Praise God!! Wonderful news!!
Laura, thank you and thank the Lord. We thought so too.
If you keep writing posts that funny I’m going to start hoping you keep getting cancer. I’ll try not to. That was hilarious!
Steven, don’t be drawing the wrong applications or life lessons here . . .
Thankful for the good news! Continuing in prayer as the decisions are made for treatment, if any.
Chad & Jannell
Really appreciate it. Thank you.
I’m so glad you are doing better, although at first glance I thought you were a Muslim . . .
Melody, well yes, I can see that. But a Muslim exulting in a fine serving of hospital apple sauce.
Forgetting What We Had No Right to Forget
When the right to sodomy first became a political issue, conservatives opposed it for all kinds of reasons one could easily gainsay. It was unhealthy, unnatural, icky, or whatever. So the homos replied that they’d use condoms, that dogs do this, and even “breeder” sex could be seen as icky by some. And I remember reading an article by a Christian who said plainly that we would never be able to win this fight without mentioning Jesus. So, as the cliché says, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here we are once again in a moral contest where the battle is the Lord’s, and conservatives want Him out of it.
Steve, exactly right.
You’ve probably seen this already: When I read it, I was immediately reminded of your post “the economics of sexual purity.” I have to admit, a lot of what you were saying did not click until I read the NYTimes piece. Now it makes complete sense.
Charles, thank you.
The Unbearable Whiteness of Being
Fantastic post, Doug. “Anything the world can get unsettled about, we can be unsettled about five years later and with a verse attached.” This is exactly what I was asking myself about during the recent “Racialism push” from many leaders I respect. I remember asking myself, “Why now?” Is it really just poor timing that right after we see a massive “White guilt/White privilege” movement in our political realm—we now see the same thing trickle into our churches? I suspect not. The church has to look massively different from the world. Its values have to be different. Its focus needs to be on camels and not gnats. We have to be people of the Book; not just regurgitating whatever “they” tell us to believe ten years too late.
Daniel, exactly. And we have to be prepared for the comeback, which will be to say that anyone who alleges cultural Marxism is behind all this, or critical theory, or anything of that kind, is guilty of doubling down on the oppression. Investigation into the genesis of all this would blow the whole thing sky high, and so people must be scared away from even mentioning the genesis of all of this.
Trump, National Review, and Southern Rock
Several times you’ve mentioned that we should start thinking about how we view President Trump in the next election, especially considering how well he has been able to move the needle for conservative Christians. But I also think that we need to think about how we think about this. Whether we can reconcile our faith with his known character issues is an honest debate, but at least we are having that debate. The debate we are not having is our virtue signaling tendency to publicly distance ourselves from Trump, showing solidarity with minorities or women or whatever, while peddling National Review’s phony civility. I am not plugged into every Christian circle or conservative outlet, but I have yet to come across any critics that have suggested that it’s even a remote possibility that we are capable of this sort of moral preening. In fact, the only people that seem have a keen eye for this hypocrisy wear bright red MAGA hats (imagine that!). As you mentioned, the parable of the two sons is a great start, and there are many more areas of Scripture worth considering. At this point I have more questions than answers, although I do intend to support Trump in the next election. But I am so surprised by current trends, and I am so frustrated by Christian politicians praying on street corners and telling us to be warm and well-fed, that I’m thinking things like “Jesus drained the temple swamp in an unpresidential manner, totally disregarding the fruits of the Spirit!” It’s obviously crude, but I really think there’s something there that it highlights. I’m still working out how to even approach this, because our thinking has been off for so long on this.
Unrelated, I really enjoyed the Skynyrd song y’all played, and I would like to request “Born on the Bayou” by CCR. It’s a fantastic song, and I think y’all could pull it off well. Furthermore, in my estimation, any serious attempt at preserving Western civilization will include the canonization of Classic and Southern Rock, and there’s no better way to do that than to keep playing it.
Arkie, you are absolutely right in that there are many questions for Christians to discuss before the next presidential election. Unfortunately, yelling that the world is engaged in has overtaken the Christian world as well.
Absolutely correct and on point about National Review. A real shame too. Did you happen to catch this? She clings, like so many apologists do, to the admirable sounding dictionary definition of feminism, then immediately disregards that definition as soon as it comes to actually discussing anything about society. Women need special support it would seem to help prevent people from calling them mean names. What of men who get called mean names for being men? Oh that’s not particularly important.
Justin, I have heard from one friend who is inside the NRO world, and he says that things are better than they look. Given his agreement with the appalling nature of the transgender piece, and the public hammering other NRO writers gave to that same piece, it is possible that we are looking at editorial mismanagement and not mission drift. But we are looking at something bad.
“Never has a leadership group been so disconnected from how their base was feeling. This happened because 1. The leadership would not listen to what the people were trying to say.” Of course all of this is complicated by the fact that the base can be feeling the wrong way and the people can be saying the wrong things, and if leadership merely responds to the base’s feelings and talk then they are really only title holders and not leaders. I’m not saying the base/people necessarily are, but what do these leaders (and they really only are if someone is following) really believe themselves? If they wholeheartedly believe what they say we might fault them for one thing, if they do not we should fault them for quite another thing. Finally, to the extent they ever considered these leaders authoritative in the first place, the base might examine their own thoughts and ask if there is anything at all to what the leadership group says.
John, I think things are a bit more complex than that. The leadership has been listening to the base closely enough to parrot all their concerns during campaigns, but then they go back to Washington and do whatever the swamp spirits tell them to do. A leader who differed with the base, repeated to the people what they were saying, and then articulated why he disagreed, would be a man of principle. But we don’t get that, at all. The leadership listens to the base on the surface, and largely by means of using catch phrases.
Slavery Once More:
The circumstances of slavery are, to a large extent, beside the point. If I offered to take on orphan from a life of begging and sex slavery on the streets in India and make her a servant for life in my home a modern Christian would be horrified. The fact that her life circumstances are better do not make up for the offense that I’ve made in establishing such a hierarchy. It’s equal status with my own children or nothing. It doesn’t matter that blacks have always been better off living under the authority of whites in America than living in Africa. At the same time, you can’t tell them to go live autonomously back in Africa. You have responsibility for their welfare but no authority or status to match that responsibility. It is going to be very difficult to come to any accurate understanding of biblical slavery with a completely modern concept of social hierarchy. Slaves were chattel but so were women and children. It’s apparently possible to be made in the image of God, loved and cared for, happy and fulfilled and also exist as the possession of someone else.
Barnie, if we were to debate this, our disagreement would probably revolve around the definition of chattel. In addition—but I don’t think you would disagree here—the fact that man stealing might result in a better outcome for the one stolen does not confer on anyone the right to engage in man stealing.
Miracles and the Miraculous:
The categories of miracles, I cannot even tell you how helpful this was. Thanks for the clear explanation of these categories.
Clark, you are most welcome. But there are questions, and see below.
What about miracles where new “stuff” is introduced into the created world? I’m thinking of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Where at 12:03 there were only 5 loaves and 2 fish, by the time 12:30 rolls around there are enough loaves and fish in hand to feed the multitudes. This seems to me to be another of those creation ex nihilo miracles, but not the continuing miracle of the first creation. It may, however, help understand how God created things at the outset with the appearance of age, etc.
John, I agree, depending on what actually happened. If new matter was introduced into the cosmos, then it was a supplement to ex nihilo creation. But we have to allow for a miracle of transformation of existing matter—the loaves and fish drawing surrounding material into themselves. Both are possible. An example of a transformation miracle would be Aaron’s staff being turned into a serpent (Ex. 7:10).
“A new creation miracle occurs when God acts without any intermediates, and does so in order to bring a new reality into existence in the world. He did this, most notably, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and He continues to do this in an ongoing way through the miracle of the new birth.” But there are physical, natural mechanisms that God uses to bring about the new creation in the life of an unbeliever, no? I think you need to hash this out a bit more. Preaching the Word, prayer, the use of apologetics to provide answers, the application of the sacraments (which are not merely ordinances), the glory of God revealed in nature, our consciences, etc. are all intermediate means which God uses to bring about the new creation. This is fundamentally different than the resurrection of the Jesus. Now, to be fair, God ordains both means and ends, but there are actual cause-effect relationships with the God-ordains means of effecting salvation in the life of an unbeliever, no?
BJ, I think the question is an astute one, but to your no? I would say no. There are any number of secondary causes to a man’s conversion (sending, preaching, etc.) but all of those means can be applied equally to both Jacob and Esau. The word quickens one and hardens the other. This is why I believe that the new birth must be considered as an immediate action of God. It is His immediate determination that causes the declared word to be efficacious in one instance and not in another. And that is why Paul compares true conversion to ex nihilo creation (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
Defining the categlories: Where would these miracles be classified? 1. Jesus’ raising of Lazarus. Where (to my mind) he deliberately delayed arriving for 2-3 days 2. Hezekiah’s cure/extension of his life. In addition to the healing stewed figs, a shadow “went backwards” up the steps. Thank you
Susan, I would classify the shadow going backward up the stairs, along with Joshua’s long day, as new creation miracles. I would do the same with the raising of Lazarus.
Things You Probably Didn’t Know
Given that you are highlighting Chesterton here (in Calvinism 4.0/Chestertonian Calvinism), I thought you all might be interested that he has a crater named after him on the planet Mercury (see here). The backstory is the following. It turns out that every planetary body in the solar system has a “theme” that governs the names given for features on its surface. The theme for Mercury is artists (having been dead for a while). For reasons that we still don’t fully understand, many craters at the poles of Mercury are filled with water ice, which is kind of odd for a planet so close to the sun. Anyways, one of the ice-filled craters is named Chesterton, and another is named Tolkien. There was an attempt to name the third of the trio at the north pole Lewis (in honor of C. S.), but alas there is already a Lewis crater on the Moon (named for another scientist). Apparently feature names in the solar system have to be unique according to the International Astronomical Union. In any case, both Chesterton and Tolkien are hanging out together at Mercury.
David, thanks. I understanding naming the craters. I don’t understand ice on Mercury.