That Couch . . .
Good morning sir, Love your blog. I have a daughter who really wants to know who does the music in your video with the burning couch? Thanks,
Brian, here you go.
Loved the couch burning video but am concerned about young impressionable preachers imitating your style . . .
Laurence, thanks. Perhaps you are right, and maybe I should give some pointers. Like, don’t sit on the other end.
This is purely awesome!!!!
Ryan, thanks. It was a boatload of fun to do.
Can you pwetty pwease leave the comments section open for November, for extra hilarity?
Dan, I understand the pull . . . but comments will remain open just for these Letters and for the Content Cluster. We don’t want to have too much fun.
Hello, love you love the show. I had a couple questions that have been brewing for me as a fan, which would perhaps fit naturally with the Naked-speak November thing. As a Christian your approach seems to be less of a 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 about leaving the world to its own without judgement as Paul seems to urge here, and more along the lines of an OT prophet. There is a less of a choice sound (Calvinism aside) in the gospel when you share it, and almost more of a demand. Is that a fair reading of you? If so, do you find that as a personal calling, a requirement of a dank cultural battle, or is this a bit of a post-millennial thing? Or do you think everyone else needs to up their game? Which I hear you saying a bit. Either way, it sounds sometimes like if you were to share John 3:16, it would be less much of an invitation—whosoever comes to faith to Jesus, but more of a you must, you jerk. The jerk part might simply be how you are addressing the world’s very real darkness, so perhaps it is important, but does that make sense how it sounds? I guess my question is how does 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 fit into your approach? I know you have spoken about your approach before, but these are thoughts that persist. Peace.
Gabe, thanks for the question. I do believe that Christian preachers ought to be more prophetic than they are, generally speaking, and I think this without binding any one man’s conscience, or dictating to others what their spiritual gifts need to be. As for 1 Cor. 5, Paul was talking about the Christian church addressing a society that was made up of rank paganism. We are addressing an apostate Christendom, which I think accounts for much of the difference. There are places where I think the 1 Cor. 5 approach should apply today, straight across.
Re: No Quarter November. I really like the idea of you writing a no holds barred account of the Death of the PCA. Another suggestion for next month: an article examining where the anger is coming from. Obviously, a lot of it comes from the nations’ raging against God’s anointed. There also seems to be anger coming from those whose speech is being suppressed by the ragers. And from those whose property is being stolen through corporate cronyism, e.g., supporters of Brexit and Trump. Then there is the anger coming from Bernie’s supporters. Then there are those who are angry because of the millions of babies being murdered each year in our country. Then there are those who are angry at squishy Evangelicals and Republicans who seem to be betraying the cause. We need a score card to keep up with it all. And my money says you are the one to provide it.
Bill, thank you. Suggestion noted.
November topics: What do you think of Dalrock’s marriage teaching? How do you prevent the CREC from becoming the PCA in ten years? Is it okay to be white? Women’s suffrage. Russell Moore is a CIA asset in the SBC. Every abortion summons a demon.
Enjoying your No Quarter November posts!
I thought that episode sounded familiar, and I was able to find it:
Daniel, thanks very much. So it was a teapot, not dishes. Sue me, everybody.
I was thoroughly yet quietly enjoying “Smash the Matriarchy” until I got to “kind of like those times when he pretends to be a surgeon and she pretends to be an ER nurse.” Quiet afternoon reading now ruined. That was a genuine horse laugh. Keep up the heavy-and humorous-lifting. We need it. Blessings,
“We don’t have a word for ‘rule by barren feminists who have been snookered by the homosexual vibe.’” Has “Fairyarchy” not yet been coined?
Bryce, I don’t think so . . . but thanks for sharing.
Burn All the Schools
In response to: “Burn All the Schools” You bring up some interesting points, and I certainly would agree that if the problems were the public schools are as severe as you make them sound that not only should we get all the Christian children out, but all children, and we should arrest all the teachers for corruption of the youth. However, when I re-read your article multiple times, I realized that you only brought up one reason why the school system is utterly broken and corrupt and that is that in one school somewhere, a cross dressing man read some picture books to some kids in a library. You didn’t really explain why this shows how the school system is broken and just assumed that the reader would be someone who already agreed with you after reading the title of this blog post. I’d be curious why you actually believe the schools are broken, and if you have explained this in a previous blog post or were planning to in a future one (it would be an odd move to prove a point after you’ve already made it and stated it with the conviction of the most passionate of preachers, but I suppose most people reading this, if you know your audience, are less convinced by facts and more by the narrative of persecution and subjugation to disgusting and abhorrent Liberal Values that seem to make up almost half of all content created by evangelicals). Sincerely,
A Christian Who Doesn’t Feel Persecuted in a First World Country
Dear Not Persecuted, I have written quite a bit abouteducation, all of which serves as the backdrop for that post. Starting with the simplest, there is Why Christian Kids Need a Christian Education, followed by Excused Absence, followed by Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, followed again by The Case for Classical Christian Education.
As to your use of my one example of the drag-queen library reading. The telling thing about that kind of thing is not that it happens, but rather that when it happens, nothing happens. My concern is not so much the invading disease as it is the state of our immune system.
I was an idiot for most of my adult Christian life until about 8 or so years ago. What opened my eyes was my daughter going to the great Hillsdale College, and my wife at the same time insisting our youngest son attend a Christian classical school to get him out of the public school he, and his brother and sister, attended. My response to my wife was classically stupid: We and our other kids survived public schools, so can he. Little at the time did I understand the difference between surviving an education and flourishing in one. I was no fan of government schools, at all, and knew that they were programming the little skulls full of mush to be good little secular progressives, but since their education was completely the responsibility of me and my wife, I was confident we could easily keep our kids on the right side of the religious, cultural, and political divide, and we did. But I’m afraid many, most, Christian parents are not as proactive as we were and are, and just keeping our kids there supports everything that conspires to destroy Bible-believing Christians and our faith. I’m now an evangelist for classical education, and I’m kind of bitter I didn’t get one. Not really, but that’s a joke I like to make on myself. My son got to go to that Christian classical school for five years, the first of which was a revelation for me. Now since we’ve moved, he attends a classical charter school, at which both his mother and older sister work. Ideally, Christian and classical is preferred, but that’s hard for many parents to afford, I know. But the charter classical movement is subversive from within the belly of the beast. Just this week, as an example, my daughter (lower school dean) taught the k-5 teachers about the moral imagination, and the importance of great literature in developing the aspiration for the good and goodness in children. You don’t get that in a regular government school! And the teachers, who don’t all quite get classical education yet, were greatly inspired by her presentation. They teach that there exists in reality objective goodness, beauty, and truth; no postmodern relativism to be found. And they will not develop “men without chests.” Anyway, thank you for all your work in making classical education in America a thing. I’ve come to believe it’s the only hope for the future of our constitutional republic. I know that’s all in God’s providence, but he uses secondary means, and that would be us!
Mike, I agree that charter schools are a threat to the establishment, and am prepared to wish them well on that basis. But I do want to insist that there is no real way back to virtue apart from Christ, and no real return to the moral imagination apart from Him either.
I appreciate your post on getting covenant children out of the public school system. A few years ago I realized something as I was listening to Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermon on Ephesians 4:14, “. . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine . . .” He said that this verse gives us an understanding of the psychology of a child. As he was speaking on that, I realized that this verse gives us one of the best arguments against the salt and light argument of sending covenant children to public school. Covenant children are not by nature salt and light; they are by nature tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. They must be discipled. Jesus also told His disciples that they must be converted and become as little children (Matthew 18:3). By pointing to a child, he was telling them chiefly that salvation is received, not earned. However, He was also speaking of children in general as humble receivers. These two elements put together point to the fact that children are not in and of themselves salt and light. (Obviously, under exceptional circumstances such as outright persecution, sometimes God uses them in wonderful ways to give Him praise. As Lloyd-Jones says, the exception proves the rule.) In addition to this, if parents are not able to afford Christian school, and if they feel like their child is trapped in the public school system but fear that they cannot properly raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, those parents (if they are Presbyterian especially) have recourse. When their child was baptized, everyone in their congregation promised as a baptismal vow to assist this couple in raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This means that they should relate their difficulty to their pastor first, the session second, the diaconate, and even any member of that church. They should not expect a financial handout, but they should expect that godly men will counsel them on how to work their finances better so as to find a way out. And most of all to pray for them as they begin working on getting their children out of the public school. I am convinced that God does provide a way out of the public schools if we earnestly seek it. However, if they have tried, and still their child is trapped there in the public schools, they should set the priority of discipling their children at home. As the children get older, they should assign as academic work some of the greatest works of Christian theology: Pilgrim’s Progress, Calvin’s Institutes, etc. They should also get their children on a daily habit of Bible reading and Bible study. Treat it like an academic class (even videos from a place like Ligonier Connect could work for some of this). The goal in all of this would be to help their children become salt and light. But, when people argue that their children are automatically salt and light in the public schools, they rest because they have heard “peace, peace” where there is no peace. And that resting mentality is even worse than refusing to get their children out of the public schools. If we can at least agree that (1) my children are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, that (2) the public schools are a discipling influence on my children, and that (3) we are to be the major discipling influence instead, then we will be making some progress. Thanks for your post. Thank you also for your willingness to be controversial. Respectfully,
David, that is a wonderful application of that Ephesians text. And good thoughts generally.
Some wag has said that the path to homeschool, as a method to comply with your modest proposal, is only teaching children to reject all authority. I can’t make your chainsaw metaphor work for my question so I’ll put it to you bluntly: if I decide to homeschool my children, have I failed them by not putting their education directly under the elders of their church, or have I done something which is merely OT a sin?
Frank, I am not sure how to decipher “OT a sin.” Old Testament? I suspect it might be a typo for “NOT a sin,” and will answer accordingly. I believe that in an ideal situation covenant children are under the authority of their parents for their general education, including the Christian aspects of it, and under the elders of their church for the explicit doctrinal teaching. Thus the ideal situation in my mind is a cooperative work that recognizes the spiritual authority of both parents and elders (e.g. physics teachers hired by the parent-run board, and Bible class teachers certified by the church, and hired by the board). But we don’t live in ideal circumstances, and so I believe the default responsibility to seek out the best education available falls to the parents.
“But nearly all public men and divines declare that the State schools are the glory of America, that they are a finality, and in no event to be surrendered. And we have seen that their complete secularization is logically inevitable. Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools . . .” (Dabney). Written only 100-something years ago, and the idea of catechizing public school children in the things of the Lord, something other than the victim-hood of the Sodomites, is so far gone it’s laughable (in a grim way). Your description is accurate to my experience. I spent the last third of my academic career in a public school, functionally fatherless, and came out like I had never spent a day in a private school at all. Luckily God was merciful to me . . .
MT, and may God be merciful to all of us.
Re: Government Schools. I’ll never understand the argument about sending children to government schools in order for them to be “salt and light” there. How much confidence can anyone have that their 5-year-old is a regenerate believer, let alone equipped for an evangelistic ministry? They can’t share what they don’t have. And don’t forget: Christ said that if salt loses its saltiness, it’s worthless and needs to be thrown out. I think we have a temptation to prioritize immediacy over efficacy. We want to make our kids go be “salt and light” NOW, but we haven’t taken the time to form them into salty, luminous people. It’s easy to think of the “now” but it’s harder to think of, let alone plan for, the future and what will do the most good over time. Now, if they mean being “salt and light” as a PARENT, volunteering and interacting with the school system, other parents, and other kids, that’s different. But still, I don’t think many of these folks are counting the cost borne by their children in the process. If the swashbucklers of No Quarter November, who are salty in an altogether different sense, will allow me some nuance, I don’t think this trade-off is always against enrolling the kids in government schools in every instance, for all time, every time. But let’s please not pretend that there are no costs whatsoever to such a decision. Send your kids to government schools if you want, but please dissuade yourselves of the notion that we will reform an institution made to mint secularists by overwhelming it with impressionable raw material.
“What some people call having their children be salt and light . . .” Perhaps their Bibles have an elision in Matthew 5:13, and they think they’re supposed to skip right to throwing out the salt to be trampled by men.
Kyriosity, yes—that part of the text is often overlooked.
Re: Burn all the Schools. Provocative! Intrigued to see all that follows this Nov. What about Christian teachers in said system? Valid ministry or a waste of time? Would a better stewardship of skills be homeschooling or teaching in a Christian school?
Sean, the arguments against kids attending public schools don’t apply to Christians teaching there. Christian adults really could be salt and light. But if they make that attempt, one of two things will happen. Either they will be ineffective, in which case someone will wonder why bother? Or they will be effective, in which case they will be sacked. I would prefer talented teachers put their efforts into building alternatives.
In your first No Quarter November post, you said, “What some people call having their children be salt and light, I call conscripting covenant children into becoming child soldiers, with all the grief that such recruitment entails.” You also said it reminded you of a Bob Dylan song, Thunder on the Mountain. It reminded me of the Children’s Crusade. A few children survived that folly, and fewer may have come out stronger, but would any Christian parent today recognize such an endeavor as anything but foolish? Yet today’s “conscription” of children into the “salt and light” army seems perilously analogous—our children may not be dying physically, but they are being enslaved, and their souls given over to the principalities and powers of darkness.
Joshua, thank you.
Pet peeve of mine: We MUST also name the fancy, prancy PRIVATE, NON-CHRISTIAN schools in the list of those to burn down. The “Prep Schools” of this world are nothing other than Government Schools that cost a bunch of money.
James, I agree that such schools are pretty bad. But I am inclined to leave them alone because they are spending their own money, not ours. I would rather deal with them through head-to-head competition.
I have a question: is homeschooling a tertiary gospel issue? In my personal life I struggle with Christian friends who attend church with us and send their kids to local public schools because of reasons like, “These public schools are some of the best in the state.” Or, “Most of the teachers at the school are Christians.” And probably the most common reason, “Our kids LOVE going to school!” My friends say they feel judged when I ask them about education: as a homeschool mom they often tell me that I’m “lucky” because they can’t afford homeschool tuition or materials and that they plan to homeschool when they can afford it. These conversations have caused rifts between us and I’ve done my best to repair the relationships but it’s a topic I avoid now in conversation. I’m curious as well about the pushback over homeschooling for single parents: the argument that inner city kids would not be educated at all WITHOUT public school. Do Christians need a detailed plan to answer that? Are Christians responsible for the education of ALL children? Thank you. Disclaimer: I was homeschooled in middle and high school through the public school and as a parent we’ve joined Classical Conversations at our church. I’m a homeschool mom to a 1st grader with 2 pre-k boys: public school is NOT an option for us. I’m so grateful there are families like yours and voices like yours in the public sphere that affirm what we believe to be a Biblical directive of parenting (homeschooling, Proverbs 22:6).
Gia, yes. Many times children do love going to public school. But the question is this: why do they love it? And when people say that poor kids wouldn’t get an education without public schools, my reply is that they are currently not getting an education with them.
I am responding to “Burn all the Schools.” My husband teaches at a small Christian school in our town in Georgia. Our two oldest daughters attend there as well. I was raised in Christian schools and my husband attended public school, but was home schooled from 4th to 12th grade. We are huge believers in Christian education and discipling our children. If more Christian parents put their kids in Christian schools, we could afford health insurance (which we don’t have because the insurance offered by our small school is too expensive for us, and we make too much to qualify for Obamacare). I am brokenhearted recently because our pastor recently pulled his kids out of this Christian school. His youngest son is adopted and is African American. He was in 7th grade at our Christian school when students called him a “nigger.” That was just too much for our pastor and his wife. They pulled all 3 of the sons out and enrolled them in the local public school. Now their son has more black friends because not many black Christian families send their children to Christian schools. Our pastor tells everyone in church now that he wished he had moved his kids to public school earlier. He says it’s not as bad as he expected and that he had been too legalistic for too long. He used to teach at the Christian school with my husband. His wife used to be the guidance counselor. Now he keeps talking about how many Christian teachers are in the public school and that it’s not so bad. I’m not sure what to say to him. What would you say? He loves his son and he doesn’t want him to be called racist slurs in a Christian school. Our pastor is also increasingly interested in social justice because he doesn’t want his black son shot in the South. I totally understand that. I really respect our pastor, and our church uses 80% of our budget to support missionaries and local ministries. Tons of people foster and adopt in our church and we are a Reformed Baptist church. Our family chooses Christian education for our children, but should we really say it’s sinful for parents to send their children to government schools? So much depends on principals and who is in leadership in the school district. I taught for 4 years in public schools before I was pregnant with our first child. During my student teaching, my principal prayed during staff meetings, talked about Jesus regularly and teachers held Bible studies before school. We even had assemblies of local homeschool groups performing the story of Exodus for the students! It wasn’t legal, but she did it. My principle once I started working was different. She was culturally Christian but didn’t encourage us to share the gospel with students or have Bible studies. I shared anyway and just prayed I didn’t get caught. But I figured if I was fired for sharing Christ with kids, that would be a good way to go. All of this is to say, the state of a government school depends greatly on who is in leadership. And there are many Christian teachers trying to reach lost kids in government schools. Shouldn’t we take the gospel to all spheres of society? I think it’s unwise for Christians to send their children to government schools, but I’m not sure it’s sinful. Depending on the state of your local schools and who is in power, it might be sinful, and it might not. Thank you!
Rachel, there is a lot there, but let me just respond to the response of pulling a child because of racist comments from other kids. A lot depends on whether these comments were made and whether the school refused to act on it. That is quite different than if the school disciplined for the offense, as they have to discipline for other offenses. If no attempt was made to get the school to deal with it, then it seems that they were just looking for an excuse to leave. As for running the risk of getting shot, I would rather be a black kid in Alabama than a black kid in Chicago. The more woke a city is, the more you can hear bullets whistling by.
Re: Burn All The Schools That Baptist deacon would have likely overlooked the instance in which his son came home from school aspiring to find a dress of his own for the next library reading hour, huffing in mild discomfort while muttering to himself something about “becoming all things to all people.” The things I’ve seen my brothers tolerate makes me wonder whether or not they’re reluctantly helping pick out the wig themselves. Covert evangelism, and all that jazz.
Eric, yes. All things to all men can be abused.
Couldn’t agree more! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your No Quarter November series. My husband and I often use your posts as fodder for discussion together and I have even been known to read a few of your articles aloud to him purely for the entertainment value. Thanks for saying it like it is and standing strong in the fight! Signed,
An early-thirty-something homemaker with six littles who are not, and are never gonna be, conscripted into a death fight for their souls inside the public schools
Sarah, good. Go, fight, win.
Amen. But who are you addressing? All the genuinely born again people who don’t mind their kids being indoctrinated with evolution and sexual perversion? For me, the time is past when I could comfortably call such “parents” followers of Christ. The proposition is simply too outrageous at this stage. Robert Baxter nailed it: “More fit to be called a devil than a parent.”
Dave, yes. In many instances, the parental neglect of what is actually going on amounts to criminal negligence.
I thought theologians of another era were the reason we got public schools in the first place.
John, yes. The bad ones, the ones we shouldn’t have been listening to.
Re: “Burn the schools:” Odds are we’ll have our kids either in private school or homeschooled once they’re old enough (classical school if I have my druthers, but we’ll see what my druthers cost); but generally the working poor can’t manage either private-school tuition or homeschooling. Have you seen any models of either private schools or co-ops that provide opportunities to families without the time, money, or other resources to educate their own children?
Joseph, yes, I have seen it. Logos School here actively works with parents to find a way to make it work.
Faith and the Faith
At the risk of seeming impolite, I’ll point out that if the weapon Noah wielded in his battle was the Ark, then the correspondingly analogous weapon deployed on the Protestant side of the Reformation was . . . raw government power. In the German States, in Scandinavia, in Geneva, in England and in the Low Countries, it was kings, princes and government officials who mandated the new teachings on Faith. For their efforts, they were rewarded quite handsomely with the wealth of the Church— which they had long coveted.
John, faith is the thing which makes any weapon efficacious. Unbelief is that which robs any given weapon of its glory. So there were times when the power of princes was used in the Reformation in glorious ways. There were other times when . . . not so much.
The Protestant and Evangelical Future
Thanks for The Protestant and Evangelical Future. I kind of want to use that post of yours to ask a question about the CREC and its form of Church government. Beyond the local church level, I understand that doctrinal differences from the various Reformed Confessions are not taken up, but what about the “5 and 5 and 3” from your post? The CREC format is intriguing to me, and I’m desperately sick of the PCA and have my doubts about the other larger Reformed and Presbyterian denominations. But I couldn’t have much hope in the CREC if, say, there can be an Arminian takeover and we can’t do anything about it because “that’s only a local church issue.” Or suddenly the gift of tongues, prophecy, and miraculous healings pops up in a certain region of CREC churches, or Pastor so and so starts saying the Catholics really did have that whole justification by faith plus works things right. So if you would, could you share a bit how you see the CREC carrying forward the “5 and 5 and 3” and the future of Protestantism and Evangelicalism? Thanks,
Thomas, all the confessions of the CREC are Reformed, and so if a slide happens there it would be conducted by dishonest men. All I can say is that thus far the CREC has done a decent job with such encroachments.
On Diligent Dithering
Not only does the evangelical leadership not fight. I am beginning to think that they believe fighting to be contrary to our God-given mission. If my fears are true, and if they are genuine believers with a desire to follow God-mission, I must conclude that they and you have two different ideas as to WHAT the mission of God actually is—two different takes on the Great Commission.
Brandon, yes. The different actions on display do reveal a very different understanding of what our mission actually is. My understanding of the Great Commission is that we were told to actually disciple all the nations, baptizing all the nations, and teaching the nations to obey Jesus in everything. A tall order, but not, I think, an unclear one.
Greetings Doug, What are the Biblical principles to think through when considering joining up with the military? Specifically for a husband and father of four to join and be deployed overseas. Maybe I am creating a conflict which doesn’t exist but in my consideration what keeps coming up is that I would be abandoning my family, leaving them without present protection and provision. But then it occurs that I would be protecting them nationally and ultimately it is God who provides and protects us. You may have already taught on this principle elsewhere and you may point me there if so, but I respect your wisdom. Keep fighting the good fight and may No Quarter November be a blessing to even those who were not looking for it.
Marcus, a man who spends time away from his family while fighting in a just war is not deserting his family. But just wars are sometimes hard to come by, and so I have doubts about a military vocation as a chosen vocation. I think it can be done right, but I also think it is a challenge.
On Lying to Women
Re: No Quarter November I’m not great at coming up with a pithy title for my request—but would be interested in a post along these lines. You’ve mentioned in various places that [a] condition of being MWIODA (multiple women in one day attracted) does not give you (or anyone) an excuse to indulge those inclinations. You’ve also alluded to the tendency of evangelicalism at large to lie to women about many things regarding the relation of men to women. I’ve also heard it said (maybe by you), that if women knew what went through a man’s head on a daily basis, not a man of us would be married. I would love to see a post regarding how to be truly honest about these things in a truly loving (meaning there are backbones involved) kind of way. How can the fact that the natural state of a man is to be MWIODA become common knowledge, and dealt with out in the open, in the church at large? And how can the struggle of a man be communicated to a wife without shipwrecking a marriage? You’ve probably written on these things before—if so, perhaps links would suffice. Thanks,
Karlin, I have touched on these things before, but I need to develop it further. Thanks.
This is an enjoyable and well-written post (as always). I found myself chuckling even as I Googled the term “lumpen.” I’ll stick that one in my hat for a rainy day. I digress. I shared this article on social media, much to the ire of some beloved colleagues of mine. One accusation raised is that you don’t name names here, so you’re able to erect some straw men. How would you respond? Specifically, are you here intending to take aim at the Shane Claibornes and Rachel Held Evanses of the ostensibly “evangelical” world, or are we more hinting at Reformed gentlemen like one whose name rhymes with “Shabiti Shanyabwile’ (let the reader understand) and others of the social justice/racial reconciliation camp? Just curious to know what is in focus. I don’t think it’s valid to always force people to name names, since then a mere observation becomes a personal attack quickly, but it’s also not helpful to hide behind generalities. SDG,
Alex, sometimes I write generally, and other times, as appropriate, I engage with people by name. I have engaged critically with Russell Moore, Rachel Held Evans, Thabiti, N.T. Wright, Aimee Byrd, and and a number of others, and have done it plenty. I agree that cowardly generalities are cowardly, but I also think that general patterns need to be addressed for what they are.