Above All, Stay Panicky
First of all, thank you for your faithful ministry. I have been greatly helped by you with respect to so many different issues — Classical Christian Ed., God and government, Joyful saltiness, etc. Please keep up the great work! You have my prayers for God’s continued blessing on you, your family, and your ministry.
If it weren’t for your influence I don’t think my wife and I would have started our recent side project. It is our attempt to protest COVID craziness with satire. We have riffed off of the old classic slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
We think a more appropriate slogan for our time is “Keep Panicked and Shut ‘Er Down.” Or at least that’s been the de facto slogan of media and government. Our fore-bearers had a lot more grit than we do. Where they kept calm, we panicked. Where they carried on, we shut ‘er down.
I think some Blog & Mablogers like myself might want to make this statement. It’s a good way to mock the craziness, and register protest in a lighthearted comical way.
Would you be so kind to help our effort get some traction by posting my letter with our website link. We have shirts, mugs, stickers and even masks at http://www.keeppanicked.com
And I would love to send you and your staff some of our merchandise for free. If you are at all interested just let me know, and I’ll send a package to the Christ Church office or something like that.
All the best!
R, sure thing. Posted as requested. And I am sure somebody here could find a good use for something like that.
I thought you would find this article interesting.
David, thanks for that. It was interesting, and distressing.
Re: the most recent Psalm Sing.
This was a great event, and I enjoyed attending and singing with everyone.
Having the men form a defensive perimeter is a great idea, but I had a question about the guys on the roof across the street with the spotter scope and telephoto camera.
Were they yours, or were they the enemy’s?
If they were yours or allied, I certainly won’t expect a public answer. They might not want to stand up until everyone has dispersed though.
Arwen, thanks for coming to the psalm sing. The men on the roofs were the police, monitoring the situation below. I was just grateful they weren’t down below, issuing citations. And if someone had started to disturb the peace, they were in a position to step in. I was happy they were there.
I remember a story Peter Hitchens told in one of his books, I think it was The Rage Against God, about his communist days. He relates that a fellow communist despised protests because he thought all of them were really protests against their own impotence. In a similar way, a more effective way of challenging your city council’s COVID-19 mandates would be to hire an attorney and file suit. There have been several successful suits around the country. If you wanted to start a GoFundMe page or something similar, I would gladly contribute. My personal experience is that the threat of suit is one of the few things that can cause a bureaucrat to sit up and pay attention. Not to discourage you from what you’re doing. I just think there could be more effective ways to fight and spend your energy.
David, lawsuits are on the table. But because of how this whole thing unfolded, I believe that any lawsuits have a much better chance of success.
Quick comment — the difference between good local leaders and bad local leaders is, I think, for the most part not their wisdom and intelligence, as few get particularly high marks there. The difference is in their humility. None are actually competent to order the citizenry around, and some are conscious of their own limitations, and others are very much not. Similarly, I think a year ago we had unserious, shallow-thinking leaders who believed there were serious limits on their power. Now, we have unserious, shallow-thinking leaders who think a little disease threat has eliminated all limits on their power. That’s the difference.
David, yes. There is a great deal in what you say.
That Point About How to Think . . .
“But what they don’t know how to do is think. So take three instances at random…
Who taught these people what being a normal human being is supposed to look like? Because they are not hitting it.”
Indeed. It’s almost as if Romans 1:21-22 and Romans 1:28 are actual things that we are watching play out before our very eyes…
Guymon, yes. It is almost as though the Scriptures are altogether true.
Good morning Dr. Wilson, I am an avid listener of the Plodcast. It has been a blessing to me. This letter is not to address any one particular Plodcast, but more to address the “political” segment.
I came across this article yesterday via my sister and thought you might find it to be good discussion for that segment in your Plodcast. It’s a little in the verge of conspiracy, which I tend to stay away from, but this was compelling and I would like so much to hear your thoughts on it, if you find the content agreeable. Link here.
Sarah, thanks. Lord willing, I am actually going to be writing on this tomorrow.
I recently purchased Lex Rex from Canon Press and I’m wondering what your thoughts are about Rutherford’s two kingdoms theology.
Thanks for all your work.
Tyler, I am generally on board with Rutherford. I differ with the modern articulation of the two kingdoms, as expressed by our friends in Escondido, but agree with the classic Reformed expression of it. It does not refer to a radical church/state divide.
Ah, November . . .
As I drive around my quaint town of Roswell, NM, I see all types of different people beginning to put up their macabre menagerie of ghosts, ghouls, goblins, zombies, aliens, witches, wizards, and he-who-must-not-be-named, and scary clowns in their front yard to celebrate the holiday of Halloween. As each day goes by more of these displays are put up. It is slowly reaching a fever pitch as we draw closer to the 31st.
While my neighbors and town are focused on this event, my family does not decorate for Halloween, but instead focuses our attention on the better holiday that follows after Halloween:
For this holiday, I must say, I do go all out with glee. I have already purchased a jolly-Rodger flag, several canisters of gasoline, matches, a figure of he-who-must-not-be-named, used furniture, and a box of nice Arturo Fuente Cigars to be smoked for the occasion. I feel the fever pitch rising in me as we draw upon the coming holiday, much as I’m sure those who celebrate Halloween feel.
I write to ask, what else is needed to celebrate this holiday? I plan to display the jolly-Rodgers from the garage and have the furniture burning in my front yard for all my neighbors to see while the figure of he-who-must-not-be-named holds a gas can and a cigar. I feel like something is missing though, any suggestions would be most appreciated.
Awaiting with glee,
Jesse, it doesn’t sound like you have enough furniture to last out the month.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’ve gained something of a reputation for occasionally being somewhat sharp, one might say “direct” in your observations about the world. I wonder something. The Proverbs describe what a foolish man is like. Several translations even use the word “stupid” in Proverbs 12:1 to describe a man who will not take instruction.
Yet the Lord says that it is a sin to call a man a fool or empty headed. It is obviously therefore a matter of context, but I am not sure where the line is. When is it appropriate to bluntly refer to another human being with “stupid” or some synonymous adjective? When does it stop being sinful and become and honest observation, is what I am asking, I guess.
Andrew, this needs much more discussion than what I can offer here, but in Scripture the really sharp language is generally reserved for fools in power. The prophets don’t go down to skid row to harangue the winos and hookers — they come out of the wilderness to the courts of kings. And when you are speaking this kind of truth to that kind of power, there is kind of a built-in regulator. You have a standing incentive to think twice about what you say.
This. This right here. My family and I currently live in Texas and are homeschooling our four girls. However, I am currently interviewing with a company that will allow me to relocate to Moscow, Idaho. Through this process, I’ve gone from feelings of excitement to sometimes wondering how crazy I am to uproot my family to a place where we don’t know anyone. But notions like this article express are very reassuring. God-willing, my kids will be a part of that education community next year (hoping for Logos!).
Seth, if you are able to come, I trust you will be made to feel most welcome. There are many others here in the same position, if that helps.
In response to your article on godless education, is the construction of an alternative culture a goal of the Christian church? Should we not be raising godly children to go out into the broader culture, rather than remaining in a bubble of like-minded believers?
Christina, I think that’s a false alternative. The best way to “go out” into the broader culture is to do so with an intact Christian culture behind you. We weren’t told to build bubbles or ghettos, but we were told to disciple all the nations. And there is no way to disciple a nation without building an alternative Christian culture within it.
How Hospitality Weaves:
Pastor Doug, excellent post on building true Christian hospitality and Christian communities. I was wondering how does true Christian hospitality apply to sovereign nations and immigration? How does globalist mass migrations, illegal immigration, modern liberal open borders, multiculturalism, etc. fit with true Christian hospitality? Are they consistent with it, or do they do “true Christian hospitality” wrong? Thank you!
Trey, yes. I think it does apply. But hospitality is only operative when the guests are invited. I believe that our immigration laws should be genuinely hospitable, but that is very different than allowing a shantytown to develop in your yard. And the way the left uses “hospitality” is consistent with how they are so generous with other people’s money. They appeal to immigration hospitality as a way of allowing shantytowns to develop in other people’s yards.
Regarding “How Hospitality Weaves”:
Thank you for this really good insight–very Christian hedonistic (borrowing a phrase from one of my other most favorite authors, John Piper). As with all good insights, it goes counter to my natural tendencies and desires. I appreciate your hospitality muscle analogy in particular. It’s like the high school football player who misses out on the fun of playing at a higher level because he doesn’t want to get in the weight room–too much work, not worth it. Or, the positive way to put it: it’s the athlete who loves getting in the weight room because he knows it produces a superior pleasure (immediate and delayed) compared to video-gaming in his basement.
Paul, thanks, and amen.
I found your article on hospitality both encouraging and convicting. It got me thinking about how hospitality is such an overlooked virtue in the Western church. Hospitality is still incredibly important and sacred in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. What is it about our society that sees no value in entertaining or hosting the poor stranger? Is it selfishness? Rampant individualism? Fear of being taken advantage of (or worse)? Or a combination of all of these?
I agree that a lot of what we call hospitality is just competitive with an expectation of reciprocity. That is not what we are called to. Unfortunately, COVID gives us just one more obstacle or excuse to building genuine Christian community.
DR, thanks, and yes. I think part of it is the rootlessness of the West. It is hard to have strangers over when you feel like you are the stranger, living in one place for a couple of years before being transferred.
Voting for Biden
I’m sorry I did comment on your letters page but the comment seems to be lost, not sure if I didn’t submit correctly or not.
Anyway I was asking about the culpability of Christians in voting for pro-choice candidates. I found your take on it helpful as I’ve often wondered as a Brit how American Christians can vote for Trump.
However it now raises another issue for me-living in the UK where no party is pro-life (apart from the DUP and I don’t live in NI anymore) and few candidates are, how do I vote with a clear conscience? No party is offering to change the law on abortion apart from to make it laxer, and in my constituency all the candidates were pro-life in the last election. So if I vote for the least worst option on other things, does that really make me out of fellowship with God? Do I just not vote?
Thanks so much
Emma, because voting is a tactic, not a sacrament, you vote in such a way as to do the most tangible good. You might vote for a pro-life candidate, for example, even if his party is not pro-life. Or, here in the States, you might vote for a senate candidate who was not pro-life in order to enable a pro-life party to retain control of the Senate. And because we don’t control the future, you tell God what you are trying to do, and leave the results to Him.
As potential fodder for a new novel I ask you to consider what would happen if Trump were to die of COVID from his current infection but still wind up winning the election anyway.
Tim, thanks, I think.
I enjoyed your Monday article, but have a question. You said, “So for Christians, voting for Biden is out of the question for a host of reasons, but his abortion stance makes it a settled issue. It is not possible to vote for him without voting for a man who actively supports the continued slaughter of the unborn. It is not possible to support Biden and be right with God.” There might’ve been a time where a Christian could vote Democrat with a clean conscience, but the party has moved so far outside the bounds, that I can’t see it being a viable option for believers now. My questions is, would you go as far as pursuing church discipline if there was a Biden supporter in your church?
Dan, as things stand now, I would work for the removal of any church officer who was a Biden supporter. And a church member in that position would certainly be getting pastoral care.
If voting is no sacrament (a good point) and merely a tactic, how can it also be that “It is not possible to support Biden and be right with God.”? Doesn’t this cut both ways? Or is supporting different than voting? I can smell a difference here but I can’t quite spell it out.
Bryan, yes, supporting is different than voting. Support means you are all in, you believe in your guy. Voting can be an expression of support, but it can also be more detached. Now under the current circumstances, I don’t believe there is any excuse for a Biden vote, but I could construct a fictional scenario where it would be possible for a thinking Christian to vote for someone as feckless as Biden.
DW wrote: So when your grandson’s hate speech case — he was an engineering sophomore at Behemoth State, and he called a classmate “a girl,” which was plainly hurtful — goes into the court system, which court system do you want it to be? Biden’s or Trump’s? JH- Heh, yes . . . because if it’s Biden you grandson may not even get a hearing, but a hate crime commission at the BS university you reference.
John, right. They have tribunals waiting in the wings.
A Marriage Snarl
On a Wife Deciding to Leave Her Husband (7/23/18)
Needless to say, this is a whole new lesson.
So, my daughter is Janelle, and her husband, though not a church leader, is every bit of Janelle’s husband. Likewise, her reformed Presbyterian session is just as deceived and hard-hearted as you describe.
My question is, if she is successful in getting out in one piece, is there any reformed Presbyterian church that will give her sanctuary, and permit her access to the Table, in spite of the “discipline“?
Thanks for everything.
John, yes, in principle there are. Our practice, where church discipline has occurred, is to receive the discipline as something that reverses the burden of proof. Before someone comes under discipline, they are innocent until shown to be guilty. Once a Christian church has passed judgment, and the person comes to us wanting to be received into membership, they would have the responsibility of showing us that the judgment was a travesty. And unfortunately, that does happen.
An Array of Questions
First of all, thank you for your messages a the conference this weekend. Secondly, thank you for being obedient and faithful to the path that God has placed before you over the years. You have had a deep impact upon me, my family, friends and even co-workers ever since I ran across you about 3 years ago. Third and beyond, I have a few questions.
-In lesson 1 of the crash course in basic Christianity, you mention that all of humanity is redemptively considered and the world will be saved. Could you expand upon this? It sounds universalist upon quick listen and I suspect that is not your position.
-I have contacted CREC through the website to inquire as to whether a plant has been considered for north Georgia, but have not heard anything back. How might I gain this information and is there a way to initiate a process to plea for such a thing?
-Would you be so kind as to give input regarding my stage and status in life? I will attempt to be brief, although that is not my strong suit as you can tell by this lengthy epistle . . . I was a youth pastor, itinerant preacher, intentional interim and then senior pastor for over 20 years, primarily in the SBC. I experienced great “success” as I knew it back then. My theology was jacked up on many levels and when life got hard, it all caved in. My marriage and family fell apart and I ended up in rehab and subsequently divorced. Through all of this self-inflicted stupidity, sin and suffering, I became clearly aware of my total depravity and experienced the true grace of God, which turned my life upside down. I am now remarried 5 years this week. My wife and I have 8 kids between us, 2 daughter-in-laws and a granddaughter. After having publicly repented, I have stayed out of ministry leadership roles and now work in a display manufacturing plant in management. I feel like I’m starting over as a novice theologically and still struggle with inadequacy due to my failures and disqualified state regarding ministry. What input would your give regarding where to go from here in terms of study, fit within the Body given my experience, but yet also given that I sailed the ship straight into the jagged rocks? Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for enduring all of this and thank you for your faithfulness for His glory.
Chris, thanks for your letter. Three quick things. First, you are right. I am a postmillenialist, not a universalist. That means I believe the nations will be converted, and the world brought to Christ, but Hell and damnation for individuals is still a very real possibility. Second, I would keep trying. The CREC has various presbyteries, and you need to contact the presiding minister of a nearby presbytery, which in your case would be either Athanasius or Augustine. If you don’t know who to contact there, try any one of the ministers in those presbyteries you can find here, and he can tell you who the presiding minister currently is. And then, for your third question, I would hold off thinking about ministry until you have established personal relationships with men on the ground, who can vouch for your character, the state of your family, and so on. Thanks for writing.