From the Mailbag, As You Expected

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Those Canadians

I really enjoyed this article. I just had a question nagging me throughout it. What are the ethics of holding a protest when it negatively effects businesses and people not involved in the problem you are protesting? The truckers have certainly cost businesses in Ottawa money and work.

Best wishes,


Adam

Adam, thanks. It is same problem we face when deciding to go to war. The collateral damage will be great, and you have to decide whether it is worthwhile in order to address the damage already being done. But the damage being done by this trucker protest is minuscule when compared to the damage done by the lock downs, etc.

The Canadian trucker convoy is a beautiful spectacle to see, and it fills me with tears—tears of blessed joy from one eye as I watch Freedom ringing in Ottawa, and tears of sorrow from the other eye as I behold my own country wringing Freedom’s neck. I pray the American truckers are twice as bold, thrice as many, and four times as effective. But . . . I also have to wonder this: why does goodness and righteousness come from ones such as these and not from our pulpits? Why does Canada have a thousand courageous truckers but only three courageous pastors? Is this a clear case of God causing even the rocks to cry out because we, His people, have been silent for too long? I hope so.

(Since this is not November, I should probably provide an unnecessary clarification.

I am not saying that truckers are not or cannot be God’s people, or that they are somehow the equivalent of rocks.)

Malachi

Malachi, yes. But God has often used the humble to shame the wise.

I am unsure of the time of your writing this post, but Canada is currently arresting the convoy protesters, and as I am sure that you also know, are attempting to confiscate the approximate $9-$10 million thus far donated on the GFM site. I think that the Canadian communists have witnessed the post-event prosecution model that is still in progress with the J-6 participants, and would have no problem modifying that to also include seizure of trucks as asset forfeitures. One might ask “well then who will drive the trucks to deliver food to the elite”. The organized crime cartel that is every communist oriented government never includes suffering on the part of the “elites”. (At least until they experience a Ceaușescu moment.) They will ensure, even if it means nationalizing transport, uninterrupted champagne.

Gray

Gray, yes, they are certainly willing for that. It doesn’t always work out for them though.

When reading your latest Monday column, there was a particular paragraph which resonated with me. You wrote: “When I use the word elite here, let us begin with the recognition that there is not very much that is elite about them. But they are clean and bright, and well-to-do, and they graduated from some Ivy League college or other, and early on they were persuaded of the “neutrality of competence” by the whole process of indoctrination that they went though. They have come to believe that what counts is computer modeling, and data supplemented with more data, and managerial expertise, and decisions by the qualified, and centralized control so that enlightened decisions might be made.”

It struck me that there is a parallel between our political elites and our ecclesiastical elites in what you’ve written. Our ecclesiastical elites are also clean and bright (no dirt-under-the-fingernails Christianity here!), well-to-do (affluence is a sign of God’s favor), and graduated from some well-known seminary that people associate with one of those conservative guys with a media presence (but have no knowledge of what is actually being taught at said seminary), and were persuaded of by the whole “neutrality of competence” by the whole philosophy of ministry training that they went through (which taught them that leading a church is more like managing a sales department than shepherding a flock).

I’ve appreciated your willingness to write about the recent events which have eclipsed our world, because most of our pastors and elders have tried to manage the war of the 2020’s like they’ve managed the “peace” of the 2000’s—just keep everyone mostly happy and hope the sermon series gives people enough to think about so they aren’t wondering why the elders never called and checked in on them when they actually had COVID, or asked why they didn’t show up for Sunday School while masks were mandated indoors with no exceptions, or stayed mum on vaccine mandates for their children at the school which is attached to said church because, goodness knows, we don’t want to offend anybody.

What advice would you give elders when they see the faithful of the flock start to push back because of how the leadership been handling COVID? It’s one thing if you have the usual suspects making trouble—it’s what they do, but isn’t it another thing when it’s the solid core that starts to go up in arms in their own Preference Cascade? What advice would you give faithful church members when their elders seem to have abandoned their convictions and refuse to communicate until put in a corner? What needs to happen when people who have been faithful, invested, team players at a church for years start to become vocal, discouraged, and detached? Are they a necessary sacrifice for the new people who have come in during the pandemic, or do the elders have a responsibility to engage and invest? And once the distrust is sown, how does this get navigated? There’s a lot of churches that are going to have to heal the breach from poor COVID shepherding, and—knowing you can’t get specific—I’m wondering what your advice would be to the elders and the members. Thanks!

David

David, my advice would be to go into the necessary hard conversations (and they will be most necessary) clothed with humility. But then to say what needs to be said.

The following excerpt by Erik Erickson was posted by Justin Taylor:

“Y’all, this may come as a shock to each of you, but Russell Moore, Rick Warren, David French, Tim Keller, John MacArthur, Douglas Wilson, Owen Strachan, and Voddie Baucham are all going to be in the House of the Lord one day and if you don’t think so, maybe you need to search your heart and see what’s wrong.”

This portion got me thinking. Erik seems absolutely confident that all these men’s names are written in the book of life. No question that any of these men could be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Is this kind of certainty language correct? How should we talk about Christian’s we have serious disagreements with? Take it away from Erik’s list and instead insert someone blatantly disobeying the commandments of God. Is it permissible for me to question the salvation of Nadia Boltz-Weber? Where do you draw the line between identifying a child of God that is straying vs a wolf in God’s church? And is it right to state with such certainty the salvation of any individual? I don’t want to be saying at people’s funerals, “Well it sure seemed like this was a regenerate person, but I guess who knows.” I also don’t want to act in the place of God, who is the final Judge. What think ye?

Roger

Roger, I appreciated Erik’s sentiment. I don’t think it would be appropriate to include Nadia because of the sheer effrontery of her rebellions. But for the disagreements that I may have with others on Erik’s list, I would ask myself this question: are our disagreements in areas where truly converted people could be mistaken? And I believe the answer to that is plainly yes.

Thank you for writing the “Democracy Comes on Eighteen Wheels” post. As a Canadian not living on Parliament Hill I resonated with what you wrote here:

“… they have no idea what the world outside is actually like. They run their computer models, they formulate their big ideas, they scratch their fellow Yale classmates between the shoulder blades, they receive the same in turn, and they have their food and other necessities trucked in.”

The city I live in has been experiencing grocery store supply chain shortages for a few months now due to highway floods and road closures. We can still get the basics and are in no way starving, but I have been trying to buy canola oil for weeks and my husband just found some yesterday (hurrah!). In January the unemployment rate here went up another percentage point, and every third storefront I drive by is begging people to come work for them. Those that want to can easily make enough money to pay for four years of college tuition in one year.

Truck drivers are part of the group who make it possible for everyone who wants to stay home to stay home and have everything delivered to their doorstep. Guess what? No drivers, no trucks moving. If we won’t let those who want to go outside and work work, we will soon have to go outside ourselves, and the amount of “Help Wanted” signs in my city clearly shows we are not willing to do that just yet…at least, not at a rate that will cover all the empty job spots that currently exist and those empty spots to come in the future.

I don’t need to imagine how truck deliveries or lack thereof can impact daily life. I’ve seen the effects of slowed-down deliveries since November, and how impossible it is to convince people to do their duties after two years of scaring them out of doing their duties. Maybe we need to rethink how this has been handled and try something else. Something sensible would be nice. Whatever differences in opinion there may be, if those drivers lose their jobs, we will all notice, and I doubt we will like it.

Laura

Laura, thanks.

A Gashmu Question

I’m enjoying “Gashmu Saith It.” Near the end of chapter 3 (p. 33) you state: “But if any Christian leader, anywhere, anytime, teaches that obedience and maintaining a teachable spirit are virtues to be cultivated by church members, then that guy is now a hazard with blinking lights all over him. He is clearly power tripping.” Sorry but I don’t get it. I thought that was exactly what you are advocating. Plus I’m also flummoxed with Diotrephes. I thought Diotrephes’ behavior had been disruptive and broken the cooperation and love that should be normal among Christians ans. In addition Diotrephes abused his position of leadership in the congregation by attacking other Christian workers.

Please clarify for me please.

Jerry

Jerry, sorry. You were reading my point correctly. I probably should have put that part in quotation marks. It was a sarcastic summary of the position I was refuting.

Podles and the Puritans

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this article, especially the portion on the Puritans. In my view, the author touches on some interesting points, but he doesn’t mention what I would think is the key starting point for an analysis of the topic: Ephesians 5:22-33.

Thank you,

Kevin

Kevin, decent article, although it misses a few things that Podles catches. One of them is the fact that although the Puritan ethos eventually succumbed to the larger drift of the Western church, Podles in one place acknowledges that the Puritans were a striking exception to this general trend. The problem was not hymeneal imagery, which is thoroughly scriptural. Podles argues that the culprit was the bringing of that corporate imagery down into the devotional life of individuals. When you do that to men, trouble develops. The men are either good at it, which is one problem, or they are uncomfortable with it, and are repelled from the church.

Keep On

In the Scriptures it says that the effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much and in spite of all my seeking I have failed over and over again. I had a stroke and since then I have received so much understanding from the word of our Lord, but I fail to apply it to my own life and I can’t discern why that is if you have any guidance I would greatly appreciate it. God bless and keep you always.

Robert

Robert, God bless you in your continued efforts and prayers. I would encourage you to start praying for God to send someone into your life to serve as a spiritual mentor or director.

I don’t know the hour, day, or year of my born again moment. I only remember moments or experiences at times of my journey to God. Am I not truly regenerate? God bless.

Samuel

Samuel, in the middle of the day you don’t have to know the precise moment of sunrise. Most days most of us don’t have any idea. But you don’t need to know the exact moment the sun rose to know that it is up. Walking with Christ is like that. If you are walking in darkness, the sun did not rise. If you are walking in the light, it did. Only a small handful are privileged to see the moment the sun rose—like Saul of Tarsus.

The Meaning of Judgment

Thanks for your faithful ministry over the years. Our family has been blessed by it in countless ways.

In your post, “The Authority of True Revival,” you write: “After the horror of guilt had struck us down, with its realization that America really does deserve to be obliterated by the hand of God, the gospel of grace would lift us up.” This got me thinking about the nature of individual guilt and corporate, or covenantal, judgement.

I’m curious about your thoughts on how a classical Reformed understanding of the covenant might help us with confronting the challenges of “Wokeness” (to use Owen Strachan’s term). It seems like many of the responses to the Woke movement come from brothers who are Baptistic in their theology (see Strachan, Christianity and Wokeness, p. 37, for example). Thus, an individualistic view of salvation and repentance might enable people to dismiss claims of corporate responsibility for racial sins a bit too easily.

How do we make sense of America’s racist past, and the Christian church’s “complicity” in racism (although I’m aware that is a loaded term!) within the context of covenantal theology? For instance, you have stated that the War Between the States was a “judgement on our entire nation, both North and South” (“Slave Narratives,” in Omnibus III, p. 203). I’m sure many faithful Christians at the time, on both sides, would have claimed they were not guilty of any sort of racism, yet they were caught up in a corporate judgment of God on a sinful system.

It seems that sins of racism (past or present) might be similar to the others sins of America, or the American church, such as “complicity” in abortion, homosexuality, etc. How do we sort through our covenantal, or corporate, involvement, or responsibility, to all these sins?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this!

Gregory

Gregory, if the War was the hand of God upon us, as I believe it was, then I believe that the appropriate response is to receive it as such, acknowledge the justice of it, and to accept His work of judgment as adequate. After the return from the Exile, the Jews had to accept the lesson. They did not have to keep trying to return to the Exile.

The First Recipients

You said in a plodcast that the book of Hebrews seems to fit 2 Peter 3:15 best. What would be your argumentation to prove it as being the letter Peter is referring to instead of the known epistles of Paul?

Jonty

Jonty, the argument hinges on the fact that the book of Hebrews and 2 Peter were addressed to the same group, and in that verse are referred to (“unto you”). This would not be the case with the book of Ephesians, Galatians, etc.

Lack of Communication

Thank you for your ministry and works of wisdom, they are encouraging and inspiring to those of us who are faithfully pursuing Christian life, marriage and parenting! Especially those of us who did not have a Christian family background.

I have a note to add about your excellent article, “Lack of Communication is Key” and a couple questions for single women. My wonderful husband and I have a few single friends we have been walking alongside as they pursue godly relationships, and we have a good number of children we’d like to guide faithfully in the near future.

To your article, I’d like to add that this era of easy texting communication amplifies the ease of emotional intimacy between singles! It is just so much easier to type things you’d never say to someone’s face! I think many single men lack courage and I would admonish them to only text a woman that they already know well or are in a committed relationship with. Is this too bold?

For my questions, I’d be curious if you have any advice for single women on how they can appropriately encourage men to communicate effectively, with proper levels of intimacy. Many Christian men we know have not been fathered well and just don’t know most of what you wrote in your article. For example, I have advised a single friend of mine to not accept text messages from a man who is probably interested in her, but to reply something like “I’d love to discuss that, but not over text. I’m available for a phone call later if you’d like to talk.” Or what about the woman who has gone on a good number of dates with a man but it doesn’t seem to be leading to any sort of commitment. Is it ok for her to say something like “I have enjoyed our time together, Dawson, but I’m not comfortable meeting further unless you are able to tell me your future intentions for this relationship.”

How should a woman on a date respond if a man starts to overshare? “Goodness! Let’s talk about that once we’re going steady?” Basically, are there ways that a godly single woman can put up barriers to men’s lack of courage, over-sharing and other issues without shaming the man or acting unwomanly?

Long time reader, first time writer,

Mrs. D

Mrs. D, all your instincts are correct. The one thing I would add is that the woman who is being “aimlessly dated” should not seize control of the narrative by asking “where is this going?” Rather, she should just break up with him. If he asks why (as he probably will), she can then (because he asked) tell him that she is not comfortable with the apparent lack of direction.

I want to thank you for your recent “Lack of Communication is Key” post. It’s a message that I desperately needed to hear as a young man who has been guilty of being an emotional needy bucket. I’m reminded of Proverbs 13:14: “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

I’ve been caught squarely in this particular snare of death during my time in University. Your instruction has been a great relief and a cause of hope for me. Thank you.

William

William, thanks very much. Now go find her.

A Husband’s Authority

This is a question from Chapter 3 of Reforming Marriage: Gospel Living for Couples. Page 47. “Another duty involves the ongoing responsibility that a husband has to review and approve commitments made by his wife.” What were “binding oaths to afflict her soul” to the original writers, and what might it be now, as 21st century Christ-followers? Does this mean . . . that I should, her husband, by overseeing her calendar? Her social appointments? The promises she makes at work? Commitments to ministry obligations? What sort of commitments and how can I exercise oversight over them, through what mechanisms? My wife and I were confused. I have no good answer so I am coming to you, so I can continue to teach my wife.

Thank you,

Ajie

Ajie, in the original context, it could have been a financial vow, or a commitment to fast before the Lord. Something like that. The kind of thing I had in mind in a modern setting would be in cases where the wife has a tendency to over-commit, and then laments to her husband later. She promises to babysit the neighbor’s kids three times a week. When her husband hear of it, he can cancel the commitment. He can be the bad guy.

Deception and Closed Societies

I’ve heard what you have to say about vaccine ID’s and I really appreciate it. I was hoping you could expand on the topic of Christians and Righteous Deception and Anonymity.

What would it look like for a Christian to evangelize and do missions in a place like Russia and avoid the Yarovaya Law which prohibits evangelism? Or to gain entrance into otherwise “restricted” places under the pretext of teaching or business.

I’m fascinated by how Christians can fly under the radar and do Kingdom work under the noses of those who count themselves as our enemies. And so I was wondering if you could please give any advice how to do so.

It seems to be a more pressing issue in our day in the West, where the anti-Christ authority more and more resembles what Solzhenitsyn referred to as crushing and suppressing spiritual fervor, rather than suffocating it.

In summation: Can you please teach us how to righteously deceive for the glory of God and the love of neighbor?

Thank you kindly,

J

J, my best recommendation is that you get and read Brother Andrew’s book, God’s Smuggler. Good stuff.

Problematic Parachurch

Here’s my problem this time: college ministry; specifically our chapter of an organization here that I will not name directly but was founded by a guy not really too “Bright” at all, begins with a C and ends with U. Having served on the student team tied to the group for the last three years, I believe there have been trends in the negative direction. I will have to admit my theological bias and personal convictions have been severely influenced by works like Ride Sally, Ride and Evangellyfish; but this alleged fragrant offering is beginning to reek with the aroma of the world, more so than Christ, and I find myself to be in a pickle. Bottom line up front? When is it appropriate to abandon participation in a ministry and how should I go about doing so? I would love to give you the laundry list of details regarding the subtle or blatant disobediences to Christ , but for now here’s the wave tops: no accountability for students leading—sex, drinking, other activities without any administrative action against them, no true teaching of sin during weekly meetings, no posture for change (we’ll come back to in a second), and a dangerous carelessness for the mission. 1) though students have tried to hold other students accountable, some continue in unrepentance and are allowed to still lead Bible studies, worship meetings, etc. The civilian admin has offered nothing but pats on the back and belly rubs 2) Even when requested to give messages that focus on the truth of the gospel before anything else—and by anything else I mean frequent messages of the moral therapeutic variety—leadership continues to merely describe ours sins as “something Jesus covered; you know, our imperfections like everyone else.” 3 & 4) my fiancée and I, as well as other members of the student leadership team have been fighting for change over the last year; yielding no good fruit. As in, no true discipleship; no movement from the Holy Spirit; etc. Other fruit was yielded today—when I emailed the team with a meme poking fun at the military chaplains here who refuse to pray in Jesus name. I was scolded severely on the basis of James 3; after all, I was cursing my fellow brethren in a way that insulted their likeness in the image of the Father. In other words, bad fruit. Such a response rendered one of my colleagues to confess to me that I was demolished in comparison to his last month’s confession to the staff member who scolded me; said friend was honest about his alcoholism and the minister offered no rebuke.

I’ve already squawked for too long in this message, but I hope I have conveyed my concern. The tricky thing is; the Lord has severely blessed me with this ministry. The Lord saved me while in it; He provided me my fiancée; He taught me beyond anything I would have imagined and has equipped me to able to minister while serving in the Navy the next several years. By His grace, He will lead me to more ministry post-military- and that was inspired in my time here as well. Would I be forsaking these blessings if I left? Do I leave and how? After all, there are only a couple months left before graduation BUT “disobedience now, is conducive to disobedience later.”

CG

CG, yeah, it sounds like it is time to go. But how? Do so with clarity and charity. State your reasons, and be equally clear on your gratitude for what you have received.

Back to the Manifesto Question

A Manifesto? | To Mablog Reader Mitch, Doug’s book “Rules for Reformers” is also a great manifesto-esque book. I highly recommend it!

Trey

Trey, thanks.

Yes. She is Doing Great Work

Have you seen this opinion piece on how the Federal government engaged evangelicals on Covid? Too many of our leaders got duped.

Ted

Ted, yes. I saw the part that was not behind a paywall. I really like what she is doing.

Deep Dive?

I have seen you give this instruction a few times in your letters and articles. The instruction is to do a “spiritual deep dive” or “spiritual inventory”. You seem to give it in the context of either checking one’s motives or to ensure one is confessing the “right” sins. Like if ones zeal for justice may be a cover for bitterness, for instance.

What do you have in mind in particular when you give this instruction?

Take the confessing of “right” sins. If the person knows the sins but are not confessing them, then what you mean is, “confess what you know you ought”, and the advice to deep dive seems counter intuitive.

If the person does not know the sins they “ought” to be confessing, then to some extent it is hidden to them. The instruction seems to be, “rerun the same diagnostics that got you here.”

But if there is a particular action(s) you would deem appropriate to do a more thorough internal search a) what are they? and b) what guards would be appropriate to prevent naval gazing?

Anonymous

Anonymous, what I mean is a variation on the second. I am referring to the person who does not know his sin, but is willing to try a different diagnostic this time. Suppose he prays, “Lord, make me open to consider the fact that the problem might be what I consider to be my virtues or strengths . . .”

Combustible Materials

“You should not pursue a woman if you know that the combustible materials are not there.” Two scenarios come to mind of which I have questions:

Suppose a young man is dating a young woman, and he realizes that “the combustible materials are not there.” How do you tell the young woman that while still maintaining a desire to treat her honorably and with gentleness and dignity, even supposing she still feels those combustibles for the young man?

Second scenario: an older couple whose flames of passion have grown cold. How do you handle a situation in which the combustible materials used to be there, but through time and age, aren’t any longer?

RS

RS, with regard to the first scenario, if the combustible materials were once there, and are there no longer, then he should look for sin in his life that has deadened his desire for her (perhaps sexual sin, or stringing her along). He should confess his sin, and buy a ring. But if the desire was never there, then he needs to break up with her with as much kindness as he can muster, and taking the responsibility for the whole situation on himself. With regard to the older couple, I would say the same thing. If they are in their fifties and the desire is gone, look for the sin. If they are in their nineties, and the desire is gone, what did you expect?

Street Preaching

I’m a member of a reformed church in the Atlanta Metro area in GA, and recently watched a Canon Press video (about 10 years old now) where you talked about street preaching, saying, “Street preaching is very hard; very challenging. It’s rarely done well. It’s rarely done right, and it’s a good crucible for leaning in.”

I heartily agree and have recently begun street preaching with another man from my church (under the commission and authority of our church elders) every Saturday.

Could you please expound a couple of your statements?

What does it look like to “not preach well” or “not preach right”?

I want to guard myself from developing bad habits that arise from inexperience and would sincerely appreciate your counsel here.

Thank you,

Tim

Tim, I can’t really tell from this distance. I would say that you should invite an experienced street preacher to accompany you, and you watch him, and ask him to watch you. As a general matter, make sure you love the people you are preaching to.

Presuppositionalism and Other Religions

I have enjoyed learning a presuppositional apologetic from you.

I was wondering how you would argue from a presuppositional position against another religion. For instance: I witness to Mormon missionaries on a regular basis. And I feel this is an area of weakness for the presuppositional argument. But I may be missing something.

How would you approach another religion from a presuppositional apologetic? Would you switch to more classical arguments or am I missing something?

Thank you!

RJ

RJ, I would refer you to Bahnsen’s book Always Ready. The methodology used with other religions is called “the impossibiity of the contrary.” You take their premises, and run them out to the point where they contradict their initial premises.

A Different Kind of Tax Problem

I know you are very busy and I understand if you do not have the time for this. I am writing to you to seek your counsel on a very particular, unusual problem.

I have been married about a year and a half now. I married someone who is not the easiest to get along with but we get by. However, he does not pay income taxes. He is a believer.

Based on what he has said, I am sure he is right that the IRS takes more than legally allowed and have deceived almost the whole US. I agree that if that’s what they are doing, then it is wrong. However, I also know that not paying income taxes makes you susceptible to having your bank accounts frozen, never being able to own property together, not being able to be involved in financial aid for future children, etc. I was not told of this prior to marriage and now, all of the things I had expected to peacefully do (own a home, start a family, be able to fully rely on the other person, etc.) seem like things I will never get. My husband told me that he “would rather be single and continue not paying income taxes then be married and pay them.”

I am at a loss for how I should respond. He refuses to go to marital counseling (for this and other big issues) unless it’s through his parents, refuses to really change at all. If I can’t deal with it, he says I must be the one to leave. I never have advocated for divorce unless 100% necessary and I certainly don’t want one now, but I have no idea on what to do. I feel very alone and just want a better marriage and one day some kids, without having an issue like this weigh on me to basically provide for the family since he cannot. Any advice you have, any at all, is appreciated.

G

G, has he apologized for not telling you about this before you were married? I would suggest that you get pastoral counsel and legal counsel, in that order. If he won’t go with you, then go alone.

Courtship Time Lag?

Commenting on your series of Letters to Dawson series, and also on your courtship sermon series, which I ordered last year but am now listening to a second time all the way through. I have only listened to volume 1, and maybe the answer is in volume 2. Forgive me and direct me as needed.

Does Scripture allow for a space of time for men between the moment they “leave father and mother” and the moment they “hold fast to their wives and become one flesh with them”? I say this as a single man who has moved out of my home, desiring to be married but working on holiness and making myself worthy for my future wife. At what point do I become federal head of my household? Do I remain under my father’s covenant headship until I get married? Or can I rightly say that I have “left” and have thus made myself covenant head of my own household, no longer under my father’s administration, even though I am not yet married? Or do I still have to submit to my father, as I yet need to submit to my magistrates and my bishops? I hope my question makes sense.

I understand that, ideally, there would be no time at all, that a man would go out at a young age, 17 or 18, seek a woman quickly, ask the father for her hand in marriage, and establish his household with a helper right at the beginning. Sadly there is sin in the world, and I grew up in a nominal and liberal environment, and by God’s grace I am learning these things now. Oh that Christ would cleanse me of my yet indwelling sin!

Thank you,

Chris

Chris, my understanding is that you can establish your own household prior to marriage, and that ideally you would do so. I don’t believe you are still under your father’s authority, although of course you should still honor and respect him, and seek his counsel.

If a believer claims that their job is a ministry yet never shares the gospel or talks about Christ and the Bible at work, would you consider this job to be a ministry? Also, if a believer is coerced (against their conscience) into getting the “CV jab” in order to keep their job, would you consider this to be suffering for Christ?

Regards,

TJ

TJ, to your first question, it depends and perhaps. Suppose a man is a mechanic for Mission Aviation Fellowship. That’s a ministry. But if someone is an accountant for a big corporation, and they never talk about Christ, then no. To your second question, I would say yes, indirectly. To the extent that their conscience was formed from their faith, that would apply, although it might be better to call it “suffering as a Christian,” rather than “suffering for being a Christian.”

A Reference

A reader named Jeff wrote on Feb 1 asking about classical schools in Jacksonville, FL. I would direct his attention to Providence Extension Program, a rigorous university-model option that legally constitutes homeschooling, but that is taught by exceptional tutors. Several of my children have graduated from PEP, and three more are currently enrolled. We believe in it so much that I helped start a new campus where I live, at which my wife now teaches. Jeff is welcome to contact me for more information.

Here is their website:

Grace and peace,

Bruce

Bruce, thanks much.

I really want to just say what a blessing you have been! Thank you for your ministry and your family’s. I didn’t even realize how much of your people’s content I had purchased over the years until I started to really pay attention. My house is unintentionally filled with Wilson/Logos/Canon books!

I’m reaching out because, although my family all serve diligently at our own church, we are in the deep South culture of “#Blessed” Christians. Which is to say, grace abounds, “repentance” and “sin” are words you don’t hear in sermons, and whiff of Calvinism has the power to split a church.

It’s a lonely place sometimes, but I am greatly encouraged by Canon’s ministry. This might not be anything, but for what it’s worth, I have been inspired to start sharing my own writings and because Canon’s ministry both sparked and fuels my desire to write, I thought I would share.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Thank you for all you do!

Sarah

Sarah, thanks, and God bless.

Thank you for taking the time to engage with us! Do you have any recommendations for gracious and truly helpful responses (other than, “oh my!” Or just smiling and nodding) when strangers or acquaintances complain about their children? When asked about mine, I try to use the opportunity to share how they are a blessing and joy, but do you have any good ideas for how to respond to the casual conversation with the stranger at the doctor’s office unloading about her angry bipolar teenager, or the lady at the grocery store who says, “they are so cute when they’re little, but just wait until they’re teenagers!” I realize I can say nothing, but I do find myself in this conversation often and am wondering if I can do better at making the most of this opportunity?

Blessings on you and your family!


Mallory

Mallory, I would say your instinctive response is the right one. I would say something like, “I am so sorry you are having that struggle. My husband and I have been so greatly blessed in our kids—they are a real delight. Is there any particular way I could pray for you?” Something like that.

Resurrection and Rule

I can’t find the exact quotation—but you’ve said multiple times in several different ways that “if a man rises from the dead, he rules the world.” I absolutely agree that Christ’s Resurrection uniquely confirms his Kingship over the universe and demonstrates his power over all thrones, dominions, and principalities.

But I’m wondering how you see the Resurrection in light of the other ‘mini’-resurrections that precede and succeed His? Elijah and Elisha are connected with a trio of resurrections: the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kings 17:17–24), the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:18–37), the man in Elisha’s grave (2 Kings 13:20–21). Christ, of course, raises the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40–56), and Lazarus (John 11). Peter resurrects Tabitha (Acts 9:36–43); Paul resurrects Eutychus (Acts 20:7–12). And, of course, there’s the en masse resurrection in Jerusalem following the Lord’s (Matthew 27:50–53).

In short: how do you view the uniqueness of Christ’s Resurrection as compared with the relatively numerous resurrections throughout Scripture?

Logan

Logan, thanks. The mini-resurrections you cite were actually more like resuscitations. In other words, when Lazarus was raised, he was going to have to die again, and then he did so. Christ’s resurrection was unique in that it was the harbinger of the final resurrection, and was the point where He entered into the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16), never to die again (Rom. 6:9).

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Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
7 months ago

Trial attorney here. G, I don’t know what your pastor will tell you, but my legal advice is to get out of that marriage yesterday. When (not if) the IRS eventually catches up to him, since you knew about it, you’re looking at living in poverty for the rest of your life. If he wants to take that risk for himself, that’s his business, but he has no right to expose you (and any children you may have to it). I promise you, you will spend the entire rest of your life digging out from under. And, for the time… Read more »

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

G, I would be very careful about taking legal advice from the comments section of any blog. If Kathleen Zielinski really is a trial lawyer, then she should be familiar with the ethics rules of her profession and that she, by virtue of offering individually tailored advice, could be crossing ethical boundaries depending on the jurisdiction. For example, individually tailored advice in itself can be the basis for finding a lawyer-client relationship in DC (see District of Columbia Bar, Opinion 316 (2002)). In short, Zielinski should be careful in her interactions on social media. The fact that she gave legal… Read more »

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
7 months ago

fp, so if you tell me you’re planning to kill your wife, I should refrain from giving you free legal advice not to do it? Sorry, but your comment is easily the silliest I’ve seen in a very long time. There is no relevant set of facts under which staying married to someone whom you know is evading taxes won’t be catastrophic if and when the IRS catches up to them. Plus, the fact that he didn’t tell her he was a tax evader until after they were married makes me wonder what else he hasn’t told her. If G… Read more »

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

Apparently, reading for comprehension is not your area of expertise. Nowhere did I say your advice was bad; I merely cautioned G from taking legal advice from blog commenters on the internet — especially those who don’t know the relevant set of facts upon which to give legal advice in the first place.

If you are indeed a lawyer, then you of all people should know the ethical obligations to which you are bound as a licensed professional.

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
7 months ago

And my point is that assuming G’s claims are correct — she didn’t make anything up, she didn’t leave anything out — then what I gave her is good advice. There is no plausible set of facts under which it’s good legal advice to stay with someone you know is a tax cheat. Just as there is no plausible set of facts under which it would be good legal advice to tell you to kill your wife. Now, if your point is that she should independently seek another opinion, I don’t disagree with you. But not for the reasons you… Read more »

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

In case you didn’t notice, G did leave something out: the mechanism by which her husband isn’t paying income taxes. Did you know that, according to CNBC, 61% of Americans didn’t pay federal income taxes in 2020? Based on this statistic alone, would you conclude that a majority of Americans must therefore be guilty of tax evasion? Would you then counsel the spouses in those households to “get out of their marriages yesterday” based on facts not in evidence? If you’re a lawyer, then you should understand the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. If you’re a lawyer, then… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Ken B
Ken B
7 months ago

I’m not sure fp isn’t doing the ‘silent women’ routine again which raises its head here from time to time. I do agree with him that the internet is not the place to get specific advice, especially if that advice is only telling someone what they want to hear (which isn’t the case in this instance). G wrote of her husband he does not pay income taxes. He is a believer which to my mind is a contradiction in terms unless he is actually exempt from paying income tax. We are to pay taxes to whom taxes are due, and… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Ken B
Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago

As for (a) in your final sentence, that would be easy to find out if K.Z., Esq., has said what state she practices in. The interwebz only shows an attorney with that name practicing in Australia. That may explain KZ’s leftist/totalitarian stances on other issues…but hardly qualifies her as an expert in U.S. law. As for this “There is no relevant set of facts under which staying married to someone whom you know is evading taxes won’t be catastrophic” — well, not really. There are people who have studied the tax code better than any IRS agent, haven’t filed in… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by C Herrera
Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

The Australian lawyer with the same name is not a trial lawyer but works for the government. I think it is quite possible that KZ would rather not use her professional name when she drops by to comment. Very few people here use their legal first and last name. If there were not 2,099 Jill Smiths in the US, neither would I. G wrote, “Based on what he has said, I am sure he is right that the IRS takes more than legally allowed and have deceived almost the whole US” and “My husband told me that he “would rather… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

” I think it is quite possible that KZ would rather not use her professional name when she drops by to comment. Very few people here use their legal first and last name”

Be that as it may, it’s odd for someone to repeatedly mention their profession and even offer legal advice using a phony name that sounds very real (not “Lawyer Lady Boss” or something). That’s problematic on more than one level.

Last edited 7 months ago by C Herrera
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
7 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“Be that as it may, it’s odd for someone to repeatedly mention their profession and even offer legal advice using a phony name that sounds very real ” Its more suspicious than that. I am not a lawyer but I consume a great deal of legal content. I watch trials with commentary by lawyers. I’ve taken specialized courses that would be considered continuing education for lawyer if I were one, which I’m not. I have never, ever, in any context, under any circumstances, seen a lawyer give individualized advice in a public setting. Universally the response is to talk to a… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Justin Parris
Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

It’s always risky to assume you understand someone else’s motives, especially if you disagree with their conclusions. So I don’t want to fall into Bulverism, but the obvious reason fp and Cherrera might have a problem with KZ’s advice is that they sympathize with the whole sovereign citizen movement and dislike any pushback on it. (As Cherrera is apparently familiar with something of KZ’s general tribal affiliation, it might also just be the assumption that someone from the Blue tribe has to be wrong.) More importantly, the actual content of their objections is petty, legalistic, and seems to be an… Read more »

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

“So I don’t want to fall into Bulverism…”

…saith Nathan as an introduction to a comment that, in its entirety, is a textbook example of Bulverism.

And no, I don’t sympathize with the whole sovereign citizen movement, your idle speculation notwithstanding.

Is it too much to ask for people to at least try to get their facts straight before pontificating?

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
7 months ago

Apparently it is indeed too much to ask. Bulverism is defined as* arguing only by hypothesized motivation, while neglecting to ever disprove the actual substance of the argument. My first and fourth paragraphs were (clearly marked as) parenthetical notes. My second and third paragraphs did, in fact, show the problems with the argument that Cherrera was making, and I believe I even refuted the central assertion (to the extent that any actual logical assertion was ever made): that the assorted apparent oddities about the author’s credentials made the advice utterly wrong, irrelevant, and worth rejecting without further substantive inquiry. So… Read more »

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

I happened to re-read one of the earlier posts, in which fp clarifies his position as being one of generic caution, not actual rejection. While that may well still be excess caution, it is at least not as bad as I had thought and argued against, so my refutation does not apply to fp’s post. (And, as mentioned earlier, I do agree that at least some caution is necessary with online legal advice.)

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

For that matter, Cherrera’s position doesn’t seem as clear as I’d thought, either. If he was likewise only attempting to urge caution, rather than the strong rejection it looked like to me, the same thing would apply.

I had thought I’d read carefully enough, but evidently not.

Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

Wow, Tuggles. For someone so convinced of their nuanced view of the 4th Commandment in recent comments, you sure tossed out the 9th Commandment like yesterday’s garbage. Your “obvious reason” is simply a bad assumption. I’ve never been part of the sovereign citizen’s movement, even if I hold to original intent of the Constitution. I’ve also read others who know the tax code, various court cases and Constitution better than most any law student or modern “expert” whose lens has been muddied by years of judicial activism and “living, breathing” nonsense that furthers their agendas. And again, there are people… Read more »

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
7 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“Bad assumption” (or “misreading”, as the case may be) is not “lying”. I didn’t lie or bear false witness at all. (Especially as I corrected my misreadings myself once I noticed them.) Reading carefully, “never been part of” does not squarely deny my phrasing of “sympathize with”, especially given other parts of the same post defending their expertise (but distinguishing the experts you like from the sovereign citizen types, in unspecified but incomplete ways). That’s a confusing level of nuance. My opinion of sovereign citizen rhetoric is the result of reading quite a lot of their actual writings, as well… Read more »

Kathleen M. Zielinski
Kathleen M. Zielinski
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, fp objects because he’s a concern troll. I lurk here a lot, rarely post, and did so today because I have some expertise in the field. That said, I’m familiar with fp’s posts and he’s basically a concern troll. Period, full stop. And no, G didn’t mention the mechanism by which her husband avoids taxes, and yes, there are legal ways to evade taxes. But the fact that she is worried about it strongly suggests that whatever he’s doing probably isn’t legal. If he’s legally avoiding taxes, why would she be worried? As for my bona fides, I practice… Read more »

Les
Les
7 months ago

Tax accountant here. G doesn’t have any responsibility for her husbands tax evasion/avoidance if she does not file a joint with him. However her future financial security with him is threatened because the IRS can garnish his wages and put a lien on any property in his name.
if she has already filed a joint return there is the innocent spouse act. He is definitely jeopardizing their future financial well being.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
7 months ago
Reply to  Les

Only if what he is doing is in fact illegal. Which no one has established.

The only reason I am pushing this hard is because I’m assuming G’s situation isn’t hypothetical. Since we’re discussing a situation that is supposedly very real with the potential for some very real, life-altering consequences, we should all be very careful — especially you professionals — in dispensing advice without knowing key facts.

Doug’s advice is sound. G needs guidance from qualified people who are in a position to know the particulars of her situation, and that ain’t you guys.

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
7 months ago

All right, here’s what has been established: Whatever he’s doing, she’s worried enough about it to seek outside help. While that doesn’t prove it’s illegal, it makes it far more likely. Why would she be worried if what he were doing is legal? He didn’t tell her about this before the marriage. That makes one wonder what else he hasn’t told her. Again, that’s not proof, but it certainly is red flags all over the place. He’s refusing to see a professional about any of this. Now, it’s possible there are benign explanations for all of that, but I would… Read more »

Tarheel
Tarheel
7 months ago

Kathleen, using logical responses to fp & his sidekick is a waste of your time. They live in a fun house of mirrors. Your suggestion to G was spot on.

Last edited 7 months ago by Tarheel
Gray
Gray
7 months ago

“Why would she be worried if what he were doing is legal?” One possible reason could be benign simple ignorance that is no different than someone “worried” about a medical issue that in fact is of no genuine concern to someone with greater knowledge. People do that frequently. He might be guilty of a “there, there sweety, do not worry your pretty little head” response that does not extend to actual violation of tax law. Yes she is “worried”, but someone’s anxiety does not create facts that are not in evidence. “That makes one wonder what else he hasn’t told… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
7 months ago

If G has any doubt at all about whether her husband’s conduct is illegal, of course that’s the first issue she should resolve. She must establish whether, when he told her “I would rather be single and continue not paying income taxes then be married and pay them,” what he actually meant was “I would rather be single and continue using my perfect legal method of avoiding paying income tax than be married and and have to give up this perfectly legal method.” But, much as I try to wrap my head around the second possibility, it simply doesn’t make… Read more »

Jane
Jane
7 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

What strikes me is that there are people here insisting on nailing down every possibility and allowing for theoretical, innocent, alternative explanations who are MUCH quicker to assume the worst possible scenarios based on limited details, when said worst possible scenario best fits their prior assumptions about personalities or types of people involved.

There are few of us who are not susceptible to such unequal measures of analysis, but it’s something we should all frequently do some reflection on.

Ken B
Ken B
7 months ago
Reply to  Jane

I have been somewhat amused by being characterised as a woke lefty by some of the brethren here. Shows a marked lack of discernment, or at least an inability to see that if you disagree with someone you are not automatically on a totally opposite extreme to them.

Tarheel
Tarheel
7 months ago
Reply to  Ken B

Ken B,

Consider it a badge of honor given to you by those poor victimized white raciest.

Last edited 7 months ago by Tarheel
Kevin K
Kevin K
7 months ago

Thanks, Doug, for your answer to my question regarding the article on the Podles book. It certainly helps. I was taken aback by the Winthrop quote in the article. It does seem strikingly effeminate, which has certainly not been my experience with the Puritans.

holmegm
holmegm
7 months ago
Reply to  Kevin K

While I’m not sure I’m fully endorsing the Winthrop quote, one problem here may be the issues of our culture, not his.

Our forefathers were fully capable of using metaphorical language, well, metaphorically. And because their being effeminate was unthinkable, one simply didn’t think it. One knew that they were being metaphorical. See?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
7 months ago
Reply to  holmegm

Holmes, I partly agree with you. There are two different aspects worth discussing here: 1. Some of the language, like the bridal chamber and downright sexual imagery is, I think, wrong headed. I haven’t read deeply of the Puritans but I have read enough to know this sort of stuff was pretty common. Song of Songs gives us this language for our relationship with God, but I think it is better used corporately. 2. Men in the past were often much more comfortable being physically affectionate with each other than we are today. Look at pictures from the early days… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
7 months ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Here is Here is Art of Manliness page I mentioned:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/people/relationships/bosom-buddies-a-photo-history-of-male-affection/

I don’t think these photos are all that cherry picked. I have seen similar photos from my own families past. Some with brothers, some with friends.

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

@Bruce thanks. My grandkids are elementary age.

Cherrera
Cherrera
7 months ago

Speaking of Russell Moore, Rick “Davos” Warren, David French and Tim Keller types: Thabiti Anyabwile (Christian name: Ron Burns, but he prefers the name from his black nationalist days) says he’s left evangelicism. I’m not sure where he’s going but his trajectory has been WAY off the mark for some time.
https://protestia.com/?s=thabiti

I have less confidence in Moore (and adopted mom Beth) and the others than DW, but I’ll leave them be for now.