Letters Right After Taxes

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A Different Pronoun Question

Question regarding the use of the divine pronouns. From what I can tell, you capitalize them consistently in your work. I’m reading through Rosaria’s 5 Lies and she does not. I believe the ESV and NIV likewise do not capitalize. Is it just a preference, a firmly held conviction, a habit? Just curious. Thanks!
PS—It’s awesome to see you on Tucker’s show. I’m still hoping for the James Lindsay and Jordan Peterson conversations!

Tim

Tim, thanks. It was great being able to visit with him like that. As to the pronouns, it is a stylistic convention, one that I was taught when young, not a matter of conviction. But I do believe it has the advantage of helping to identify who you are talking about.

Covenants and Indians

As someone who emphasizes national covenants and so forth, how do you think about the various treaties with native American tribes that the US made and then broke (at least if the common story is to believed, I’m sure there is more to the stories than just the white man breaking treaties for greedy reasons)

CU

CU, I do believe that such covenants should be honored, as appropriate. But this cannot be done with a simplistic identity politics approach, as though it were a matter of whites and Native Americans. The native tribes were not a monolithic entity, and should not be treated as such. It is not a simple problem. Sometimes the US violated the treaties, and other times the Indians did. Still, at the end of the day, where appropriate, the covenants should still be honored. I would refer you to the clip I just recently posted in the Content Cluster.

Layers of Meaning

Brother Doug, how would you interact with the statement that, for any given text of scripture, there is “one meaning, many implications”? The idea of “single meaning” that is directly tied to “authorial intent” is paramount to the dispensational premillennial view. I lean post-millennial, but my wife and I attend a church where the elders hold to dispensational premillennialism. Despite our differences, we believe our pastor is a faithful steward of the Word of God and we are seeing the good fruit of our church’s ministry in the small city we live in. I have recently decided to start meeting with one of the elders regularly to discuss hermeneutics and eschatology.
He tasked me with providing Biblical examples of a NT text quoting an OT text where:
1. The NT author is explaining what an OT text “means”
2. The NT explanation of the OT text veers significantly from the OT author’s “intent.”
My elders would not (I don’t think) reject progressive revelation or say that the OT authors fully understood the “implications” of what they were writing, but they would give general rules that:
1. Every text has a singular meaning
2. What a text “means” in the original context that it was given is fixed.
3. The “meaning” of any given OT text should be understandable from that passage’s context. The NT might provide further insight, but the meaning of the original text would not be foreign to the original audience.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you can agree with these rules and be a post-millennialist or a covenantalist. In my eschatological studies, I have come across many watershed issues, but this argument over meaning and authorial intent seems, in my mind, to be the biggest dividing line between dispensationalists and covenantalists.
My desire is to submit to Scripture in all things, and even though post-millennialism excites me, I want to come to the text with a mind that is ready to be taught by what it truly means. Have you written on how we should understand “meaning” in any given text or can you recommend resources for understanding this issue?

John

John, I have thought about this a good deal, but have not written extensively on it. The Westminster Confession holds that the text has a single meaning, but this was said in the context of rejecting the medieval quadriga, where each text had four sedimentary layers of meaning. They were not rejecting metaphor, or typology, etc. For the example you asked for, I would provide “a virgin will conceive” in Isaiah. This was offered to Ahaz as a sign to be fulfilled in his lifetime, and the virgin, most likely the prophet’s wife. But that same passage is applied definitively to the birth of Christ in the New Testament.

For a Covering

This is a belated question on FAQs, but I’ve been perplexed over the years, knowing you have always regarded 1 Cor 11 as simply a woman’s long hair. So do you also believe that Moses never wore an actual veil, but just had long hair he dropped over his face? Both coverings are rooted in the same Greek word. Thank you.

Steve

Steve, when Paul says her hair is given to her for a covering, this does not make hair the only possible covering, only that it can do the job. So also can an artificial covering do the job. So to make up an example, if an unbelieving woman with an extreme butch haircut gets converted, I think she should wear an artificial covering until her hair grows out.

Is Opposition to Male Strippers at a Men’s Conference the First Step Down into Legalism?

Could you do a reaction video about
“Mark Driscoll Kicked Off Stage” at a Men’s conference? I am in awe about a male stripper at a men’s conference!!! I mean—wow—I thought I was awake but this is a serious wake up call!
Thank you for your service Pastor,

Hermann

Hermann, I believe that various reports are still coming in about what actually happened in the aftermath of that, but it appears that we all agree that the male stripper part happened. And evangelicalism need to acknowledge the fact that when you are in free fall, you are not really in control of what happens next.

Rudderless

Do you have advice for the wife who desires to submit, but whose husband’s indecision leaves her little to submit to?

Irene

Irene, I would suggest two things. First, start focusing on the little things where he might not be so indecisive . . . like what he might like for dinner tonight, and make sure it happens. The other, more weighty thing, would be to reflect on your own previous responses. Is he simply being indecisive, the same way he was with his roommate back in college, or has he given up trying to lead? Sometimes the latter happens when the wife is more resistant than she thinks she is.
Regarding: Letters Continue to Arrive, as They Are Wont to Do
Last week you answered a question from “Can’t Say” about a husband’s excessive drinking. You said, and you’ve said before, that women in these situations ought to be like Abigail. In the past I had taken that to mean she is quietly working behind the scenes to salvage the mess that he is unwittingly making and, adding 1 Peter 3 to that, living in such a way as to make the Gospel attractive, rejoicing in the Lord and living in hope that he will be “won without a word.”
Your advice to Can’t Say seemed to be a kind of ultimatum approach. In a situation that has been ongoing for many years where there is no violence or physical threat, what would determine when to take this approach and why? In the story of Abigail she tells Nabal what happened when he was drunk, but I don’t see how she is giving him any sort of ultimatum or trying to bring things to a head. And I don’t see how that approach would mesh with 1 Peter. It seems to be setting the wife in opposition to her husband and basically asking for trouble instead of waiting on the Lord.
Thank you, I greatly appreciate your response and your ministry.

Also Can’t Say A name more common than one might imagine

ACS, what it boils down to is how serious the problem is. If the problem is a husband sneaking a drink because he thinks his wife would disapprove, but he is not getting drunk, I think she should approach it as Peter instructs. But if they are both church members, and he is getting drunk, and driving that way, then I think his wife should bring it to a head.

Salvation of Infants

Finding no other way to contact you I ventured to do so here. I’m writing in response to your post the salvation of Emeth, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I’m fairly sure I’ve heard you preach or have read something you wrote on what the Bible says about the salvation of babies who die in a miscarriage in pregnancy, but I can’t find where that might be. Could you point me in the right direction please?

Alisa

Alisa, I know I have written on this, but am not sure where exactly. Perhaps we could crowd source that question . . . anybody? But in brief, Paul tells that that sin is not imputed where there is no law. Babies are entailed in Adam’s sin, obviously, which is why they die, but there is a sense in which the full force of Adam’s transgression is not imputed to them, and a sense in which they have not yet sinned themselves, participating in Adam’s sin. To take the simplest example, a fertilized human egg is a person, and will live forever. But that egg has no law, and has not yet sinned himself. And so the sin, which is there, is not imputed.

A Hard Case

I have a friend whose son is three-years-old and currently going through extensive chemo/radiation therapy. She says she is unable to spank him, as he bruises easily, and is afraid it would look to the doctors that she is abusing him or being too harsh. An equal or greater issue is that she believes since he will potentially pass away within the next year or two, he deserves no more pain, hurt, sadness, etc. for the rest of his life. He is, however, violent (hitting his mother, sticking out the tongue, etc.) and needs some kind of rod.
1.) Any specific suggestions for discipline?
2.) Is what she’s doing a version of the “live your best life right now?” In other words, is spoiling him the wrong route and what would the alternative be?
Thank you,

Noelle

Noelle, I would recommend that she seek out wise pastoral counsel because there are obviously many issues in play. I understand the dilemma over spanking and bruising easily, especially when doctors and medical personnel are going to be so closely involved. At the same time, an undisciplined child is a miserable child, and by seeking to spare him one kind of pain, she is guaranteeing another. I would recommend that she seek out help, perhaps from older parents who were in the same boat. Perhaps there are some among our readers?

Thanks, and Jeepers

Just in case you haven’t seen this: I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from Wade’s take on Schmitt and the accompanying “Friends” session. Thanks for the work.

Gordon

Gordon, thanks. When conservatives are casting about to such an extent that they start resourcing the Nazis, it is time to lie down for a bit until your head clears.

Moore on Dawkins

I’m writing to request your perspective on Russell Moore’s response to Richard Dawkins’ mic-drop reveal that he prefers the cultural byproducts of Christianity to that of Islam. I “grew up” professionally in DC, working as a House staffer and for a President, hence I’m one of those old-school-Moral-Majority-Republican-insiders that took Donald Trump so personally back in 2016. I also kinda sympathized with Russell Moore, until the other day, when I read his comments on Dawkins and realized that Moore’s paradigm departs from what I would recognize as an intellectually honest Christian worldview. I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake here. Anyway, I’d be interested in your take on Moore’s recent CT article.
Best regards.

Kristin

Kristin, thanks. Moore’s comments are here. I think that Moore is radically missing the point. Dawkins’ comments are coming from a man who spent his life chainsawing the apple orchards, and is discovering, late in life, how much he enjoys apple pie. He is a prime example of Lewis’s point in The Abolition of Man—we remove the organ and demand the function. To take the Lord’s illustration, Dawkins has now told us how much he enjoys the outside of the cup, while not believing in its contents. Moore has told us that only the inside of the cup matters. But the Lord taught us that if we clean the inside of the cup (Matt. 23:26), the outside will be cleansed also.

Tacky Talk

I know that I’m not allowed to let any unwholesome words come out of my mouth. But I don’t know how to relate with my friends anymore (non-Christian ones especially). We used to pull each other’s leg, swear at each other, and enjoy each other’s company. But now, when they pull my leg, I can’t retort with a bad word or two. I laugh, but my responses are severely limited without the dirty jokes.
How do I deal with this problem? I don’t want my friend to think I don’t enjoy the leg pulling (I do) or that I’ve turned gay (I haven’t).

Jake

Jake, I would deal with this problem by recognizing that it is not a problem.

Not a Rare Problem

Thank you for the incredible teaching that is coming out of Moscow. My faith has been strengthened and deepened in ways I could not have imagined just a few years ago.
I was hoping you may have some advice concerning an issue at work. I am a police officer in Massachusetts. Recently, the software we use to book prisoners has been updated to include fields for “gender preference” and “pronouns.” These fields are required so I can’t just skip over them.
I’m resolved to never ask or use preferred pronouns because I don’t want to be complicit in one of the great lies of our age. Is it acceptable for me to fill out these fields truthfully (i.e. if I have a male prisoner I just put He/Him in the pronoun field without asking his opinion) or is it a compromise to do even that?
Thank you,

Nathan

Nathan, I think your stand is a good one. And filling in that field yourself would not be a compromise at all.

Yes, CRU is in Deep Trouble

Our church is sponsoring a CRU missionary. Recently, I listened to Rosaria Butterfield’s Liberty University convocation, where she called out CRU for compromising on sexuality issues. Makes me question whether we should reconsider supporting CRU.
Her convocation is at 34:00 in the following,
wng has some comments about CRU here.
And this states CRU’s public position.
I’m wondering what you think about CRU’s summary statement. Specifically “As we build relationships and trust with people who identify as LGBT+, we want to make Jesus Christ—not sexuality—the central issue.”.

Mark

Mark, that summary statement is enough to justify discontinuing support. “As we build relationships with people who identify as thieves, we want to make Jesus Christ, not stealing, the central issue.” Which means never calling anyone to repentance.

Empathy and Kids

Thank you for your faithfulness. I have benefited greatly from your labors. I’m in agreement with your position on empathy and your Man Rampant discussion with Joe Rigney really helped me a lot.
My question isn’t related to a specific post but it is related to parenting and the topic of empathy and emotion. How can I know the difference between acceptable lament and sadness versus whining and complaining in order to discipline my children well? And specifically, with children, should I treat them differently than adults with regard to having compassion for them when they don’t understand all the details when things don’t go their way?
If a child is saddened by events they don’t fully understand and then is overcome with tears, is that any different from an adult feeling overwhelmed when something hard happens they don’t fully understand? Isn’t it just a matter of degree of understanding and also emotional maturity?
My 2-year-old daughter for example was moved to tears this morning because I said, “no, you cannot have more vitamin gummies . . .” She doesn’t understand that they aren’t candy and that there is such a thing as vitamin toxicity. But I don’t feel compassion for my daughter in the same way that I would feel for an adult who is struggling with a cancer diagnosis. Is this sin on my part?
When the Internet went crazy over spanking gate back in November many people couldn’t believe that there are actually people who discipline their children over emotional states. Our culture is emotionally insane. We idolize emotions and they have become “off limits.” We live in clown town where there are no limits to what a person has a right to feel even if those emotions lead to removing perfectly healthy body parts.
And yet . . . our emotions are a wonderful gift to us from God and life without them would be incredibly drab. And it seems to me that on the flip side of emotional insanity is also a failure to appreciate and wisely navigate the beauty and complexity that is the gift of emotion, especially in the church.
Confession . . . when I was younger I didn’t enjoy reading the Psalms, at least not the parts that were expressing lament or asking questions of God in the midst of trial. David seemed to me to whine and complain a lot. But now that I’m a little bit older and have lived through a few things, the Psalms have become a great comfort as I ask questions of my own through difficult seasons and as I see how Christ sympathizes with us in our weakness and pain.
Anyways I don’t want to be a jerk, and have a view of emotions that labels my kids and King David as whiners and complainers when they are just expressing sorrow. And at the same time I know my children are not always expressing Godly lament like in the Psalms, but are actually sinning by whining and complaining and need to be corrected.
Since my children are some of my closest neighbors, I don’t want to have a double standard for them when they are sad than I do for an adult neighbor who may be further along in maturity. I want to treat both with dignity by God’s standards regardless of age or emotional maturity. Maybe I am mucking all this up because I am comparing apples and oranges though . . . I am not in authority over my adult neighbors like I am over my children.
Thanks for any insight you can give on this. I hope I was clear enough. I know your current sermon series is dealing with discipline of children. I’ll be working my way through that. Of the three kinds of parents I lean towards the tyrannical one and my wife the permissive.
With warm affection down here in Texas,
PS
Does Canon have plans to finish the OT on the Geneva Bible?

Joshua

Joshua, yes, we do have plans to finish the Geneva. And as far as the child rearing question is concerned, you are teaching your kids lessons about self-control, but you are also to be teaching them to have a sense of proportion. In order to do that, you need to understand what good proportional responses for kids would be. When your kid falls out of a tree, you simply comfort. If they lose their temper when crossed, you discipline them for overt disobedience. And when they whine about gummy vitamins, you simply provide authoritative guidance. “We don’t do that in this house.”

A Food Question

I recently listened to your book “Confessions of a Food Catholic” on canon+ and felt that you left a big gap between severe food allergies and perfect health. I wouldn’t say that the people I know are adopting “designer allergies” but many seem to believe that our food and environment are toxic in a thousand ways and that it’s our Christian duty to take care of our bodies by working to discover which particular things are causing us poor health (gluten, glyphosate, mold, mineral deficiency, beauty products, etc) and to sacrifice the time and lots of money to remediate it. Would you argue that Americans are generally unhealthy (poor sleep, overweight, fatigue, depression, nausea, etc) because our environment and food are unhealthy, or for some other reason? I struggle with fearing I am not doing enough to protect my body (and my family) from all the “toxins”.

Cloe

Cloe, I believe that we are far too interested in ourselves, and that this contributes to many problems.

A Simple Solution Perhaps

I lead a small group at my church and a few members who are very frequently sick or otherwise feeling bad (both for small group and for Sunday services). I don’t doubt they are actually sick when they say so, but sometimes sense that they easily give into “feeling bad” when they could push through to attend. How do you handle members being chronically sick, when it just feels a little fishy? I don’t want to accuse someone of lying when I have no evidence but also want to encourage meeting together as a priority even when it is uncomfortable sometimes.

W.U.

W.U., when things like that come up, I just let them go. I would ignore it. Just focus on the small group becoming the kind of thing that people would hate to miss.

Incrementalism, all the Issues

I know you have defended incrementalism many times and in many ways. Appreciate it. Could you also Biblically defend your position specifically against the charge of impartiality that occasionally flies your way? That would be worth a Blog entry. Thanks, Sir.

Gabriel

Gabriel, I assume you mean the charge of partiality. A judge who had the authority to acquit two men on trial before him, accused of the same thing, and believing them both to be innocent, would be guilty of partiality if he only acquitted one. But it is not partiality if you save as many as you can. Imagine a judge who refused to acquit the accused in his court because he knew that another innocent man in another district was not going to be released. “If one has to die, then they should both die.”
In the most recent smash mouth incrementalism post, you wrote:
If Biden is reelected—or re-preselected, whatever—supposing there was funny business in 2020, what should conservatives do to make the 2024 election as fair as possible? I am unaware of any reason to believe that any previously attempted shenanigans won’t be attempted again.

Joel

Joel, the best thing we can do is repeatedly point out that the various lawfare endeavors aimed at Trump are manifestly election interference. And then turn out in massive numbers because it is harder to cheat when it isn’t close.
RE: Smashmouth Incrementalism
Do you think voting citizens assume some moral culpability for evil committed by an elected official, particularly if that evil were made clear during the campaign? I hear a lot of Christians refer to begrudgingly voting for Trump as the lesser of two evils. However, if Trump were to block a federal abortion ban (as is implied on his current platform), wouldn’t those Christians bear some responsibility for that? Isn’t abstaining or voting for a third party a better way as opposed to a utilitarian approach to this?
I assume a vote for a particular candidate is an affirmation of his policies. As an extreme example of this, I believe all German voters who cast their vote for the democratically elected Hitler were in part responsible for his atrocities. I believe the same would be true even if another theoretical candidate were running against him by campaigning on killing twice as many innocent people as Hitler. The only moral option would be to abstain in such a theoretical scenario.
Please illuminate any flaws you see with this reasoning.
In Christ,

Stanton

Stanton, I agree with your reasoning, but I make a distinction between a choice of murderous & more murderous and someone who is murderous & someone less thorough in fighting the murderous.
While I do completely agree on the horror that is abortion and the tragedy of the fact it is handled in such a weak manner by most politicians, I fundamentally disagree with you on claiming Trump’s position of pushing the issue to the Sates is wrong.
Our system was based upon the power of the States, not the power of the federal government. Roe v Wade as one of the greatest examples of federal overreach in our nation’s history—a highly coerced (on the mother’s part by activists) and illegal overreach, at that.
If Trump was to support a federal ban, that same federal ban would be overturned in a day by the next administration that decides to support Moloch over morality. If each individual State supports its own pro-life legislation and movements, it is a far more permanent or at least long-term solution than a blanket declaration that the President has no power to make.
I do agree that the “rape, incest, life of mother” stance is hogwash as well, but I much rather Trump keep his stance that it is a State issue—an issue which we individual people have much more power to have say over—than having it lay in the power of someone in Washington whom you *know* does not care one iota about God or His will. State governments are just as guilty, but they are far more susceptible for us to have influence over and have a better chance of slaying this demon we call “abortion” for good rather than merely banishing it for a few years.
God Bless,

George

George, actually I have no problem with kicking it back to the states. I rejoiced over Dobbs, and I agree with a number of your tactical points. But Trump didn’t just leave it at that. He also criticized Arizona for having “gone to far,” which is not leaving it up to the states.
And what about a smashmouth incrementalist in an overwhelmingly blue state with basically zero chance of sending our sadly-winner-takes-all electoral votes to anyone not named Biden? I’m thinking that unless our state polls miraculously tighten up, the best use of my vote is for whatever third party is making the most incremental progress toward breaking the party duopoly.
What think ye?

Nathan

Nathan, that is a position that a conscientious Christian could take. But be careful. There have been surprises in blue states before.
“And on this abortion question, they are likely to adopt his position as theirs because they are all in for him. They will follow him in this, as Kari Lake immediately did.” I’m not convinced this is true. There are a good many who are invested in Trump the man and still rejected his Operation Warp Speed clot shot, and vehemently so.

Guymon

Guymon, I think that is a reasonable observation.
On “Smashmouth Incrementalism at the Polls”: The thing I’m seeing all too much from the abolitionist crowd (and now that I think about it this is widely applicable to the political right on all sorts of issues) is an utter disregard/ignorance of political tactics or even principles. The success in Dobbs was in wisely realizing and arguing for decades that Roe was an egregious violation of the way our government is structured, specifically with respect to states’ rights, and yet the very first thing 90% of the pro-life community seems to want to do is to immediately take a pro-life tactic to ban abortion that would violate the very same procedural rules, but in the opposite direction.
There ARE ways we could properly ban abortion at the Federal level (such as legally defining when life begins just as we legally define when it ends), but regardless the point remains that how we do something is just as important as what we do.
All of which is just to rant in agreement with you about your take on smashmouth incrementalism.

Ian

Ian, thanks.

An FV Question

Regarding your views on FV would “Reformed” Is Not Enough be the best place to understand where you are coming from concerning your view of the New Covenant? Or is there another place that I would benefit learning your perspective?
Gratitude,

Joshua

Joshua, I would read two books together. “Reformed” Is Not Enough would be one, and Against the Church would be the other.

Images of Christ

Representations of Christ Is it wrong to voluntarily view representations of Christ in paintings, children’s Bibles or movies and TV series?
I’ve been told that the answer to question 109 of the WLC is the standard that should not be violated.
I’ve seen many paintings that portrayed Christ and I never wanted to worship them. I’ve appreciated the skill to reverently portray what the scene may have looked like when Christ did not want the little ones hindered from coming to Him.
I’ve wondered if the thought that the second commandment was given before Christ took on a human body would have any application to the answer.
Thanks for your thoughtful input,

Dave

Dave, I don’t believe that we should make portraits of Christ, and I don’t believe that we should use them devotionally in any way. But I don’t think it is a problem, for example, if a Reformed Christian looks at such paintings in an art history class.

What Is a Minister Limited To?

Some time ago I was browsing Anglo-Saxons grammars when, lo! I found Rudiments of Anglo-Saxon. How does an Anglo-Saxon grammar fit within your vision of a minister’s labors? Now, I recognize this is not addressing a post, but I would be helped by your insights—who knows, maybe others would benefit as well. This book struck me as “all of life” made explicit and made me realize that I may be drawing the “minister’s box” a bit too small.
Thanks for your time,
P.S. on writing:
How do you think about writing and sources? I am finishing The Covenant Household and I was surprised that you don’t cite any sources. This is the case for at least a few of your books. Now, this may be a symptom of spending too long in school, but I have a hard time imaging writing a book like The Covenant Household without sources. How do you go about writing this, or other works?

Dylan, a curious seminarian

Dylan, the Anglo Saxon thing was just something that interested me. Another minister might be interested in something else. And The Covenant Household was basically a transcription of a series of sermons, which didn’t really have any sources to cite.

Women Teaching in Seminary?

RE: FAQ on Men, Women and Sexuality
What about women holding teaching positions in seminaries or other religious scholarship? A Catholic friend of mine and I were talking and he mentioned that something he appreciates about that church is that there are many female scholars (and saints!) (Hildegard for example). As RC, he is very keen on male leadership in the priesthood since God chose to reveal himself in the incarnation in a masculine way and the priests are, in their view, representing Christ. Of course, they elevate femininity of a kind through Mary. Anyways—I digress. Women scholars. What say you?

Bryan

Bryan, no problem at all with women scholars. But teaching in seminary? No way.

A Marital Impasse

I’m a twice divorced middle aged male. I came to Christ over a decade ago. My first divorce was on biblical grounds, the second was not, and there is no chance of reconciliation. I am not like how Paul describes in 1 Cor. 7 with the proverbial “gift of singleness.” However, I don’t see a biblical warrant for allowing me to remarry. Am I cursed to be alone the rest of my life?
I ask because a few weeks ago I saw where someone asked you about being “disqualified” from being a husband, and that is very much how I see myself, that this is a consequence of my actions, and therefore I am condemned to be alone the rest of my life.

L

L, I would seek out pastoral counsel, and have the church ascertain that there really is no chance of reconciliation with your second wife. If there is not (e.g. she is remarried), then you should ask the church for a judgment of your status. Are you free?

Long Hair On Men

I recently finished your book, Federal Husband. One question that I have concerns the propriety, or impropriety, of long hair for men.
I agree that in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul is very clear as to the binding nature of his teaching, and this is evident in his appeal to nature.
On the other hand, I cannot understand how the appeal to nature can refer to the relative length of hair between men and women, and my confusion lies in the sanctioned long-hair of the Nazarite vow.
For some time now, I have held John Piper’s view that the appeal to nature is a culturally informed nature, and not a reference to the length of hair per se.
All that said, how do the Nazarite ponytail, dreads, etc. fit into your reading of 1 Corinthians 11?
Sincerely,

A long-haired Elliot

Eliot, the Nazarite vow shows that it is not inherently immoral for a man to grow out his hair, the way adultery would be inherently immoral. But the Nazarite vow also shows that long hair is a sign of submission, so that must be taken into account. And there is some value in the relative length issue. When I was a boy, my father had short hair, high and tight, and my mother had longer hair, shoulder length. When I was first married, and more of a hair farmer than now, I had short hair, shoulder length, and Nancy had long hair, down to her waist.
BLUF: Is internet piracy permissible for the Christian? Hi Pastor Doug,
Internet piracy, the act of copying copyrighted books, movies, songs, etc, is a federal offense and could land you in the slammer, and theft is a sin. However, I am uncertain whether internet piracy is always theft. It certainly qualifies in many circumstances; copying a book you wrote and selling it would be thievery of your profits. But, there is plenty of nuance to consider:
1) Copyright laws were more relaxed up until 1976 (or 1998 or 1909), so copying older books, movies, and songs (say 15-95 years) may not be thievery. A federal judge may not think so, but legal precedence may support the private ownership of copyrighted property, while current law may not.
2) The intended use of the copied material is important. A man who copies the ESV for his notes is different than a man who sells ESV copies for profit. ESV editors have families to feed. But, copying vast amounts of (older) books, movies, television, and music for personal edification and family training may be a just use case.
3) The current media world is library based versus ownership based. If you buy a movie on a streaming platform, the movie isn’t really yours. If the corporation you buy the content from croaks, your “property” dies with it. This aligns with 1984’s “owning nothing and being happy”. Personal ownership of media for personal use defies the current media culture.
4) Collecting original copies of copyrighted work is expensive. Collecting a fraction of the “Adventures in Odyssey” radio show on Ebay costs upwards of $400. How much more for a complete collection of Bach’s works?
5) If the internet goes away or is cut off from overseas servers, your streaming services may go away, possibly forever.
With all this in mind, my temptation is to use my computer skill set (I was born after 2000) to acquire media content that is older, can be edifying to my family, break the cycle of media no-ownership, and that I would be very sad to lose in an Internet shutdown. If this is thievery in the Biblical sense, I will obey God and thank Him for streaming services, and doubly thank Him if some media, being lost on Earth, can be enjoyed again on the Second Earth.
You are no lawyer, Pastor Doug, but you know sin. Is Internet piracy one?
God bless you,

Internet Robin Hood

IRH, I actually agree with you that the whole topic of intellectual property is not a simple issue. Stealing your neighbor’s wheelbarrow is a simple thing to understand, and the Word prohibits it. But if I invented a three-D printer that could duplicate my neighbor’s wheelbarrow just by taking a picture of it, and he still has his wheelbarrow, how am I stealing? At the same time, copyrights are a good thing. Copyrights that are extended to Doomsday are not.

Unforgiveable?

Good morning. I had a question in reference to your “Ask Doug” video on the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. Do you have any good references or material that support the position you hold? I like your interpretation, being someone who struggles with OCD and constantly plagued with the fear of committing it, but have questions. Jesus mentions that Blasphemy of the Father and Son will be forgiven, but that Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost won’t. Doesn’t that suggest it being a particular sin? Thanks for your guidance!

Andrew

Andrew, no. I believe that lack of forgiveness is eternal because lack of repentance is eternal. True repentance is a gift of God, and He would never give it without the intention of forgiveness following.

The Hand of Judgment

As you are a student of American history (Civil War issues) you may be familiar with what I mention here below.
I read a couple of short pieces I found in “The US Constitution and Other Writings”(Canterbury Classics), namely: “On Indian Removal (1830)” Andrew Jackson’s 1st annual message to Congress, and “George W. Harkins’ Letter to the American People (1832).
It seemed to me after reading these that the Five Civilized Tribes were frankly betrayed by the Jackson Administration with the approval of the non-Indian voters and unjustly deprived of their rights as citizens and robbed of their property and livelihoods.
Since the defeat of the South appears to be God’s judgment upon it, are you inclined to see this mistreatment of the Five Tribes as an additional reason that the South lost the Lord’s favor?
Thanks,

Jack

Jack, yes. I believe that was a factor.
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Chris
Chris
1 month ago

“Lawfare endeavors.”

Came for the cope, sticking around for the malding when Trump is convicted.

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Think OJ Simpson trial, in which two things were true at the same time: The police really were racist, and OJ Simpson really was guilty. No contradiction between the two.

Likewise, yes, the Democrats are using the legal system to try to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, AND ALSO Donald Trump really did most of the stuff he’s been accused of. Maybe hitching the wagons to him wasn’t such a hot idea. And maybe the GOP would be better off admitting as much.

John Middleton
John Middleton
1 month ago

That. Also, anyone else would have shut up and faded into political obscurity after leaving office whether they had wanted to leave or not, in which case no one would care what they did. Scream for your enemies attention and you get it. Antagonize people you know are not nice, don’t expect to be treated nicely.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  John Middleton

John, This goes to the ego and self-serving interests of Trump. A Ron Desantis would do every bit of the “conservative” job that Trump would have and from a purely selfless motive. Trump and his electorate just wouldn’t have any of it. I am convinced this was a test of God’s people and judgement will be coming for putting trust in such a depraved person. There are consequences to raising up such a king to be leader that cannot be quantified in the here and now.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago

I broadly agree, though I’m fairly certain we would disagree about which things he is more likely guilty of than others, and have in the past. I would note though that Trump’s been broadly guilty of such things for decades upon decades. For 40 years he set about this activity and was not only not prosecuted, but supported and celebrated. Even presuming him guilty of all his current accusations says pretty horrendous things about the state of our union and our Democrats. It tells us both that brazenly criminal activity is acceptable in the country if you do not stand… Read more »

Kathleen Zielinski
Kathleen Zielinski
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

My strong suspicion is that if Trump were a liberal Democrat who had otherwise done everything he’s been doing for the past 40 years, some Republican prosecutor would have found charges to bring. I don’t think the prosecution is per se a Democrat or Republican issue. In point of fact, most corrupt business practices fly under the radar undiscovered and don’t get prosecuted in large part because the resources aren’t there to find and investigate all of them. Trump apparently did not appreciate that being elected president will subject you to scrutiny, and at that point your political enemies, from… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago

“My strong suspicion is that if Trump were a liberal Democrat who had otherwise done everything he’s been doing for the past 40 years” He WAS a liberal Democrat who had done all those things. Trump himself is the contrary evidence. “ And once they do find it, whoever doesn’t like you will come after you. Don’t forget that Hillary Clinton spent 25 years being investigated.” And was never charged, despite being provably guilty of crimes. I feel like you’re making my case for me. Trump himself was criticized for *not* prosecuting Hillary after the election. “By the way, how did… Read more »

Kathleen M. Zielinski
Kathleen M. Zielinski
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Yes, but he never ran for president as a liberal Democrat. So he wouldn’t have been subject to the same scrutiny as when he did run, as a conservative Republican. And the fact that Justice Departments under both parties took a pass on prosecuting Hillary Clinton suggests that maybe there really was no there there. I have a theory, by the way, that Trump still is a liberal Democrat. He decided he wanted to do a hostile takeover of one party or the other and determined that, for various reasons, the GOP would be easier to hostillly take over. So… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
1 month ago

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he has paid for an abortion or two either, but what he is deep down is the same as what he is on the surface, simply self-aggrandizing, then and now.

Joe Carlson
Joe Carlson
1 month ago

Pastor Doug, can you point me to the place where the Westminster divines were talking specifically of the quadriga? And their reasons for rejecting it? Thanks!

Zeph
1 month ago

Noelle, God will give you a way to discipline such a child. I would start with sticking them in a corner, not Time out. For a while you will have to stand behind him the whole time until he learns the discipline.

Jill L Smith
Jill L Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Zeph

Aggressive behavior in toddlers increases when they are tired, irritable, and feeling sick so this isn’t surprising in a child undergoing intense and unpleasant medical treatment. But neither can it be tolerated. Sitting in a corner facing a blank wall is good but, other than standing behind him if necessary, the parent shouldn’t interact with the child. The consequences should be dead boring. The parent needs to remain calm but absolutely predictable. If she senses the child is about to hit her, she gently takes both hands and says “No hitting. I’ll let go of you when I can trust… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jill L Smith

Of my four children, one had severe, *severe* rage issues between the ages of two and four. His intellect developed before his emotional coping skills. Whereas with most kids if you explain something to them they don’t know how to do, they don’t think about it other than absorbing what you tell them, he would recognize the underlying implication that if you are correcting him, that implies he made a mistake and doesn’t know what he’s doing, and finds having something explained to him as condescending. Yes, at age 3. As I said though, no emotional coping skills yet. So… Read more »

Zeph
1 month ago

Alisa, look at Romans 7 and 8. Paul says that he didn’t spiritually die until he consciously sinned. There is your support for newborns miscarried aborted etc for going to Heaven. That is everywhere. Worldwide.

Jonathan Sprenke
Jonathan Sprenke
1 month ago

Has Christ Church’s collaboration with Vandal Catholic been fruitful?

TedR
TedR
1 month ago

Concerning Cloe’s comment that “things are causing us poor health (gluten, glyphosate, mold, mineral deficiency, beauty products, etc)”. I find it interesting that gluten is among a group of other things clearly different than a naturally occurring element in wheat. Furthermore, given the numerous favorable references in the Bible to bread and I don’t think it follows that gluten should seen as “causing us poor health”. Some people do have body chemistry that interacts poorly with gluten. However, that is not the rule and I think the attack on gluten in our society should not be adopted by Christians.

Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago
Reply to  TedR

Wheat is different now. I don’t know that the difference is bad, but it’s definitely not the same wheat they ate.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristina

In later days some will depart from the truth. . . Forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods created to be received with thankfulness –St. Paul the apostle, paraphrased.

Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago
Reply to  James

I didn’t say don’t eat it, I said it’s different. As such it might not agree with some people.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Kristina

Sorry if I made you feel attacked. I wasn’t aiming it at you, but explaining why I am wary of don’t -eat-this talk. There are a lot of foods that I probably would not like to eat-jalapenos, for one. But I don’t need to wax religious about how jalapenos are bad.

Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Nothing religious about indigestion! :)

Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago

I admit I’m clueless about pediatric oncology — all my cancer experiences have been with adults — so can someone who knows tell me: if a little kid is definitely going to die, why would you make him suffer through chemo? Is this a thing? I wonder if he may be acting out because the chemo’s making him so miserable? If there’s no hope for an adult, it’s all about pain control and letting them go. Do they not do that with kids?

Jennifer Mugrage
1 month ago

John,
There are a number of OT passages where God says He is going to do “a new thing, which no one has ever conceived of.” “It is too small a thing, O Jacob …” etc. This seems to be the LORD coming right out and saying that many passsages included meaning that would not have been obvious to the original hearers. Then Paul speaks of a “mystery (i.e., secret) … that has been hidden… but is now revealed.”

Gabriel
Gabriel
1 month ago

Yes, thanks for the correction. I did mean partiality. Your answer of “save as many as possible,” is certainly a good one. But I still think a separate entry on what partiality is and isn’t, would benefit everyone–especially, with Apologia’s stance. Cheers.

Jill L Smith
Jill L Smith
1 month ago

Andrew, I don’t know if it will comfort you to learn that, according to researchers, a fear of having committed, or being at risk of committing, unpardonable blasphemy is the fifth most common form of OCD. I think it might be the most miserable form because while we can learn to laugh at our fear of catching syphilis from doorknobs, we can find only horror in the thought that we have sinned beyond redemption. Theologians from Augustine and Origen to the present day have said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit isn’t a thought that comes unbidden into your mind… Read more »

John Middleton
John Middleton
1 month ago
Reply to  Jill L Smith

Good for your priest. I think a lot of evangelical preaching, or at least a variety of it, contributes to a form, or forms, of OCD. “Are you sure beyond a shadow of a doubt”? And if you are, are you sure you’re right to be so sure? Examine yourself so you don’t partake in communion in an unworthy manner; is there anything inside of you that you need to deal with first?

That sort of thing.

Barnabas
Barnabas
1 month ago

Confused Christian: “So under Christian Nationalism there wouldn’t be any building codes?”
Doug Wilson: “What?”
CC: “I caught your Tucker interview where you talked about the problem of building codes for your house.”
DW: “Oh, I don’t know…”
CC: “Cause I live in tornado country and besides I saw this video where whole buildings in China just fall down and…”
DW: “No, no. It’s that libs say stay out of our bedrooms…but the building codes are in the bedroom. It’s clever.”
CC: “Oh…I guess”

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  Barnabas

If they think its the building codes that protect them from tornadoes, they are indeed confused.

Last edited 1 month ago by Justin Parris
Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Barnabas

DW: “But really, do you think building codes are the only way to have safe buildings? Maybe check out Deut. 22 and consider things like liability, insurance, and what and when God has given responsibility to the government versus to individuals. Not every problem is meant to be under govt authority.”

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago

“and a sense in which they (babies) have not yet sinned themselves” When you say this on twitter and aren’t a Calvinist, you summon a gaggle of reformed trolls to call you a heretic and a pelagian. When reasonable people criticize a “Moscow mood”, it is because this is their experience on social media. Obviously I’m not attributing responsibility to you. You neither do it, nor tell others to do it. Just that I’ve seen this behavior so many times on *precisely* this topic that seeing one of the modern reformed internet celebrities repeat the very thing that gets so… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Irene, Submit all the same. Submit until it hurts. Submit because that is what our Lord says to do. He did not say submit and then gave qualifiers. Do you not think God can bless you for doing your part even though your husband might be out of order? I suspect that in many cases, the wives have broken down the husband over many years with subtle pouting by not getting their way and the husband has just “checked out.” Don’t talk about it, don’t debate it, just start submitting and let God do the rest.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Gordon
Gordon
1 month ago

In terms of the single meaning of a text, another example might be “Israel”, which would have been understood nationally by hearers down through the pre-NT centuries, but was a term clearly defined by Paul as referring to those who have the faith of Abraham (Romans 2:28, 4:16, 11:26, Galatians 3:7,14)