This may be a “stickier” dilemma than what your friends and family are involved in, in Soviet Idaho.
Looks like sticker persecution is becoming a trend.
Katie, right. Thanks for sharing.
I am looking forward to reading your new book, and perhaps this is a premature thought prior to reading it, but I am concerned that in this article you seem to equivalate getting stoned with smoking weed, which it is not . . . unless one is following the same logic that would claim getting drunk is the same as drinking wine, micro-dosing with LSD is the same as tripping out of your mind, or even consuming honey in moderate amounts is the same as eating so much it makes you vomit. God made all things good, and to be used responsibly and with attention to 1 Corinthians 8:13.
Ben, thanks much. Yes, I address those arguments in the book.
Thanks a bunch for writing that book. I spent a lot of time fighting against that evil in our state and local government to not much avail. I was planning at sometime to write a book to make sure Christians knew that mind-altering drug use is a sin (lots of silly arguments can be brought forth here dealing with actual medicine and pain relief, but all can be answered), but didn’t ever get to it. I’m happy that you did.
Lance, thank you. I hope people find the book helpful.
I am not currently at where you or, say, Jeff Durbin is at regarding applying OT laws to government today, but I have inched more that way recently.
As I’ve been thinking through it an example came to my mind that I was hoping you could address. If we apply OT law to government today, in addition to murder and rape, shouldn’t the death penalty be applied to adultery as well?
If that’s the case why does it seem to be replaced by excommunication in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians?
Grant, my understanding is that replacing capital punishment with excommunication is a makeshift solution for the people of God when they are living under unbiblical government.
Love Is Love, Man
I wanted to ask, and I’m not sure if you’ve posted about this on the blog, on the argument that I suspect is usually used for support of gay marriage/homosexuality, that is, “why can’t you just love who you love?” or something like that.
M.P., thanks. The answer is that there is always an implied standard, with set limits. Suppose you love six-year-olds? Suppose you love your sister, or daughter? So the first question needs to be “what is your standard?” and “why is this standard authoritative?”
Help for a Pilgrim
I am writing to you not in reply to any post you have previously made but as a devout Christian ‘pilgrim’ in need of direction.
I was born in a home that had a semblance of faith at its core but seldom, if ever, fellowshipped in a church or demanded any theological or moral rigor of the children. This lead me from a young age to seek that direction solo, a journey that has taken many turns over the years.
If I were to have called myself anything in my upbringing it would most fairly be “nondenominational Christian”—that is to say my parents raised me Christian but church wasn’t a part of our lives. In fact, my mom was a jaded ex-Baptist who scornfully rejected organized gatherings of Christians due to what she would label ‘trauma’ from hearing endless sermons on Revelation as a teenager in the 1970s. This led, in part, to her loving Jesus on a very personal level, yet with several worldly compromises thrown into the mix because she could not accept the tougher side of biblical teaching.
Likewise, my father also preferred a softer brand of Christianity but did not share my mom’s disdain for religious gatherings, opting for occasional fellowship with the local 5000 seat megachurch when he felt like attending.
I never felt comfortable with my parents attitude though and constantly tried to seek God with authenticity, though admittedly I would be pulled into the snares of this rebellious attitude towards the Church. I staunchly proclaimed in my late teens to early twenties to be a “Christian Anarchist”, having been influenced by the lives of Tolstoy and Ammon Hennacy, among others.
Eventually, after much soul searching and reading, I converted to Catholicism at 22. It was the first time I truly had any religious direction and expanded my theological prowess beyond words. Strangely enough though, I found my self being seduced by worldliness and false religious/new age thought shortly after and took a hiatus from Catholicism until I was 25. At 25, I emerged firmly Catholic for several years and eventually grew into a conservative Catholic, then a traditionalist.
I followed a more traditional Catholic path until my thirties when disagreements with certain Catholic doctrines and dogmas became too much to bear. In good conscience, I could not remain a practicng Catholic and decided to go my own way.
I had no ill will towards the Catholic Church and still do not. Far from it actually, as I fondly recall the many wonderfully priests and parishioners who helped shape me as the man I am today. Morally and hamartiologically I still very much align with Catholic teaching. However its emphasis on a clerical/organizational form of salvation is something I cannot reconcile with.
The preceeding situation leaves me again a lone wolf Christian, a spot that I really hate being in but am all too familiar with. It is very hard for me to find Christians to fellowship with and my family and I desperately need good Christians with solid intellectual/moral grit to connect with and outside of Catholicism, this is something I have an incredibly difficult time doing. I also need something with the same level of authenticity and pure, unbridled Christian culture like Catholicism brought me, as opposed to the corporate/convention center feel of most modern churches.
I have thorough disagreements with many Protestant/evangelical churches and I cannot just put my brain aside to join a feel good or ‘hip’ church, as is the rage in the Southeast where I live. I need something that I can connect with on a doctrinal, intellectual, and cultural level.
For even more context, I have thoroughly studied writings from famous Protestant writers, Catholic/Orthodox writers, and everyone in between. I find myself enamored by many of the writers I have read and almost feel a strange, cross canonical connection to many branches of Christianity, thus adding more complication to the mix.
As a pastor who just had a wandering, but not quite lost, sheep approach you with this situation, what advice could you give me on finding a good, steady group of Christians to fellowship with?
Thank you so much for your time.
Luke, that depends on where in the Southeast you are. I would start by looking here.
You so simplistically say George Floyd appeared to die from overdose. And that his levels would kill a “draft horse.” You’re so certain and yet you have zero numbers or levels in your article. Where are you getting this from?
In 2020, a little over 9% of drivers pulled over with fentanyl, had levels between 11ng/ml and 15 ng/ml. George Floyd had levels of 11 ng/ml postmortem. Over 2% over drivers pulled over had levels greater than 50 ng/ml. These were drivers-alive-who did not die from drug overdose. There is a wide range between those levels that George had and the upper levels above 50ng/ml.
And you can look further and see the ratio of fetanyl to norfentenyl in Mr. Floyd was 1.96. Far less than in postmortem ratios. Meth: The amount of meth found in George Floyd’s system was 19mg/ml. A level that is not detectable on a DUI test.
Those combination levels of fentanyl and meth would obviously take out a child or a lightweight as myself perhaps. But someone who is 223 pounds and has taken opioids over the years (and opioids are a drug that are tolerant dependent) wouldn’t have the same effect.
The weight of a knee (and that of 90 pounds at times because of Chauvin’s lifted toe off the ground) closing the hypopharynx for over 9 minutes however? That’s enough to decrease oxygen to the brain at a lethal level for a 223 pound man.
Which paints the more likely picture of death?
And this isn’t even going into the details such as Chauvin inflicting pain by manipulating Floyd’s fingers backwards and squeezing them throughout the entire 9 minutes. And you don’t even, not once, say anything about charity or decency. Do you think that was a necessary and even Christian use of force that Chauvin inflicted? I’d be curious to hear you speak to that after you read the data and watch video footage.
You sound so certain in your article. Please be careful with your words. I’ve learned a lot from you and your family over the years and almost didn’t write in because I have always looked up to you for wisdom and truth.
But I couldn’t just read you so simplistically defend Derek Chauvin’s actions by saying it’s a drug overdose. If that knee had not been on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, is it likely George Floyd would have died from overdose with his size, history, and overall low levels of drugs compared with DUI subjects? Firmly, the evidence says no.
I’m not suggesting you need to join Black Lives Matter or become a civil rights activist by saying that the evidence shows this was a death cause by low levels of oxygen. Please don’t make this political. Someone died because of low oxygen to their brain, not drug overdose.
Stacy, actually I am not defending Chauvin. If you read my introductory paragraph again, you will see that I carefully (and deliberately) qualified my language. But if Chauvin is to receive a fair trial, the kind that other people get, the standard is “reasonable doubt.” And the prosecution itself has acknowledged that Floyd could have died from other causes. The defense doesn’t have to show that he did die of other causes, but that he could have. And he could have.
This is an honest question, something I have never understood about political conservatives. When the subject of government employees comes up, conservatives pretty consistently say they are stupid, incompetent, tyrannical, self-serving and not to be trusted without being watched like a hawk. Well, police officers are basically government bureaucrats with guns and badges, so it seems to me the same standard should apply to them. Yet the same conservatives, who never have a kind word to say about government bureaucrats in any other context, insist that the police should be given the benefit of every doubt, as evidenced by the ongoing Derek Chauvin trial. I’m amazed that some of the arguments made by Chauvin supporters can be made with a straight face, yet here we are. If any non-police officer put a knee on someone for nine minutes and that person died, a jury would convict in five minutes flat. So how is it that conservatives, who are generally anti-government, insist that every benefit of every doubt go to law enforcement? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Kathleen, I am actually with you in principle. All the corruptions we see in other government agencies are corruptions that police departments are susceptible to. And with many other conservatives, I want to see drastic reforms in how police work is done. But in a situation as complicated as this one, I wouldn’t want anybody convicted in five minutes flat.
What is the Subject Here?
You , like so many “reformed” pastor’s, insist that we hold to the solas of Scripture and then throw them out the window when they get in the way of your beliefs. I find it hard to trust pastors that do that.
Bruce, me too. What are we talking about?
TGC and Theonomy
RE: Theonomy Stuff/Jerrod’s Letter If I may say, respectfully, this response to Jerrod misses the mark on his original question. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it bears saying that I believe there are more than a few people looking for an answer to this question. Namely—do you, or have you interacted with arguments against Theonomy like this in the past? I get the very peculiar sense that these arguments are specifically pointed at you, without using your name . . . because of course that would be a cardinal sin. Cue eye roll. That said, there are more than a few of us that would love to see a cogent response from your part due to the fact that TGC and it’s occasional smuggery have been more than responsible for a few backwash articles from trusted teachers. As Jarrod stated so well, the typical responses given from TGC are “yeah, that’s a good point, but you’re wrong.”
Beau, I do think you are right that this subject needs to be addressed, and in some detail. Andrew Walker is a good guy, but being a Baptist, he is sometimes jumpy about Christian establishments. That is something I understand, and so I would like to wait for a more opportune moment to tackle the subject.
I’ve really been blessed by all the (Christian) things coming out of Moscow over the past year, so thanks for your part in all that.
I’ve got a question related to Plodcast 189—”Let Me Think About It . . . No.” You say that you’re not theologically opposed to vaccines in general, but have strong reservations (“no”) about this current push for everyone to receive one of the Covid vaccines. I wonder if you could speak a bit more about the theology of vaccines. Amongst other objections, I personally feel that the nature of vaccines is immoral (unbiblical?) by nature. Take this man-made treatment, and some day (hopefully) you won’t get sick. This feels to me eerily like OT fortune-telling or divination (thinking Deuteronomy 18:9-14). I think it’s God-honoring to advocate that people eat foods rich in vitamin-C in order to avoid scurvy, but to house and replicate viruses in order to build inoculation products feels a bit . . . unholy?
Joel, thanks. The structural argument here could be made to apply to any medicine, particularly if you gave it a scary name. Getting braces is body modification, as is sex change surgery, but one is fine and the other one is terrible. I think that the argument re: vaccines needs to be carefully conducted, and on a natural law basis.
Obama and Biden?
In one of your recent Plodcasts you were asking the question who is behind Biden, though I don’t remember exactly how you worded it. You mentioned several different possibilities then concluded you suspected it is Obama himself. Can you elaborate on this? Is Obama just helping an elderly gentleman who needs directions, maybe trying to get a badge for his sash?
Tim, no. I don’t think Biden is getting advice or seeking help. I don’t think he is even that much in control. I believe he is being man-handled and stage-managed, and the faction in the best position to pull something like that off would be Obama’s. But of course, that is just my perception of it.
Thin Blue Line?
Is there any way you can do a piece on police brutality? Your books, your podcast, your videos, your father-presence in my literary life has been profound—I am asking this not to trap you, but because my own father was in prison for many years in his youth. He was beaten, sodomized, starved, put in solitary confinement, etc. by the police while in jail. In the end, he was able to make good of a broken beginning and married and had children and raised them as best he could as an unbeliever. He struggled for life with a fear and suspicion of the police. And here I am: a believer, by God’s ridiculous providence. A reformed, homeschooling mom. I am white, educated, and middle class, so my fear of the police seems strange to the woke crowd screaming at me as I go to church in these crazy Covid days . . . but then there are the cops —RIGHT THERE—watching me walk into church and threatening to charge and arrest by-law breakers. And all my inherited fears have nowhere to go . . . SO please point me to the Bible on this issue. What is Biblical law-enforcement? What is biblical restitution? Where does law enforcement begin and end (my door? My church’s door?) Please speak into this void. Send reading material that would help me form an opinion that is biblical. I love and bless you and the work you do. I LOVE Nancy’s podcast and have read all her books. If you ever need a Light Armoured Vehicle Armament Engineer in Moscow, my husband and I would relocate in a heart beat
Kathleen, thank you very much. I will throw that in the hopper.
I’m no scholar, but I’ve always read a fair bit, and every time I’ve encountered “thane” in the past it’s referred to a man. Generally a man at arms, if memory serves. The “bevy of curvaceous thanes” you mention registered above mid-range on my “that’s odd” meter. If my understanding is wrong I’d be grateful for a clarifying correction.
Earl, no, your understanding was correct. Thanes are always male, but that reference was sarcastic, not literal. I think the poet’s point was that Hrothgar should have been surrounded by warriors, but instead was followed by an entourage of “thanes.”
Oops Heh Heh
Quick note re:gifs
The one where the truck engine lets loose is great. I decided to check out the site shown in the gif image on your page. It took me to a site which has some less than good gifs. I would recommend just editing out, if possible, the source or else check the sources out first. If I wanted to check out the site to see if there are more like it, then other will as well and, it could leave a bad taste for some readers (and give ammunition to critics – like you need more!!) . . . Appreciate what you do.
Blair, yes. I should have checked out the embedded link before posting. After getting a heads up from you and another alert reader, I did my due diligence after the fact, and pulled down the video. My apologies to you, and to anyone else who walked into it
Hi Doug, new reader and much appreciate the content. Just a heads up, Good Idea Apr 13 gif. I thought the semi engine puking video was cool and wanted to share it. Googled joyreactor and turns out being a porn sight. Thought you’d like to know.
On another note, I was listening to Man Rampant Season 1 Episode 2 I think, you were discussing the pitfalls of strict servant-leadership and you asked a question of your guest about a man asking the elders of his church about how to respond to a wayward wife. He declined to answer due to inexperience as I understand it. I would like to know your response to that question if possible. Thank you!
Ed, on the first point, thanks, and see above. On the second point, everything would hinge on the nature of the waywardness—credit cards, child neglect, etc. The elders should respond differently depending, but they should respond.
The State and Marriage
I’ll get to the point of the civilly-disobedient matter: As a pastor, I have been asked to perform a wedding between two eligible Christians–one a citizen of Canada and one a citizen of the United States. The U.S. government has so slowed the process of acquiring marriage visas (and slapped “due to COVID” on the whole fiasco) that it has, in my view, functionally forbidden all such marriages for the time being. Some couples in this situation have now waited over a year for a required interview, which the government says it is not currently offering and gives no indication when it will do so. This couple’s male half has been told by his (Mennonite) pastor to wait for the government’s timing and that, if he (the young man) went through with the marriage, he (the pastor) could neither participate nor recognize it as a real marriage. This pastor said that he views marriage as a “triangle” which requires 3 “points” for its creation: God, the church, and the state. How would you rebut this Anabaptist’s over-sized non-resistance?
As a pastor, what should be my view on what is “essential” for a marriage’s existence? While I believe they should seek to make it state-official when they can, at this point I plan to tell the couple that, apparently, the government believes that state participation in the creation of a marriage is “non-essential.” I concur.
Ryan, I agree that the state is not essential to the creation of a marriage, but they are essential in the adjudication of issues resulting from marriages (e.g. custody, property disputes, etc.). In this case, on the practical side of things, the governments concerned could be in control of where the couple would be able to live together, if at all.
A conservative, American tradition is that the Constitution is the chief law in the land and that the authorities are required to submit to it. Likewise the people submit to the law first, and to the authorities second. I have heard and believed this tradition hundreds of times, but I don’t think I have ever encountered a clear exegetical approach that shows without a doubt that this tradition is biblical. Is this a tradition that can be defended biblically? Can the biblical commandments to obey governing authorities apply to written laws or does it make more exegetical sense to apply these commandments to the actual persons who are in authority?
The practical application of the question relates to whether we should obey a governing authority when they demand something that is obviously unconsitutional. If the police demanded to search my house without a warrant am I within the biblical mandate to resist or should I comply and then file a lawsuit later? If the government demands that we turn over our guns, do we obey the Constitution or obey people God has put in power?
You clearly seem to believe this tradition, so I look forward to your input on this. I have been a follower of your blog for years and have been greatly edified by it. Thanks for all you do!
Andrew, thanks. Good suggestion.
Gentle and Lowly
I second the desire for you to review Gentle and Lowly. My wife and I have been reading it and benefiting immensely. Truthfully it seems to strike a chord I’ve heard in you in the way you seek to encourage and assure the saints, over and against the leaders who seem intent on terrorizing the sheep continually. What I loved about this book is the way the author draws out what the Puritans taught on this topic. It’s like the difference between a “great job” from Simon Cowell and a “great job” from Paula Abdul on American Idol. Nobody takes Paula’s encouragement seriously. But when Simon says you did well, people take it to heart because he doesn’t ever shy away from telling the truth and the harsh realities. If Joel Osteen tells me about the heart of Christ, I’m gonna roll my eyes. When John Owen does it, I’m far more willing to consider the glories he is unfolding.
Nick, I have the book, but have not started it yet. But yes, it looks to be in the tradition of the Puritans.
I am trying to figure out how to advise a friend in another church about how to deal with some believers who are convinced the Bible does not consider homosexuality a sin. The church their affirms that it is in fact a sin, but they want to agree to disagree, the problem is that their are many new believers at the church and these ladies often want to bring up their reason why homosexuality is perfectly fine.
The leadership don’t want to go to them and rebuke them, but instead want to pursue a relationship with them in the hopes that they would come to their senses themselves. And they don’t seem too interested in pushing back because it’s not a primary gospel issue.
My friend fears that these ladies are going to cause this belief to permeate amongst the younger church members and is unsure of what to do. She knows these ladies enough to have had conversations addressing these issues a few times, but it’s done nothing to stop them from continuing to try to share their false views at church events regularly.
Do you have any advice on any avenues she should pursue either with these ladies or with the elders of the church?
A Techy Thing
Hi Gang. I am 59 years old and really too young to be making this request. That said, can you please add a button to share the article via email along with the other social options? I can’t tell you how many times i have abandoned the impulse to share the article with someone or catalogue for future reference because it was too much trouble to do so. Thank you!
Chris, thanks. I will ask somebody.