Letters That Say What Needs to be Said

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Great Goal

I am a believer in Memphis, TN. I am at a reformed church and we have family meals after the service where members can fellowship with each other. I say this to show that we have a solid foundation among believers.

My question is what can I do to start a network of tradesmen to do work for one another. Far too long our church has been going to other people outside the church for doing work around the house, property repairs, home building, etc. I want to start a network where believers in our church can show what they can do and what equipment (tractors, trailers, portable bandsaw mills, etc.) they have access to that they are willing to share (according to theonomic principles of course). I am lost on practical first steps I can take to make this flourish in the church. Thank you.

Theodore

Theodore, this is a great goal. But it is also a long term goal. What you need first is a strong church community, or a network of strong churches, that believe in and practice church discipline. This is because one of the things that will happen early on will be business disputes. And you absolutely need to have an agreed-upon mechanism for resolving them.

Saying the Pledge

What do you think of the pledge of allegiance? Can a Christian in good conscience refuse to recite it?

Ace

Ace, yes, I can say most of it in its current form. The words under God were added in the 1950’s, in large part to the labors of evangelicals who were referring to Christ. But I won’t say the word indivisible, which means incapable of division as opposed to the charitable wish “may she never be divided.” It is the difference between “may the king live forever,” which we all know he won’t, and “long live the king,” which is a prudent and pious wish.

All Things Dawson

Would you describe the behavior of your wife or daughters as “bitchy,” when they have failed to obey the Lord? If you were to use that kind of language in describing my wife or daughter I would firmly snatch you by your collar, pull you in, and demand that you apologize. I know you know better than this. Your blog “Testosterone does this,” was brilliant, it was an amazing wake up call, a reinforcement of truth, and something that I would have shared with so many fellow believers and non-believers. It was beautifully put together, but unfortunately you served it on a garbage can lid. Brother, search your heart, please don’t influence your congregation to rely on crude speech and other brothers and sisters in Christ who are young in the faith to be distracted by inappropriate words. Your words are to be seasoned with the truth, and offensive because the gospel is clearly presented. I write to you as a fellow believer in Christ that has benefited greatly by your ministry and pray for all the Saints in Moscow. God bless.

Glenn

Glenn, thanks for writing. I suspect that what we are dealing with here is a completely different understanding of or experience with the connotations of that word when used as an adjective. In my experience, it is a mildly pungent expression, and you seem to be taking it as residing in the neighborhood of the f-word. I agree with you that, taken as a noun, and addressed to a particular woman, it is a high insult—but I would never call any woman that. And I am also sure that I would never have occasion to use that adjective when speaking of your wife or daughter, under any circumstances.

What on earth does a Christian young man do if he’s addicted to masturbation and can’t break it? He’s confessed it to the men in his life, is in accountability, prays, fasts, and fights the best he can. There are hundreds of us, we read your books and go to your conferences, we are members of solid Reformed churches (not the wishy washy kind), and our pastors either avoid the issue or don’t know what to do about it. We’re forbidden to marry. We know this is a terrible sin against God and it must be broken. We know we are holding the church corporate back by our inability to kill this thing, but we just don’t know what to do. After reading all the books, talking to all of our pastors, after praying and seeking and knocking there’s nothing but incremental progress. Sure, maybe some of us are still playing games and aren’t doing the things we know to do, but some of us are as best we know how, and it’s still not working.

I have spoken with many young men from many different churches across the country, and this bondage seems to be almost universal.

Imagine what might happen in the kingdom of God here in America if the young men could be free of this. I don’t think it’s too lofty to say it could change the macro game. As young men we’re supposed to be leading the charge for King Jesus with the counsel of our elders and the help of our ladies, but there are precious few of us who are actually doing that. I think that is because our sin has separated us from the Lord our God. We know this, and we want it to change.

Please address this explicitly on your blog and on YouTube. MANY of us need help, and can’t seem to find it.

Your nephew,

Dawson the Younger

D, I would want to go back to that sentence, “We’re forbidden to marry.” Who forbids it? Certainly not God. It seems to me that anyone who forbids marriage to young men who struggle with this temptation is like the bank that will only loan money to clients who can prove they don’t need it. While it is true that a small minority of men have a problem with this kind of thing that marriage does not address, for most men the greatest earthly help in fighting sexual temptation is sex. And it really is a true help. So stop trying to prepare for life with a woman by proving you don’t need a woman.

I’m responding to a response you had in *If This is Tuesday, These Must Be Letters*. For context, I want to thank you for your blog posts, and especially the Dawson Letters. I have been spending the last five or six years trying to get a better understanding of what a biblical relationship may or may not look like. And I’ll be honest I have a lot of difficulty listening to a more conservative perspective sometimes, but I think it is important for my personal growth to try even when it is painful. And I have appreciated your letters because even when they are difficult they are manageably short and I’ve contemplated them a fair bit. And I wanted to thank you that even when I don’t agree with you I still feel like I can listen, and also for explaining your position so thoroughly. I don’t always agree with you, I’m not sure that I often agree with you, but I am not as convinced that people who think like you are exploitative as I used to be.

But, as for my question, in the above mentioned letter compilation you’d said that women should “should avoid debating the same way that men do” and I was hoping that you could clarify the difference in the ways that men and women should be having these conversations. And if you have any biblical precedence for that I would really appreciate it.

Nellie

Nellie, what I meant was this. Of course a husband and wife should be able to talk about the Scriptures, and work through things where they differ, but they should always remember that men and women think differently about life when debating. A woman’s temptation will be to agree when she doesn’t really agree in order to keep the peace, and a man’s temptation will be to be more concerned about “winning” than being correct. A woman will be tempted to think her husband is being unkind or rude when he is simply debating with her the same way he debates with all his guy friends, and a man is more likely to think that his wife is challenging his authority when she really isn’t. But if they know each other well, and stay in fellowship the entire time, there is certainly no problem with working through things.

I can’t thank God enough for the influence you, Nancy and the whole of Canon has had in my life—thank you for your boldness!

My husband is asking for more info on the stat you shared in “testosterone does stuff” the levels dropping at 1% annually, he’d like to do some more reading. If you have a link to an article or study it would be most appreciated!

Kari

Kari, thanks. And here is a place to start.

Your blog post “Testosterone Does Stuff” brought to mind a long standing question I have. It’s a question of the connection between mind, body, and soul. If a person has a chemical deficiency or a physical defect, are they accountable for the “sin” that results? You can lack testosterone and be non-masculine, or suffer a stroke to the “reward center” of your brain and be lazy and unmotivated. Even though I believe that depression is highly over-diagnosed, I believe in some instances there is genuinely a chemical imbalance that causes true clinical depression. Then, on the flip side, if you take testosterone replacement therapy or anti-depressants and virtuous behavior results, to what degree did the righteousness come from you versus the therapy? Is there a good book that discusses this?

David

David, I agree. I too believe that a number of our problems in the modern world are sin problems that are “over-diagnosed” and the symptoms treated with meds. At the same time, we are not gnostics, and we do believe that the body and soul come as a unit, and I have no problem treating someone medically if it is plain and obvious that something is physically out of whack (testosterone being abnormally low, for example). I have not read it, but Blame It On the Brain? comes recommended by someone I trust.

My name is Jeremiah. I am a conservative Anglican (“The Kind that Believe the Bible,” and know boys from girls), a husband, and father of four. I am working on a PhD in Politics at Hillsdale College’s graduate school, and I’m a longtime reader and new watcher (YouTube) and listener (Plodcast) of yours.

I’m writing about your recent essay “Testosterone Does Things.” I agree. Your essay seems especially, even providentially, timely to me because of the recent essay “The Decline Is Real,” published in the American Mind and attributed to a character who goes by Raw Egg Nationalist. Link here, if you’re interested. Raw Egg Nationalist raises some interesting points—yes, testosterone decline seems to be a real problem; poor diet and no exercise contribute to the problem; one should limit the time one spends staring at a screen, etc.—but he also writes with a tone that makes me wonder if anxiety over T-count is the right wing counterpart to left wing climate alarmism. But in general, I think REN has contributed a good essay. Human procreation is important (I say a holy commission), we should eat healthy food, and (men at least) should lift heavy weights on a regular basis. These are good for a variety of reasons, beginning with being good stewardship of what God has given us, but also because of whatever salutary effect they have on T-count.

REN omits mention of virtue or faith, however. Without those, why does it matter if T-count goes down? “What is one to do with T-count?” is only a slice of the question “what is one to do with life?” which is answered in Christ alone. So thank you for bringing that essential ingredient into the conversation.

Finally, I am writing my dissertation on the manly virtues and citizenship in the early American republic. I have a pile of research and have begun writing, but still wonder if you have any sermons, hymns, or other published works from that era that you think I should read and include?

In Christ,

Jeremiah

Jeremiah, check out Ann Douglas and The Feminization of American Culture.

All Things Ukraine

I think most of the time your analysis is spot on, but I feel this time you have missed it big time. The Ukraine/Russia war is anything but simple, and the complications begin with the fact that nobody except the colonels and privates on the front trenches really knows what is going on. There is rampant propaganda spewing from both sides, and Fox News is right there with RT in muddying the waters. I will not defend Putin, he is an evil dictator with blood on his hands. But as far as evil dictators go, he is only a slight step above the likes of Obama, Biden, and Trudeau.

I just am surprised, after all we have uncovered and discovered in these last two years, that you are still drinking the Goldberg Neocon Lemonade. Our election farce in 2020, was so strikingly fixed, that even Venezuela was taking notes. Our “liberation” incursions into Yemen and Syria are not too far off from Russian European invasion, in both justification and collateral damage. I know you will accuse me of playing “what aboutism and Soviet apologism”, but its time we take the blinders off and realize we aren’t the good guys we thought we were. That doesn’t mean the other side is good either. Are we really in these places to “spread democracy”? The kind of democracy that creates ballot box stuffing organizations and election computers with built-in back doors?

The church needs to defend truth, even when the truth is unpleasant and difficult to stomach. Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy, even when it wears red, white, and blue.

Yes, there are good Reformed Christians who are suffering in Ukraine, and we should give them all the compassion and aid that Christ calls us to, but lets not forget there are born again Russians suffering as well, and not just at the hands of Putin. Zelensky is no Kuyper. Let’s not pretend that this is pure good vs pure evil. That will cloud our judgment and lead us right into WWIII, exactly where the neocons and Lockheed Martin want to lead us.

Eric

Eric, I actually agree with a lot of what you are saying, but it is also obvious (from a lot of what you saying) that you must be new around here. You clearly are assuming a lot of erroneous things about my positions, and have not been reading what I have been writing about the election, American corruption, and so on.

In a letter to the editor, Richard wrote: “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?” I would say that there *is* always the question of “what are we fighting *for*”, and that it will always be a *cultural* question, unless the invader is at your doorstep.

When I was on watch against the Russians, I knew what was (potentially) fighting for—a mostly free country, and a mostly good one, at least relative to the Soviet empire.

Were I called to oppose them today, I’m afraid I *would* have to ask what I’m fighting for—the abortion capital of the world? The right to be fired and de-platformed for refusing to call a boy in a dress “she”? “Fortified” elections? One can say that all that shouldn’t matter, but how can it not??

Greg

Greg, you are putting your finger on an enormous problem. The authorities cannot set fire to their own credibility the way they have done, and still have credibility with Christians when they think they need it.

You mentioned a trusted and “vetted” contact/peer in the Ukraine helping refugees and to whom we can send aid. With apologies, I did not have time to copy it down while listening to your podcast the other day in the truck and can’t seem to find it here on the site. Please help. And PLEASE keep up the great work you do for all of us Big Eva refugees across the US.

God bless,

Joe

Joe, my friends in Eastern Europe are going wonderful work there in Ukraine. You can find out more here. Thanks for wanting to help.

The people on Donbas and Luhansk have been shelled for years.  It is a certainty that there are Christians who live in these regions and have suffered under the bombardment of the Ukrainian government. 

Perhaps, in response to the prayers of these Christians, God has raised up Mr. Putin to deliver them from their Ukrainian oppressors.

David

David, it is true that war is awful, and I would support any possible humanitarian relief in eastern Ukraine. But if the Russians take Kyiv, and the Ukrainians counter-attack, would they be attacking Russian territory?

When the universal (in American English) K-I-E-V became K-Y-I-V overnight without anybody noticing, those enlightened/cursed individuals in the rarest circles of cynicism knew that broad-spectrum brainwashing had taken place.

Where are the heartstring-tugging prayer solicitations for those who have endured persecution (to the point of death, in many cases) at the hand of the “sovereign government” our consistently lovely CIA installed in Kiev a few years ago?

Pray for everybody. We are all in the dark as to who is doing what, and we all, here, are undoubtedly on their list.

Red

Red, no problem with your last sentiment. Pray for everybody.

Regarding ‘The First Casualty of War’, I find myself in an unusual position. That of being, for the moment, on the other side of the partisan tracks. Not a hard partisan, mind you, but as you said, you have to pick a side, even if they both smell like rotten eggs. Now that being said, the reason I am on this side of the tracks is thus:

—it appears to me that the West has continued to poke the Russian bear only to go screaming to mom when the bear finally growled. What with the 2014 effective coup to put a pro-Western leader in Ukraine, talk about Ukraine attempting to obtain nuclear weapons and joining NATO, etc. Is Putin just using this as justification for something he had already planned to do? Maybe. But why now? Why not in 2014 when he took Crimea & Sevestopol?

—that this would happen was predicted by a number of people, including Mearsheimer in 2014 or 2015. See here: Even if I disagree with his worldview, and I do, I believe that you reap what you sow, and we have not been planting peace.

—the fact that apparently the entire media apparatus is against Russia gives me pause, since they are almost always wrong.

—Ukraine appears to be just as corrupt, if not more so, than Russia. It does seem strange that Ukraine was a serious black eye on the Bidens, and it just happens to be the country invaded by Russia. Wag the Dog anyone?

Anyway, I am prepared to be wrong here. It wouldn’t be the first time. Thanks for giving us the heads up on the CREC church with the ministry in Ukraine. I hope that where God has plowed, they may plant.

I would add this article from Angelo Codevilla from 2019. I think he nailed it.

Samuel

Samuel, I do actually agree with a few of your concerns.

Just like to share a very good analysis given by Professor John Mearsheimer back in 2015 describing in detail why the Ukraine Crisis back in 2015 was the West’s fault. He approached the situation from the realist point of view and outlined exactly what the West and NATO did and what did the Russians perceived the West is doing. Very interestingly, Mearsheimer outlined a solution back in 2015 that could have ended the Ukrainian issue and prevented the war in 2022.

Also, I would like to add that the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist is not a fringe group in the after-coup Ukrainian government. The Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard is a representative of it. The extremist nationalists also committed atrocities against Russian speaking Ukrainians during the civil war against Donetsk and Lugansk. Please check on the massacre of Odessa for an example.

I think another thing that we should not blindly jumping to support Ukraine is that the fact the entire globalist anti-God Western elites supports Ukraine. After the COVID scam, we should know better to jump on ANY bandwagon that they have created for the people. This war could have been just another distraction that the powers to be is pushing on the entire world! They are showing us how much power they have to be able to cancel an entire nation of Russia!

I believe as Christians we should not support either side, since they are both kingdoms of this world. We should support our brothers and sisters in the war zone and help the people who are hurt. But we should not support either side, as both side are under the control of the princes and powers of the air. And in the end, all things are under the control of God. I would pray that God’s will be done and the war is ended soon that peach can be restored. But I am not ready to pray for the victory of the State of Ukraine, knowing its government it as corrupt as the Russians and it is a puppet controlled by the Western elite.

Thank you for all your do for the Kingdom of God!

God bless,

Richard

Richard, of course any consistent Christian is opposed to any atrocity or war crime, whoever commits it. But the fact that the Allies in WW2 were guilty of such (say in the fire-bombing of Dresden) does not make me want to adopt a neutral posture, not caring whether the Allies or the Axis prevailed. I don’t believe Christians can become a spiritual Switzerland.

In one of your recent posts on conscription you said that young men should dodge, avoid, and evade the draft. I would very much like to do this if the time ever comes. I will not be fighting for the God-haters.

How exactly do young men dodge, avoid, and evade the draft?

Thank you kindly,

J

J, start by not registering. And second, stay abreast of any new legislation when it comes to the draft, and fight it when it appears.

Affordability?

I have been reading your blog regularly since circa 2015, yet have not heretofore written you (I am greatly impressed with the variety of your titles for the Letters segment, by the way).

Of the myriad challenges with which the church must deal today, one I have heard little discussed, yet which bears its silent influence upon the state of our culture, is the increasing cost of living in our cities and the concomitant demand for two-income households (one might argue, actually, that costs are driven up by the preponderance of dual income households, which in turn sets the new standard). The issue is that Christian couples who desire to raise their own children and who see the value of the woman’s primary sphere of activity being in the home find it difficult to settle in our cultural epicentres. This leaves the metropolises largely shorn of Christian influence, and it means that the culture-makers and political leaders residing in these nodal regions govern us whilst increasingly oblivious to what Christianity even is, with nary a constraint upon their conscience, since there is none to whisper, “You should not have your brother’s wife”, in their ear.

What a wonderful thing it would be to have New York, London, Copenhagen overflowing with churches full of young Christian families (indeed, as these cities used to be), but my experience of churches in modern metropolises is of congregations largely comprised of single students and perhaps some older, established folk (God bless them). The really vibrant, growing churches tend to be at least a couple hours outside the city limits.

I lived in urban Europe for a while and it saddened me that most people did not know any Christians, who for purely economic reasons (owing their fertility and view of marriage) concentrate themselves in particular regions of the country.

Do you see a solution to this?

Warm regards from the freezing, yet still affordable, prairies,

Matt

Matt, the problem you describe is real. And those Christians who do move to urban areas are more likely to go native than they are to have a positive impact. I think our best bet is to move to areas where we can live the way we are supposed to, and see what God grows up out of that.

A New Center Point

Appreciated the book recommendations in “History to Prep for What’s Coming?”. I know you talked about your thought that the 2020s will be rough for our nation, but do you think there’s really hope that the commencement of our Fourth Turning will revert back and our civilization will right itself back to reality? Or, do you think we are at the start of our society’s death knell, however long that may be? Whatever the right answer, I have the same feeling now as I do when I read the first two-thirds of the Last Battle…

Guymon

Guymon, I don’t think the “fourth turning” will take us back to the old order. But I think it will result in something that is far closer to the way God made the world than our current clownworld is exhibiting.

Physical Damnation?

From what I understand, eternity will be glorified flesh living on a new earth. Where do those condemned to the second death of the lake of fire reside? That is to say, is it a physical locality akin to the new earth? So the condemned live forever in physical bodies some physical where? Daniel 12 suggests a resurrection of all with some to everlasting life and others to everlasting death. Does Scripture provide any details related to the what or where eternal death is located?

THVV

THVV, no, I have not been able to piece that together. Scripture does teach a bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust, and that is as far as I can take it.

Good Point

While you’re talking about the First Amendment as the tool of the secular libertine, here in blue states the wheel has turned enough that it has once again become the shield of the religious that the atheists desperately wish they could shut down.

Ian

Ian, I think you are exactly right.

I’m wondering how to reconcile your admonition not to “take the bait” with Solzhenitsyn’s comment that the Russians didn’t love freedom enough and deserved everything that happened. Thanks for your Biblical thinking and counsel from a Biblical worldview which has greatly enriched me and my family.

Ron

Ron, I believe that the people need to demand better governance from our leaders, and we need to stand up to them in order to do so. But we should not utilize means that are self-evidently a trap.

Good Old Infant Baptism

I was watching your most recent video on infant baptism, and I have a question. If a father, who is currently baptist, were to become convinced of paedobaptism, and he already had two older children(4 and 6), should he have them baptized or wait? Just curious. Also, thank you for taking the time to respond to my previous question.

God Bless,

A.H.

A.H. I would arrange to have them baptized. In our experience, depending on the child, we baptize children who are a little older on profession of faith. Those who are too young to answer, are baptized on the covenant commitment of the parents.

Do we baptize babies because we presume they are in Christ, or do we baptize babies because we presume they are *not* in Christ and they need to be engrafted into Him through baptism? The issue I’m getting at is the difference between presumptive regeneration (e.g., Abraham Kuyper) and baptismal regeneration (e.g., James Jordan, Peter Leithart), both of which have had streams in the Reformed tradition. Which of these views is more correct? Is this a false dichotomy? Your insights are appreciated.

Thanks,

Joe

Joe, the Westminster Directory teaches that children of at least one believing parent are “federally holy,” which is to say covenantally holy. In order to baptize an infant, I must have warrant to do so, and that warrant is that the child is an objective member of an objective covenant. So I don’t baptize them to bring them into the covenant, I baptize them because they already are in the covenant. And that doesn’t fit easily with either of the two views you mention.

A Random Question

Do you recommend a particular translation of The City of God? Thank you!

Caleb

Caleb, no, I am afraid I am not in a position to do that. Wish I were that smart.

On Paddywhonking

My wife and I have a question: When did you first spank your children? How old were they? We have been asking lots of our older friends when they first did and sadly none of them can remember. We have a 1-year-old son and we give him swats on the hand to teach him not to touch certain things, but when does purposeful disobedience become a spanking? At what age? Please let me know.

In Christ,

Grant

Grant, it has been a long time for us as well. But we do things like flick the hand when they started to crawl, which enabled them to get close to the electric outlets. And I would guess that we started giving swats when they were between one and two.

Paul Tripp?

Greetings in Christ, from South Africa, I have a general query if you can assist.

Would you be able to give an indication of the confessional and Scriptural soundness of the Paul Tripp Ministries; my daughter has been introduced to the Forever-series at her church.

(She recently finished school and is a confessing member of church in her own right.)

I value resources internationally, provided they originate from those whose core principles align strictly to the principles of the reformation, specifically Scriptural inerrancy and soundness of doctrine aligned to that.

I would value your opinion, as over the past years I have found your blog (and other resources) useful for further reading, analysis and guidance.

Thank you in advance,

Joffre

Joffre, Paul Tripp has done some really good stuff in the past, but some recent moves he has made have been worrisome. Here is a piece on the subject by a friend of mine.

Quite a Tangle

Thank you sir for all of the great content. Especially the family series audiobooks on Canon+. As a young husband and father, they have been very clarifying and full of sound wisdom in an age of much confusion regarding familial roles and responsibilities.

Along these same familial lines, I would like to get your opinion regarding a family issue involving in-laws, how this issue relates to the 5th commandment, being “considerate”, and headship.

When my wife and I married nearly 8 years ago, we both attended a oneness Pentecostal church, which she and her immediate family had been steeped in for her entire life. About 3 years into our marriage, we were awakened to the true gospel via various conservative, Reformed preachers. Eventually, it made us sick to set foot back into the church of her youth. We decided together that we would start going to a faithful Bible church. We did not announce this to her family, as we were convinced it would cause a huge family blowup. We simply started going to the other church and resolved that if we were confronted about the issue (initiated upon), we would have an answer. In the meantime, we purposed to start working on a document that outlined the reasons why we were leaving the church of her youth from a doctrinal point of view, based on the relevant passages of Scripture. It was our original intent to give this document to her father before we had a verbal discussion about the issue. The paper would serve to “prime the pump” for a real discussion so that the logical flow of doctrinal truth could be understood by him up front, instead of losing the points in a heated argument. We wanted it to be thorough and expositional, dealing with all texts concerning the relevant issues (mainly their view of the necessity of tongues for salvation). As such, we knew it would take some time to finish.

Shortly after we started plodding through this project, her father confronted her about the issue one day while I was at work and she was visiting her parents alone. My wife described it as a planned confrontation; it was not a spontaneous thing. A heated doctrinal argument ensued. My wife did give good and Scriptural answers, but naturally came home frazzled. I also became angry over how she was approached without me being involved. Since I was angry at the time, I did not contact him. I continued to work on the paper since it was obvious that my father-in-law was not interested in talking to me about the issue in person. I decided that I would let some time pass and when the paper was complete, I would send it to him and follow up with a discussion.

About three years later and forty pages of verse-by-verse breakdown, the paper was completed. During this entire time, nobody on her side of the family ever asked me why we left.

However, shortly before the paper was completed, I personally confronted my in-laws about their habitual inclination to discuss various issues with which they disagreed only with my wife. I used the previous church confrontation as an example, which apparently struck a nerve. According to them, I had been indebted to them for the past three years for an explanation about the whole debacle even though I was never asked for an explanation.

I did apologize for my role in not discussing the issue sooner. However, after recently coming to grips with Biblical headship through your content, I am currently persuaded that my previous apology was not warranted and that it was made while under the influence of false guilt. The reasons I have come to this conclusion are as follows:

The issue of us leaving a false church is not a moral issue, in the sense that we sinned against anyone.

As head over my family, I am not obliged to pre-emptively discuss my decisions with anyone else, so long as it does not affect another’s personal property or physical well-being. But I am willing to discuss decisions if I am asked about them in a respectful manner.

I don’t recall anywhere in the gospels where Jesus was “considerate” in the sense of pre-emptively discussing his decisions to live his life and do various signs and miracles in front of the Pharisees (and other groups), even though he was fully aware of how they would react.

I do see now in hindsight, that if there was any reason to preemptively discuss the issue with my father-in-law, it would have been to protect her from being confronted alone. Not because he was entitled to an explanation.

I sincerely appreciate your wisdom sir. Please let me know if my thinking here is off base.

Thanks again,

JB

JB, this is quite a tangle. I do believe you were right to leave, and I don’t believe you owe anyone an explanation on that level. But there are two other considerations. The first would be the matter of protecting your wife—I think you should have gone to talk with your father-in-law about the impropriety of him talking to your wife alone, without you there. So I think an apology from you on that issue was legit. The second thing is that of what might be called family manners. I think I would have advised telling your in-laws that you were leaving the church for doctrinal reasons, and that you were willing to talk with them about it when your paper was done.

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Zeph .
Zeph .
3 months ago

There is one immediate consequence of not registering for Selective Service. You become ineligible for Federal Financial Aid for college.

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
3 months ago
Reply to  Zeph .

Zeph, a win-win. Then you won’t be stealing from other people to put yourself or your kids through college.

JohnM
JohnM
3 months ago
Reply to  Sam Rutherford

On the other hand, unless you can avoid paying taxes you will be funding college for other people or their kids, without reciprocation.

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

True, but I can’t stop the government from stealing from me that way, since it is by the barrel of a gun. I have full control of whether I use the government’s gun to do it to others.

TedR
TedR
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

JohnM, as Doug often says, and is true, you have to refuse the benefits first before you can object to the tax.

JohnM
JohnM
3 months ago
Reply to  Zeph .

There are other potential consequences as well. I recommend any man considering not registering check out the link below.

https://www.sss.gov/register/benefits-and-penalties/

Those things may never matter to you, or you may think they don’t now, but they might down the road. I only provide the link so a man can make an informed decision. Do what you will but know what you’re doing.

Dave
Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnM

It is important to remember that Carter pardoned all of the Vietnam draft dodgers and allowed them to return to the US if they desired to do so. That act, at the time spoken of as a compassionate act by the president, has since proven to be a disaster for the US. We need to know scripture and implement it in our lives. Yes, the government may make our lives harder, but God is in control, knows the number of hairs on our heads and will not abandon us. We should also remember that Deuteronomy 20 has the test for… Read more »

Benjamin
Benjamin
3 months ago

“But if the Russians take Kyiv, and the Ukrainians counter-attack, would they be attacking Russian territory?”
I guess it is a matter of perspective. Kiev is seen as the “holy city” of the Russian Orthodox Church. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Orthodox_Church
The church was founded by a “Saint Vladimir the Great”. When countries have histories which predate lines on a map it can get very hard to determine what is taking place. See the Middle East as prime example. Is it Sunni vs Shiite or country vs country? I’m not saying it is one way or the other. Just that it is complicated.

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
3 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin

Yes, it’s similar to the way we Serbian Orthodox see Kosovo. Complicated all around.

Cherrera
Cherrera
3 months ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic

No it’s not complicated. Just listen to the MSM, Hollywood celebrities and Obiden administration. Then you can throw out hundreds of years of conflicts and background issues and boil it down to good guys vs. bad guys. Or good non-binaries vs. bad transgendered something-or-others. Wait, there are no bad trans people… Anyway, just trust those who praise abortion and homosexuality and say Bible-believing Christians are evil. Look how wonderful they’ve been on COVID, the Floyd riots, the election, our border, inflation, etc. They know what’s up.

Ken B
Ken B
3 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Anyway, just trust those who praise .. homosexuality and say Bible-believing Christians are evil. A slight tangent here, but this subject has occurred a lot recently. My boy wanted my opinion on a service at free church we actually left 18 odd years ago he has just listened to on YT. It was on the subject of homosexuality. By the time I had heard it I was (unusually for me) incandescent with anger, and my poor better half had to listen me get it off my chest. ‘Who do these people think they are’ ‘they have headed straight into apostasy’.… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Ken B
Corrie
Corrie
3 months ago

Mr. Wilson, you state here that “taken as a noun, and addressed to a particular woman” the word bitch is “a high insult” and that you “would never call any woman that”. The same could be said of the word “cunt”, yet you have addressed particular women as such (see blog post: “That Lutheran Jezebel Lady”). Why should a person’s beliefs warrant name calling? Is this Christlike?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
3 months ago
Reply to  Corrie

Indeed, Corrie: Why should a person’s beliefs warrant name-calling? Why don’t you tell the class why you think it’s appropriate for Bolz-Weber to insult those who rightly believe in waiting for marriage with her attention-whoring antics, but not for anyone to point out the insult? Do you think Bolz-Weber’s stunt was Christlike? If so, then why don’t you tell us chapter and verse where Christ would have made female genitalia out of melted-down rings? Perhaps it’s next to the one that tells us Jesus would have “baked the cake”. And then, when you’re done stumbling through your tired, worn-out excuses,… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
3 months ago

I wonder if the 170 women who sent in their purity rings (in return for a silicone ring imprinted with the word “Shameless” and an official certificate of impurity) knew that this project was designed by Bolz-Weber with help from her publisher’s marketing department to promote her new book “Shameless: A Sexual Reformation” due for release just three months later. So much for lofty rhetoric about “creating something beautiful” from symbols of toxic patriarchy. Perhaps that’s why Bolz-Weber presented the sculpture to Gloria Steinem–whose connection to evangelical Christianity is certainly far from obvious–at a well publicized feminist conference where Steinem… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
3 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

A little more on this paragon of virtue:
“She led 31,000 ELCA teenagers to repeat the words ‘I renounce the lie that queerness is anything other than beauty.’ She frequently uses the F word and exposed children to a drag queen in a program at her former church…Bolz-Weber denies that Christ died in our place to pay for our sins since she believes that would be divine child abuse on the part of God the Father.”
Bolz-Weber, who has talked about enjoying sex with her boyfriend, installed as ELCA’s pastor of public witness – EXPOSING THE ELCA

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
3 months ago
Reply to  Cherrera

That she thinks of a Man in his 30s as a “child” tells you all you need to know about her.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
3 months ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jilly, good point. Another sordid entry in the already-massive “follow the money” file.

Still trying to figure out if Corrie is a paid shill — Fake Outrage can be quite lucrative, you know — or a mark.

TedR
TedR
3 months ago

I have noticed a thing, highlighted in the letter from Eric, that folks are often accused of believing stuff because they made a point that sounds like a point someone else might or has made (like Jonah Goldberg, say) and it was then assumed they believe all the arguments that Goldberg makes. It’s not an isolated issue, I see it frequently.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
3 months ago
Reply to  TedR

A similar but common fallacy comes in the homogenization of internet communities as taking a singular position, then criticizing that entire community for contradicting that position. “This board always says that the Federal Government is guilty of constant over reach, but refuses to criticize Trump when he over reaches!” The board isn’t one person. They’re a bunch of different people, with varying opinions on both the Federal Government and Donald Trump. You might notice a trend amongst the board in general, but even if 100% of comments are supporting one opinion, not all commenters comment on every post. You can… Read more »

JB
JB
3 months ago

Pastor Wilson, thank you for the feedback on “Quite a Tangle”. I just realized that comments could be posted here, so I would like a small clarification on what I wrote and your response. You commented: “So I think an apology from you on that issue was legit.” The apology I issued was to my father-in-law on the basis of not addressing the reasons we left their church before the confrontation between he and my wife occurred. Do you believe that this apology was legit and morally required on that basis? I do agree that it would have been the… Read more »

JB
JB
3 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Understood. Thank you sir.

De Bok
De Bok
3 months ago

Two things>

1) About Reformed Christians in the Ukraine, my church did a fundraiser for these people: https://seminary.ersu.org/en/
They are a worthy organisation to at least pray for, if not send money.

2) About when to start using spanking as a way to discipline them. I would say as soon as you realise that they understand simple sentences. We started spanking our 2 year old a few months ago, and it’s working well.

RT
RT
3 months ago

Dear Pastor Wilson, Thank you for responding to my letter to the editor. As you have mentioned in your response that even though Allied bombed Dresden (not a military target) and attacked civilians, we still should support the Allies as Christians. I agree that the Allies (US/UK) generally speaking are more righteous than the Germans, Japanese and the Soviets. And they committed less “war crimes” than other factions. However, going back to your often stated point, by what standard do we judge the Allies and Axis and the Soviets by? How do we determine which is more righteous than the… Read more »

Ms T
Ms T
2 months ago

To Eric, SPOT ON!!!