Letters on Masks and Black Lives

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God’s Sovereignty and Disease

Notwithstanding questionable fiscal decisions and political haymaking, COVID-19 kills a lot of people and social distancing does keep it from spreading. Do you think that God’s sovereignty means that we don’t need to take precautions to minimize health hazards or do you think there is a conspiracy to make it sound much worse than it really is?

Chris

Chris, first, I don’t believe that faith in God’s sovereignty should serve as an excuse for not taking reasonable precautions. But I do believe that faith in His sovereignty should prevent us from being chased through fear into unreasonable precautions. I believe that reasonable precautions, like not moving COVID patients into New York rest homes would have saved a lot of lives.

Dear Parson Wilson, Here in Pennsylvania some of us freedom loving Believers are having a hard time of it. Our Governor has extended our “State of Emergency” and our constitution does not have provision for him to be challenged. Our General Assembly voted on a resolution to end the State of Emergency citing a similar action taken in the 1980s by the legislature against the executive and a PA Supreme Court Case from April 13th as their standing for voting the madness to end. The Governor challenged this, of course, and said he deserves the right to veto it (even thought it was technically legislation) and so the Supreme Court took up the case. Yesterday the Supreme Court decided that the Governor wins and the legislature does not have a “legislative veto”. The Tranny Health Department Director Immediately released an order to mandate masks. Prior to this it was a suggestion for citizens and an order for private businesses. Now it is an order for all to wear anywhere I may be six feet from someone in public.

Our church governing board has been split on this issue from the beginning. Claiming that wearing masks is a loving thing and they be sure to wear one anytime they are engaging with someone wearing one at church. I do think that follows 1 Cor. 8 and Rom. 14 but at church. But how do we think and live about this now? Our constitution does not allow for this kind of tyranny but the supreme court upholds that it does. What is a good, God-fearing citizen to do?

How should we interact with those that will wear masks for the sake of “testimony” to the world in our church?

How should our church board react? Shouldn’t the church be publicly teaching and training the magistrate? Publicly posting doctrines of church and state and decrying tyranny? Because we are not.

Our General Assembly are calling for their people to disregard because its all unconstitutional but our county is being weak about masking up. Not sure if our doctrine of lesser magistrates comes into play unless our sheriff is willing to man up.

In Christ,

Jed

Jed, I would take an inventory of all the ways you could possibly and reasonably refuse to comply, and then I would start refusing. Put another way, I would start pushing it.

Marxism in Black Face

You had me at “beating the commies like a rented mule”.

Gray

Gray, thanks.

Thanks for the clear thinking and writing. My pastor recently preached a sermon about the “sin of racism” and used the book White Guilt as a framing device if you will. It was saturated with social justice jargon and light on biblical exposition. My wife and I were shocked.

Our pastor is the Vice President of a local clergy association which includes Roman Catholic priests, Episcopalian priests, and a lady pastor of a United Congregational Church, among other Baptists. They do events in the community together regularly. I’ve recently become very concerned about this because of his most recent sermon. Is his involvement with that association a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14-15? It seems pretty clear cut to me. My wife and I are sadly considering leaving our church. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

Ryan

Ryan, the ministerial association may not be where your pastor is picking this up, although it seems likely. What I would do is arrange a meeting to ask questions about the sermon. If he is going woke, and if he won’t reconsider, it is time to find a more faithful church.

“. . . praying that God would raise up a generation of preachers who, like Knox, do not fear the face of any man. We need our seminaries to stop graduating such likeable lick-spittles. This means hot gospel, aimed directly at the actual sins that the people and our leaders are actually committing.”

Yes, I am quite tired of jellyfish-spined “men” occupying pulpits who are themselves more occupied with the fear of man. I believe one of the current buzz-phrases is “trying to understand both sides of the issue”. . . ? Of course, it’s all rationalized away with terms like “grace,” “gentleness,” etc.

Question is, what do I, as a faithful, pew-sitting congregant, do about it? What can I do about it? If all of Scripture really is profitable to make me complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work, what are my options to be like Phinehas (Num. 25)? From my vantage point, it seems that the options are limited.

Guymon

Guymon, what it boils down to is this. Resist those within your circles who are going woke, and support those who are standing firm.

Doug, you remind me of the old joke about the pastor who was such a partisan that one day one of his elders said to him, “You are so partisan that you’d probably vote for Satan himself if he ran as a Republican.” To which the pastor responded, “Well, not in the primary I wouldn’t.” The left doesn’t accept election returns? You mean like during the Obama years when you actively urged Republicans to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct? Pretty much like what Democrats are now doing to Trump; the only thing that’s changed is which party is at the receiving end of it.

And if you want to be overtly partisan and just say you like obstructionism when your side does it but not when the other side does it, just because you like the results, fine, feel free to says so. Just don’t make any claims about having the moral high ground.

Mike

Mike, when the opposition party is in the minority, their job is to oppose. That is what they do. They vote against things they disagree with. That is different, I would suggest mildly, than fomenting riots.

If that’s the way Moscow’s city officials think, why would there be a refugee column headed there? It sure doesn’t sound any better than, say, Indianapolis, which has lost its mind.

Stuart

Stuart, good question. Yes, our local city council is filled with over-reaching panic-mongers. But there is a large community of Christians here who are in a position to stand together against it. That is an improvement for people who are isolated and alone.

Dear Pastor of the Dark Stream (Douglas), As is commonly expressed in these letters to the editor, you communicate with an unabashed outspokenness against our septic culture’s downward flow, an outspokenness I have yet to see paralleled by any in the Protestant Christian community of our day. So many of who I perceive to be the evangelical leadership in America have succumbed to the gentle-Jesus-meek-and-mild notion which has paralyzed the church at least since Machen’s day when he wrote Christianity and Liberalism.

My question is this: Can you provide a brief list of historical Christian leaders, to whom you look for inspiration, who have taken a similarly resolute stance against the prevailing culture when the rest of the church was punctiliously silent?

Pete

Pete, you mentioned Machen, who is the great modern example. In the nineteenth century, I would point to Spurgeon for his theological resistance to “downgrade,” and to Chesterton for his cultural resistance.

Could you please comment on the difference between Christians fighting for the lives of the unborn and Christians fighting for equal treatment of blacks in America? I’ve been talking with a black brother in my congregation, and this is frequently one of his criticisms of evangelicals. He’ll say that when it comes to racism we say just preach the gospel. But when it comes to abortion, we’ll join protests, we’ll advocate for legislation, etc. Thank you so much for your ministry.

Nick

Nick, here is the difference, and it is not a subtle one. We don’t have any laws against murdering the unborn, and so we need some laws against that slaughter. We advocate for legal reform because legal reform is what is needed. But when it comes to the laws requiring equal treatment of blacks and whites, we already have the laws. We don’t need to urge the passage of a law because such laws (however poorly written) are already on the books. So the problems that remain are heart problems, sin problems, which can only be addressed with gospel.

Some Books of Mine

My wife and I just finished reading Andrew and the Firedrake with our five-year-old daughter. We greatly enjoyed reading it with her at night. It seems like from the content of the story (Kyru’s comment about Andrew returning because he left in obedience) that another book at least is intended. I am curious if you are working on the next book for Andrew and if there is an intended release date? This is our first book that we have read of yours, and look forward to reading more!

I grew up reading C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, and even had the opportunity to take courses on them during undergraduate and master’s school, so I appreciated your references to them in Andrew and the Firedrake.

Thank you for your time, blessings,

Austin

Austin, thanks for the comments. I left room for another book in that series, just in case, but am not currently working on a sequel. Here is a link for those interested.

Happy Fourth of July!

Just a quick note after finishing your book, Back & Tan — thank you. This spring, I started reading your books on education as I prepared for my coming transition out of the Army and accepted a position at a Classical Christian school. In addition to appreciating your style, humor, and – most importantly- innumerable, Scripture-supported points, what struck and turned me around the most (after four years of coursework to earn a degree in education) was your highlighting that a so-called neutral position cannot exist when instructing our children. Accepting this simple yet impactful point provides a solution and way forward for us, as the so-called experts – several of whom I studied under – agonize over the latest questions and progress toward nowhere. This perspective was not only an eye-opener for me in the context of school, but in that of culture as well.

In light of recent events and because of a general interest in history (and so, also appreciating your description of the uncertified generalist), I chose Black and Tan as my first foray into your non-education related – at least not specifically – books and was not disappointed. As the Intoleristas and Marxists may be too far gone, my only regret is that I cannot force many of those who are ostensibly on our side to take the book up . . . I can certainly do my part to spread the word though.

Thomas

Thomas, thanks so much. I wish more folks were as open-minded. Here is a link for those interested.

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Ken B
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Ken B

I have been listening to James White and the Dividing Line at lot lately – there has been plenty of opportunity! I have a question, namely Dr White seems to think a massive change leftward is almost inevitable, with consequences for evangelicals that they have been loath even to consider. A very real threat to liberty in general and religious in particular. Now I for one don’t doubt this is a possibility, but does the wisdom here see it that way? Our host has said, for example, that the transgender thing is so ridiculous that a backlash must come in… Read more »

John Callaghan
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John Callaghan

Past liberal revolts against decadent societies – the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution – all eventually failed and left conservatives in stronger intellectual positions. However, each victory came at great cost; the damages could not be wholly cured nor made as if they had not been.

Transgenderism will eventually be rejected as an impractical way of organizing society – but the idea itself will persist. We can now never return to the world of “Vive la différence!” where male/female distinctions are accepted by all and sundry as an obvious, undeniable and beautiful aspect of God’s creation.

Robert
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Robert

Intellectual position is irrelevant.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart
JohnM
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JohnM

To be fair – not to bully-mobs that couldn’t care less about fairness – but to the facts, this one is not an attack on churches, but an attack on a church. After viewing the link I did a little looking to try and find out what excuse prompted harassment of this particular church. If what I read is true the pastor is a bit of a kook given to speech and to stunts that predictably provoke indignation and resentment. Everybody else might ought to just ignore him, but he knows they won’t and my guess is it’s the last… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

“. . . but to the facts, this one is not an attack on churches, but an attack on a church.” John John, you forgot the arson at Saint John’s church in Washington, D.C. Also, you forgot the numerous overreaching orders from governors, mayors and the like using the color of law, not law, to close churches and restrict worship. Then the US Supreme Court rushed in with rulings against California churches not following Satrap Newsome’s order limiting worship and now he declares that Christians can’t sing in worship. John, while you may think it is only a single church,… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Dave Dave. A number of things indicate hostility toward the church, but most of them do not involve mob harassment. Most churches are experiencing nothing like it. That’s not to say it will never happen, but this instance does not signal it happening.

I don’t doubt the mob wants to destroy both Christianity and the Republic, but don’t conflate the two, even if they do.

Dave
Guest
Dave

“Most churches are experiencing nothing like it.” John Most businesses in major cities didn’t experience looting and burning until their governors and mayors refused to enforce the laws against rioting, looting, disturbing the peace and a host of other rules that would get peaceful Christians standing in front of Planned Parenthood quickly escorted to the local hoosegow. Most churches were able to worship freely until they were told to stay at home because their state had a governor who didn’t want to follow the US Constitution or their state constitution. Even during the 1918 Flu, churches were not restricted from… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Dave, To “Most churches are experiencing nothing like it.” you reply with a reference to “most businesses in major cities”, which technically isn’t accurate unless you meant “most of the businesses that did experience looting”, but in any case is off the subject of harassment of churches. “Even during the 1918 Flu, churches were not restricted from worshiping.” That is false. Churches were restricted for worshiping. They didn’t have the option of Zoom or YouTube either. Of course it also has nothing to do with what happened at Grace Baptist in Troy NY. In reply to “the mob” (the one… Read more »

Jsm
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Jsm

Anytime someone excuses an attack by the government on a group by characterizing that group as a bunch of kooks I must remind that person there are people in our country that would characterize you as a kook. Several years ago authorities raided a mormon compound In Texas where they took all their children based on an false accusation. After several months the government had to return their children. The media justified the government’s actions by claiming that group was weird. They did things like teach their women to submit to their husbands and to be keepers at home. They… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Yeah, those sound like dangerous weirdos unlike the murdering, raping, shooting, assaulting, thieving residents of the former Chaz.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

I don’t get the impression the mob was an agent of the government. The police are, and once the “protesters” crossed the line into trespassing the agents of the government escorted them from the premises.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Off the top of my head, I remember that the church has a gun giveaway and are a strict KJV-only congregation. They also said they wouldn’t be threatened by mobs, which is 100% the correct response. They invited the “protesters” to the service but asked them to leave when they were predictably unruly (during which time, the BLM crowd tried to pick fights and shouted multiple obscenities). There’s a video of that. Oh, and they asked that people pray for the mob that disrupted their service. Based on that, it’s not a stretch that “protesters” could start bullying any church… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

It won’t surprise me if the red guards start bullying any church that takes a stand against LGBTQ-alphabet issues and doesn’t support BLM, but so far they haven’t done that to all such churches in general, and I don’t think that was the only thing this church has done that provoked a woke tantrum. The weirdest thing on the church website isn’t the gun give-away (which is a silly stunt, but not all that weird) but the whole touch-the-ham thing. To weed out Jews? Or something. The pastor has allegedly self-identified as a racist, among other things that, if he… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

The ham thing is weird but there are blacks who attend the church. I’m not sure what the pastor really believes. I saw an article by an SPLC guy (the type who’d probably be happy working in a Soviet gulag) and he tried to pile on by saying the pastor retweets Breitbart, Vdare and others who have the nerve to report black-on-white violence the MSM ignores. There’s absolutely nothing racist about that.

Katecho
Member

JohnM wrote: but to the facts, this one is not an attack on churches, but an attack on a church. … but so far they haven’t done that to all such churches in general As others have pointed out, there have been acts of vandalism and harassment against multiple churches, and there are policies singling out and discriminating against church worship practices, in general. In any case, the mobs didn’t start by vandalizing and tearing down all of the statues and flags at once. That’s not how it starts. It starts with the so-called “weird” fringe and expands from there.… Read more »

gray
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gray

“We do need to keep abreast of rapid developments, and we do need to discuss the precise location of red lines for either passive or active resistance. Such discussion is the sign of a healthy immune system at work.” Very good sir. Complete concurrence. And not only abreast, but to eschew any tendency for surprise. The inability to comprehend the full extent of the capabilities and intent of an opponent is nothing more that a practiced and foolish naivete. At least from a superficial examination, Big (and maybe medium and little) Eva does not have red lines, trigger points, or… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Katecho, Note that this string started with “The attack on churches has officially started.” That implies there is an attack specifically on churches and generally speaking and that this occurrence signals the start of it. It also implies the attack is official. Even other anecdotes besides the single one cited do not demonstrate that an official attack on churches as such has started. – As an aside, there has long been an attack on churches and it is ongoing, but it is of a different nature than what we are talking about here – At the same time if what… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

“That implies there is an attack specifically on churches and generally speaking and that this occurrence signals the start of it. It also implies the attack is official. Even other anecdotes besides the single one cited do not demonstrate that an official attack on churches as such has started” Actually, it did. I made no predictions of how many other churches would be attacked or how fast it would happen. But multiple churches (including America’s first basilica in MN) were vandalized or set on fire and one faced an angry mob. That’s a beginning. Whether it will end soon or… Read more »

Jane
Member

Since when is the standard “in order to recognize an attack on churches, the attack must be specifically on churches”? Many of the historical situations we now recognize as persecution were not *specifically* aimed at churches, but they were aimed at a principle that the church as the church could not back down on, or at some feature which the church necessarily has, that it may or may not share with other entities or groups. The Romans persecuted lots of non-conformists, as did the Nazis, as do the Communist Chinese, etc. If the church is caught up in an attack… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Well, pretty much since always in order to recognize an attack as being on churches it has needed to be on churches and not on things that are not churches.

The Americans and British demolished a lot of German churches in WWII, but they weren’t persecuting the church. If the church is attacked for being the church faithfully then it is not caught up in something else, it is suffering persecution as the church. If the church is caught up in something more generalized then it is suffering the fallout of general depravity, just like everyone else.

Jane
Member

I don’t agree. It can be the case that the church is caught up in something that affects more than the church, because it is an issue where the church is a target due to being faithful but for whatever reason, things that are not the church share the characteristic that results in attack. The other entities that are caught up in that are not sharing the characteristic for the same reason that the church has it, but that does not make it any less the case than the church has it because it is the church. I just gave… Read more »

JohnM
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JohnM

Once again someone imagines I’m arguing with reference to something I didn’t mention. Why is the church in China being persecuted by the government? Is it because they will not offer a pinch of incense to Caesar? Then they are persecuted for their faithfulness to their Lord, the fact that others also may suffer for not offering the pinch for other reasons not withstanding. Are they persecuted because they proclaim Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord? Then the church is being singled out for persecution, even where others also suffer, for other reasons. Do they suffer repression because most people… Read more »

Jane
Member

I’d be interested in what you are using to support your definition of persecution that only allows for deliberate attempts by a government or other large, organized entity, must be widespread throughout a society so that a few churches here and there being targeted don’t qualify, and can only be motivated by specific, upper-story concerns about the gospel or the name of Christ, but not other aspects of living as a church body or its leaders believe Christ calls them to live, and loses much of its force if other groups are targeted for overlapping reasons. Has that definition been… Read more »

JP Stewart
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JP Stewart
JohnM
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JohnM

So far it has not, so thus far we cannot say it did. I don’t know how many churches have been attacked for any reason, but one in Troy NY was singled out from all the others for some reason. That doesn’t mean it was a good reason, since there isn’t any, but it also doesn’t indicate a beginning of anything unless we know more about the specific pretext and then start seeing other churches attacked under the same pretext. The basilica in Minneapolis and St John’s in DC both suffered arson damage in the midst of general rioting in… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart
JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Spoke to soon. 3 church attacks (or non-attacks?) in the last 24 hours. Run along…nothing to see here.
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/07/three-churches-burned-just-24-hours-wouldnt-know-watch-national-news/

Douglas
Guest
Douglas

Re: Jed’s letter. I do not live in PA but my job takes me to a truck stop on the western end of the state every day. Imagine my dismay today when, after returning to work from a vacation, I was faced with the return of mandatory mask notifications plastered all over the truck stop entrance door. I decided to take the “comply but don’t obey” tack. I put on a face mask “technically” only. But then I felt bad about this bit of civil disobedience and adjusted it to rights as I entered. Only to find to my relief… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

As far as feeling relief goes… There is a line somewhere in the mask fiasco regarding rendering to Ceasar only that which is rightfully his. Seeing people refusing to render that which isn’t his should be a relief.

I’m in Oklahoma where people take the mask or leave it. Outside of Costco it doesn’t seem to be a big deal and I don’t mind any particular company requiring things in their place of business at all. They should, within reason, be able to govern behavior in their own business.

Gray
Guest
Gray

Are you really in Oklahoma? The U.S. Supreme Court just gave half of Oklahoma to the Indians, including most of Tulsa.

William
Guest
William

The US Supreme Court actually gave it back. Not that that makes any difference to this bunch.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

It will be funny if they decide to do something very politically incorrect in their territory, like ban BLM marches.

Jane
Member

The Supreme Court determined that existing treaties already made it theirs.

Do we like when the court interprets the law as written, or don’t we?

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

My

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

My most optimistic take is that this leads to more Balkanization. At this point, it’s clear much of the left no longer want a debate. They want to achieve political objectives via mob violence (or threats…) and cancel culture. If live-and-let-live, pro civil liberties leftists still exist, they’re beyond silent. And the MSM no longer pretends that they’re little more than our counterparts to Pravda. Balkanization could lead to a peaceful (at least mostly) secession. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems this temper tantrum has gone on too long and gotten away with too much to just disappear–except for lulls… Read more »

gray
Guest
gray

No peace except the kind one rests in. They will not be content to allow anyone or anything to deviate from the party line. You will be made to care, and you will be made to say the words or wear the mask. Never forget “Icepick Leon’s” famous dictum: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

gray
Guest
gray

Caution: Unreconstruction Zone,

Well, since the Supreme Court also determined sua sponte (Marbury et seq) that they were the sole authority regarding all law, it gives me pause about anything that they say. Like has nothing to do with it.

Cristina.lopez21@hotmail.com
Guest

I dont seem to be able to dowload the books I purshase. Thanks Cristina

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
Guest
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

Word’s been getting around about New St. Andrews College. Whoever’s in your marketing department deserves a raise.

I’d post links, but then I’d go to comment purgatory. So here are the headlines to put into DuckDuckGo:

PJ Media: Explosive College Recruiting Video on BLM Shows Why ‘Wokey McWokeface’ Needs Not Apply

Bookwormroom: Honoring pushback against the Democrats’ hate-filled cancel culture

American Thinker: As one college almost goes full Marxist, another is a voice for human decency

Sherry Macy
Member

Here’s an 8th reason: —In Michigan the governor issued yet another order that masks are mandatory to enter stores and other public places and any large group gathering, indoors or outdoors. “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV) . I know, masks are not marks. The world is in great disarray, Many thing… Read more »