First a Question About Porn
Two dear friends introduced me to Douglas Wilson and Moscow, Idaho. Praise be to the Lord for my friends and the ministry of Doug. Since that introduction, I have viewed a handful of his sermons, lectures, and other discussion videos. I have a question I would like to ask Doug or another delegated leader regarding romantic relationships and pornography. Having heard Doug speak on this a number of times, I have yet to hear much concerning one certain aspect to this issue, which is what brings me here. Perhaps I am in the wrong place to ask such a question, and if so, may I be pointed in the proper direction? Otherwise, I would be quite grateful for wise council on the question, which is:
Need a man completely and utterly defeat this sin and affliction (porn) before entering into a relationship aimed at marriage with a woman? Furthermore—if that *ought* to be the case, how long and far removed must that man be before he (or both parties) can justify a relationship to commence?
I understand this question might not be answered soon or even at all. I suspect this question/topic is rather common, and thus a suitable answer might already exist.
Thank you for anything you can provide.
P, first, I would recommend this book for you. Second, you want to have defeated any kind of compulsive addicted behavior before getting into a relationship because no woman should be expected to have to put up with anything like that. But third, there is no such thing as “utterly” defeating temptations to lust in this life, and you don’t want to be in the position of only being able to get a loan from the bank if you prove to them that you don’t need it.
When Bacteria Bleat—I just wanted to tell you I thought this article was some of your best work to date! I really enjoyed how clear you made the applying of Van Til’s apologetic without even batting an eye. This was great applied apologetics. I would love to see you write a whole book like this.
Very well done, thank you!
Jon, thanks very much.
Could you address this [see below]in a future blog post? It seems to me lots and lots of pastors are either using sermon “services” or straight up plagiarizing other pastor’s work.
This is awful. I’m a Southern Baptist, and this is our leadership. What does this say about evangelicalism that we are okay with this?
Chris, thanks for the suggestion.
Civics in Between
On the ultra-cosmic level, the universe is an absolute monarchy, with God ruling directly and inscrutably. On the microcosmic level, the Christian nuclear family is an authoritarian monarchy, with the husband-father bearing the responsibility of leadership according to sound authoritative doctrine. Would it not follow that on the meso-cosmic level, the Christian nation state would aspire to be at least a constitutional monarchy; and that on the macro-cosmic level of international Christian civilization, an elected monarchy.
The same line of reasoning would follow for priesthood also. Christ is High Priest; and a father is priestly toward his children. Why not affirm priests on the meso-cosmic level of Christian communities; or on the macro-cosmic level of relations with the non-Christian world?
Do not republicanism and lay presidency at the altar suppose a disruption in the levels/spheres of moral order? That is, kings and priests are only acceptable in the most remote and immediate spheres, but not in between. How justifiably so?
Andrew, that is an interesting question, and I do believe there is a serious argument there. Let me just note that I am not opposed to a constitutional monarchy, just as I am not opposed to a constitutional anything. The foundational thing would be the rule of law, a law that everyone knows. And I wouldn’t want to get hung up on terms either—a president of a powerful country can certainly have the gravitas of a king.
Don’t Forget Sir John Glubb
I recently listened to Plodcast podcast mentioning a book called the Fourth Turning.
This brought to mind a short paper called the Fate of Empires written by Sir John Glubb.
Here is the link, or you can do a search for a site you are comfortable with for a download.
John, yes, thanks. I read Glubb’s piece decades ago, and was persuaded by it. Thanks for the link.
Knowing and Actually Knowing
I agree with everything in this article, but what do you think should be the approach for the fool who believes all the same things as the atheist in your article and yet at the same time claims to subscribe fully to, say, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000?
Seth, subscription to a statement of faith is one thing, and honest and intelligent subscription to it is quite another.
A Theological Question
I very recently discovered you and your work as a whole, but instantly recognized your distinctive voice from years ago, listening to your address at Piper’s C.S. Lewis conference on the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death. Your joke about buying Calvinism in 50-gallon drums stuck with me, and when I stumbled upon one of your Youtube videos a few weeks ago I immediately thought “Oh hey, it’s the weapons-grade Calvinist!”
Sir, thank you for your work on our Lord’s behalf, and your witness in His name.
I have a theological question for you, and apologize in advance if this was not the correct avenue to ask it.
My question assumes three premises.
– God’s divine nature is immutable
– Christ is fully God and fully human
– Human nature is more than our physical bodies
Assuming I have these three correct, does it not follow that the Second person of the Trinity was *always* human? As opposed to *becoming* a man during His physical incarnation?
Unless immutability is only a characteristic of the Father and the Son changed His nature at a specific point in time about 2000 years ago, this seems to be the logical conclusion.
If so, and the Word in the beginning was already man, and His humanity preceded the creation of the universe, then would making creatures “in our image” (Gen. 1:26) be referring to our race adopting the Son’s pre-existing humanity, rather than a more abstract interpretation (imposition of spirit on flesh)?
Does this also suggest that the Son, being our true progenitor, would have incarnated as our Lord regardless of the Fall, perhaps in happier circumstances? Had Adam and Eve not disobeyed, might the second Person of the Trinity have joined them and their descendants in the garden?
Nathan, thanks for the kind words and, coming right to the point of your questioning, no. The Definition of Chalcedon teaches, rightly in my view, that the attributes of Deity can be predicated of the person, Jesus of Nazareth, and the attributes of humanity can be predicated of the person, but that the attributes of one nature cannot be predicated of the other. And what your suggestion would have to reduce to at the end of the day is the idea that humanity is Deity.
Some More Postmillery
I have two reoccurring issues within my conversations regarding the partial preterist postmil position.
1) My pastor, friends, and family have all been influenced on their eschatology through John MacArthur and Master’s Seminary. That being said they have roughly no idea what the postmil postion entails. They have done very little research on the topic themselves. Commonly in my interactions with them regarding postmill, they quickly dismiss it and state that “Revelation was written post A.D 70.” This answer seems to be the get out of jail free card for them. How would you respond and do you have recommended literature on this topic?
2) My second question regards the level of importance that our eschatological view should hold. In a recent conversation with the pastor of my brother’s church, we went back and forth for a brief time comparing the millennial positions. As I began showing the difference between natural interpretation and wooden, the conversation was dismissed with the reply, “In the end we are all Christians. These things have been debated forever.” This response was a way out of the conversation, but it left me with an unsettled feeling. Am I wrong to think that the position we hold has a huge impact on our life and hermeneutic? The postmill position has been extremely eye opening and a huge blessing for my wife and me. Our life has been changed through thinking generationally and seeing Christ as a victor over this world. Is it wrong for me to feel that this is a major topic that should have more weight and importance? Not something easily dismissed as “non-essential”?
Denver, it is a very important topic, but don’t sour your friendships through too much argument over it. Living with this kind of hope is very attractive, especially as things continue to disintegrate around us. Have discussions, keep it friendly, and don’t expect the arguing to do anything. Let your life do more talking. And on the date of Revelation, I would recommend this book.
I just listened to your podcast on Tim Keller’s hands on the scales. I would like to know what you think of his New City Catechism? It seems to me like every time I am exposed to it I am confronted with some old subtle heresy now being masqueraded as doctrine.
Thanks for your hard work.
Tyrone, I don’t know enough about his catechism to say anything, one way or the other. But my big concerns have to do with how he engages with more recent doctrinal challenges—evolution, feminism, etc.
Kindly comment on the moral necessity and/or utility of a referendum on prolonged lockdowns, and what threshold of acceptance or rejection would establish a mandate. Such a tool is strikingly absent.
I am keenly aware that in every debate, one side—at least invisibly—holds the guns, often receiving disagreement as from one who speaks “opinion to authority”.
Writing from Canada, I am stunned at the zeal of law enforcement in establishing international-level security measures between provinces (especially Manitoba-Ontario) as though traveling between Israel and Lebanon; and this without a peep from their conservative leaders about the need for regional referenda to establish legitimacy for the use of force imposing non-conservative policies on their very electors.
Thank you for speaking as a voice of sanity amidst the chaos.
Andrew, I have been surprised at how much capitulation has gone on also.
When May Pastors Be Restored?
I am curious what you think is an appropriate timeline for a pastor to return to ministry after being caught in sexual sin. Let’s assume the sexual sin is adultery for example. I’ve heard some say as soon as the pastor is repentant, he is again qualified to return as a pastor. What about sexual abuse?
Josephine, I think the general assumption ought to be that if a pastor commits adultery, or is guilty of sexual abuse, he should be done with the ministry for good.
Another Sabbath Resource
The Christian Sabbath | Another answer for Jonathan would be the book “The Christian Sabbath” by Dr. Robert Paul Martin”:
Trey, thank you.
More on Theocratic Free Speech
I wanted to ask a question about the recent articles you have been writing on the biblical necessity of free speech. I am in broad agreement with your position and I think theonomy is indeed biblical. One objection I anticipate goes like this;
Can’t the argument surrounding blasphemy also be applied to the right of the state to execute? The danger of letting the state punish blasphemy is that the state can abuse this and become the ultimate blasphemer. Can’t the state also abuse the right to execute criminals and become the ultimate murderer? If we don’t want the state to punish blasphemy then we should also want to prevent the state from having the power to kill. Or to state the objection more directly, just because the state can abuse its powers to punish blasphemy, it doesn’t mean that the state shouldn’t punish blasphemy when appropriate by biblical standards.
I am not sure how I would respond to this objection. I suspect that the person making this objection would be someone who is a more radical theonomist than yourself, and I don’t expect to meet any of them here in New Zealand, but, should I become a more radical theonomist than you?
Thank you for all your work, and I lack the ability to express how helpful your writing has been for me and everyone who has to put up with me.
Ethan, I do think that the civil government has the responsibility to punish blasphemy at some point, as well as executing criminals at some point. I believe in free speech, not blasphemy/anarchy. In my thinking, it has to do with things like the burden of proof and emphasis. But more from me is coming on this in days to come.
Welcome to Moscow
RE: Kevin DeYoung and the Taxonomy of Conflict
This post really deserves to be a book, a kind of present-day Rushdoonian spiritual successor with handsome helpings of the Peterson-esque (or is J.P. Wilson-eqsue? huh) “Ha! Gotcha” humor from which you cannot seem to help yourself going there.
Speaking for my family, we were closet 4s. Every 4-ish murmur escaping from hearts to lips have been silenced and shamed and explained away by the numerous and more prestigious 3s we are presently surrounded by. Now we are on our way out of our current non-denominational, premillennial, dispensational circles that we got saved in and learned everything we know about the faith from – until we discovered the ministries and publishings of Christ Church. Not that we haven’t extensively surveyed the milieu of Evangelicalism and its thinking apart from you, but your reasoning – for all the reasons your article points out—stands apart, and so many times we have heard what you’ve had to say and thought, “That is exactly how we felt all along”—and were frustrated that we hadn’t been able to articulate it.
So to our surprise, we are now moving our family from Austin to Moscow, and we still don’t know whether we will wind up believing in postmillennialism, infant baptism, theonomy, sacramentalism, cold weather, and a whole host of issues we grew up believing were dividing lines. Yet in terms of pleasing God, we have vastly more in common with you in thinking and approach to obedience than our own theological camp, and the divide between us and our fellow 3s is beginning to feel like a chasm, fixed, with a metal curtain in the middle—and the Rich Brothers told Abraham his ideas aren’t welcome on their side because he quoted Lazarus. So when you say “4s are more ecumenical”—we present to you the tablets of our hearts as living proof, that in spite of the appearance of vastidious interwebital shunning you receive on a daily basis—the silent 4s, who may lack either the training chops or the pluck or a bit of both, God appears to be drawing together to take our stand.
Our personal calculus has come to reject “oh no, what will 1-3 think.” We want to avoid the opposite problem: even trying to resist the spirit of the age, we sense we have been so catechized by the deafening laugh track that we fear what David called our hidden sin most of all. We feel grave danger of losing all our rewards and watching our entire lives burned up like straw in the end for disobedience we learned to be bullied into, not even questioning. We know the Hebrews Cloud exists and urges us on, but at this point in time we feel we need to kind of surround ourselves in a Cloud of 4s to search our own lives and re-pattern our family after the Original and Most Hated 4 (He is actually a 7, as opposed to Bolz-Weber’s -2), our Lord Jesus Christ. Right now, Christ Church, her members and ministries are one of the only clear and unmistakable voices that shares our heart and thirst for unapologetic obedience, especially the kind of obedience that exposes manipulators. Praise God for that; on the other side of the online four-stompers are a whole lot of sheep like us who battle with great despair for our children, and God has set you all up as one city on a hill for many of us to gain clarity and be set free from the catechism of this nuclear waste site dumpster of a culture.
One bone to pick with your article—”I also hasten to add that you might [a 4] and still be a jerk.” I wholeheartedly agree there objectively exists a true moral concept, backed by the gold standard of the agreement of God the Father, of “jerk.” But the leftian boo track has the super-majority of airtime about what the word jerk means. In my pitch for turning this article into a book, what I’d like to read from you is a thorough gutting and filleting of all the twisted laugh track dictionary entries, followed by a sane, ackshually moral (as in holy (as in mimicking God)) definitions of the i-am-undone-for-the-3s-think-me-a-meanie words we are routinely handed to wear as Convention name badges.
And if you permit me one final request in this overlong blog post-sized letter, I urge you to make your first attempt of sane redefinitions where it concerns your use of the word “sketchy.” I thought the Rich Man told Abraham his experiences were pretty distinct, no lack of definition and clarity in that particular Conference.
Patrick, we look forward to your arrival, as well as looking forward to the very first dictionary recalibration you will no doubt enjoy. I refer to a common term up here, that being “snow tires.”
“Paleo-Woke” In my last latter to you, I mentioned how I consider myself “paleo-woke”, but maybe a better term would be “theonomically woke.” Anyways, I mentioned that you should speak more sensible to the “woke” person and don’t treat us all the same. You mentioned that you believed the category I mentioned does exist but that you haven’t found calibrations on your part do much. I would like to say that THEY DO! I’m living proof! As someone who loves Eric Mason and the gospel work he’s doing in Philly, who loves his book Woke Church, (though I wouldn’t agree with everything or put it exactly the way he does.) I see how you’ve tried to reach out. I see how you’ve gone above and beyond in many ways. That spoke to me. When people, willfully or ignorantly misunderstand you I see that. Listen, the hood needs Doug Wilson. Ok, we don’t really, we need Jesus. But I’m still bringing you to the hood even if I don’t use your name. And just know that there is (based on De Young’s chart) someone who is a 1 or a 2, that loves Doug Wilson and even defends you to others. I love that you cut both ways and aren’t afraid of offending “both sides.” But in 800 years when you are long gone I believe your influence in the inner city will have blossomed. And I don’t want you to get tangled up in the petty squabbles with well known leaders to stop you from speaking to those of us that find ourselves in an entirely different context than Idaho and those of us who love Eric Mason but also who by a strange providence have found ourselves influenced and loving some random “lumberjack” guy in Moscow, Idaho. I see how you’ve been misunderstood and I still appreciate your gentle and irenic nature even though you aren’t afraid to get the sword out and start slayin dudes either. I’ve seen it through your online interactions and know that you won me over.
Keep doing what you’re doing. But know we are out there, and some of us are even putting our neck on the line in places you couldn’t imagine.
May God continue to bless your work and and may the fruit of your work, by God’s grace, multiply into an incalculable impact through the Gospel for the good of this world and for the glory of God, that in all things He might receive the honor and praise.
Ace, thank you for such a gracious letter. You are asking me to spiritually budget for that part of my reading audience, and your exhortation is a good one. I will do so.
Ordained or Not?
Thank you for the edification and guidance you provide through the podcast. It has been a blessing to listen to!
I had a quick question for you. A while back you mentioned that many people spread false accusations about you online. I find you to be correct on this, as I see a plethora of people saying outlandish things that are easily proven wrong.
One accusation I see floating around is that you’re self-ordained and have taken the role of pastor without being examined. However, I researched your denomination’s (CREC) bylaws and it is very clear that examination is required to be a part of this group of churches.
So, my question is, is this claim that you’re self-ordained just another one of the silly myths that people try to spread about you? It seems like people will do anything to spread bad information, but I wasn’t sure if there was a reason that there’s controversy around your ordination.
Once again, thank you for all you do to spread the cause of the Gospel!
Jeremiah, thanks for asking. A lot of people don’t. I was elected to be an elder by our congregation in the late seventies, under the general oversight of the EFree church that planted us. Our broad polity at that time was congregational and so consequently, once we had elders, our local body was ruled by elders. So I became the pastor of this congregation the way many men are called and established by a local congregation. The CREC did not exist at that time. But when the CREC was established, according to the CREC constitution, our congregation was brought into the CREC in a way that recognized all the existing ordinations. I was examined by the CREC later, as part of the Federal Vision controversy. You can actually listen to that exam if you like.
Born This Way?
Since I saw “On Earth as it is in Heaven” on YouTube I was intrigued by your message and have since watched many of your lectures and debates (as well as from Voddie Baucham, Bruce Gore, Jeff Durbin, Steve Gregg and others) and I feel blessed by God with the renewed and better understanding of his Word.
Especially the topic about LGBT+ interested me because in the past ten years I feel public opinion changed dramatically on this even though I think the Bible is clear on this topic.
However I came up with a theory (based on the Bible) which is maybe interesting to you as well.
I was thinking about Sodom and how it is mentioned that all the men (all ages) wanted to participate in these sodomic actions.
This triggered me to think that all men (and women) in Sodom were either born this way or it was their choice to participate.
Maybe the ‘born this way’ argument applies to all of us.
Maybe we were all born gay, lesbian, heterosexual and so on?
If not, then how could it be that all men in Sodom wanted to participate?
Looking at Wikipedia, so far no gay gene has been found and it points out that its a combination of factors and that social environment plays a role too.
Looking at the demographics of sexual orientation (also Wikipedia) it shows that over the years the LGBT+ population share is growing steadily.
“Notably, the generational group that has the highest percentage of people who identify as LGBT is the youngest — Generation Z (born 1997 to 2002) — with 15.9%. That compares to 9.1% of millennials (born 1981 to 1996), 3.8% of Generation X (born 1965 to 1980), 2% of baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and 1.3% of traditionalists (born before 1946).”
The question arises how is it possible that there’s a difference of 14,60% between Generation Z and the traditionalists generation?
How can this be if people are born this way?
If people are born this way the number would remain static and not increase.
So my theory is (based on the biblical story about Sodom) that if this continues, the population share of LGBT+ will continue to grow, 20%, 30%, 50%, who knows?
Especially since it’s being promoted at schools, work places, everywhere (even churches?).
This would answer the question why we care (besides that it conflicts with what God teaches us).
If the LGBT+ population share rises and it is proven so hard to change this sexual orientation, this will be destructive to the fertility of the US and many other western nations.
In that sense, this theory will be proven false or true in the coming decade.
Since the ‘born this way’ argument is such an important argument for many Christians to believe that its God’s will for them to behave this way, to have same-sex mirages and so on, I think it will be important to keep an eye on this population share statistic.
Soon our nations will turn (population wise) literally into Sodom?
I’m a Christian from the Netherlands, 31 year old father of three kids, married to a beautiful woman.
Forced by corona I’m working from my attic with a view at the high school where I always thought I’d send my kids to, until this week when I saw from my attic window the rainbow flag on top of the roof of this school.
It’s (in name) a Christian school—however they purposely avoid any reference to Christianity on their website and also at school itself (with Christmas no cross but only a tree).
I’m interested to hear what you think of my theory explained above?
I call it the “We are all born gay” theory since I think it emphasizes this point that, if we resist God’s will, we will all follow the way of Sodom and it makes it clear that it still, in essence, is a choice we make.
God bless you and your family.
Jelte, I think you have a point, but I would modify it some. I believe that we are all born sexually broken, and I believe that lust is profoundly plastic. It wants to be infinitely plastic, but coming from a finite creature, it has to settle for deranged. The only way out is to be born again—to be “reborn this way.”
Critical of Dabney
I am reading Dabney’s Defense of Virginia and the South on your recommendation. In chapter 1, among some really good insights, he says,
“…for the African race, such as Providence has made it, and where He has placed it in America, slavery was the righteous, the best, yea, the only tolerable relation.”
I’m not so sure. It’s obvious that any slave needs a liberal education to prepare him for freedom, and the descendants of slaves still suffer today for the lack of such an education. It seems to me that a better long-term Christian approach to the problem of millions of slaves imported into the colonies by the British would have focused on education and evangelism. I hope that’s classical education, not modern democratic bias talking. I will read the rest of the book with interest, but I would love to know what Christian writers pick up the conversation from Dabney, accepting his insights but taking a less enthusiastic view of the righteousness of American slavery.
MB, I am with you on that, although I would reverse the order—evangelism, and then education.
The Warrenton Declaration
Todd, good stuff. My only disagreements would be under Article XVIII. I believe that in the case of serious contagious disease, the magistrate has the authority to quarantine, and that this authority can be biblically defended from Mosaic law.
Just watched your video on Masculine Responsibility and the Covenant. I heartily agree with everything said there. I find the train of thought you laid out there very convicting whenever Satan attacks with the line of, “it’s ok to sin in (insert sin here) way because your wife / kids will never know.” But I want God to bless my wife / kids, so I will do my best to remain faithful in all aspects of life, whether they be public or private.
However, can we take this train of thought too far? If there is a family that seems like the father and mother are faithful in their parenting, but their kids turn out rebellious, does that mean that there was hidden sin in the life of the father? It pains me to think of someone like John Piper, a man whose ministry I’ve appreciated, has a wayward son out there. Does that mean that JP has some dark side we just don’t know about? Should I get rid of his books. I very much want to hold to the truth of I Tim 3:4-5. But I’m unsure of where the lines are at.
Roger, I agree with your concern about where to draw the line. I don’t believe the presence of hidden sin to be a rigid law, but I do believe that it is a real possibility—one that parents with a wayward child should at least check. But nobody should make accusations from the outside on the basis of this principle.
The Dry Twig Moment
Recently watched your Dry Twig interaction with Gary DeMar, for which I am thankful.
I grew up with the same osmosis and somewhat conviction and only have recently researched my own eschatological viewpoint. I am incredibly thankful it was last year where I started to dive in the deep end and the infamous algorithm of our Internet Media overlords plunged me to your channel (an act of Providence, no doubt). I kept hearing of this intriguing Postmillennial position from this doughty pastor in Idaho and godly raucous pastor in Arizona, [a position] I was always told was “just for the liberals.”
While I will admit I am not entirely convinced of the postmillennial school (I would consider myself an optimistic amillennial), I am not opposed to the posty’s. I quite enjoy them. Needless to say, I have seen your arguments come to life in my own readings of Scripture. Particularly it is Christ’s Discourse to His Disciples in John 14-17. In seeing the incredible power of Christ’s ascension and giving of the Spirit by the will of the Father, I see the postmillennial position a bit more clearly, and I am thankful for that.
Keep pressing on, brother. Thankful for you and your ministry.
X, thank you. Being postmill, I believe that amillennialism eventually turns into postmillennialism. But, then again, so does everything else.