Some Libertarian Interaction
This article challenges my Christian Libertarianism. Thank you. Nevertheless, as a Christian first and Libertarian somewhere probably around 5th or so, I’ve qualified my Libertarianism as many (including you) have qualified their Conservatism/Republicanism. Can arguments similar in effect to the one you provide above not be leveled at anything short of Rushdoonian Theonomic Reconstruction?
You could argue most Republicans only provide lip-service to the sacred reality of family and its principles of government and so it is also no party with which to identify as a Christian. And is there not a top Conservative or Republican theorist who has similar to R. Paul (over)emphasized individual rights and/or consent to the apparent neglect of group/family rights? In a future installment I’d love to read why a Christian who is pro-life and pro-biblical-marriage can’t/shouldn’t vote Libertarian. Don’t bother if the answer is akin to “God doesn’t like drugs and prostitution”—that’s enough to not have supported Trump as embarrassingly as you did.
Stephen, now, now. I didn’t support Trump embarrassingly. I cite as evidence the fact that I am not embarrassed. And I should clarify something. Given a choice between Joe Biden and Ron Paul, I would vote for Paul without even blinking. I would even drive across the country to sit in the gallery in silent support during Ron Paul’s fifth impeachment hearings.
Liberty Redefined | As a young thirty-something single man, who really probably ought to be married to a godly anti-feminist (woman), thank you for continuing to stand for the true foundation of liberty: The Family and Marriage.
Trey, thanks much. And I’ll bet she is out there.
On Taking Offense
Giving and Taking Offense
Pastor Wilson, you have said,
“It’s often a sin to give offense.
It’s always a sin to take offense.”
I intuitively agree, but could you please provide biblical grounds for your second statement? Many thanks.
Pierre, the kind of response that I had in mind as sinful would be summed up in passages like this: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). Taking offense is the impulse that wants to hit back when Jesus tells us to just take it.
I wrote to you last year, when the first of the stimuli were rising out the swamp and scurrying toward our bank accounts, looking for advice on what to do with them. To be honest, I didn’t really find any individuals or families in dire need of financial assistance, so I had to start thinking in a different direction.
Given that our enemies have formed an odd habit of air dropping huge piles of funny money to their enemies (e.g. Iran, the American people, etc.), I have decided to follow their cues, spin up the centrifuges, and convert the $16,400 of stimuli into weapons-grade stimuli. The first $8,000 has been committed to the local pro-life pregnancy clinic. The next $8,400 will go to some good, conservative seminaries. After that, who knows.
I just saw a few minutes ago that this idea of turning the tables on Kamala, Joe, and Nancy is starting to enter other people’s minds.
Instead of selling out and emasculating ourselves for a new car or some new siding on the house, I propose we fight back.
The Lord is great and greatly to be praised.
A. Non (A Moose)
Anon, good thinking.
I appreciated your take on the upcoming stimulus checks. We are putting ours toward student loan debt.
Speaking of this, there is talk amongst the Resident Biden crew that $10k of student loan debt could be wiped. Currently, my husband and I have $32,000 total in student loan debt. It is our only debt left. We are currently renting and have three kids, 5 and under, with one on the way and we are hoping to be in a home soon, which would bring more debt of course. We have saved approximately $17k in the last several months solely for paying off the debt (we stopped regular payments because under COVID they stopped the delinquency and interest) but have waited to pay it down in case they clear $10k, in which we would be debt free (until we are able to get into a house). Is this wise? If they do this (although I’m not sure if you would have a choice to refuse) I am concerned there might be strings attached. We are also very close to being able to pay it off ourselves—hoping to by this summer.
What would you recommend, being a man who understands the times? Is there a valid reason to be hesitant or should we wait it out?
Thank you again for your faithfulness to biblical teaching!
Sarah, I think you should assume that there are always strings attached. And I would reiterate my general advice to try to avoid taking the payments for yourself.
Sexual by Design
This isn’t about one of your blog posts, but I had a question come up while watching the Sexual by Design Q&A. Around the 1 hour and 1 minute and 30 second mark, in answering the question “can you be Christian and gay,” you had said that you had homosexuals in your church, but that as long as they didn’t act on their homosexuality, they could still be part of the church.
I recognize that you probably answered those questions differently than you would’ve to a group of faithful Christians, but your answer sounded strangely similar to the mission statement of the Revoice conference, something that I believe you have condemned/would condemn. It didn’t seem to line up with what I expected your answer to be. Can you help me understand what you meant? Because I would think that your approach to counseling someone within your church body struggling with homosexual temptation would be something like “your sin does not define you, you are not gay, you are being tempted with this sin.” But the Gospel does not leave us in our sin; if we are in Christ, all sin must be mortified, including homosexuality. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a Christian won’t struggle with the temptation in the future, but if you are in Christ then you can’t be defined by anything else, including any particular sin, right?
I write this as someone who has greatly benefited from your ministry, writings, speaking, and influence in my parents’ lives, so, thank you for all you do.
CB, you are right. I do object to “gay” as an identity. As I was using it there, I was going up the steps two at a time. I don’t have anyone in our congregation who identifies as gay. I have counseled people whose temptations lie in that direction, which was my point.
Because of recent conversations with my (elderly, godly, patriotic) dad in which he regularly expresses utterly incredulity at the “illogic” of the widespread recent social upheavals (e.g. denial of biology (male/female), racist math, defund the police, etc.), I am printing some of your “Engaging the Culture” articles and giving him them to read. He really enjoys them . . . in fact I am giving him this one (When the Dogs Ate Jezebel).
But also, I “dusted off” my “How Should We then Live” by Francis Schaeffer and read a few chapters to discuss with him how we should have been seeing these things coming for a long time . . . as you also point out in this “When the Dogs Ate Jezebel” article.
May I ask you, sir, regarding “How Should We then Live” . . .
Do you agree with Francis Schaeffer in general?
Are there any specific important areas where you would disagree with him in the book? * Are there any more recent and/or better books along the same lines which you would recommend?
Thank you very much,
Robert, I agree with Schaeffer in general, and do not have any significant disagreements with him with regard to How Shall We Then Live? For further study, I would recommend Idols for Destruction, by Schlossberg.
Marriage and Stuff
I am 19 years old and unmarried. I would like to get married soon, but my concern is what happens after. I am in the process of preparing myself for that. My mom has voiced that she would like me to wait until I can afford my own home, but who knows how long that could take. I’m not sure how much longer I can remain unmarried because of sexual temptation. My question is should I wait to get married as soon as I’m stable enough to buy my own home, or stable enough to rent?
JC, I would encourage you to work at a pace that will enable you to afford to get married sooner rather than later. This will help you get married sooner, and it will help keep you free of sexual distractions. Get three jobs if you have to.
The Biblical Necessity of Free Speech
Hello Pastor Doug,
I very much enjoyed your post about the biblical case for free speech in society. Perhaps I enjoyed it all the more because you made a lot of very similar points to a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. I wrote about much of the same things and emphasized the need for Christian individuals and churches to not just support free speech on a government level, but also practice free speech in their daily lives in an effort to destroy every argument and bring every thought captive to Christ. That is why it is concerning when businesses start shutting down and opposing free speech platforms like Gab and Parler. Even if it is legal in a free society to do so (which is certainly questionable in ways), it is violating the broader principle of free speech set forth in Scripture.
Anyway, I am a college student and have only been writing articles for a couple of years, so seeing you make similar arguments and points was very informative and encouraging. I have also included the link to my article in case you would want to take a quick look at the writing of someone who has learned and greatly benefited from both the style and content of your writings.
Re: The Biblical Necessity of Free Speech
The core of free speech in the era of the Gospel church is that we’re trying to get people to actually believe something in order to be saved. This can neither be faked nor coerced. The kernel idea of being convinced to truly believe something is, in my mind, the absolute center of liberty of expression. I can’t stick a gun in somebody’s ribs and order them to believe, not only because I ought not, but because the victim CAN not. Cortes reportedly marched the Aztecs into a lake at cannon-point, ordered them all to duck under water, then declared them to be baptized Christians. Somehow, it didn’t work. People actually have to believe.
The recipe of Big Left nowadays is the same thing in reverse. The power of government has dunked the culture in a sewer of atheism and absurdity, ordering everyone NOT to believe in creation, NOT to believe in exactly two sexes, NOT to believe in the right to private property, NOT to believe that hating white people is racism, NOT to believe that killing unborn babies is murder, and on and on. The reason Big Left keeps ratcheting up the pressure is because coercion isn’t working for them any better than it did for Cortes.
Just a bit of madly optimistic thinking here, but maybe America is approaching a teachable moment. Maybe we’ll be able to say to this wretched nation that our Redeemer taught is it’s better to persuade people (2 Cor 5:11) than compel them to utter things they don’t actually believe. Maybe not. But like the old Arab said to Judah Ben Hur, “Perhaps it is impossible, but does it not delight the imagination?”
Steve, nice. I think you have something there.
Just a thought.
I think this next decade is going to be one of demarcating lines, not within America, but in the American Church. We can already see many pastors and churches scampering over to Woke land, where the sun is always shining, and you are greeted with bags of cash. While on the reformed side the pressure is mounting.
In fact, if I were a Lefty with an agenda (but I repeat myself), I would start an organized targeting of all churches in a given area, one city at a time, and have a team of gay couples go to the church and ask to be married there. If the church acquiesced, they get the Woke Gift Basket, if not, they get sued and their 501c3 status revoked. There could be a similar targeted attempts in Christian schools, say, requiring certain sex ed classed to be taught. This would certainly draw stark lines quickly.
Honestly, I don’t know why this hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it is and I just haven’t heard. Now, I don’t want to give anyone any ideas, but this seems like an easy, surefire way of taking a crowbar to the knees of the church, at least from a worldly perspective.
From a spiritual perspective, I daresay it might actually be good in the long term; separating the dead flesh from the healthy is the first step in healing.
Can you recommend some books, articles, or other resources for ministering to those justly in prison?
I may find the need to later ask you for the same regarding those who have been imprisoned unjustly, as it seems our continent and culture has just recently gotten around to that.
Nate, I am afraid I am going to have to crowd source this one. I am really not current on resources for prison ministry. But I’ll bet a number of our readers are . . . people?
Masks Haven’t Gone Away Yet
We watched your Q&A posted on the Content Cluster Muster and appreciate your consistent balance between strength and grace. We have a lot to learn and are hoping you can provide some guidance.
We live in Houston, and even though our illustrious (said with an eye roll) governor recently returned our freedoms that he had no right abridging in the first place, we still are struggling to live normal lives here. The majority liberal populace still walk around masked, and there’s an active battle over whether businesses will allow free-face customers. Whenever we are denied entry anywhere—which is frequent—we always ask, “So you’re discriminating against me for not putting a mask on my face?”
Without any executive order in place, we fail to see the ground that businesses have to refuse entry to us, when for the past several years we’ve seen Christian after Christian lose his livelihood for refusing service to others based on religious grounds. If Jack Philips has to bake the cake, why doesn’t the store have to let us in? The double standard boggles our minds.
We are contemplating getting an attorney to see if we can bring some lawsuits against these businesses. Given your ability to balance a love for the lost with a healthy dose of confidence, we are wondering what you think about this. It seems to be the play that’s been successfully used against Christians for years, and it would be nice to go on the offensive on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have been under attack. On the other hand, we want to be winsome Christians and not troublemakers. There are other places we can go—which has been the argument we have used against those wreaking havoc against our side. Would we be vengeful hypocrites to “give them a dose of their own medicine,” or would it be a legal and acceptable way to fight for our rights as Americans?
Thank you for your time and wisdom,
JJ, I would encourage you not to go the route of giving them a dose of their own medicine. Nuance is not their strong suit, and I would prefer it when we are being consistent. In other words, we don’t do to them as they have been doing unto us.
Vaccines Haven’t Gone Away Either
I hope you are well and I’m praying for your family during this time of difficulty.
I have read your post, “The Challenge of Unethical Vaccines,” and I have some questions and some insights on how to work on this. I first want to state that I think abortion is horrid, sinful, and therefore, evil. It’s extremely sad and I cannot imagine the agony and pain that child goes through before being with God. I second want to state that I work in the pharmaceutical industry and I do work, on a fairly regular basis with HEK-293 cells, the cells from an aborted child.
I see the issues in working with this but as a Calvinist, and a post-millennialist, I have a view of a future where God, sovereignly, despite of our sins and evils will redeem the world in every aspect. I am not saying that this is an easy issue, it isn’t but I did not cause the abortion and there are good things that can come from using these cells. I often think of Joseph when he is thrown into the pit by his brothers and sent to Egypt as a slave. He tells them after they meet again, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Gen. 50:20).” How is this different? It was evil what Joseph’s brothers did, and it is evil what the abortion doctor did that terrible day. I was reading some Greg Bahnsen the other day and his answer for the problem of evil. He said, paraphrasing him, that the problem of evil is no problem intellectually because an all-knowing, all-powerful, good God sees a good reason for these things to happen. Is this different somehow? Please let me know.
Grant, there are two problems. One is the straight up ethical problem, which has to do with the appropriate boundaries when it comes to working with dead bodies. If we successfully outlawed all abortions, we would still have the problem of what to do with cell lines that were derived from abortions. But the second problem is more pressing, and has to do with market incentives. Suppose you were a med student working on cadavers, and grave robbers were supplying them. And suppose there were rumors that they sometimes offed a homeless guy when they didn’t feel like digging. Now what?
I’m getting into theonomy and ran across Joel McDurmond and his cherem principle. What are your thoughts on his thesis?
Thanks for all the content!
Tyler, thanks for the question. Here are some thoughts I had on the subject.
Single Mom, Working at Home
“…work was work wherever you are, but that she preferred being with people she loved instead of being with people she didn’t.” – Ecochondriacs
It’s been months since I’ve ready Ecochondriacs, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I can no longer ignore the pebble in my shoe the above quote impressed upon me. I am a single mom (ashamedly divorced twice). Last year brought such a change in my life, which I am thankful to God for those changes. By God’s grace, I’ve pulled my daughters out of public school and am providing them a Christian homeschool education. I went from looking for opportunities to avoid my children to understanding Why Children Matter (plug for another one of your books I read). I say this all to say that I’ve recently decided to transition from working outside the home to inside the home. As a single mom, I do have to earn an income so I’ve applied for remote job opportunities, which means a major career change. Honestly, I’m at peace with it because work is “work wherever you are.” Yet, I struggle with Titus 2: 4b-5a, “So train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home.” As I have no husband, how can I say there’s biblical principal for working at home?
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Shelly, if I understand your question, you are asking if that passage applies to you at all, or if it applies to you partially, as much as possible. I would say the latter. If you have an opportunity to work from home, and be around your kids, take it.
Classical Christian Ed
I’ve been following your ministry for a few years now, but recently I discovered your writing on Classical Christian Education for the first time and it floored me. In hindsight, I can’t fathom how we’ve neglected this as the Church for the past 150 years, and I want to do whatever I can to help “rebuild the ruins!” But as I seek the best path forward in that regard, I find myself at a crossroads.
I’m a 23-year-old unmarried man, and I’m currently on track to begin medical school in the fall of 2022. And if I choose to begin medical school, I’ll be stuck in that career path for at least ten additional years because of the extensive training and the debt I’ll incur. However, I’m beginning to wonder if I should train for pastoral ministry or for Christian education instead. In my region, we desperately need more reformed churches, godly pastors, and truly Christ-centered Christian schools, and I desperately want to help meet those needs.
The problem is, I’m not sure whether I’d be more helpful to the cause of the gospel as a pastor, a school-starter, or as a family doctor. I’d honestly rather be one of the former, as those professions seem to match my passions and natural giftings better. But on a practical level, seems like one of the greatest obstacles to church-planting and school-planting in my region is financial. As a doctor, I could help fix that problem by subsidizing those things. Another consideration is that I’m still pretty young. The experience gained by living one more decade of a “normal” Christian life would probably do me (and anyone who is placed under my leadership someday) a lot of good.
I know that you don’t know all the specifics of my situation, but do you have any general advice for people like me who want to make godly career choices? Thanks in advance.
Michael, this advice is from a great distance, so please budget for that. All the vocations you are considering are lawful, so I would evaluate each on the basis of 1. what are your abilities? 2. what are your opportunities? and 3. what are your desires? Answer those questions for each of the options, take an average, surrender it to God, and then go. God can steer you, but He doesn’t steer parked cars.
I am confused by the progressive/reformed evangelical circle’s obsession with the creeds. Why are they so trendy? I’ve also noticed it’s only the ancient ones. I of course also hold to many of them, the Nicene creed for example. It makes me nervous that I accept something that the “milder woke” crowd is suddenly embracing. What’s the catch?
Haven, don’t worry. They only believe in ironic subscription.
Time for Another Tea Party?
It seems that there are a goodly number of Christians who would have shamed those poor souls who threw tea into the harbor a number of years ago. After all, they would argue, we are to pay taxes to whom taxes are due.
Jeff, yes. And they would swallow your reductio.
Hells and Damns
How should Christians feel about the use of words such as “damn/damned” and “Hell?”
I find that the use of such words within specific contexts can aid in communicating the severity of a reprehensible thing, but I’ve recently begun to wonder if this kind of cursing (distinct from clearly sinful vulgarity, obscenity, and profaning the Lord’s Name) can be used without sin. There seems to be a great deal of “cursing” in the Bible, but it’s generally reserved as a means of expressing anger at blasphemous things and things of eternal consequence. I remarked to a brother the other day that “we make it too damned easy for each other to persist in spiritual mediocrity.” The word “damned” was a means of expressing frustration at Christians’ lack of concern with Ultimate things; perhaps my need to use such words to communicate strong conviction belies a poor command of the English language on my part.
My inclination is that it while may not be quantifiably sinful in every circumstance (though certainly in some), we ought to be careful about using these words flippantly. It would be wrong to cheapen by overuse the concepts of damnation and Hell. It also may be wrong to use these words around other believers (or unbelievers) who we know would take offense at their use. If I ought to consider such cursing sinful, I want to know in order that I might entirely excise it from my speech. If you can direct me in how I ought to be thinking about this, it would be much appreciated.
James, it is good to be careful and precise about such things. But there is no list of bad words in Heaven, words which must be avoided at all costs and in every circumstance. So meaning, context, and purpose all matter. Here are some additional thoughts on it.
I’m a father to 3 small kids (4, 6, and 8). We are considering doing the Charlotte Mason Hybrid (2 days on-site, 3 days home school) program in our area. Would love your thoughts or have you point me to a resource you have on Christian education. Do you have an opinion on Charlotte Mason? We do not have a Classical Christian School in our area.
Jacob, very sorry—I don’t really know enough about that program to give you any helpful input.
A Random Objection, Noted in the Minutes
Dear Sir and/or Madam and/or etc.:
Regarding the Frequently Asked Questions on your descendants:
AND THEIR BEARDS, DEAR SIR?!
P.S.: I hereby protest your lack of salutation and suffix on your form. I am the third and I have a fourth. Jr. still lives and Sr. now sees with truly unveiled face. I further note that of the three of us in this foreign land, there are apples and trees with small distances betwixt. Please note my protest in the minutes.
William, I think that you are either onto something, or you are on something.
Idaho, Land of Famous Paedos
Would you please explain to a Calvinist Credobaptist when a Christian child of a faithful Presbyterian receives grace for salvation? I’m pretty confused about this part of the doctrine of paedobaptism for Reformed folks like yourself.
Archie, not sure I can help you out, but here goes. The Westminster Confession says that the “efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed time” (WCF 28.6). So the answer is that the time varies from case-to-case. If a baptized child is elect, the Holy Spirit brings His saving grace to them at the appointed time for that individual. When that happens, the grace of baptism in involved in it, but it is not anchored to the time the water was applied. Neither does it happen at any set time for the individual being saved.