Thank you for all your work. If you have a moment, would you mind providing a list of books that would help one think through the questions: “At what point should a Christian stand up to tyranny?” and “How should a Christian stand up to tyranny?” Also, I would love to know of any history books that connect the founding father’s Christian faith to their decision to fight for independence. Also, could you link any of your videos or posts on these topics? Thank you
Sarah, I would start with Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, published by Canon Press, and on the American War for Independence, I would then read Justifying Revolution by Steward.
Pink Spider Letters
We have been benefiting tremendously from your Blog and Mablog posts as of late. Thank you for this service you are providing to the church! The most recent one on David French and pink spiders was excellent. One thing we have noticed in Christian ministry is how narcissists and narcissistic systems are often propped up by extremely empathetic people. (Dr. Ramani talks about this on her YouTube videos dealing with narcissism.) We just came out of a very intense situation on the mission field where we had to deal with this kind of “toxic empathy” in a very big way. The whole thing feels like we are empowering evil while disempowering the good and righteousness. And we have seen missionaries so intent on “building bridges” that they are no longer connected to the mainland in the end. Yes, we are to “become all things to all people” but we should remain Christians and His ambassadors in the process. Thanks again for all you are doing! And greetings from Cambodia!
Ben, thanks much.
Re: “empathy”, Two additional scenarios I’d like to see addressed:
4) Bob accuses John of something personal. Whatever the case, Bob is not looking to file a formal accusation in court, but rather to endear someone to himself or his agenda. But it’s impossible to hear both sides.
While we’re on it, doesn’t a person’s trustworthiness come into play here? Jussie Smollett could certainly be a victim of racially motivated violence, but he’d have a difficult time convincing people. But if, say, John MacArthur claimed to have gotten milkshaked while walking alone, I’m pretty sure I’d believe him.
5) Wife runs to her best friend’s house saying that her husband is being violent and she needs a place to stay. BFF should offer her a room, right? Would it be wrong to take her side while she’s crying on her shoulder, knowing that she’s making herself vulnerable to possible betrayal?
If not, this seems like the guy who won’t give to the poor because how do I know 100% that the money’s not going to be wasted?
James, with regard to the first, it is certainly lawful to believe an uncorroborated report. It is just not lawful to take disciplinary action in civil or church courts. With regard to your second scenario, I have written about that kind of thing here.
In case anyone was still waffling on the empathy “debate”, Scot McKnight made clear in a recent Baptist News Global interview where this all is headed:
This derision of empathy relates to one of the problems with white male leadership, he (McKnight) adds, citing a dissertation written by one of his students, Becky Castle Miller.
“Her work has made me more alert to the reality of white evangelical men suppressing feelings, exaggerating rationality and combining such in the rise of masculinist white evangelicalism,” he writes. “Suppressing feelings has been the name of the game for many men in evangelicalism since World War II.”
Labeling empathy as sinful appears to be a power play worthy of controlling narcissists, he continues.
“Lack of empathy characterizes narcissism, and that was first thing I thought of when I heard about these recent denouncers of empathy.”
Keep pounding this drum, Doug – I think you (and Rigney) hit the right nerve.
Gabe, thanks. This is quite a hat trick, when you think about it. Not only are we wrong on the merits, but we are wrong on the merits AND white. AND male.
Is Orientation Sinful?
I was watching an old debate of yours from 8 years ago where you mentioned that you didn’t believe homosexual orientation in the absence of homosexual action was a sin. More recently, especially surrounding the Revoice fracas, you’ve made it clear that homosexual attraction in itself is something to be repented of and fought against. Can you help bridge the gap for me? Is this something you’ve come to adopt more recently or do you draw a distinction between orientation and attraction? You’ve been a helpful voice of reason for me in thinking through these issues so any input is appreciated!
Here’s the link to the debate (timestamp 2:06:25).
Trey, no fundamental change in my position, but the Revoice move certainly made me refine my position. At that time, I meant that a repentant homosexual could expect his temptations to come from that direction, and that it was not a sin to be tempted. But then Revoice used that standard understanding as a way to carve out a space to be a celibate gay, which is effeminate, and which is a sin.
I attended a Southern Baptist seminary and currently serve in a Southern Baptist church. I have noticed a staple in our leadership that I would love to have some help thinking through. Is there a reason that so many of our leadership in the evangelical church dress as if they are trying to communicate that they are fashionable men? Why the cuff-links and pinstripe suites, bow-ties and tailored everything? I understand dressing in a fashion that is respectful, clean, and trim. However, it seems as if there is some sort of unwritten rule that demands men of a certain platform size must dress like a billionaire. Where does this come from?
Jay, the fashions change, but when there is sin in this, it is a sin common to those who are accustomed to be in the public eye. Jesus spoke of those who liked to wear flowing robes (Luke 20:46). It is a temptation for those who like to be looked at. Spurgeon used to express his distaste for such fops.
More on Masks
Greetings in Christ. This is not directed to a particular post, but is certainly regards a topic du jour. I am an elder in a local church within a town that just implemented another indoor mask mandate (which also applies to churches) per their board of health. My church, which I love dearly, is taking the line of submitting to this order, rather than, say, cheerfully disregarding it. If I was simply representing myself and my family, I would be coming to church and not wearing a mask. If asked, I would explain that I am doing my best to love others by setting an example of exercising our protected freedoms to worship God because I wish to see them preserved for my fellow saints and future generations, and in this instance, I believe the loss of such freedoms to be the greater of two threats (freedom vs health and safety). But as an Elder in the church, I’m not sure that’s appropriate. I believe it would be a sin for me to lead the sheep down a path of destruction (of which masks have become the primary symbol and expression of that path). On the other hand, my actions as an elder should represent the will of the eldership. Thus, the most peaceable solution for the moment has seemed to me to stay home (two weeks running), and this obviously can’t go on indefinitely.
The Pastor reached out via email to say my family was missed, which I appreciated, and suggested that perhaps the command to not forsake assembling (Heb. 10:25) is ultimate here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(1) Does the need to assemble supersede the manner in which we assemble (all masked up, veiled face reflecting a symbol of man instead of the image of God)? Does obedience to Hebrews 10:25 mean meeting no matter the conditions (take to the caves if we must!), or does it mean insisting that we should not forsake assembling in a particular manner, the way Christians are meant to assemble, not as slaves but as free in Christ (1 Cor 7:23).
(2) I noted above that I’d go to church unmasked if only a congregant. Would that be valid? Conversely, I do not wish to show insubordination among the leadership. Do you agree or disagree that it’s best not to go unmasked given I am an elder taking the minority view on masks?
(3) I made a formal request to our board of health to add an exemption to indoor masks “in such situations where wearing one would conflict with someone’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” They will take the question up in a couple weeks. My plan is to lay low and see how that shakes out. If they rule favorably, I think I’m clear to go to church unmasked as an elder. Even if some elders feel to see the point or are even upset by this, do you think it’s reasonable at that point?
(4) If the board does not offer relief, I’m back to the drawing board. My current thinking is that I would request to step down from the eldership (hopefully temporarily), and then come to church unmasked as a congregant. Does this seem like a reasonable option or is this not really accomplishing anything in the way of trying to honor the church leadership while following my conscience?
Thank you for all your efforts in thinking through the thorny situations that have arisen from the Church (big “C”) failing to say “no” at the very beginning.
JPH, I think you are working through this judiciously, and I think your plan of approach is a good one.
I am not commenting on any particular post but am thankful for most of them.
I would normally not ask this question of you but we have found ourselves in a strange position . . . no one around us is taking the same stance. I talked with you at the conference about it, but I am not expecting you to remember. Our kids attend a private, Christian/classical school(side note—started because of you!). We have been struggling through COVID and the lack of civil disobedience the school has taken. They sent out an email a bit before school started saying we were not following CDC recommendations to mask the kids for a couple of reasons. There seems to be little/no risk to kids, the masks we wore/required last year were the cloth ones or gaiters, and aren’t that helpful, and we think its probably not that great for them in the long run. This was put out by the board, which also has a pulmonologist on it. We were quite excited and of course they received push back. Well, then a couple of days before school started the local public health department required them (before it was a recommendation ) for everyone. My husband and I assumed(yea I know what that makes me) the school would agree to not enforce the mandate, considering the general thoughts/beliefs on them. BUT they caved. The mandate has gotten extended for another month and we are not optimistic that it will end after that. We first wrote a letter asking the board to reconsider, or at least allow for exemptions based on conscience. That was a no. So we wrote the board telling them we would not be masking our children . . . we do not think it is right to be enforcing something that is not in the best interest of our children, but rather in the best interest of the government and the few very scared parents. (Those families who are scared to even unmask also sat out of churches for over or a year, or our pastors who shut their church down for almost a year, and is now still requiring masks. We knew that taking a stance there would be consequences. And we prayed about it. The decision of the board is to not allow exemptions, except for medical, and that students who refuse will not be allowed to come to school. We love our school. We don’t want to withdraw from it, but our highly disappointed and at a loss for what to do. We know other families are upset and think this is ridiculous but no one else is willing to bear those consequences. We met with the two board members who have voted against stopping the requirement and are not impressed by their reasoning of loving your neighbor and the weaker brother argument. We want our kids to be strong in what is surely to come (we live in mini-Portland (aka Madison,WI) and the public schools are requiring masks outside and the teachers union all agrees to the vaccination requirement.) Our board has said they won’t require it, but I am not sure I have as much confidence. So . . . my question is, do we submit? Do we say we tried . . . and we did, but now is the time to step down? Or do we keep pushing? Keep our kids out until the mandate is done or our school takes a stand?
I would love some wisdom . . . as I have said, no one here is willing to take it this far and they are also some of our dearest friends. (most of who agree this is crazy, and some even think we should have taken a stand long ago, but since we didn’t its too late) Is it too late??
Thanks . . . thank you for your willingness to take the heat, to interpose on behalf of your congregation, and to speak truth when everyone else around you wants to hear flattery.
Tiffany, I would try one more thing. I would ask the board if you can keep your kids at home for the “month” that this is going on, and if the board would authorize your kids’ teachers to help you keep them current so that they can step back in when the madness passes. If they say no to that, then you have a tough decision to make.
Our church teaches from God’s word and they are like family to us. However the elders have decided to ask us to wear masks to church. In my conversations with them I’ve said I believe this WA State mandate is government overreach into God’s church. Their response is that they will go along with it because “it is not a gospel issue”. How would you respond to such a position? We have begun attending a different church body.
Jill, the central gospel issue is this one—”who is Lord?” And the fundamental Christian confession is that Jesus is Lord.
I am writing you from Calgary Canada and I very much hope you will have time to read and answer me. In the past few years Moscow, Logos and Doug Wilson videos have popped into my life from many and often odd encounters and angles. All in a good way. Only recently have I begun putting the pieces together.
If I’m correct a group of people sought to move to a place where they could live and work in some freedom in order to produce cultural change both now and in the future. You are largely a leader of this.
I have many friends who are being harassed and backed into untenable corners because of COVID but also the broader culture. We’ve been deeply hurt and abandoned by churches who have almost unanimously agreed with the government that they are ‘non-essential.’ Many are facing loss of employment and pressure . . . I expect I don’t need to elaborate.
We’ve created our own ‘school’ under the radar and our own ‘church.’ Again, not something the government would know. But more is needed.
We want to start a Moscow, Alberta. Or get out of Canada . . .
If you have any advice we would be most grateful.
Tessa, in order to give any sensible advice I would need to know more particulars. But in the meantime, God bless you all.
Vaccines and Abortion
Hello there. I was wondering if you could revisit the issue of medical testing on aborted fetal tissue lines. You wrote a post a while ago regarding their use in the development of vaccines. However, it seems that almost every common drug in the medicine cabinet goes through this type of testing—even Tylenol. Should we apply the same standard to these medicines as we do the vaccines? God bless.
Cody, I don’t have anything new to add on vaccines and fetal lines. But when it comes to this ghoulish behavior getting into everything, I need more information—and on this topic there is a lot of misinformation to deal with also.
Women in Church Leadership
I was hoping to get your opinion on an issue of women in church leadership. We are historically a conservative Mennonite and Anabaptist combination located in the Midwest, but most members would fall in the evangelical camp in my church with a handful of reformed folks. We have a great community and I respect the godly lives of many in our congregation. We have a single elder, who is accountable to a larger denomination and lay ministers who function as what is typically called an elder. Each congregation has a deacon but they mostly function as a pastor to assist the elder in spiritual matters.
We recently changed the by laws to reflect more of a non-profit organizations to help spread the load on these elder/ministers who had a good amount of responsibility. There will be directors of operations, financials, student operations, philanthropy, governance, communications, and pastoral care with sub-committees under these roles.
Our elder has oversight over all of these roles and the pastoral director must be a man but we are now opening the remaining roles to women. Historically women have had no formal role in any leadership position. I’m finding myself having some concern with the possibility of women leading the church in these “non-spiritual” areas but my leadership has the view that Scripture is silent on these areas and is only limited to formal teaching roles (the pulpit and pastor/minister) role.
So summing this all up, I have a concern opening these roles to women but I’m struggling to formulate a coherent argument based on Scripture but would lean towards some passages in the Old Testament that appear to teach against women in leadership of any kind. Would you have any resources or thoughts on the role of women in administrative leadership positions in the a church? I’m sure you have something out there but after a quick look didn’t find what I was looking for.
For context, I did just look and have read 25 of your books and read your blog multiple times a week. I have never written in before but thank you for your ministry and influence in my life.
Drew, thanks for the question, and I agree that this is problematic. The place I would go is 1 Tim. 2:12, where two things are prohibited. One is teaching, which they are holding the line on, and the other is the exercise of authority—which administration is.
Eschatological Paradigm Shifts
I have a conviction that my worldview has to change, for it has flaws.
I’ve been following your blogs and most content you have written.
I started doing this some 6 months ago, when after 14 years of discpleship in a pretrib church—their worldview of the rapture is flawed.
At some point I completely submitted myself to Jesus ( as I thought I did in those 14 years after being born again and since then none of my labour has been in vain.
My prayer to God, was that I would really understand the calling on my life, by having the fear of the Lord and finding His wisdom and this was a result of asking God to have my faith in the Lord correspond with the reality I see around me.
Now I am on my way, but see I was taught many pretrib-dispensationalism, but now my worldview has changed and your explanation of eschatology post-millennialism is turning my life around. I am marrying soon, am blessed with a worshiping team around me, with which I worship God in church and want to worship Him , for He is all in all.
I keep studying the word and preaching it with passion, and am discipled in my church to become a pastor for a new to be planted church in my hometown.
But want to know I have he correct eschatology before teaching others and I want to find that, to teach, preach and proclaim he Word of God as He wants me too.
Can you advise a specific book, either by you or someone else who can help me find my way, and which explains that eschatology, so God will in His grace, grant met he discernment of spirits to speak his Word in His authority and in truth and spirit?
Any podcast that you can advise is welcome too, for there are so many, and I’d like to learn more.
I enjoy your podcasts and teaching, and I hope you can help me out.
May your work for the Lord be blessed, as well as you and your family.
Hoping for a response,
With kind regards
Norbert (from the Netherlands)
Norbert, God bless your studies. On this topic, I have written Heaven Misplaced. I would also recommend He Shall Have Dominion by Ken Gentry, and Postmillennialism by Keith Mathison.
Who Are You Going to Believe?
Your state is depending on its Democratic neighbor to take care of your unvaccinated sick people—see. Do you have a response? (A real one, not the typical right-wing “I don’t believe the news.” Your own governor admits there’s a problem.
Karen, which state is taking care of our adverse vaxx-reactions?
There seems to be a growing trend of evangelicals (and even thoroughly Reformed folk) converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. What do you make of this trend and what resources can you recommend for better interactions with Eastern Orthodox apologists? Many thanks.
FA, it is not that the Reformed tradition is rootless, but rather that the version of it that is presented to many North Americans is rootless. And EO seems, to some, like more of a religion.
Paul and the Greeks
Re: Did Paul Study the Greek Philosophers?
Did Paul study the Greek philosophers as part of his education?
AND . . . after he was converted did he appreciate and use what he learned from them—INSOFAR as they accurately described and explained and were subservient to True/God’s (i.e. the Only) Reality and would not contradict anything in the Bible?
One specific example that I’m thinking of is Logic … the Aristotle’s rules of logic, etc. . . . but other things too.
My assumption is that this question is a “no brainer” and the answer is “of course”. . . that ALL educated people of that day (Jews, Gentiles . . . and Christians) studied the Greek philosophers, etc. and valued them (in their place).
Robert, yes, I believe the answer is “of course.” And he puts the issue beyond all doubt when he quotes Epimenides as a prophet, “one of their own,” in Titus, and cites other Greek literary works (e.g. “we are all his offspring,” from a hymn to Zeus, and “it is hard for you to kick against the goads.”)
Go Where the Women Are
I read your post titled “Singleness as Affliction” a couple of months ago. It was definitely a concept I had not been exposed to before, and resonated with me very well. I am writing to you to seek counsel on how/where to find a woman suitable for marriage in this crazy culture. Most women I know that are my age (19) are either woke or very egalitarian. I pray to God daily as I figure this out, but I would love to hear your thoughts as well.
Thanks for your time,
Levi, this might sound simplistic, but I would make a point to go where the women are. Attend a conservative Christian college, or figure out which conferences such women attend.
Assurance of Salvation
Is it possible for an unsaved person to have a desire to share the gospel with others? Also, I am struggling to know if I am saved—it seems to be a thing that comes and goes. I know my feeling do not have anything to do with my assurance of salvation. But how do I know that I am for sure saved? Thanks
Taylor, your feelings do have something to do with your assurance, but they don’t have anything to do with whether you are actually saved. Here is something that might help.
RE: Seven Ways to Prepare Your Family for What’s Coming Dear Pastor Wilson,
Thank you so much for your faithfulness! Your writings have encouraged my family over the past two years, in particular. We even made it to Grace Agenda back in August and enjoyed the sweet fellowship.
My question for you has to do with the aforementioned article you wrote. While I found the article deeply hopeful and practical, I had a question about the “streamlining” point you made.
My family has been up and down financially with job loss and multiple routes of diversification, job gains, and major life changes (including another baby on the way) since the beginning of the shamdemic. We have seen the faithful hand of God through all our circumstances, but we find ourselves pulled in many different directions, at present. We are trying to build sufficient wealth in order to gain escape velocity from a deep blue state (WA), but we do not want to sacrifice important time with our small children. How would you advise forward momentum, in light of the point you made in the article to minimize projects?
Thank you for your time.
CS, while we should all do what we can, we are not obligated to do more than we can. You want whatever it is you are doing to be blessed by God. That’s the essential thing. And in that vein, I would seek to prioritize time with your kids. Invest in people first—but don’t forget the other.
“I prefer the KJV for three reasons—manuscript tradition, translation philosophy, and copyright issues. The ESV gets one out of three, the NKJV gets two out of three, and the KJV gets three out of three. But I frequently quote from the first two also.” Where does the NASB95 rank according to your scheme? Just curious . . .
Guymon, one out of three, like the ESV.