Flags Out Front
This brief reply has to do with the novel Flags Out Front. What an excellent concept for a novel. I have proclaimed for years that the US flag has no authority over the Christian flag to fly above it, let alone fly in the sanctuary of the Lord, as these flags represent spheres of dominion . . . the transcendent and total Dominion of Christ the King (the Christian flag) and the lesser dominion of the US government (the Stars & Stripes) which answers to Him as His servant. Yet Christians, blind in their idolatrous “patriotism” in making sure the Stars & Stripes fly high above all, have no qualms with the US government being in dominion over the Church, believing that such patriotism is a form of obedience pleasing to the Lord. I will be ordering this novel for sure, although I have a question for Doug or those in charge of its publication. Can one obtain this novel in audio? I currently drive an eighteen wheeler to make a living (while recharging my batteries and wallet after seventeen years of pastoring on the front lines) and find very little time to read novels, though I have listened to over two hundred of them while putting on over a million miles over last three years. In His service and yours, thank you.
Thomas, very sorry—not in audio yet.
Thank you for responding to my question about your forthcoming book, The Theocratic Libertarian Manifesto. I’ll be waiting patiently for the book. Anyway, I got your Flags Out Front novel for Christmas. I have to say, “Wow. Great read.” You and your son should work on trying to get it made into a full-length movie. I think you do a great job of essentially putting the threats from secularists, radical Islam, and complicit secular Christians that you non-fictionally prophetically point out in Empires of Dirt into a creative narrative.
Trey, suggestion noted.
Sir, your Flags out Front book is on my reading list, but it will be a while before I get to it, so forgive me if this was already touched in in your book. But I do like to point out, for those unaware: official flag policy already requires one particular Christian flag to fly above the national ensign, at least in particular circumstances. Specifically, when a uniformed Chaplain is conducting worship onboard a Navy vessel at sea, the “church pennant” (complete with Christian cross) is flown above the national flag for the duration of the worship service. Hence why I find it odd that anyone could object, in principle, to any church or other religious establishment flying their own “church pennant” of sorts above the national ensign. Realizing you are a former Sailor, I hope I’m not insulting your intelligence. But I recognize that as a Submariner, this is hardly a common occurrence: quite rare are those occasions you may have ever had a chaplain onboard while underway, and even then, submarines don’t typically fly their pennants while submerged.
Daniel, very good point. And it was one that one of the characters used in the course of the controversy in the book. As you anticipated, I had no first-hand knowledge of this as a submariner, but my father was on destroyers, and he told me how the skimmers do it.
I just read Flags Out Front, and enjoyed it greatly. I only wish it was longer. A section on how it turned out for Dr. Jake Rollins would be delightful. It should also become a Hallmark Movie Channel movie. You have a lonely widower, an attractive administrative assistant, some conflicts, and a happy ending. Since the Hallmark movie people have been accused of being racist and heteronormative, they could really endear themselves to their critics by giving you a movie deal.
Ray, having a book of mine made into a Hallmark Movie Channel movie would be kind of a bucket list item on steroids thing. I would be quite impossible for several months.
Thanks, Pastor Doug. That’s Truth.
Looking forward to a hard-copy collection of the Exhortations. Coming soon?
Douglas, yes—I am slowly assembling them.
Have you read Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity by Kevin Vanhoozer? I just finished and thought it was a terrific read. I read the venerable Dr Leithart’s book the End of Protestantism earlier this year and thought the Kevin VanHoozer book provides a better solution than the one prescribed by Peter Leithart. Would love to hear your thoughts on this book. Thanks.
Jason, I just bought that book a month or two ago, and it is on my list. But I anticipate good things.
No Danger from the Right?
In reference to: Our Culture, What Remains of It/State of the Church #1 Dear Pastor Wilson, I don’t dispute the danger of any of the ideologies you listed under the section “The Disease Within.” But is leftist leaven the church’s only danger? It seems to me time and time again that the gods of the cultural right are at least as appealing to our brethren as those of the left and usually much better disguised. For what it’s worth, I’m just across the state line in Montana. I’m just not clear how we could expect much change in our church or in our nation until we begin an honest conversation about the sins and unbiblical ideologies beloved by our own tribe. I’ve got a hunch you know which ones they are. For clarity, my view is not that the church needs to change how it votes or somehow become more politically even-handed, whatever that would mean. Rather, my concern is that our boldest proclamations are directed squarely at the people who left our churches decades ago (and who inhabit other corners of the blogosphere). And those who still come to church often grow complacent (or worse, prideful) because, well, the boldest prophetic words they encounter are usually calling out the sins of people they don’t like and don’t know anyway. I do appreciate your stimulating writing and am grateful for your proclamation of the gospel of salvation. May God bless you and yours richly in 2018.
David, I agree that the baals of the right are a danger and have emphasized that for years. And that concern will be addressed in this series of messages (the outline of which keeps growing).
A Puritan Reminder on Envy
Re: “The Envy Prod” exhortation. Reminded me of this Jeremiah Burroughs quote: “Rejoice in the good of others, though it eclipses your light, thought it makes your parts, your abilities, and your excellencies dimmer in the eyes of others. Were it not for the eminence of some above you, your parts perhaps would shine more brightly and be of high esteem. Yet to rejoice in this from the heart, to bless God from the soul for His gifts and graces in others, that His name may be glorified more by others than I can glorify it myself; to be able to truly say, ‘Though I can do little, yet blessed be God there are some who can do more for God than I, and in this I do and will rejoice’—this is indeed to be able to do much more than others. This shows a great eminence of spirit” (Excellency of a Gracious Spirit).
Jesus and the Centurions
Regarding your post entitled: “Not Exactly a Mennonite Potluck,” you mention that “Jesus would also go have dinner with centurions at the Officer’s Club.” I find the substance of this post very helpful, but is there a direct (or indirect) biblical reference to Jesus actually eating with a Centurion? I just did a short search and didn’t come up with anything. Thank you.
Neil, no, but I do think we have the spirit of the thing. The highest words of praise that Jesus spoke for anyone were applied to a Roman centurion (Matt. 8:10), and I think that Peter, following the Lord’s example, was willing to stay with Cornelius for some days (Acts 10:48), and no doubt had meals with him.
Trump as the Nerf Hammer of God
In re. “Peasants, Pitchforks, and Pink Panthers” 1. Accountability: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (not in Juvenal’s original context, please). For the non-Latin folks out there “Who guards the guardians?” This is one of the downsides of this wonderful internet of ours—that someone who writes well, or at least knows their target audience well, can gain undeserved authority in any subject, when their life and practice may not match their preaching. Any of the readers here can probably think of an example. Thanks to the internet, I wonder if there will ever again be any stability in terms of trusted authorities. 2. The “Theory”: This actually kind of ties in to my previous paragraph, and also to the kings of Judah. We have indeed seen progress of a kind unexpected that favors the conservative view. That being said, the opposition will certainly do their best to get their game back. When the next president comes, will he try to lead us back into Baal worship, and will we go along with it? Being the optimist that I am not, so far I see this period as a temporary respite (I have been wrong before). With damage done to decades of work in the space of 1 year, how much easier can that be undone in the next administration? Will we have strong guardians to stop backsliding then?
Bugs, right you are—at least about the need to wait and see.
Good morning Ps. Wilson. Thank you for another insightful contribution. Please refer to brief video . . . I’m interested in your perspective.
Edmund, 2017 was already weird enough without bringing that kind of thing in.
This article is of particular interest to me, as it is working on the topic that a relative and I have been arguing since September 2016, to the point of some serious strife between us. Discussing about the morality of backing Trump, he asserted at the time that he believed Trump was chosen by God, flaws and all, to fulfill the major role in the turning of the country. I asked why specifically he thought that was the case. His evidence at hand was that Trump was able to win the primary, in spite of all that was set against him. Now, I had some issues with this. The important one for this topic being that success is a poor proof of God’s backing when taken alone. After all, Obama was successful. Mao Zedong was successful. Stalin was successful. You could use the same rationale to conclude that almost anything that has in fact happened is endorsed by God as a positive thing. The danger I see in Trump is the same in either case. That in supporting him (rather than individual issues he may be useful with), regardless of whatever other benefits we might gain, we lose the next generation as a consequence. What I see in Trump supporters is an ever increasing embrace of hypocrisy. His constant terrible behavior is ignored and defended. Our principles changed to match his agenda wherever he desires. There was an excellent piece at National Review that boils the question down to this. Did the Democrats think they were doing well following the election of Jimmy Carter? Was Jimmy Carter worth losing every significant battle across the board for the next two decades? Because regardless what Trump does for Israel, or district courts, or any other topic, his effect on both sides of the electorate will in my opinion far outstrip his actual administration in significance, for better or for worse.
Justin, there are two issues. One is what we should have done in the election, given what we had to go on. The other is whether or not those fears have been realized. I think those who opposed Trump in the primaries and in the general had a strong case, but many of them have proven themselves to be blind when it comes to acknowledging what is actually happening. There appears to be selective blindness everywhere.
I suggest that your POTUS goals were way too low if you think Trump has moved the ball further down the field than Cruz or Rubio could have. With House and Senate under GOP control, the Center for Medical Progress videos in circulation, Putin and North Korea providing sharp geo-pol contrast points, and HRC as the vanquished Dem opposition, I think that a poorly trained orangutan could have gotten done what DJT has accomplished. One does not applaud the tenor for clearing his throat. And to say that the fifty-something red-state Trump voters are not concerned about not being identified as evangelicals simply is not true. The evidence is the tortuous positions they are willing to adopt in order to fit Trump into an amorphous “evangelical” mold. If they did not care, they would not burn so many pixels on the effort. I am glad to get the tax cuts, and love the work Nikki Haley is doing in the UN, but I don’t think DJT is best answer to RINO gatekeepers. He is obviously what we deserve, but he is not how a free and righteous people would solve the gatekeeper problem.
Gil, right. I agree that he is not how we should solve the problem. But is God constrained in the same way? Cruz and Rubio, as respectable and respected politicians, are vulnerable to public opinion, as managed by the media, in ways that Trump appears not to be. So I think Cruz would have been responsible for some good mayhem, Rubio not so much. And Trump is just a surprise.
Pastor Wilson, I believe prior to the election of Trump you at one point said you were going to vote for Ben Sasse. That is what I ended up doing, though in the state of North Carolina no write in vote counts. At this point, I think I would vote for Trump next time around, and given Sasse’s firm resistance to anything Trump (far as I have seen at least), I don’t know if I would vote for him. What are your thoughts on Sasse’s position against Trump? Thanks.
Thomas, yes, I wrote in Sasse. And given what has happened since, I have been disappointed by Sasse as well as surprised by what the president has been actually doing. But I also want to give the whole thing more time. I expect that . . . perhaps . . . 2018 will say to 2017, “Here, hold my beer.”
Peasants and Pitchforks Humble offer of an edit I think: “I have a theory about DT. *Share I share it with you?” (Did you mean *Shall I share it with you?) Comment: Excellent theory…would you say kind of like Prov.21:1 in action? Unopened can of pork and beans…I’m dying laughing. All the crying laughing emojis. Thank you for such a wise thoughtful witty post per usual.
Cindy, yes, I meant shall. And many thanks for the kind words.
Finding Something I Said
I am simply looking for one of your blogs where a principle was given for men concerning (fidelity, fleeing from evil or the presence of, or accusations, false accusations, something along this line). It was posted in the last three month and was in connection with the Roy Moore scandal. I went through your blogs and also searched several different words or phrases. If you could remind me of the title it would be very much appreciated. Thanks for your help and all the work you do. You have been a tremendous help to my family and I for many years.
Justin, sorry, I would need you to be a bit more specific. Maybe we could crowd source this? Anybody have any ideas?
Dreher Doesn’t Quite Do It
I’ll finish this article later, but right now my head is spinning too fast at Dreher quoting a female Anglican priest favorably in order to diagnose our problems. I used to think (quite a number of years ago when he was still mostly known for being “crunchy”) that Dreher was onto something; now I think he’s just one of the five blind men congratulating himself for really accurately observing that the elephant does in fact have a tail, while it’s rampaging on the loose through the zoo. I got Out of the Ashes for Christmas. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s near the top of the stack. I’d appreciate reading the kind of detailed blow by blow you gave The Benedict Option. A lot of the right people (yourself included) seem to think it’s got much better answers.
Jane, yes, it is on the same general theme, and is a much better book.
If I may add to your Content Cluster Muster, I would like to add the blog of my friend, Mike Rogers who is propagating a partial preterist view of eschatology (which we call inmillennialism) that is optimistic like postmill, but differs from it in certain key areas. We would like to get your thoughts on our model of interpreting biblical prophecy. If you’re uninterested in following the blog, the first 8 posts–along with the 20th and 25th post–should be sufficient to understand the model. The blog’s address is: http://www.mikerogersad70.com (I will warn you that Mike has been tongue-in-cheek with some of his titles and paragraphs, so please be patient with him and read the articles in their entirety, especially the 3rd one.) Regardless if you agree with us or not, we believe you will be edified by the content. So, will you check it out or will you ignore it?
Luke, sorry, but the press of time prevents . . .
Forgiveness as Transaction
My note has to do with the article you posted as part of your cluster muster on forgiveness. While I do agree with a good deal of it, I have to disagree with one part. His view of forgiveness without repentance appears to be out of phase with Scripture. God does not grant forgiveness sans repentance, or all would be saved. Also, once someone is forgiven, the issue is no longer to be held against them. This would preclude being able to continue to call them to repentance which would be unbiblical. About the only example in Scripture that appears to support his view is the utterance from the cross of “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Two things to note however: First, prayers are not always answered in the affirmative, even for Jesus (if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me) and second, it wasn’t necessarily answered immediately. On the day of Pentecost, Peter said “this Christ whom YOU crucified.” Obviously these people were among those at the cross that Christ had spoken of and moments after hearing Peter’s words were actively repenting and were forgiven. If they had already been forgiven, Peter would have been out of phase with Scripture by holding something already forgiven against them. Just something for you to chew on. I read almost everything you post and while I don’t agree with all of it (I’m more of a pre-trib Baptist type) I have learned a good deal from you and am consistently provoked to thought and entertained. Please don’t ever quit. May God bless you and your work.
Charlie, I agree with you. But I also distinguish forgiveness-as-transaction and forgiveness-as-disposition. You are talking about the former, and I believe Mike was talking about the latter. I can’t forgive someone who hasn’t sought it yet, just like I can’t give a present to someone before their birthday. The gift-giving is the transaction. But I can buy the present, and wrap it, and have it ready to go. That is the disposition.
Broadband Ecclesial Authority
Peasants, Pitchforks, and Pink Panthers Doug, Is it fair to ask on whom authority in His church resides? You’re here writing an article about Dreher’s article on Hatmaker’s & Warren’s articles. Dreher wants gatekeepers to authority made of “official” training + ordination. Who trained & ordained him? Does Mablog claim you, Doug, have some ecclesiastical authority over me? Ironically, that’s been the root problem = either we’ve not really had pastors all along, or any that remain have not grabbed the crook with manly grip. Lecturers (aka itching ear scratchers) calling themselves preachers have been ascending the pulpits with nary a thought to actually touching the sheep. Those halls have not been much of “church” for ages now. Hatmaker is not my pastor. Dreher is maybe a smidge. Doug way much more. How does that happen? Doesn’t authority flow downhill, through channels cut by God? Isn’t authority then related to Truth source & content, tempered by relation proximity & knowledge?
Eric, yes. I think God does more through unauthorized channels than we want Him to do.
Eradicate civil vice? Might as well try to eradicate the rats in NYC. With heart which are deceitful beyond knowing, yet ingenious enough to invent ways of doing evil, your grasp has exceeded its reach.
Jeff, Paul says that the magistrate should punish the wrongdoer and reward the righteous. We are told in Proverbs that the people rejoice when the righteous rule. I was talking about that kind of thing, and not any kind of absolute eradication of sin and vice. There I quite agree with you.
I enjoy reading your blog. My wife says she can tell by my laugh when I am reading it. (She calls it a sinister laugh).
Our family had a robust discussion over the holidays about authority. As I had recently developed an organizational chart for my company, I suggested it may be helpful to the discussion for each party to draw an organizational chart of their understanding of the cosmos.
From there, I attempted to draw a chart for Theonomy, 2K, and the “third rail” to illustrate authority from each perspective.
Here is my attempt to develop such charts. If you could revise accordingly and explain the differences it would be much appreciated.
Theonomy Third Rail 2 Kingdoms
God God God
I I / \
I I / \
Scripture Scripture Civil Gov’t Scripture
I / \ I
I / \ I
Church Civil Gov’t Church I Church
I \ / I /
I \ / \ /
Civil Gov’t Family
I I Family
I I I
Family Individual I
My understanding is that the position of Theonomy is that every molecule is under Christ’s authority through Scripture and the church calls government to subordinate to Scripture with the belief that society will progressively do so.
My understanding of the two kingdoms view is that government is distinct from the spiritual kingdom and cannot be expected to subordinate to Scripture but has more of a bottom up influence on civil government depending on the amount of salt and light,.
The third rail seems to say that both civil gov’t and church are to be subordinate to Scripture and the church calls them to Scripture without authority to enforce obedience. Think John the Baptist before Herod.
Please bear with my rudimentary understanding. Any insight would be appreciated as I try to wrap my mind around it.
John, what you are calling “Third Rail,” I would call Kuyperian. Scripture is over all, but is not necessarily mediated through any one government to the others. Family government, church government, and civil government all have independent existence from God, and do not depend on the others for their marching orders. Sorry about the formatting.
One or the Other
On Hatmaker and the religious movement toward revised teachings on marriage: Preaching, teaching, writing come down to one of two choices. You either speak for the Lord, or you end up sanctifying the lusts of the mob.
“If the premill or amill position were correct, then the first enemy to be destroyed is death.” I don’t know why that has to be. Amillenialism at least seems to compress—you might say—resurrection, last battle, judgment, destruction of death into one event, with that last part logically, if not chronologically, the last part, all this following the not-literal millennium. Even premillenialism, depending on the version, I would think allows for final conquering of death as the last defeat of an enemy. I’m not way into charts and timelines though. What is the postmill take on the great apostasy, the falling away in latter times?
John, the problem is that to say that death is the last enemy to be destroyed because it is destroyed three nano-seconds after all the other enemies are destroyed seems to sap the expression of its strength.
Regarding a post I didn’t see: Was a bit surprised not see any musings on the passing of R.C. I know there were some rough patches, but he did compare you to Luther!
Douglas, I marked his passing on Twitter, but not here. I appreciated his ministry and influence very much. There was nothing sour in my relative silence.
A Book Recommend
Just wanted to drop you a note about a book that I think might be of interest to you. I’m about half way through listening to “Toxic Charity” by Robert D. Lupton and have found it to be very helpful. Might be worth your review if you haven’t read it already.
Eric, people who recommend books to me are my friends. Other people may call them “enablers,” but that is simply uncalled for. At any rate, I ordered it.
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