The Best Letters of All Time

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Glass Houses

“We now live in a climate where an employee at any major American corporation who mentions to a coworker that he thinks that little boys are made of ‘snips and snails and puppy dog’s tails’ is an employee who is risking his livelihood. Such microaggressions will not be tolerated, and it might even be a thought-crime to categorize something so egregious as a microaggression.”

While this article was spot on, it was odd to read something like this about corporations when I am living proof that one’s livelihood is just as much at risk (as my offer of contract renewal was rescinded for this very reason) at an ACCS school for claiming gender is not meaningless and it is impossible to afford gender in the schools statement of faith while becoming a ministry of a church that denied gender has any bearing on who we are and our roles as well as claiming authority was a result of the fall and always sinful. If it is something to be aghast at in corporations it should be even more so when it’s becoming normative in one’s own backyard

Luke

Luke, your point that we should police our own ranks first is a good one. At the same time, ACCS is simply an association of schools, which makes it relatively easy for woke assumptions to creep into schools at the ground level. But the board’s job is to make ACCS as a whole an unfriendly environment for such schools, which I see happening.

Reading Revisionist History

I have been listening to many of your history conferences over on Canon+ and have learned a lot. It seems that much that I think I know about history is more of a based on a true story movie version as told by the regime. What direction could you point me to find resources that will allow me to study American History (primarily from the War for Independence and the War Between the States) that is more historically accurate? Bonus points on anything that focuses on North Carolina. Thanks for your time,

Levi

Levi, start with Singer’s A Theological Interpretation of American History. Then try Rushdoony’s The Nature of the American System.

PCA Support?

Recently I read a post of yours. A post about how the PCA is going to Hell (my words). This was probably your Blog and Mablog post, “PCA, R.I.P” dated November 14, 2018. Also, I recently picked up a missionary support card at an out of town reformed church which I visited. The card featured eight or so missionaries and the “All Saints Reformed Church” that they wish to plant in St George, Utah. Now, I have a question for you concerning this church.

Should I contribute cash to this church plant venture? Is this venture worthy of support? Is any PCA venture still worthy of support? Sincerely,

Robert

Robert, I don’t know that particular work, but there are some really good PCA churches out there that are worthy of your support. It would all depend on the individuals involved, and whether they understand the crisis of our times.

Laconic Prepping

Looking at all the variegate economic weather reports on the next couple of years with predicted recession has me thinking a lot more about additional ways to make our household more what (I believe it was) Aaron Renn called, anti-fragile. I see much wisdom in the Proverbs about the long obedience in the same direction sort of accrual for wealth and resources but also understand the terms and conditions in Ecclesiastes that our finances can be fleeting on account of the sinfulness of this world. Since you’ve lived and pastored through multiple recessions, what are some time honored, Biblical principles. you would give to younger families and couples (in particular) to weather prolonged economic distresses? What literature has benefited you on the subject?

Thank you,

B

B, good advice for hard times is the same thing as good advice for good times. Worship God faithfully. Tithe. Minimize debt. Save. Invest in people. Cultivate practical skills that will always be useful.

Reading List?

I am responding to the blog post about your father passing away. First, I want to express sympathy for your loss. Jim was a deeply influential man who changed many lives—including my husband Daniel’s. Our family will always be grateful for Jim’s teachings and influence in our lives. You mentioned how your father was constant and constantly read to you. I looked up “Lantern Waste” as I had never heard of it. Is “Into the Lantern Waste” (the lyrics by Sarah Sparks) the work you were referring to?

I am wondering—would you be interested in creating a list of the books your father read to you as a child then sharing that list with others? My children (Gabriella and Owen) are seven and four and love to read. I thought it would be neat to have a list of recommended children’s books and stories that Jim Wilson read to his kids that could be passed down to future generations.

Grateful for your father’s life and influence.

Krista

Krista, thank you for the kind words. My father was a great man. Lantern Waste is a place in Narnia, the place where Lucy first came. And speaking of Narnia, that was the staple growing up, supplemented with Winnie the Pooh. And there were lots of other readings, including devotional readings, but nothing that would help constitute a “master list.”

The Manosphere

I recently watched the the first episode of season 4 of Man Rampant with Michael Foster. I found it to be very insightful.

I had never heard of the term “manosphere” but have definitely stumbled upon it as I’ve started watch more Jordan Peterson videos and David Goggins. I think they have a lot of common grace insights into masculinity but come up short since they don’t have a biblical worldview. One such insight comes from Jordan Peterson where he says you need to become a monster and then learn how to control it. He gets this from the biblical idea of meekness which doesn’t mean weakness but [is] the word picture of a man who doesn’t unsheathe his sword. In other words, a man who “walks softly but carries a big stick” sort of idea or a warrior in a garden instead of gardener in war. I think this is true because weak men will never bring true peace and inherit the earth but neither will brutes who can’t control their strength.

Yet, the monster that Jordan Peterson refers to is also mixed with a weird understanding of sin where the monster is actually our dark side that we should develop and then control so that we can understand how evil people think, kind like how Harry Potter has a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him. In other words, we should embrace the sin that is crouching at the door and domesticate it. I definitely disagree with this aspect of the concept.

My question is what is the biblical path to true meekness that the above concept is missing? I think it assumes that biblical virtue isn’t enough and that our sin can be useful instead of something to be put to death.

JT

JT, right. It assumes that Christ was not really masculine because He had no monster to tame. Given the realities of sin in all the rest of us, that teaching can be helpful as a limited metaphor, but it misunderstands the nature of sin and the true nature of humanity.

Spanish Content?

Hello, I’ve recently purchased the paper back and audio book of When The Man Comes Around and I can’t help to ask, when is the Spanish version coming out? Having come from a Premill Dispensationalist background, I can’t help but want to get this resource out to my local church, which is mostly Spanish speakers. My father is our Lead pastor and he’s recently left Dispensationalism behind (thank the Lord!), but I’ve been doing my best at translating for him this material. I would like to purchase 20 copies of this book in Spanish, if they are available. I hope to hear from you!

Moises

Moises, some Canon material is already available in Spanish (contact them for a list), and I know that the project to translate more has already started. Contact them to cheer them on.

When Paddywonking Brought the Terryhooting to a Sad End

Re: Pride and Paddywonking

The introductory meme mentioned “participation trophies” and I was hoping you might expand upon this topic as it relates to training up children. There has been some debate in my Christian circles whether it is biblical to encourage winning. What’s being argued is that Christ came for the poor in spirit, the “losers”, and that when Paul talks of prizes and crowns it is only meant to point to Heaven and does not have relevance to earthly competition.

My contention is that we have gotten to a place where encouraging winning, and discouraging losing, strikes some as “unloving.” There is agreement that whether you win or lose, you should be pursuing Christ-likeness and there are rich lessons in both instances. Having said that, I think winning is preferable to losing. Not only do I believe this to be obvious in reality, but also biblical. Winning teaches us about Christ, and Heaven and lots more that is too much to write here. So it seems a disservice to kids to teach them that winning or losing simply doesn’t matter, it’s only “how you play the game.” Is this something you have written about or do you have some great thoughts I could quote you on? Thank you for all that you do and we pray for your family and ministry often!—1Thess.5:23.

CJ

CJ, I agree with you entirely. Winning a game is the point of the game, and if you win, you should win like a Christian. If you lose, you should lose like a Christian. And if you are growing up Christian, you should play plenty of sports so that you have plenty of practice at learning how to do both. Trying to eliminate winning and losing from life is simply egalitarianism.

One verse I don’t think you mentioned in “Pride and Paddywonking” is Proverbs 19:18—”Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (NKJV) Other translations put it “do not desire his death” or “do not be a party to his death.” I’ve always taken the second part of the verse as alluding to Deuteronomy 21, where the execution of a rebellious son is prescribed, as well as to the natural ways such destruction plays out. So I’ve always taken the first part to mean “start way, way earlier than that.” That seems, from all I’ve observed and experienced, to be as painfully obvious as if it were “written in letters deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the World Ash Tree” and the World Ash Tree were planted in my front yard. Clay is best shaped while it’s new and soft. Once the clay’s been fired, it’s too late to reshape it. If it’s been shaped but not yet fired, there’s still hope for reshaping, but it’s requires either squishing or smashing: Add water till it’s soft, and then squish it, or smash it to powder, and then add water. (We can mix baptism into this metaphor either way.) I think that’s all true, regardless, but I’m curious now whether this verse supports that understanding or if the word for “son” in the first part implies a certain age that undermines my reading. A quick search couldn’t find anyplace you’d discussed the verse, so I was curious what your take might be. The KJV renders the second part quite differently with “let not thy soul spare for his crying,” so perhaps you read it that way.

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, yes. I think that this verse really does have a timer on it, meaning that delays are not your friend. And I think that works regardless of how you take the second half of the verse.

May we say, to your “Pride and Paddywonking” writing on biblical child training, many amens and more amens! It’s our view that this issue is the central missing element that has caused “sincere Christian parents” to fail to produce a Godly seed, for decades now . . . There have been some, but precious few, voices speaking biblically on the subject, and far too many “Focus on the Family Zoo,” “Dr. James or Kevin Whomever,” and even worse voices, seducing parents into every other (secular or quasi-secular) way to train up their children—other than the simple, clear way the Bible clearly teaches, and you ably outlined.

As older people with two grown daughters, who were to the best of our ability biblically trained and loved extravagantly, who became beautiful women of God training up their own children in the scriptural way themselves, we offer a couple expansions of your thoughts:

First, Proverbs 13:24, which you mentioned, goes on to say that a parent who loves his son chastens him “betimes,” which we’re told means something like, “early, or with the dawn . . .” suggesting that chastening should begin as soon as parents realize a young toddler needs the work. In other words, wet concrete’s the easiest to shape correctly before it hardens . . . they don’t call them the formative years for nothing. Bubble-headed “gentleness” in the face of drying concrete doesn’t produce much of a usable foundation in our experience.

Second, Mrs. B grew up in an angry, abusive, alcoholic, broken home where motherly rage was actively modeled for her on a regular basis, and when we were pregnant for our first child (realizing her background had ill prepared her for motherhood) she pursued God for wisdom to be a Godly mother. She was concerned that when our child disobeyed, she’d be an angry mother like her mother had been. One of the most distinct and significant impressions she received (and we acted on) was this: instruct your child in a normal tone of voice, do it only once, and correct any disobedience right then . . . well before their repeated disobedience makes you angry. This, of course, involved being concise and clear in the things she chose to say to the child and very consistent in following up. This approach, with scads of affection and lots of fun and laughter, made for a wonderful and peaceful home, and as we suggested, two lovely, funny, and creative Christian daughters. This tactic entirely takes care of the “disciplining in anger” issue, is why we bring it up.

We’re thinking biblical child training will need to be part of what is recovered by the Christian world at large and parents in particular, in order for the tide to turn in the Church, much less in society at large.

Unfortunately, it seems that anyone who thus gently disciplines their children using a rod runs into “Christian” opposition, sometimes pretty vehement, such that one needs to swim against the tide in the Church and overcome heated attacks from within (to your point about pride.) It certainly happened with us, and seems so with you as well. We’re very thankful for you speaking truth on this subject from your prominent platform. Keep up the good work, and grace and peace be yours!

Mr. & Mrs B

Mr. & Mrs B, thank you for a wonderful letter.

I read Pride and Paddywonking yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it. It seems biblical to support spanking or using physical pain as a form of punishment, and looking at the parents I admire all of them have used that as one of the ways that they interact with their children. It still scares me, because I’ve seen the damage physical abuse can cause, and even the ways that Christian discipline can be misunderstood. I was wondering if you could help me understand what that kind of discipline looked like, in your home or in the homes of people you admire. What is said? Does it happen in public or private? Do you have any kind of ritual or liturgy to it? Another question I had: one of my friends tries not to discipline when feeling angry to avoid the dangers of abuse, but their children know that and will sometimes try to get a rise so that they don’t get punished. I think that’s a really difficult situation and I wondered what your thoughts on that kind of dynamic would be?

Thank you for all your constant writing and for answering our questions.

Nellie

Nellie, here is a basic “liturgy,” of the kind that my parents did, that we did, and which we have seen our children doing. There are variations of course, but this is basically it. The offender is taken off to a private place. His offense is stated, and the relevant biblical principle cited. An opportunity for the defense is afforded, which in my case was usually pretty thin. A spanking was applied. After the spanking, the child is comforted and is told that everything is now completely dealt with. There is nothing unforgiven, and they are welcome to rejoin the family at any time, without the sulks.

I am told that when the early translators wrote, the word “should” was used like we use the word “would” but that we have kept the usage of yesteryear. So (I al told) if the proverb were to be translated today it might be rendered:

“Train up a child in the way that he WOULD go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

That changes the translated meaning from an apparent promise (which sometimes fails) into a warning not to let the child do whatever the child wants to do.

Craig

Craig, okay. And I have also heard it rendered as “train up a child in line with his native abilities.” But in any case, we are talking about authoritative and effective guidance from the parents. The parents are not hapless.

With regard to ‘gentle parenting’: Apparently one can interpret the Bible freely by using only the part of a Hebrew translation that suits one’s taste. I followed the link to Lizzy and realized I have seen this stuff before—like 40 years ago, coming from a seminary trained gal. Same ability to ignore accurate translation. “Here is the Hebrew translation of the term “rod”:

WORD ORIGIN—from an unused word

DEFINITION—rod, staff, CLUB, scepter, tribe

NASB Translation —CLUB (4), correction (1), half-tribe* (22), rod (27), scepter (11), scepters (1), spears (1), staff (1), tribe (40), tribes (83). ” – (Strong’s Concordance)

Also at Lizzy’s website you can send her your email if you “Want To Be A Rockstar Mom” and who wouldn’t want to be that?

Melody

Melody, who indeed?

What age/range do you think is too old for corporal punishment for a child? I think my 7 year old is still fair game for spankings if necessary, but I believe my older teenager is too old. At what age does it become inappropriate and unhelpful to administer such correctives?

GRH

GRH, I would estimate that 95% of the spankings we administered happened in the preschool years, and a handful of spankings through the elementary years. We had an upper age limit of around 12-years-old or so, but I don’t think we ever had to discipline anyone that late.

The Mystery of Attraction

I would really appreciate a post on attraction in relationships–what is legitimate, what isn’t, what you should regard, what you should ignore, what is wise, what isn’t. I’m struggling with thinking about all of this biblically. I recently turned away a guy who ‘checked all the boxes’ but that I wasn’t drawn to at all, nor did I really want to be drawn to him. Some people told me, ‘Spend more time with him . . . the feelings will come.’ And, some told me that it was as simple as, ‘I’m not attracted, so I shouldn’t move forward.’ I’m fearing, though I sought wise counsel from my parents and wise older people at church, that I was only looking at the outward appearance and not at the heart. But, I also know that there are thousands of really awesome, Christian guys who I’m not going to marry and aren’t who God wants me to be a helpmate to. Thanks!

A

A, from this distance, it seems to me quite possible that you did right. However, there are a couple things to watch out for. One is that if you were at an early stage of the relationship, such that he was not in a position to really pursue you yet, you were not responsive because he was not initiating yet. You may have been measuring how fast he could run when he was standing still. At the same time, while it is not necessary to have feelings for him before you have feelings, you should have some understanding that the combustible materials are there.

Speaking of Attraction . . .

Greetings and many thanks for all the work you do, it truly is a blessing to us all. A subject that has come up every so often in our church/community is what girls/women should or can wear.

Now as the Bible makes clear we should look at what is in the heart of the women regarding the clothes they wear, what message are they trying to convey and are they trying to dress to express the glory of the image of God, rather than drawing arbitrary lines about what is acceptable and not. And although we all agree on this point the question always feels unanswered.

For example, I find that a girl wearing a tight jean (I don’t mean obscenely tight so that everything is on show, just not baggy and looking like minimal effort went into making the form of it) and a nice t-shirt is really beautiful to me. Now I don’t think of it in a sexual way but I can’t help but wonder if our (my) taste has been unconsciously corrupted by the world’s hyper-sexualisation and that what I consider pretty today is actually unfitting for the image of God.

So my question is how can we as Christians learn discernment in today’s world where what seems acceptable might just seem that way because the extreme is so far to the sexual side?

Gerthys

Gerthys, great question actually. I believe that a detailed discussion of these things needs to happen in families—with fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and I think that everyone needs to talk. What the sisters think is “cute” might be tagged by the brothers as a total “come on.” So conversation is good. But with that said, there is such a thing a women being attractive, and being attractive as women, which is not immodest.

Courtship Timetables

Why do conservative evangelicals who lean towards biblical courtship still tend to push for long dating/courting time frames? Common advice such as ‘take it slow” and “pace yourself” is often given, seemingly without a sound basis. I know this is a wisdom issue, and depends on the people and situation, but what does the Bible say about this?

Mason

Mason, I honestly don’t know. That doesn’t seem to be the practice around here. It is more common, in my experience, to see couples who have been “dating” for years than to see couples who have been “courting” for years. But if a family is insisting on a really slow pace, it may be that they are a tight family, reluctant to lose a daughter. Or they may have doubts about the young man’s character.

The Present Distress

Your review here of the situation especially the “Prolegomena to Any Future Monkeyshines” and “Totalitolerance” sections is such a great summary of the past few years. What astonishes me in deep blue territory is how many of the Christians in my area still can’t get over their political priors, and so fall hook, line, and sinker for all of the narratives about “Christian Nationalism,” “White Nationalism,” and the like. TDS is showing itself to be a heck of a winnowing fork.

Ian

Ian, yes, and amen.

Sinner and Sin

How would you respond to the popular statement, “Love the sinner, Hate the sin”

Thanks in advance,

Simeon

Simeon, I think that popular statement is very useful within a limited range. Christ died on the cross in such a way as to make such a division possible, because forgiveness is now possible. And there is at least one sinner that we have no trouble practicing this on, as C.S. Lewis points out, that sinner being ourselves. But we must also remember that at the day of judgment, it is sinners thrown into Hell, and not their sins only.

A Case of Conscience

I´d like to start by pointing out how grateful I am for your ministry and your passionate defense of the Christian faith in this difficult age. In these days of trouble for the Church, I´m pretty sure the need of the hour is for faithful men willing to stand for hard truths. My question is on the issue of deception and the use of lying in the Christian life. I agree with your main point that, under the oppression of wickedness and tyranny, a Christian may lawfully deceive (either with actions or words) in order to avoid others from harming him and his family. I also agree that, in our day and age, the use of fake C-19 vax cards would be lawful in many occasions.

My question would be whether this resource would be “okay” if used to preserve a job position in the government (obtained through the demands of national law).

Would that answer change if the demand was made by a private employer, there being probable reason to believe the employee really needs THAT job in his current situation? Could an employer making such a dangerous demand be considered as tyrannizing and exceeding his authority to such an extent that a lie could be used to stop him from doing evil?

The bigger issue for me seems to be that we live in a time in which companies/private business join with government in trying to coerce the community into receiving dangerous substances in their bodies…

Imagine if all physicians and medical students were forced to take the jab by private hospitals, and later these mRNA vaccines were proven to be highly lethal in the long run? Wouldn’t the duty of the employees in such a situation (if unable to resist openly) be to use deception to carry out their duty towards their God and their society in their jobs? I think in the following examples: Jacob deceiving Isaac to receive the blessing which was truly his, David deceiving Achish in 1 Samuel 27, and also Samuel deceiving Saul under the Lord’s command in 1 Samuel 16…

The Lord bless you and keep you.

John

John, yes, I concur. And the problem is complicated by the fact that so many aspects of our economy are now fascist in principle—privately owned, but with a great deal control/influence from the state.

Logos Software and the Bible Reading Challenge

I know that the To the Word and Same Page Summer reading plans are made available through the Christ Kirk app and other Bible reading apps, but are there any plans to make the plans available through Logos/Faithlife? I would love to have it linked to my Logos so I could use it across my platforms! At any rate, I (and my church) are so thankful for it!

Patrick

Patrick, we would be totally open to that, but are unsure of who to talk to.

Different Ways of Overcoming

I recently listened to your sermon on Psalm 37 and was blessed by it. However, I have a question concerning the promises of God in this Psalm and elsewhere in Scripture. Can we take these promises at face value and expect that at every time and in every circumstance this will be the outcome? For example, Psalm 37:32&33. I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was executed at the hands of the Nazis. Verse 19 of this same Psalm says that in the days of famine the upright will be satisfied (have abundance in ESV). Has there never been an instance where a Christian died of starvation because of famine? These kinds of promises seem easy to believe when we are living in a place of prosperity, but what about the Christian who is languishing in a prisoner of war camp and being starved to death. Are we to read these promises with a “yeah, but . . .”? How are we to understand the instances when these promises don’t appear to have been fulfilled in a Christian’s life? I am trying to reconcile what I read in Scripture and what I see in actual experience. Paul says that all the promises of God in Him are yea and amen, but what about the exceptions? How do I reconcile Matthew 6:33 with 2 Corinthians 11:27?

Colleen

Colleen, I would appeal to Hebrews 11:32-39. Some conquered, others were conquered, and all did so in faith. The promises are not theorems from Euclid, where triangles will never not have three sides. The promises are rock in God’s quarry, and as I build my house, I need to choose which rocks I bring out with intelligence and faith.

A Problem Concerning Which Nothing Can Be Done

I thoroughly enjoy your podcasts—except for one teeny detail. . . How about having someone help you monitor your use of “. . . uh?”

No big thing, but my family has often helped me with my own “uhs” and “you knows,” along with a distracting habit of scratching my nose when I speak.

There has been a point at which my wife has told me she stopped listening to what I was saying, and started counting the “uhs” instead . . .

Cordially Yours,

Tommy

Tommy, the sound booth where I record is pretty small. There is really no room in there for critics, especially the ones that would hurt my feelings.

I am writing about your 2018 post, Under Lock and Key. Your analogy of locks and keys resonates with me. It’s always seemed there was something fundamentally egregious about encouraging women to pursue sexual activities outside of marriage.

I recently met a wonderful Christian woman, for whom I have developed strong feelings. We started dating, and some time into the relationship she revealed to me that in spite of a strong godly upbringing, she has a somewhat lengthy and sordid sexual past. I have struggled very much with the application of grace in this context. I know she has repented and been forgiven and that today she walks very closely with the Lord. And yet, something very weighty and irreplaceable has been lost. There was defilement and persistent sin. It seems that no matter what I try to think, I sense that loss and feel the defilement from her previous actions. The stronger my feelings for her, the greater pain I feel. Images haunt me and I am tortured day and night to the point of some physical pain.

You wrote:

“I have not forgotten that one of the central themes of the Bible is how the whore is transformed into a virgin bride. I have not forgotten Mary Magdalene. I have not forgotten the glory of grace, and the clean mountain water of forgiveness. We know and exult in the fact that the splendor of God’s mercy to this seedy and corrupt planet is enough to stop the mouths of the principalities and powers. But grace does not invert the standards. Grace brings us back to the standards. Grace restores virginity—it does not overthrow the glory of virginity. “

In a dating relationship (and beyond), what does it mean that grace “restores virginity?” There is no going back. I feel certain after struggling that I cannot overcome the revulsion (that is the strongest feeling—though there is also anger and sadness) I feel knowing her past, and have nearly resolved to break things off. It seems rare for this to be a “deal breaker” in today’s time, and I’m always in awe that people are able to overcome this sort of issue and tie the knot. I pray for the Spirit to lead me and change my heart, if marriage is what He has in mind, but I cannot imagine it possible that I ever see past this.

I would be keenly interested to know your thoughts, if you have counseled couples through this before, and under what circumstances you would offer what sort of advice. I am 35 years old with my life more or less “in order,” (church, house, job) and have found it very difficult to find a woman without sexual history, yes, even in the church. Is there any point in hoping for someone who hasn’t been with another man in that way?

Thank you kindly,

Chad

Chad, yes, I have had to deal with this kind of thing before. And I want to be entirely sympathetic with your jealousy. Jealousy is a good thing, and it is from God (2 Cor. 11:2). But there is a way for it to be twisted, and that is happening to you now. Jealousy is given by God to husbands so that they might protect their wives in the present. Retroactive jealousy, jealousy about events in the past, provides no protection to her, and becomes the very thing that the woman now needs to be protected from. She is forgiven by God, and yet her man arises to become her accuser. The only thing that can protect us from the past is the blood of Christ. You are not up to that, and if you attempt to “protect” her from the past, which is what these jealous emotions of yours are trying to do, you are actually putting yourself on the same level with the men who used her sexually in the past. She needed protection from them back then, and she needs protection from you now. I would encourage you to put these feelings of yours to death, and marry her—with never another word about it.

Age for Marrying?

I’ve heard folks—experts I guess—claim that the human brain is not fully developed until people reach their mid to late 20’s. Supposedly this is especially true for boys, you know those with both X and Y chromosomes. With that in mind, my question is this: Is there an age that’s too young to get married? Are teenagers too young to get married?

John

John, not at all. Not only does the wife get to modify his wardrobe, she gets to shape his brain as well.

All the Different Subjects

Re: Mallory’s interest in the Christian perspective on particular subjects, a book I read many years ago is Gary North’s “Foundations of Christian Scholarship.” American Vision describes it thus, “In 1976, Dr. Gary North edited and published “Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective.” It included chapters on psychology, history, economics, education, political science, sociology, mathematics, theology, and two chapters written by Dr. Greg Bahnsen on apologetics and philosophy. “

David

David, thank you. Yes, I thought of that book also. I should have mentioned it.

Surprised

My husband and I get a real kick out of watching your videos.

I’ll preface by saying I once was a hardcore, left wing, liberal, atheist. I considered myself a feminist and believed in and supported the idea of destroying the patriarchy. Fortunately, I submitted my life to Christ in late 2018. That’s around the time that God started flipping my worldview.

I never expected to find toxic femininity in the church. It wasn’t until I went to my first women’s Bible study that I got the first whiff of it. There’s a disdain for male headship, which surprises me. We’ve been going to this church for almost two years now. Last Sunday, a group of women went down to the front to lead in prayer over other women. It was presented as “if any women have need of prayer over delicate matters, we have this group of women here to pray over you.” I thought this was strange.

Again, I’m new to Christianity. Though, I love my Bible and I study it daily. This just rubs me the wrong way, it seems like they want the role of deacon. Maybe I’m seeing this all wrong, but one of the ladies is also studying women’s ministry and we’ve had quite a few conversations about egalitarianism. I haven’t confronted the women, I’m praying about it.

Anywho, all that to say, what do you think about this? Am I overreacting? The last church I went to, I had similar strange vibes and a year after my husband and I left, the pastor’s wife started preaching. What you permit, you promote.

I hope to hear back from you!

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

Rebecca, it is good to hear that your security alarm system is in good working order. You know what these attitudes look like when they are fully grown, and these poor Christians do not. Pray for an opportunity to say something, and when God opens the door, don’t hold back. But make sure to hold back until He opens the door. When unbelievers become Christians, they don’t become liberal Christians. They want the real thing, the thing at the center, who is Christ, and not what is out on the margins, which is compromise.

Church Discipline and Head Coverings

I greatly appreciate the feedback you have already given and have one last question in regards to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.

Would disobedience to the Paul’s requirement of hair length/covering during prayer bring a church member under church discipline? And if not, why not?

Thank you so much for your patience with me as I have struggled with this passage.

Sincerely,

Stephen

Stephen, yes, depending on the circumstances, which could vary wildly. But there are many ways to address the problem pastorally before it got to that point.

“Anyone who remained faithful to biblical orthodoxy and resisted in any way the ongoing demands of the sexual revolution was going to be regarded—you can count on it—as the equivalent of a white supremacist.” This one is quite timely. Earlier today, ESPN shared a quote from Jason Adam on his refusal to wear the rainbow patch on his jersey and hat. Of course, the moment he mentioned Jesus, the rabble was in an uproar and the comment section, of course, became a dumpster fire. But most noticeable is the usage of the word “supremacist” towards Christians. It’s completely predictable the line of thinking they employ and how easy it is to see where it leads . . .

Greg

Greg, yes. Look for many diagnostic tags to be applied to us. Conservatives will be identified as “mentally ill,” which is why they were so susceptible to the allurements of “Christian nationalism” and “white supremacy.” Their rollout of Soviet techniques has been quite impressive. And they don’t act embarrassed about it at all.

Thomas the Culprit

In your book of the Month for June you mention that Francis Schaeffer blamed Thomas for “pretty much everything.” Is there a particular book where Schaeffer lays out what he blames Thomas for, that a younger reader could look at?

Greg

Greg, the best place to start would be Schaeffer’s Escape From Reason.

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The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
20 days ago

Doug said: “Their rollout of Soviet techniques has been quite impressive. And they don’t act embarrassed about it at all.”

Joe McCarthy says, “told ya!”

Mallory Collins
Mallory Collins
20 days ago

David,
Thank you for the book recommendation!
Mallory

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
20 days ago

I have noticed that the “I love the sinner but I hate the sin” is often said when Christians are accused of being overly judgmental, usually about sexual sin. No one says it about Hitler or Stalin’s murders. I am not sure how useful it is. It’s not credible to the sexual sinners who don’t believe for a moment that Christians actually love them, and I wonder if it is a cliche that obfuscates thought. It’s nowhere to be found in the Bible. It was St. Augustine who wrote “With love for mankind and hatred for sins” and it was… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Jill Smith
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
20 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Define love.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
19 days ago

I think that love for unknown sinners is willing their ultimate good, not judging them more harshly than I hope to be judged myself, trying always to remember that their sins may, in the eyes of God, be more excusable than any of mine, and wanting their welfare, both temporal and eternal. For people I actually know, it is all that plus treating them with kindness and respect, offering such help as I may reasonably offer without expectation of return, and praying for them–all the while bearing in mind that I am a sinner just as they are.

Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, I think you should be scriptural in your definition of love. It helps keep us from emotional error. From Romans 13:

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

JohnM
JohnM
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I'm not sure I see the difficulty. Not in principle. In reality as it happens, yes, if that's what you mean. Hate as visceral animosity toward the act naturally extends toward the actor. Perhaps it should - after all it is not as if act and actor are segregated - or perhaps the "naturally" is in terms of fallen human nature. However, equally in reality, hate as will to avert or eliminate the sin does not have to extend to malice toward the sinner, how the sinner perceives it, and even adverse actions necessary to accomplish that will, not withstanding.… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I haven’t heard the expression examined with any serious thought by a Christian. I think that the underlying implication of hating a person for being a sinner requires presumptions about what is happening in that person’s heart and head that in nearly all circumstances you just can’t do with reliability anyway. I can determine to a certain degree of certainty if someone is acting in wickedness. What I can’t do is fully appreciate how it is that they got there, and while the wickedness of the act remains the same, the amount of sympathy garnered by the sinner can change… Read more »

me
me
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

The phrase “love the sinner but hate the sin” has always seemed meaningless to me, like one of those things everyone says but no one actually does. Another overused platitude: “Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship.” I’ve heard both of these uttered and given a pause for dramatic effect at the end, like something truly profound has been said. These little witticisms seem to have found a home in evangelicalism for some reason.

Cherrera
Cherrera
19 days ago
Reply to  me

If you were truly “in the world but not of the world” you’d understand those phrases better. Just kidding, as that’s another non-Bible verse often quoted like Scripture. To be fair, it may be closer to having a Biblical basis (John 17) but Jesus never used that exact wording. “Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship” has got to be the worst. I’m quite sure more bad theology and practices have resulted from it, though “love the sinner but hate the sin” can be problematic, too.

Last edited 19 days ago by C Herrera
me
me
19 days ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Oh, you’re just “so heavenly-minded you’re no earthly good!”
😀

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
19 days ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“What would Jesus do?” comes to mind. Comparing what you should do to what Jesus would do is a worthless idea. For a start, Jesus has never been in my circumstances. He was fully God, and operates with information I do not have. I can’t tell what Jesus would do if He were limited in the scope of His information because there aren’t any examples of his behavior in that context against which I might compare. Even aside from that problem, Jesus being perfect means that all the saying actually means is “do the right thing”, which, in any given… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
19 days ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Very true. One thing I’ve heard many times is “We have the perfect example of masculinity in Jesus. We don’t need anything else.” Okay, but Jesus wasn’t married and had no children. For fathers and husbands, that’s a huge part of life with no analogs to Jesus’ experiences. He had plenty of confrontations (and wasn’t always a “nice guy”), but they don’t teach us what to do in every tense/awkward/high-pressure situation. His entire mission was to sacrifice his life and not fight his fate physically or legally–but didn’t tell everyone else to do the same. If He did, he would’ve… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by C Herrera
Dave
Dave
18 days ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Cherrera, please help me out a bit here as I don’t follow your thoughts. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.” John 1:12,13 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 Aren’t we children of the… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
18 days ago
Reply to  Dave

I’m not denying any of that. Go back and read Justin’s post and mine after it. I’m simply saying that we don’t know have examples of exactly how Jesus would handle most specific situations. WWJD isn’t nearly as helpful as “how do I apply wisdom using God’s entire Word to this situation,”

Dave
Dave
18 days ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Cherrera, the Bible gives examples of specific situations and rules for living. Many Christians don’t examine the Old Testament which is full of both specific examples of situations we are faced with today.

Everyone wants the exact Aramaic or Hebrew to give a perfect answer to their problem. The Bible shows how to run our government, our businesses, our families and our personal lives. I don’t see how we are not covered in every circumstance.

Cherrera
Cherrera
17 days ago
Reply to  Dave

“…the Bible gives examples of specific situations and rules for living. Many Christians don’t examine the Old Testament which is full of both specific examples of situations we are faced with today.” Again, I’m not questioning any of that or the fact Jesus was tempted in every way. I’m saying WWJD is a not-so-helpful slogan and movement. We need to consider the entire Bible (as you say) and use wisdom. Trying to imagine “what would Jesus do” in situations He was never in (parenting, marriage, commanding troops, etc.) isn’t always the best course. Maybe a Proverb or a situation with… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
18 days ago
Reply to  Dave

“Is there a single trial, temptation or sin that Jesus did not overcome?” This depends on how you classify them. Did Jesus overcome lust? I’m sure he did. Did he overcome every possible scenario in which lust can become a danger? Obviously not, as there are an infinite number of scenarios in which one might encounter lust. Since I don’t know precisely how Jesus would behave in every possible scenario, the advice to ask yourself what Jesus would do is not helpful in any scenario that involves circumstances not found in the Bible. You can derive general guidelines surely, but… Read more »

Dave
Dave
18 days ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The Bible says that “. . . but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.” That pretty much covers every possible scenario and every possible circumstance that we might encounter.

What circumstance is not found in the Bible?

Read the entire Bible. If you are interested, you can read along this summer as we read through the New Testament.

https://www.christkirk.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/English-2022-Summer.pdf

There is so much in scripture that is overlooked because we just don’t read the whole Bible.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
17 days ago
Reply to  Dave

It is perhaps slightly arrogant to run the assumption that the reason I’m concluding the way I am simply must be because I haven’t read the bible. “but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.” That pretty much covers every possible scenario” No. Objectively, that is not a component of the sentence. Having been tempted by all things is not the same thing as being tempted in all hypothetical scenarios. For example, public education did not exist in Christ’s time. Any scenario whatsoever involving the structure of high school is not something for which… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Justin Parris
Dave
Dave
16 days ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, I am engaging with honesty.

The Bible is clear. There is nothing new under the sun and tempted in all things covers everything. Every temptation known to man. Everything.

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
16 days ago
Reply to  Dave

The point that Justin (whom I usually agree with) and Cherrera (whom I usually don’t) are making is not that there is nothing useful in the Bible about whatever dilemma one faces. They are not denying that the Bible is a sufficient guide for faith and practice in all of life. Rather, they are objecting to the simple use of the question “What Would Jesus Do?” as a substitute for whole-Bible exegesis and growth in the mind of Christ. It is correct to point out (for example) that Jesus was never tempted to cover up His sins (because He never… Read more »

Elaine
Elaine
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

My daughter was raised in a Christian home and married a Christian man and bore him two beautiful little girls. She volunteered for a “Right To Life” organization and was vocal in her conservative views. After 19 years of marriage she announced via email that she was divorcing her husband and moving in with a lover. We lovingly confronted her with her sin (meaning we stated specifically what the sin was and how it was affecting her children – and “what was she thinking?”) and called her to repentance. We told her that she was always welcome at extended family… Read more »

Noodler
Noodler
19 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

May God bless you. You have my deepest sympathies. May God grant your daughter repentance.

JohnM
JohnM
19 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Elaine, I’m on your side here. I want to say that first. Some of what follows falls in the easy for me to say category, because it’s not my daughter we’re talking about. In situations like yours I don’t think there is a reason to qualify our confrontation as “lovingly”, just confront it, if you are in a position where you have any authority to do so, and I believe parents always are. Because you love your daughter? Sure, that too. Because you also love her husband and kids whom she hurt, but just the fact that her behavior is… Read more »

Zeph .
Zeph .
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Elaine, you are also being consistent Christians for your grandchildren, who need to see your consistency, whether your daughter repents or not.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
18 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

How tragic for you all; I am so sorry. I have been in your son-in-law’s position and it was a comfort to me that his entire family didn’t include my ex-husband’s girlfriend in family gatherings–I couldn’t have brought myself to attend them, and that was at a time when I really needed family. In fact, they didn’t include even my ex until I had got over the first shock and grief. They were neither Christian nor particularly observant of their own religion, but they had no intention of appearing to accept an adulterous relationship. They also believed, as you do,… Read more »

Noodler
Noodler
19 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Most people who say ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ feel offended if you verbally name the sin. Just calling it by its biblical name is enough to bring their ire. Clarifying, no?

Stephen Pourcho
Stephen Pourcho
20 days ago

Thank you so much Doug for your patience and feedback I respect your position and especially how you consistently apply God word as you have interpreted it. God willing more churches will see the problems of disregarding this passage of scripture for cultural reasons.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
19 days ago

Greg,

G.K. Chesterton argues the case for Thomas as an antidote to much of the craziness of the modern world. He also anticipated Schaeffer’s assignment of blame:

It is true that, in some matters, the critics of Aquinas

thought his philosophy had unduly affected his theology.

This is especially so, touching the charge that he made the state

of Beatitude too intellectual, conceiving it as the satisfaction

of the love of truth; rather than specially as the truth of love.

Chesterton’s biography of Aquinas is also quoted in

this careful explanation of where Schaeffer misinterpreted Aquinas.

Greg
Greg
19 days ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

I find this interesting because for me the core of Aquinas’ thought was the defense of the centralized authorities. In religion this was the Catholic church, and of the papacy as the ultimate archetype of that distinction and in philosophy this was Aristotle. I also see Aquinas as reintroducing Aristotle with a distinctly Islamic flavor, of a formalism and attraction to highly abstract intellectual frameworks which I would point out was colored by the extreme centralization of the Islamic world and perhaps not a true articulation of Aristotelian thought. The article you link to points out that it was Sigar… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Greg
John Callaghan
John Callaghan
16 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Actually, Aquinas makes very little use of centralized authority and he references popes quite rarely. Each article of his Summa Theologica does include a section (opening with Sed Contra) quoting an authority in support of his answer (mostly scripture in the articles discussing theology), but that section is only a sentence or two long. 95% of each article is argumentation and replies to objections.

A good example of this is:
ST,I,1,8 Whether sacred doctrine is a matter of argument?

which he answers affirmatively, writing, “against those who deny one article of faith, we can argue from another”.

Zeph .
Zeph .
19 days ago

I found a very interesting history book on Gutenberg. It was published in 1880, so bear with the title. “The History of the Negro Race in America”. It is in two volumes. Part of the book goes state by state and gives the slavery laws of the original thirteen states. Free download.

Nathan
Nathan
19 days ago

Thomas Aquinas?
Doubting Thomas?
Thomas Jefferson?
Dylan Thomas?

Its been a few years since I’ve read “Escape.”

Greg
Greg
19 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

Thomas Aquinas

Last edited 19 days ago by Greg
Dave
Dave
19 days ago

Re: Paddywonking The whole discussion around how much is too much discipline before it becomes abusive can be answered by identifying the goal of the method used. For example, if it’s true that crying when spanked is a desirable outcome, showing a child’s expression of repentance, then there are very effective non-abusive ways to achieve that goal. I taught in a Christian school in the 70’s where I learned a valuable lesson on method from the Principle. With multiple godly daughters and a son, he used this method successfully. He incorporated your explanation of an appropriate method by using a… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
19 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Well, yeah…but we are not wiped clean and our sins forgiven via our own punishment and suffering. I would not want to give the child the impression that there is any necessity for or value in in their performing or suffering some penance for their sins.

Noodler
Noodler
19 days ago

RE: the jeans comment. I always feel immodest in form fitting things, tight, shorter than my knees, etc. A relic, I know. The more I have studied Christian history, the more convinced I am that our current clothes standards would be regarded by all Christians pre 1900 as immoral. I don’t know how to dress without looking odd or feeling immodest. Biblically, what exactly is the standard? Is it really as relative as we would like to think?

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
19 days ago
Reply to  Noodler

Fashion tends to go in cycles. It’s been 100 years since the radical shift of the Flapper Era. It’s possible we’re ready for the pendulum to swing back in the other direction. If so, then in 20 years from now, our cities may start to resemble…

Paris in 1902

Cherrera
Cherrera
19 days ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Unless we remain firmly rooted in Western culture (we’re WAY off the track right now), I don’t think we’ll see very modest clothing make a mainstream return. The tight, skin-showing trend has been around since the 1960s, even though clothing trends have changed many times since then. Even some TV shows and movies from the 50s had surprisingly immodest clothing, though I’m not sure how many women actually dressed like that until later.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
18 days ago
Reply to  Cherrera

On a lighter note…Last winter Target sold a line of women’s dresses that were modest in the extreme. Pretty floral fabric, long sleeved, high necked, and a few inches above the ankle. Not much liking my shape these days, I bought a couple and was subjected to gentle ridicule from my daughter along Little House on the Prairie lines. “Hi Ma, where’s Pa? Out hunting jack rabbits for dinner?” One day I was staying in a small town in Oregon and, thus attired, I answered a knock on the door. There stood two young women missionaries wearing the same dress… Read more »

Cherrera
Cherrera
17 days ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Ha! I’d imagine you’d stick out like a sore thumb in Oregon unless you’re around LDS, Amish or one of the few “prairie muffin” conservative home school families left in the state.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
18 days ago
Reply to  Noodler

It is really that relative, but I’m not sure in the way that you’re thinking. It isn’t that cultural values get to dictate the moral standard. Its that the inherent sin is in the heart and mind, not on the sleeve, and so anything a heart or mind can contort into lust is a potential problem, and that’s a liquid standard to try and apply. I follow C.S. Lewis’ standard. If you dress with the intentional purpose to incite lust, you’re guilty of the sin of immodesty. If you dress to the best of your ability to be modest and… Read more »

David J.
David J.
15 days ago

Chad: One aspect of your situation that your letter does not address (and, consequently, nor does Doug’s response) is the impact your girlfriend’s past has had on her. Is she aware of any difficulties that her past may or will present when she is married and obligated to engage in sex with one man for the rest of her life? Is she self-aware enough to know the answer to that question? Has she sought or is she willing to seek Christian counseling about those potential (if not guaranteed) difficulties? Is she defensive about it? Is she wise and self-aware enough… Read more »