My question is: In 2nd Corinthians who is the God of this world referencing? God, or Satan?
Mark, my understanding is that it is a reference to Satan. And the word translated world is aion, or age. He was the god of the age that was coming to an end.
Some Immigration Stumpers?
I had a comment for you that popped into my head as I was listening to the Bible Project podcast as I ride my bike to work. But as often happens I forget what it was by the time the hustle and bustle of the day ends. But then a few days later I’m eating an egg sandwich while reading your little blog and there it was jumping off the page, although in a totally different context. “They have a gospel that can cover a human heart, but remember how tiny those are. And there always seems to be a limited supply, and so we can only go one at a time.” (Doug Wilson 10-2-23)
So here goes, the idea that the Bible Project was promoting in the “cities” podcast series is that much of the issues with cities, for example Cain building a fence around his city even though God had sworn to protect him was a lack of trust. The series goes on to on to show that we act out of a perceived lack of abundance, or a principle of scarcity and that’s when the troubles arise. So the question is, why are you quick to point out our “limited supply” Gospel for fixing our hearts but won’t extend that principle to say immigration. It seems as though you think God has a limited supply of grace to deal with inviting a few . . . millions of people into our blessed nation. God is not big enough to come up with solutions for that problem?
In short, maybe we all have our issues with lack of trust or God’s limited supply but we each apply it to different contexts…
Thanks for your time.
Mr. Timbers, thanks for the question. But to repeat, I have no problem with immigration. I believe that if we were living under the blessing of God, we would have a lot of immigrants who would be coming to us because we were the head and not the tail. What is happening now is happening in a way calculated to demonstrate that we are the tail and not the head.
In your immigration speech for the American Moment, you say one may despise chaos without despising immigrants.
Later in the speech, you call attention to chaos being a sign of God’s judgment. You point out that we need to fix the people in D.C. in order to address this curse.
This is good judicial logic, with one glaring exception. It assumes that there was no despising of immigrants taking place which contributed to inviting the curse in the first place. It must be all the other sins that caused it.
Of course, you hedged by saying that the problem really isn’t the immigrants, it’s the scarcity. Democrats are demanding we be more generous than we can be. That’s the problem.
I know you’ve read economics, so you know scarcity is a classic economic issue. But you’ve also read the Bible, so you know that staggering, inexplicable abundance is also an issue.
If you’ve read the Bible, you also know that God never fails to provide for doing his work, if it’s really his work. You don’t put your money into a purse full of holes, when you’re doing his work. Right?
If scarcity really is an issue, is it just an economic fact? Or is it part of a judicial curse because we were disobedient?
Is welcoming immigrants His work? People who were so utterly exhausted by the violence of their countries that they knowingly risked their lives to make it here?
If welcoming immigrants is his work, I challenge you to divert some of Moscow’s resources from building your existing institutions, toward a ministry boldly integrating immigrants into your community. Not just rich ones, either. Poor ones, who might have to lodge in your congregant’s houses and work to build their lives.
You taught me years ago that God doesn’t get mad a a man because he commits adultery. He commits adultery because God is already mad at the man. I am putting your teachings into practice when applying them to this issue.
If I’m right, you will see all of your ministries increase in success and prosperity. If I’m wrong, well, I’m not wrong. So, may God give you the increase.
And, if you’re concerned about any legalities involved with it . . . well, you also taught me that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. Not seeing too many bold biblical Christians chanting that slogan when it comes to the immigration issue.
Judd, see my answer to the previous question, and then add this. I believe that we ought to be a haven for refugees. The problem is that we are attracting and managing these immigrants on the basis of the kind of collectivist policies that made their countries of origin into hellholes. The problem is not the immigration. The problem is the chaos.
I’ve read your blog on restitution. As a kid, I downloaded tons of music and watched torrented movies. I stopped after my conversion, but continued after all the young people I went to Bible School with were doing it. I became convicted years later and stopped again. But I wonder if I owe payment for every download. I also worked as a freelance writer for a while and I unwittingly used images that I didn’t know required licenses. I credited every image and I thought the editors were checking everything. I offered to change the images for every article I wrote for the site, but the editor said it wouldn’t be necessary and released me while paying me for my works. But is that enough?
My pastors have said I should let this go and move forward and not do it again. Would that please God?
I hate myself for what I’ve done. Do I need to make restitution to make things right?
Eddy, this kind of thing is actually complicated, and there are lots of angles to it. There are all the legit questions surrounding the extent to which copyrights themselves are appropriate (I think they are, but not to the extent allowed by our current laws). The world of intellectual property is a mess. And then there is the question of remembering everything you did, and who you might owe money to. And then there is the question of how you might get that 25 cents to a band you listened to one time. So you might want to modify some aspect of this advice, depending on your circumstances and memories, but here it is. Estimate (and estimate high) how much you would have paid if you had not be doing this, and divide it into two categories. One would be where you can see a clear way of making restitution, and the other would be where you can’t. Do the former first, and for the latter category, donate that amount of money to your church’s deacon fund.
If You Are Not Baking a Pie, Don’t Preheat the Oven
I would imagine that you do not recommend high-schoolers date or court. If that is the case, what do you advise young men and women who are not yet of courtship age to do with feelings of attraction toward members of the opposite sex? Do they just stuff those feelings? How do you counsel them?
Thanks, as always.
Lance, stuffing the feelings is not wise because what you are trying to do is ignore something that is obviously going on, and this can lead to self-deception. I would say that the idea should be to discipline those feelings head on, and you do that through conversations with your father about it, coupled with the pursuit of healthy co-ed activities in groups.
The Heavy Lifting: A Boy’s Guide to Writing Poetry, by Jeffrey Burghauser, is a book about poetry as a masculine art. I thought you might find it interesting.
Daniel, I do. Ordered it. Thanks.
Book Recommendation for a Tangle?
Our elder board (and some in the congregation) have experienced an uproar recently over the age-old Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. One of our elders and a few families comprise what we may call the Arminian wing. Speaking for my own hot take, I have observed the elder and families of this persuasion all engaging in high emotional reactions to things they don’t like hearing or questions they don’t want the answer to, to the point of even this elder cutting off dialogue with other church leaders because he just doesn’t feel like it. Right now the rest of the leaders are in a holding pattern, letting this wing blow off steam in the hopes it will bide time and allow us to have another go at the issue without emotions running high.
My concern is, aside from the truth of theology, our church culturally has little ground rules on not being thin skinned, iron sharpening iron, letting all be convinced in their own minds of non-salvific doctrinal belief, and in general having a charitable willingness to engage in loving debate with a humble thirst to learn. We are what you may call the opposite of antifragile.
Here comes the ask: I am in search of a small book or resource that walks through healthy church polity that is filled with loving charitable debate, rather than a body of people who are only ever told stuff they like to hear. Are you aware of any resource like that? It is something I plan to offer to the elder board first take, read, digest and work through in the hope we can course correct this cultural malady. And if course, if they disagree with that idea, I will have said my piece and my conscience will be settled. Thanks for reading and your help,
Anon Church Leader
Anon, the only book that comes to mind that might be of help would be Alexander Strauch’s book, Meetings That Work.
Does postmillennial eschatology anticipate a reunion with the Roman Catholic Church? After all, Martin Luther desired reformation, not revolution. He never intentionally set out to start a new church, but rather to reform the doctrinal errors of the Catholic Church. As such, the purpose of the Reformation is in a sense union with Rome following repentance on the part of Rome. And if Rome were to repent and affirm those essential gospel truths she currently denies ought we then reunite with her? And furthermore, as eschatological optimists should we anticipate this sort of reconciliation to occur?
Noah, I would say yes, on one supposition. It is not a matter of faith that the Roman church will still be in existence when we get to that point. But if they are, then yes, I would anticipate reunion on the conditions you describe.
I’ve been following sermons from your pastors for a while now, and I have a strong appreciation for the work you’re doing in Moscow, ID. I’m a younger Christian in my mid-20s, and I’ve thought about visiting your congregation with my wife and three children—I find myself agreeing with many of your stances such as the church “taking towns for Jesus.”
I’ve recently been floating around in Conservative Mennonite circles where headship and familial order, accountability, and modesty are encouraged and enforced. These groups have many children, averaging 7-11 children. They form a community around the church and do their best to live out biblical principles in every aspect of their lives—except they refuse to be involved in government from the military to voting, something that seems intuitively wrong, but is also something I don’t know how to refute biblically.
I’m struggling to find evidence in the New Testament to uphold the theonomist position on this issue—would you happen to have any past sermons or references to Scripture that I should consult in order to better inform myself and others on this topic?
Brennan, I would tackle the issue of pacifism first. C.S. Lewis has a fine essay, Why I Am Not a Pacifist, that I would check out. Also there is a chapter on it in John Jefferson Davis’s Evangelical Ethics.
What are some of your favorite books on American History? Blessings.
Benjamin, Gregg Singer’s A Theological Interpretation of American History.
Can you give a recommendation for a book or lecture about the history of public schools in America.
Sarah, Rushdoony’s The Messianic Character of American Education.
Thank you again for your ministry and efforts to provide a voice of reason in these unreasonable days. I wrote last year some time about the challenge of not taking the Lord’s Supper at our church, which is basically a church startup, due to not having a “lawfully ordained” minister. We do however have elders (ruling elders) but are not part of a denomination nor a sending church. We have been seeking to find a denomination that we align with and that appears now to be the ARP. I was given the opportunity to help the church by teaching Sunday school and preaching which I have done so now for over a year. In the course of this year it has become evident that there is complacency and hesitation from the other elders on the vision forward other than they believe joining the ARP will help solve those problems. It has become apparent to me that while we agree on many doctrinal issues and get along well, that there is not a unified vision forward and that has proved to be a challenge. Not having a sending church or denomination has also proved much more difficult in progressing forward. All that being said, my question is regarding whether or not a man called to ministry but is not ordained should stay at a church whose elders are not unified and aligned in the path forward? Basically, is complacency in leadership a biblical ground to leave over when you are a fellow elder? Ministry is difficult but if you are the only one who has a passion and desire to see the church grow and work towards that end, is that reason to resign as an elder?
Thanks for any insight you may have.
Jeremy, I think it all depends on whether the others are willing to follow the one with the passion. If they are, then that is simply leadership. But if they are reluctant or stubborn about not following, then it seems that this would be an untenable long term relationship.
North demonstrates that what we call American chattel slavery cannot be defended by an appeal to the existence of Paul’s epistle to Philemon. I won’t summarize his reasoning here, I’m sure you will apprehend it quickly, whether you accept or reject it.
If you find his reasoning to be flawed, I would appreciate it if you would say why, in your upcoming work.
I would also appreciate it if in your upcoming work you would say why chattel slave owners were not subject to Paul’s condemnation in 1 Tim 1:10, given the stolen nature of the men they held.
Addressing these positions would be most helpful for the overall discourse.
J, thank you. I don’t know if I have read those pieces, but I have read North on slavery before. I make a distinction between the slavery of the Old Testament, where the system itself is governed and regulated by the law of God, and the slavery we see in the New, where the slavery was a pagan system, and wicked, and Christians were being instructed on how to navigate within that pre-existing system.
Divorce and Remarriage
Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 state that if a man divorces his wife (barring sexual immortality) he causes her to commit adultery and that marrying a divorced woman is adultery. Exactly how does this work? If a man unjustly divorces his wife, is that not necessarily abandonment/desertion or does Jesus have something else in mind that causes this form of divorce to be invalid and adultery for the wife and the new husband?
Sam, I believe Jesus was condemning wife-swapping within the covenant. In our situation today, in our congregation, if a man tried this, putting his wife away for no good reason, he would be excommunicated. She would then be free under the Pauline standards set out in 1 Cor. 7.
Nudity in classic school curricula is part of heating the frog up. Children I know came across the textbooks used in “classical education” class with nude art in them (pretty sure they were from Canon Press but not 100% sure). I know a young artist who uses what you have written about that topic to go weekly and paint a nude model at an artist’s gathering. How is nudity in a painting any different than the tame Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition or the tamer OLD playboy centerfolds? I’d say it was just pre-photograph era mild porn. And because modern tools aren’t used to make it, it’s considered art.
Tammy, I think you must be thinking about the Omnibus textbooks, which are not a Canon publication. And some of our readers might be able to help out here because one of the editions, as I recall, has an explanation for their art selection in light of the nudity it contains. And if someone is going to go paint a nude model on the basis of something I wrote, they weren’t paying very close attention. And, last thing, it is possible to object to nudity for other reasons. I object to Michelangelo’s David, but I don’t think it is porn.
Helping the Fatherless
I am referring to your “What a Father Could Have Taught.” I am hoping that the mature men in your congregation could maybe help. Attempt to teach the fatherless skills so they can work if they are not.
Attempt to teach them how to clean. Fatherless are often not going to get married. Attempt to teach them to not think thoughts like you are useless or any other kind of negative thoughts. Attempt to teach them social dynamics. This one is harder because I think its more of an experience thing.
One last thing, the fatherless are going to be incredibly difficult. They are not going to see the world like you do. I am not sure there is much you are going to be able to say to change their minds on certain things. If you love them by helping them, that’s your best bet.
Joe, thank you.
Books and More Books for a Couple of Seminarians
I am a new seminary student . . . I have been assigned a paper—to write either for or against Christian nationalism. Even before this assignment, I’ve been following the conversation at large but now my focus has somewhat intensified. By now, I’m thoroughly confused.
I have your book on my desk which I plan to crack open in the near future. My question for you:
1. Which old dead guys do you recommend reading on this topic?
2. Anyone else that you feel would be a must read to help me gain a better understanding of this issues, and not just parrot the talking points ?
Eric, for the old dead guy, I would say Politica by Althusius. I would also recommend Stephen Wolfe’s book, The Case for Christian Nationalism, in which you will find plenty of footnotes to chase.
[I am] a student at Lutheran Brethren Seminary and I have been working through Ephesians in Greek in one of my classes and would value your input or thoughts as to the meaning of a certain verse as it pertains to the ongoing importance to the law of Moses in the Christian life.
We come to Ephesians 2:15 and we read that Christ has abolished the law of commands in ordinance (doctrines) so that in him the two might be made one man thereby making peace (Rough translation on my phone). Now I wanted to take this as being mostly about ordinances like circumcision or the ceremonial law but I’m not sure I can. Is the law of God the enmity?
I could and probably will read more into this but I thought this might be something interesting to get your take on as a theonomist.
Sean, I believe the law contained within ordinances refers to the holiness codes contained within the law, those codes requiring separation from Gentiles in certain settings. Over the centuries, the attitudes of the Jews hardened in this regard (enmity), and the gospel came to knock down that middle wall of partition. If I remember correctly, Greg Bahnsen has something on this in By This Standard.
I have two sons who are 17 and 20-years–old. I’d like to encourage them to read more. I would be particularly interested in books that would give them wisdom in choosing a spouse, and also in understanding better the times in which we live and the challenges they may face down the road. Here’s my list of possibilities so far: Get the Girl, It’s Good to Be a Man, and Live Not By Lies. Do you have other recommendations? Thank you.
If a couple desires to be married but not live together after the wedding, would you marry such individuals? One maintains a home in Florida and the other in Wisconsin with frequent visits usually lasting two or so weeks.
Stephen, I would strongly advise against doing that, but it would not keep me from conducting the ceremony necessarily. That would depend on the reasons.
Hello from Canada!!
I just read this article and wondered if it agrees with what you have been saying? I have listened to many American History items on Canon+, but haven’t made it through the entire collection yet, so maybe this information is already there. Thank you, as always, to you and your team for speaking the truth and getting this vital information out there.
Oh, and a separate question I keep meaning to ask, why is Cross Politic not on Canon+?
Laurel, it is not the same point we have been making, but it is consistent with it. I do believe that the war was not primarily over slavery, and that tariffs were a player. And CrossPolitic has their own platform with a bunch of other folks on it—but we all get along great.
Go For It
I am a regular reader of your blog and books, and my wife and I have been greatly blessed by much of your content. I would greatly appreciate your advice on a possible church move. After hearing about your own theological journey, I thought you may have some help for me.
I grew up in a Lutheran church, but since the middle of high school, my family started going to a fairly large non-denominational church. For the last year or so my wife and I have considered going to another church. Our church is credo-baptist and does only topical sermons. The pastors are open to the idea of women preaching on Sundays. The music is all BigBox Christian music that can be lacking in depth.
But, my wife and I got married there, our parents are there, and at least 70% of our friends. There is a thriving community of loving Christians that I truly know to be servants of Christ. There is a love for holiness. There is real evangelism in our community. I know these people and they know me, they have prayed me through many trials. Leaving has been a hard thing for me to consider.
My wife and I have become convinced of the need for
1. Expositional preaching
2. Biblical worship music
3. A higher view of the sacraments, and paedo baptism
4. Male eldership, no woman pastors
So that has pushed us to consider a local PCA church. We are not there with Calvinism or hard cessationism though, as that is something that we have not been able to clearly see in Scripture or early church history. I am much more open to Luther’s description of soteriology. I can see the Solas in Scripture, but struggle to see TULIP. I am open to further research on that.
We have been considering a PCA church near us that seems to be very solid. We visited recently, and it was very refreshing.
As a presbyterian, what are your thoughts on someone in my position? I crave to raise my future children in an environment with good expositional preaching and covenantal perspective, but am struggling with 1. leaving the community we have and 2. disagreements with TULIP.
CP, I can’t really speak to the community aspect of it because I don’t know the relationships involved. But from what you describe of the church, it seems that it will be a matter of time before the downgrade in worship begins to affect the vibrant nature of that community. And as regards the TULIP, Presbyterians don’t require that members sign off on the church’s entire confession. They just have to be willing to be taught in terms of it.
The Church Impotent
I am listening to The Church Impotent, which is a challenge for me, because I believe what he states is true—but I struggle to understand with the psychological jargon and the lack of any kind of scriptural ties.
Must I just weed through the jargon and come to a breaking point in the book or is there a way to glean and understand? I hope my questions make sense.
P.S. I have gotten through the first three chapters which it seems I’m in a clearing to something more familiar. But the principal of the matter still stands.
Phil, I would soldier on. I think his point is valuable even if I would have taken a different route to get there.
Where should I start with Shaeffer? I was thinking ‘How Should We Then Live?’
AW, yes. I think that would be a good place to start.
Thanks, and a Link
I recently found your wonderful videos on youTube, and have listened to a bunch of them. I so appreciate your wit, wisdom and kindness, along with your no-nonsense exegesis. You have been a blessing to me in ways you cannot imagine, and I look forward to watching your new videos. On the chance that you might enjoy it, here is a link to a song written by me and my lyricist partner Lewis Greer on the Annunciation called “A Message For Mary.” I’d be honored if you’d give it a listen. Thanks again, Pastor Doug for being a light in this ever-darkening world.
Your Brother in Christ,
Gary, thanks very much.
Re: Owen & the Memorials.
Quick context: I’m a Reformed Baptist who’s a member of a MacArthuresque Baptist Church in California. I know those aren’t the same things, which I hope will establish some level of street cred. Now, regarding your comment, “a lot of Reformed Baptists are now seriously considering historical Presbyterian political theology, babies and all. So if you don’t have a robust and worked-out political theology, as the North American Baptist tradition largely doesn’t, the fact that a detailed and plausible response to clown world is being offered by Presbyterians presents a threat…”
I’ve been telling my elders this for awhile now, given that 3 years after COVID lockdowns hit, nobody here still can seem to figure out what Romans 13 means. (If only we, as Christians, had some context is knowing what “good” meant for the Apostle Paul. Sigh…) You are absolutely correct in that the Evangelical Deep Thinkers are wholly at sea regarding how the church needs to respond now that the State has thrown down the gauntlet, declaring that they are in charge, First Amendment be damned. Evangelical “thought” has focused on our identity as churchgoers, thus neglecting any coherent doctrine of who we we are as citizens or family members. Responding to a public policy question is being perceived as beneath us—as if God had no words for that realm. The Evangelical church has erred in that it has a de facto “one-sphere” view of the world. Which is, ironically, the same error the State currently enforces—just a different sphere. It’s really a huge mess, and those that see it (which aren’t many, because staying at peace with your group is easier than taking flak for truth, let’s be honest. Shallow begets shallow) get disillusioned quickly because the worldview of American Evangelicalism cannot provide a coherent structure of a man who exists as church member, citizen, and father, all running parallel. You are, and have been, right about this all along and I did cheer this statement on. But, while the Reformed Baptist intelligentsia may be quaking in their boots, my anecdotal experience is that most Evangelical pastors and elders have NO IDEA these fault lines within the church are growing. We have had people in our church leave out the back door for Moscow, and been largely ignored because we have so many Catholic and ex-liberal Christians coming in our front door. This, in turn fosters a little bit of pride because, hey, we must be something right, pat, pat, pat. It’s a weird dynamic: nobody’s watching the horizon because we’re so self-satisfied about how we’re handling the activity on the ship. To be honest, I wish more of my elders knew about what was going on up there in Idaho for the Presbyterians and The West Coast of Florida for the Baptists. It would give me something to talk with them about. But the truth is Evangelicalism is so self-focused, they can’t see the forest for the trees because of the mirrors in their hand. It’s a bad situation that will get worse before it gets better. Maranatha.
David . . . preach it.
Pushback on Antisemitism
What do you mean by anti-semitism? I think the term anti-semitism is probably intentionally ambiguous and not something Christ would’ve used. To the best of my knowledge the “Sem” part of Semite is derived from Shem the son of Noah. If I worship Christ as God, despise Al Goldstein, and they’re both descendants of Shem, does that make me both a philo-Semite and an anti-Semite? And why would I relate my descriptions of love for Christ or contempt for Al Goldstein back to Shem? It just seems like a really weird move. Setting aside the argument that it’s an ambiguous expression and probably a poor strategy to let Jonathan Greenblatt define the terms, what specifically is the anti-Semitism you’re seeing in your church? Maybe if Paul had a really Jewish last name I would like him less, but I don’t think so. What if Paul had a big nose? Nah . . . I think I’d still like him. Unless you give concrete examples it’s hard to take the concern about anti-Semitism seriously. It also makes me feel like I’m trapped between you and a dispensationalist . . . bracing for the next hit of anti-Semitism charges wherever my biblical understanding of the Jews/Israel departs from yours. In my opinion your exegesis of Romans 11 is probably wrong. I think your view about the eschatological specialness of the Jews is probably wrong. I think you’re probably disagreeing with Paul. I love hearing what you think though and am willing to admit you might be right. I feel like you’re taking the possibility that you might be wrong off the table, and telling anyone who disagrees with your exegesis that they’re not welcome. Is that what you’re doing? Can you clarify?
Dale, no, not at all. I want to talk about this. I don’t have a problem with rejecting Al Goldstein. But I do object to people doing that the moment they hear his name, without knowing anything else about him. My book on all this should be out shortly, and you will be hearing about it shortly.
First I’d like to express my gratitude for your perseverance throughout the craziness of the last few years. I was serving as a law enforcement officer during the 2020 meltdown and your level headed biblical counsel helped get me through it. I’ve since become a regular listener to your podcasts and am greedily devouring everything I have time to listen to on the Canon+ app. It’s a goldmine.
I’ve been interacting with some local theonomists here in Lancaster County, PA, and have developed a good relationship with them. They’ve invited me onto their podcast and other venues to discuss theonomy, Christian nationalism, and cultural engagement. One thing I can’t seem to figure out is how to address their contention that any man-made law is contrary to God’s Law. It doesn’t sit right with me and I think my reading of the Mosaic Law is that we’re not bound to the form of it, rather we’re bound to the principles. Do you have any advice on good resources for that issue? Also, you were mentioned with Stephen Wolfe on a panel discussion about Christian Nationalism put on by the Colson Center this evening.
Keep up the good fight of faith.
Travis, I think we agree. I hold to what I call “general equity theonomy.” As the Westminster puts it, the judicial laws of Israel no longer apply to us, except insofar as the “general equity” thereof may require.
Please Be Patient!
While listening to some podcast or speech by Rachel Jankovic, I heard a cookbook entitled “Hot Providence” mentioned. This piqued my interest, and I have been on the hunt for a copy of aforementioned cookbook. All I can find is Error 404 and no cookbook. What gives?
Nicole, that was the Christ Church cookbook that was put out years ago, and is now out of print. There are discussions about releasing a revised edition though.
I just wanted to say thank you to you for your two books “When the Man Comes Around” and “Heaven Misplaced”. I have never been satisfied with the modern pop culture premillennial eschatological paradigm. Statements like “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” have always been a sticking point for me. No matter how you torture the original language, translators have continued to translate that the same way, and it clearly means what it says, and says what it means. Despite being a believer for decades, I had never before encountered anyone in the church who could systematically articulate the partial preterist, postmillennialist position in a way that was complete and comprehensive enough for it to click for me. I have come to greatly admire your application of logic to your commentary on theology and culture, and I was delighted to find these two works of yours on Kindle Unlimited. You have provided me with a robust answer to a Scripture interpretation question that had begun to eat at me more and more as I’ve learned and grown. Between these two books, it “clicked” for me this time. All those scriptural statements that have bothered me in regard to our modern pop culture eschatology bother me no longer. You have my sincere gratitude for taking the time to help people like me understand what the Scripture is most likely saying.
Michael, thanks very much, and you are most welcome.
The Incarnation Rather
Thank you for your response to my previous question! To clarify, it is “the fact” of the Trinity that I am struggling to see as perspicuous (I’m in full agreement that my finitude precludes things like “doing the math”, comprehending infinity, etc). Much exegesis is needing here, but at the risk of being overly simplistic, here are some mutually exclusive triads that are a sampling of how the issue unfolds in my eyes: A1: There is nothing God does not know
A2: Jesus is “truly”/”fully” God
A3: There is something Jesus doesn’t know
B1: God cannot be tempted
B2: Jesus is “truly”/”fully” God
B3: Jesus was tempted
Of course, this approach can also be used to affirm the absolute deity of Christ:
C1: Only God is rightfully worshiped
C2: Jesus is not “truly”/”fully” God
C3: Jesus is rightfully worshiped
Each of these triads leaves us with the question “based on the rest of Scripture, which of the 3 propositions should be adjusted/nuanced to avoid a contradiction?”. Many learned people have come to different conclusions in pursuing this question. Which is part of what I find challenging in relation to Sola Scriptura.
One fair question to follow would be “which (if any) of the 3 statements do the authors of Scripture qualify in a way that could resolve the contradiction?” For the A statements, I’m unaware of any qualifications given to God’s knowledge or Jesus’s lack of knowledge concerning the day/hour of his return. However, Jesus does say “the Father is greater than I,” “the Son can do nothing of his own accord”, “I live because of the Father,” “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone”, etc, which seem to reasonably call into question A2.
But even if we find ways to harmonize A2 with all passages (which I think is possible), in light of the degree of nuance required I don’t think my conscience would allow me to say that A2 is perspicuous.
Any additional thoughts are much appreciated, as this is something I’m actively working through.
Theodore, actually, you are not hung up on Nicea, but rather on Chalcedon—on the relationship between “fully God” and “fully man.” Your issue is not the nature of the Trinity, but rather the nature of the Incarnation. How can two distinct natures, divine and human, be united in the same person? So let us say that Jesus had black hair. That is not a divine attribute. But Jesus is divine and He had black hair. That is what you are struggling with. And the Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus had human attributes, and that He is our Lord and God, and that God is all the omnis. And that is perspicuous, whether or not I can do the math.