In your most recent blog post, which was phenomenal by the way, I found myself somewhat confused towards the end. You wrote, “The lines between these groups are not watertight, and some people float between them. Some folks are doctrinally in the second group, but for various reasons make forays or sorties into the world of the third group, like John Piper on life issues, or John MacArthur on religious liberty issues. And Al Mohler teaches from the vantage of the third group, but whoever holds sway over hiring and firing at the seminary is in thrall to the first group.” What exactly do you mean by “first”, “second”, and “third” groups? And what is the shortcoming of MacArthur on religious liberty? I love your writing style, but sometimes I am not clever enough to figure out exactly what you mean in some places.
Thanks for your time,
LM, sorry for the confusion. I meant the three categories of religion I began with—power, escape, and dominion. So Piper and MacArthur have a default setting for the escape tradition (second), but Piper is great on life (third) and MacArthur is great on religious liberty (third). And Mohler teaches (and, I believe, believes) in line with the third group, but it would be hard to gather that from some of the hires at the seminary.
I’d be interested to hear you elaborate on the dominion category. Specifically, I’m curious to know to what degree you see direct political engagement (i. e. voting and voicing specific views on policies and candidates) as a necessary part of being “of the dominion mindset.”
It seems to me that the Tim Kellers among us are perhaps striving to live under no less a light than that of C. S. Lewis (though not nearly as good at it, but who is?) Based on what else I’ve read from you, I am probably misunderstanding you, but sometimes it seems like you are exhorting people to be less like Lewis and more like Tucker Carlson. Much as Lewis wanted to present the truths of the gospel stripped of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, the Tim Kellers see in modern U.S. political conservatism simply another obscuring artifice.
To be clear modern U.S. political progressivism wouldn’t at all be better. I’m naming conservative associations as the ones that need stripping away simply because they are the ones that are most strongly tied to Christianity in our present context.
You might counter that Lewis did engage in political commentary, and I’m not disagreeing. I’m being careful to make my comments here about the way that he engaged. He was no escapist, that I’m sure we agree on. But in a very personal way, I’m extraordinarily grateful that Lewis did not devote significant chunks of his time writing political commentary about PM candidates and acts of Parliament. I would hardly have been interested in reading such, and what he did write was extremely formative in the earliest days of my faith.
Even with all of that said, I don’t mean to sound like this is, for me, all about the precedent of Lewis. There are scriptural exhortations that provide a strong basis for viewing our witness to the gospel in this way. It’s part of the very fabric of Peter’s 1st epistle, for example. I mean, sheesh, he advises obedience to persecuting tyrants and cruel slave masters, and he appeals to the obedient suffering of Christ as the basis for his argument.
I do understand that people on all sides of this topic do see context as relevant. Different political systems come with different duties and obligations of a citizen. I, for example, certainly wouldn’t want to argue that abolitionists or civil rights leaders were in the wrong (though I do believe that some of them pursued their objectives in a godly way and some did not). I am only arguing that the people who pursue winsomeness have scriptural justification for doing so, as well as the legacy of Lewis to demonstrate its potential for effectiveness. And I know, I know, Lewis had his fair share of detractors, and he did not shy away from telling the truth to appease them. But hopefully my point is becoming clear that irrespective of many of the particulars of application, I find there doesn’t seem to be room in your teachings for the spirit of 1 Peter and for the striving to apply those principles in a way similar to how Lewis did.
Ken, I certainly don’t believe that everyone must be combative, or that everyone must drop everything and devote themselves to one cause only. And I also believe that winsomeness actually is a Christian duty. I agree with you also that Lewis, by staying in his lane, did far more long term good than he would have done otherwise. That said, I would only say that our scales of evaluation are way off. We live in a generation that has thrown millions of babies into the fiery lap of Molech, and yet we have a tendency to think that we have the ability to tell the difference between the prophet Amos and Tucker Carlson.
You post titled, “The Naughty Boy of Evangelicalism,” should really have been titled, “Monitor Your Poo.”
Also, you were having way too much fun!!
Jon, well, not way too much.
Donations to Ukraine?
When you go to the JEEP website to donate, by the “donate” button it says:
“Covenant Bible Church in Alaska is presently handling all JEEP donations. Please add a note designating your gift ‘Ukraine Relief.’”
But when you click on the “donate” button the drop-down box only has a selection for “JEEP” and no way to designate “Ukraine Relief”
I clicked over there fully intending to donate, but that discrepancy threw me off
Would you please check with your contacts and as them to clarify/fix their website?
Robert, I checked with them, and the options come up when you get to the PayPal page or to the credit card page. And they are working on the initial confusing signage.
Am I Finally Coming Around?
Your comment about how corrupt our nation is makes me want to respond like John McClane: “Welcome to the party, pal”. I was actually quite surprised by your comments given the fact that it was barely over a year ago you were bemoaning that they stole our repentance in stealing the election. You are now finally realizing the totality of the corruption of not only our institutions but also the people who elected the representatives that administer those institutions.
John, thanks for the good-natured poke, but I would still want to respond with a “hey!” and an observation that I have actually been at this particular party from the time it started. I have been bemoaning the corruption of everything, our electorate included, for decades. And the election was stolen by the evil party from the stupid party, and the supporters of the stupid party allowed it.
Where’d My Plodcast Go?
First, I’d like to let you know that I love your insight and enjoy listing to your plodcast. The reason for my note is that I listen to the plodcast while at work. I am a graphic designer and spend all of my days/evenings sitting at my computer. It is a highlight for me to be able to hear it. It isn’t possible for me to read while designing, so the audio is important to me. There haven’t been any posted since the beginning of February and I just wanted you to know that there are fans out there waiting for the next upload.
Thanks for everything,
Kathryn, I would go back and double check. The Plodcast has been releasing on schedule, and is currently available on Canon+ for free, and on Apple, Spotify, etc
On the last page of To A Thousand Generations, you reiterate a point made previously in the book about New Testament Christian Jews continuing to circumcise their children as evidence of their inclusion as members in the New Testament church. When were these children then baptized? Since the sign of the covenant transferred from circumcision to baptism, it makes sense that circumcised Jews were being baptized into the new sign, but how did they apply the signs going forward? It seems it would be made sense to forego circumcision in favor of baptism or circumcised and baptized their infants, but we don’t have anecdotal evidence of baptism now being applied through we do have it for continued circumcision. In short, when do you think these circumcised children of baptized believing Jews were being baptized? And what, if any verses, would you point to for support? Thanks for your time. Working through it.
THVV, yes, I believe that Jewish parents in the first century circumcised their boys, and Gentiles parents baptized their children. But in order to establish sacramental unity, the Jewish parents would have needed to baptize their children also, so that the children of the covenant, Jew and Gentile both, would have that as their point of sacramental unity.
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27–29).
This post is addressing the “Should I Leave California?” Ask Doug video. I have a good paying, solid job in California. So far I have been able to avoid the mandates, however that could change if the bills that are being put through pass. But even if they don’t pass I would like to leave for my children. The opportunities provided for them in the future are lessening. My kids go to a private school, but even with that I feel the climate we live in is influencing my children. I don’t think I can protect them through private school only. Is it unwise to leave a good job for that?
Amy, if you don’t think you can fully protect your children from the cultural smog that surrounds them there, then I would be praying for an opportunity to leave. There are good jobs elsewhere, but even if there weren’t “what does it profit a man . . .”
I’m an avid consumer of your content. Usually I consume the material with a quiet online presence, but I felt the need to ask you for guidance.
I am a member of an OPC church and my situation is quite complicated, so I will tailor it to be short and sweet for you.
I am starting to realize that the man I married is not the “head” of our household, despite my wishes. He is not proactive and does not think ahead to the future by any means. We have a 3 month old son together and I feel like our son may not grow up with a strong father figure. I feel as if my role as a mother and wife are being hurt by my additional role of playing the head of the household- the position my husband needs to take. I have tried many a time to relinquish this role to him, but it just gets left unoccupied like a boat with no captain. Please lend me biblical advice, even with the small amount of information provided.
Kathryn, I am sorry that any help I offer here will likely be pretty lame at such a distance. I would say two things. First, continue your attempts to relinquish everything you can, and if the boat drifts rudderless, let it. And second, ask your husband if you can seek out pastoral counsel for your marriage together. If he says, “Why, are things that bad?” you can reply, “No, but I can see how they might get there. Let’s head that off.”
A lot of my children’s friends are talking about Disney movies they are watching like Encanto and Turning Red. I am concerned because they look like Witchcraft 101 and it makes the occult and demonic powers look really good. How should I respond?
A Concerned Mom
Concerned Mom, see below.
My wife and I have a difficult time discerning between which Disney movies and shows are appropriate and the ones which are not, for our four-year-old. Up to bat is “Turning Red” on Disney + which I’m sure you will eventually get to breaking down. However, even I noticed on Chip and Potato the flamboyance of pride flags and pride pins on all the kids shirts leads me to believe the tech giants obligation to confuse little eyes and ears. Please touch on the movie “Turning Red” and help me understand when to stay in Helicopter dad mode and when to sit tight and watch. We appreciate you, Doug.
Lee, the people running Disney have an evil agenda, and I actually think the burden of proof by this point should be the other way around. You don’t watch Disney movies unless it is getting rave reviews from at least 17 theologians you trust.
Dawson Has Companions
Dear Dawson, Lack of Communication is Key.
Hey Doug, I’ve been binging your blog posts and videos since I first stumbled upon a Dear Dawson video on YouTube. It’s been a wild ride the last few weeks. I’ve had to “deconstruct” the servant-leadership garbage that I was fed from Big Eva, and I’m trying to switch gears back into practicing the kind of masculinity that was basically beat out of me by the church.
My question to you is, regarding the lack of communication in the initial stages of dating and getting to know a girl, is this something that we have to practice for the rest of our lives? Or, do we begin sharing the intimate parts of our lives as we progress into courtship, engagement, and finally marriage? Likewise, what would the correct response be to a girl who’s intentionally trying to get a guy to share too much.
I’ve been struggling with understanding the full implications of this, and was hoping to get some clarity.
Dawson’s brother, Dennis
Dennis, if a girl is trying to get you to overshare, don’t. And of course, a wife is going to know her husband more intimately than anyone else does, but it will always be important for a husband to avoid oversharing. At no stage should you ever turn into your wife’s girlfriend.
Some Gender Vocation Stuff
My girlfriend and I have seriously dated for a long time and the next step is marriage. I’m starting to look at engagement rings, have been praying about our future, and we have had many frank conversations about getting married. She is just wonderful. She loves the Lord; she loves me; she is loved by my family and friends. She has supported me through some very dark times. There are so many green lights! But I’m concerned particularly about her career. She is a physician who specializes in critically ill children—and she’s very good at it. I love all the things about her that her career choice entails: her work ethic, her intellect, her drive, her service to the community.
However, if we have children I fear that her job and its often demanding schedule will take preference and the home will be neglected. She intends to continue working after having kids. I would want her pouring her best energy into raising children and making a home, at least while the children were very young. I think she ultimately would be more fulfilled at home. But she has spent her whole adult life becoming a physician. I dare not say that was for nothing. How do I wisely and lovingly navigate this issue, especially in a pre-marriage relationship? Is it wise to pursue marriage with a Christian woman who strongly intends to be a working mother?
Mitch, I would simply ask if she knows what you think about it. Have you had that talk yet? This is absolutely something you should come to an agreement on beforehand. There is no problem with her continuing as a physician, but there will be a problem if she does it the same way all the other women in med school will be doing it. You need to know what her thinking is about how her approach will be different, both with regard to the kids, and with regard to your concerns. And you need to not be the wrong kind of uptight about it.
Is it ever permissible for an unmarried woman to leave her parents’ home? If so, what are the circumstances? Related to this, if parents force their adult female children to stay at home, can they require them to pay rent? This seems like building the Berlin wall and then taxing those who can’t escape. Just my thoughts.
I really am asking for a friend, :-)
Pieter, a lot depends upon age and circumstance, but what you describe seems messed up to me.
Liberty and Lockdowns
Re: Liberty or Lockdowns
For the past 20-25 years, I would have been inclined in the past to appeal to the Constitution when fighting the diktats of the various would-be tyrants who would boss men around with no colorable pretext to do so written into the Constitution.
This would be a fine approach if we lived in a country that appreciated such things as the limitation of government by enumerated powers. We don’t live in that country, even amongst our presumed “allies” in circles that call themselves “conservative.” THAT word has been so watered down I wonder if it has any meaning at all anymore.
After all, if the President ordered everyone to wear blue jeans, the onus should be on him to show where he has the authority to make such an order, and to make the moral case for why everyone should be bound to obey it. This is such a simple and straightforward idea that I have difficulty comprehending how it can be controversial.
But we do not live in that country. At the risk of oversimplifying, I believe the main reason we do not live in that country is because culturally we have supplanted the worship of God with the worship of other things—primarily (and in no particular order) power, prosperity, and personal amusement. We are precipitously straddling Orwell’s and Huxley’s dystopias, and we’re generally fine with it as long as no one or nothing makes us too uncomfortable, whatever secular standard is used to define “comfort.”
I have no qualms against opposing decrees from any branch of government, at any level of government, on the Constitutional grounds based on the doctrine of limited government through enumerated powers, though I don’t quite know how to deal with the expense of litigation that comes along with such opposition.
Plus, the courts are not on our side, and they haven’t been for quite some time, so although I’m not willing to cede the battlefield, we need to be choosy about the time and place to fight the battle, else we all separately go to our jail cell or bankruptcy court. Yes, we’re not slaves (as you said), but consistent application of that principle leads to justification to refuse a lot of things. How do you know the blue jeans mandate is the one to oppose, and would you set a threshold of support before engineering the opposition?
Cam, when resisting unconstitutional mandates, we live in a target-rich environment. You are right that we have to pick one, and we need to pray for leaders who can identify points of resistance that have the capacity to garner widespread support. The vaccine mandates were a good point of resistance, while fighting motorcycle helmet laws wouldn’t be.
Someone that I know may or may not have a son who may or may not turn 18 this week. That person had never questioned conscription until your Feb. 28 post. She looked up the rules on the gov website and found that transgender people must register if they were born male, but not if they were born female. In the spirit of subterfuge in the culture wars, any thoughts on how that foolish ungodly insanity could be used as a means to avoid filling out any papers?
Alison, I think this could be used, but carefully. I just wouldn’t register, and if the government contacts you about it, just respond with questions. “Why are you in the government making gender assumptions?”
A Postmill Amen
I’m heartened, as always, by your biblical, Jesus-has-triumphed-and-reigns optimism, Doug. It sounds simplistic to many but after a lifetime of reading the Bible between nightly naps, it’s clear to me that it’s an unavoidable and glorious conclusion. I’m mystified that Christ-followers can be so resistant to the notion. You wrote: “The future of America is Christian. We can say this in all confidence because the future of the world is Christian, and there is not a blessed thing that Klaus Schwab can do about it.”
Amen and hallelujah. Keep stating the obvious.
May God grant us (His church) the audacity to believe that He’s able to do such grand things in spite of the observable fact that we circle the toilet bowl drain even now . . . and may He use the experience to grant us humble repentance and dependence on Him. Then we’ll see clearly to trust that He will use us to make the most of the flush.
Carey, thanks, and amen.
Some Ukrainage Pushback
While I disapprove of the invasion from what I can see of it, and certainly don’t approve of targeting civilians, I think there are sometimes when it is best to stay neutral and pray for peace and the best for both sides than to side with one of two immoral parties, and I feel like this may be one of them. I wish I could cheer for the Ukrainians, but in the long run, I fear that their president may be no better for them than Putin, or, what seems more likely, a pro-Putin puppet. Zelensky is not only a clear non-Christian, he supports free abortion and the legalization of prostitution, and is, to my understanding, very pro-LGBT as Eastern European rulers go. Most of his films, at least the ones Wikipedia mentioned, appear to be very raunchy and of a highly suspect morality, and his being very pro-choice is particularly serious given Ukraine’s abysmal birthrate (which fell after the ousting of the pro-Russian president of Ukraine in 2014). Putin, for all his crimes (not unusual for great rulers of the distant past, such as Constantine, Clovis, Charlemagne, and Justinian), and the fact that he is probably but a nominal Christian, is pro-life, has stood firm against LGBT propaganda, and has raised the birth rate of Russia, and dramatically brought down the deplorable abortion rate of the Soviet era. He has also done much to restore the Christian heritage of Russia, though it is a different form of Christianity than what I would prefer. This is not a call for “Our Putin, right or wrong”, but a suggestion that, rather than cheering for one side or the other, we can pray for a quick and lasting peace, the best for the Ukrainian people, and the salvation of both Putin and Zelensky, and, if possible, find ways to help the refugees. I also fear that a decisive victory by Zelensky would bring about a resurgence of social liberalism in Europe, where it is on the wane. As a non-dispensational ag-millennialist, I would hate to find out, after cheering for Ukraine, that I’d supported Carthage against Rome, or Diocletian against Constantine, and thus cheered for something that prevented the rule of Christianity in Europe from taking place in my lifetime.
James, all reasonable points, but also I think, beside the point. If we were invaded in a comparable way, we Christians would fight, but we wouldn’t be defending all our varied cultural atrocities.
Re; “ A Few More Random Observations About Ukraine” and all of your recent posts regarding the conflict. One of the things readers such as myself admire about your posts is the classical rhetorical style you use, in which you do your darndest to anticipate potential arguments regarding the topic at hand and respond accordingly; IOW you usually do a good job anticipating our potential questions/objections/arguments/etc.
However, regarding this current European conflict, at the risk of instigating you to put your guard up, it seems you’ve not properly anticipated the core of your audience and what we are thinking regarding the Ukraine matter, and maybe you momentarily forgot who we are.
Sure, some of your audience are the occasional Karen’s who falsely accuse you of supporting rape and all that rubbish, but did you forgot the type of Reformed men we are that read your blog?
We’re the dudes who spend the wee hours of the night (after we worked 8 hours at the office for our day job) annotating every page of Aquinas’ larger Summa during the week, and spend the weekends pouring over every book Karl Barth (cuz we want to argue with him) and Eric Voegelin wrote just cuz our Institutes are so worn out the pages are starting to rip and we’re waiting for new copies to show up in the mail. And then we smoke cigars with our compatriots from our local church while arguing political philosophy in our studies while our wives visit in the kitchen with each other discussing the virtues of Elizabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael . . . and I’m not even exaggerating!
Doug, I went back to school in my thirties just to get a masters in political philosophy so i could speak at secular college conferences and defend the faith against godless communists and godless neocons. In the Reformed (Presbyterian and Anglican) communities I’ve been in for more than 30 years (I’m 45), I’m not the exception . . . I’m more or less the average Joe.
So respectfully, I’ve debated from the college podiums the (sic) great political minds they threw at me, from universities in San Francisco, to D.C. to Toronto, and all across the blessed North American territories and I can say with a degree of experience that the men who’ve been writing to you lately (and who you slightly agree, slightly disagree) are far more experts on this war in the Ukraine , than any “experts” that are currently employed by the western powers and governments who rule over us.
If you’ll be fair, you stepped in the cow pie when you tossed the word “expert” out into the fray . . . t got my eye twitching.
Neil Postman wrote all those years ago, that the great failure of western governments is that they don’t employ theologians and ministers as advisors (alongside generals, etc.) . They rely solely on only one kind of “expert”.
Doug, I’ve read nearly every post you’ve written recently, and I appreciate the candor and politeness you’ve demonstrated in responding to the commenters who’ve disagreed with your posts. Perhaps a couple of them prolly shouldn’t have dropped the “necon” badge your way. (When my brothers and I are drinking beer and smoking cigars together in our studies, we accuse each other of being “neocons” and then slap each other across the back afterwards in love. When it’s done in a comment via the internet, it tends to not look quite as loving.
Suffice to say, I’m not adding more fuel to the particulars of the debate on the war, I could do that, but it’s not as interesting as to just help gently nudge you toward the recognition that to even reference “experts” as you did, is the type of positivism that Eric Voegelin and Francis Schaeffer and a whole host of others warned us about.
Do I think you’re leaning a bit too far the wrong way on the Ukraine subject, yes, but I’m sure sometime soon you’ll realize your leaning stick is curved, and when you finally notice that, you’ll toss it aside and get a more straight leaning stick and then you’ll be on the same page as myself and my fellow brothers who comment on your blog regularly.
And yea, we are praying for our fellow Ukrainian brothers and sisters AS WELL as our fellow Russian brothers and sisters who’ve been persecuted the past 10 years by Ukraine . . . but of course you have regularly been reminding us in all your posts to ALSO keep praying for those Russian Ukrainians who keep getting killed and persecuted by the Ukrainian government these past ten years and we’re grateful that you’ve been reminding us to pray for those persecuted Russians . . . . er . . . wait . . . . did you remind us to pray for them….I forget . . . (whoops, I think I just tossed my hat in with a comment on the war, darn it)
God Bless you, I appreciate the work you do,
Kenneth, my problem in responding is that I honestly don’t remember appealing to any specified experts at all. Can you help me out?
From: A Few More Random Observations About Ukraine “It has been obvious that our assessment of Russian capabilities was grossly inflated, and it is also obvious that our surprise at discovering the opposite was genuine. It is very easy to talk about how Russian felt threatened by NATO, but surely it is obvious now that NATO felt threatened by Russia.”
It almost seems like you are making Putin’s case here, however unintentionally. NATO falsely and unfairly made a boogeyman out of what in reality is just a modest country with a relatively weak economy just trying to survive like the next guy. They (Russia) have been genuinely threatened by a stronger power and feel the need to do something to protect themselves. That’s their story, anyway, and it may very well be false. But your admission about the relative strength of NATO along with how they’ve incorrectly perceived and treated Russia as a force to be reckoned seems to strengthen Russia’s case.
Here is a story.
Imagine that there is a bully and a lanky nerdling, and that this bully has been picking on the nerdling for many years. You know, trying to take his lunch money and stuff. Occasionally, when the nerdling stands up for a fellow nerdling friend, the bully seems to come right on around to oppose his efforts, and is often the one who was indirectly behind the troubles in the first place. Now, truth be told, the nerdling is no saint, and has in fact bullied his little sister and her friends many-a-time, perhaps to prove to himself that he is not the weakest one on the block. In any event, he’s just as punkish as the bully when you get right down to it.
Now, it just so happens that one day the bully had employed the help of a bully-nerd that he didn’t much like, but who could get close enough to the nerdling’s circle to be annoying. The bully would have done it himself, except that the school principle was watching and had put him on notice to behave. So instead, the bully gave the bully-nerd some “resources”, which included some eggs for throwing at the nerdling’s house and some thumb-tacks to put on the nerdling’s class chair…that kind of thing.
The nerdling would really have liked to be able to take out the bully once and for all. He still remembers the day that bully put a fellow nerdling (Hugo Slavia) into a body cast. I mean, that bully was a dangerous dude. But the nerdling was simply too weak to win a round of fisticuffs with him. So instead, he decided to send a message that he could hold his own. He had once again sat on some well-placed thumb tacks in Geology class, and as soon as they got to recess, the nerdling walked right up to the bully-nerd and socked him good.
Was the nerdling wrong in attacking the bully-nerd? Yes, I think maybe so. Was the bully-nerd wrong for participating in these niggling attacks on the nerdling? Yes, I think maybe so. And was the bully wrong for both bullying himself and using the bully-nerd to do some of his work for him? Yes, I think maybe so. Nevertheless, the school principal came out to the playground and disciplined the nerdling, while nearby the bully discreetly slipped the bully-nerd a few more thumb-tacks for later as he was wiping the blood from his nose.
Bully = NATO
Bully-nerd = Ukraine
Nerdling = Russia
Nerdling’s friend = Syria, etc…
Lunch money = Black Sea oil, etc…
JPH, thanks for sharing! Suffice it to say, our paradigms are different.
The Objectivity of the Covenant
Thankful for everything you do Pastor Wilson. My Christian walk has been edified and challenged over the last 2 years through your ministry.
My question is about the “objectivity of the covenant”. I grew up in the church, and went to a SBC Bible college (I’m still of my baptist convictions but am growing in an understanding of both sides, my fiancee is convinced that some day I’ll come to her and tell her I’m a paedobaptist . . . only the Lord knows). All that to say I’m not ignorant, but I am still incredibly young in my understanding of Scripture and theology. You are the first person I’ve heard use this phrase and it seems to be incredibly helpful as I’ve heard you explain it in understanding the church. But I’m curious if this is something you coined (if it is strictly a Federal Vision idea) or if other people have written on it. And where could I look to learn more about this idea (books, sermons etc)? Grace and peace to you brother,
Shea, I am not entirely sure. But I think I coined that phrase. And by it, I simply mean that the visible church is in covenant with God, not just the invisible church.
In the Westminster Confession, the divines used 1 Corinthians 12:13 as a Scripture reference in two different ways. In 27:3 referring to the work of the Spirit alone making the sacrament efficacious for salvation, but also in 28:1 referring to the non-salvific, visible efficacy of baptism in admitting the party into the visible church. How is 1 Corinthians 12:13 to be understood in both these ways?
Thanks for offering your ministry in this way, I can say it’s helpful for those who don’t have a reformed pastor or minister to ask these things.
Jonty, as the Confession also says, there is a sacramental union between the sign and the thing signified. That is why the wedding ring is just a piece of metal, and is also efficacious in sealing the marriage vows.