Thanks for what you do sir. It’s helped me tremendously. Especially during last year’s craziness. Please continue telling everyone that it’s either Christ or Chaos. I first found you because of man rampant. Then I went down the rabbit hole. I even bought the app! Lol.
Shaun, you have responded correctly.
Thank you for all the work you’re doing, we really appreciate it even in southern California. My question was in regards to how Christians should do business or if we are being righteous by choosing on who to do business with. I have a guy I used to get my haircut with for a couple years , he does a great job and I always enjoyed the service but over the last two haircuts I started to notice he was “transitioning,” as they call it. I always thought he was just a punk in the way he dressed, but now he is full on dressing like a woman, with makeup and the whole thing, and the receptionist referred to him as a she during my last haircut. Am I justified on looking for a new barber or is it unchristian like to do so? Thank you
Eric, this is completely your choice. It is not unchristian at all to avoid those who are flaunting their sin, and so you have complete liberty to go elsewhere. But if you had the sort of relationship with him where you thought you could share the gospel with him, in such a way that would not end in a major lawsuit or something, then feel free to do that.
The Heads of the Beast
Thank you for everything you are doing to further the kingdom of God. I’m a bi-vocational youth pastor in rural Alabama, and I have personally found your work to be helpful and edifying in my walk with Christ. I have recently been studying eschatology, and have watched several videos on YouTube of RC Sproul and yourself discussing a preterist or post-mil view. When I read the Bible, it seems that this view makes the most sense. I was raised dispensational pre-mil, and for a long time I shied away from studying eschatology because it seemed too far-fetched for me to wrap my head around. As I have grown, the preterist post-mil view seems to flow naturally with Scripture and line up with what Christ himself had to say on the subject of last things. I just have one mental block that I can’t seem to shake concerning Nero’s involvement in the whole thing.
My question is how can Nero be the Beast when the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was carried out by Vespasian?
Thank you for your time.
Will, thanks. Nero was not the beast, but rather one of the seven heads of the beast. The beast is the Roman Empire, and the beast had seven heads. The seven heads were seven hills (upon which Rome sat), and they were also seven kings. Five were (Julius, Augustus, et al), one is (Nero), and one is to come.
In a recent Blog & Mablog podcast the narrator mentions that he is a preterist. I am curious if there is any podcast where he expands on those views . . . and maybe he can give his opinion on Mike Winger’s recent podcasts discussing preterism. Thank you for your time,
Baptism and Covenant
I had a question about covenantal theology. I’m presently a Baptist, though I’ve become convinced of covenantal theology and am now trying to put the pieces the together as far as paedobaptism is concerned. I reached out to a theologian friend who leans covenantal but is still credo-baptist and asked him about the New Covenant. His reply was interesting and I was curious what you would say in reply.
He says he generally endorses Covenant Theology as a system, but is concerned when the collective is put before the individual rather than vice versa. He says that if the newness of the new covenant is first and foremost God’s act to write it on the heart (Jer. 31), then covenant membership should flow from that. So he agrees that both circumcision and baptism are signs of the covenant but the nature of the symbols differs quite a bit and we have to imagine the New Covenant sign to be ordered toward what makes the New Covenant new: the writing of the law on people’s hearts.
Hopefully I understood his reply thoroughly enough to give it justice. Would love you thoughts.
Thank you for your ministry!
Mike, thanks. There are many ways to respond to this, but let me choose just one. God not only promises to write His law in our hearts, He promises to do it from “the least to the greatest.” Who are the least? Do a study on that phrase throughout the book of Jeremiah, and it will be increasingly difficult to exclude infants, who are certainly among the least.
Okay to be White
Re: It Really is Okay to be White and Black and Tan
I was listening to Black & Tan on the wonderful Canon Press app. You wrote something to the effect that Western European culture was in better shape than some others because the gospel had had more opportunity to work in it. I agree
Yet I have often wondered how come Greek culture, for instance, was far more advanced than, say, North American culture about the time Christ was born. The gospel hadn’t been worked there and this was only 2600 years or so after the Flood and even less after the Tower of Babel. How could the cultures of the world have been so disparate in such a short period of time after the entire human culture had been one? Another way of asking the question is how could some cultures have lost so much of the technology and advancement that was present at Babel?
Bill, I think the answer is simply sin. How can former aerospace engineers end up on skid row? I believe that human civilization prior to the Flood was wicked, but extremely sophisticated. Those memories and abilities were carried over after the Flood (including in America: Aztecs, Incas, Mayans). But other groups veered off and became much more primitive. So I don’t believe “savages” represent an earlier stage of evolution. Rather they represent devolution, a consequence of sin.
Re “It Really is Okay to be White,” your explication of the heart of the matter is excellent—thank you! I find the terms “ethnic vainglory” and “ethnic animosity” to be very helpful, accurate, and relevant. But I think there may be at least one other category of sin that often appears in ethnic controversies, though I’m struggling to give it a name that I’m as satisfied with as I am with your terms above.
So I would be very interested in your comments, and perhaps you can come up with an equally accurate bit of terminology for sin typified by the young woman in this story.
It seems she claimed to be a victim of racism (ethnic animosity) on extremely flimsy/nonexistent grounds, but I don’t believe the story supports a theory of her motivation or sin being envy, exactly.
“All I did was be Black,” Ms. Kanoute wrote. “It’s outrageous that some people question my being at Smith College, and my existence overall as a woman of color.”
Being a student at Smith college places her within an (arguably enviable) elite minority among persons of all ethnicities, and I think I recall reading somewhere that she comes from a wealthy family in Mali.
In any case, it’s at least conceivable that an exceptionally privileged member of a typically less fortunate ethnic minority might claim to be a victim of ethnically motivated animosity when, in truth, the animosity is based on something else—or doesn’t exist at all.
Actually, this might be an even better example, in which the former First Lady cites racism as the motive for a woman who cut in front of her in line at an ice cream shop when she “had told the Secret Service to stand back because we were trying to be normal, trying to go in . . . and once again, when I’m just a Black(sic) woman, I notice that white (also sic) people don’t even see me. They’re not even looking at me.”
Now I’m thinking that, despite being a white male, I’m basically a normal person (what she claimed she was trying to be), and people don’t really look at me when I go to an ice cream shop, either. They look at the menu—or perhaps the ice cream itself—but, you know, they didn’t come to see me. And sometimes, focused as they are on other things, people have cut in front of me too. That’s just the kind of stuff that happens to normal people.
Then Mrs. O. goes on to explain “What white folks don’t understand” about racism.
So what do we call this sin? Again, I don’t believe it’s envy. I’m pretty sure being white hardly affords the average white person a more privileged status than the First Lady. Why then does she, like the woman in the first story, immediately assume that her ethnicity is the basis for what were really in both cases just pretty ordinary human interactions? What is their motive for making such serious allegations against those “lower status” individuals?
I agree with your premise that there’s no such thing as racism, and what we’re really talking about is sin. Thank you for the clarification, and I’m very interested in your thoughts along the same lines on what I’ve put forth here. I apologize for the wordiness; I hope I’ve been reasonably clear. Blessings to you.
Michael, thanks. When I talk about ethnic vainglory, I am usually talking about the vainglory of the ethnic group that has the upper hand—but it can work both ways. In a time when being a victim is prized, and people inflate their experiences in order to be able to claim that status, it is a reverse form of ethnic vainglory. That would be my understanding at least.
This letter is interacting with “It Really is ok to be White” I think your distinction between sinful and non-sinful ethnic prejudice is helpful, and I agree that we have to have a category of prejudice that is not sinful. Prejudice is often wise and prudent for finite beings in a complex world, but it seems to me that prejudice can be harmful/sinful even if the pre-judger would theoretically be open to evidence to the contrary because of the possibility of a feedback loop. Going back to your Italian example, that stereotype might be helpful for travelers to secure their wallets but it could quickly lead to the criminal justice system being quicker to charge and convict Italians which then would provide further evidence to back up the stereotype and now you’ve got yourself a nasty cycle. Could you elaborate on where exactly you think the line should be drawn?
Another distinction that I don’t see very often in Evangelical circles is between empirical observations a Marxist makes, and Marxism/Critical Theory as a framework and/or ideology. Yoram Hazony and other conservatives have often quipped that Marxists are great at identifying problems in society, but they misdiagnose the root cause and thus are terrible at coming up with solutions, but statements like this require the ability distinguish a philosophical framework from empirical observations made by people holding that framework. I’m thinking that one reason why Critical Theory has gotten such a hold on the Evangelical world is that Christians fail to make this distinction so if they become convinced that a specific empirical observation is true, then they end up adopting the whole framework/ideology of the people making that observation. Do you think this distinction is valid or helpful at all?
Mason, on your second point, I agree completely. If you come to trust a doctor’s diagnoses, it is much easier to trust his remedies. But they are not the same thing at all. On your first point, I agree with that also. An individual has the liberty to stay out of bad neighborhoods, and no blood, no foul. But the cops don’t have that liberty, and neither does the justice system. So what I would advocate is a rigorous system of training in what constitutes justice before anyone is trusted with coercive power.
Re: It Really is Okay to be White: Ok, I can’t tell.. did we ever come out of No Quarter November? I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhogs Day, but in the best possible way.
Thank you for Blog and Mablog, and for the rest of the ministries that come out of Moscow. They are really helping to stir up a growing number of men and women here in Iowa to stand upon God’s word, and recognize Jesus as King for all of life.
P.S. – I’m not sure how many more apologies I can afford to my wife. The Canon App has so much great content, I struggle to put it down.
Tyler, thanks for the kind words.
“It really is ok to be white”
You have an amazing way at saying what many of us know but can’t say well. It’s a very neat gift. Thank you for speaking for us. I felt freed up at the end of this one. BTW, what brand and type of new truck did you get? Do you enjoy it?
Sam, I now have an F150 Lariat. I am very grateful for it.
I am working through Ploductivity (which has been extremely helpful) and your comments on imitation stood out to me. As a preacher, I recognize the value of imitation but I always feel a quandary when I am gleaning insights from good Christian authors, podcasts, sermons, etc. My quandary is that I don’t want to just preach to my flock the latest book that I am reading, but I want to preach the Bible.
Am I off base in having that conflict or is this something to watch out for? One thing I have tried to make a habit of is not to rely too much on anything I have read RECENTLY. I like to let things simmer in my mind and if it is valuable and worth sharing I have a suspicion that it will stay there.
Thanks for all you do,
Johnathan, you are not off base at all, and your strategy seems to me to be a very good one. The one exception I would make would be if you learned something recently, and yet a slam dunk exegetical case can be made for it.
A Joint Statement?
I’m very grateful for your writing and speaking on a number of topics: from fetal tissue vaccines (you changed the mind of a friend of mine) to statism, Romans 13 and masks etc.—I’ve been hunting for your 21 false assumptions about Romans 13 sermon but could not find (it was referenced in a Rebel Alliance podcast).
I particularly like your spoken succinctly and biblical summaries and catchy phrases/No-Quarter statements. Makes it memorable!
Now, please forgive me for a shameless plea: have you ever dreamt of a theological Great Barrington Declaration, around which Christians of many colors and stripes (or stars and bars if you prefer) can unite?
You and a few other excellent brothers share roughly the same robust biblical mind on love, statism, masks, [email protected] etc. — can I beg you in Christ to work together with such brethren to produce something outstanding and globally applicable that all believers (who share your essential perspective) can align themselves behind?!
I’m doing my best with God’s favour to interest some of the authors on this page:
There are about 8 on board with the vision statement excluding me, with varying amounts of time available, covering Australia, Canada, America, South Africa and the UK—and crossing multiple denominations.
Once again apologies for the intrusion, and with much gratitude for your writings and clarity, especially at this time.
Thomas, it is a great idea in principle. Some of the difficulty would be the “hours in the day” problem, some of it would be discomfort on one end of the bell curve with whoever is on the other end of it, and some of it (unfortunately) would be rivalry and turf concerns.
Working On It
I wanna know where we can buy those Soviet Moscow stickers!
Megan, great idea.
Plodcast ???: High Tech Agrarians:
Pastor Wilson, I have walked a tightrope for many years on this matter, striving not to fall into Niagara Falls on either the right side or the left. On one end of my balancing pole I have a smart phone, laptop, desktop, bluetooth syncing car, and a handy-dandy wiretap courtesy of Google, which I have named Alexa. On the other end of my pole I have leather bound hardback books, board games, a wood burning fireplace, a garden, 9 chickens, 2 dogs, and I generally keep Alexa unplugged from the wall.
I am inclined to throw all the techno-gee-wizardry into the burn barrel out back, douse it with gasoline, and roast some weenies. But I wouldn’t be able to listen to your Plodcast if I did that, so I continue to walk along the quavering rope, mindful that Niagara is constantly dousing it with overspray. The way forward is probably a bit slippery.
Thank you for providing a calm and reasoned reminder that technology is not evil. I knew that about guns, but sometimes when I see the death of an entire culture swirling the drain of Apple’s latest piece of nonsense, I really do want to blame the microchip. While self-driving corn harvesters might not have been welcomed by the thinkers in the Old Antebellum South (a land I dearly love), God has granted us that today. GPS isn’t evil and Rand McNally wasn’t a saint.
Our hearts are evil and we get lost in our cell phones because we lack a vital fruit of the Spirit called self-control. We also lack manners, morals, common decency, and any sense of propriety. But the iPad didn’t create that, it merely exposed it.
Malachi, yes, you are right. We have to walk a tightrope, and the balancing pole is a long one.
The Pence Rule
Hello Pastor Doug, A few weeks ago you wrote something about how pastors (and men in general) should seek to be careful when interacting with women as a safeguard to avoiding sexual immorality. I would like your views on this article (by the Gospel Coalition) which says that men endeavouring to be careful can make women feel they are dangerous. Thoughts?
Kip, I haven’t had time to go through the article, but I can say this much. Women should feel like they are dangerous. Of course they are dangerous. And the most dangerous are those who don’t understand what the danger is.
Pietism and Heaven?
My wife Elizabeth and I have translated “Paula, the Waldensian” into Dutch. In the preface I presume that the author’s strong emphasis on going to Heaven after we die is due to the influence of late romantic dualism (the earth is bad, heaven is good) of the 19th century. I did not do any interpretative historical research on this (which I admit in this preface), but I remember N.T. Wright saying during a Fuller conference that equating the Gospel with “going to haven after we die” was based on 19th century dualism. Is there any way I can verify my statement?
Yours in Christ,
Hugo & Elizabeth
Hugo and Elizabeth, the Bible does provide plenty of encouragement for the individual believer along these lines (absent from the body/present with the Lord), and individuals have always been naturally concerned with the question. The problem of dualism arises, not when we look forward to being with the Lord in Paradise, but rather when we confuse that intermediate state with our final and eternal state, after the resurrection of the body.
A Sound Reductio
Re: Collapse of Secular Man
Just speaking as a white male oppressor here, I keep wondering when my co-oppressors will join me in asking the aggrieved classes what exactly is wrong about my oppressing them. Gnome sane? They just keep assuming oppression is bad, but everything they tell me is wrong with it sounds like something good for me and my oppressor classmates. What could be better than abundant slave labor and women you can actually buy and own? Because if we’re going all the way with the relativism thing, oppression sounds like a relatively good gig—for me —and as for you, relativism gives me no reason to care whether you like it or not. Your misery is just “your truth,” all bottled up inside your head. And me getting rich off you is “my truth,” which is nice for me.
Steve, you have grasped the implications nicely.
I wanted to write to you and see if you can recommend a few of what you consider to be the best Christian philosophy books, or just the best philosophy books in general . . . I am currently reading He is There and He is not Silent by Francis Schaeffer, and want to dig more deeply into the subject.
Logan, on the assumption that you mean worldview engagement and cultural implications, I think the best place to start would be Idols for Destruction.