Hollow Soul Bullets
I do believe this is one of the finest commentaries on the issues surrounding the ongoing epidemic of public school shootings that I have been privileged to read. I must, once again, briefly comment on the links included in your post. When I saw the one highlighted as “as common and uncontroversial as microwave ownership,” my first thought was, “when microwaves are outlawed, only men who can’t cook . . . oops, I mean only outlaws will have microwaves.” I was surprised that the link did not lead to a tinfoil hat movement to have such dangerous items as microwaves outlawed. However the linked-to Crosspolitic article by Toby Sumpter was excellent, and even momentarily caused me to wonder if you (Pastor Wilson) were moon-lighting under a pen name. Sad to say though, I do feel that in order to stop the bloodshed in our public schools, it is high time for all men of good moral character to finally admit that we need to break down and do something we might find distasteful; that is to lend our voices to the call to once and for all ban . . . all public schools.
Lee, thank you. And Toby is his own entity entirely.
Excellent article! I do not know anything about you, other than I have disagreed with you about 100% on previous articles I’ve seen . . . The only time I have seen your site is when some radical anti-Trump blog links to your site because you have some article that is against Trump. On this particular topic I agree with you completely. Well stated.
Sheila, thank you. I would invite you to stick around—you might be surprised more than just occasionally.
While I whole-heartedly agree with what you say, I’m reminded of my classes that talk much of who all cultures come from God and we should look for what there is to affirm in every culture. In fact, one resource we read went so far as to say if we don’t find things to affirm in every culture we have made an idol out of our own culture. This was also used for culture as a whole, that the cultural mandate combined with a certain reading of Acts 17 and Philippians 4:8 that teaches us we need to look for the good in the sinful culture and tell the gospel in those terms. I suppose I’m not arguing, I’m deeply curious. Do these types of missional strategies at some level of practice, whatever they say in theory, deny the antithesis between the two peoples? It seems they are looking at the people of the world and believing that they are a mix of people of God and people of Satan, and searching hard for what there is to admire. Can you help me out? Are these two views incompatible? It seems like the push to find good in every culture is a full frontal denial of the two humanities, at least the way I have seen it practiced. And it rests not on explicit texts but on examples that could be interpreted many other ways. These are the same people that insist we need to listen to the children of Satan for a long time before we have anything to say to them. Do these two things go together? Or is there a denial, in practice, of the two humanities functioning in the Reformed world today?
Luke, the tendency to treat all cultures as though they were on all fours together is well-intentioned, in that it does not want to give way to thoughtless jingoism, or some mindless identification of one particular culture with the kingdom of God—a mistake that has been made more than once. But at the same time, this move amounts to a confused confession that the kingdom of God is impotent in history, and that sanctification cannot happen to tribes or nations. And this is radically false. No one in their own nature is superior to anyone else—we are all by nature objects of wrath. But can one culture be superior to another? Absolutely, yes. And when it happens, it is entirely the grace of God mediated through the gospel. This is just another way of saying that the transforming gospel got to certain cultures first.
Creeping Pluralism at Mablog?
Regarding the analogy of Elijah and the ACLU Lawyers regarding which God would produce a more free and tolerant society (from your brief quote from Empires of Dirt): Given that the “tolerance” shown to the prophets of Baal in the original episode involved Elijah mocking them, arresting them, and then slaughtering them, I struggle to see the application of Elijah’s method of practicing the true faith with a “free and tolerant society.” I dare say many ACLU Lawyers might think that their own methods, however problematic, might still result in a society they would perceive as more free and tolerant than what was exhibited by Elijah during this event? Might you further clarify?
Daniel, quite a reasonable question. I believe the showdown on Mt. Carmel was, in effect, a proxy war, thwarting a coup, and the leaders of the defeated army were executed. I don’t believe that Elijah was modeling for us how we should handle church/synagogue relations. It was closer to what we did to Saddam Hussein, or Osama. And that kind of decisive action paves the way for peace.
Reverend Wilson, Can you please give us your biblical basis for this? I just have a hard time finding any justification in Scripture for the magistrate to establish a pluralistic society if Christ is truly King. Thank you for your work on this site.
Kilgore, I believe that the idea of a pluralistic society is incoherent. So I don’t want tolerance for unbelievers because they should have an equal voice in running our society. I want tolerance for them because this is what I believe the law of Christ requires. In an ideal biblical republic, church bells would be legal and encouraged and broadcasted calls to prayer from minarets would not be. The public space belongs to Jesus. But unbelievers would not be persecuted for their beliefs—not because secularism requires it but rather because our marching orders in the New Testament require it.
Insanity on Stilts
A little off topic (but this is all related, isn’t it?), but I’d love to hear your reflection on this, which I’m assuming you predicted at some point in the past.
Andy, see below.
Having read your stuff for a few years now I have an inclination as to how you’d respond to this type of insanity — but I’d really appreciate a response that focused on what a fundamentalist Christian like myself should do when the federales come knocking on my door to drag my kids/wife/confused dog away. Being a combat vet I’m inclined to respond with hot lead, but I’m not exactly sure that’s what Jesus would do. I really do struggle with the appropriate response (there’s not a lot of jelly in my evangelicalism—probably a little too much spit and vinegar actually.) As I wait to finish the tunnel under my house that leads to a cabin the middle of nowhere Montana I’m convinced that it’s only a matter of time before I’m faced with one of these do or die decisions. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Tim, the one thing I can say is that standing by and watching while your family is hauled off should not be one of the options. Fighting them is essential, but I would also say that it is crucial to fight with wisdom. And the fact that these parents are fighting to prevent the use of transgender drugs on their daughter, which she apparently wants, means that there is some kind of parenting fail involved already. But the fact that they should have been fighting sooner does not mean that they should not fight now.
Six Day Stuff
In the third reason given in the post on 6-day creation, the author says “For the bookends of creation to match, they must be mirrors of each other.” How does Gehenna and the eternal, created souls in Hell fit into this scheme? Are they considered no longer part of creation (an Augustinian sort of decreation)? Otherwise, I’m not sure that this argument really helps the position. Cheers,
Ty, I am inclined to the view that Lewis suggested at the end of The Great Divorce, that being the idea that Hell and damnation are eternally serious for the souls involved, but collectively they approach a cosmological nullity. Hell is only immense on the inside, for those on the inside.
50 Shades of Feminist Inconsistency
Bravo! It always amused me how Pastors always addressed male sexual sin (rightly so) but hardly ever female. In fact most pastors assume females do not sin and always want to be Godly . . . the irony of this whole situation is hilarious! Women who hate male authority going to watch a sex movie about a woman totally subordinate to a man . . .
Charles, as I have often said in other contexts, if it made sense, it wouldn’t be sin.
Is It Lust to Have Eyes in Your Head?
Have you heard the argument that Christians have taken the fight against lust too far because of a mistranslation or misunderstanding in Matthew 5:28? The idea is that the Greek word is more properly translated “covet” instead of “lust.” The argument centers on the idea that lust is the hunger, covetousness is the plan to satiate the hunger. So instead of having it viewed as wrong to have the hunger, the sin is not when you recognize that a woman is attractive, but when you start trying to figure out how to seduce her. One point they make is that when the Jewish sages who translated the Septuagint translated the Ten Commandments, they used this word in Exodus 20:17. Now, I fully admit that our culture is too sexualized, and that we are to flee sexual immorality. But Matthew 5:28 has been used to metaphorically beat young men over the head with “If you see a woman as sexually desirable, you have sinned.” Which, in the struggle to be sanctified, is a massive obstacle. What are your thoughts?
Roger, yes, I have heard that line of argument. I haven’t done any detailed work on the words involved, but I do believe that some have taken the Lord’s teaching against heart sin too far. That said, the Tenth Commandment prohibited coveting your neighbor’s wife, which obviously means that sex is entailed in that prohibition as well. There are ways of parsing this that are nothing but self-justification (“what I was doing in my head was okay because I wasn’t totally aroused”) and there are ways of analyzing it that are just plain common sense (e.g. knowing that a woman is attractive is not the same thing as being attracted).
Re: Lust Monkeys Well, yes, of course. We’ve erected enormous Asherah Poles all over our landscape and now we’re astounded to find that the temple prostitutes are talking about forming a union to lobby for better working conditions and more respect. If you keep chopping down those poles and sacrificing bulls on them, (yes, the seven year-old bull in your father’s pasture) the townsfolk are sure to gather and call for your demise, Pastor Jerub-Baal.
Dan, I get what you are saying. Perhaps we should do it at night.
“But I care more about our entire process not being corrupted, and the politicalization of the judiciary would be one such corruption that I don’t want to see.” Doug, how can a man of your perception fail to grasp that the judiciary, from the Supreme Court all the way down, is already as comprehensively politicized as may be conceived? The “Wise Latina” or RBG objective, fair or constitutionally-directed in any matter at all? PLEASE! No further judicial corruption is possible without declaring the U.S. a banana republic. I believe if the small things are done right (i.e., hanging Hillary from a lamppost) and a little bit of godly fear is instilled in the troublers of the nation, there is a small chance the larger issues may eventually be put in order. Failing that, we’re looking at civil war and/or partitioning the country, I think.
Tom, I agree with you that our differences are looking increasingly intractable, and the Balkanization of our country is a real possibility. But I differ with you about this—that our judiciary “is already as comprehensively politicized as may be conceived.” I agree with you that it is bad, but I think I differ in this—we are still a good way from the bottom. It can get lots worse.
Do you even care that there are real live Christian men writing to you to about stoning women to death?
Gabrielle, I could be wrong about this, but I took “Avery” as a woman’s name. The questions about stoning do not proceed from misogyny at all. Achan was stoned, and he was a man. These questions are obviously presented to anyone who says that we must turn away from secular law and come back to biblical law. Since that is something I have been arguing for, it is a natural question to ask what I propose to do with the Old Testament regulations that we find somewhat draconian.
Charity on a Curve
I am not referring to any post in particular, but I do have a question. In the university that I am in, I am graded on a bell-curve. The system is designed such that being better than the person next to you is more crucial than to simply “do well.” Doing well is measured against other people. If I put in the effort to make good notes (or anything that gives me an advantage), is it my duty as a Christian to share them? Or should I view this environment as a competition, thereby engaging in this in a different way (no one expects a runner to pull an opponent pass the finishing line in race). I suppose the difficulty is knowing that helping the other person directly affects how I might do in the module. Thank you very much!
Shawn, I would encourage you to share with and encourage others. The analogy is not quite that of a race, where there is only one first place. If the professor said that he was going to give out only one A, then it might be closer to an actual competition. Or if you were taking a test that would land you a paid position, no one would look for or expect that kind of help.
The Riot and the Dance
Delighting in creation is the key. One of the turning points in the development of evolution is when its popularizers (like Sagan) began to speak about the world in terms of wonder and amazement. I know many did this before, but people focus less on the facts and evidence when the salesman are giving them an experience and not a science quiz. I am excited about this documentary and the effects it might have on a generation of young believers. Hopefully it will inspire them to find wonder and amazement in God’s world again. I wish more Christians (ministers and otherwise) would try to spark an imagination about God’s world again.
BJ, yes. We must be, in the first instance, believers who are delighted in the works of God. We must be, in the second instance, capable of answering the claims of evolutionists. But if we skip the first, we run the risk of becoming argumentative cranks. This movie is spectacular in how it celebrates creation.