Re: Your comments on Rom 13. This is really beneath you, Doug. It’s like you tries to jam as many fallacies into two paragraphs as you could manage.
1. Genetic fallacy. We don’t need to consider the passage because these people don’t really believe it. We aren’t even told who these non-believers are, but this is folly more matter who is “chanting” Romans 13.
2. Blatant whataboutism. Redirect attention to other perceived problems rather than deal with the problem at hand. What about their views in marriage (this is compounded by the fact that many people take submission in relationships other than man–> magistrate very seriously; I am one.).
3. Isolated demand for rigor. Someone has to have been beaten and imprisoned like Paul before applying his plain teaching? Seriously? Does one have to serve as an itinerant preacher before commenting on church structure? Or live a life of chastity, like Paul, before commenting on sexual morality? I’m sorry Doug but this is capital “S” stupid.
The fact is that Scripture seems to teach that we are to submit to the government using striking similar language to wives’ submission to husbands, congregants’ submission to elders, and the churches’ submission to Christ. If you want to offer some exegesis for why Paul didn’t really mean it I’m all ears, but heaping abuse on an imagined opponent isn’t the way forward.
Demosthenes, exactly so. Precisely because I was not interacting with any specific real-time opponent is why these fallacies were not committed (which they would have been, for example, if I had accused a specific man who had written a book on Romans 13 of just “chanting”). I was refuting a caricatured generalization, like Jesus did with unnamed Pharisees who prayed on street corners. We do need to consider the teaching of the passage itself, which is why I have done so multiple times (go here and scroll down to Romans 13). Concerning your second point, I do believe that our attitude toward obedience and submission needs to be consistent across all the governments God has established. My point there is that when they leave out the qualifications on just one of those governments (the state), they are revealing what they consider to be the voice of their god. On the third one, I am afraid you missed the point. My point is that the approach of the “just obey” crowd has trouble accounting for the rap sheet that was attached to the man who wrote Romans 13. If they had been in trouble with the authorities as much as the apostles were, then perhaps they would have a better time understanding what the apostles were saying and not saying.
That Obedience Thing
The Lord definitely intended a gentle and kind version of submission. So, the thing actually is, Doug, that you don’t see it that way. And, are therefore hurting people and families.
Cassie, actually I do believe that all familial authority should be kind and gentle. This is particularly important for the husband and father to know, understand, and practice. It is a ground level apostolic requirement. The phrase I used was “kinder and gentler,” which is a comparative. Kinder and gentler than what?
Obey your husbands So Doug which is it? A “plain reading” or a” clear implication? ” Do those things actually jive?
I’m thinking a good example of a plain reading of the text of Romans 16 that at least 10 women’s names are mentioned who were close to Paul and part of his crew who probably weren’t just making the coffee or planning the baby showers. By implication Phoebe was the first exegete of the letter to the Romans since she hand carried the letter to Rome and Paul gave her such glowing recommendation and told the leadership to serve her in any way she needed.
I take this as just one small example of a plain reading and clear implication.
Paul was no misogynist women are mentioned all throughout his letters and many by implication can be attributed to authoritative positions in the church. By the plain reading Junia was an apostle. Romans 16:7.
I’m curious what are you going to say when you meet Jesus and you perhaps find out your narrow minded view of women and their roles was actually wrong headed thinking on your part? What if you don’t get a well done my good and faithful servant you did a good job keeping those women in line and obedient to their abusive husbands. You could actually find out the the material you were building your kingdom with was actually straw because it gets burnt up by fire. We know how you like to play with fire. What if All the Federal husband books and reforming marriage books etc. built you a house of cards on sand instead of the rock which is Christ. It’s just sad to think how many people you have harmed in the process.
Implication, it’s a lot to build on with such arrogance in your voice. Pride comes before a fall. I mean you could acknowledge there is other possible readings of those passages respectfully. There are actually very intelligent scholars who hold the Bible as God’s holy inspired word who differ with you about the meaning of the word head. I’m sure you are har har haring right because you love making fun of people and belittling them.
I have to ask, you do know the meaning of the word implication right?
CJ, your exegetical handling of those passages can go quite well, and seem quite reasonable, until you run into the other passages that you (for some reason) didn’t cite. Our task is to submit to the teaching of Scripture as a whole, which means that we have to harmonize all the passages. It is at that point that your gentle uphill climb turns into a rock wall, and your pitons are made out of balsa wood. And you say that Paul could name multiple women who were engaged in the work of ministry with him. So can I.
There are four sets of authorities in the Bible: God, governments, husbands, and parents. Three of them—God, governments, and parents—have the right to inflict physical pain on their underlings to enforce their commands. There is nothing in the Bible that tells husbands NOT to beat their wives; the “love your wife” stuff in Ephesians can easily be interpreted to mean “do what will get her to Heaven, and if that means beat her to a bloody pulp when she lips off at you, go right ahead.” You are too much of a coward to state openly that you endorse wife-beating. At the moment even your sort can’t quite state that wives should live in constant blind terror of their husbands, but once you get some more political authority, you will drop the pretense and openly state that husbands can force their wives to whatever Husband wants and use his fists to back up his words. Please just go ahead and admit this now, so everyone can see what your really are.
Hi, Karen. I see that you are back with this argument, if we can call it that. I will just say that the way you reason, the way you handle the Scriptures, and the way you falsely attribute positions to others is a good textbook example of why Scriptures say what they do about foolish women.
A lot of conservatives, and even reformed types, seem to be celebrating the recent election of a lady for Lt. Governor of Virginia. Even showing off pics of her with a battle rifle.
I’m at my understanding that the founder of Scottish Presbyterianism, John Knox, got in trouble over calling people out on this very issue. That is, it’s a shame that we have a lady magistrate, a judgment from God. And wearing the “armor of a man” no less.
I know Knox was quite adamant on this point, how grotesque it is. Does the CREC or Christ Church take a stand on this issue?
Tyler, yes. The CREC does have a memorial that abominates the idea of women in combat. With regard to women serving as magistrates, we do not exclude it absolutely, given the example of Deborah. With regard to John Knox, he wrote his little book when Bloody Mary was on the throne, a persecutor of Protestants. But as soon as the book was published, Elizabeth (a Protestant) took her place and Knox’s book clonked her on the forehead. This displeased her, and Elizabeth was the kind of person who knew how to be displeased. Knox tried to reassure her that he was happy with her being on the throne, but she remained quite suspicious.
If so many women really want “a kinder, gentler version of submission ,” Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t have sold as well as it did. (P.S. When you say “hard-hearted women,” would you by any chance mean the vamp of Savannah, GA?)
Kristina, yes. The point you make about Fifty Shades is one I have made a number of times. The question is what was that a twisted and demented version of? But your reference to Ray Charles’ song was something I knew nothing about, unti your letter made me look it up.
I’m addressing the Obey Your Husband Post. In it, you ask: There were no abusive husbands in Peter’s day?
In asking this, are you implying that a woman should submit to a sexually, emotionally, spiritually, or physically abusive husband?
I’m not being snarky. I honestly can’t decipher from the article as to whether you’re simply making a point or suggesting a woman stay and obey a husband who is abusive. Would appreciate a clarification.
Brenda, the problem is that in our time the word abuse has become a catch-all term. In our generation, the word abuse is applied to all kinds of situations—the kind where the wife should call the cops, the kind where she should tell the elders, the kind where she should apply 1 Pet. 3, and the kind where she should apologize to her mother for marrying this guy against her mother’s wise cautions. But there is an abuse that no Christian woman should tolerate. That said, the word abuse is being handled in a way that enables a disobedient generation to abuse the scriptural teachings on the grounds for divorce. To be blunt, some modern abuse is grounds for divorce, and some isn’t.
Regarding your “transgressive” post. I’m glad to see that you can still write clearly, crisply, and succinctly. I thought you had forgotten.
Jack, than . . . hey!
The Cult of Nice
The Cult of Nice is an excellent way of framing the situation many evangelical churches have stumbled into. It seems to have stemmed partially from a long held desire to make Christians look like “normal people”. Looking back, I recall hearing many stories from pastors about a specific kind of situation: that moment when a non-Christian realized that they were with a Christian and said “But you seem normal!” Cue the congregational laugh track.
One thing I can compare this to is when someone who seems straight amidst a group suddenly announces they are gay. “But you seem normal!” Not so PC to make such exclamations these days, but you see my point, I’m sure.
Is there a sinful thrill to being a closet Christian? I suspect this is the case.
Thanks for all you do,
Aaron, many thanks.
Thank you for your faithfulness in ministry, especially in these contentious times. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)
Do you have any plans to discuss the Rittenhouse trial this month? Seeing what the corrupt prosecution and the media have done to this young man is infuriating. A NQN polemic would be cathartic.
If not, what do you believe ought to be the central takeaway from this trial for Christians?
Thanks as always.
Bryan, I am going to write on RIttenhouse at some point soon, and it might even happen in November. We shall see how it works out.
What Needs Toppling?
My wife and I have been discussing idolatry and what a big deal it was throughout history until probably quite recently. Meaning the business of erecting a temple and putting an idol ended up on a hill somewhere to go and worship. It would appear this was such a big deal even back at the time that Israel was delivered from Egypt that the first two commandments are about idolatry. Since man has not changed much since Adam or Noah, other than the obvious iPhone or Internet fixation what do you see is our current idolatry that must be avoided? What is taking the place of figurines in temples on mountain tops in our modern culture?
Scott, the best thing I can do is refer you here.
The Meaning of Resurrection
Very thankful for you. My 2020 and 2021 have been a very different thanks to discovering you and the Moscow crowd. I’ve heard you say in many of your writings something along the lines of “Jesus established his right to rule (or be Lord over the Lord) by his death and resurrection.” This is not your exact words because the idea has been in several posts and I don’t recall specifically to be able to reference it.
I fully agree that Jesus is Lord and has the right of rule. But I’m not sure I fully understand why his death and resurrection secure these rights. I recall thinking the way you’ve said it before would mean if someone else did the same thing then they would have that right.
My heart is encouraged when I read this from you, but my mind does not understand. Perhaps you could flesh that out for me.
Pardon the vagueness of my quoting you but I’m hopeful you understand what I’m referring to. If not I will do my diligence to find a specific reference.
Thankful for you brother
Shea, the way I make this point is this. If someone comes back from the dead in this world, that person is the king of this world. On one level, this makes intuitive sense to me. But I think Scripture teaches it also.
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31)
I was amazed at the eisegesis you performed while you were trying to exegete. You know that the same word is used for wine and grape juice. So assuming it was wine that Jesus turned water into, is like what I heard one preacher do when he said it must have been wine because the host said it was the best he’d had. It reminded me of my sinful college days when we called spilling any alcohol abuse. It’s the modern mindset that quality is based on the percentage of alcohol. Do you think that maybe for the Jews quality might have meant taste? When you assume that it was wine created you are importing a modern thought process into the text. I have no idea which it was that he created, but I do know that God was clear not to tell us, and therefore presumptuous for us to assume it. I also noticed this issue with your excellent book ‘Devoured by Cannabis’ but hadn’t found the time to bring it to your attention. I hope you’re able to examine your assumptions. Godspeed,
Lance, the point is not made by the master of the feast saying that it was the best wine. It was made by his comment that the usual practice was to bring out the lesser wine after the guests were “drunken” (methysko). And the saints at Corinth were not chided for hogging the quality grape juice. They were getting drunk—1 Cor. 11:21 (methyo). Grape juice does not have that potency.
Pricing and Prices
Curious about the prices on some of Canon’s stuff. I seem to remember a couple things: 1) that all products used to be priced at flat integer values like $10 or $16, and 2) that the reason for this kind of pricing was to avoid deceptive advertising, and that the only reason to price something at $13.95 was to mildly fool the buyer into thinking the cost is thirteen bucks, not $14, where everyone knows the actual value is not $13.95. That reasoning resonates with me. But was that Canon’s reasoning? Like Biden, sometimes I make stuff up. Interested in why at least some Canon products are now priced at $14.95, $19.95, etc.
Nothing wrong with cents tagged on. But I’d think pricing with cents would need to involve some kind of set formula based on required product profit for Canon and would therefore naturally mean a bunch of weird but accurate price tags like $16.20 or $14.92 or $10.66. Otherwise, I’m for integers.
But maybe I should just ping Canon.
Nate, yes, you should ping Canon. I am not sure how they set their pricing now. I still prefer round numbers, as you can see in my Mablog Shoppe (and also low numbers). One theory is that $19.99 pricing is meant to be manipulative, as though the customer doesn’t know that the book is actually twenty bucks. Another reason that I have heard is that it made it harder for employees to pilfer out of the till. But that wouldn’t apply at Canon—so I would just ask them.
First of all I want to thank you for your ministry to the body of Christ and thank God for the gift you are to the Church. I have recently wrestling with eschatology and that is how I have discovered yourself online and your views on post millennialism. I have really been challenged on my previous understanding (Dispensationalism Pre-Millennialism) and find myself moving towards the post-millennial view from listening to people such as yourself, RC Sproul and Jeff Durbin. With that said I have been wanting to ask you a couple of questions in regards to the millennial reign of Christ and structure/purpose of Revelation 21.
Q1. Could the Millennial reign of Christ be the unity of the Church for the first thousand years until the great schism of 1054AD? If it is possible, would that still be congruent with the post-millennial view?
Q2. Is Revelation 21 a summation of the victory of Christ and the new Jerusalem being the church that has God dwelling in the midst of her? Similar to how Genesis 1 & 2 give an account of the creation but with different details?
Thank you for taking the time to read my questions as I could understand that you have a very busy schedule. I hope to hear from you in the near future.
Your Brother in Christ
Mat, with regard to your second question, if I understand it properly, yes. With regard to the first question, I don’t know of anyone in the postmill camp who takes that position. It is usually applied to the entire church age, or to the last one thousand years of the church age.
Thank you for your faithful and formidable “Christ-centered” and “Gospel-centered” presence over all these years, as well as your “accessibility” on your website and the Q&A session, etc.
Would you please critique a theory of mine (certainly not original, since I am but a “moon” and not a sun )
THEORY: ALL truly Christian roads lead to the “Post-Millennial” vision.
THEREFORE emphasis on a particular view (e.g. PRE, A, POST) of (i.e. Orthodox) eschatology is largely irrelevant.
I base this theory on my (limited) observations of the effect of the Gospel on nations, societies, cultures, etc. That true, Holy Spirit regenerated conversions and revivals will always, “by definition”, result in a change in families, cultures, nations, etc. that will sooner or later affect all areas of life. For example the Great Awakenings here in America and in the U.K., not to mention during the Reformation; as well as the transformation that occurs in nations/societies where missionaries take the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time into areas of total darkness. I say that wherever the true regenerating light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ goes it will always—eventually—bring about “Post-Millennial” type changes to families, societies, cultures, nations, etc., regardless of whatever specific eschatology predominates.
Pastor Wilson, would you please critique this theory, pointing out its flaws and the flaws in my own understanding, etc.
Robert, I agree partially. In other words, I believe that numerous postmill effects in the world have been brought about by gospel-preaching Christians who held to eschatological views that were not postmill, or who didn’t have any eschatology at all. So I think that does happen. But I also believe that having a defined and correct eschatology helps a great deal.
Responding to “The Empathy Wars” Hello Mr. Wilson,
Let me say first of all that I am not writing with the intention of scolding you or Mr. Rigney about your views on empathy. However, I would like to offer a couple thoughts.
I think many of your criticisms are valid, though I don’t know if the correct target is empathy itself as much as the modern atmosphere. I’ve read the subsequent articles that you and Mr. Rigney have written defending your thesis. The main argument seems to be that the real difference is a semantic one, not a substantive one—people probably agree with your concept, but not with the label you’ve chosen to give it.
I think this is probably correct. I also know that sometimes provocative language can help spark needed debate. However, in this case, I think you have shot yourself in the foot here by insisting on continuing to simply use the term “empathy” without adding any qualifying descriptions (for example, “modern empathy” would be more clarifying). At least from here, the resistance to add any qualifiers looks more like stubbornness than genuine reasons. You also seem to have characterized people who strongly disagree with using the term “sin of empathy” as being overly sensitive, unsportsmanlike, or downright ridiculous. For some of them, this may be the case. However, I think they are actually in the right and that you should concede your provocative term for better clarity.
As an example: Suppose I wrote an article and released a video entitled “The Sin of Calvinism.” In them, I explained how Calvinism is when you believe that God hates everybody except a select few and that there is therefore no need for compassion for the lost or evangelism. Undoubtedly, I would get a terrifically explosive reaction. Most people probably would say that what I was describing is “hyper-Calvinism.” If I responded huffily that this was simply a semantic difference, we all agreed on the concept anyway, and that these sensitive people should just toughen up, I’m sure you would still disagree. Terms matter. If what I mean is better described by “hyper-Calvinism,” then I should not go around smashing “Calvinism” with my very twisted definition. There is also no doubt that I would probably drive people away from Reformed theology in general, no matter how much I commented that this term was mostly used for provocativeness. If I refused to change, then frankly, most of the backlash would be my own fault. I think the same is applicable to this whole empathy case.
For most people, empathy means being able to share someone’s feelings, usually when you have already experienced the same thing yourself. For example, as a MK, I love being with other MK’s because they can empathize with my experience. They really understand me when I talk about security issues, or visa problems, etc, etc. It can also be a vicarious experience. It can also refer to the very lucky fact that humans are able to mirror each other and intuitively know what another person is feeling or thinking, and that they are also able to identify with fictional characters. It is the main reason that we love stories.
So for many of us, this is a very treasured word. If you feel very strongly about criticizing “modern empathy,” or “a disregard of reason/truth,” or “drowning in subjectivity,” by all means, go ahead. I applaud you. But please attach this definition to its own term, and don’t load “empathy” with a whole lot of baggage it doesn’t deserve. It’s a very useful addition to the dictionary, and I think a lot of Christians would like to use it in peace.
Myah, thanks for the feedback. You are right on the substance of our position. I have no quarrel at all with empathy as a synonym or near synonym for sympathy. My only beef is with relativism, what you call modern empathy. I would only protest (mildly) that empathy is a word of fairly recent coinage, and I believe that mischief was in it from the beginning.
I just finished reading “On Secular Education” by R.L. Dabney. Wow. Thank you for bringing this excellent little book to my attention. Have you read “A Defense of Virginia and the South,” also by R.L. Dabney?
Jill, yes, I have read that book. It is informative in many ways.
I just watched your youtube post “How to Build Christian Communities” and you said that:
The Church is the ministry of Grace and Peace
The Civil Government is the ministry of Justice
The Family is the ministry of Health, Education, Welfare
I am new to sphere sovereignty.
Can you please point me in the direction of some resources on this? Do you have any books outlining this in great detail?
Michelle, I think I would recommend that you begin with Gary DeMar’s book God and Government.
Not sure if I should be pleased or worried, and I’d be grateful for your opinion. We’ve been trying to convince our daughter (high school senior) to choose Cornerstone University, over the usual, secular, choices in universities. We want her to have a Christ-centered, not woke-centered, education.
But now we read this:
On the one hand, every paragraph made me cheer the new president.
But on the other hand, a 42 to 6 vote, with 14 abstaining, of no confidence in him (and his plainly wise choices) from the faculty? It’s the faculty that would be teaching her.
Greg, you have made the point yourself. It is the faculty that would be doing the teaching. So unless the president is about to clean house, I would be very concerned about sending a daughter there.
I just recently finished your book “The Neglected Qualification”, and I’d like to ask a practical question about applying these principles. I’m part of a faithful Reformed Baptist church, but one of several things that concerns me a little bit about it is that one of the two elders, a godly man who I respect, has three adult children who have sadly all denied the faith. Several months ago his son was excommunicated over many tears.
I really respect him, he is a godly Christian man, has a healthy marriage and performs his responsibilities faithfully in the church. However, for any number of reasons, that is the situation with his kids. It isn’t a taboo subject, he leads our Bible study and we pray for his kids all the time. My question is, how do you think I should respond as a church member?
I certainly don’t want to divide the church over this issue. I am very careful when I bring it up, but I have mentioned to a few people that I think this is grounds for stepping down, as Toby Sumpter also mentioned on Twitter recently. No-one has been harsh to me for saying so, they simply have a different view of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy and Titus. He is not the “lead pastor”, doesn’t take a salary and runs his own business, so it isn’t an issue of “What will I do if I step down”, it’s just that they disagree that this is the direct application of those passages.
Is this just something I should overlook as a mere disagreement on secondary things? There are several other things, like acceptance of Christian kids in public school, that bother me, but because they are otherwise a very faithful bunch of believers, I am not sure how seriously I should respond to these concerns.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter, and I’m loving NQN so far.
CD, I am obviously making a judgment call from a great distance, so take that into account. I don’t think this is the kind of situation that a church member has to make a fuss about. I would just stick to your views, and pray for them accordingly. In The Neglected Qualification, I make the distinction between the standard I would apply to myself, and the standard I would fight about at presbytery. This is that kind of situation.