Porn in School Libraries
Re: the feasible and strategic target of no porn in school libraries. This article from Prufrock has some very good data. Encourages me to make a request, because if 14 new requests is a “surge” then 15 would be a tsunami!
Grace, thanks very much.
Baptism and the Early Church
Do you believe that covenant infant baptism as you understand it, and (as far as I can tell) Calvin understood it, was the practice of the early church and became very muddled very quickly, or do you think that the practice evolved over time into what you and Calvin would articulate? If the latter is the case, how would you deal with a Roman Catholic friend who points to Marian dogmas as good and true, in spite of the fact that no one taught them until hundreds of years after Christ?
Brandon, I certainly believe the early church baptized infants. But I don’t believe they had a full-orbed covenant theology as a widespread understanding in the church. So I would take your second option. The quarry for that covenant theology was all there in the Scripture, but it was not hammered out. I would compare it to the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine was resident in the Scriptures, but that doesn’t mean the average Christian in the year 150 A.D. could answer all the questions with Nicene terms. But once the doctrine was hammered out, it became possible to go back to the Scriptures, and lay out a complete case for it. It is the same with infant baptism. The practice was there from the beginning. A robust case for it came later. Now, with regard to your Roman Catholic friend and Mary, it is certainly possible to approach the question in the same way. But once that Marian doctrine is hammered out, and I go back to the quarry of Scripture to make the case for it, I find the quarry deserted, the rock is all gone, and all I can hear is crickets.
I believe in postmillennialism, but there are certain verses I have trouble with. Take 2 Timothy 4:1, for example: “Jesus Christ will judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” Surely the arrival of the kingdom must be contemporary with the Second Coming.
In a recent eschatological spat I had the privilege of taking part in, a premillennial friend of mine used this verse to slam-dunk his views. Of course, he was oh-so-friendly about it, in the magnanimous way people often are when they win a verbal exchange and don’t wish to be too harsh on their poor opponent, who probably didn’t know that verse even existed.
I did know that verse existed, and I wasn’t convinced; but at the same time I had no comeback. The verse is certainly what you would expect a premillennialist to write, not a postmillennialist.
How do you understand 2 Timothy 4:1, and verses like it, which appear to assume premillennialism as a foregone conclusion? Matthew 25:31ff is another: the throne comes after the Second Coming.
Thank you for your time.
Tristan, I would place these sorts of expressions under “already/not yet.” The kingdom is already here within us (Luke 17:21), and yet we pray for the kingdom to come (Matt. 6:10). The kingdom can come near (Luke 10:9), and yet not be fully manifested (Luke 19:11). So the kingdom is established, is growing daily, and not yet manifested in its fullness.
Are Women’s Ministries Good?
In response to “Women’s Ministry as Pestilence,” I found this post helpful, but I would like some clarification on certain points. How far does you criticism of women’s ministry extend? Would you object to women’s ministries in principle or would you just say that they need to be overseen by the elders? You note that in times past, women’s ministries were more outward looking, looking to serve others rather than targeting serving the women of the church. Do you believe it is a good idea to have ministries that target the women of the church as long as they are overseen by the elders? For example, do you believe having a women’s Bible study led by a woman is appropriate, as long as the elders are aware of and approve of what they are doing? Some have argued based on Titus 2:3-5 that women should only teach other women that things mentioned there (loving husbands, loving children, and keeping the home) and therefore women should not teach other women theology. Given that your wife and daughters have books, podcasts, etc. about more than these topics, I assume that you don’t share this view? Also, would you have similar (albeit somewhat different) concerns about men’s ministries? Would you be concerned about a men’s ministry/men’s group that is not being actively overseen by the elders, but is led by some other men of the church?
William, yes, you have gathered my position correctly. I don’t have any problem with women gathering together to study the Word, provided that is what is actually happening, and provided it is under the authority of watchful elders. Men’s ministries need to be overseen also, although you would likely be guarding against different problems.
My wife and I moved to Columbia, South Carolina this past year. We have been visiting a PCA church and think we will pursue membership. The church has many young families, emphasizes the Gospel, values expository preaching, and seems to have robust community. However, there are some issues that have given me pause. It lacks robust covenant renewal liturgy and serves communion quarterly. They hold optional children’s classes during the service. I’ve heard very little from the pulpit addressing specifically the sins and issues of the day. Women teach women theology in the women’s small groups. And this Lord’s Day, a woman in the church led corporate prayer. We have visited multiple churches and for various reasons have come back to this one. We really value the strong community and have been warmly welcomed by many who have become our friends. How much importance should we place on these issues? Am I being too critical? Too picky? I don’t expect every church to be like Moscow, but I would like to be more like-minded with the culture of our church. I’m just not there yet. So far I feel a bit like a white-pilled critic trying to keep my mouth shut. I desperately do not want to be divisive. If we join I will support the leadership and be a faithful, committed churchman. Should we stay for the community and work to be more at peace with the preferences I’m giving up?
Mitch, it sounds like this church is your best option. But if you join, there will be some things you cannot change, and if they continue to drift in that direction, you would at some point have to leave. Keep in mind also, that there are possibly some things you could help to change. And also keep in mind that some of our readers might know of a church option you haven’t found out about yet.
What to Do?
How would you handle a theonomist in your church who refused to join church membership and insisted that the rules of the church did not apply to him, but was known for his knowledge of the law?
Justin, I would allow him to continue to attend, deny him the privileges of membership (e.g. voting), and continue to welcome him unless he became disruptive. Then I would ask him to move on.
Secular Education Training
I have a question concerning public secular education. This is the situation, I’ve started university and I’m studying Pedagogy. My intention is to invest time and money on the study of education, working hard to help build a better future for my children and grandchildren.
The thing that I am concerned about is that the agenda and curriculum of this university is full of climate change, new gender and inclusive language policies, not surprisingly, assuming evolution, modern psychology, and so on. I do not take two steps without having to refute or ponder”by what standard?” questions. They have no basis whatsoever to hold what they claim. They expect us to have debate and work as a group to answer different questions over education and other aspects of society but the topics they propose are themselves in question (e.g. How would you implement new policies concerning gender affirmation or diversity in schools or other institutions?, What measures do you think would help reduce pollution and help reduce climate change?), and the ones that are not (Is immigration necessary, good, bad?) I will gladly answer according to my worldview, but not even sure if they would accept these.
What would you advise me to do?
Last week the teacher said ‘this is not our mere opinion, this is the truth, things are this way’. With regard to all of this, your book ‘Persuasions’ has helped much.
Anon, it sounds to me like a fruitless endeavor. And if your goal is to teach in a public school, it will be just as bad after you graduate. And if your goal is simply to teach, I would change majors and start thinking about private schools.
The Full Preterism Problem
Dear Pastor Wilson, the answer is no:
Not even if ShoeHorn and Axle Grease (my powerlifting redneck cousins) used a shoehorn and axle grease (copious amounts or otherwise) could 1000 be shoved into 37. I witnessed someone make the attempt. I debated Don Preston last Friday evening on the subject of The Millennium. It was my 4th and his 144,000th.But Experience isn’t a factor when your opponent must argue for a millennium that can’t even qualify to collect Social Security.
The most difficult part was keeping Don from dodging the crux of my questions. Don is good at debating and would make a great politician . . . maybe he should run for President? If not Don Preston then maybe Don’s “Millennium.” It is old enough—but just barely.
I will post the link here. I would be honored if you would mention the debate. I would be doubly honored if I could correspond with you on the subject in any format.
Anthony, I didn’t see a link, but feel free to post it in the comments. Thank you for your work.
Qualifications for Educators
To what extent do you believe qualifications for elder should be applied to leaders in the classical Christian movement? I know you allow for women and single people to be classroom teachers. However, if a certain man’s kids are a mess, does that disqualify him from being a leader in CCE? And if it doesn’t *automatically* disqualify him, under what circumstances would you allow a fellow whose kids were a mess to be a leader in CCE?
Josh, you are right. I don’t believe that teachers are in the same position as elders, but I do believe they are in a comparable position. And that means I would think twice about hiring someone (a man) who had not successfully led his own kids. And if he is already on staff when the problem starts to manifest, then I would take that into account as your provide feedback and mentoring. If one kid is being a black sheep, it is one thing, but if all of them veer off, then you probably have a significant problem in the school, and not just in that teacher’s home life.
Courtship Red Flags?
Being ‘a young man of marriageable age’, I read your book “Get the Girl”, and it has helped me very much in understanding my duty as a man, and the purpose of marriage.
Then I found out you had a blog. Then I found out I can ask questions that may be answered on that blog. So here I am, hoping you might answer mine (and trying desperately to eliminate the star-struck tone from my writing).
I have two questions related to girls and relationships.
(1) When it comes to girls and Proverbs 31, how much of a red flag is it for a girl to not be very industrious? There’s a girl who I think is cute, and she clearly loves the Lord. In this regard, she is the most attractive girl I know. But historically she has had trouble holding down a job, and is really not very outgoing at all. She has a job now, and is aiming for a degree etc, but it seems like this may have only happened because of a fair amount of parental pressure.
(2) The second question links to the first. When I say she is not outgoing, I mean she really is extremely introverted—with anyone except her closest acquaintances. With close friends, she is relaxed and has a lot of fun. But I have difficulty even getting near her to talk with her; and so the only way I have found I can communicate with her is by text message, which is not ideal. I have known her for many years, and she has even admitted to liking me in the past, yet I can count on my fingers the number of conversations we have had. Because of this, I am having trouble determining if this is a red flag, or just a personality quirk. Do you have any advice on what to look out for here?
Any general guidance you can give in this situation would be helpful.
Thank you for all you do, and please keep writing books like “Get the Girl”!
Brian, not being industrious is a major red flag, but make sure that is actually the problem, and not just a bad luck problem with managers. Being introverted could also be a problem, depending on now pronounced it is. You don’t want to marry a cat lady recluse. But also budget for the possibility that you haven’t had a lot of conversations with her because she is avoiding you and those conversations. There are a lot of things that you won’t be able to answer unless you just ask her out.
I have a quick question that is probably the result of my own overthinking than it actually being a legitimate question but anyways. In Matthew 26, what does it mean to baptize the nations? Is this a grassroots movement that is based upon baptizing the members of a nation? Or is more of a headship question where a nation is baptized via its king being baptized i.e. Constantine or the king of Nineveh in Jonah? Is to baptize the nations a literal baptism with sprinkling in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or a general cleansing like the flood?
Sammie, I don’t believe it is a literal baptism of the nation. I think it is a combination of the two things you mention—grassroots evangelism coupled with the effects of that evangelism reaching the rulers.
Have You Read . . .?
Have you read Prayer Changes Things by P. Andrew Sandlin? While he makes a number of fair points, chiefly that Christians today don’t take prayer seriously enough, I can’t help but bristle at his conclusion that “Prayer changes God.” Is he overstepping and dabbling in Word of Faith territory, or does my Reformed understanding of the immutability of God have just a little too much starch in it?
Collin, sorry, I haven’t read that book. So it might be a problem with the starch because I am sure that Andrew would affirm the classical doctrine of God’s immutability. What may be happening is that he is writing in the same way that biblical writers do. “And God repented . . .” Which always needs to be held up next to “God is not a man that He should repent.”
The Trinity and Perspicuity
Thank you for your ministry! I’m a Reformed Baptist currently struggling with the question “Is the doctrine of the Trinity perspicuous in Scripture?” I wish I could say yes, but having looked into the exegetical arguments of some non-Trinitarians, I think they have some valid points that substantially complicate things. This seems like a significant issue when it comes to sola Scriptura, because I would expect a doctrine as fundamental as God’s identity/nature to be abundantly explicated in Scripture. Granted, we as humans are certainly limited in our ability to fully comprehend God, but the diversity on this doctrine among well-educated people who claim to be following sola Scriptura is a difficult reality for me to deal with. I would love to get your thoughts on this matter.
Theodore, the fact of the Trinity is perspicuous. It is plainly taught. But our ability to “do the math” is not. It is the same with virtually any attribute of God. I was once speaking to a woman in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she said, “I refuse to worship a God that I can’t understand.” She was rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. I asked her if God was infinite, and when she said yes, I asked her to explain infinity to me.
In Our Own Day
In reply to “A Florilegium of Prudential Observations…” Can you please elaborate (or write a post on) what you mean by “Absent revival, we should think postmilly, act amilly”? Does this mean “expect widespread revival but act like it’s never gonna come?” If so please explain the second half of that statement and why.
Michael, sorry. That statement was probably too cryptic. What I meant was “expect massive revival as being inevitable at some point, but act as though it might not happen in our lifetime.”
A Sad Story
This is a long, complicated story, but which ends in a pretty (semi) simple question:
My wife and I have three daughters. Years ago, we had our two older daughters baptized. Our oldest was six, and my second was a newborn. We had them both baptized by sprinkling, my oldest professing faith. We were convinced of the paedobaptist position, but only on a shallow level (proof texting Acts 2:39, etc.). Shortly after, we became convinced of the credobaptist conviction, but not necessarily by immersion, so we only saw our oldest daughter’s baptism as valid.
Fast forward to the 2020-present “COVID saga” we live in. My wife and I become members of a Reformed Baptist Church that was/is fighting the good fight, staying open, etc. My wife and I become convinced, once again, of the paedobaptist (and now paedocommunion) position, but this time, not so shallow (thanks to Canon+ and you and Peter Leithart and James B. Jordan, and of course, the Bible).
Here is our dilemma, our church does not accept either of our daughters’ baptisms as valid. They are a strict, baptism by profession and full immersion. So my middle daughter is out, my oldest out because of the mode.
I’m not going to have my two older daughters re-baptized, but that means as long as we tarry here, they will never get to come to the Lord’s Table. I’ve accepted that my 3rd daughter will be baptized by immersion and only when she professes faith (which she does!) But, best case scenario, my wife and I and my youngest daughter will be able to come to the Table, but not my two older daughters. What do I do?
We love this church and we don’t want to break fellowship, but I can’t imagine my children never getting to come to the Lord’s Table, when I’m convinced they should be because they belong to Christ by covenant!
I have also decided to stop taking communion because of this. I am convinced that my children should be sharing in this meal with me, but because they are not allowed, me coming to the Table is, in a sense, nodding my head to [the exclusion of] my children. Is this correct thinking?
I’m sorry to ask you all of this, but you’re a smart cookie, and jokes aside, I highly respect you as a person and as a minister of Jesus Christ.
So, in summary, I have three daughters, two of which have been baptized, but my elders do not recognize as valid, and thus they cannot come to the Table. I am withholding myself from the Table, because I feel my children should be coming with me. What should I do?
Thank you Pastor Doug.
For His Kingdom,
Rob. I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but it seems to me that you must either change your position to the Reformed Baptist position, or you must change churches.
How can we (older women) advise women who are in Christian marriages in which the husband is struggling with pornography?
For more context, let’s say that the husband is working hard (with counselors and godly men around him) toward breaking the pattern of his sinful behavior and in all the other areas he is a solid good man. But of course, the Christian wife is hurting in the process.
How can we help her? Maybe a short answer here will be enough, but I would appreciate if you could write a blog post with more details.
This is so hard and more common than it should be happening.
By the grace of God, in our 30+ years of marriage this hasn’t been a problem in our marriage, so I would like to glean more wisdom to be able to help and advice to women in this situation.
Thank you for reading,
OW, on the assumption that the husband really is seeking accountability, and is actually getting it from pastors or elders, one of the things I would recommend here is that the wife step out of day-to-day accountability, leaving that to the counselors. She should still know the general state of things, whether or not he is making good progress, and so on. She should know enough to be a help in the situation, but not so much that she is constantly getting beat up by his temptations. But of course, if he is being terrible, she needs to know that.
Sir, with much of the COVID insanity (hopefully) in the rear view mirror, I hoped to ask your thoughts on obedience to the government (Romans 13/Titus 3 stuff): Given recent events, I genuinely struggle to understand the exact (or even approximate) line between “be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13) and “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5).
One observation—in Lewis’s autobiography, he described his dog, Tim, thusly: “He never exactly obeyed you; he sometimes agreed with you.” I have often observed in various contexts that the real test of “obedience” is specifically in those instances where we do, in fact, *disagree* with our authority, and in subjection, we defer to our authority’s decision even when we don’t agree. If I only obey those governmental laws that I happen to agree with, then that doesn’t seem to be obedience so much as occasional concurrence.
Many of my friends and mentors had considered mask mandates to be downright oppression, of a kind that demanded our civic disobedience. But while masking always felt to me pointless, irritating, inconvenient, and rather stupid, I never felt it to be a sign of oppression (notwithstanding many oppressive governmental types out there) . . . Perhaps because I felt that there was at least some rational basis (however questionable) for the idea of masks in order to prevent disease transmission to save lives . . . (there’s at least *SOME* basis there, no?—after all, surgeons must wear masks during surgeries for *some* reason, and it is common in Japanese culture even before COVID for people to wear masks in public if they are sick/contagious). And giving the benefit of the doubt to our leaders, I trusted that their underlying motive in the masks was well-intentioned, even if not remotely as effective as they seemed to believe, and I saw no command of God that their laws required me to disobey.
Perhaps I’m struggling with this recently as I just watched the “Hiding Place” Musical (story of Corrie Ten Boom), and I am struck at how very different it was when she “obeyed God rather than man” compared that what we were being asked to do . . . I wonder what in the world she would say, in heaven, if we complained to her . . .”Can you BELEIVE what our government was asking us to do??? Yeah, you think you had it bad, Nazis telling you to turn Jews over to be exterminated and sending you to a concentration camp . . . but my government made me wear a SURGICAL MASK because they thought it could SAVE lives during a virulent pandemic . . .”
Or perhaps it is my perspective being in the military—as defying a mask mandate on base would have meant defying an order, facing various judicial/court-martial proceedings, and being less-than-honorably discharged. But on the other hand, how many lawful orders do I regularly obey in the military that I personally find stupid, unwise, or dim? And when my commanding officer(s) would issue mask mandates (often in conjunction/deference with various local or higher authorities), while I found them to be annoying, ineffective, and extremely inconvenient—I just never saw them as something that even remotely approached the category that required me to draw a line in the sand, ready to sacrifice my military career, and stand up and say, “I must obey God rather than man”—as I have indeed not infrequently found myself needing to do in other contexts and regarding other improper or ungodly military directives. There are indeed times in the past I found myself prepared to disobey military orders and face discipline to “obey God rather than man” (and I can imagine plenty other such situations that I personally haven’t yet faced)—but my commanding officer ordering me to wear a mask during a disease outbreak because he believes it could save lives, health, and military readiness of his personnel? That just doesn’t seem a hill to die on—on the contrary, from my limited perspective, it seems almost a perfect example of “obedience” to authority specifically in those times where I’m obeying a command that I personally find misguided, erroneous, or dimwitted, but which does not require me to disobey a command of God.
In short, many of my friends disparaged me for wearing masks in public buildings where required, and sneered that I was wearing a “sign of obedience.” I guess I don’t understand how that was a bad thing, given Romans 13, Titus 3, etc . . . If I’m not obeying the government specifically in those cases where I think their guidance misguided (though not requiring me to disobey God’s commands) . . . what exactly then is “obedience”? Should I not take honor and delight as a citizen and Christian at being submissive to rulers and authorities, and to exult in my opportunity to be obedient in deference to Christ even when inconvenient or annoying? if I only obey the government in those instances where I personally concur with their edicts, how would I be different than Lewis’s dog—”I never exactly *obey* the government; I sometimes *agree* with the government . . .”
(But for what it is worth—notwithstanding everything I just wrote above, I am *EXTREMELY* sympathetic to the position of my friends, and the importance of standing up against government overreach, abuse of authority, unconstitutional or unlawful exercise of power, etc., etc., etc. Hence why I struggle to find the right dividing line, or balance, between Romans 13 and Acts 5)
Very respectfully submitted,
Daniel, there are numerous issues here. There are occasions where I believe that someone should have donned a mask under orders. Say a private employer required it as a condition of employment. If I felt strongly about it, I should quit the job. But the government doesn’t have the authority to lock the healthy in their houses for a year. The order itself is unlawful. When the issue is the government requiring it, then we have to go beyond whether the order is dimwitted. We have to ask whether it is a lawful, constitutional order. And it wasn’t. And moreover, we discover after the fact that they were requiring it while knowing full well that it wasn’t going any good.
Liberty of Conscience
“when you hammer out a concept of liberty of conscience, it has to be because Christ is Lord. It is not because liberty of conscience is Lord. Liberty of conscience is weak, and does not know how to defend itself. Liberty of conscience needs a shield and defender, and He must be named as the Lord Jesus.” Frame that one, Doug.
I appreciate that you keep insisting on first putting the big rocks in the proverbial jar of policy and planning, though all the naysayers stomp their feet and demand to know where we’re going to fit the various grains of legal sand while they wave their “But Servetus!” flags. I rather admire the impudence of those who dare try and put first things, well, first and brazenly leave 137th things for another century or two.
Nathan, thank you.
Abused by the Welfare State
In my line of work, I interact with many people who have been systemically abused by the welfare state. I say this strictly as an observer, as the people I serve would not see themselves as abused but rather “beneficiaries” of the state. I will not go into a tirade on generational poverty or anything like that, as you’ve made reference to this item many times so I will assume you are well versed in this concept.
In the past year, with your help, I have been extremely interested in the idea of libertarian theocracy. I purchased “Mere Christendom” as an introduction for myself, and then began listening to Plodcast. Then I graduated to Blog and Magog, and now I am pacing myself through the other wonderful Podcasts offered by Canon Press.
I believe that, in the most simple yet profound terms, that all of the problems we face in this world can be solved by people hearing the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ died for them, and that in His resurrection we can be granted a new life. Regarding the mission of social justice, I believe that the alleviation of human needs should always be treated as the means to the end, the end being the message of salvation.
The State has its own way of answering these issues, and they also have the exclusive bonus that millions of people are, in effect, slaves to their institutions. They also have a secure block of voters—who wants to vote out the guy who’s feeding them? They also have a surefire guarantee to alleviate future poverty: kill them before they are born. But I will digress, as I’m certain that you have addressed this issue before.
I propose that if we are to rescue the lost from the systems, powers, and principalities of this world, then we must be able to offer an alternative. I would like to hear you expound your thoughts concerning social services ministry in accordance to the Mere Christendom model. Altruistic ministries can be a means to reach enslaved people with the redeeming message of Jesus, but how do you think we should operate when the State has such a monopoly in the sector?
If you have already answered this in a previous blog post, I probably just missed it. If you could kindly refer me to the episode, I would be most appreciative.
Also, if you are keeping stats on this sort of thing, I am a 35 year-old man, married to a wonderful wife, and have two beautiful children.
May God bless you, and continue to bless you.
Jeremiah, thanks for the suggestion. I do need to write something on that.
I am a Christian man who said the Islamic shahada. This requires additional information, I fell in love with a Muslim women and through years and long talks led her away from Islam and we fell in love and decided to get married. She hid her apostasy from her family for fear of her life, we lied and said I am a faithful Muslim, I am not. They would not let me take her without saying the shahada, I did not know what they would do to me or her and scared, I said the shahada. In private after I wept as I have never experienced before and begged God for forgiveness. My wife is safe in the USA and we regularly attend church. On that day will Christ deny me for blasphemy? I think of when Abraham lied to hide his wife but, I am not so great a man as Abraham nor were my desires so noble, I did not have to marry her and I must accept this. If God will deny me I freely accept it’s eternal justice and before this I was deserving of damnation and still am without Christ’s mercy. I pray for your ministry and for good blessings on your family! Thank you for time,
I do not deserve it!
Harrison, rest easy. Christ has forgiven your sin, which was grievous. “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme” (Mark 3:28). Remember that Peter denied the Lord, and He was forgiven.
To Move or Not To Move
On Classical Christian schools and moving to Moscow…
Dear Editor (I think it’s really you, DougWils),
I write to you today pondering a question that may occupy the minds of many in our Christian communities: should one heed the call to move to a place more conducive to communal living, such as the idyllic Moscow (not the Russian one, I said idyllic), or should we stay behind in major cities like Chicago, where lost souls struggle, swimming in cesspools of iniquity?
The allure of relocating to a city like Moscow, where the virtues of community and faith seem to flourish, is undeniable. The prospect of embracing a life closely tied to our Christian values in a nurturing environment is an enticing one. But to contemplate this move, one should also grapple with a Christian duty to those who dwell in places like Chicago.
Does our faith call us to be beacons of light in the darkest of places, to reach out to those who are lost, and to guide them toward redemption? It would be a formidable task. So we have begun to consider establishing a Classical Christian school in one of the most challenging neighborhoods in Chicago (Englewood). To some, it may seem audacious, even borderline insane (okay, you got me; we jumped off the border of sanity long ago). Yet, is not it precisely in these difficult and challenging environments that our faith can shine brightest?
The souls residing in such neighborhoods yearn for guidance and a path to righteousness—and they have neither means nor know-how to flee the city. Where are our Christian missionaries to American inner cities? Would you mind banging that drum? Call on our brothers and sisters to invest in these God-forsaking cities (not that God has forsaken them, but they have forsaken God).
I would love to hear you pontificate more on the contemplation of these choices. What are ways we can build our Benedictine communities while not relegating the rest of the world to the waters of the flood? Or is it too late for those outside the boat? How can we partner with those who are about the business of plucking souls from the fires of Hell (not to be confused by the Chicago Fire, though the semblance is striking)? What would your advice be to those who want to move to Moscow but believe that education of the youth of our major cities through Classical Christian schools is the best way to combat the cultural war ravaging our nation, and so decide to invest in these communities? Or are we trying to put out a fire by throwing snowballs into Hell?
Daniel, in my mind it all depends on what God has called you to. He has called some to stay and some to go. The one principle that I would want to point to in this decision is that you must not sacrifice your children for the sake of that mission. If you can stay and minister, and not lose your children, then I believe we all would applaud that.
As a husband and father of 4 (soon to be 5) young children, I’m seeking some parental advice, specifically in the area of discipline. In the early years of our marriage and parenting, my wife and I were often guilty of administering discipline out of anger and frustration. Our oldest (boy, 6-years-old) unfortunately took the brunt of this.
In recent years, my wife and I have both grown in grace and been helped by your instruction and exhortation on this topic. We try, by God’s grace, to not discipline in anger, and to carefully explain to our children why we are doing it, and what God’s Word says about it.
We have pared our “house rules” down to essentially two basic rules: No disobedience, and no disrespect. Since our instruction in these two areas was lacking in the beginning, these are problem areas in varying degrees with our three oldest.
Our oldest, however, now seems to be calloused towards discipline, especially spanking. When he does need a spanking, he will often react with anger and will tell us that it’s unfair, that it’s ruining his day, etc. He will also physically resist, which makes it very difficult to proceed in a calm manner. Our younger ones, ages 4, 2, and 1, are much more receptive to discipline and are quick to get back into fellowship. We are concerned that our poor parenting in the early days led to the hard-hearted attitude in our oldest.
We want to be biblical and consistent in our discipline, but are wondering if spanking is no longer the best approach to take with him, since the result seems to be only more hardening and bitterness. To be clear, the bitterness seems to be directed at the discipline and not so much at us. He enjoys spending time with us and our relationship seems to be good otherwise. We do not want to damage the relationship and push him into further bitterness, frustration, and hard-heartedness.
Do you have any pastoral advice that might help us as we seek to be biblical and faithful in our parental duties?
Many thanks for all you do! You’ve been a blessing to us in many ways.
Marshall, I think you are right to be concerned about this. But as he is only six, there will be times when he still needs to be disciplined. Also be careful not to attribute his resistance entirely to your earlier harshness. He might just be smart enough to figure out how to work on this, as a way of getting out of something he does not like. But there is nothing wrong with being a lot more intentional with him when you discipline, knowing that it is really necessary.