Letters On the Road

Sharing Options
Show Outline with Links

N.B. I am currently on the road, and so the number of letters I can respond to this week will be significantly limited. You may consider this a groveling apology if you like. Be that way.

Child Communion

I enjoyed your recent post on child communion. I am curious if you know of any resources that point to the early church’s practice of this, or historical practice of child communion in general? I pray for you and your ministry regularly that the Lord would keep you from stumbling!

Jason

Jason, yes, the early church did practice child communion. Here is one collection of quotations from the early fathers for you.

Write It Down, Get It Out

Veering away from your usual cluster of “high philosophy theology” discussions, I have a rather practical question for you. I’m a stay-at-home mom who became pregnant right smack dab in the middle of my college career which I ended up abandoning. Baby number two is on the way. In school, I always excelled in English and writing and lately, I’ve been feeling an escalating itch to do something with it. Writing has gotten me through a lot and I think I’d actually have a shot at saying something worthwhile. The problem is, that I have no connections, no degree, and no intention of leaving my kids alone to get out of the house. I’ve written a few short stories for my son but I don’t know what else to do with them. What are the odds of successful self-publishing? I’d love to return to school, but I don’t think we could swing that cost anytime soon. I know that if you want to write, you just have to write, but I’m just not sure what to do after that. Any advice?

LK

LK, what I would recommend is that your scratch the itch, and just start writing. As far as an outlet is concerned, the barriers to some sort of entry are pretty low. Start a blog, and publish there. When you have a portfolio, start sending links to people who might have access to larger audiences.

Potpourri

I would like to start by thanking you for being you. Some resources that have challenged my thinking in a good way include:
1) Your “night of eschatology” convo with Piper—particularly understanding Christ’s birth in 0 AD as “an eruption of the end times in the middle of history” has been deeply informative and formative in my spiritual journey.
2) Your recent interview with Tucker Carlson gave me a lot to think about.
3) I love how you invest in your children and grandchildren. My wife and I have one 20-month-old son and I pray we can raise him and his future siblings in a similar way.
4) Your book ‘The Case for Classical Christian Education.” This was recommended by a dear friend who recently retired from 10 years of teaching in public schools to start a Classical Learning Center where she can raise her children in the Lord.
I also recently “retired” from 10 years of teaching full-time in public schools, and to say I am ready for a change would be an understatement.
My questions are simple but threefold:
1) Is there any hope for a great sinner like me, who loves Jesus and wants to follow Him with all my heart, but have been born and raised in a matriarchal, matrilineal, left-leaning, LGBTQIA2SPLUS-affirming society?
2) Are there any job openings in Moscow, Idaho, which would allow me and my family to learn and grow in community with your church there?
3) If not, what advice do you have for someone going through a transition like mine (trying to model Christ’s love well in a matriarchal, matrilineal, left-leaning, LGBTQIA2SPLUS-affirming world without being of that world, while also providing well for my family)?
Blessings to you and yours,

J-Dub

J-Dub, thanks for the thanks. Yes, living right is an uphill climb. As far as job opportunities are concerned, it depends on what you are trained and equipped to do. But I will say what I have said a number of times before . . . when the first settlers got here to Idaho, there were no jobs. There was plenty of work, but no jobs. There are many opportunities. Check them out before you move, but do check them out.

Sinful but Not a Sin

I have followed and appreciated your work for some time. I was just watching a debate of yours from a number of years ago with Andrew Sullivan on gay marriage. I was surprised to see that you said homosexual orientation is not a sin. Is that still your stance? And could you clarify that further if so? This is a big debate that exploded in the PCA a few years ago. I would understand homosexual lust, just as heterosexual lust, to be a sin—not merely physical acts. What are your thoughts on that?
Thank you!

JH

JH, yes. Homosexual lust would be a sin. And I would say homosexual orientation is sinful, and a result of the fall, but it is not a discrete sin, requiring confession. It is a condition requiring the grace of justification, and is not in the realm of sanctification, What is in the realm of sanctification would be any temptation that pitches to that orientation. Here is one debate I had on the topic.

Some Resources

In the latest mailbox, Joe asks for books with a Christian perspective on ADHD, the DSM-V, etc. I’m a Christian pediatrician and providing this perspective has become my life’s mission. No book yet (unless Canon is interested), but I think Joe might find my substack helpful, he can discover there many essays providing Biblical pushback to the modern pharmaceutical/educational complex. Here is one example to start, about the folly of drugging children to become better Romans:
As for his question about the DSM-V, I would advise him to focus on the last of those letters. V, for 5—the fifth overhaul of this definitive medical authority since its inception a mere seventy years ago. Let me ask you this: if you knew your surgeon based his practice on an anatomy textbook that added a few limbs and removed a couple vital organs every decade or so, would you trust him to put you under? The Word of the Lord, on the other hand, endures forever.
Thank you and bless you,

Adrian

Adrian, thanks very much.

Response to Ventrella

Well, you were certainly more generous with Ventrella’s article than I would have been, by calling it merely “confused.” It was just a bunch of strawmen. One could not say that it was closely reasoned. Instead, there were a bunch of assertions of the kind that always get made about CN, with footnotes that referenced the same topic but didn’t back up the assertions at all. Plus, a total failure to define terms like “winsome,” “good reputation with outsiders,” “brash,” “bizarre and evil,” and “forced conversion,” all of which have been addressed elsewhere by you and others, whom Ventrella apparently didn’t read.

Jennifer

Jennifer, thanks. The reason I went with confused is that I am currently reading a book called Virtuous Liberty, that Ventrella contributed to, and it makes numerous CN claims without using the term CN. In response, I am writing a detailed treatment of virtue and liberty that will run next Monday (I am on the road now). But since the heart of the differences does not appear to me to be substantive, I am chalking it all up to personalities and turf concerns.

Liberty Catechism

When I first saw your Liberty Catechism, it was like when someone invents a product that we can’t seem to get along without; why didn’t someone do this before? I’ve been using it ever since, in a government/economics class I teach in a classical Christian school and in my policy work, developing insights into how best apply Scripture to the public square. Initially, I took up your invitation to suggest changes, and have continued to make some changes on my own. And, because I wanted to show my students the biblical support for the catechism, over the last year I’ve added proof texts. I finally put it all together and have posted the results here. Thank you for this. It has been a great blessing for me and my students.

Bill

Bill, thanks. Maybe we can do more with this . . .

A Stymied Spiritual Life

This is not in response to any of your articles . . . I’m just looking for help. What would you say to a husband who is tired and frustrated, bitter and cynical? My husband asked me tonight what I get out of my prayer life. This is a question that he asks ever so often. He’s a believer. He tells me he tries to look at the silver lining but he’s always met with pain and heartache. He prays, and reads his Bible. He listens to spiritual and faith-based podcasts and sermons all the time. He says he “gets nothing out of” attempting to get closer to God. He says praying and reading his Bible are painful because he feels like God isn’t listening and doesn’t care one flip about him. I pray for him daily and do my best to encourage him, but the answers I give to his questions are always unsatisfactory. He’s tired of men in “authority” who can’t help . . . and He’s bitter towards a God who put them there. I’m at a loss. What can I do but pray and hope that he works through the bitterness? How can a person so deeply hurt through the years, (allegedly) by a God who claims to love him, work through deep-seated bitterness? Thank you.

Amber

Amber, I would suggest two things. The first is that you avoid trying to help if he brings it up in a way that shows he is feeling sorry for himself. Pray that God would give you an opportunity to speak to him honestly (and bluntly) in a moment when the Lord has softened his heart, and he is willing to hear it. If and when God gives you that moment, you will need to tell your husband (sweetly, graciously) that wherever the problem lies, it isn’t in God. If God is that kind of cruel Demon, then good luck getting Him to repent. God is not the one who needs to repent, of course not, and every form of bitterness toward Him is an implied charge that He is the one who needs to. The problem lies closer to home, and he needs to humble himself to the point where he repents of all blame-shifting, and humbly asks God to show him where he needs to repent further.

Take Your Pick

I know there is no perfect church, but some issues definitely seem more important than others. Would you be more concerned over a church that was allowing women to teach mix gender groups on days and times other than Sunday mornings who also allows women to publicly read Scripture and lead worship during Sunday morning or . . . over a church that was continuationist who believes that God still speaks to individuals particularly, not exclusively by the Bible. (I know these two issues probably go hand in hand most of the time . . . but just humor me.)

J

J, I don’t like the choice, obviously, but I would much prefer to deal with charismatics over the woke.

Justice in Different Circumstances

Think of a world where the justice system does not punish/discipline/enforce itself upon unlawful folks that deserve it (I know, hard to imagine). In an extreme version of this, would vigilante justice still be disobedient or wrong even if the “hero” was truly the only one fighting for goodness. Would there be a way such a character could go about it in a way that is more biblically sound? In other words, if Bruce Wayne was in your counseling room, what would you tell him about this whole Batman thing? It seems a very Christian principle and ethic that one should do good even if they are the one doing so. “Good” in a lot of senses means obeying the law of the land, but what if that law is overtly debauched? What if there is no justice, and the law is unlawful? Was Jael a vigilante?

Colten

Colten, first, what Jael did was in a time of war, so that would be more like the actions of a resistance fighter than a vigilante. In a failed state, where there are no authorities, I believe it is legitimate to begin the foundation of a new authority. Where the authorities are hapless, the closer it gets to a failed state, the more legit direct action would be. And if the authorities are overt persecutors and tyrants, then the issue is again one of resistance.

Disinheritance

I am originally from Hungary and I am a father of 4 boys.
I have recently read your book Future Men which I found very helpful.
I have one question regarding the below advice on p. 146:
“If a son deserts the faith, he ought to be disinherited. If he marries outside the covenant, i.e., he marries a non-Christian, he ought to be disinherited.”
Initially I found this advice appealing but after giving some thought I couldn’t find any biblical backing to support it. However I found two examples that appears to support the contrary:
1) God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Mt 5:45).
2) The prodigal son’s father divided the inheritance between his two sons and didn’t disinherit the one who rebelled against his authority (Lk 15:12).
I as a father would like to use the Bible as my ultimate authority in all areas of my life. At this point I am not convinced that your advice on disinheritance is based on the Bible. But I might be missing something this is why I reached out to you.
Can you please help me understand what is your biblical basis on the above advice?
I appreciate your help in this matter a lot.
Blessing and peace,

Viktor

Viktor, in the parable of the prodigal son, the inheritance was dispersed before the overt rebellion. And while God dispenses His common grace upon all, and we are told in that place to imitate Him, there are other places where we must make distinctions, and are told not to give any aid to people who are doing evil work (2 Jn. 10-11). That said, I was talking in that place about a son who has gone over to the dark side (e.g. he is a marketing director for Planned Parenthood), and was not talking about a son who was simply not thriving in his spiritual life. Every human government has an ultimate punishment for extreme behavior, and disinheritance is that punishment for the family.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
44 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jennifer Mugrage
1 month ago

LK, I am a mom who has self-published three novels. (I have a degree , but it’s not in writing and no one really cares about the degree anyway.) The self-publishing part itself isn’t that difficult. I hired an independent copyeditor, designed my own covers using Adobe and paintings I did, purchased ISBN numbers for my books, and uploaded everything to IngramSpark. It costs some money and it’s a learning curve, but it’s doable. The hard part is promoting your books. In my case, people who read them, like them, but almost no one knows they exist. On the other… Read more »

AC
AC
1 month ago

There have been several mothers (some young with littles) who have gone through the masters program at New Saint Andrews. Will depend on your overall situation if it would work out well. I am a graduate and much enjoyed the program.

https://www.camperdownmfa.com/

Zeph
1 month ago

In my case, I haven’t been able to afford the couple of hundred dollars to do this, so, I have been printing a copy or two of one of mine and having Staples Bind it for me at about 7 dollars apiece and I am giving them to people that I think it will help.

Jennifer Mugrage
1 month ago
Reply to  Zeph

It is a bit pricey, for sure 💙

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Monday morning quarterbacking.

Its easy to call the report “knowledge” after the fact of the resulting attack. The reality is that they’ve been receiving reports of intended terror attacks nonstop for decades, almost all of which don’t materialize into real events. The expectation that this one report would be picked out and the decision made to completely reconfigure their defenses is unrealistic at best.

Jane
Jane
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

It’s similar to the claims that FDR “knew all about” Pearl Harbor because there was some chatter about it buried among thousands of encoded, Japanese language radio messages.

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane

Great comparison. Because we share a border with Japan, and keep them in an open air prison, so we knew exactly what they were up to when we allowed it to happen.

Jane
Jane
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

You mean Egypt keeps them in an open air prison, too?

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane

What?

Jane
Jane
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

It wouldn’t be any kind of prison if they only had one of their borders closed but had access to the rest of the world by land and sea. So does Egypt come in for at least some share of the blame here? Or is South Korea making North Korea into an “open air prison” as well?

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane

Yeah you’re on one and not making much sense ✌️

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Funny how you hyperventilate all day about Gaza being an Open Air Prison, but you can’t even find it on a map.

Chris
1 month ago

Or she is focusing on the wrong point of my original statement and it’s not worth engaging.

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Or you, in a lame attempt at mockery, tried to aim at Jane with some stupidity about sharing borders with an island nation and wound up shooting yourself instead.

Chris
1 month ago

You are dumb enough to think that so more power to you chief 🫡

Zeph
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane

I knew a woman who was ten in Honolulu at the time. She said that everyone knew it was coming.

Jane
Jane
1 month ago
Reply to  Zeph

Expecting the Japanese to attack and knowing that it was coming at 7:00 am on December 7, 1941 are quite different things.That goes for Chris’s comment, too.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 month ago
Reply to  Jane

Your original comment wasn’t about the precise timing: “t’s similar to the claims that FDR ‘knew all about’ Pearl Harbor because there was some chatter about it buried among thousands of encoded, Japanese language radio messages.” Books like Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy have shown it’s not even debatable that FDR wanted to go to war and left us as sitting ducks. I know people are caught up in nostalgia over our foreign wars, with all the programming via movies and other propaganda. But almost all (if not all) those wars involved either a false flag or… Read more »

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Written by a failed right wing political hack? No thanks.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Says a Skittles reject who hasn’t demonstrated anything beyond trolling and a comfortable room temperature IQ. Stick to TikTok videos by your non-binary friends. 900+ page books are way above your pay grade.

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

You really are something 😘

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

“Chris” is a perfect name for you. That was the androgynous love interest of the “It’s Pat” character on SNL when it was actually funny and before wokeness destroyed comedy.

I’m done with my quarterly troll feeding but it would probably be good for you to find a safe space somewhere and scream away.

Screaming Chris.png
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

🥱

Jane
Jane
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

“All about” would imply more than “we expect the aggressive Japanese imperialists to attack the nearest part of our territory to them at some point.”

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

FDR ‘wanted war’–considered Germany a serious threat–yes. Left us sitting ducks at Pearl Harbor, not on purpose, tho there’s enough blame to go around–he read 13 parts and said by instinct ‘This means war’ but didn’t enforce a clear war warning. (Let the reader of Pear Harbor: Final Verdict and of And I Was There, and a few similar books, understand.) No CIA pulled all the intelligence together.

Cherrera
Cherrera
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Greaves was more qualified to speak on Pearl Harbor than any author endorsed by the Boomer-Con Book-of-the-Month Club. The CIA wasn’t around back then (at least not officially by that name). They’d be the one of the last organizations I’d trust to give an honest account, anyway.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Just a quick point. We will never be allowed to see the classified documents leading to the Japanese attack on Pearl. We will never see the ships logs for the cruisers and destroyers that made quick runs into and out of Japanese harbors in the early part of 1941. The US was breaking both the Japanese diplomatic code and the Army and Navy codes real time from the late 1920s on. The Japanese changed the immediately prior to steaming toward the Aleutians. That code was broken before they were half way across the North Pacific. Additionally, when the battle fleet… Read more »

Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

From what I understand, every event, like a concert, gets some form of approval from the IDF so who knows. They have been trustworthy so far.

Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago

Nice to see Adrian Gaty ‘round these parts.

Zeph
1 month ago

The biggest reason that kids leave the faith asap is that they were never saved as kids. Galatians teaches that if they were of us, then they would have never left us.

Benjamin Campbell
Benjamin Campbell
28 days ago
Reply to  Zeph

That verse is in first John and is referring to a specific group of people that left the church at that time. It does not mean that everyone that ever leaves the church never had any share in Christ. Especially if we are talking about baptized children of believers.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

“…but I would much prefer to deal with charismatics over the woke.”

This is a watershed statement I’ll remember. Thanks Doug!

Richard H
Richard H
1 month ago

Pastor Wilson: Regarding “Sinful but Not a Sin”, I have been following your distinction between these two categories and agree that there are “handles” on discreet sins that allow more concrete confession. And I agree that our sin nature along with our perverted affections can only be generally confessed because there is no way to instantly and practically turn away from them. However, isn’t it true that both Justification and Sanctification apply to the whole man? If Justification covers both our original and actual sins, why would Sanctification only be dealing with the fruit of original sin and not its… Read more »

David Anderson
1 month ago

In the recommended link for demonstrations that the early church practised paedocommunion, we get this damaging concession: Direct statements concerning paedocommunion come a few decades later, from the pen of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. We have two passages (written c. A.D. 250) which demonstrate that children were communed at the Lord’s table. And from the indirect argument there (i.e. it is not from a direct discussion of either the propriety of paedocommunion, or communion in general), we then go into the late 4th century. Anyone who finds this to be a convincing argument rather than a telling omission needs to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by David Anderson
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  David Anderson

You’re presuming the burden of evidence is on the paedocommunionist to justify their decision. The reality is quite the opposite.

Where did you get your Biblical standard for who qualifies for a baptism, and where did you get your system of authority for controlling how other churches distribute baptisms? We’re Protestants, not Catholics. Upon what grounds do you claim the authority to write the prerequisites if they don’t exist in Scripture?

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

^ Paedobaptist.

too late to edit.

John Middleton
John Middleton
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Dave is not presuming burden of evidence here, he responding to something proffered as evidence.

I don’t know if your argument over paedobaptism is with him or not, since he only mentioned paedocommunion. I gather that is an intramural debate amongst paedobaptists.

David Anderson
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

> “You’re presuming the burden of evidence is on the paedocommunionist to justify their decision. The reality is quite the opposite.” The burden of evidence is upon whoever is advancing a claim, to provide sufficient reasons to bear out that claim. Here, we are discussing the evidence for the claim that has been advanced that the early church believed and taught paedocommunion. Is there sufficient evidence? I find it telling that, instead of responding directly to the points I raised, you side-step them by appealing to meta-concerns about who has to prove what. Can you honestly tell me you’d still… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by David Anderson
Justin Parris
Justin Parris
1 month ago
Reply to  David Anderson

“The burden of evidence is upon whoever is advancing a claim” Are you suggesting that you are entirely 100% neutral on the issue, and are only scrutinizing someone else’s claim? Or in reality do you also claim that Paedocommunion is incorrect? If the former, and you do not in fact claim a conclusion yourself, my apologies. My mistake. If the latter, then this is simply a deflection because you do not wish to provide the justification for your own conclusion. ” I find it telling that, instead of responding directly to the points I raised, you side-step them by appealing to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Justin Parris
Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
1 month ago
Reply to  David Anderson

When it’s clear what’s happening, paedocommunion is what’s happening, even when catechumens are excluded. And paedocommunion is happening as something taken for granted, presupposed, not as something needing to be argued. Taken for granted by a well-known bishop, Cyprian; a well-known and well-traveled writer, Augustine; and by a pope, Leo; not just known as the habit of a little cult; so we deduce widespread acceptance of paedocommunion as something the apostles had taught churches to do. (Philip Kayser does show that Augustine may have known of Christians who did not practice it.) /// Early church statements that can be read… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  David Anderson

David, where is paedocommunion prohibited in scripture or in the WCF?

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Brendon H
Brendon H
1 month ago

J-Dub. What do you do or what skill set? Asking for a friend in Moscow

Tony Armour
Tony Armour
1 month ago

Edit: I meant to send this as a “letter”, not a comment. My bad.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tony Armour