Letters from All Over Tarnation

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Just Breaking

The president has now nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Feel free to use the comments here to comment on that. Open thread. But don’t forget the other issues . . .


Continued Revoice Troubles

There was no link for the “rent an evangelical” reference at the end. I see this is happening but would like to see the example of a liberal honest about it.

Luke

Luke, I hope to have a link for that kind of thing in the near future.


Reimagining Revoice: Luther criticized Erasmus for arguing that because God commands something, it is therefore possible. You argue that because the Bible commands us to mortify sin, it is possible to mortify it. Does the difference lie in the fact that Paul is writing to Christians (the Spirit working in them), whereas Erasmus was assuming the ability apart from the work of the Spirit? Thanks.

Ty

Yes, that is the key difference. If we are talking about unregenerate man, the command to be someone who operates on different principles entirely is a command intended to highlight that person’s actual condition, like the Lord’s command to the rich, young ruler to give away all his stuff. But when believers are told to greet each other with a holy kiss, it is reasonable to surmise that they can. Christians in Colossians 3 are told to mortify their members which are on the earth because they have died, and their life is now hid with Christ in God.


Re: Reimagining Revoice as a Servant of Mammon: Concerning the world system, one secret of its immense power: Many who are most deeply enmeshed in its gears scarcely know that such a thing exists. Or to switch metaphors, if you’re the center fish in a school of ten-thousands being caught in a net, you don’t see the net. Net? What net? There ain’t no stinkin’ net. This is just the direction all the cool fish are swimming!

Steve

Steve, good image.


Fancy Boy Footnote

Hi Pastor Wilson, I’ve enjoyed your blog and videos for a number of years. Your “Hey, Fancy Boy” post mentioned a post by Tim Bayly and responses by Joel McDurmon and Mark Jones. I was able to find the Bayly and McDurmon posts but not the one by Jones. Will you tell me where I can find the Jones response?

Adam

Adam, I am sorry. It was a Facebook thread, and I was unable to come up with it again when I wrote that piece. But I promise I saw it.


Calvinism and the Atonement

Re: Calvinism and the Extent of the Atonement: The limited atonement is built around the presupposition that the death of Christ was accomplished with individual misdeeds of individual people in view. But I don’t see that view set forth in the Scriptures. Consider one of the great passages of the general atonement view, “All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Why not “iniquities”? That would certainly be a better fit with the particular atonement. The explanation is that the death of Jesus was not some kind of thing in which He offered X megablivits of atoning grace in exchange for precisely that number of the misdeeds of the elect. Plus, the particular atonement misses something vital, which is that sin is not just a matter of what I have done; it’s also what I have NOT done, as well as what I AM. The “strict accounting” idea is just not adequate to account for all the biblical data. And beside all that, the particular atonement is unnecessary for Calvinism’s other four points. People can still be totally depraved or persevere in salvation, for example, even if Jesus did indeed die for all mankind.

Steve

Steve, I agree with your reasoning, but not with your conclusion. The scope of the atonement is a matter of God’s intentions with regard to Christ’s suffering, and is not a matter of the pain units that Christ suffered. In other words, if the number of the elect had been ten more people than currently, Christ would not have needed to suffer for ten more minutes. As far as the need to have lived a perfect sinless life (and not just to have your sins of commission dealt with), this is why the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience is so important. So Christ suffered on the cross, and that suffering secured the salvation of those people that God intended it would.


The Christian and War

In the post No Middle Ground, 1/19/09, you say, “When I counsel young men who are going into the military, I talk to them about the challenges they will face, and how they must have thought through the issues so that they will not compromise their Christian convictions. Those situations, which will arise, must not catch them by surprise. But this is the same attitude that Christians must have going into every line of work. For the rest, we must do our jobs heartily, as unto the Lord.” Our son goes to Marine boot camp in a month. Have you written this counsel to military recruits anywhere? If so, where can we find it? Or do you have other reading to suggest?

Virginia

Virginia, I don’t know if this is exactly what you have in mind, but I have written a few things on it. A couple examples can be found here and here.


A Historical Quibble

To the Editor, Writing from Virginia. A note about the Meme “Freedom means being concerned about no other government on the face of the earth but your own.” The painting depicted there is of the U.S. Naval History Center, “The Battle of the Virginia Capes,” and depicts the critical naval engagement of the War of Independence. The defeat of the British in this battle on September 5, 1781 sealed the doom of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown just over a month later, as he could no longer be resupplied or evacuated by sea. Not one American vessel fought in this engagement. This was the French fleet, under Comte de Grasse, our allies fighting on our behalf. I would submit this is not an ideal portrayal of such a statement. Thanks to the French sacrifice in this campaign (de Grasse would be soundly defeated by the British because he so recklessly supported the American cause), we were able to score a victory that eventually brought about our independence. This is instead a reminder of how other governments are indeed important for our own freedoms, and in fact, we owe ours to the support we received from the French. 220 Frenchmen were killed or wounded that day, in what would amount to the defense of our own liberty. Best,

Joe

Joe, I quite agree. The meme did not say that liberty is not be concerned with other governments, but rather that it is not concerned about them. Judicious alliances are very much a part of thoughtful statecraft, and we were greatly indebted to the French for our victory in that war. But we should remember that the French came in after the battle of Saratoga—after we had displayed our ability to carry our own weight in the war. So my point was not that we should not be indebted to the French, but rather that we should not be afraid of the French. Liberty means having enough military strength to not be worried about any potential foreign adversary, while recognizing that your own government is a perennial potential adversary.


The Woe that is Roe

Re: UnRoeveling of America: The union of the US might be elastic enough to absorb overturning Roe. Take gun laws as an example: A rifle that you can buy from your neighbor for $400 in Pennsylvania might get you a decade in prison in New York, with similar situations in Vermont/Massachusetts, Virginia/Maryland and Arizona/California. We’re pretty comfortable with irreconcilable differences of philosophy at this point. That said, I wouldn’t bet against your being right—at least not with my own money.

Nathan

Nathan, not with my money either.


I am a lay apologist with my church and have been a cultural critic for over 20 years. I have watched our political class for nearly three decades and I have arrived at the conclusion that the conservative side is hopelessly lost. Our victories in the political arena are due to numbers on our side alone, and not superior political or philosophical strategy. Do I believe Roe will be overturned, let alone enforceable if it is? A ban on abortion will be no different than prohibition or laws against weed. People on the left will have abortions on the street with a crowd clapping and cheering as the vacuum is slurping up that baby, and nothing will happen. It will be unenforceable. Please, do not misinterpret me; I agree abortion is murder and I believe it should be illegal with the harshest penalties for the offence but reversing Roe means little in America. My point? If the Lord tarries, the 2nd greatest blessing our beloved nation could ever receive would be a total collapse of our economy. It would jar Christians to see what really matters and stop abortion, illegal migration and literally shut down the demonic 2nd sexual revolution sweeping our nation. The most realistic possibility? No economic collapse, no armed resistance from conservatives and a slide into a neo/Bolshevik state where an uber-minority of misfits gain control of our state and plunge America into 1920’s Russia. If there is no legitimate resistance from the people who matter now when we have the numbers, money and strength to win, do we really believe that we will rise up when then left totally owns the government and military with all the power of tech behind it? Sorry but a swarm of micro drones armed with nerve gas in little injectable needles could take out 200 dudes “livin’ off da land in dere compound in da woods” but they don’t even need that. They have the government and NGOs sending hordes of illegal and legal migrants into conservative areas colonizing and watering down our will to mount an effective resistance. If it does not happen now, I doubt it will ever happen. I am mentally and spiritually preparing for the worst possible outcome and that is not pretty. Only a war would stop what is happening now.

Lenny

Lenny, please keep in mind that God has delivered His people countless times. And He loves to wait to do it because He loves cliffhangers. God does it this way so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.


Re: UnRoeveling Pastor Doug, have you heard of the Roe v. Wade movie, produced by Dr. Alveda King, slated to hit theaters this fall?

Patrick

Patrick, I had not. Thank you.


The DOJ Playing Hardball

Re: DOJ trafficking takedowns, etc. . . . Yes, I am not surprised that you haven’t heard much of anything. As noted, the media doesn’t cover this very well. Maybe the subject is taboo? In any event, Trump has made no secret that this is a priority of his administration in various speeches, and activities to date seem to back that up. Just a couple examples (here and here) straight from the source:

Joe

Joe, thank you.


A Random Question about Beowulf

This regards nothing you’ve written recently but I would like to ask a quick question regarding Beowulf, if you please. I appreciate your translation. Thank you for your work, though it reads as if the work itself was rewarding enough that you don’t need any thanks. (And I’m aware my opinion means nothing to the literary world.) I found your essay calling Beowulf the UnChrist to be fairly persuasive. But I wanted to ask about the many references to the seeming real-God Who is oft mentioned within the poem, even within the words of the characters themselves. It would seem to be the Triune God we worship. For example line 383 “Now holy God in His goodness has guided him here,” which is spoken by Hrothgar. But if these are a pagan people who do not know the Lord, how is that explained? Are they speaking of a) The Real God who is just poorly known to them by general revelation and the little of Genesis they know, b) the “demon who damns” (line 178) but giving it a very elevated status and name, or c) is this the Poet’s own commentary on the situation but placed right into the middle of the action, into the very mouths of the characters? Or d) all the above are wrong and I need to keep thinking? I suppose it could be a AND c, and I don’t think b is very likely. And yet . . . just curious to your thoughts.

Nathan

Nathan, I think it is option A. I believe that pagan peoples often had an awareness of the Most High God, but He was distant and removed. They had to deal with the demonic forces below, but they knew that the true God had made all things. The people in Beowulf know the book of Genesis, and that is all. They know the “ealde riht,’ the ancient right, which I take as the Noahic covenant (which condemns their culture of bloody revenge). So they have an awareness of the right, but no access to salvation.


The Fourth: A Shorter Catechism

Your “A Primer on the Fourth of July” should have been called, “The Independence Day Shorter Catechism.” Nonetheless, this was fantastic in form and content. And now here I am, clamoring for more catechism-like posts. Incisive stuff all around. Three (or more) cheers.

Jon

Jon, okay. We’ll see what happens.


Trump and the Wall

I thought this was a great analysis. It occurred to me that it would be wrong to call it a civil war. As far as I understand it, a civil war is within a nation. This is more like fighting an invasion. The left are not Americans in any real sense of the word. The Democratic Party is the party of immigration because it is the Vichy government. I saw a meme stating that if the illegal immigrants voted for Republicans the wall would have been built years ago. There’s a lot of truth in that, but in that case they would have stayed home. So this isn’t a civil war. This is repelling an invasion.

Russell

Russell, yes. This is more a debate over election tampering than it is a question of honest immigration.


This is right on, but I can’t help but think that Trump in some ways in reminiscent of Rehoboam (e.g. 2 Chron. 10:10: “my little thing is thicker than my father’s waist,” and Trump’s talk about the size of his hands). But I take your point and agree that the comparison to Jehu is apropos in a time when many leaders in recent days have been forceful and aggressive like Rehoboam.

Scott

Scott, thank you.


Romans 13 Ain’t That Simple

Here’s a solid Romans 13 video detailing several examples of Christians lying to or outright defying the civil authorities. Paul was jailed multiple times and how many of the 12 were killed by government?

Ron

Ron, thanks.

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Andrew Swann
Andrew Swann
4 years ago

Doug, Below are a few questions from us laypeople who don’t have the time to read Church Dogmatics or the Institutes twice a year while maintaining a healthy time of prayer and meditation upon God’s Word. 1. As a student of philosophy, how do you see that education forming the way you read and understand other thinkers? (I’m a student of philosophy and Econ at UT Knoxville, so this is a sort of niche personal question). 2. How do you go about reading several books at the same time, with limited time, and maintaining adequate time in each while keeping… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Swann

Good questions, Andrew. You might want to submit this as a letter, as Doug rarely deigns to answer comments.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Hey, Doug. Deigns may be a little heavy on connotation. It was intended as more cute than snarky (and I think my advice was sound!).

Regardless, you are quite generous with your time and I appreciate you hosting a place for some of us to air our opinions.

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Swann

Andrew — Doug answered a question along those lines a few years back: https://dougwils.com/resources/personal/a-meander-through-my-reading-habits.html

Matt Bell
Matt Bell
4 years ago

Bro. Doug, your answer to Virginia seems to be missing an intended link.

Nathan
Nathan
4 years ago

Pastor Wilson, thanks for the response to my Beowulf question. I was going to add as a post-script to my question (but forgot) that I wished you had rendered line 926: ‘And beautiful, bountiful, binders full of women.’

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

Nathan,

I haven’t read the essay by Doug that you referred to (is it available online?), but I am a fan of Beowulf. I have read it several times in different translations. I think it is pretty obvious that it is an old hero legend that was reworked into the Christian era. The suggestion that the author knew only Genesis strikes me as odd. Do you know what support to that supposition was given? I am agnositc avout whether the scribes recording it were trying to make a point with the Christian/pagan underlying tension.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Doug did a new verse rendering based on the modern English translation, with the goal of reproducing the original Anglo-Saxon feel. I am guessing the essay was published with it. It’s available from Canon and Amazon.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Thanks, Jane. I figured it came along with his new (ish) version. But, as I don’t have that version and I have no immediate plans to procure it, i was hopeful that it may be available gratis.

Nathan
Nathan
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Hey. Jane is correct in that the essay is at the end of his “rendering.” There is also an interesting essay there on the chiastic structure of the poem. Both are intriguing. It happens to be my introduction to chiastic structure. I was previously unaware such a thing existed. (That’s right, I went to public school.) I am unaware of any free copy anywhere. But I consider the essay, which is called Beowul: The UnChrist, worth the price of admission. There’s also a lot of typical Doug Wilson cleverness (which is certainly an acquired taste) in the Intro as well.… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

Thanks, Nathan. That makes much more sense.

Lloyd
Lloyd
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Actually, it looks like he has a shortened version of the essay online at Touchstone Magazine called the Anglo Saxon Evangel. I re-opened the essay last night to glance at something an noticed that he mentions it in the footnotes. I haven’t read the shortened online version. The essay in the book is fairly longish I guess. It probably pushes to close to 20 pages.

I used to subscribe to Touchstone but they weren’t very consistent in send me a copy each month (or maybe every other month, if memory holds). The content was fair, when you could get it.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

The overall structure of Paradise Lost is also chiastic. I dimly remember having to diagram the events.

JP Stewart
JP Stewart
4 years ago

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…
“In October 2018 two of the key leaders of the Revoice Conference, Nate Collins (SBTS) and Gregory Coles (endorsed by The Gospel Coalition’s D. A. Carson and many others) will be speaking in Cincinnati Ohio at the DEVOTED FOR YOUTH PASTORS Conference along with a ministry titled LOVEboldly. Collins is on the Board of LOVEboldly Inc. which carries endorsements from Brian McLaren, who in 2012 presided over a Same Sex marriage of his son Trevor.”

So some Revoice presenters will work alongside non-celibate homosexuals in a conference targeting youth directors.
http://bluecollarsaints.org/2018/07/09/beyond-revoice-part-1-recruiting-youth-pastors-targeting-your-teens/

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Yeesh. I don’t envy their future. He is very particular about His opinion on those who lead Christians astray, most especially young Christians.

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

JP,

Your posts are increasingly depressing.

Thanks for passing along the info.

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  JP Stewart

Sometimes I think what churches need to do is eliminate youth programs, and youth pastors. As the article said, youth pastors will by pass-parents and senior church leaders. Youth pastors can get away with this because the established practice has long been to delegate responsibility for discipleship of teenagers to youth ministers, who themselves are often not that far past adolescence, with too little oversight from anyone senior in age or position. It seems a youth pastor’s goal is never to come across as an authoritative adult, but rather as the biggest cool kid in church, and part of the… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

“who themselves are often not that far past adolescence, with too little oversight from anyone senior in age or position. ” I think it’s significantly worse than that. In my experience, the youth pastor usually has no more qualifications than being in their 20’s, and wanting to have the job. In my early teens, I established a rather negative attitude towards church officials that lasts to this day that stems largely from realizing just how large the gulf in knowledge of the Bible was between my 13 year old self and the youth pastor, and I had never had any… Read more »

Andrew Swann
Andrew Swann
4 years ago

Thanks Demosthenes

Andrew Swann
Andrew Swann
4 years ago

I had faith you’d respond here, Doug. My letter to the editor is a little more detailed though :)

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Kavanaugh is a safe pick that shouldn’t cause too much consternation. Abortion is the big thing but he hasn’t shown much of a desire to crusade against it, so there isn’t much to use against him. He may vote to overturn Roe, or more likely drastically scale it back, but in that case I think Roberts votes to uphold Roe anyway. His Obamacare decision shows he doesn’t want to play politics in these high-profile cases. This also means that same-sex marriage is here to stay. Although the Democrats are still rightfully angry about the Merrick Garland travesty, there really isn’t… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Merrick Garland “travesty”? Do I take this to mean that you’ve bought into the completely anti-Constitutional idea that the Senate was obligated to do anything with Garland?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The senate is constitutionally bound to provide advice and consent for certain high officials. What exactly this means isn’t spelled out but it has, over time, become a regular process of holding hearings followed by confirmation votes. if the president nominates a potential justice and the senate refuses to proceed with their “advice and consent” role you could say that they are refusing to perform a constitutionally required task. There is also a question of pragmatics. It has generally been assumed that the president picks the Justices and the senate processes the nomination. Even Bork got an up down vote… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

“The senate is constitutionally bound to provide advice and consent for certain high officials.” Close, they are bound to provide advice, and consider consenting. The consent is not a requirement, otherwise the consent would serve no purpose. They gave advice, albeit bad advice, that they don’t think the replacement should be considered at that time, and they exercised their right not to consent. ” it has, over time, become a regular process of holding hearings followed by confirmation votes. ” Which is not itself an obligation set out in the Constitution. We went over a hundred years as a country… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, Apparently my language wasn’t sufficiently precise. Obviously the senate doesn’t have a constitutional obligation to consent to a presidential nominee; as you say, that would not be consent at all. Rather you could infer that they have an obligation to weigh in on the nomination, to either provide consent or not. Likewise they seen to have a requirement to advise. The advice can be “this nominee is crap, choose another” but it must be provided. We may differ on whether the majority leader refusing to hold hearings or schedule a vote is consistent with the senate discharging its advise… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

“McConnell simply refusing to schedule hearings or allow debate is not, to me, an example of the senate functioning in its advisory role.” This is the basis of my objection. How you feel about hearings or debate is not at issue in the Constitution. They are required to give advice. They literally, objectively, gave advice. “Wait until later” was the advice. Now was it good advice, or well given? No. It wasn’t. The Constitution though does not provide a definition or requirement on what quality level of advice is required. What you’re doing is trying to add a clause into… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, I think we have a legitimate disagreement regarding what constitutes an act of the Senate (as a body, not an act of the majority leader). You state that the Senate “literally, objectively” gave advice stating “wait until later.” I may be wrong, but to my knowledge the Senate passed no resolution thus worded, they provided no official communication to the president with that instruction. Several senators, including the majority leader, expressed that opinion in the media, and McConnell refused to take up the nomination as business. I don’t see that as “the Senate” doing anything. If McConnell goes on… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

” I may be wrong, but to my knowledge the Senate passed no resolution thus worded,” So your objection has come down to, even though they gave advice, it wasn’t on official letterhead? The Constitution lacks the specificity on procedure to enforce something like this, even if it was intended. ” If McConnell goes on Fox and speaks favorably of some bill I don’t see that as an action or statement of “the Senate” either.” It’s also not remotely comparable a circumstance. You have no reason to believe that what he says in promotion of a specific bill is the… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

“So your objection has come down to, even though they gave advice, it wasn’t on official letterhead? “The Constitution lacks the specificity on procedure to enforce something like this, even if it was intended.” I must be doing a terrible job of writing with clarity, I blame the phone! As simply as possible – I do not believe that the majority leader refusing to schedule hearings or take up new business constitutes “advice” not does it constitute an act of the senate. It is an expression of Mr. McConnell’s desire to avoid giving advice or taking a stand in the… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

“I must be doing a terrible job of writing with clarity, I blame the phone! As simply as possible” You say this with a subtextual insult, yet you then repeat an argument I’ve already refuted without changing anything. I know what you’re suggesting. It’s just directly contradicted by both the history of SCOTUS nominations, as well as its lack of inclusion in the Constitution. It wasn’t until 1875 that all nominees got a confirmation hearing. Do you think that the nominations prior to 1875 were unconstitutional? “I do not believe that the majority leader refusing to schedule hearings or take… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Relax, we are conversing in a comment section here – no stakes. We also largely agree on the broader issues and I have long since understood the crux of our disagreement, my frustration is that I have been unable to express it with adequate clarity and I’m tired of banging away at it.

I don’t enjoy arguing over this sort of minutiae (though i am argumentative enough that i still often do) and I don’t have the time or inclination to continue with it, social pressure or no.

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

I think it is worth mentioning here, that the balance and separation of powers is working exactly as designed. Obama’s hand was stayed many times by Congress and the courts have stayed Trump’s hand many times. The constitution placed the power of governance into the representatives of the people, and therefore Congress, the branch closest to the people, have the most leverage to move. But, they are also the biggest and slowest moving. Both sides want to get their way right away. Neither side is getting that. Whatever disagreements I may have with the founders, the constitution they set up… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

I would give you a +1 BJ, but I have been having technical difficulties with that for a couple months now.

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

BJ, I would disagree with your bottom line. The US Congress can’t even pass a budget and constantly flirts with default. With the possible exception of Italy, no western democracy has the political dysfunction that we do. Whatever you think of socialized medicine, Obamacare is a monster specifically because the only way to get it passed was by inserting provisions to please everyone who needed to be pleased. Our debt continues to grow because one side won’t tax and the other won’t stop spending and neither side has the votes to prevail. The checks and balances seemed like a good… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago

Until we change the constitution, we have to go with the system we have. It’s not time to intentionally ask the entire government to become oath-breakers.

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Which is exactly what I’m proposing. I think our method of governance has proven itself unworkable, for the reasons I’ve given. However, unless and until the Constitution is changed, you’re right, we’re stuck with it.

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago

the framers of the Constitution never foresaw the November 2016 election. You couldn’t be more wrong. The framers obsessed over this type of question. The concern of tyranny was central to their aims in the constitution. Both Obama and Trump have been lambasted as authoritarian and dictatorial. Yet, both were stopped by constitutional boundaries. The issue of debt and spending is created by the role of central banking and the federal reserve, not the constitution. They are not causing it, per se, we through our representatives are, but the method of banking we use makes it available. The early founders… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

I pretty much agree with you here, FWIW. I think the checks and balances continue to work remarkably well (but, I don’t think they are magic, they work because the players consent to them, we could easily have a real constitutional crisis in the next decade – or a Preston Brooks type affair). In general I think that the legislature is far too passive, the executive is too active in policy making, and the courts are too active in their understanding of judicial discretion and in their expansive view of review (i lean judicial minimalisr) but the basic system is… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

BJ, you’re missing the point. Suppose I agree with you that an unconstitutional banking system is the problem. That problem cannot be fixed because we have so many checks and balances that keep anything from being done about anything. Whether you think the problem is immigrants, schools, taxes, not enough religion, too much religion — it simply does not matter what you see as the solution, checks and balances will keep it from being implemented. Even with the GOP now controlling all three branches of government, how many of Trump’s policies has he not been able to get passed? The… Read more »

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago

I didn’t say whether I liked it or didn’t. I said it is working as designed. It is slowing down a divided nation. And, whether one likes it or not, the current system can do something about immigrants, schools, taxes, and religion. It is just slow when we are divided. If there were overwhelming support a Trump border wall, we would have it very quickly. As we stand, the issue is divided, so we are going slowly. Same with all the other issues you mention. To your question about what is wrong with the idea that president ought to be… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

No, the president is not a king, which is why we have elections. But when the voters ratify one candidate’s platform by electing him, at that point it’s no longer a tyranny issue. At that point, the voters have decided that that’s what they want, so they ought to be able to get it. And I don’t think checks and balances are why we’ve avoided tyranny; most western democracies have far fewer checks and balances than we do but have managed to avoid tyranny as well.

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

Tried posting this, don’t see it so I’m posting it again, apologies if it comes through twice. No, the president isn’t a king, which is why we have elections. Once there has been an election and the voters have ratified a candidate’s platform by electing him, it’s not a tyranny issue (unless you’re talking about the minority tyrannizing the majority, which I agree is a problem.) At that point, the voters have said what they want, and they ought to be able to get it. And why should we need “overwhelming” support for something? If something encroaches on someone’s constitutional… Read more »

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago

Longtime Lurker, But the president is merely elected to implement the laws we ratify through our representatives. We are not electing someone to implement a whole new system of governance. Neither are we electing someone to change the laws. The founders knew that the executive branch was the one most likely to try and make himself a king, so they severely limited his authority under the sway of Congress. In theory, the Congress is the most powerful. But, they are also the slowest and most deliberative. All of that is part of the design. Giving the executive the kind of… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

And if we had a functional Congress I might agree with you, but we don’t. It can’t even pass a budget. Whenever there’s a hard decision, like which military bases to close, they appoint a commission so they don’t have to make the tough calls themselves. I wish Obama hadn’t issued quite so many executive orders but he was addressing problems Congress was ignoring, and if you’re the executive, I don’t think you just watch the parade while a derelict Congress allows the country to veer toward a cliff. At some point, their incompetence and inattention to duty has to… Read more »

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago

“And if we had a functional Congress I might agree with you, but we don’t.” This is simply evidence that we as a culture are dysfunctional. Congress is an expression of the people. They are closest to the people and have the most power. You are looking for a way around the constitutional path of debate and unification and compromise. “Just to be clear, though, so long as the President’s policies aren’t unconstitutional, I do think the people that voted for him have the right to expect him to carry them out.” If people want the laws changed, then they… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  -BJ-

BJ, although I agree with you that the culture is dysfunctional, I don’t think a dysfunctional Congress is evidence of it. Having a dysfunctional Congress is evidence that the framers put together a system that was designed not to function, so when you say it’s working as intended, you’re right, but that’s not a compliment. The framers wanted a weak federal government that didn’t do much of anything at all, and designed a system that would mostly keep it that way, even after their views had long since ceased to represent those of most Americans. Every data point strongly indicates… Read more »

-BJ-
-BJ-
4 years ago

Longtime Lurker, let me start by thanking you for the time to chat. Congress is an expression of the votes of people. The House is particularly close to the people, so if we had a functional culture and a dysfunctional Congress, that crap would be cleared up pretty quickly. The fact that Congress has ground into something nobody likes is clear evidence that we as a culture are pulling apart from one another. To your point about the Senate, the framers also did this intentionally. It seems you are complaining that they made a constitution exactly as they wanted. The… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, “obligated” no, but what goes around comes around. Maybe sooner than you think.

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
4 years ago

But “obligated” is the entire debate I’m having. The opposing claim from all over the country has been that Republicans in some way stole something that wasn’t theirs. It’s just flatly inaccurate. You’re more than welcome to disagree with their choices, I don’t care. Just don’t lie about the other side breaking rules that don’t exist. “what goes around comes around. Maybe sooner than you think.” Gorsuch WAS what was going around coming around. It’s Democrats who killed the filibuster which would have saved them from Gorsuch’s appointment, and it’s Democrats who spent the last 50 years weakening the Legislative… Read more »

Longtime Lurker
Longtime Lurker
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

And the Democratic response to that would be that between the electoral college, Wyoming’s senators being able to cancel out California’s, and gerrymandered seats, they’ve been shut out of the electoral process; give them fair elections (no gerrymandering and no ec) and they’ll win fair and square, and act legislatively. Failing that, they use executive authority and the judiciary as a matter of necessity. Whether or not they’re right about that, the point of “what goes around comes around” is that that spin didn’t stop; eventually the Democrats will retake power, and at that point there will be no real… Read more »

Matt
Matt
4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

“It’s Democrats who killed the filibuster which would have saved them from Gorsuch’s appointment…”

The Republicans killed the filibuster on judicial nominees, when it became apparent that the Democrats were going to filibuster Gorsuch.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Back in the early days of Obama’s second term Reid’s senate removed the 3/5 cloture rule for all nominations other than supreme court. I see no reason to believe they wouldn’t have went ahead and done so for the supreme court as well.

The way the use of the “filibuster” has been trending since the 90s made this inevitable, I think, but it was definitely the democrats that precipitated it.

Edited to add: I also think th at the logic which has lead us here will lead to court packing at some point.

Matt
Matt
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

They didn’t actually do it isn’t enough of a reason? I would blame the people that actually do things for the things they do. If the Democrats regained power and removed the filibuster for legislation, I wouldn’t blame the Republicans for it. I saw an article in Vox I think that was talking about court packing and how liberals are adopting the idea. I was in awe at the stupidity. I can only imagine Trump reading such a thing and thinking “Good idea, let’s pack that sucker hard!” You’d think that liberals would be especially aware of such possibilities. The… Read more »

Robert
Robert
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt

The only thing Republicans have is the Second Amendment

Jeeves
Jeeves
4 years ago

I agree Justin. I don’t think youth ministry *in general* is built on faulty premises, but I do think it’s been under-realized. Of course this is from experience, but it is telling that many students have a functional biblical knowledge that does not grow underneath a youth ministry but is instead replaced with games, “social skills”, and everything else possible to replace the need for using your mind. I am a supporter of youth ministry, rightly practiced, but unfortunately the same issue applies to many ministries all over the spectrum. To echo something simple, there are many in ministry who… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeeves

I think youth ministry as it generally exists is built on faulty premises, but I agree that it can be, and sometimes is, done differently.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I understand that a youth pastor needs to be young, but there is, I think, a huge maturity shift in most people between 22 and 30. I started teaching eleventh and twelfth graders when I had just turned twenty, and despite my best efforts, I wasn’t as mature as I ought to have been. There is a tendency to still be working out your own independence from adult authority, and that can get in the way. Your need to be really liked by your young people is also a problem. It is easy to forget that you represent the responsible… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

“Your need to be really liked by your young people is also a problem. It is easy to forget that you represent the responsible adult world and are not there to be their hip older sister.” Exactly. Part of the reason youth pastors are typically young is that youth ministry is often seen as an entry level job for pastors. Another reason is the perception that they need to be young to understand the kid and have good rapport with them, as if the really significant aspects of human nature change with the times, and as if it were natural… Read more »

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Actually, I disagree that a youth pastor needs to be young. “Needs to be young” is part of what’s wrong with the model. A young man might be suitable, but associating youth ministry with youthful ministers is a glaring example of the problem with the typical model.

lndighost
lndighost
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I’m also not a fan of the typical youth ministry model. In the RCNZ we have youth group leaders, who tend to be middle aged couples with teenage children. This strikes me as healthier and more natural, and it does work. A laconic and not remotely hip uncle of mine received many unsolicited confidences and appeals for advice. He and his co-leader accidentally achieved this by sitting with the teens around a campfire for hours not saying much.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  lndighost

That is how my local PCA church does it — lay adults within the congregation, with low key events in a mixture of fun and service with the teaching mainly left to the pastoral and parental areas, but with relational discipleship rolled in. However, my own congregation is much more “conservative” in many areas than the denomination as a whole. There is no actual denominational “way” of doing these things, just a predominance of certain methods.

Nathan
Nathan
4 years ago

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-judicial-activism/

Good Kevin D Williamson article on judicial activism. I wish he had invoked the word ‘nazgul’ in point 7. One could easily substitute same sex marriage for abortion in this point 6 sentence: “It is fanciful to believe that there was in fact a constitutional right to abortion lurking in the document for nearly 200 years, unnoticed by the men who wrote and ratified it…”

Andrew Swann
Andrew Swann
4 years ago

kyriosity, thank you! One of the main reasons I submitted was for a discussion on other modes of theology and whether or not Doug takes the time to read them. I think that would be a pretty good discussion (mainly because I read a bit of Don Carson).

kyriosity
kyriosity
4 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Swann

If you check out Doug’s Goodreads reviews, I think you’ll see he engages with a pretty broad spectrum. And he often writes longer reviews on the blog, including occasional chapter-by-chapter posts through entire books.

Jeeves
Jeeves
4 years ago

And we all know Don Carson is good for one thing: pointing you to secondary literature.