Thank you as always for your faithful service to Christ. Your work has blessed and continues to bless me, my family and my church abundantly.
This is in response to The First Casualty of War.
I think I’m misunderstanding your point. Are you saying propaganda from both sides should be expected, or are you saying that propaganda is actually justified during war?
I believe propaganda should be expected, but that doesn’t make it right. A strategic feint may be a form of “deception”, but actively spreading a story one knows to be a fabrication is just plain bearing false witness. A “morale boost” is not sufficient grounds to morally justify false witness. What do you think?
“And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Rom. 3:8).
Along those lines, Zelensky’s “I need ammo, not a ride” line which many of us praised turned out to be a fabrication as well. See here:
Thanks again for all that you do for the Lord and His church. We are truly blessed to have you among us.
Bryan, thanks. To your question, I believe that disinformation is an ordinary tool of war. A strategic feint is not a form of “deception,” but is rather a form of deception—especially if it is communicated via bogus documents that are “captured” by the enemy, and so on. And on the “ammo, not a ride” front, I would just keep in mind that disinformation can creep into debunking stories that proved effective from the other side. And though I can’t vouch for anything, it was a great line that somebody said.
“But incidentally, if you reacted with angst over the fact that I praised Goldberg, even partially, rather than answering his solid point about the Monroe Doctrine, then you are part of the problem.” That stung just a little.
You have to admit, though, this ain’t the same Goldberg that wrote “Liberal Fascism” back in the day.
Maybe Part of the Problem
MPoP, I do acknowledge that. That book was magnificent, and I don’t think it could be written today. But at the same time, I don’t take the way Trump affected Jonah as a revelation of someone who was not really a conservative—although Trump did do that to many.
Just a couple of quick comments re: Ukraine “It ought to give you at least some discomfort that you are on the same side of an issue as Bernie Sanders.”
True! And who would have thought he’d side with us one whit on guns either? But does it not also give you some discomfort that you are on the same side of this issue as the mainstream media and our current administration?
“In other words, if we were actually traveling down a hard-line Russophobe road, we would be there by now.”
I thought we were already there with the Russian Collusion lies.
Joe, I alluded to this in my earlier piece. I think the outpouring of support for Ukraine is like the outpouring of support for America after 9-11. The unanimity lasted about ten minutes.
Please forgive my scary sounding name… Regarding your prime example of word smithery (as always), The First Casualty of War…
I think there’s more to Putin’s argument than just de-nazifying Ukraine. There’s also the NATO argument. According to Putin NATO = USA (which is not incorrect). NATO was expected to remain in place (which is also not incorrect). And now NATO (USA) was flirting with the idea of putting their equipment on the least defensible stretch of Russian border.
I think the best way forward for Ukraine is for them to find some rulers whose political acumen goes a few steps beyond just hating Russians. Unfortunately the way things are panning out, when Putin’s tanks finally pull out of Ukraine, these people will hate not only the Russians (for leveling them into 3rd world living) but also the Americans (for just cheerleading them into false bravado).
All this aside. Please pray for our Russian/Ukrainian Christians in the states. Christian fraternity has been destroyed. One side insists on saying “Glory to the Ukraine” at the start of every worship service, and the other side is ready to move their tanks in as a response.
Yevgeniy, I acknowledge there is some force in the NATO argument, an argument that helps explain (not justify) Putin’s action. But Putin has done more in two weeks to reinforce the need for a robust Ukrainian military than anybody else in the world. And while that might be the least defensible stretch of the Russian border, it is also the least defensible stretch of the Ukrainian border.
Source for Information on Ukraine
Jon Harris from Conversations that Matter brought a journalist by the name of Patrick Lancaster to my attention, and while he seems to have a pro Russian/DPR bias, I think that he has been providing some useful firsthand accounts, which you might find helpful. Here is a link to his channel.
I want to start by saying, although I’m a Baptist(hopefully you can look past that) I’m a friend of your ministry. I subscribe to the podcasts, and have bought a number of books from your website. Especially those for my sons and our reading together. Please take this as positive criticism from a friend. The Ukraine podcast was way off for the following reasons. 1st the idea that Putin invaded because of NATO is simply not true. I ask when was this supposed to happen? At some upcoming meeting? At the annual forum? Which countries were advocating for it? The Western Europeans certainly didn’t want it, they were too busy selling out to Putin. The Eastern Europeans did but don’t constitute a majority. Plus you have Turkey a Putin friend to block. Not to mention Biden (who is just as bought unit Russian business as Ukrainian. More on this later). But let’s assume they wanted it. What is the process? The process is decades long and has certain benchmarks Ukraine has to meet to qualify. Their military is nowhere near it. This is a fake crisis. Ukraine was decades at the earliest from joining if ever. 2nd. The idea that because Biden is corrupt and bought into Ukraine oligarchs he wants war with Russia. Weak. Biden and the elites are bought into Russia China Ukraine basically anywhere they can get their hands in. Proof: Nordstream 2. If Biden wanted war with Russia, why did he lift sanctions on German companies doing business with Russia and the pipeline? He enabled it! He allowed it to be completed! He ended our pipeline and has blocked further gas and oil leases. Why? He like Russia. He likes making money. And he’s bought into the green agenda because it pays. 3rd. Biden and elites want war with Russia. This one is crazy. If that’s the case why is he dragging his feet on sanctions? Germany issued sanctions first. Hungary who is friendly with Russia issued sanctions. We are the last ones to the table and we aren’t sanctioning the oil which is the main source of income for Russia. 4th. We don’t need to go to war to defeat Russia. But we do need to show strength. This is the part I’m most surprised by with your podcast. You are all about strength and men standing up so why would backing away from Europe do that? We should have a strong reaction fortify our Allie send arms to Ukrainians to fight. Peace only comes through strength retreating from Europe only invites war. 5th Ukrainians may be corrupt but you forget we came to the rule of law over a very long period of time. Magna Carta to constitution was a long struggle. They seem to be in the path. 8 years of war with Russia forced it. Further they don’t come from the reformation. They come from utter darkness and this process has brought some light. Opened them up to the world which includes the actual gospel. I’m not saying war to spread the gospel but that a result of this war has been the opening up of Ukraine. I’ve done missions work in Moldova and I’ve seen some of this. Listen lots more to say but I have to work. I work in the foreign policy arena. I’d love talk further with you. I’m an opponent of big Eva and David French. I love people who speak the truth without reservation which is why I’m writing this because you are definitely in the truth camp.
Josh, first thanks for the kind words. Your criticisms are taken as coming from a friendly corner. Perhaps surprisingly, I agree with just about everything you say here—especially about the need to show strength, which our current administration is incapable of doing. Let me illustrate it this way. Say that this war had never happened, and that Ukraine was eventually made a full member of NATO. I do not believe that this would have presented any threat to Russian territorial integrity whatever. But I also believe that Putin is paranoid, and you have to reckon with what he thinks you are up to, and not simply what you are up to.
I am grateful for your words “even if NATO countries made the mistake of treating Russia as though it was still the Soviet Union, which it wasn’t, that is hardly grounds for the Russians to invade a country that isn’t a member of NATO, but which might be some day” I notice a number of Christians equivocating about the evil of Putin, especially, it seems, in light of our own cultural sins re. abortion, LGBTQ+ etc.
Is there a danger that this will have a negative effect in the event of war with Russia—that people may be so conscious of our own society’s evil that they will feel less inclined to fight the evil of Putin, or may even question the reality of his evil entirely?
Richard, yes, very much so. Our current regime has been laboring industriously to alienate the loyalties of traditional believers.
I have a couple questions about “She Don’t Lie.” 1) Women in combat is deplorable, I agree, but might not the dire situation in Ukraine call for women to participate in a Susan Pevensie sort of way? If not now, do you think there’s ever a time for a woman to pick up a gun when enemy tanks are rolling through the streets?
2) You wrote: “We will not be qualified to contribute in any major way to the deliverance of Ukraine unless we go through a major reformation ourselves.” I can see how the US is culpable and that (furthermore) Biden would be incompetent in leading any sort of military action, but as far as “not being qualified” goes, how do America’s past sins exempt us from doing the right thing *now*? Wouldn’t this be like a dude neglecting to rescue a woman from getting mugged because he realized he sorta led her down that dark alley in the first place?
Appreciate clarification on these points! Thanks much.
Michelle, I believe that it is lawful for women to take up arms in a last ditch defense of home and hearth. Jael pegged Sisera, but she did it in a domestic setting. And if a woman has a pistol in her purse (for self-defense only) because she lives in a bad part of town, I don’t think of that as unfeminine at all. My objection is to the use of women as regular combat troops. As to your other question, because we led Ukraine to believe that we would have their back if they gave up their nukes, I believe that we owe them something substantial, and it needs to be substantial enough for them to be successful against Russia. We should equip them to defend themselves, in other words.
In your recent post “ The Golden Rule, With Adjustments,” you used the word “non-plussedness.” I’d like to know if you pronounce that “non-pluss-ed-ness” or “non-plust-ness.”
I eagerly await your answer to this most critical question.
James, I agree that it is a crucial question. The answer is the former, non-pluss-ed-ness, and I freely acknowledge that I cannot explain why.
A Lewis Question
If I remember correctly, you podcasted something in recent years about a work of Lewis’ that may not have been authentic because it may have been completed by someone else after his death. Does that sound familiar? If so, could you point me to the details? Thank you!
Andrew, yes. A woman named Kathryn Lindskoog argued (here) that The Dark Tower was a forgery, and that Walter Hooper was the likely villain. She does identify a number of oddities and anomalies in the various stories, but I think that the main claim is erroneous.
Thanks from a Fresh Quarter
Message: State of the Church 2022
I am so thankful to have found your ministry. I’m a 37 year old happily married woman with a 4 1/2 year old daughter. Your blog, videos, and sermons have been a breath of fresh air. The world needs more pastors like you who stand in the truth and take on the issues of the world from a TRULY biblical perspective. We have been struggling to find a church where we fit in; so tired of the cotton candy fluff that is forced down our throats Sunday after Sunday from many of today’s ministers. Your messages have convicted both my husband and myself multiple times. The message we watched today (State of the Church 2022) was particularly convicting. We have been encouraged to tough it out and “entertain angels (or Jesus)” by setting aside our griping and grievances with the modern church. We want to be those raindrops you’ve spoken of and try to make a difference in our own communities. This message was particularly beneficial to my husband who has been struggling with not knowing his place in the great commission in his own little corner of the globe. Anyway . . . I just wanted to send you a message of thanks and let you know that I will henceforth be praying for your ministry. May God bless you and yours.
Amber, you are very kind, and thank you.
Dawson Related Stuff
“Here, the man must sympathize with the woman, and he must do so intelligently, but he must not forsake his basic orientation as he does so . . . That demeanor means that he needs to sympathize with (not resent) her level of desire. He married a woman, and everything that comes with that.”
That being said, when husbands are commanded to live with their wives in an understanding way because wives are the weaker vessel, that shouldn’t include the possibility of a headstrong wife using her weakness as a guise to manipulate the situation to her own advantage, should it?
IOW, the weakness Peter mentions is a mere statement of fact rather than a crutch.
I believe you said something analogous regarding the passage in 1 Corinthians and the weaker brother. Something about the balance between giving deference to the weaker brother versus not letting the weaker brother drive the boat?
Guymon, yes. A headstrong woman could seek to do exactly that, and a wise husband won’t let that happen.
Should a husband and wife avoid “debating” theoretical/theological/political/etc. issues as is common practice among male companions?
Caleb, they should avoid debating the same way that men do. But a man and his wife have to be able to work through issues.
Your letters to Dawson are fantastic and very insightful. I am having my son read them, and I wish I could have read them when I was his age. With that being said, I am curious if you were exaggerating to make a point with your most recent letter. Most Christian husbands and wives, if I were to guess, would be thrilled if the difference in desire was only twice as much. Wouldn’t most marriages, even good ones, have the difference in desire be more than that? Thank you,
Mark in the Midwest
Mark, yes, I believe that the divide is actually wider than that. I was using a very simple 2/1 ratio to illustrate the principle.
In your article The Zone of Vulnerability you get at the frequent misunderstanding between a man and a woman who are in the beginning of the dating phase and then find they are on completely different pages regarding how they think of one another, especially after one or both of them fall into that zone. Somewhat related to this, my question is how should college students or even upper high schoolers who are not interested in dating yet or who don’t consider themselves ready navigate friendships with the opposite sex? What does emotional over-sharing look like and where is that line? What is the difference between a group of two girls and three guys hanging out and a group of two girls and one guy, or is there even a difference?
Emma, I would urge companionship in groups, with the odd numbering you mention. I would try to cultivate a group culture that has a dislike of “oversharing,” and encouraging those prone to it to talk with their parents or pastor.
As a pastor in a Reformed non-denominational church in suburban Memphis,TN one of the common themes I see for younger families (and many church members) is a lackadaisical approach to church attendance . . . .miss for kids’ sports, miss for the lake, miss for a “rest” day. We have many families who are here weekly and are pushing back against this but many more who fall prey. I teach a large Sunday school class of folks primarily in our 30s and 40s raising children. As a teacher, I would like to address this and am wondering if you have addressed it at length anywhere? I know it would be important to study the covenant renewal emphasis on the Lord’s Day, which I have been exposed to but don’t know much about. Having worked in a church for all of my adult life I have been in church nearly every week by default but that is not a good biblical argument. Thanks for your consideration.
Chris, yes, I think this is a contemporary problem—we are a lot more mobile as a society than our grandparents were. This makes it easy to be gone. Sorry I have not written anything on it in any kind of depth. But I would start with teaching, not with rebuking.
Starting a Classical Christian School
Thanks in advance for your time – I know you’re a busy man. I should probably know a better way to contact you by this point, but this will have to do.
I had my first conversation with a few of my pastors recently about starting a school in our church. I’m sold on Classical Education, but my pastors/friends have never heard of it (the horror!). My pastor has requested I pull together some resources on “how” to go about starting a school, and that we try to start the conversation at a broader level than “classical”, and then narrow our focus from there if we can. Do you have any recommended resources along those lines? Like “How to Start a Christian School 101”? I think your book, “The Case for Classical Christian Education”, would fit the bill quite well if we just skip Chapters 9-10, and 14-19, initially. But I wanted to see if you know of others.
RK, I would contact ACCS. They will be able to help you with all “starter kit” issues.
More Good Content
I don’t know if you have noticed the Choc Knox Unplugged podcast, but they are doing really good work with their discussions on metaphysics. They are giving us practical tools for understanding modernism, understanding God’s world as He made it, and extracting our minds from one to the other. I cannot say enough good things about this podcast and I hope you will commend their work to your readers.
Eric, thanks. Here you go.
How would you teach regarding the concept of faith as it relates to Romans 14:23 and how -or- does that concept of faith relate to James 4:17? It seems to me that the concepts of being “having faith” and being “in faith” have been used by believers inconsistently and in contradictory fashion dependent on their circumstances as an excuse for doing/not doing something and therefore mold these concepts and scriptures to their current desires/fears. For example, when being fearful of having children (energy, finances, etc.) I’ve heard it said that one should “have faith” and be fruitful and that this application of faith would mean a reliance on God’s grace and a desire to honor and glorify God in proceeding in doing something he says is “good” as well as how he designed/commanded us to do. On the contrary, I’ve heard advice given saying not to do something when there is doubt and/or fear as this would be doing it when not “in faith” and therefore doing X, Y or Z would be sin, even if the action would seem to have no basis for being sinful (and is actually something God says is good) other than the sole fact that there is uncertainty or doubt without a clear justification or explanation for the source of doubt. The two interpretations and applications of the concept of “faith” seems to oppose each other. How would you counsel/guide/teach on this? Any recommended supporting commentary or resources would be much appreciated.
One of the Family
OotF, we should have faith, and everything we do should be done in faith. We should also enjoy what God has given to us to enjoy, and stay away from what he prohibits. One of the things He prohibits is the hassling of a weaker brother who is staying away from certain things unnecessarily. That is how I reconcile these teachings.
I’m all in on Gods Word being preserved in all ages. And I totally agree that it is a battle of the paradigms when it comes to how we as the church today identify Gods preserved (or not) Word. When it comes to the Byzantine manuscripts, how do we know they were written in the areas that the Scriptures were written from and to? I heard James White dismiss this argumentation as basically an echo-chamber argument within TR circles with no back up. I guess it’s all up to you now.
I have a question about the Textus Receptus. Were the later manuscripts that, lets say, Beza used from the Byzantine family, consistent with the earliest Byzantine manuscripts we and they had and other Byzantine resources like early church fathers?
Jonty, the reason the Byzantine manuscripts are by far the majority manuscripts is that they are from “all over.” The Alexandrian manuscripts are from . . . Alexandria. And regardless of which school of thought you belong to, there is work for textual critics to do. But the variations within Byzantine manuscripts is a lot less than the variant readings within the Alexandrian.
A Sad Situation
I discovered your videos about a month ago and have been watching them almost daily. Thank you for sharing them.
I was wondering if you are aware of the rising phenomenon of gray divorce. After 25 plus years of a seemingly successful marriage, a man dumps his wife for a younger woman. How do you think the betrayed wife should handle it? What should be the response of the adult children?
Margaret, I believe that a professing Christian man who does this should be excommunicated by his church. Thereafter, I believe that his betrayed wife should pray for his repentance, keeping herself free of every form of bitterness and resentment. I believe that if his children can relate to him as an unbeliever, they should be willing to do so, while making it very clear that they identify with their mother. If he insists on being treated as a fellow Christian, then I think they should put distance between him and their families.