“There are four kinds of speech that the Scriptures forbid . . . The problem with this simplistic take is that there are also righteous scriptural examples in each of these four categories.” I’m curious if drag falls into the same category—it’s rightly prohibited, but on the other hand I see humorists and satirists (classically Monty Python, certainly, but also more recently commentators such as JP) use it extremely effectively to skewer certain inflated sectors of society in desperate need of getting popped like a Chinese balloon, including even the sectors of society inclined to un-ironically dress up in drag.
Ian, right. The problem is the defense and embodiment of kink, and not an attack on kink.
Unusual Word, Unusual Compliment
Congrats on using the very Narnian word “scapegrace”. Keep on boxing the Lapsed Bear of Stormness until it becomes a reformed character!
grh, thanks very much.
My wife and I were recently told by our 19-year-old daughter that she is “gay” and has a girlfriend. We made mistakes as parents, but we tried. We read her the Bible. We took her to church. We tried, in spite of the fact that we did the best we knew how, we tried. We have also come to find out that when she is not home, she goes about pretending to be named “Phineas” (her name is Naomi, after my great-grandmother) and prefers he/they pronouns. We are heartbroken and, honestly, at a total loss.
She treats us like we are the enemy now. Our little girl, whom we have loved more than our own bodies for two decades, treats us like we are the bad guys because we won’t snap to and get with the program regarding this thing that she just recently dropped in our lap, which thing she already knew we could not accept. Aside from being firm in the truths of Scripture, while being as gentle as possible, and praying for her, what would you, albeit from afar, recommend that we do?
HD, very sorry for your heartbreak. What you mention is exactly what you should be doing. The only thing I would add is that you should be very specific in your prayers for her. Don’t just pray that she would repent (although that will be part of it, certainly). Be praying for specific things (e.g. that she would break up with her current girlfriend), and when that happens (without you saying anything), take it as a token for good (Ps. 86:17).
I have a dear family member who left his wife for another woman recently. He was, until a few months before, a minister, so strict judgment seems just here. And yes, the adulterous relationship seems clearly to have predated leaving ministry. He is openly grieved by all the consequences of this and, I believe, knows full well the hurt he has caused. He confesses he has sinned and failed us all (though those confessions are more general/vague than I would prefer). But he remains with the other woman. His wife has filed for divorce and been clear that she will not take him back, but the divorce will not be final for months. And in the meantime, he is also refusing to submit to any sort of church authority, restricting heavily whom he will even speak to on this. It feels very much like worldly sorrow to me, asking for our grace and forgiveness and ongoing relationship. But is this right for us to do without any clear evidence of true repentance or contrition? He claims no apostasy and sees himself as a fellow Christian. I think he sees the damage as done and un-doable, with no point in hurting yet another woman, whom he intends to marry. But it does not seem so to me. He ought at least wait for the divorce to be final, right? And confess his many sins here specifically? But to whom? He has left his church and town, and I do not know that he is in another.
Does 1 Cor 5 apply to close family here? Do we do church discipline in family and “not even eat with him” until he truly repents? And what when he does marry this woman? The family is split on how to handle this, which grieves me more still. I want peace with him, but i do not want peace with open, ongoing sin.
I would know your mind on this, if you are willing.
GBS, friends and family ought to apply friends and family sanctions. This would not be church discipline, because you are not a church. I am assuming from your letter that the church he was pastor of did not apply church discipline? What happened there? If they did, then the family should honor their discipline. If not, and if the family is of one mind, they ought to say (down the road when he is remarried) that he would only be welcome at family events if he has demonstrated a genuine repentance. And yes, an ongoing relationship with the other woman is ongoing adultery.
A Glory and a Covering
So, I just read For Glory and a Covering, and I was really encouraged by what you said about the covering of God. I also realized that C. S Lewis was quoting the Song of Solomon when he said the church was terrible as an army with banners! (Screwtape.) But the article got me thinking. What do you believe about women being required to wear head coverings in church? I believe the verses for that are 1 Corinthians 11, verses 4 and 5. “4. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head 5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven” (KJV) Does this mean that a woman’s hair is her head covering, or that she should wear a head covering in church, or something else? This may be a very silly, self-evident question, but no one has been able to give me a straight answer as of yet.
LME, my understanding is that a woman’s hair is given to her for a covering (1 Cor. 11:15). But I have no objection when women supplement it with an artificial covering, as some women in our church do.
Concerning your new post, “For a Glory and a Covering”: What is the difference between the word κατακαλύπτω translated “covering” in 1 Corinthians 11:5, 6, and 7, and περιβόλαιον translated “covering” in v. 15? Is the different word usage relevant? Could it be that the covering in worship is different and supplemental to a woman’s long hair, which she wears whether or not she is in public worship?
From my study, it seems the first connotes a covering that goes overtop, and the second connotes something like a robe, a covering around the object. The second word is also used in Hebrews 1:12 and is translated “vesture” in the AV, or “robe” in the ESV, or “mantle” in NASB. How is this significant?
Looking forward to your answer!
CR, I wouldn’t want to press the distinction based on the use of two different words. I believe that women are to be covered when they pray or prophesy in a worship service, and God (and nature) has equipped them for that, and either word would indicate obedience. But as above, I don’t object to accessory coverings.
I have a couple questions regarding concupiscence:
1) It seems if we are continually confessing all our sinful desires we can wind up in a sort of catatonic self-righteous feedback loop: “Oops—I stared at that lingerie ad for two seconds; I need to confess.” “But I didn’t stare too long.” “Now I need to confess not being honest about my sin.” “Now I need to confess about how wearying it is to confess this sin.” “Now I need to confess waiting so long to confess my sinful desire.” “Now I need to confess not meaning my confession in earnest.” “Now I need to confess being late for my appointment.” It seems like if we were to continually patrol our inner thoughts for sinful desires, we would have an endless string of things to confess. This is what tortured Luther and his confessor—there was always one more thing to confess. Also, there is always the sinful desire that passes so fleetingly that we scarcely register it—and neglect to confess it. It seems like unfruitful morbid introspection. Our time would be better served working on putting on the armor of God by faithfully disciplining ourselves rather than worrying about all the flaming darts of desire that are continually coming our way.
2) It seems like sinful desires are the war that we all deal with, but the sinful actions are what we need to confess. If I am having a conversation with someone and I think “Good grief, this guy is an idiot. I should just roll my eyes and walk away,” this is a sinful desire. But another side of me, the faithful side I hope, will retort “No, you’re not being patient. He actually seems to have a good point. Hear him out.” If I listen and act on the first voice, then I need to confess my sin. If I listen to the second voice, then I have learned patience and there is no need to confess. Listening to the second voice shows that I am maturing and growing in the fruit of the Spirit, even though the first voice was still there. Perhaps as I mature further, the first voice will show up less often, but will likely show up every now and again.
I appreciate you addressing this topic—it’s an important one.
David, thanks and I agree. The only thing I would add is that we also have to include as “action” any kind of internal embrace or dalliance with the sin. Two seconds of whoa, watch your eyes is quite difference than half an hour of unmortified lust.
Modern Geneva Copyright
I was listening to the Plodcast, Episode 265, a few days ago, and in it you mentioned in the book review a few reason you use the KJV in your preaching and writing. The third reason mentioned (and the one I found most intriguing) is that this version of the Bible is in the Public Domain, and that you don’t necessarily like that the ESV or even the NKJV is owned by a particular company or person.
I recently purchased the New Testament set of the Modernized Geneva Bible and have been using it in my studies. I couldn’t help but notice that this text is of course, copyrighted by Canon Press. I’m curious how Canon Press will handle copyright issues with this text should an author like to quote extensively from it. Will you handle this differently from other publishing houses?
Thanks for your work!
Grace and Peace,
Dylan, yes, it will be handled differently. Permission to quote from it would be automatically granted, and not a lot of hassle.
Reverting to Factory Settings
You talk a lot about definitions, so I thought you might enjoy continuing to witness the libs grapple with the reality of redefining people (see link). It didn’t take them long to turn on each other and realize their own hypocrisy. After the long battle, they appear to think we can call a woman a “woman” again.
Chris, arguing with the way things are is kind of a losing proposition.
First, I would like to say thank you for all that you do. You have helped me in many ways in learning/maturing in the Lord. Furthermore, eschatology is such a profound interest of mine and has been since I was a child. I grew up with a pre-Mill belief, and I still do have that belief. With that said, I have spent a good amount of time studying Amillennialism and Post-Mill. I understand that you hold a Post-Mill view and I know a lot of the Puritans had the same view. I have many thoughts and questions regarding the Post-Mill view. One of your posts on Instagram explained that you believe that the book of Revelation holds events that are all in the past now. I understand all of what happened in 70A.D. regarding Jerusalem being conquered, and the abomination of desolation at that time, but doesn’t God have a pattern of foreshadowing in His Word that points to an ultimate event? With that question, how do you reconcile the Post-Mill view and the supposed Anti-Christ whom Paul talked about, and whom Christ is said to destroy in the book of Revelation? To add to this question, what are your thoughts of the current state of the world? With the Pre-Mill view, it seems that things seem to be aligning very similarly to a point of culmination in a one world order under one supreme leader, and of course, my thoughts are that this is where the Anti-Christ will rise and will soon come against Israel. I apologize for the multitude of questions, it is very captivating to me and I love to hear your opinions! Thank you again for all that you do and for your time.
Ryan, you are right. There are a lot of questions connected to your cluster of questions. Here are just a few comments. Antichrist is never mentioned in the book of Revelation. The beast and the antichrist are not the same. An antichrist is a false teacher within the church who denies the Incarnation. A beast is a persecuting civil authority. As for the state of the world, things have seemed really bad many times (e.g. in the middle of World War 2), but then the world went chugging right along.
Who are the ten kings in Daniel 7 and who is the little horn? The context makes it seem to be Nero however Nero was the 6th Emperor of Rome and not the 11th. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Jerry, this is an easy one. I haven’t done sufficient work in Daniel to say anything yet.
Street Level Apologetics
I was talking with a fellow on the job and in the course of the conversation he began scoffing against Christianity. I thought of the bit in Proverbs, about how we ought not answer a fool, and about the bit after where we should. I’ve always assumed it was Wisdom that would dictate which one to do in any given situation. I opted to stay quiet and in short order he had spoken his tuppence and was on his way. But afterward I began pondering what I would have said had he asked me why I believed in Jesus Christ, Christianity, the Bible, etc., and it dawned on me that I would have had absolutely no idea what to say or how to defend my position. I’ve been a Christian near 30 years, have been hanging around these parts about ten of those, have read the bulk of C.S. Lewis’s books multiple times, listened to hours of Schaeffer, Sproul, et al, and in the moment when it might have actually counted, I would have come up nil.
This has taken the wind out of me. The conclusion I’ve come to is that Christianity makes sense to me inside my own head and heart, but I don’t know what to say about it to others. I even find myself struggling to have meaningful conversations with my children about it, because once I start talking, it can and often does sound like nonsense and goes all wrong. It’s as if I have a script in my head that I read from, and as soon as someone asks me a question I don’t know the answer to, all goes awry.
I remember in the film Collision you said something about not being able to prepare for debates and things, but that it all builds over the course of a life. That doesn’t seem to have happened to me. Are some people just not debaters? But isn’t everyone called “answer for the hope they have,” etc.? I know you would have likely had much to say this to scoffer, but what should normal, everyday folk say? What are your thoughts, sir?
Grateful for your time…
CL, yes, it is true that not all are debaters, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. But every Christian should be able to give an account of the hope that is in them. I suspect, from your letter, that you are in better shape than you think. Imagine that this guy you were talking to at work texted you and asked what you thought of his rant. Write him a letter. Get your thoughts in order. No need to send it.
The Polygamy Challenge
If you haven’t come across it, I’d recommend reading this.
I appreciate your work, and you get a lot right where many others fall short, especially in marriage/headship. But on polygyny, based on what I’ve read of yours I think you fall short where almost all other pastors do.
You mentioned in one of your posts 6 years or so ago that you think polygamy is soon on the horizon—well, I agree it’s never been closer with recent marriage law shifts and the culture the way it is.
However biblically, polygyny being the only form of poly that is exampled, regulated, and commanded in some cases. I believe, and I’m far from alone in the notion, that the Christian church is woefully wrong in both it’s historical teaching of the monogamy-only position, but will be woefully unprepared to teach the differences as to why a woman cannot have 3 husbands (when secular culture allows it legally) or 2 men and 2 women can all be in one big poly group . . . but what Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, Joash, and 30+ other men did in the Bible *wasn’t* right with God. The Church barely teaches that now, as most Pastors will not directly call it a sin, but paint it as sinful behavior nonetheless.
And since it wasn’t sinful then, and never made sinful in the NT, why a Christian woman cannot opt to join the family of her Christian sister, rather than spending her entire life alone, wasting her youth and fertility, never having even the option of a good Christian husband, when the answer of “well it’s illegal in the USA” no longer suffices.
You seem like the type of Pastor who is not afraid of controversial subjects, so that’s why I reached out. I’d love to hear your thoughts one way or another, God bless.
Dustin, just a couple of things. Marrying sisters while both were still alive was illegal under Old Testament law. And second, I think we at Christ Church are prepared to make all the distinctions we might need to make. When marriage law in the US goes completely to hell, and anybody can do what they want and call it marriage, we will still not accept sodomite marriages, or a woman with two husbands, or any other monstrosity. But a polygamous family could be accepted into membership, provided they agreed not to ever have the husband aspire to church office (because he is a chump), never to propagate their views to others, and never to compound the mess they have already made by taking additional wives.
The Very One
Is this perhaps the article aforementioned?
Cameron, yes, that’s it. Thanks for locating it.
A Book Recommendation, Always Welcome
It might not make your Book of the Month list, but the author is highly interested in intellectual honesty about the British Empire, analogous to your approach with the American Experiment. In fact, he has several similarities with you . . . which makes me wonder whether anyone has seen you two in the same room at the same time (like Batman and Bruce Wayne). If not, someone should arrange it to squelch the rumors.
John, thanks for the recommendation. But with a name like Nigel, and given his subject matter, I’ll bet his accent is a lot plummier than mine.
Thanks for everything you do, we appreciate your preaching and what you and your team produces. A small question if you have time for it:
How should Christians think about where to work in these times, and how should they determine when they need to part ways with a company? Many companies are now engaged in some activities that I don’t feel good supporting, but it is hard to know where to draw the line. How should someone think about working in a field such as big tech, eg. Google etc? A lot of the technologies are useful in themselves, but the companies are using them to manipulate or deliver harmful messaging, at least to some extent.
Andrew, I believe it is lawful to work for unbelievers, even though those unbelievers are going to use their proceeds in ways that are displeasing to God. It might grow in nuisance levels up to the point where you want to work elsewhere, which you should if you have opportunity. But I don’t believe separation is required unless the product being manufactured has no legitimate use—porn, crack cocaine, etc.
Can you recommend a good place to get a nicely bound copy of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?
G, maybe here?
Too Many Opinions
It was a while back now that you posted a link to a short guide to how to study the Bible, that was written by your Dad. I have lost that link and would like to find that guide again, and save a copy this time so I can’t lose it again. Can you help me out?
Michael, I believe this is what you are talking about.
Discipline at Church?
Responding to your comment on ‘don’t discipline your kids at church.’ I’m a little perplexed to why you would advise this. I had young kids who at times misbehaved in church. With 52 church services per year, no manner of training at home is going to prevent a situation coming up at some point for kids in the 2-4 year old range.
I found it very simple to replicate the discipline process between home and church. Step out of church, find a quiet room, close the door, calm the child down, discuss the behavior, connect it to the gospel, exercise the discipline, bring restoration, go back into church. In my experience, if we waited until our child got home, they have completely forgotten about their sin and discipline is much less effective. So I would disagree with your, ‘don’t discipline at church’ statement, unless you provide some clarity.
Nate, I don’t believe we disagree. I was talking about not establishing your disciplinary regime at church. Do that at home. Course corrections at church, as you describe, is of course fine.
The Bill Murray/Dan Akroyd line was mine, on my Twitter account which is anonymous with a cartoon character avatar. Once upon a time it had my real name and face and it was possible to notice me, but around the 2016 election a few too many of my friends experienced real life harassment in response to their snarky twitter comments. The more this parade of descent into paganism persists, the more I feel something ground shaking is on its way. Every year we seem to creep closer to a utopia of Rousseauism. God’s reality doesn’t stand for that kind of nonsense. You can’t pull on the rubber band too long before it snaps back.
Hold on to your coat.
Justin, great line, and thanks for it. You are right about the rubber band. Hold on to more than your coat.
A Hard Line to Draw
Christ or Chemosh? What are the boundaries of what Christians are allowed to do (without fearing the loss of their salvation) in opposition to abortion and other government-sponsored evil?
Bruce, I would flip the question around, and worry about salvation if you don’t do something. I would begin by reading classical Protestant resistance theory, and I would seek out a community of like-minded Christians so that you are not making such decisions in isolation.
Yet Another Book Recommendation
I would like to recommend a book to you if you have not already read it: “The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification” by Walter Marshall (1628-1680). I put together my own little summary/introduction (below) to help introduce this book to some brothers at my church, etc. I think it is fairly on target.
To help get your attention I’ll “name drop” and mention (according to Joel Beeke) that John Murray said of this book: “The most important book on sanctification ever written,” and (apparently) J.I. Packer has written that it is among the best books written on the Reformed doctrine of sanctification.
Pastor Wilson, I believe what he says in this book resonates 95-100% with what you believe and teach based on what I’ve heard/read by you, and I believe Marshall’s understanding of sanctification is applicable to any Christian at any time, from “Pietists” to Post-Mil Kingdom Builders, etc.
The theme of The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall (1628-1680) could be crudely summed up as (and I mean it very reverently) “how to be sanctified, in a Gospel way”.
In this book, Walter Marshall, with the sympathy and concern of a pastor, unassumingly and meticulously explains how to apply the Biblical teaching of sanctification into practice in one’s own heart and shoe leather, helpfully dealing with objections, exceptions, questions, obstacles, and problems, arising externally and internally.
In the course of the book, Marshall contrasts the true Biblical doctrine of Sanctification with various unbiblical approaches and errors including Antinomianism, Higher Life “let go and let God”, legalism, perfectionism, works righteousness, self-righteousness (and probably others I’m not familiar with) including the pitfall of (in any way) making a work out of faith and repentance. Yet what Walter Marshall lays out is nothing “new” or “gnostic” but the Biblical and Orthodox doctrine of Sanctification.
Joel Beeke’s modern introduction (1999), although helpful (and necessary), could be misleading of the tone or spirit of the book itself. His introduction comes off somewhat sterile and academic, dealing much with the “polemical” or “rebuttal” aspect of the book (which it indeed embodies). Whereas Marshall’s tone and spirit in the book itself is fervent, warm, pastoral, exhorting, and “lively”.
Marshall’s long sentences and densely packed thought sometimes present a challenge to determine his exact meaning (e.g. which antecedent does this pronoun or relative phrase refer back to?). Yet, it is evident that his teaching is lucid and settled in his own mind, and most of the time he can be understood with minimal effort. Incidentally, there is an occasional typo introduced in this reprint edition which the reader can often self-correct on the fly. But in spite of some difficulty in easily tracing his exact meaning in each and every phrase, nevertheless, the book clearly communicates thoroughly, effectively, and personably “how to be sanctified in Christ”; “How to follow Christ in a Gospel way”.
Because of Marshall’s very thorough and painstaking approach, it is not until Chapter 12 of the book’s 14 chapters that he actually gets to his discussion of the main practical “how-to” details of walking by the Spirit, or “practical” sanctification. For this reason, and because of Marshall’s unfamiliar and sometimes challenging style, if you find yourself bogged down in the early chapters, you might try jumping ahead to Chapter 10, 11, or 12; later going back to the beginning, where you might better appreciate his meticulous (and rich!!) foundation work in these earlier chapters.
Other books and teachings I’ve read/heard over the years on living the Christian life, which, though popular, God-honoring, and edifying, seem not to have advanced to Marshall’s depth of Biblical knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. This book plainly, clearly, and practically explains the real life, mysterious, “spiritual mechanics” of sanctification, walking in the spirit, the Christian life, etc. … beginning at the very foundations and building unto the fully functioning real world practical application of these realities, “connecting all the dots” along the way.
In summary, Marshall exhibits a depth and breadth of understanding of both the Biblical teaching of Sanctification (and Justification), as well as the diverse, often subtle activity of the human heart in applying (or misapplying) these Biblical truths to one’s own life. He handles these truths fluently and carefully as one who thoroughly understands the entire Biblical teaching of walking by faith in Christ, as if it were a very familiar thing to him in its entirety and explains it with a pastor’s warmth and concern.
Pastor Wilson I hope you will read this book and comment on it… and I will happily be glad to send you a copy out of my own pocket!
Robert, thanks for the recommendation. Already ordered it.