Last Letters of the Year

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Another Clown World Story, Like We Were Running Low?

I usually write questions but I thought you would enjoy a clown world story from the northeast! I had to get vaccinated for work, and it took me about a month to feel totally normal again. I had a fever for days, and a swollen elbow for three weeks. So, I thought it was all over and I proceeded on with my life. Last week, my family and I visited my in-laws. After returning, we discovered that a neice of ours had COVID. My wife got sick first, then my son, then I DID! But wait, I’m the vaccinated one right? YES, I am. I remember reading that the Pfizer clinical trials only looked at people six weeks after their second injection to get their efficacy number. What is the efficacy rate, say eight weeks after? Let me tell you, not too high if I got it! So, I contacted work and told them I need to stay home because I am at risk of exposing everyone in my office. They gave me short term disability and told me not to come to work. They have not told me when I’m supposed to return yet. So here I am: Waiting to hear from work; the same work that told me I had to get the shot or face termination because we need to keep ourselves and each other safe from a disease that can make people sick six weeks post vaccination from that same disease. I’m sensing some inconsistency here . . .

P.S. Idaho is looking nicer every day.

In Christ,

Grant

Grant, Idaho is great. Kind of cold right now, but great.

The Options Game

The Apostle Paul lived under the third option, and he did what? How is what he did like what you are proposing, and how is it unlike what you are proposing —especially when he wrote the letter to the Romans, every jot and tittle?

Frank

Frank, what happened is that he preached the second option. There is a difference between the system you live under while you are evangelizing it, and the system you have in mind while you are evangelizing it. I have no trouble acknowledging that I live under a weird combination of Options 1 and 3. Problems arise when Christians settle for that.

“So if they want to get out of this particular jam, in order to run away from Christian nationalism, they need an option that allows for a liberal use of some squid ink. That used to be Option #1, and that used to work a lot better before the state started acting like they were in fact Odin.”

Yes, isn’t it interesting how Options #1 and #3 converge every single time?

Guymon

Guymon, yes, indeed. They always converge.

In response to The Sides of the North are Slippery,

I think the “three-ring goat rodeo” you’ve laid out here could be helpful for engaging true, no-kidding secularists trying to argue for a society with a transcendental vacuum.

However, the thrust of this post seems to be about engaging progressive/left-leaning evangelical leaders, and I don’t see how it’s helpful for those conversations. We’re not divided about whether or not the true God is above the state, but about what the true God wants the state to do and how He wants Christians to engage with the state.

Take reparations as an example, CRT-friendly Christians are in favor of policies like reparations precisely because they believe in Option #2, and will readily employ Scripture to make their case. Even when they’re arguing against theonomy or Christian nationalism they do so by appealing to what they believe to be God’s Law.

Maybe there’s some rhetorical value in pointing out our agreement on Option #2 to diffuse backlash against theonomy or Christian Nationalism, but getting someone to agree with Option #2 won’t change their mind on anything we care about. It seems to me to be little more than a distraction from dealing with the real dividing lines.

Mason

Mason, here is how I would respond to that. The lefty Christians who want “nice” theonomy are actually advocates of a pick and choose approach to the verses they employ. They want the “let justice roll down like a river” verses and not “you shall not suffer a witch to live” verses. Now, since they are picking and choosing, what is the system of authority that they are using to make their selections? Who or what is in charge of their winnowing process? The god of the system.

The sides of the north are slippery. How funny to read this blog post the same day my morning study led me to Amos 6. Part of God’s measuring of Israel was to have them look at the mighty cities of the earth and then say, who is better, who is mightier.

But the comparison takes a turn when you realize those nations in Amos 6:2 were all heaps of rubble. Do you really want to spend your time seeing how you measure up to the best the pagans can offer? That is a one way ticket to disaster and a woe to the modern church which spends so much time, toil and tithe on being relevant in the world.

Our message is one that over tops them all and Christ is King! Why would I settle for anything less than His Lordship!

Thank you for this post, it was a joy to read, and as one who used to try and walk that balancing act of secular vs religious, makes me even more proud to be a theonomist and one whose Lord is Lord of all !

Justin

Justin, thanks.

Watched podcast on YouTube and read it again today (the sides of the north are slippery)

Thank you for your ministry and the work you do. It is an encouragement to me to holiness and complete submissiveness to Jesus my Lord and Saviour..

Keep on doing what you are doing.

Larry

Larry, as we used to say back in the day, we hope to keep on keeping on.

A Hot Question

I have been an almost lifelong member of CREC churches. I just got done with a fairly quick declaration and justification with a sibling who loves and respects me, but will no longer talk to me because I said “I do” when asked if I thought Douglas Wilson was a Christian. Is there a support group that I can join after this? And am I going to be receiving some sort of badge, or at least a pin? No need to respond, for some reason I thought this was a worthwhile message to send.

P.S This is honestly heartbreaking, but not unexpected. Christ came to bring a sword…

See attached meme . . .

Courage

Courage, thank you for your kindness and steadfastness.

Co-Belligerents

What am I to make of Eastern Orthodox Christians and Liturgy? Some of the most faithful sermons I have heard lately have been from Orthodox Priests or Bishops, who have vinegar and cussedness at similar levels to yours! Just with 5th century St Nicholas costumes . . . i know of You Tube videos where a so called Protestant questions an Orthodox cleric, but I want to hear from you on this.

They are surely our brethren. I realize the bells and smells issues and the focus on apostolic succession . . . so, how should I perceive their functionality in the scheme of those I name Brethren?

Thanks.

Please have someone give me feedback even if you can not. I have half a mind to call New St Andrews and ask questions.

Waiting impatiently, faithfully your Sister in CHRIST who is our Life.

Brenda

Brenda, on many issues of the current cultural insanity, they are our co-belligerents, fighting the same enemy we are facing. Many of them are doing this more faithfully than some who profess a more accurate understanding of the gospel. But w hen it comes to the gospel proper, their system functionally denies it, but a number of their people are saved despite this—because the real gospel has a way of getting through all human barriers.

RIde Sally Sequel Idea

I very much enjoyed your book, “Ride Sally Ride,” despite its deep seated undertones of hateful, patriarchal, and rather Pauline rhetoric that just smacks of faithful Biblical interpretation. I would expect nothing different from a backwoods grasshopper eater.

I would like to propose a prompt for a follow up novel to “Ride Sally Ride.” Here is the premise. An individual, living the majority of their life in the Metaverse has discovered, or rather developed what they call their “truest self,” that being a robot cat. Now as a robot cat, life and work can be rather difficult and this individual, through meeting with a licensed counselor who is also a Metaverse avatar, has decided that true happiness can only come through legal representation and affirming representation in their work place (also in the Metaverse), and in all spheres of societal operation.

The protagonist, a pastor who is convinced that the “ekklesia” must be physically present in the universe that God created, struggles to deal with national Christian leaders’ view of Romans 13 and the Public Safety Mandate that states that, “for the suppression of viral transmission and for the reduction of carbon emissions, all mass gatherings must take place in the Metaverse.”

I’m worried we may not be prepared for the implications that this disruptive innovation may have on our society.

M

M, you don’t think that this might give them ideas?

You were ahead of the curve with Ride Sally, Ride.

Scott

Scott, yeah, but being ahead of the curve on things like this brings in what might be described as a sort of dismal joy.

Charter Schools Question

I am an assistant teacher at an ACCS school in Ohio and I wanted to ask a question regarding the recent Hillsdale Classical Charter school movement that has sprung up around the country. As an aspiring classical teacher, I deeply sympathize with the work Hillsdale is doing. I am a strong advocate of the 1776 project as well as classical Christian education. I love that Hillsdale is attempting to provide an option for parents that counteracts the government schools that are plaguing our nation. I am bothered however, at the marked silence about Christ in any of these schools.

One of these schools started near me in Cincinnati and I have been troubled by many of my Christian friends eagerly sharing and encouraging their friends to enroll their children in these schools. I know in many ways these schools are better then the public school option but what I wanted to ask you is in your mind do you see a difference? Is there really a difference between Cincinnati Classical School and Cincinnati Public School? Yes, these schools teach explicit phonics, and Latin, and require their students to read Milton but if they are attempting to instill “virtue” in their students without any meaning behind it than are these schools useless or any better than the public ones? Again, I hesitate to speak ill of them because I know they are being founded by wonderful men who are trying to work against the scourge that is American public schools. Yet I am worried that these men are actually working against they are own labors here.

In essence then, my question is: Since all education cannot be neutral and is indeed always religious (whether it says so or not) are non-Christian classical schools merely raising children entrenched in Humanism or should we applaud them? What would you advise a parent who was thinking of putting their child in a non-Christian classical school? I would love if you could do a podcast or article on this matter.

Thank you for your help in advance.

Sincerely,


Hannah

Hannah, I am happy with the movement over all because I believe that it will be really helpful in deconstructing the current government school system, which is by far the greater threat. But this is just tactical support. As a long-term solution to our education woes, it is no solution at all.

Debating a Spouse

Doug, a letter recently said regarding arguments with the wife:

“I learned not to drop the ball, but to let the ball drop. When a discussion/argument becomes heated, emotional, and accusatory don’t respond in kind, table it until both of you are ready to proceed in love. Until then, let the ball drop: never respond in kind to emotional, hurtful accusations.”

What to do when one spouse does that, and that attempt to diffuse the situation enrages the other spouse even more? My experience has been that sometimes one spouse unfortunately just likes to push the buttons of the other spouse, and when one spouse attempts to just “let the ball drop”, the other spouse will have none of it. I haven’t yet figured out to handle that.

R

R, if you can’t defuse the situation, and your spouse insists on having the argument, then you can insist on bringing in a referee. In other words, it really is time for some pastoral counsel. Schedule an appointment, schedule an argument, and have your pastor there to call fouls.

Called to Ministry?

What would you say to a young man considering going into Christian ministry? I have heard some say if you desire it, go for it; others say if you desire it, do anything else until you’re miserable; and still others giving different advice. I have had an underlying pull to the ministry, and some in my family have encouraged me to go that way, but I do have a respect for the role of shepherd that I do not want to make that decision lightly. I still attend the same church that I did before discovering the doctrines of the Reformation, and am frankly a little skeptical of going to my pastor for this. My church now is a weird mixture of Bible Belt (leadership cannot drink alcohol, etc.) and Big Eva (Contemporary Christian Music, topical preaching, etc.). So I guess what I’m asking is how a young man knows he is called to pastoral ministry, and maybe some advice on if it is important that I attend a Reformed church.

Thanks for your time,

LM

LM, I would first look at whether you are active in informal ministry now (e.g. evangelism, leading Bible studies). Then I would look at whether the people encouraging you in that direction have objective reasons for doing so. Evaluate those reasons before the Lord. And at some point you will have to transition to the kind of theological environment you hope to minister in.

Western Self-Loathing

Our culture in the West is now largely very hateful of how Western it is. Could you please do some kind of blog post or answer to this explaining what is going on here? Is it that the godless recognize and despite our Christian heritage?

I just do not understand this. It seems to me that the most Western people in the world are Western people who hate the West. In an unnamed Bible College in Chicago I was taught about “the West” and her history of oppression and so forth. But of course the Professor was himself an English-speaking, Western, former professional athlete. I say this and I ask this because it seems to me that what is happening to “the West” is like what happened to the unfaithful vineyard tenants who were routed out of their place and other workers were brought in. Do you think this is a fair view of things or am I thinking too broadly?

Part of my reason for asking this is that I want to understand better how this dichotomy really works, if there even is a legitimate dichotomy here nowadays. Otherwise it just seems like one of those ideas that have been commandeered by the less than critically think social justice-ites.

Thank you kindly.

J

J, the Christian faith is like leaven, and it gets into everything. And we are living in a time when those who hate that aroma are far better at recognizing its source than those who love that aroma. Thus attacks on the West, on America, on traditional values, on the patriarchy, on hetero-normativity, and so on, are all simply proxy wars aimed at Christ. And Christians are largely clueless.

Definite Atonement

Hello! I am debating with a pastor and my fiancé about definite atonement, that Jesus died only for the elect. I am endeavoring to keep an open heart on the subject but it seems very clear to me that Jesus took our punishment on the cross, not made it possible to have punishment taken away. A verse pastor pointed out in opposition was 1 Timothy 4:10. Can you clarify the meaning of the word translated “specially”? Thank you for your time sir. Big fan.

Hannah

Hannah, that verse reads, “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10, NKJV). This clearly states that Christ is the Savior in some sense for those who do not believe. Those who argue for an indefinite atonement, Jesus dying for no one in particular, want this salvation to be a potential salvation “if they only believe, which they probably won’t.” In other words, no salvation at all, but rather just a prospect. I would argue that there are many blessings that result from living in a culture dominated by the truth of the gospel, and those blessings accrue to unbelievers as well as believers. In other words, when we broaden the sense of salvation, we need not broaden it into hypotheticals. We might broaden it into aspects of life that are not eternal life—good medical care, low crime rates, educational opportunities. In the final analysis, however, if an unbeliever dies despising the true origin of such blessings, those blessings become an ultimate curse—the same way common grace does.

Not the Same At All

I am responding to your post entitled “Not The Same Thing At All.” Near the end you talked about the damages caused to a marriage by a husband and wife committing adultery, specifically the “bad decision/one night stand” version. You say the consequences of the wife’s sin in that case are more severe if she gets pregnant, if I understood you correctly. I guess I want to quibble with this.

I completely agree that egalitarian ideas are by and large unscriptural. And I agree with the general concept in the post that due to the nature of men and women’s differences, sins they commit will have different effects on the relationship between husband and wife.

But, if marriage is supposed to be a reflection of Christ and the church, and the husband is the spiritual head of the wife, then let’s put it in context of Christ and the church. What would the spiritual damage to the marriage between Christ and the church be if Christ forsook the church for another bride? I mean, it’s unthinkable and obviously only an academic question . . . We know that Christ’s love for the church is unchanging and eternal. But just imagine if he removed that love and unchanging support, and even temporarily put it on someone else? For me, I can’t discount this direct link of spiritual headship and even if the damage may not seem as concrete as a pregnancy, I have to think adultery on the husband’s part would cause spiritual damage in far-reaching ways, absent the merciful intervention of the Holy Spirit.

Now when I think of the church falling away from Christ, as it has so many times, this for me puts the wife’s sin in that context. Christ lovingly accepts repentance and continually calls us back to himself. His spiritual headship remains unchanged and it doesn’t seem to me, drawing the line to marriage, that the wife’s sin attacks the foundation of that marriage in the way the husband’s sin does.

I’m not discounting the damage either sin would cause nor the work of the Holy Spirit to undo and sanctify. I’m only addressing the severe/more severe contrast in your post.

Even to put it in the specific terms of a pregnancy resulting from unfaithfulness, well, a one night stand engaged in by a husband can also result in a pregnancy. Would you say that pregnancy with that other woman is any less damaging to his marriage when it becomes known?

Anyway, I know you’re busy but if you get time, I’d be interested in your thoughts. Thanks for a thought-provoking article over all.

Ryan

Ryan, the good news is that I agree with your reasoning completely. My point there was that the sins of the husband and wife committing adultery were not the same sin. I agree with you that his sin is a lie about Christ, while hers would be a failure to live up to what the Church ought to be, but frequently has not been. The child makes her sin more severe in that respect, but not necessarily ultimately.

FYI

In case you didn’t see this, I thought you’d find it interesting:

I have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, and I believe this is a free link to the article.

It reminds me of what you’ve pointed out about the 2020 election: it’s not necessarily clear whether or not there was significant tampering, but it is clear that only one side is being allowed to speak on it.

Paul

Paul, thanks for the link.

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Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago

Claiming that attacks on America are proxy wars attacking Christ leads to idolatry. “America” as a totem has little-to-nothing to do with faithful obedience to Christ (as you yourself would admit if the post was a different subject).

Imagine if one side of your mouth claimed that American government was tyrannical for taxing over 10% and imposing mask mandates in public places, then the next week you said that criticizing oppression in American history against Black folk, Native Americans, and others is a bridge too far.

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Amazing, that is what you took away from his response?

J, the Christian faith is like leaven, and it gets into everything.

He was obviously talking about the Christian leaven in the West and in America. You are to smart to miss this. Why do you misrepresent Mr. Wilson intentionally?

JM
JM
11 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Until the “up/down” vote is reinstated we are doomed to have Jonathan make the Tuesday comments section his own personal blog.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Sam, since I’m posting (see my comment to Jonathan above), I’m not sure that’s the objection. It is possible to both acknowledge that Christianity has at times played a very positive role in society, while also acknowledging that the way some Christians treated slaves and the Indians (often doing so in the name of Jesus) is reprehensible. Both of those statements are true. Imagine an alcoholic father who provides his children with a very good living and sends them to be best schools, but who also comes home drunk and beats them every night. It’s possible to acknowledge both that… Read more »

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I understand that and agree, but Jonathan claimed that Wilson said that attacks on America are proxy wars with Christ. Which is ridiculous if you actually read Wilson’s response. He was obviously claiming that attacking the Christian biblical heritage (the good aroma) of the West is to attack Christ. If you want to disagree with that, be my guest, but this is the strawman attack at its finest.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Sam, Doug wrote: “Thus attacks on the West, on America, on traditional values, on the patriarchy, on hetero-normativity, and so on, are all simply proxy wars aimed at Christ. And Christians are largely clueless.” This was in the context of “Western people” attacking “the West.” You could read this in context as only being about attacking the Godly parts of the west (as described and defined by who?), but the actual statement is an absolute and “the West” and “America” are lumped in with traditional values, the patriarchy, etc… I am fine with the most charitable reading. But the most… Read more »

Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
11 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

But the most straightforward reading, and the one most responsive to the letter he received, is that attacking the West or America is actually an attack on Christ.”

But it is. The West is hated because of its historical connection with Christ, in much the same way that the Jews are hated because their ethnic heritage is so intertwined with the promises of God.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago

Nathan, the person in question was an American christian at a Bible college. Claiming that he only critiques oppression in the West because of their historical connection to Christ is completely unjustified.

Would you similarly claim that attacking the Catholic Church is actually an attack on Christ? Because the Catholic Church is far more closely associated with Christ than “the West” or “America” is. So why is is okay to attack Catholicism, but not okay to criticize America?

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yeah, the Roman church gets plenty of hate as a result of its relationship with Christ. The standard secularist tropes about the church opposing science are a great example of this. Pure anti-Christian bigotry.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago

You completely deflected from my actual question. Is it okay for an American Christian to criticize the Catholic Church, or is doing so an attack on Christ?

You’re talking about “secularist trope” when the original subject was an American Christian at a Bible college, who apparently can’t critique America or “the West” for oppression without being viewed as a potential traitor to his faith.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You’re living in la la land, pretending that the letter asked whether it was valid to criticize America. The actual question was why the West hates itself. That phenomenon centers on Christ.

The letter writer never suggested the West was above criticism. Neither did the letter answerer. You’re having a conversation in your own head.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago

In my own head? What does that make Demo, Mike, and Jilly? And my response was to Doug, not the writer. To recap, the original statement was: In an unnamed Bible College in Chicago I was taught about “the West” and her history of oppression and so forth. And Doug’s reply: Thus attacks on the West, on America…are all simply proxy wars aimed at Christ. Was Doug replying to what the Bible college professor said or not? And is not the most straightforward reading of that statement that critiques of American oppression are attacks on Christ, even when made by… Read more »

Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“why did Doug make that particular response to that particular letter?” Gee, maybe it has something to do with the other 90% of the letter? Ignoring that 90% is how / why you’re just boxing with strawmen. You’ve taken the statement about the college, stripped it -without any justification- from its supplied context, and imported it into another context with you have helpfully supplied from your imagination. Now, it’s possible that no one but the letter writer would have interpreted that bible college experience as anti-west hatred, but we have only his report of it. Furthermore, he was asking about… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Sam, the person Pastor Wilson was speaking to wasn’t referring to anyone attacking the “Christian biblical heritage” of the West. He was very specifically referring to a Bible college professor attacking the West for oppression.

Is it okay for Christians to criticize oppression in the West or not? Is it okay for Christians to criticize oppression in America or not? Because Wilson’s entire response suggests the professor was in the wrong, even though literally the only things he knew about him was that he taught at a Bible college and criticized oppression.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, your analogy is flawed. You’re comparing a system of beliefs, values, and practices with individual behavior. Individuals will always fall short. Your alcoholic father is an individual, not a religion. By the way, even you are misrepresenting the context of the discussion. If Christianity is leaven, then it will permeate society, not merely play a positive role “at times”. Jonathan’s “objection” consists of nothing more than wrenching Doug’s mention of America out of context as an excuse to bash America and flog his leftist pet issues, which is what idle busybodies (2 Thess 3:11-12) do. You’ll note that Jonathan… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago

FP, there is no such thing as a perfect analogy, which is why arguing by analogy is a dicey proposition at best, regardless of whether your analogy is yeast leavening the whole loaf, or an alcoholic father who nevertheless is a good provider. If the analogy were perfect it would not be an analogy. If you read what Doug said in its entirety, the claim is made, implicitly if not explicitly, that the leavening has uniformly been a good thing, and that’s half the problem. The problem is that there are two extremist positions. One of them holds that Christian… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Never said there was a perfect analogy. Yours doesn’t even rise to the level of good. Truth in both positions? First off, your “both sides” aren’t even comparable. On the “sweetness & light” side, you express Christianity’s influence in vague, abstract terms and then try to portray it as “extremist”, whereas on the other side you have more specific grievances. Second, there is no question that Christianity has been “in short, a very good thing.” Christians founded schools, hospitals, an entire country, abolished slavery in the West (read Robert W. Fogel sometime), and even founded science as we know it.… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago

OK, FP, so you hold one of the extremist positions I was talking about.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago

To elaborate, FP, you’ve got massive amounts of confirmation bias if you can’t even see that Christianity has been a mixed bag. It would be like trying to convince someone that his wife isn’t beautiful and his children aren’t well behaved. And since that almost certainly precludes you from having an objective discussion about it, I shall wish you a good day and move on to other things.

JohnM
JohnM
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Don’t mistake “Christendom” for Christianity. The former is your mixed bag. The reason it is mixed, and not merely bad, is that it is not wholly unrelated to Christianity.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM, I understand the difference between Christianity and Christendom. By the same token, you’re treading pretty close to no true Scotsman. If a Marxist showed up here to argue that Stalin’s purges didn’t represent true communism, would you find that argument persuasive? Me neither. Saying that the problem isn’t the ideology but rather the humans that implement it only works up to a point.

JohnM
JohnM
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Do you understand the difference? Christianity is not to Christendom as Marxism is to Stalin’s purges. Christendom does not refer to a particular action or set of actions.

Ken B
Ken B
11 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

Don’t mistake “Christendom” for Christianity. The wheat and the tares will grow together until the end of the age, and Christendom being mixed perfectly reflects that. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. Evangelicals are very good at pointing out the truth of this verse with regard to the political left or the sexually debauched, but I have come to realise – and it took a long time to get there – that the ‘world’ of the political right also lies in the power of the evil one.… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
11 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Christendom refers to politics and culture as much as anything else. Best just to speak of the Church, meaning the wheat, even while we understand the tares are mixed in. Best to do that with humility and prayer that we not be among the self-deceived.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Tell you what, Mike: Why don’t you try living in a country where Islam is the dominant religion, then get back to me about how swell your living conditions are, OK?

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago

FP, I actually did live in a country where Islam is the dominant religion, for three years: Pakistan, from 1992-1995, and during which time I visited about a dozen other Muslim countries. I yield to no one in my contempt for fundamentalist Islam, and I got to see it up close and personal. But I’m not sure it was really any worse than living through the Spanish Inquisition would have been. Or the Jim Crow South — which was heavily Christian — would have been for blacks. Besides which, the worst elements of Christianity and the worst elements of Islam… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Comparing the entire history of Muslims or totalitarian governments (responsible for well over 100 million deaths in the 20th Century) to the worst of Christianity is an amazing stretch. More people are killed by abortion mills in a few days than several hundred years of the Inquisition. And if you think Jim Crow was comparable to Mao’s atrocities or the Soviet gulags, you’ve had some serious brainwashing.

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
10 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Cherrera, part of the issue is that you’ve only ever seen a Christianity whose worst impulses were checked by separation of church and state and the Renaissance. You never saw heretics burned at the stake. You never saw the Salem witch trials. You never saw the Crusades, or the reign of Phillip II in Spain, or the genocide of German and Scandinavian pagans. Had you lived through those things you might have a very different perspective. And do you seriously think the Medici popes wouldn’t have flown airplanes into skyscrapers if they had had the technology? Fundamentalist Islam, and the… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, I don’t think this historiographically sound. Christians have clearly done many terrible things, often in the name of christ. But most of what you cherish about the modern world are nearly unique in history and developed in the seed-bed of Christendom. The dignity of every human person, equality before the law, disapproval of prostitution and slavery, the king subject to the law, etc. There are glimmers of these things else where, but the Scottish Enlightemment was taking the riches of the Christian intellectual tradition and dressing it up in universal language (the French enlightenment was largely just stupidity). BTW,… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
10 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

demosthenesld, thank you for your courteous and thoughtful response. I will attempt to be as respectful toward you as you were toward me. And just to lay my cards fully on the table, I am not a Christian, but I am interested in religion (all religion, not just Christianity) as a sociological phenomenon — what impact does it have on society and culture. One doesn’t have to believe the Bible to be true, to acknowledge that it has had an enormous impact on American history and culture. Which is why I read this blog and occasionally comment; I’ve been studying… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

Mike, Thanks for the additional information. It helps to know where you are coming from. You ask “but which side was the Christian church on for most of the time the battle was raging?” But I’m not sure that is a sensible question. When these debates were raging, and while the universals were being sorted, it was almost entirely Christians battling Christians. And much of the time they were making direct reference to scripture. It wasn’t until the 17th century that you had a large(ish, it was still a distinct minority) group of people trying to ground moral thinking in… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

One of the classic early British historians has a line to the effect of “Saladin was a particularly noble pagan, while Richard I was a particularly vicious Christian, thus their conduct was comparable.” On the other hand, you can read quite distorted histories which speak of Saladin as almost the embodiment of evil while Richard I was the great noble savoir, solely because Richard I was of the West and Saladin was not. In fact I’m pretty sure there was a commenter here who used to make speeches along those lines. It should be possible to recognize the positive influence… Read more »

Will
Will
10 months ago

OOPS! Mike Freeman shut you down.

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago

FP, are you arguing for Christianity or are you arguing for the Republican party?

You seem to deflect from the entire argument by saying, “But those were Democrats!”, even though no one was talking about political parties. Southerners clearly claimed to be Christian. Pastor Wilson in fact argues that the true Christians were fighting the Southern cause, and describes abolitionists as evil.

You, personally, if you had to choose between being a Christian Democrat or an atheist Republican, which would you choose?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, go back and read the transcript. It was Mike who first mentioned Jim Crow.

And learn to deal with an entire argument, not just the parts that trigger you.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago

Yes, he mentioned Jim Crow because Jim Crow was supported by the most vocal White Christians at the time.

You tried to deflect by saying that those Christians belonged to the Democratic Party. But what party they belonged to was completely irrelevant to the conversation.

Are you a Christian or are you merely a Republican? You constantly defend the Republican Party but I’ve never seen you once state that you follow Christ.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You sound just like your horned, pointy-tailed daddy: Long on accusations, short on facts.

It is no deflection to place blame where it’s due for specific historic ills mentioned by someone else. Not my fault the facts make you break out in hives. Just because certain Democrats who called themselves Christian pushed for racial segregation does not make Christianity responsible for Jim Crow, because a) Scripture forbids partiality, and b) there were plenty of Christians on the other side who fought it.

Last edited 10 months ago by The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago

FP, you continue to ignore the fact that the Democrat/Republican divide is completely meaningless to the conversation. I ask again – are you arguing for American Christians or are you arguing for the Republican party?

And no more “No True Scotsman” fallacies.

The discussion is in context of the Douglas Wilson blog. You are surely not unaware that Wilson considers it a very major point that the Confederates are the “true Christians” in that conflict and abolitionists are evil.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Cherrera
Cherrera
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Why don’t you add Buddhist Nazi and Rastafarian Whig to the list? That’s a ridiculous question. No one has to change their religion to select a political party. At this point, “Christian Democrat” is an oxymoron anyway. You can’t side with the culture of lawlessness and death (abortion, LGBTQ+, totalitarian rules for the law abiding and anarchy for criminals) and be a Christian. Maybe 40-50 years ago when there were a small group of actual Christians and sane people running as Democrats.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“At this point” is irrelevant, considering we were talking about the Jim Crow South.

Though I agree with you on one point – following the main line of either the Democrat or the Republican party would put one far outside of the commands of Christ – I can’t pretend that every person who belongs to a political party therefore agrees with everything their leaders say and do.

Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
11 months ago

This was such a good post until you brought up the Democratic party!

As you indicated, mankind + Christ is strictly better than mankind without Christ. In the history of the human race, there’s nothing unusual about theft, murder, robbery or lesser forms of abuse. Segregation is one of those lesser forms of abuse and needs no special explanation.

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

Nathan, are you a Democrat? In all seriousness, I take your point about segregation, and I would add that segregation, like everything else mentioned, is not unique to America. I would argue that America, because of its Christian heritage, put a stop to state-enforced segregation, i.e., Jim Crow. For all his faults (and they were many), MLK, as a Christian minister, was the face of the civil rights movement. However, Christianity is on the decline in the West, and we are seeing more people trying to bring back segregation — people who are decidedly not Christian. Since I’m not the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

What is the context, Sam? This was the statement:

In an unnamed Bible College in Chicago I was taught about “the West” and her history of oppression and so forth.

And this was Pastor Wilson’s conclusion:

Thus attacks on the West, on America, on traditional values, on the patriarchy, on hetero-normativity, and so on, are all simply proxy wars aimed at Christ.

How does that legitimately follow? Why can’t it just be true that Bible colleges teach about oppression in history because there’s been a history of oppression?

Last edited 11 months ago by Jonathan
JohnM
JohnM
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Bible colleges, just like other colleges, teach about oppression in history because they recognize the category, which they do because they are products of western culture, which means they are directly or indirectly influenced by Christianity. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be talking about the evil of oppression. Or exist as such for that matter.

I do partly agree with your point about idolatry. To hear some people you’d think Christianity owes much to western culture, rather than the other way around.

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

The influence of Christ and his Church has been responsible for all sorts of good throughout history.

That doesn’t give America a get-out-of-jail free card to be immune from Christian critique. It should be just the opposite. Christ criticized Jewish leadership not because they were more evil than the pagans, but because he needed better.

The only way critiquing American oppression could even be imagined as a critique of Christ is if Christians have neglected their responsibilities. Their critiques should be reinforcing ours, not countering them.

JohnM
JohnM
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

No one would be critiquing any kind of oppression if it weren’t for Western (which includes American) values, and Western values would not be what they are but for that good influence of Christ and His church.

Of course, valid critique is good, but like any good can become warped, maybe by pride, by envy, by fear, whatever. When a thing is warped, then what do we call it?

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

You could also suggest that Protestants wouldn’t even know about Christ if not for the Catholic Church. But Protestants still find it legitimate to critique the Catholics on literally every issue in which they fall short of the call of Christ. Should “America” be elevated to a position of respect higher than even the Church that got us here? That for me is the strongest argument – just as Christians are free to criticize the Catholic Church despite the debt they owe to it, American Christians should be free to criticize America or any other Western institution without aspersions being… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
Jill Smith
Jill Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

That point struck me yesterday. For centuries, the Catholic church’s response to any criticism was to call it a proxy attack on Christ himself. You have a problem with the Inquisition? You have a problem with Christ. Even now there is an occasional bishop who dismisses press coverage of the priest scandals and the Irish orphanage disclosures as nothing more than an atheist-inspired attack on Christ and his church. There was a time, not that long ago, when the institutional authority of the Catholic church could have kept those stories out of the press altogether. Surely no Protestant thinks that… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

No, I wouldn’t suggest that. I might suggest Protestantism *is* a critique of the Roman Catholic church. Christians by definition will know about Christ. Without the Catholic church there would be no Protestants only in the sense that had the church not gone the direction it did under Rome perhaps there would have been no need or occasion for any Christians to be Protest-tant. The church never had to be Roman Catholic and the debt Christians owe, besides obviously to Christ, is to apostles and prophets. I appreciate your not putting words in my mouth. The words that are mine… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

To answer your question, I wondered that because you said, “No one would be critiquing any kind of oppression if it weren’t for Western (which includes American) values.

That appeared to dismiss the existence of the Church and Christian values completely outside of the West as well as other critiques of oppression.

If you only meant, “That particular Bible college professor wouldn’t be critiquing oppression if not for Western values”, I have no idea how you could know that.

JohnM
JohnM
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thank you for the explanation. No, my comment does not dismiss the Church and Christian values outside the West, and I don’ see at all that it appears to. However I do feel fairly safe dismissing whatever other historical critiques may be as the reason people in the contemporary world talk about oppression, particularly when they are talking about America in an American college.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

But I continue to fail to see the relevance. A Jewish prophet could critique the nation of Israel regardless of whether or not the existence of Israel is what gave them the bedrock from which to make their criticism. The Israel criticized by the prophets was still objectively worthy of criticism.

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

And re-reading your dismissal of my Catholic example, it seems to bring about a contradiction.

You think “the West” was necessary for us to know that oppression is wrong, because that’s the path history took. Yet you claim that the Catholic Church was not necessary for protestants to know Christ, because the apostles and prophets were enough. You skip that the Catholic Church is the actual way the gospel reached the Reformers.

Couldn’t you say the West was not necessary for us to learn oppression is wrong, because the apostles and prophets are enough?

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan
JohnM
JohnM
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

When I talk about the West, that actually does include the Catholic church. Protestants do not owe the gospel to the Catholic church however. The Reformers come out of the Catholic church, true, but they came*out* for a reason, and in large part you could say it was because the institutional Catholic church was an obstacle to the gospel. The Reformers were not protesting against the Catholic church in light of truth they received from the institutional church, but rather because of truth withheld, forgotten, ignored, or obscured. Whatever things distinguish Protestants from Catholics are not things Protestants owe to… Read more »

Mike Freeman
Mike Freeman
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, if I may be allowed a word of advice: I am far more in sympathy with your world view than with Doug’s world view, but there is something to be said for picking your battles. You consistently post dozens of times every week. I don’t read all your posts, and I largely agree with you, because I just don’t want to wade through that much verbiage. Try cutting back, at least a bit. I myself post occasionally, maybe once a month or so, if there’s something I see that I think especially cries out for a response. Which means… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Freeman

I’ve been commenting here for ~15 years, often only posting very seldom for months or years. I can promise you that when I post for the first time in six months, it’s immediately met with the same derision I receive when I’ve been posting regularly.

That said, your advice is still sound, just for other reasons.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jonathan
Will
Will
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Peals before swine. That’s in the Bible.

Last edited 11 months ago by Will
Dave
Dave
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;” Titus 2:6 “I can promise you that when I post for the first time in six months, it’s immediately met with the same derision I receive when I’ve been posting regularly.” Jonathan above “A fool does not delight in understanding, But in revealing his own mind.” Proverbs 18:2 Jonathan, remember how I told you we are guests here. In the thread yesterday, you acted like a drunk at a party and then got upset when the host sent you to the kitchen to sober up with some cups of strong coffee. You… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, yesterday Pastor Wilson suggested he deleted my comments mentioning his connection to the League of the South because my comments were “tedious, long-winded, off-point, and wrong.

If that was really the standard, then your comments would fail the test long before mine did.

Dave
Dave
10 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, thank you for your words.

Consider what I have recommended.

Also, please ask your preacher to preach on January 16th against the homosexual agenda attempting to crush Christianity.

Will
Will
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave

In reality, fundamentalist Christians are attempting to crush the rights of a segment of our citizenry. You are the real danger to American freedom.

Ronald Van Rossum
Ronald Van Rossum
11 months ago

Doug,

Are you familiar with JP Sears? Here’s a sample:

Extreme Authoritarian Laws Proposed in New York!
https://rumble.com/vrk4ed-extreme-authoritarian-laws-proposed-in-new-york.html

Ron

Dave
Dave
10 months ago

Last week, I asked others to have their preachers preach against the ungodly actions of the homosexuals in attempting to crush Christianity in several countries. I posted the incorrect date. It should be January 16th.

So please ask your churches to preach and pray with our brothers and sisters on January 16th against the evil that is upon them right now.

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave, here is the request from Mr. MacArthur.

https://www.gracechurch.org/news/posts/2307

Dave
Dave
10 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

Thanks Sam. I saw the original date on some of the Canadian preachers asking for Christians and preachers to join them.

Ken B
Ken B
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I asked others to have their preachers preach against the ungodly actions of the homosexuals in attempting to crush Christianity in several countries.  The presence of homosexuals in a society is a manifestation of the wrath of God, and the new bills being presented to various parliaments might also be God’s wrath. It will now no longer be possible to seek help to get out of the lifestyle even if you want to. Even the mercies of the wicked are cruel. Maybe church leaders should preach repentance for the mess the church is in rather than preach against the sins… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Here is a link to the text of the Bill: https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/LegislativeSummaries/432C6E. The Bill adds four new offenses to Canada’s criminal code: (1)forcing a person to undergo conversion therapy (new section 320.102); (2)causing a child to undergo conversion therapy (new section 320.103); (3)advertising conversion therapy (new section 320.104); and (4)receiving a financial or material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy (new section 320.105). With regard to (1), conversion therapy is defined as ”as including any practice, treatment or service that is “designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change a person’s gender identity or gender expression to cisgender or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Jill Smith
Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

The problem with Canada’s DOJ reassurances is that they literally mean nothing. They are not and cannot be legally binding, and no one is going to get fired if their expressed assurances are proven wrong within five years — at least not for anything on the progressive agenda. (Maybe there would be a reckoning if a big change was made to the tax law, lots of reassurances were made about who it would and wouldn’t affect, and then those reassurances were proved empty, but that would be one of the few things with any chance of real consequences.) So their… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

I do see your point. The specific conduct in which parents, pastors, and counselors may not engage should have been defined in the legislation itself. Afterward is not the time for parents to learn that gently telling Billy you won’t call him Jilly is actually considered a part of conversion therapy! In fact, how could such a refusal NOT represent an attempt to “reduce non-cisgender gender expression”? Even telling Billy that he can’t wear a skirt to school could be an unlawful attempt to repress his chosen gender expression. It seems to be assumed that parents are not treatment-providers under… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Jill Smith
Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
10 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Yeah, there are no doubt still problems with the California approach, but it does seem a lot less open to persecution.

If the Canadian bill had been less popular I would be more sanguine that its overreach might provoke a reaction, but as it is it seems pretty bad.

Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
10 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I’m sure it’s a mere coincidence that the definition of “conversion therapy” only goes in one direction. So no one encouraging children to experiment with homosexuality or cross-dressing needs to worry about criminal prosecution. But those things have never been “proven hamrful,” after all.

Ken B
Ken B
10 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Thank you very much for the time you have put into this post and the clarification it gives on the Canada bill.

Will
Will
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave

My minister assured me that she wouldn’t be preaching your hateful homophobic request. Neither would she be preaching about the dominance of men over women. But she would be preaching the Gospel of Jesus’ love for every human being.

Ken B
Ken B
10 months ago
Reply to  Will

This is precisely what 1 Tim 2 was designed to prevent. It is not unloving to point out the sinful nature of homosexuality. It needs to be done in a sober manner though. I agree men shouldn’t dominate women, but this must not become an excuse for unisex or avoiding the concept of ‘head’ for a husband. In a sense God loves all men but he loves righteousness more than people. Indeed he hates wickedness and is angry with those who suppress the truth. Mercy and severity need to be balanced, and truth not mixed with error or light with… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Ken B