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Masks of the Red Death, in a Little Hat Tip to Poe

I received an e-mail from our congressman yesterday, a Republican, btw:

According to local health officials, the continued use of face masks in public and sustained social distancing measures are helping to slow the spread of the virus.

Hmmm, how exactly do they KNOW this? Of course, they can’t KNOW this unless they did a careful study with a control group that didn’t wear masks, then compare the results over time. So, are they lying, or are they just stupid? And I seem to remember that slowing the spread back in March was for a limited time so hospitals wouldn’t be overrun if it turned out to be really bad. Now we’re supposed to be slowing the spread . . . just because? I’m leaning toward conspiracy theories at this point, Big Brother, Big Pharma, Globalists, the whole lot of ’em.

Mike

Mike, yes, conspiracy theories become attractive around this point. But while we should never rule out malice aforethought, we also need to factor in good old governmental incompetence.

RE: Masking and Masks: A Hypothetical Interview So, I’m guessing you’re still in the design stage for the “BLOG & MABLOG” masks? I mean, there aren’t any in the store so what’s the hold up?

Dave

Dave, well, yes, I had toyed with the idea . . . but I am pretty sure that anything I came up with would be banned.

I appreciate your writing on masks, and I am curious as to your thoughts on this. I am on the consistory (as a deacon) of a small Reformed church. We have stayed open through the panic, but a couple of the elders were in favor of shutting down. As we stayed open we tried to respect those who were more concerned by putting some light social distancing guidelines in place. We dropped down a bit in attendance but are back to normal now. Nobody in the church ever wore masks, and the light social distancing guidelines are being mostly disregarded.

We have communion every other month, but we suspended it in April (I think a mistake). For our June communion, the pastor announced at the beginning of the service that the elders who were serving it would put on masks and gloves while serving. This was a surprise to me, and it greatly bothered me. However, since I am a deacon and help guide people up to the table, I thought I should go ahead and participate because I had committed to it ahead of time.

Anyway, we did have communion again last Sunday. I pressed the issue of masks and gloves with the elders. For a while, it looked like they were once again going to have them when serving. Thankfully though, a wise elder opposed to masks was able to convince them not to wear the masks and gloves. I had not yet told them this, but had they gone ahead with masks and gloves when serving, I was going to ask out of helping and not take communion. Not out of anger, but out of an inability to participate in communion with a clear mind. I would have been too distracted and upset at the masks.

Would that have been the right position? What would you say to not taking communion if the servers are wearing masks and gloves?

Thank you,

Midwest Reader

MR, I certainly don’t think it would have been wrong to bow out.

I very much appreciate the work you do. The Lord has worked quite a bit of courage in my heart through your encouragements. Actually, this letter is about that.

I am currently a student at a Bible College in Chicago. We have put in place all kinds of exasperatingly particular restrictions concerning masks and temperature radar guns and the like. Most folks walking down the sidewalk past our urban campus do not wear masks. They seem rather unconcerned, whereas we Christians seems rather frightened.

As children of God, a Man of War, it seems we are not being very much like our Father. I often find myself quite frustrated with these cowardly and arbitrary rules. Pastorally, how may I keep a level head amid this torrent of rabbit-like hopping along Caesar’s garden.

Okay, maybe I just meant that last part to be clever, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

But this all seems so cowardly and trite. Where’s the heart and the courage? And how can I exercise courage in a culture that all but universally detests it? Isn’t it courageous enough nowadays to not wear a mask in your car by yourself? even if the air conditioning is off?

How does the Church act in a way that is righteous and valorous? And how does the individual Christian cultivate bravery in his own walk and rejection of sin?

Thank you very much, sir.

In Him,

Jake

Jake, good questions all. And the rabbit analogy is not there yet, but shows promise. To your question, one of the things I would do is publicly associate with Christian leaders who are standing against the tide. That was the point of my MacArthur post.

Wisconsin’s governor has just issued his mandatory mask edict from his throne in Madison and once again, my church leadership is kowtowing to the state, expecting layman like myself to follow suit in rolling over and playing dead without debate. In your posts, you mentioned that mask mandates were unconstitutional. Where exactly in the U.S. Constitution and/or common law do you base your argument? I’m not challenging your position, but looking through the document today, I couldn’t find the obvious silver bullet that I was searching for. As a product of the communist NY public education system, I’d appreciate your help. I want to write to my church leadership a letter presenting my position in a God-glorifying fashion, arguing from sound theological, legal, and scientific evidence rather than from typical disdain for authority. Lord willing, I look forward to meeting you in person at Grace Agenda and worshiping with Christ Church on the Lord’s Day. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Brent

Brent, thank you, and great question. My argument (if limited to the US Constitution) would be from the First and Tenth Amendments. The First Amendment does not allow conditions to be placed on our right to peaceably assemble. “You can assemble if you wear a blue shirt, etc.” For the Tenth, the Constitution is an express powers document, meaning that in order for the federal government to have the right to do something, it needs to be expressly authorized by the Constitution. All other rights and responsibilities are reserved to the states or to the people. Now I take this as meaning the break out of rights and responsibilities between the states and the people in them that were in place at the time the Constitution was adopted, and our legal traditions know nothing of the kind of restrictions being placed on us now. In other words, the government does not give us our rights. We have them from God, and this includes my right not to have to wear a secular burka because of a manufactured crisis.

In your interaction with Liam about mask-wearing (Letters, July 28th 2020), you say the situation is analogous to the weaker brother in Romans rather than the one in 1 Corinthians.

But in Romans 14, I’m struck by “if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love” and “it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble . . . let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

I’m reading Paul as saying, “If your Christian brother is convinced that eating meat is wrong, you should exercise love for that brother by not tucking into a medium-rare sirloin in front of them.” Or to put it another way, “If you know your Christian brother is grieved by your mask-wearing — because they’re convinced that not wearing a mask falls foul of the command to love one another — then you should exercise love for that brother by wearing a mask in their presence.”

Where is my exegesis going wrong? It’s been a while since seminary :)

PS Love the Spotify playlist.

Barry

Barry, we have to balance two things. One is our willingness to accommodate the weaker brother, and the other should be a refusal to put the weaker brother in charge of everything. Paul says in one place that he will not eat meat or drink wine forever, for the sake of a weaker brother, but then in Colossians he rebukes them for submitting to decrees, saying “do not taste, do not touch,” etc. I reconcile these stances by saying that we should be truly malleable when it comes to our personal interactions with Mr. X, but that Mr. X’s fears should not become the de facto elder board.

On A Land Where Nobody Smiles:

You mentioned WSU essentially closing their doors. Do you think there is a certain amount of excuse-mongering among colleges that would be gathering the sophomoric student body fresh from protesting activities? COVID seems like a pretty convenient excuse to weather a different kind of storm.

Kate

Kate, yes, that is a possibility. Although their consensus appears to be that the virus has graciously agreed not to attend their protests.

MacArthur

Thank you for your post on Dr. John MacArthur. Refreshing!

Gordon

Gordon, thanks. I am most grateful that he is taking this stand.

Re: Our Galvanizing Grandfather. As a churchgoer in the SF Bay Area, I am shocked and dismayed at the negative reactions Dr. MacArthur has received from my church leadership and (anecdotally) most other Christians in the area. I find myself being the one guy standing up and cheering in the stands for Dr. MacArthur while everyone else looks on in horror not knowing how best to slink into the background. The refrain from my milquetoast brethren is (almost to a man) is “What about the people’s health?? How can the church meet under such circumstances?!?!?”

One of the things that angers me most (and I am hopping, spitting mad right now) is the assumption on the part of most Christians that the government is playing straight with us over this illness. It’s been my experience that when the government is lying to us, they are just dead wrong anyway. They lied to us about weapons about mass destruction. They lie to us about babies being just a cluster of cells and that it’s ok to cut them up in the womb and sell the parts. They lie to us and tell us that boys can be girls because feelings are more definitional to a person than DNA–unless its ethnicity DNA, then a person can’t decide anything and must go out ant protest, which is totally ok in the pandemic–but if you try to go to church, hoo boy, public enemy number one, you are. Remember when we were told that the bottom of the food pyramid was carbs and we had to eat more of that than anything? Fat was bad, but sugar was good? We left “trust but verify” in this relationship long, long, ago.

If the government was a person, we would avoid them at all possible cost because we couldn’t trust a thing that came out of their mouth. Yet here we are, the church, accepting the world’s narrative because we want to LOOK caring, but most of us aren’t willing to do the work to find out what that truthfully is.

I’m thankful for what Dr. MacArthur did because this is a fight we need to have. Right. Now. The government is flexing its muscles on us, trying to corner us, to see how far we’ll go. By pushing back now, we set the tone for the bigger fights which are inevitably coming (Thank you Justice Gorsuch). And, here, in Northern California, my elders are so concerned about how they LOOK to the world that they have lost sight of who God has called them to BE.

Which, as I think about it, is something that is so very Californian. God help us all and pray for us.

David

David, yes, and thank you. Speaking of “how far we’ll go” in this test run of theirs, I was frankly astonished that Dr. Fauci suggested goggles. And then, after that, deep-sea diver helmets . . .

Our Galvanizing Grandfather: Substitute the name Doug Wilson with J.M. and you see where I stand on the subject. ;-)

Rebecca

Rebecca, thanks. But I am still just a side character. As the circus devolves into chaos, I am a clown off to the side, providing color commentary.

Thank you for the article, “Our Galvanizing Grandfather.” You were quoted by John MacArthur today on The Eric Metaxas Radio Show. Your public acknowledgment of John MacArthur’s godly stance is commendable. And your comments about the role men in the church are called by God to demonstrate are excellent. Your sister-in-law sent this to me and my husband and I are passing it forward to encourage the Christian men we know that are starving to hear these truths reiterated. Some are being persecuted by their own church elders for taking the same position. Thankfully, these are men with backbones. Unfortunately, they are the minority.

Your article supports, strengthens and revitalizes them, while concurrently admonishing and exposing those leaders shrinking in their duties to their flock. May God bless you for obediently speaking the truth and may His hand of protection be over you and all your family and congregation.

Renée

Renée, thanks very much.

I live minutes from Grace Church and have visited many times over the years. I’ve never come away disappointed or in disagreement with the preached message but blessed and refreshed by the Word preached. I always marveled when they had guest speakers like Al Martin and RC Sproul, given the distinctions in theology.

The church is known for MacArthur’s ministry but it goes way beyond one man. They operate a Christian school, seminary and college. Their bookstore is filled with titles you can’t find outside of online sources and include the Puritans, VanTil, Bahnsen, Frame and just about every Reformed author you can imagine.

I considered Grace as a home church when we first moved into the area in the ’70s until I became aware of the emphasis on their premil, pretrib, dispensational eschatology. While it’s impossible to find a church in southern Cal that has postmil leanings, I just couldn’t align with what I considered aberrant theology and expose my children to it with regularity. MacArthur’s ministry has always been an anomaly to me. He will brilliantly preach about Calvinism, Reformation doctrine and our victory in reaching the nations, then turn on a dime and place these victories into the distant future of after the ”Rapture.”

His stand against Emperor Newsom is somewhat surprising because he has taught the message of ”this world is not our home” for over 50 years. Many of the church members I’ve talked with during election time went so far as to vote for the other candidate to hasten the Lord’s return. This is based on the premise that things must wax worse and worse before he comes, the influence of end-time teaching they are subjected to.

We used to say it’s as though MacArthur ”checked his brains out” every time he switched into Rapture mode. Just about everything else you can take to the bank.

I may sound critical but I have always honored this ministry for being faithful to the Gospel, growing it’s influence and outreach through it’s educational arms and doing it all in the middle of the satanic hotbed of So Cal. Grace truly does much more abound. Thank God for John and the Church for such a time as this.

David

David, thanks for seeing those things which matter most.

My Dear Douglas — Thanks for endorsing Dr. MacArthur as a spokesman for Christianity in the US. No other notes.

Frank

Frank, dance with the one what brung ya.

RE: Our Galvanizing Grandfather

Thank you for this post; well said. I encourage you to please keep John and his leadership on this in our consciousness.

Dave

Dave, you are welcome, and I will try.

Some Bad Information

The Antifa teachers thing looks to be dodgy, I’m afraid. Thought you’d like to know.

Blessings,

David

David, thanks, and yes. I corrected it in last week’s Content Cluster, and will have a retraction this coming Thursday. We must never forget that the Right has its lies and liars also.

A Birth Control Question

Hello! I hope and pray that you are faring well in our crazy times.

My question concerns 11 Theses on Birth Control, particularly concerning the dangers of hormonal birth control methods. My wife has been on hormonal birth control (the Pill) for medical reasons unrelated to conception (she wasn’t sexually active until our marriage last year) since she was in middle school. These conditions are still present.

Is intercourse, then, essentially playing Roulette with a child’s life? If so, how should we move forward in our marriage?

With deepest appreciation for your ministry,

Anonymous

Anonymous, I am afraid I would need to know a lot more about your situation before giving any advice. The questions I would have would include whether her condition precludes having children at all, whether there are alternative treatments for her condition, etc.

An Old Routine

Actual footage of “head bumps with Reformed, postmillennial, presuppositional, paedobaptistic, and Presbyterian brethren”:

Kyriosity

Kyriosity, well, that was something.

George MacDonald Again

On the subject of “Is MacDonald Really All That?”, I’m curious to know if there are any particular MacDonald books that make you call the majority of his fiction “hack writing,” and his theology the same?

Mind, I’m not necessarily challenging your view; I’ve only read one MacDonald book, The Princess and the Goblin—the Canon Press edition, in fact. I’m merely trying to get acquainted with this evidence you speak of that would mean he’s perhaps not the masterful predecessor to Lewis that I was led to believe he was . The recent exchange between you and Mr. Philip on the subject slapped me pretty hard, as I have never before heard anything like what you’re saying applied to MacDonald.

Rivers

Rivers, MacDonald was a universalist, believing that everyone would eventually be saved. At the same time, he was a shrewd judge of character, and believed that no one would be saved apart from a repentance that went all the way to the bottom. His insights there are what Lewis found valuable, I believe. Lewis collected a number of his sayings in an anthology which is quite good. His “romances” are the things he wrote to make a living. In my judgment, the Curdie books are the books he wrote that will last.

A Question About Hell

In a recent sermon and “Mere Fundamentalism,” you mention the concept of “further up and further in,” where our capacity for joy will increase in the New Creation. I have two questions on this. How does the idea of a degrees of reward apply to this and does this same principle apply to eternal punishment — that Hell will become more hellish at time goes on? Again, how does the idea of degrees of punishment apply to this?

Sam

Sam, I believe that capacity for joy is nature of the reward in Heaven, all of it a function of relationship and capacity for relationship. Life eternal is an ocean of joy, and one man arrives there as a thimble and another as a fifty gallon drum. They are both submerged in the joy, and both are absolutely full, containing nothing else. There is no envy, and the thimble, going further up and further in, will eventually get where the fifty gallon drum is now. Now I do believe that there is a likely counterpart to this in damnation, but there are additional problems I frankly have not worked out. The redeemed have infinite gladness to grow up into, while the damned are deteriorating down toward the void. And it seems odd to have increased capacity for misery the closer you are to the utter emptiness. And it should be kept in mind that, when it comes to the precise nature of damnation, we have very little revelation on the subject, and so we should acknowledge our tentative speculations to be such.

That Spotify Playlist of Mind

On The Letters to the Point Playlist –

Doug I noticed you listed Van Morrison a few times in your playlist.

I was wondering if you have ever listened to his, No Guru No Method No Teacher work.

My wife and I, especially when alone, have found this to be one of the best and mutually enjoyable to listen through. In The Garden is inescapably thought provoking and transports one into better thoughts of our future together in Christ.

Just a thought and an encouragement for your consideration.

As always thank you. You really are the man for this time.

Rob

Rob, thanks for the tip. Started listening to it yesterday.

I saw your playlist today in this week’s letters… I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but David Ramirez warrants a listen. He has similarities to Johnny Cash, and his older stuff is particularly insightful (“I’ve been loyal to the wants of my lustful heart and unfaithful to my friend Love”) and a better observer of the human heart and condition than many modern worship songs, though he himself is not likely a believer. The Forgiven, Fire of Time, Bad Days, Rock and a Hard Place, and Good Heart are just a few of his best songs.

DT

DT, thanks. I will check him out.

A Couple of Letters Relating to Greek Orthodoxy

I am a longtime fan of your thoughtful discourse, from the Credenda/Agenda era through the the internet age. About myself: I was raised LCMS, but have been in the Eastern Orthodox Church for 36 years (I am 63). I have a question about the Reformed worldview. We know the issues that the sixteenth-century Reformers had concerning Roman Catholic faith and practice. But was their viewpoint too “local?” What I mean is that most of the practices condemned by the Reformers as Roman abuses are also found in all the ancient Churches claiming apostolic foundation, but outside the influence of Rome. Among these I would include the Byzantine, Armenian, Georgian, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Chaldean, and Indian. How could all these ancient Churches have similar faith and practice (Christological controversies notwithstanding) while developing outside the influence of Rome? Surely these practices did not arise from western European medievalism, as is often implied by Protestants since the time of the Reformation. How could they all independently fall into the same errors or apostasy? How could they all get it so wrong, for so long, while a small group of Northern Europeans suddenly find enlightenment? I would enjoy having your viewpoint on this. Thank you very much for considering my question.

Sincerely,

Basil

Basil, thanks for the question, which I will try to answer as respectfully as I can. The Reformed challenge would grant these similarities that you mention, and would attribute them to the inveterate religious nature of man. Man hungers for tangible worship, and this veers into idolatry with very little encouragement. As to your point about one small group finding “enlightenment,” another thing that all the churches revered in common was the authority of Scripture. The Reformation happened as a result of the Scriptures, which all acknowledged as authoritative, being printed and made widely available in the vernacular. So the impetus of the Reformation was ad fontes, back to the sources. So you are right that we see a great deal of commonality across all the communions you mention. But I don’t find that kind of worship in my New Testament and, in addition, I don’t find it in the churches of the first three centuries.

I was raised Greek Orthodox and dunking babies was a given.

Fast forward, I’ve been born-again since 1982. Having been a Protestant since then, I’ve never thought that anyone in the faith can account for babies being baptized.

I do not see where this is happening in the Scriptures. Did I miss something?

Why would YOU believe babies should be baptized?

PS . . . I enjoy your writings.

Dede

Dede, thanks for the question. It is a huge subject, and I have written a book on the subject which you can find here if you are interested in pursuing it. The form of infant baptism that we practice is covenantal and Presbyterian, which is quite distinct from the approach you grew up with. In short, we believe that baptism is a mark of the covenant, and that children in believing families are organically part of the covenant. The comparison would be to the fact that in the Old Covenant, infants were circumcised, also as a sign of the covenant. But in order to be a true son or daughter of the covenant, the child who is baptized must grow up into a living and evangelical faith in Christ. Water saves no one, but it does obligate us to believe and be saved.

Another Book Plug

Just wanted to say thank you for your helpful little book, Ploductivity!

After the lock down began here in Peru (Mar 16), yours was the first book I began to “plod” through, and I give you the credit for encouraging me to read more, even if only in small bites throughout the day.

So instead of my usual 1-2 books per quarter, I’ve now read about two dozen books since April! (I even borrowed from my son’s ND Wilson stash to find great non-fiction)

After finishing your book in early April, I wrote this little review/recommendation on my blog: here.

If your readers haven’t read Ploductivity already, maybe my words here (and my review) will encourage them to do so!

Blessings,

Eugene

Eugene, thanks very much.

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Bren
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Bren

As an Irish Christian living in the UK I am utterly bewildered by the fanatical hysteria among some American believers regarding the wearing of masks during the current Covid Crisis. I can’t get my head around it! People actually believe that the crisis is manufactured by the Feds? Pastors who support wearing masks are traitors to the faith? People will step down out of Christian ministry or move church because they are being asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing? The church is otherwise giving in to the spirit of the age? The virus isn’t really spreading either?… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

There are way too many questions and straw men to deal with exhaustively, so let’s just look at one. “I cannot imagine for one second that the Lord Jesus Christ during his ministry would have given a thought to the politics of Covid… There is no biblical evidence that Jesus tried to overturn the government of his day or seek to expel the Romans–he wasn’t that kind of zealot.” First, we’re not Jesus and thankfully none of us have His mission to fulfill in a short lifetime. Also, we’re not captive people living under Roman rule. We live in a… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Then give to Caesar what belongs to him.

And?

Liam
Guest
Liam

Bren, Welcome to the Doug Wilson Show. You have stumbled upon a small group of chronically aggrieved, true believers. They hate liberals and 🏳️‍🌈 people, and salivate at the thought of them burning in hell forever. Strangely, they do approve of convicted pedophiles marrying young women and fathering children. Go figure. They love guns but are terrified at the thought of their children, especially their daughters, marrying outside of the white race. They love conspiracy theories; the kookier the better. I could go on but I’m sure you get the gist. So, you see why their brave stance against the… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Forget any useful interactions with Bren….Clay/William/Liam just made every other commenter here look like a genius by comparison. It doesn’t matter what your position is on civil disobedience, baptism or anything else. “They love guns but are terrified at the thought of their children, especially their daughters, marrying outside of the white race.” 1) How do you go from guns to race with no transition or connection between them in that sentence? 2) Please quote anyone in the last 6-12 months condemning people who marry “outside of the white race.” I think there may have been a few white nationalists… Read more »

Jill Smith
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Jill Smith

Bren is evidently picturing a bunch of white congregants brandishing weapons and warning every black visitor “We don’t hold with no race-mixing round here.” He hasn’t gone on to imagine the likely outcome of such a scenario as the BATF, the FBI, and every news crew within 1000 miles scrambled to put boots on the ground. He might have been confused by a meme I keep seeing which is superficially more reasonable: “If you trust God to keep you safe at church without your wearing a mask, why don’t you trust him to keep you safe at church without your… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

One clarification, Jill: I think you’re referring to Liam (also posts here as William and probably a few other aliases). Bren didn’t seem to be trolling and didn’t bring up race or alphabet people (meaning LGBTQ plus any additional letters that have been added in the last 30 minutes).

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, I meant Liam and I send my apologies to Bren.

Liam
Guest
Liam

Jill,

I do enjoy your active imagination.

I also appreciate your thoughtful psychoanalysis of my motivations. Maybe you could use those observational powers to delve into the motivations of our esteemed host? THAT would be worth the price of admission.

I pray for your daughter’s recovery and your continued good health.

Ken B
Guest
Ken B

Bren – you have said at much greater length some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind, living in central Europe. It would do no harm to look at countries with more experience of dealing with these viruses in the Far East, for for more closely culturally related countries those in Europe who experienced this ahead of the States. How one town can spread the wretched thing across a continent. The failure to do this by both the UK and the US both led by populist (simple solutions to complex problems) and incompetent leaders have resulted in unnecessary overload… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

One primary issue I’ve noticed is that many Americans appear to believe that the world revolves around them, and thus ignore everything happening in 200 other countries around the world unless they can somehow twist it to be in service of US political interests. The idea that leaders or experts around the globe would be doing their best independent of what the Democrats or the Republicans want is not something they ever consider.

Daniel Fisher
Member

Bren, appreciate the thoughts. If the restrictions and concerns had been meted our in a fair and even way from the beginning, I might well be inclined to agree with you. But when I saw police showing up to shut down a church service that was being held in a parking lot with all congregants in their cars, windows rolled up… but our same governments gave a green light to protests gathering in the thousands… . then one starts to be rather suspicious of *anything* our governments say in this context, and begins to wonder if there may well be… Read more »

Estuary
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Estuary

What is the site’s IP server address should a DNS takedown occur? I think this may be coming as a further step toward deplatforming conservatives in the future.

Chuck
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Chuck

104.18.55.44. Although a DNS takedown is not a likely thing. The website itself would be taken down before losing DNS would be a problem. Cloudflare will not let you connect via IP anyway. Both DNS and the website itself is hosted by cloudflare which is known for its protection against various attacks meant to take websites down. A DNS takedown would either be from cloudfare directly in which case the website goes with it or it would have to be a coordinated effort from every large ISP and DNS provider around the world.

Corey Reynolds
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Corey Reynolds

What you say about covenantal and Presbyterian baptism sounds nice, but it is still no more a Biblical teaching than that which Dede decries in her letter. It’s pretty telling that something so seemingly important would just be completely neglected by Christ and all the apostles. We must be wary of clinging to certain practices just because they fit our theological construction nicely or comport with our own historical experience (as in “I was baptized this way, so I must look for why this is right”).

Jsm
Guest
Jsm

Yeah, credobaptists are perfect examples of not clinging onto certain practices because they fit their own historical experiences. BTW Doug was raised credo and came to a paedobaptist view after a careful study of God’s word. I wasn’t raised in the church or baptized as an infant. However when I started reading the old testament to get a fuller picture of God’s economy I realized I was reading my own individualistic presuppositions into the text. Doug’s “To a Thousand Generations” lays out the biblical argument for paedobaptism. Your comment “It’s pretty telling that something so seemingly important would just be… Read more »

Augus Tinian
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Augus Tinian

This argument pops up here every once in a while and having watched it for a few iterations, I think it hinges on whether or not baptism is a covenant sign / mark. Can someone show me where Jesus – or anyone – said it is? Why would God be plain-spoken about the circumcision (and other covenant signs) yet require His people to deduce that baptism is a covenant mark? Maybe it’s just me but I noticed He didn’t mention it at the last supper when He was instituting the Covenant. Of course, it’s possible He knew a group of… Read more »

JP Stewart
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JP Stewart
Corey Reynolds
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Corey Reynolds

Not surprising that there’s no Scripture in that article.

Jsm
Guest
Jsm

Colossian 2 links baptism and circumcision. Your argument against baptism could be made against Sunday sabbath observance. He was so outspoken about the 7th day being the sabbath in the old testament why didn’t he just come out and command us to move the day to Sunday? It becomes obvious when you apply your reasoning to other doctrines how poor it is and how many doctrines would fail. If the trinity was so important why didn’t he just come out and state the trinity plainly?

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

I think that we are totally wrong to move “Sabbath observance” to Sunday. Worshipping on the first day of the week is fine, but that’s not Sabbath observance. Just one more thing people assume they can and should do because of their upbringing, and not because of Scripture.

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

I am 100% in agreement with you. I believe that the Scripture teaches that Christ is our rest – our Sabbath, and that we are no longer required to hold to the shadow of what was to come.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Augus Tinian (nice name),

At the Great Commission, Jesus very clearly commanded His disciples to be baptized. Children are called disciples all over the Scriptures. Why would you exclude them from Baptism?

Robert
Guest
Robert

BJ the order in Matthew 28 is go, teach, baptize ,not baptize teach.

Jane
Member

Robert, you may want to go back and check that again.

We Be Libtards
Guest
We Be Libtards

I voted thumbs up for you, Jane. 💖

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Robert,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Make disciples and baptize them.

The Baptist model for baptism must insist, contrary to Scripture that children are not covenant disciples.

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

How about because the call is to “Repent and be baptized”, not “repent and let’s baptize your children”? We don’t hinder the children from coming to Jesus (and thus many Baptists are “paedobaptists” in some ways because we sure baptize a lot of believing children), but we also don’t invent new practices out of whole cloth with no Scriptural support. Ultimately, though, the perfection of Jesus’ baptism (not as an infant) covers the imperfections in all of our baptisms, so we are brothers made perfect by His work. We should still seek to be faithful to the instructions given, though,… Read more »

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Corey, The calls to repent and be baptized were to adults and we do that very thing. And, I call my children to repent as they get older, because repentance is not a one time and done practice. So, to be rigidly inflexible on the timing would be fairly nonsensical. Plus, Peter also said the call to repent and be baptized was based on a promise that was for children. You really have to squint to see? Children are part of the covenant all over the place. I can cite dozens of examples. Maybe I can help put it in… Read more »

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

BJ, your example of women in the covenant is a good one. If we were to carry the logic of infant baptism forward to adult women, we should just baptize them when their husbands repent and believe, rather than looking for evidence of faith and repentance.

Augus Tinian
Guest
Augus Tinian

Does anyone else think it odd that baptism is a sign of the covenant but the sacrament is different for an infant than an adult? The adult makes a confession, answers some questions from the priest/pastor/deacon/bishop, whatever, etc. In other words, there’s some profession of faith and eligibility to be admitted into the Church community. But that’s not what happens with the infant. There may be a parent who promises to do all the things a Christian parent should do for their child but does the parent confess faith for the infant? There is an interesting incident in Acts 8… Read more »

Augus Tinian
Guest
Augus Tinian

You’re absolutely right, Corey, that’s exactly what we should do – provided they are in their household, that is.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

Corey,

You have clearly missed (likely on purpose) the point of my illustration. I won’t waste anymore time, but just know that until you are willing to grapple with the inclusion of children in the covenant, you are simply being guided by your tradition and not Scripture.

john k
Guest
john k

Corey, Your argument is that infant baptism would absurdly indicate the baptism of unbelieving wives. It’s true the Apostle Paul (in 1 Cor. 7:11-14) doesn’t say to baptize unbelieving spouses, even though they are “sanctified,” or “made holy” by being married to a believer. They’re still joined to the unbelieving world. However, unlike the case of the spouse, Paul says the holiness of the children distinguishes them from the children of the unbelieving world. Similarly, Paul calls Christians “holy” or “saints” (Rom. 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:2, 2 Cor. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Phil. 1:1, Col. 1:2). Since Paul, in Ephesians and… Read more »

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

Did God really say, “Baptize your children because they are in the covenant”?

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

And I find no conflict between the passages that call children “holy to the Lord” and instructions to baptize believers. My children have all of the privileges and blessings of being brought up in a Christian home – exactly as you say – and yet will still only be baptized when they have shown that they repent of their sin and believe the Gospel. In a lot of ways, they never really have opportunity to doubt the Gospel, because they are homeschooled, and taught their entire life that God made them for His glory. But there is a level of… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Augus Tinian wrote: … I think it hinges on whether or not baptism is a covenant sign / mark. Can someone show me where Jesus – or anyone – said it is? A much more difficult task would be to try to argue from Scripture that baptism is not a covenant sign. A covenant is a deep personal and relational bond (think marriage covenant) into a covenant head. Our union “into” Christ, and our identification with Him, is explicitly described with reference to baptism: Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into… Read more »

Augus Tinian
Guest
Augus Tinian

Good point about the Corinthians passage. I’ll have to think about it some. But yes, if all means all then their infants were included, assuming there were any infants among them at that point. I’m not sure how to tell if Paul was including infants in the all or not. It’s hard to argue he wasn’t from this passage alone.

Your point(s) about the covenant are less convincing.

Corey Reynolds
Guest
Corey Reynolds

The 1 Corinthians 10 argument seems silly to me. Using the word “baptized” in the passage isn’t even remotely trying to teach anything about the practice of baptism. Saying so is akin to trying to make an argument that Moses circumcised all the people at the moment that they walked through the sea because baptism corresponds to circumcision. It’s just bad exegesis all around. But those are exactly the passages that paedobaptists have to turn to in order to try to make any semblance of a Scriptural argument. “See, now tilt your head this way, open your mouth just a… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Reynolds wrote: The 1 Corinthians 10 argument seems silly to me. Using the word “baptized” in the passage isn’t even remotely trying to teach anything about the practice of baptism. Saying so is akin to trying to make an argument that Moses circumcised all the people at the moment that they walked through the sea because baptism corresponds to circumcision. It’s just bad exegesis all around. Paul had many words and rituals that he could have employed to designate the union of the people into Moses, the visible head of the Mosaic covenant. Paul chose the word for baptism, and… Read more »

John Dekker
Member
John Dekker

“an inability to participate in communion with a clear mind”

I think this emphasis is quite typical of the approach to Communion in the (ethnically Dutch) Reformed churches (which is also my spiritual background). But I would gently push back against this and suggest that Communion is more about what God does (i.e. feed us) than what we feel like.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

John Dekker,

I was unable to find from where the quote was drawn – must be there somewhere – so possibly I’m missing some context. Anyway, a clear mind doesn’t have to do with what we feel like, but rather what we understand and think. Jesus said we are to “Do this…” and do it “…in remembrance of me”. Clearly communion is about something we consciously know and believe.

John Dekker
Member
John Dekker

It was from the letter from Midwest Reader.

bethyada
Member

Barry, Something that may help concerning the weaker brother.

Paul was concerned that the weaker brother would copy him (Paul) and be led into sin because his conscience wasn’t clear about the practice.

A “weaker” brother that is not at risk of copying your behaviour, but tells you to do as he does is not a “weaker” brother. Now he may be correct or incorrect, but he does not fit the profile of the weaker believer.

Barry
Guest
Barry

That’s helpful Bethyada, thank you.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

That’s interesting, Bethyada. What I have heard in Catholic sermons is that one should, out of kindness, refrain from outraging the conscience of the more scrupulous brother, even though you think he is mistaken about the sinfulness of the conduct in question. To use a very Catholic example, you accept the church’s ban on all methods of fortune telling and divination and you genuinely believe that all astrology is rubbish. That doesn’t stop you from reading an article called “Guess which signs produce the most serial killers” and discussing it with your friends. (Sagittarius, Pisces, and Virgo!) Your friend thinks… Read more »

Augus Tinian
Guest
Augus Tinian

Tends to be the faux scrupulous who strive for the stranglehold.

adad0
Member

Or, to create a visual analogy, some cats are really fat, which is a real problem,
but other cats just have a lot of fur, and only look fat. ; – )
Not a real problem.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This is the point at which I would like to post a picture of my 24-pound Maine Coon Buddy Holly. You might think it is all fur until you try to pick him up.

Augus Tinian
Guest
Augus Tinian

Have you tried lifting the pic to Google Photos (or whatever cloud you want) then creating a shareable link that you can include in a post here or wherever? You can do it for a single pic or an album. You may find it’s easier to do from a pc browser vs android or ios device.

Barry
Guest
Barry

Just following up on this again, Bethyada, having reflected some more.

You wrote: “A ‘weaker’ brother that is not at risk of copying your behaviour, but tells you to do as he does is not a “weaker” brother. ”

But I think folks who see me not wearing a mask *are* at risk of copying my behavior, and thus at risk of going against their consciences on this matter (and thus sinning). Ergo, shouldn’t I – at least when I’m in their presence – wear a mask?

Sorry to be laboring the point. I can be a little slow on the uptake.

Melvin C. McDowell
Guest
Melvin C. McDowell

In my opinion mask mandates abridge freedom of speech. Since SCOTUS has recognized expressive components in nude dancing and flag-burning which invoke the free speech protections of the First Amendment, I believe logic dictates that displaying your unmasked face, complete with your chosen facial expression, constitutes speech, legally speaking

We Be Libtards
Guest
We Be Libtards

That’s just silly, Sugar.
Nobody ever got sick and died from me burning a flag.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Are you sure? I’ve seen some “Riot Blooper” type videos where people fall off statues they’re trying to vandalize and burn themselves while trying to set cars on fire. I feel so bad for those would-be terrorists! And let’s not forget the NFAC (I won’t spell it out) black militia group who accidentally discharged their own guns and had 3 friendly fire injuries.

We Be Libtards
Guest
We Be Libtards

Please don’t ask me such hard questions, it’s not fair.

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

SCOTUS has recognized “expressive components” in burning only ONE flag. And we all know which one it is.

Burning or defacing any other flag will result in prosecution.