disadvantage and are dishonoring to God.
However, when considering the toys offered for newborns to three years old, I find that I like some of the themes that I am seeing: natural materials, a lack of overly electronic doodads, and well-made toys that encourage problem-solving. I am a diehard endorser of Classical Christian education, but it has left me wondering if there are some redeeming qualities or ideas worth considering.
Thank you for your time and thoughts.
Brittany, I am not well read enough on Montessori methods to offer any kind of detailed critique. But I can say that at the level of an outside observer, I would tend to be suspicious of the child-centric assumptions that appear to go into it.
First, I want to say thank you for all you do. Your ministry has been a huge help and clarifying force for me in marriage, ministry, and life. I really appreciate your courage and demeanor, and especially your sarcasm! It is a breath of fresh air.
I am writing to bring a book to your attention that a friend of mine recently published. It is a satirical book claiming to disprove Calvinism. I enjoy your book reviews quite a bit and thought this might be one to consider.
I was also wondering if there are any places online or in print where you have interacted with Gary North, especially on education. I know you both are big advocates of Christian education, but with very different views on the best kind.
I appreciate your time if you’ve made it this far! God bless you and your ministry!
I don’t want to jump on you like all those Glock fanatics did (I myself prefer an H&K), but having traversed the road between Lynchburg and Culpeper many times, I can’t help pointing out that there are no toll booths on Route 29 (nor on any alternative routes).
Philip, I put toll booths there because I needed toll booths there. Think of it as an alternative universe Virginia.
Lutheran Kudos and Complaint
I’m a conservative confessional Lutheran but I am always embellished by you’re Biblical content, humor, joy in God’s created gifts, and I appreciative your faithfulness to your own Reformed Confessions. My question concerns “God Rest Ye Merry”, which I have been reading this Advent. It’s a phenomenal book and has made be bubble with delight in expectation of Christmas. In devotion day 8, you seem to look down upon Dickens’ Christmas Carol as “a humanistic feel good ghost story” and I’m asking in the kindest and merriest way possible, what gives? It seems to me that is a beautiful tale of the power of redemption and the beauty of memory, while it altogether leaves out Christ. How can we balance appropriately correcting the errors of a narrative while also rejoicing in the truth that it recognizes (perhaps Lewis would have some thoughts about this)? Also, what are your thoughts on Chesterton’s belief in Santa Claus, is he just crazy or is he onto something? God’s Blessings and Merry Christmas! In Christ,
Wil, after I wrote that I read Chesterton on Dickens, which caused me to lighten up (just a little bit). And where did Chesterton write on Santa? He would, too.
Well, I’ve taken the leap and sold my home in order to make the move towards radical Christian community such as you are chasing in Moscow but am not sure what to do next. I felt God saying to sell and take the next step so I did that. I am sitting on the proceeds of my house sale, have a wife who is on board, am renting and have a job wherein I could move to Moscow but I don’t really feel called to that at this point. I’m outside Atlanta and would love to get connected with other likeminded folks in the area but you haven’t plodded your way to making the “Start Your Own Moscow” app/website yet. Is that in the works?
In all seriousness, where do I go from here?
Thank you for all you do and may God bless you and your ministry.
Jeff, not sure how much help I can be. I would just encourage you, as you make your relocation decisions, to prioritize worship, number one, education for your kids, number two, and extended family number three
I am almost finished reading “Ride, Sally, Ride”, with one chapter to go. When you were listing what different states did in the penultimate chapter, I asked myself, what does Doug envision for Canada? Then you answered: Alberta applied for statehood. I laughed hard when I read that, because I live in Alberta! Born in Calgary, raised in Airdrie.
But please pray for us. With our current “Conservative” premier, Jason Kenney, who wants a job in Ottawa, we will not secede. If the New Democrats and Rachel Notley return to power, we will not secede. But your novel is set 20 years in the future, so there is hope.
Kenney has vocally resisted swallowing us whole in a total lockdown, but has still taken chomps. Yet my church is continuing to meet at full capacity in Calgary, and we have been praying for you and for Christ Church. We even ordered several copies of Cantus Christi!
So pray that we will have a heart of wisdom, and endure with patience and grace the persecution we are presently facing. Thank you. We all love you and your ministry. I have read five of your other books and your Revelation commentary is the reason I am an optimist today!
God bless you,
Christopher, thanks very much. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Alberta—my mother was from there. So I kind of am, I suppose.
On Some of My Writing
Do you still stand by your book “Southern Slavery: as it was” ?
Haven, in a manner of speaking . . .
I can not thank you enough for your prolific writing (and other media). It never fails that when I search for a topic, lo and behold, you’ve written on it! Recently I was discussing OT feast days with a friend and easily found a statement you had written and adopted at your church. It was exactly what I was looking for to further my discussion with my friend. As soon as I found it, I thought, “Of course he wrote something. He has written on EVERYTHING!” I greatly admire you and thank God He has given you to my generation. Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you abundantly!
Bess, thanks very much, and many blessings back.