Alabama Senate Race
Re: Hot take on the Alabama Senate election of Dec. 12. You are making the child molestation allegations against Roy Moore the center of the issue. They are nothing of the kind. The allegations should have played exactly the same role in this election as the Access Hollywood tape played in the general election; i.e., both Roy Moore and Donald Trump had already shown themselves to be utterly unfit for office. The sexual accusations were simply the icing on the cake. I am a conservative, pro-life Christian and I voted for Hillary Clinton. I would not cast my vote for a con man pretending suddenly to have become a conservative pro-life Republican. Were I a resident of Alabama I would have voted for Doug Jones. Making Donald Trump and Roy Moore the poster boys of the pro-life movement is one of the dumbest moves ever made.
Debi, although I differ with them, I do understand why some conservative Alabama voters stayed home, or decided to write in a more suitable candidate. That is exactly what I did in the presidential election. But I don’t comprehend voting for someone like Jones, or Hillary. That is like becoming disenchanted with Saruman (fine), and putting out your Sauron yard signs.
So, Jones won, but is anyone really surprised? If you are, you might want to consider that this is predictably what you’d expect from the constitutional framers’ usurpation of Yahweh’s exclusive election authority, per Deuteronomy 17:15. Thinking they knew better than their God and Creator, what did the 18th-century founding fathers do? They turned elections over to We the People, the majority of whom, according to Matthew 7:13-14, are in the broad way leading to destruction. Dumb idea! Just where do you suppose the broad-way folk are going to take America? Perhaps to the precipice of moral depravity and destruction, precisely where America finds herself today!?! If you’re someone who has been bamboozled into believing that popular elections (aka, popularity contests) given to us by the framers are one of America’s pillars of liberty, you should be rejoicing in the result of this election. After all, the people have chosen. But when the people choose (especially with Article 6’s Christian test ban by which mandatory biblical qualifications were also eliminated), we get nothing but nincompoops, scoundrels, and outright criminals for “leaders.” This is but another of God’s wake-up calls—if you’re listening!
Ted, the problem is how the people vote, not the fact that they do. Under Israel’s theocracy, the people voted. “And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah” (2 Sam. 2:4a). We the people can (and do) sin in our voting. But we don’t sin by voting.
In “Hot Take,” your “simple fact—when it starts happening, you will have no idea why it is happening,” is the same fact the church is facing in too many areas. For instance, in the PCA’s (my denomination) debate over the role of women in the church; it seems like while the enemies of God are surrounding us in their attacks on the culture and the church—picking us off one at a time, we debate Phoebe’s role in the early church. Likewise, we seem to be succumbing to worldly counsel on racism where whites, and white racism, are responsible for the spiritual, economic, or social status of blacks today; thus we engage in navel-gazing while the culture and the church is being split across racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic lines. Any suggestions, in addition to preaching, praying, and blogging, for waking up the church?
Bill, right. As things in our culture continue to deteriorate, one of the things that deteriorates first is our ability to understand the processes of deterioration.
In this whole mess, I’ve been saddened by all the Christians who balk at my bringing up the standard of witnesses. They come up with all kinds of hypothetical situations where the guilty would go free and isn’t that awful? But most don’t have an answer from Scripture or even try to explain why that standard wouldn’t apply. One pastor friend pointed out the law of a betrothed woman raped in the country though. Care to address that?
Johnny, that law presupposes that the fact of intercourse has occurred. There is no dispute over the fact of it. If it was consensual, they both are executed. If she denies that it was, then she has the presumption of innocence. But if he denies “ever having seen that woman,” then the requirement of two or three witnesses would hold.
“Hot Take” on Alabama and the larger cultural implications Doug, This is an excellent, astute, and biblical hot take for hot takes. Most hot takes focused on blaming the other guy. Your hot take takes the identities and grievances of both sides out of the equation and analyzes the culture in light of this election. What are the larger implications to American culture that the Republican and Conservative intelligentsia are going to miss, while learning all the wrong lessons? How will the result of this election effect those of us who hold to an explicitly Christian politics, and frankly a Christian theocracy? If it will affect the explicitly Christian political movement at all? What should the next steps of explicitly Christian Reformers be in the wake of an election loss like this? How do we avoid succumbing to the pressures to compromise with the ruling class of secular theocrats under some guise of “traditional American values?”
Trey, in my mind the key to what will happen in the mid-terms will be the economy. If the economy takes off like a rocket ship (as a consequence of tax reform), then we have a shot at electing more conservatives. But social conservatives need to learn biblical economics, and the rightful place of free markets in a free republic. This requires what I have elsewhere called theocratic libertarianism.
I have appreciated your comments on the Moore situation as a counterbalance to the frenzy of judgment. However, you have said that Moore could discredit himself by being inconsistent in his statements, and it seems to me that his statements to Sean Hannity were inconsistent in such a way. How do you read those statements as not disqualifying Moore’s denial?
Ian, I regard them as a possible disqualification. There were troubling discrepancies reported, certainly. But they were reported by a hostile media in the midst of a deeply rancorous campaign. And it is worth mentioning that the witnesses with really damning details had credibility problems themselves, and the women who did not have credibility problems did not share anything particularly damning.
Quick question for you, Pastor Wilson: So, public elections aren’t the same thing as court trials. I agree that there may be a lot of dirty tactics going on, but if this kind of thing happened to a ministerial candidate, where the character matters quite a bit, wouldn’t we at least delay the ordination process to do some digging? In other words, would it be a fair process if we disallowed people currently under some sort of criminal investigation from participating in elections? I could see a possible side effect of this being only to encourage nobbling your opponent as the election nears by spreading slander – but if we added the additional proviso that the entire election gets put on hold (even the unaccused candidates) while the investigation happens, then wouldn’t that eliminate that concern?
Carson, but that would create an incentive for an incumbent who did not want to leave office to promulgate the slander (or true story). Obama could have remained in office by circulating stories about both Trump and Hillary. Somebody has to govern in the meantime, and whoever that is would have a perverse incentive.
I still can’t believe Doug thinks 35 independent testimonies that tell the same coherent story about Roy Moore, that he didn’t even deny initially, is somehow illegitimate and lacking in credibility. The people in Moore’s life knew he dated kids and he said as much when he said that he never dated a kid without her mother’s permission. This confirmed pattern lends credence to independent accusations where Moore sought to take what little oversight was over these girls away. How does this still baffle Doug? As to the timing, the greater the power, the greater the responsibility and the greater the scrutiny. This is the absolutely right amount of scrutiny because we need to screen these guys out of positions of authority. If someone were say up for eldership and a number of girls from the congregation came out with independent and wholly verifiable allegations except for the explicit acts themselves what would Doug Wilson do? Defend him bitterly for some reason and when voted down say, “well now every credible pedophile won’t become an elder”
To the extent that things could be known in this case they were known. Disappointed to see Doug, however unfairly treated in the press, treating every person vilified as if they were as innocent as he is. You’ll note he’s not coming to the defense of the Hollywood types who also created systems that took their victims away from critical and parental eyes. Say the magic words of identity and Doug Wilson will be your champion. Make sure it’s his identity, play to his ego and impersonate his manner. Bloviate, say the law doesn’t matter only God and then do whatever you want with the kids. I spit. Doug has been tricked before and continues to be tricked by these jackals.
Hi, Matt. Please see the reply to Ian above. I entirely believe that Roy Moore dated teenagers. But I do not believe that a date = sexual activity.
Dear Pastor Wilson: I listened to your CRF talk entitled Dealing with the Crisis of a Victim Culture (November 8, 2017). Your explanation of Deuteronomy 17:6 was particularly insightful. As a deputy prosecutor, I would suggest to you two corollaries to the Biblical “two-witness” principle, both related to the second witness (W2). The first corollary is that W2 does not have to be a person. Let me give you an example. Late one night, an elderly woman (Witness One (W1)) heard a strange noise coming from the bedroom down the hall. She quietly got out of bed, tip-toed down the hall, opened the door and flipped on the light. She saw her grandson (defendant) brutally stabbing his father with a large kitchen knife. Startled, the grandson dropped his knife, cutting his own hand in the process. He ran out of the room leaving his dead father, the murder weapon, and a shocked W1. But the other “witness” in the room was the DNA the grandson left all over the knife-handle. So when the case was charged, I had one eye-witness (a person) and all the forensic science available to establish that the blood (physical evidence) on the knife-handle belonged to the grandson. Moses didn’t have a crime lab when he wrote Deuteronomy. The other corollary is that W2 can be the defendant himself. Continuing with my example, the grandson gave a confession to the detective. He said he had been harboring resentment for his father for years. He said he finally cracked, and then confessed to the stabbing. If I didn’t have the grandson’s DNA, I still would have charged the case because I had two witnesses: An independent, eye-witness (W1) and another witness, the defendant himself (W2). Of course, this confession assumes that all the protections against a coerced confession were in place and followed. I mention these corollaries because many Christians read Deuteronomy 17:6 and think there must be two independent eye-witnesses, who personally observe the crime with their own physical senses. I don’t think that is what Deuteronomy 17:6 is driving at. What is necessary is at least one witness and some sort of corroboration.
Thank you for putting your talks and sermons online. I enjoy listening to them when I travel to and from the University of Idaho, where my youngest son is a student. By the way, I like the new comment submission protocol. It makes us think before we write.
Yes, I agree entirely. The principle to be followed is that of independent corroboration. This can be done with forensic evidence, surveillance cameras or, in some cases, circumstantial evidence.
Dear Pastor Wilson, Regarding your last statements in “How Then Shall We Praise or Blame?”: nope; for sure; I’m not tired of it—please keep ‘em coming. I really appreciate your insights on this (and many other topics) and for noting Robert Gagnon’s piece. I used to follow TGC (especially Joe Carter) but no longer find that site worth my time. For theological content (and culture analysis), I pretty much restrict my reading to your blog and desiringGod.org . I certainly realize that there exists good content elsewhere (even in TGC); I just don’t have the time (or the tolerance) to have to sift through all the . . . um . . . not so good content. Thank you.
Paul, thanks for the kind words.
Doug, The comparison with King may be helpful to show hypocrisy of inconsistency in the affections of certain Christian leaders, but it is a red herring in the discussion of weighing evidence and voting for Moore. Many of us (I assume I’m not the only one) who believe the prudent course is to abstain from elevating Moore, based on a combination of the charges against him, his weasel-worded reply, and his conspiratorial and fearmongering approach to the accusations and media coverage, would never elevate King to any position of power. King, if he is to be honored at all, he should be considered a “great man” who shifted the world through his agency, not as an orthodox Christian exemplar. A Thomas Paine, not a Wilberforce. Indeed King was not orthodox at all, this should be well known to The Gospel Coalition: http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/nov_dec_09_scofield
Demo, Time’s Person of the Year can be simply an influential figure, like Hitler (1938), or Stalin (1939, 1942). But King has been elevated to the position of national hero. We have a national holiday in his honor. He is being held up as an exemplar, far more than a sitting senator would be. It seems to me that our standards ought to be far higher for an honor like this, not significantly lower.
Next Big Women’s March
On your Next Big Women’s March Quayle v Wilson I think we all know Dan Quayle was right. But he came off goofy, as I recall. What did you make of him? Maybe it was MSM’s framing. What I never really got, back in the day, were the words of well-spoken Christian thinkers who could nail the argument. I grew up with Rushdoony, then later that other media Rush—both of whom were / are effective, for sure. But neither could quite hit on all the right cylinders. Lately I’ve been reading David Bentley Hart. I think that’s getting closer to the bone. Read much of him?
Eric, I have read some of Hart’s stuff. He doesn’t really float my boat.
Doug, you might need someone to show you the definition of the word “brief.” But other than that, this may be one of your most prophetic blog posts to date. Well said. Your comment, “This would include, for example, those tribunals run by colleges that have not the earthliest idea what might constitute due process,” made me think of all the articles that David French has written explaining the erroneous nature of colleges dealing with “rape culture.” And then read him rush to judgment on matters like with Roy Moore. I’m beginning to wonder if there are only a few, that can be counted on one hand, Christians who can actually claim consistency in applying Scripture and biblical values.
Trey, brief is a comparative term.
Thank you for the insight. Just wanted to point out that Claire Berlinski’s name ends in “i”, not “y”. Blessings, and thank you for your consistent move toward the truth of the Gospel.
James, this is yet another reminder of my many faults.
I just saw the coffee cup for sale and hopefully my husband won’t miss the post. You really should have put your caricature on the opposite side from the dog. “The best part of waking up is Pope Doug on your cup.” I say that with pure affection. Hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas!
Amanda, and that is precisely why I shouldn’t do anything like that. But merry Christmas all the same.
Grove City Objections
Dear Pastor Wilson, In response to “Conservative Colleges That Don’t Conserve”: As a recent graduate of Grove City College, I share your dismay over Dr. Throckmorton’s recent writings. But to throw the entire institution under the bus, as you do, is distinctly unfair. Throckmorton represents an extreme minority at Grove City. As a quantitative indicator, the Nashville Statement bears more signatures (15) from the Grove City administration and faculty than from any other college or university. The college regularly invites chapel speakers such as Christopher Yuan to defend the biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality. The administration persistently refuses to allow a group for “LGBT dialogue” to meet on campus. And Princeton Review recently listed gave the college the #1 ranking on its list of “Least LGBTQ-Friendly Schools.” Although Grove City has its flaws, its overall trajectory in recent years has been toward greater consistency and conservatism. You say you write to strengthen, not weaken, the hand of the faithful. But to characterize the college as only “ostensibly conservative” misleads your readers and discourages the vast majority of orthodox faculty and students fighting the good fight at Grove City.
Philip, thanks. I really do want to strengthen the hand of the fine and faithful believers there at Grove City. But to point out that a righteous reputation can be easily damaged, and is being damaged, is not being unfair. Throckmorton really does teach there, and he continues to do what he is doing. What does it say when students are not permitted their LGBT dialogue, but the faculty may pursue it?
Bro. Doug, The practical problem with the postmillennial view, rarely acknowledged, is that at some point, religion must take over the government, which means telling everybody how to live and enforcing it. We have the Bible that tells you how to live, and now we own the police who tell you, “or else.” The current fanaticism on the American left (its absolute self-assurance and its near instantaneous resort to violence when being resisted) is just vestigial post-millennial habits coinciding with widespread apostasy from Christianity. But the biblical truth is that apostasy is a recurring fact of life, and it will remain so until the parousia. Evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, not get better and better. American Christians should have foreseen for that and prepared for it. This didn’t happen because postmillennial presuppositions blind people to the inevitability of apostasy. We’re the mountain filling the whole world for Jesus, aren’t we? And we’re starting right here!
And they are dangerously close to taking it over.
Steve, there is a lot to address here. Without Jesus, postmillennialism is a true hazard. But that is true of everything, isn’t it? If we lose the power of the gospel, we have nothing. Triumphalism is barren without Christ. But so is defeatism.
Pastor Doug, This question doesn’t pertain to this post, but I asked this once on Ask Doug and never heard back. I wonder what you think about the following issue: How do you connect the Biblical teaching of God hardening people’s hearts with the Biblical teaching of the sinner’s inability to savingly believe? If a sinner is already totally disabled from coming to Christ apart from divine intervention, what need is there for God to harden that sinner’s heart? In this vein, notice the purposive language of Isaiah 6 where God sends Isaiah to harden Israel so that they will not be saved; but of course this implies that without such hardening they might be saved; but what possibility is there for them to be saved when total inability already obtains? Unless we are to envision these two realities as actually being the same thing from different angles (so one could suggest that inability actually arises ultimately from divine hardening, not merely from spiritual corruption, which would bring the two ideas together), I don’t understand how they can both be true. Appreciate your thoughts here.
Dave, I take such expressions as making it manifestly plain that such people are without excuse. I don’t think Pharaoh had the capacity to repent before the first plague, which then he gradually lost. I believe he was already hard, and all the plagues just hardened him further. God did it this way so that God’s name could be glorified in all the earth (Rom. 9:17).
It has been shown to homosexual people’s brains more resemble the brains of people of the opposite gender. So how would you respond to the idea that the brain is more central to the person than the genitals, and therefore a more accurate determiner of sexuality? Christians make the argument that physical attributes determine gender, but the brain is just as physical as genitals, and much more a part of who someone is than the genitals. Furthermore, many people are born with mixed genitals, which doesn’t sit very well with the conservative idea that there is a clear line between genders, and there are only two, and that your gender is determined by your genitals at birth. I believe, as I’m sure you do, that we live in a complex world, and that a simplistic response that has been the conservative go to response for this issue does not fully accept the complexity of the world and this issue, as people born with mixed genitals clearly show. Now furthermore, even if you believe that gay marriage is wrong, why do you think it should be illegal? Most conservative Christians, and I believe you are in that number, are antifederalist. You don’t want the government to tell you who you have to bake a cake for, or much of anything else. You think they do a fantastic job of building roads and suggesting that you don’t eat poison, but would rather that they stay out of your life, and not tell you what is right and wrong. So should this mindset not infer that whether or not you believe it is wrong, it should be legal? Who is the government to decide what is right? Should they tell you that your kids can’t have communion wine because that is underage alcohol consumption? Of course not. We also, like it or not, are no longer a Christian nation, and can’t expect everyone to adhere to all Christian values. The government does a lot of things well, but controlling morality, historically, has worked out terribly, and leads to a totalitarian type of state.
Malik, you say “totalitarian” as though that would be wrong. But that implies a moral standard that governs us all, rulers included. What standard is that? As a Christian, I believe that it should be the correct standard.
Yes. There are people with mixed genitals, but that should not govern our laws, any more than other birth defects might. The brain is obviously physical, but the meaning of its physical configuration is more subject to misinterpretation than the old school approach—“it’s a boy!” (Gen. 4:1).
Comments on Comments
The advantage is that we will be done with trolls and/or unhelpful commenters. Not much of an advantage. I suppose the logic would also serve to terminate your Twitter and Facebook accounts, or at least remove all comments? Here’s the thing: Influential people require accountability. Echo chambers are dangerous even when the echoes are saying all the right things. I can recall numerous occasions where your post sounded well-reasoned, but under scrutiny it fell apart. You attempted to say, for instance, that Paul considered Judaizers his brothers and worked with them, and I corrected you on this. You suggest that having believing children is the intended understanding of the biblical text when it says “faithful,” but the parallel text makes it clear that “faithful” here means “obedient.” You could disagree (and you’d be wrong to do so), but when you boldly speak to a large audience as authoritative and influential, silencing reasonable voices is not helpful. The first to state his case, etc. Removing comments does not protect anyone, because I am not obligated to read or engage comments I do not like any more than your nay-sayers are obligated to read or engage your blog. On the other hand, an email allows you to filter comments, which requires trust on our part and time and integrity on yours. Which comments will you choose to publicly display? It also removes the ability for your audience to engage each other, which is where much of the usefulness of your blog is. Removing comments also serves to discourage commenters. Email is a nice barrier, but it also makes me think, “What’s the point?” Surely others are on board with me. I believe the accountability and transparency issues are primary. I am not so concerned about community or providing a way for people to spend their free time, but I am concerned that you and others like you protect yourselves—deliberately or otherwise—from dissent, from reasonable disagreement and objective correction, while clinging to the influence you have and desire. John Piper serves as a prime example of how a man can become too protected by his circle of yes-men, by his reputation, by his believing his own PR and refusing to be publicly accountable for his massive public influence. Mark Driscoll is a different and more extreme example of this same thing. If you simply want to use a megaphone to shout your views to the world, you are free to do so. But you are harming yourself and your audience by removing the ability to engage and hold you accountable, to help others to think about things. Trolls don’t harm anyone. And if you’re so concerned about trolls, who can only melt snowflakes and only waste the time of people who willfully engage them, then consider IP banning instead.
Mike, thanks for the feedback. Thanks for the accountability, which continues on at this site, unimpeded. I think we have reached a good compromise with this system, and please remember you can comment a couple times a week.
Thank you!!!!! Long overdue IMO.
Jay, you are most welcome.
Good day Pastor Wilson;
You have been trying to counsel Russell Moore for quite some time it seems. Thank you for that effort! Initially after the Nov 2016 election I was surprised by and not supportive of some SBC pastors wanting to reprimand Moore for basically being a Never Trumper. But I recently learned that the ERLC is pushing a Soros backed open borders group (see below links)! Ah, that greatly changes things for me. I am sure Al Mohler will not criticize or counsel Moore publically. But when should SBC churches withhold funding from the SBC and ERLC? If Moore is pushing for anti-American open border policies in collaboration with Marxist revolutionaries that would be enough for me to seek his resignation (I am not a member of the SBC church). What are your thoughts?
I just submitted this essay (see attachment) to the elders of my church . . . it included this paragraph:
Evangelical leaders who fail to understand the times while highlighting good things such as missions or racial reconciliation or mercy ministries or creation stewardship may find themselves easily infiltrated by and taking the side of the revolutionaries who seek to divide us in this ongoing Marxist-driven cultural war. If this continues, I fear what will happen among evangelical churches . . . they too will lose the gospel. I am sure most mainline Protestant leaders if asked 50 years ago could not have imagined what destructive consequences and impact liberalism has had on their once vibrant churches. The devil continues to prowl searching for someone to devour (1Pet 5:8). May we stand guard and protect the flock from deception and compromise; may we continually search for truth. I will finally close with just one example of an evangelical organization that has lost its way. Russell Moore at the Southern Baptist ERLC is needlessly pushing a divisive progressive agenda.
Certainly, reasonable people even involved in missions can agree that sound immigration public policy is a necessity as Sen. Tom Cotton proposes.
P.S. Our family recently enjoyed watching your son’s “The River Thief” together.
Darin, thanks for the comments on the movie. On withholding funds because of “Soros-backed” collusion, let me say this (as one non-Southern Baptist to another). I would want to see all such allegations independently confirmed. The principles that apply to one Moore apply to other Moores also. And at least one of your links invites the need to cross-check.