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Expressive Individualism

You say in Monday’s “Death Cult”: “But a corollary of the second position is that Darwin was wrong about everything . . .” this reality is also a major corollary of the first position as well. Last week, when conversing with my Darwinian atheist maintenance man, I noted his aversion to having children, even though he has been married (to an individual with the required biology to procreate) for 16 years. I asked him how Darwinian evolution is accomplished, how beneficial mutations are proved to be beneficial, and then passed on to the next generation. What possible pairing of individuals also is required to sustain the Darwinian process? I then tried to hammer home the waste and futility of stopping that millions-year-old process cold just because he doesn’t want to change diapers . . . have you ever used this obvious and common heresy against Darwinism to confront folks and presuppositionally preach the gospel?

Brett

Brett, I haven’t used it person to person. But I have made the general point before that homosexuality is a Darwinian dead end, which I take as the same basic point.

The Death Cult of Expressive Individualism: Pastor, it was a heady essay, which required more than one cup of coffee to wash it down. But it was especially encouraging.

The summary Four Dogmas at the end read like a foundational creed, which were each written in their day to address particular errors of doctrine or wayward tendencies in the Church.

After reading these, I am now of the impression that we may well need this “creed”–this rallying cry–in OUR day. The “Five Solas,” the “Five Points,” the “Four Dogmas” … there are good a valid reasons why we have to be “re-centered” from time to time. I think it is definitely time.

Thank you for the cogent and unabashed proclamation of Truth.

Malachi

Malachi, thanks for paying attention to it. That’s the hard part.

The Death Cult of Expressive Individualism (and Tattoos) | This was a great post and excellent take down of individualism with a encouragement to stand as actual Christians in the way we live, not just in the Jesus-juking cliches we use to cover our own unbelief. I did have a question about tattoos and it made me think of this short little post you wrote years ago. You made an interesting point, but never developed it at all. You just left us hanging as to what you meant. I was wondering if you might be able expand on the point you were stating (if you still hold to it). I would ask if you could address it in terms of the broad historic Reformed view of baptism that encompasses both Reformed Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists. As related to baptism as your point was, it was about tattooing, not about the dogma of baptism (infant vs. believer’s). Thank you!

Trey

Trey, yes, I still hold that view. What I was saying was that such markers are generally indications of a deep “identity hunger,” and that Christians who understand their baptism, and their position in Christ, don’t need such supplemental markers as identity or tribal markers.

A Hot New Book About Us

Recently I heard someone reference a book entitled Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America. The reviewer referenced Christian Reconstruction and specifically mentioned you. Could you give me a definition of what Christian Reconstruction is and then maybe some authors or articles I should read about it? Thank you in advance.

Jon

Jon, the book you mention is published by Oxford, and the author Crawford Gribben did a good job. Christian Reconstruction was a significant movement back in the eighties, led by men like Rushdoony, North, and Bahnsen, and the idea was to “reconstruct” America with biblical law as the foundation. The author treats what we are doing here as a version of Christian Reconstruction 2.0. It is a fair-minded scholarly treatment of what we are up to, without the usual scholarly technique of going into hysterics.

Respectful Dissent

I listened to Plodcast #192 (Challenging Unconstitutional Laws)—which I thoroughly enjoyed – and I wanted to offer a respectful correction to your characterization of the requirements for judicial standing to challenge unconstitutional laws. In that episode you said “you don’t have standing [to challenge an unconstitutional law] unless and until you disobey it.” While you are typically spot-on in your jurisprudential articulations, I’d respectfully submit that this proposition is incorrect. The standing requirements under Article III of the Constitution include only three elements: 1) the plaintiff must suffer some actual or threatened injury; 2) that injury must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant (which in constitutional litigation is the government); and 3) the injury should be likely to be redressed by a favorable decision. See Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560–61 (1992).

As the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, when an individual is subject to threatened prosecution under a law, “an actual arrest, prosecution, or other enforcement action is not a prerequisite to challenging the law.” Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 573 U.S. 149, 158 (2014). The Court has emphasized that “it is not necessary that petitioner first expose himself to actual arrest or prosecution to be entitled to challenge a statute that he claims deters the exercise of his constitutional rights” Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 (1974). Rather, a plaintiff satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement for standing where he alleges “an intention to engage in a course of conduct arguably affected with a constitutional interest, but proscribed by a statute, and there exists a credible threat of prosecution thereunder.” Babbitt v. Farm Workers, 442 U.S. 289, 298 (1979). Put simply, one does not need to break a law to challenge it.

I write this not to be the snide smarty-pants kid in class with told-ya-so sagacity who raises his hand to exclaim “WELL, ACK-SHOO-UH-LEEEEE…..” Rather, I just want to make sure that your listeners and readers are informed that they generally do NOT need to “break” an unconstitutional law and subject themselves to prosecution in order to assert a constitutional challenge. The better strategy is to file a complaint alleging prospective violation of constitutional rights, then move the Court for a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the law at issue and declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional. This can all be done without making oneself a snack for a hungry pair of handcuffs. That’s not to diminish those who engage in righteous civil disobedience and find themselves behind bars for a noble cause. I simply wish others to know that they do not need to risk incarceration or fine in order to have standing to vindicate their rights.

Respectfully,

Joe

Joe, thanks very much, and I stand corrected. This is very helpful to know. In my defense, there have been various times when we have checked into challenging an unconstitutional law (of which there has been no shortage), and have gotten legal advice that related to this issue of standing. Given your explanation, this was quite possibly my misunderstanding of what was being said, but it seems that standing does enter into it. At the very least it provides the establishment with a plausible legal obstacle to point to as they deny you justice. The recent denial of Texas in their election suit by the SCOTUS turned on standing, for example.

A Question from Outside

My name is Ben and I am a 41 year old, Australian man, living in Japan. My current spiritual position regarding the Christ is to some degree, similar to that of Gandhi, I like your Jesus but not so keen on Christians, for similar reason as Gandhi.

I enjoy watching you, as it is clear to me that you are an intelligent, deep-thinking man, who I have come to respect, despite you being Christian.

There is one main part of the Christian, “Biblical” (unsure of what Biblical means due to lack of unity among Christian Theologians) narrative, that I cannot find a logical flow too. Please help.

The narrative part I struggle with is (please correct me if I’m wrong):

Since I, like everyone else, choose to sin, I am deserving of God’s Judgement for my sin/s. And the punishment of said sin is eternal damnation.

My question is: “Since I, like everyone else, (except Adam & Eve), are born into this sinful state, how can God truly be just in judging me for committing sins I was destined to commit?”

Our “free-will” is not really free at all. I think our will is like a set of old-fashioned scales, then our scales are definitely not on the level. They are heavily weighed down towards the selfish side, causing most, if not all, of our choices to be made with a selfish heart. A heart, I didn’t ask for or have any say in receiving. I was just dumped into this wretched state, into a wretched life, and then at the end destined to be Judged by The Most High, for breaking laws I had no chance of keeping.

Thank you for listening to me.

I understand you are a very busy man, and if you are unable to respond, then I will accept it under the Sovereignty of The Most High.

Many thanks,

Ben

Ben, thanks for writing. It is interesting to me that you raise exactly the same objection that the apostle Paul brings up in the mouth of an objector. “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?” (Rom. 9:19). Paul’s reply, in the next verse, is to command the objector to simply accept it “under the sovereignty of the Most High.” No injustice is done to us, and we are merely getting what we deserve. Note that the only alternative is that we are getting what we don’t deserve. Which is it? If you say we are getting what we deserve, you have to give a rationale for it, and I find the Calvinist answer here satisfying. The other rationales, particularly the free will argument, I find unsatisfying. But if you reject all these, then you are left with everyone getting what they don’t deserve. And that means a cosmic injustice, or the realization that justice itself is a phantom concept.

Thanks for Sharing

“The poets have been singularly silent on the subject of cheese.” Chesterton

Chesterton’s Cheese

The lumberjack parson placed a great quote,
in his fine book about fighting the woke.

A lament over culture, movies and art;
a call out to Christians to do their part.

Silent he said were the poets of old,
mute on the subject of cheese and mold.

Well, no longer silent the poet’s to be;
the call is accepted by little ol’ me.

Great words of wisdom of theology I’ve not,
just love and affection for cheese I’ve got.

Gorganzola, Castello, and Shropshire Blue,
are just some of the many that mold runs through.

For pungent bouquet you look no further,
for the Roquefort be or the mighty Limburger.

No stopping here for such a singular cause,
to slight the others a sin to fromage.

For a lovely slice of Bucheron,
may entice your local Fuchachon.

Maybe a chunk of Tillamook cheddar,
can make a Portland riot so much better.

There is a top cheese for the gang at Mablog,
that is, of course, the Humboldt Fog.

A Stilton to serve at feasting’s end,
with jigger of tawny or cabernet blend.

In Coeur d’Alene, our fresh mountain air,
flavors our sauces made of Gruyere.

Fear not great bard, so bearded and stout,
there is a cheese for you, I’ve got no doubt.

From ballpark nacho to cheese in the can,
the best cheese for you in cheese in the hand.

Brendan of Idaho

Brendan, thanks for sharing. Though I am not so sure about the cause/fromage stanza.

Education Question

It would be fair, I think, to say that you have thoughts on education ! I have read and appreciated a number of your blog posts on education ( for example, Hellbent Education from last Oct. )

I am writing to solicit your thoughts on *paying* for education, in particular college level education. My wife and I have two kids enrolled in a Classical Christian school and we love it. It’s a total oasis for us here in the “People’s Republic of Oregon.” We would give up a lot to keep them in Classical Christian Education.

When it comes to college, there are a great many schools in this country to which I would not pay one dime to send my children there to be “educated”.

In recent conversations with a financial advisor I’ve been recommended to set up “529” savings accounts for my kids ( currently 5th and 2nd graders ).

Here’s my concern : with the monstrosity known as the “Equality Act” lurking in Congress, should it become law, it seems to me a lot of schools are either going to have to “go woke or go broke”, because they won’t qualify for federal student loans if they remain orthodox from a Christian perspective. I’ve noticed that Oregon’s 529 plan is available for any institution that qualifies for federal student loans.

I am worried that funding such a plan would be putting my money in a place where I’ll be unable to spend it at an institution I’m willing to send my kids to !

I notice that New Saint Andrews doesn’t participate in the federal student loan program, which seems a very wise choice to me.

Does my concern seem reasonable and are you or perhaps some of your readers on the blog aware of education-specific savings opportunities that do not come with “woke” strings attached?

In Christ,

Thomas

Thomas, yes, your concerns are entirely reasonable. But I will have to crowd-source your question about sane savings opportunities. Anybody?

Atonement Question

Regarding the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. I have read that in the first instance, Christ died for His Father —in the sense that Christ satisfied, completely, His Father’s wrath towards sinners. But it is His elect which will be drawn, by the Spirit to belief. The penalty for sin is death (present tense) and the rejection of Christ is the ultimate penalty—separation from God. Is this view reasonable, or is it at final judgement, where God’s wrath will be poured out on those who rejected Christ?

Blair

Blair, I would prefer to say that the unbeliever is under God’s wrath already, and then at the day of judgment, the wrath is made finally manifest.“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). The wrath of God remains on the unbeliever.

Income Inequality

“That little lizard self inside”—a question re: wealth inequality. Whereas it is clear that much concern for social justice can be traced to envy, is it not also clear that a deeply polarized society is a great social evil? That is, if your thought experiment results in a coterie of super-rich people and a different, fairly prosperous group, isn’t it true that you have really constructed an oligarchy? I would think that would be good reason not to push the button. What do you think? What does your invidiometer report?

Joel

Joel, I would answer that all governments are oligarchies, almost by definition. And if “the few” who were ruling were under the law, and observed the tenets of biblical justice, I would have no objection. But given the fall of man, there would have to be constitutional safeguards to ensure that such was the case.

As a matter of government policy, I am fine with people being rich, even filthy rich, so long as the poor have their basic needs met. That said, having a billion dollars has always struck me as a form of mental illness not unlike hoarding anything else, like plastic bags, newspapers, or cats. If you’ve got more money than you could spend in a hundred lifetimes, and people around you are homeless and in need of health care, then you’re basically just a hoarder, only you hoard dollars rather than cats. And by the way, what kind of person holds on to a billion dollars when others are homeless and in need of health care? So let’s make a deal. I won’t support impoverishing the rich if you will at least acknowledge that their choice to stay rich is not a good thing.

Kathleen

Kathleen, I wish we could make a deal, but I don’t think we can. Someone with a billion dollars doesn’t sit on top of a pile of gold coins, like Scrooge McDuck. If a miser were to do that, I could agree—it would be a serious problem. But if someone is a billionaire, and he employs tens of thousands of people, that is quite a different thing.

Tree of Knowledge

I recently listened to the podcast, Would There Have Been Civil Government Without the Fall? While I enjoy all of your podcasts, I was especially excited to hear about your theory that the Tree of Knowledge might’ve been allowed at some later date.

This is a question that I’ve also asked (was it prohibition or preparation) but could find nothing about online. So I’m actually raising it in the last chapter of a blog-to-book that I’m working on, called God in the Garden: Understanding God’s Love and the Sin that Changed the World.

My question to you is this something you have heard from others, or was it a theory you came to on your own? I’m interested in learning your and others’ thoughts on the subject as I finish the book. Anything you could point me to would be incredibly helpful.

Thanks for all of your spiritual insights and commentary!

Jim

Jim, I think I may have first heard something along this line from James Jordan or Peter Leithart. I am sorry I have nothing more specific to cite. But the particular adaptations I think are mine.

Follow Up

Greetings from Wisconsin.

There was a letter written by a fellow named Stephen, in response to your article on envy, to which you responded on May 4th. I appreciated your response and would like to add my two cents, if you don’t mind. By way of recap, Stephen suggested that a universal atonement is more consistent with your thoughts on envy, forgiveness, and so forth. You responded thusly:

“Stephen, interesting argument. But flip it around. A universal atonement is simply potential forgiveness, not actual. In order to be “activated,” the person involved must repent, which means that forgiveness can be withheld until they do. So I would prefer to say that Christ secured the forgiveness of all the elect, and in His sovereign wisdom withheld from us the knowledge of who they all are, and told us to treat all unbelievers the same.”

I would like to add that the atonement is proof that God takes sin seriously, both the sins we commit, and those we have committed against us. He has indeed nailed my record of transgressions to the cross, thereby taking it out of the way. So, another reason why I, and all Christians can, and should, be free from the sin of envy is that even if someone has more than I do because he has cheated his way to it, I know that God WILL deal with it. I am freed from having to carry around the burden of my sins AND I am free from the burden of having to carry other people’s sins.

The atonement is how God sets everything right. Considered from one angle, it is also the earnest on God’s promise to someday fully and finally set everything right, on the ground as it were. He will deal with the robber baron’s sins by exacting his perfect justice in the matter. He will do this either by applying Christ’s blood to him, thereby washing, sanctifying, and adopting him, or by justly condemning him, taking all of his ill-gotten riches, and sentencing him to pay for his own sins.

I have heard the argument before that a universal atonement is necessary for the command to forgive others to have any teeth. All due respect to our good brother, Stephen, that simply is not the case.

Andrew

Andrew, thanks. And amen.

Orthodox Blasphemy

Religious liberty and blasphemy:

After reading your post, I realized it might be relevant to how I address the Catholic “Mary.” Since this entity has nothing in common with the real Mary and a frightening amount in common with Ashteroth, Venus, Freyja and every other “queen of heaven” I’ve sometimes said the the Catholic Mary is an abominable tramp. Are you suggesting I should lighten up and say “the Catholic Mary has no connection to the true Mary, and is really a republishing of the queen goddess of pagan pantheons.” After reading your post I realized part of why I liked saying the former rather than the latter is I like to be shocking and controversial . . . and nothing makes me feel okay about my desire to offend like doing it for the kingdom. I’ll heed your advice. It was fun while it lasted . . . though maybe for the wrong reasons.

Luke

Luke, yes. I would suggest that you make that alteration permanent. And it is a good example of the kind of thing I was talking about.

Having just listened to this video, Religious Liberty, Blasphemy, and a Forthcoming Movie, I pulled off LinkedIn a link to my post for concern that I’ve blasphemed. If you would be so kind and peruse and give me feedback, I’d be much obliged. Another few questions I’ve been wrestling with are following; direction and insight would be marvelously helpful. Thank you Doug.

Laura

Laura, I may have missed it, but that didn’t seem problematic to me.

Jokes I Like to Tell

Please tell this “Jokes I Like to Tell” is going to be a reoccurring segment on the Cluster Muster AND that this is laying the groundwork for an upcoming future book. Get Forrest Dickinson to throw in a funny caricature on the opposite page and this could be a fun family read-a-long/laugh-out-loud.

Todd

Todd, yes, I hope it will be a recurring feature. Whether it turns into a book will depend on whether or not I run dry.

Worship in Exile

Do you have recommended sources of liturgy for the worship-from-home church in exile?

David

David, you might find some good resources in Terry Johnson’s book, Leading in Worship. It is really expensive on Amazon, but hunt around for it.

Ride Sally

Ride Sally Ride Movie | First, this was absolutely an excellent, practical help in understanding how to attack false gods biblically without blasphemously sinning in the process. Thank you for the first part of the post. Secondly and most importantly, if I had the money I’d be a Legendary or Above and Beyond Backer to ensure this movie gets made. If and when this movie is made, will it only be on the Canon App for subscribers (because 80 bucks a year is expensive for some of us) or will it be made for Loor?

Trey

Trey, nothing is set in stone yet. But a likely plan is to have the initial release on the Canon app, and then a more general release later.

Highest Authority?

I have a question regarding your position on the Constitution as this highest authority in the US.

Question: Is the 2A still relevant since, 1) the states are no longer free, 2) the general government has monopolized the militia.?

If it is still relevant, who should take up the responsibility of regulating the militia?

Thank you

Jacob

Jacob, as a God-given right, the right to keep and bear arms does not wax and wane with the opportunism of the statists. So when it comes time for a non-coopted militia to form, God will raise up the individuals necessary. But I think it is likely to include coopted militias declaring their independence.

Fault Lines

Have you read or heard about Voddie Baucham’s new book “Fault Lines?” It’s really a good word for the church these days, and I highly recommend it to you.

Jerrod

Jerrod, I have it, and just barely started it.

Postmill Newbie Question

I have only been a postmillennialist for around a year and have a couple of questions.

In Revelation 20 when Satan is released for a season do you think that will appear to be a large scale setback for the church/gospel to some degree? Would that account for the persecution language in Thessalonians?

Also was there a time in history where the world seemed to be more Christianized than it is now, like for instance at the start of America 1600’s ish or shortly after?

Ben

Ben, there was a time when the Western world was more Christianized than now, but not the whole world. The church is in a stronger position now than it has ever been. And postmills are divided on the question of a latter day rebellion. I think that a brief abortive rebellion against God near the end helps to make sense of both Rev. 20 and 2 Thess. 2.

Theocratic Free Speech

Yes, to everything in this article, including: “This ties in, obviously, with the theocratic case for freedom of speech that I have been wanting to make. All these things tie together.” But I missed where you ” tied it together” to further your position that “free speech” overrides the theocratic law against blasphemy… true blasphemy . . . against God.

BJ

BJ, thanks for continuing to urge me to keep after it. I do want to publish a book on it that answers all your questions.

A Good Biography?

Apropos of no post in particular: do you (or your readers) have a recommendation for a biography of the late Duke of Edinburgh? Written-by-a-God-fearer preferred.

Keith

Keith, sorry, I don’t. Crowd source time? Anybody?

Elijah Mocks

Religious Liberty, Blasphemy, and a Forthcoming Movie

Great article, Doug, and thanks again for your ministry.

1 Kgs. 18:27 “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

So is this the kind of blasphemy of Baal that is sinful, or is it the everything-is-fair kind of sanctified “trash talk” when it’s a public contest of the gods? I mean, Elijah is sure putting Baal in his place!

Mark

Mark, I don’t believe that Elijah was out of line at all.

Two Related Questions

Is it important for a man to learn how to drive ? I personally hate driving and cars in general, it is a massive responsibility and I do not feel up to it, I prefer public transport, walking and cycling. I detest how private car ownership has become so common, but I feel as they though I should drive because it is perceived to be a masculine trait like perhaps riding a horse would have been.

Do you have any biblical guidance for me ?

Regards

O

O, I don’t have any direct guidance, but I would recommend that you learn to drive. That doesn’t mean you have to drive around like everybody else, but you should be a position to if needed. In our culture, I think it is a masculine trait, like riding a horse.

In light of Ephesians 5:31 and Genesis 2:24, When should a man leave his home ? Western culture makes fun of single men living at home with their parents, but is it biblical for a man to live at home and only move out if he is to get married ?

Love in the Lord

Adam

Adam, the problem is not so much where you live as it is how much you are contributing to the upkeep of where you are living. The issue is whether you are helping to support your parents, or they are supporting you.

Could you share your thoughts on the morality of Christian churches and organizations accepting money through the Amazon smiles program? Through this program, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of their customer’s purchases to registered charities. Amazon states that they rely on the SPLC to determine which registered charities, “engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, [and] hate.” Furthermore, in their participation agreement, an organization agrees that they “do not engage in, support, encourage, or promote: intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”

Here are the links for reference, here and here.

You can look up specific organizations that are registered on the website. I was surprised to see how common it is for otherwise orthodox churches and organizations to participate in this. I imagine many of them probably agreed to participate in the program without reading the participation agreement. I appreciate all of your work. Keep up the good fight.

Joshua

Joshua, look on the bright side. Maybe these Christian organizations are part of the resistance, and are simply lying to the Man. Like the Hebrew midwives.

Chan Problem?

What is your beef with Francis Chan as contrasted to Hazlett?

Ron

Ron, not a big beef, but it is the background “zero sum game” assumption about wealth.

More on Weed

Re: devoured by cannabis Doug,

Nice work on weed, I couldn’t agree more, and appreciate your detailed and scholarly approach to both special and general revelation information on the topic.

Question: I think your basic argument against using marijuana in any unresearched, non-medical form rests on how one understands what the “glad” part of “wine making glad the heart of man” in Psalm 104. “Samah” seems to be a rather vague and perhaps broad term to describe specifically EtOH’s propensity to relax and cause “gladness” on the righteous side of inebriation. But if I understand your discussion of the effects of cannabis correctly, any physically felt effects of alcohol are the beginnings of intoxication and to be avoided, just as the immediate effects of marijuana. And yet we have this passage about wine making glad man’s heart, the Prov 31 passage commending etoh’s sedative effects for the dying, and Jesus’ wine miracle noting the “well drunk” folks at a celebration. Could marijuana be considered to also make one’s heart “glad?”

Can you clarify what you think exactly is meant by Psalm 104’s “making glad?”

Nathan

Nathan, I take it in the celebratory, festive sense—what you are doing in the toasts at a wedding.

Funeral Standards?

If a church member asked you to do a funeral for their gay relative would you do it? Should funerals be seen as a place mainly to bring hope to those present rather than remembrance of the one who is passed? And is there any condition by which a Christian should not perform a funeral? Thanks Doug!

Ross

Ross, yes, I would, if allowed simply to present the gospel. I wouldn’t go the eulogy, but I would be willing to preach Christ on such an occasion.

Baptized Again?

Dear Doug, I want to thank you for all you do to minister to God’s people. In one of your earlier posts you brought up issues that arise when a Christian is baptized more than once. We are currently members of a Reformed church and have been for many years. Unfortunately we have developed cliques in our body that has affected many areas of our worship and fellowship which has broken our hearts. I have talked to the pastor several times and nothing has changed or been addressed. In my search of the possible conservative churches in my area that I believe l can be at peace with their doctrines and worship the leading candidate is baptistic and will not accept my wife’s adult sprinkling or my son’s infant baptism. Without their being re-baptized they could not join or take communion. I would appreciate any guidance you could give regarding this matter. Thank you.

Clay

Clay, I am very sorry for your dilemma. But I couldn’t go to a church where those conditions were enforced.

Prince of the Power of the Air?

I hope you and your family are well. This is going to be a bit of a strange question, but I do think the church needs to address it: What is going on with all of this UFO stuff? There seems to be a lot of eyewitness testimony, military reports, and videos of UFO’s, including the USS Nimitz UFO incident back in 2004. There seems to be a lot of people trying to figure out what the truth is. I have seen some of it, and there does seem to be something to it. How should Christians look at these things going on? Is it demonic? Is it the government or a foreign power? What do you think is going on?

In Christ,

Grant

Grant, I don’t have a lot to say about this, but the little I know seems to indicate a demonic influence, where it is not just speculative imagination. Certain occult things accompany UFO reports, like automatic writing, etc.

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arwenb
arwenb
4 months ago

Regarding college savings for children: any of the usual means of saving can be employed for saving – or investing – for a child’s college funds. The 529s are just some government official wanting to get in on the action. Before there were 529s there were mutual funds, or certificates of deposit, or money market accounts. Those are especially nice for people who don’t trust themselves to keep large piles of electrons in their local bank website. Or, you can just create a savings account at the bank, separate from your regular savings and checking account, name it “for child’s… Read more »

Carl Thome
Carl Thome
4 months ago

With regards to question posed in “Prince of the Power of the Air?” regarding UFOs, read “Alien Intrusion” by Gary Bates to understand what’s going on.

Grant
Grant
4 months ago
Reply to  Carl Thome

Super helpful. Thank you.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
4 months ago

Brendan of Ireland, my hat’s off to you for such a cheesy poem. You’ve done Wallace and Gromit proud.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 months ago

Regarding unconstitutional laws, a forgotten tool that could be our greatest weapon is the grand jury. It belongs to “we the people,” not the three branches of our government or myriad alphabet soup agencies. https://www.newsmax.com/larryklayman/grand-jury-justice-mueller/2018/04/24/id/856407/ Below are some quotes by the late, great Justice Scalia on the grand jury: “The grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It ” ‘is a constitutional fixture in its own right. In fact the whole theory… Read more »

Dave
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

The Grand Jury and the regular jury are wonderful instruments woven into the US Constitution. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have a clue about our Constitution, their state constitution and their state laws. So the effectiveness of what the Founding Fathers planted as a local check on corruption is failing. Several years ago, I was on a Federal Grand Jury. Throughout the year I served, the other jurors went along with whatever the prosecutor told them to do. They did not question the witnesses or the prosecutor. One case involved the crime of dredging a very small tributary to an Idaho… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I generally agree, but don’t think it’s a lost cause until the church completely reverses its current trend. God can work in multiple ways and spheres if His people are faithful.

john Mosher
john Mosher
4 months ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP, did you assemble these quotes from your readings or are they from a single source that Scalia penned?

Elliot Silverman
Elliot Silverman
4 months ago
Reply to  john Mosher

Those quotes are assembled from different cases dealing with different issues, not from the same opinion. And the paragraph that starts ““Thus, citizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present “True Bills” of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceeding” is a complete fabrication. No court has said that, and many courts have said exactly the opposite. Think about it for a minute– can 12 Antifa members sit down in a basement and indict all the white police officers in America for civil rights violations? What Scalia *actually* said… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 months ago

Calm down, Elliot. The quote you mentioned followed a paragraph about Scalia and was written by someone else. So I was wrong but didn’t “fabricate” anything myself. Your Antifa example is curious and quite irrelevant. They already have leftist privilege. They’ve rioted for a year straight now, setting Federal buildings and police stations on fire and getting nothing more than wrist slaps from catch-and-release programs in Portland, Seattle, etc. Meanwhile any conservative within 10 miles of the Capitol on 1/6 is getting the book thrown at them for being a “domestic terrorist”–the proper term for Antifa and much of BLM.… Read more »

Av Pinzur
Av Pinzur
4 months ago

Regarding tax-advantaged “college” savings that stays flexible, I’m no expert, but I’ve been helped by some…

If you’re already saving for retirement in tax-advantaged vehicles, you might consider putting extra into a Roth IRA/401k (where gains are tax-free) and then using basis/contribution-only withdrawals to help fund school.

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
4 months ago

Doug, respectfully, I think you missed the point of Ben’s question. Nobody would seriously dispute that an omnipotent being has the raw power to do anything he likes without having to answer to anybody; that’s in the nature of omnipotence. The question, rather, is if that omnipotent being derives pleasure from torturing puppies, why would anyone pretend that he is just? He’s then in the same position as the man who comes home drunk every night and beats his wife and kids and then, when challenged, says “Because I’m the dad, that’s why.” To most people, the concept of creating… Read more »

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
4 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

But all that does is to raise the argument a level without answering the question. The new question is “what is justice” rather than “Is God just” but the answer, “Because I said so,” remains unchanged. So all you’ve really done is to change the subject. And here is what I think is the weak link in the chain: Words either have objective meanings or they do not, and in order for us to talk about anything, we have to agree in advance as to what words mean. To define “justice” as “whatever God does” essentially turns it into a… Read more »

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 months ago

“So we have this Orwellian system under which justice ends up being turned on its head.” That’s what we’re seeing now with the woke movement, Biden administration, Big Tech, the MSM, Hollywood, etc. Looting stores = reparations, violence and mayhem is only wrong if you hold certain political views, gender is fluid, abortion = freedom, actual personal/religious freedom = intolerance which can be punished by the state, etc. And of course we see much more extreme forms of this in truly godless places like China, the Soviet Union and pagan societies that practiced human sacrifice. We have God’s word so… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 months ago

Why do you think justice is a meaningful concept?

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM: “Justice” is a meaningful concept in the same sense that “apple” is a meaningful concept. In other words, it is a word that humans have agreed to use to describe a certain thing, so that when that thing is discussed, people will know what is being talked about. I suppose we can have a discussion about whether the thing even exists — “unicorn” is a word that describes something that doesn’t exist, but the word is still useful for certain purposes. And if that’s your question — does justice even exist even theoretically — try spending a few minutes… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 months ago

In an important sense Justice is not a thing and Apple is not a concept. Does justice have mass and volume? Chemical composition? Can it be perceived by physical senses, and that even by non-human species? If not, what makes it real? Is apple a principle or a quality, without material reality? What moral meaning or value do you ascribe to “apple”? What you think, not what I can imagine is the question, however not being an atheist I not the one who needs to use their imagination to conceive of immaterial reality – like justice. On the other hand… Read more »

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM, love, hate, pain and joy lack mass and volume, and are to a large degree subjective, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have words to describe them or that they aren’t real. But let’s cut to the chase. Justice is essentially nothing more than the concept that certain behaviors should produce certain results. Some of those results have moral implications; others (like whether to have chicken or fish for dinner, or to skip dinner altogether if I’m not hungry) do not. The sense of injustice comes from expectations; the person who spent his youth acquiring a useful degree and… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 months ago

Kathleen, What gives those subjective things objective reality? What give they value, good or bad? Who says good and bad are real categories? On what basis? What is your point of reference? If justice is the subject, and justice has any valid meaning, then yes we are, unavoidably, using “should” in the moral sense. A large man credibly threatens you with severe violence if you don’t hand over your purse; you are unarmed and no help is at hand. That cause “should” have the effect of you handing over your purse, and that certainly is the thief’s reasonable expectation given… Read more »

Kathleen M. Zielinski
Kathleen M. Zielinski
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM, you are looking at the wrong expectation. The expectation is that a woman who has money that she earned should not be forced to hand it over to a robber, and if she does, he should face consequences if caught. The idea that the mugger’s expectations, and the victim’s expectations, are morally equivalent is ridiculous. And the answer to the question of “says who” is a blank stare followed by “you have got to be kidding.” In morality, as in mathematics, there is only one right answer most of the time. The mugger’s answer is entitled to no more… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 months ago

“…a woman who has money that she earned should not be forced to hand it over to a robber, and if she does, he should face consequences” In other words you *are* using “should” in the moral sense. Just as I said we must do. There is no avoiding the moral “ought”. Otherwise I guess there’s no point to indignation over stolen money, the robber just made something on the order of an arithmetic error after all. Or maybe he didn’t even make an error. No right or wrong, no good or bad, just what is and what happens. Like… Read more »

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

Hi Kathleen, It seems you are using your skills as an attorney to twist what God has ordained. The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is unchanging. The Bible tells us that God is a just God, a merciful God but He also carries the sword to remind all flesh that He is the only true God. No, God doesn’t change his mind from day to day as judges and others who attempt to force cases in the direction they want it to go. The Bible has stories full of what we think are… Read more »

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Hi Dave: At this point I’m just asking questions. My own views on the subject are in flux, largely because I find it a hard question. (HL Mencken said that every difficult question has an easy answer that’s wrong.) And I started the conversation because I think the argument Doug gave is a really bad argument. It may be that I ultimately agree with him, but not based on that argument. To answer your other question, I don’t think a system in which the poor have their basic needs met is necessarily stealing from one person to give to another.… Read more »

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

Kathleen, keep reading your Bible and keep asking questions. Attorneys are taught to fight trials with a bit of fact and lots of argument regardless if the argument is applicable or not. In today’s world, I have watched attorneys in family court ignore facts or distort them to something entirely different to force the case their direction. The judge didn’t say a thing or went with the distortion. In similar manner, Americans have been taught that God’s law and teachings are absurd and to even consider them is high heresy. Those who don’t understand scripture incorrectly use Jesus’s quote about… Read more »

Ree
Ree
4 months ago

Kathleen,

It appears to me that you’re dismissing Doug’s argument because you mininterpreted it. Doug gave three options for explaining justice and God, the first two clearly problematic and the third one correct. The first two were restatements of Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma and the third, the Christian explanation. His implication was that the Christian one resolves the problems of the dilemma. But you responded with your objection to the second option, one of the two horns of the dilemma, instead of to the one Doug was offering as its resolution.

Farinata
Farinata
4 months ago

Kathleen, your objection that justice would be meaningless if it depends on God does not follow. Since God is immutable, his nature is a fixed point that we can depend on; anything defined by his character will be completely stable. In fact, far from creating a problem, defining justice that way seems necessary to avoid descending into mass horrors. Your example is deeply ironic: it cuts exactly the wrong direction: it is the humans who develop systems of morality and justice apart from God who wind up raping and murdering children. In fact, it is a reliable enough pattern to… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 months ago
Reply to  Farinata

Farinata,

Perhaps an analogy would be helpful.

Mathematics, like justice, is an aspect of God’s creation.

Mathematics has an internal logic that we can understand without explicitly referencing God in the process. Thus, we can assert with absolute certainty that, everywhere and always, 2 + 2 = 4.

Claiming, “2 + 2” = “Whatever God wants it to be in any particular case” is not a “meaningful” statement.

Likewise, saying that “justice” = “Whatever God wants it to be in any particular case” is not a “meaningful” statement. Like mathematics, justice must adhere to an internally consistent rule of logic.

Bill B
Bill B
4 months ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

I think Kathleen is saying that someone non-elect is assigned by God before birth to be punished for all eternity and could not possibly have done anything to avoid this ultimate fate.

This not only seems contrary to the “internally consistent rule of logic” that justice adheres to, it seems about as diametrically opposed to justice (as humans commonly understand it) as it is possible to get.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill B

Bill,

Yes. That is the objection most people have to the Calvinist system of double predestination.

C.S. Lewis wrote that “It was the creed of progressives, even of revolutionaries.” About the early adopters of the idea, he mused:

[W]e may suspect that those who read [Calvin’s Institutio] with most approval were troubled by the fate of predestined vessels of wrath just about as much as young Marxists in our own age are troubled by the approaching liquidation of the bourgeoisie.

(English Literature in the 16th Century)

Farinata
Farinata
4 months ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

JC – are you responding to something I said? What, pray?

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 months ago
Reply to  Farinata

Farinata, I was attempting to re-frame Kathleen’s objection to the proffered solution as being a “meaningless concept”. Translating ‘justice’ into ‘mathematics’ yields an argument similar to: 1. God is the omniscient, immutable being who created all that is; 2. God says 2 + 2 = 5; 3. If #2 is true then #1 must be false; 4. Statement #2 is true, therefore God does not exist. Countering the conclusion by further fortifying statement #1 is meaningless because no amount of fortification can override the logic of statement #3. Therefore the only meaningful response is to contest the truth of statement… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
4 months ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

John Callaghan, I sure hope you brought some marshmallows to roast over that strawman you set ablaze.

Paul D Ewart
Paul D Ewart
4 months ago

I think what you are doing is judging God. There is no counsel against Him. If you think He is right and good in all His works then that is a solid foundation from which to reason.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
4 months ago

Kathleen, Ben’s question is a common one and the one which Thomas Aquinas considered the principal argument against God’s existence: Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist. (Summa Theologica, Does God Exist?) In short, the answer is that God can, and does, produce good even from evil. Here’s a longer answer: Problem… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 months ago

Regarding Ben, the standard objection to God’s sovereignty, and Paul’s answer in Romans 9: Who art thou that repliest against God? I think we’d do well to consider Paul’s apparently rhetorical question more closely. Who are we? Obviously we’re mere creatures who can’t resist God if he exerts himself against us. Paul seems to be saying that we should shut up because God is powerful. I think there’s more to it. We are creatures and like all creatures we are profoundly incompetent to judge God. We have no place to stand to judge him. There is no morality or justice… Read more »

Ken
Ken
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

The concluding chapters of Job teach the same point.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 months ago
Reply to  Ken

Agreed. They’re susceptible to the same misreading too, that power is all that is in view. I think God lays traps like that for the proud mind.

Ken
Ken
4 months ago

For Keith: A quick search turns up some published material, some of it evidently more on the level of the popular royal family gossip schlock. The volume that concentrates on Philip’s youth and young manhood appears to have more substance to it–there’s no question he came out of a challenging situation with respect to his family and seems to have overcome that with highly creditable service in the Second World War. I can’t vouch for the Christian perspective of any of the authors–that’s simply not in public evidence.

Man in the Middle
Man in the Middle
4 months ago

Reply on your “Education question” about whether or not to fund a 529 fund for a future college education: I chose not to, not only for the reason mentioned (that government might prevent the money being spent on your choice of colleges), but also because when student financial aid applications are considered, money that is in the name of the student is “taxed” at a higher percentage than money in the name of the parents. When it was my son heading for college in a few years, we intentionally used all our spare money to do two things: pay off… Read more »