Letters Galore

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Alternative Education

As someone who lives a hop, skip, and jump away from the finest little school in town (yes, public) and with four little tikes needing an education, I am having a hard time picturing what a well-rounded alternative to the public school looks like for our family. Granted the Lord can provide from my feeble offerings what my children need, but to simply jump ship from the school would likely mean an online education (starting when they can read pretty much) which I am sad about and yet, should I be? Or is this the inevitable way our children are going because of our technological world? I know you don’t know our complete set of circumstances but for the sake of argument, if all other options are ruled out, like a Christian school or homeschool through more traditional (non-online) means, could you give counsel/encouragement as to the seemingly bleak social and real-world experiential aspect of an online type education? Much thanks.

Just wanted our international readers to know how the Fourth of July is supposed to be celebrated . . .

A.K.

A.K. I can only say that I have seen great developments in the realm of online education—the technologies are much better than they used to be and the communities that grow up out of them are quite rich.


Bible Reading Link

Would like the link to the Summer Bible Reading list/schedule, please.

Debra

Debra, here you go:


The Tariff Thing

OK, so on tariffs. I’m no Trump cheerleader, but I am thinking one of the best policies he has right now is using tariffs strategically. The proposed China tariffs are simply an attempt to level the playing field, to give American producers a chance in the global economy. We have become a consumer economy that produces almost nothing. This is bad for our economic future. When Trump first proposed the Chinese tariff battle, pundits on the right and left both went crazy. They said it would destroy the economy, and that we couldn’t win the trade war. Well we’re well over a year into the battle and it looks like we are winning that one. The economy is still humming, manufacturing jobs in the US are reaching 50 year highs, and Chinese leaders and companies are sweating bullets. Now that he proposes this new political tariff policy against Mexico, we’re seeing the same pundits say similar things. “We got lucky with China,” “a political trade war with Mexico would be disastrous.” If there is one thing Trump knows, it is how to make deals that benefit his companies. I think the pressure he is putting on Mexico to help slow immigration is having an impact on the problem, and the liberal and conservative “free traders” are starting to sound like Chicken Little.

CS

CS, I am an advocate of free trade, but I think we need to distinguish tariffs as a policy, and the threat of tariffs as a negotiating tactic. I am convinced that an implemented policy of tariffs impoverishes both sides. But I also believe that the president is a lot shrewder than his critics when it comes to negotiations with parties that have been abusing the trade relationship.


Virtue Signaling

Are the announcements by Disney, Netflix and others in response to situations like Georgia really a practicing their righteousness before men as Jesus warns us in Matthew 6? Of course, they are practicing the righteousness of a different religion, but nonetheless, isn’t the motivation the same? It’s not that they aren’t trying to put economic pressure on the state of Georgia, but it certainly is not an either/or, and it seems the main motivation—since the law hasn’t taken effect and most likely won’t take effect since the courts will get involved before it does—is to align with the in-crowd of the religion of the sexual revolution. So this “blowing of trumpets” gains these corporations the approval of the state religion, but nothing else except the future need to keep blowing those trumpets when some other officially sanctioned religious act (Lolita conference or some other soon to be accepted perversion?) comes down the pike. But then, of course, the real question for us is how often do we do the same practicing of righteousness (publicly announcing our own boycotts?) in hopes of being approved by men?

Michael

Michael, yes, and it is called virtue signaling.


General History

I’m 30 minutes into my first interaction with the audio book version of Black & Tan. I am also wrapping up War & Peace right now. Your discourse on your generalist approach to history reminds me of Tolstoy’s criticism/evaluation of how history is recorded by various types of historians. It seems to me that you may have had his thoughts in mind when writing this section of B&T, amirite? Bonus side note: I have a cousin who went to one of those cesspools of a public university in Ohio. He told me that one of his history profs used B&T to critique and ridicule Christians and conservatives with. My response went something like this: “Why would a university prof choose a ‘history’ book like B&T written by a non-professor to denounce?” Have you run into this situation before?

Tim

Tim, on the Tolstoy thing, no, that wasn’t in my mind. On the other issue, I have to acknowledge that professional historians have gotten themselves whizzed up about me before.


Electoral College Stuff

The problem isn’t the Electoral College per se, but rather the arbitrary limit of 538 electors. Set the number of persons represented by a congressman to some fixed number, and let the house grow to accommodate that number. Otherwise you end up with states like Texas only having 12.67 times the electoral voting power of states like Vermont, despite having 19 times (and growing) the population, and therefore a disproportionately low degree of representation in our representative democracy.

Mark

Mark, it is not clear to me whether you are talking about the Electoral College or the House of Representatives. Or perhaps both?


Don’t Forget Kentucky

Don’t forget Kentucky passed a heartbeat bill earlier this year too! We just have a worthless attorney general who won’t defend it in court. Planned Parenthood even challenged our ban on sex/race/disability selective abortions and AG Beshear won’t defend it. We’ve got work to do.

Samuel

Samuel, let us cheer you on.


Heretics and Salvation

RE: “Ask Doug: Tolkein & Chesterton Saved?” In response to one of your “Ask Doug” videos where you (correctly) affirm the salvation of believing Roman Catholics in spite of their rejection of Sola Fide and other Protestant doctrines, I first want to say that I totally agree with you and I appreciate your remarks. People who believe on Christ for salvation are our brethren even if they happen to hold to papist soteriological nonsense. The reasoning for your response is sound: We are not saved through our works, be they moral, ritual, or doctrinal. Amen! One need not pass an ordination exam to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Trusting in Mary or in the false absolutive pronouncements of one’s parish priest for salvation will take one to Hell, but one can nevertheless disagree with the Reformation and still be saved. But how far and in what directions does God’s doctrinal leniency, so to speak, extend? For instance, my family doctor is a man who is a bold and habitual proclaimer of the exclusivity and Lordship of Jesus Christ. The walls of the waiting rooms and exam rooms in his office are ornamented with framed passages of Scripture, he prays with and for his patients, and the Gospel message he and his wife regularly share with many is, in substance, true and biblical. Moreover, his life appears to be abundantly marked by all the spiritual fruit enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23. The man is exemplary in terms of moral purity, is constantly engaged in sundry enterprises of Christian charity, and if you were to slice his tongue open, it would bleed Scripture. Everything in me wants to embrace him in the bonds of Christian fellowship. But . . . he’s a staunch Modalist. He understands the orthodox Trinitarian formula but utterly rejects it as an unbiblical departure from Apostolic teaching. It grieved me deeply to hear him say this. After several hours of debating the word with him and pleading with him to see the Tri-Unity of God as revealed in Scripture, I felt as if I had to advise him that I couldn’t regard him as a brother because he held to a damnable heresy and not to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The anathema is not requited. As far as I know, he still regards me as a genuine Christian despite what he regards as my Trinitarian error. But it doesn’t seem that he’s gonna budge. How, if at all, do the principles you articulated concerning Roman Catholics like Tolkien and Chesterton apply to how I should relate to my doctor? I’ve always considered adherence to the Nicene Creed, or at least to its Trinitarian substance, the bare minimum for orthodoxy, and one’s informed rejection thereof a mandate to severe communal fellowship and regard such a person as apart from Christ. It’s so difficult for me in this situation given this man’s otherwise spotless character, testimony, and devotion. Is my response to him the right one, or am I effectually making a point of doctrinal correctness a work necessary for salvation? I’d appreciate your counsel. In Christ,

Joe

Joe, if his rejection of the Trinity is informed, and not simply a muddle, then I would have serious concerns. I would also take into consideration whether or not it is something he actively teaches and promotes. Is he an evangelist for modalism? And last, the rejection of someone as a false teacher is something the church is responsible to do, and when we do it we should remember to distinguish false teachers from false brothers.


Boycotts

RE: Boycotts both theirs and ours I wrote an article explaining how important being angry about this is. I thought you might enjoy it. Here.

Lewis

Lewis, thank you.


Re: Boycotts, Both Theirs and Ours | I will be waiting patiently for Marcus Pittman’s response to this blog post to know whether he agrees with it or has a slight disagreement.

Trey

Trey, I would anticipate slight disagreement, if any.


An Annual Event?

Ran across this article this evening and remembered that I’d been praying before the Grace Agenda that the Wilson Clan would not have reason to have an Annual Tumor Rollout Event this year. Glad you didn’t! Cheers!

Lindsey

Lindsey, that is correct. We didn’t, and we are quite pleased about it.


Abolitionism

I too have noticed an increase in recent weeks about abortion “abolitionists” (as if we don’t all want abortion abolished). It’s been going on for a while, but recently I feel it has become more prominent, hitting sites like The Resurgent where I had not noticed it before. Thank you for your careful thinking on this issue. Question: Can you speak to the moral/legal/Romans 13 issues behind nullification of Roe v. Wade by an individual state? The idea as I’ve seen it laid out is that Roe is nearly universally understood by both Left and Right to be bad precedent, bad law, and not even an attempt at legal reasoning. Therefore, they say, states should ignore it, pass abortion bans, and dare the Feds and SCOTUS to do something. It’s a bit like President Jackson, “Mr. Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Such a move clearly falls under the “lesser magistrate” category, but many conservatives speak loudly against such a move, mainly relying on “but then . . .” arguments. “But then liberal states would do the same thing with McDonald and Heller!” Or insert your favorite precedent. Personally, arguments like that or “but the nation would fall apart” have little pull with me, but not all are as callous. Can you give your thoughts on this, specifically how a believer should approach the issue of respecting the governing authorities but at the same time not sinking to “legal positivism?”

Samuel

Samuel, if a state governor had his legislature behind him, and a general approval from his people, I think state level defiance of Roe would be a wonderful thing to do. It should have been done when Roe was first decided. Now it is more difficult, but I believe that if 10 to 15 states did it, the federal government would blink first.

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Trey Mays
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I think Marcus will slightly disagreement with stark and clear dividing lines that will make it seem as though he completely disagrees with everything in your blog post. He tends to speak in absolutes without much nuance. Not that that is a bad thing, per se, we need more communicators like him who have the cojones to speak with such clarity and force. What’s interesting is that most of the Theonomic Presbyterians, primarily from the Moscow area, tend to lean towards the gradualism interpretation of Scripture and the Gospel. While the Theonomic Baptists, primarily from the Phoenix area, tend to… Read more »

Nathan Smith
Member

Joe: I appreciate your summation of works-based-righteousness: “We are not saved through our works, be they moral, ritual, or doctrinal.” Though I guess you are paraphrasing (or quoting Pastor Wilson – not sure though since I haven’t seen the video/heard the audio you mention). I’ve come across these three types of works-base-righteousness in the past, but this is the first time I’ve cognitively made this three-fold organization of it and I find the concept helpful. My thanks to yourself and Pastor Wilson.

John Callaghan
Guest
John Callaghan

The video is on YouTube and is titled, “Ask Doug: Chesterton & Tolkien Saved?”.

One thing that Pastor Wilson seems to have misunderstand about the Catholic faith is that it does indeed teach that we are saved by Grace Alone. So Chesterton, Tolkien (and Lewis who was very Anglo-Catholic in his outlook) would all say “Amen” in agreement with him when he says that they were saved entirely by God’s Grace working in their lives. This may be why he has found them so compelling despite their expressed disapproval of Calvin and Calvinism.

Matt
Guest
Matt

The House is actually pretty even. CA has 1 representative per 750kish people, which is middle of the pack. Montana and Delaware are worst off with about a million per representative, and Wyoming and Rhode Island are best off with about half that.

The EC is so skewed because of the Senate.

Delk
Guest
Delk

If the number of house seats were set even as high as the population of the smallest state (Wyoming), there would be 117 new congressmen, more than the entire cadre of senators put together. The Senate only skews the EC so much because the the House is too small. And the House is only “pretty even” compared to the wildly uneven Senate. When your highest value is double your lowest, that’s not very equal. You probably wouldn’t say that the US, UK, and Poland were “pretty equal” in wealth, despite having about the same proportion of spread as the states… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

I think the main problem with evening out the House is that the overall number of representatives is too low. If we really wanted to get it to a constant ratio we would have to first multiply the number of representatives by a factor of at least 10. Which might be a good idea, but in the meantime a state with 800k people and one with 500k people both have one representative and will never be equal in this sense. As it is, it looks like CA’s 750k ratio is closest to the intended one and e.g. WY is the… Read more »

demosthenes1d
Member

Matt,

I think that is exactly what Delk is proposing. Expand the house to make it more proportional – as a side effect the electoral college would be more proportional as well.

The problem is that the work of congress doesn’t necessarily scale well. There is concern that the body will become even less workable if gets much larger, and that a bigger body will give more returns to seniority (due to the power of committees and the scarcity of meaningful positions) which could be an anti-democratic outcome of a democratic measure.

There are a lot of considerations to balance.