Russell Moore & Theocracy
Sir, I read Russell Moore’s article regarding theocracy that you linked to, and I am a bit aghast. How can anyone who has read the Bible make any such blanket and universal condemnation against theocracy in any and every form (i.e., his critique “also is true of every theocracy.”)? Does Mr. Moore actually intend to so condemn the theocracy of King David, or is he so clueless as to recognize that his blanket condemnation would also apply to the laws God gave to Israel? Sure, this is the kind of error a Baptist (or any dispensationalist) could be prone to, but it seems to me an atrocious and egregious error. It demonstrates at worst a downright hostility to the Old Testament; at best a complete disregard or ignorance of it. Also, I must compliment your distinction between theocracy and ecclesiocracy—that I found especially insightful and helpful. Additionally, I appreciate your observation that every government is a theocracy to their own god. Back my Freshman year in college I laughed out loud when I first heard someone use the phrase “you can’t legislate morality.” I was new to such discussions, but I recognized that instantly as meaningless jargon . . . my classmates were tongue-tied when I simply asked if we should rescind laws against rape and murder, as these were also legislating morality. It was obvious to me even as a neophyte in such discussions that the question, logically, can’t be whether or not we legislate morality, but rather whose morality we will be legislating.
Regarding “A Primer on Theocracies,” there has always been something about Russell Moore’s political theology that strikes me as odd. In one sense, I appreciate the work he is doing in certain areas (e.g., advocacy for marriage and the pre-born), but at the same time, essays like this come off preaching a different message. I don’t think its high-handed hypocrisy, but there is a sense in which his actions and theology do not align. I have often tried to put my finger on the disconnect, but I think you nailed it. One other thought—which I think you have mentioned before—it seems as much of this is done in an effort to be considered part of the cool kids group. It’s sneaky, but I think at the end of the day it robs Christianity of its “otherness” from the world. The Kingdom we preach is in this world, but it is completely “other” in a sense. The “hot take” culture of the internet doesn’t help, either. I’m sure others have suggested this, but I wouldn’t mind seeing you and him debate political theology sometime. The evangelical church is really confused on the issue.
Kyle, I would love to be able to interact with him some time on these issues.
I read your “Primer on Theocracies” with interest. I had previously read Moore’s article that you were responding to, and enjoyed it as well. As I read over your piece, it seemed to me that there was something both of your posts took for granted, so that you ended up talking past one another. Allow me to take a brief aside for illustration before coming back to the main thread. I have seen the issue of rules and where they come from play out in a different environment. I am part of an extremely conservative, Arminian connection of churches. Ostensibly, all of our rules are strictly Biblical. However, a rule was recently added that insisted all our men where full length pants (I had nothing to do with this, I just found out about it after the fact.) On what authority can they make such rules? Well, they would say, in a sense, our group is a democracy that can make whatever rules they see fit. I respectfully disagree, but that is beside the point. I have recently stumbled onto Reformed perspectives on this question and saw profound power in the idea of the church as the steward of Christ, without the authority to simply “make things up as they go.” It is only then that we can claim transcendent authority for the church. Now for how this relates to the issue of Theocracies. If a Theocracy is simply allowing God to rule, that’s a great idea, and obviously a requirement for every Christian, whether politician, preacher, or a parking lot attendant. But the question I would have is, since the Bible is not written as a political constitution, what does a Theocracy do about all those things that God has not spoken on? And this is where things get sticky. And I suppose it’s also where you set off across the butterscotch in your snowshoes. Because if, at this moment, the leaders of a Theocracy decide to come down on a particular side of a question, did they do so because God demanded such? Are all who oppose them also opposed to God? I said earlier that the church is bound not to go beyond the rules where God has not spoken. On the other hand, I believe that the government is bound to not go against the rules that God has given with clarity. So far, so good. But there is going to be dramatic disagreement, even among serious Christians, about what God has and hasn’t given as universal guidelines. What about working a field with a John Deere tractor and an International drill? What about building codes? What about tax rates? If a Theocracy means that our political leaders simply do their best to rule in a way that brings glory to God, while exercising wisdom in those areas where Scripture is not clear, I’m all in on this project. But if Theocracy means that God’s Word will be used a defense for every decision made and law passed, no matter how questionable, and those who question the leaders question God, I’m not so keen on that idea. And believe that is what most people have in mind when they think of a Theocracy. I think some people mean this when they defend their version of American exceptionalism. However America does it is obviously the Biblical way. As a product of the ACE Christian curriculum, I frankly grew weary of that kind of thinking. So my question, if it not clear by now, would be this: If we are going to have a Theocracy, it will not be the kind of Theocracy we find in the Bible, because Yahweh has not descended in visible form on Mount Rushmore or the Washington Monument or Capitol Hill to give us His commandments for the U.S. We have no Moses to lead us, through Red Seas and Wilderness wandering, to our Promised Land. God will not be settling any leadership disputes by striking troublesome women with leprosy. Without that visible leadership from God, exactly what kind of Theocracy are we to have? You comment at one point that our country’s leaders are committing great offenses against God. I agree. But wouldn’t it be an even greater offense if their defense for their evil laws were that they were not in charge at all, that these laws were from God? If you do print this somewhat rambling letter, kindly remove either my reference to my church connection or my name. I don’t care which.
Some Fellow, this is precisely why I call myself a theocratic libertarian. I believe that we should have laws where the Scripture expressly requires them, and I believe we must strive for minimal coercion (which is what the law is) everywhere else.
Pastor Wilson, I am extremely appreciative of all of your ministry, and this post (A Primer on Theocracies) is no exception. I have never written before, but have many of your resources. And so I imagine the number of your followers are much, much greater than you know from just those who write. In brief, I’m a 8-year believer, who began in the muddled world of Calvary Chapel, Dispensationalism, Antinomianism, and Pessimillenialism, and then after not being able to reconcile the Bible with these things, found the Reformed faith about 4 years ago through Bahnsen’s materials on CMFNOW, and although I read widely now, I have yet to find anything that he or you have put out that I disagree with. So I count myself in your theological camp. But one of the biggest struggles I have is reconciling the ignorance of our church leaders with having the Spirit and reading the Bible. How can such a bright, highly educated, Calvinistic, prominent and influential leader of the church make such a hash of what I consider the plain truth of the Bible? This is not a difference of opinion about how we baptize or what songs we should sing. Although those things are VERY important, I can love my brother in Christ even though he is wrong-headed in his baptism ideas, his ideas about music, eschatology, and other matters. I am Presbyterian at heart, but the only reformed church with what appears to be spiritual life in it within 1-1/2 hours of Ellensburg, WA is Baptist. So there I am. I will live with that. But this article by Moore is so damaging to the church! He should know better should he not? It is right up there with Dispensationalism or Easy-Believism or not preaching about sin and repentance. Throughout the OT, God’s people were either blessed or cursed depending on how they handled the revealed word of God in their lives. And God used it to punish them even by a famine of the word of God. They died for lack of knowledge. So how can a man such as Moore miss such obvious things? Does he not read his Bible? Can he really have the Spirit? This idea of thinking we just need to preach Jesus and not worry about what law standard we then follow or ask others to follow is just blindness. Is not a person who reads the Bible with a broken and humble heart, seeking to know the Lord and His character and will, going to conclude that the whole purpose of the gospel is to glory God BY bringing obedience and worship, and subsequently peace to the nations? Moore’s writing is just sad, and really discouraging. You exhibited such grace by your post. Seems like there must be such a fine line between being so graceful, or being more hard-lined and calling these men to repentance for their misrepresenting God’s word to the watching church and world. If you have any thoughts on this, it would help me. It is hard to know how much regenerated hearts should be expected to understand about these things when they are people like Moore, with such light given them. It is one thing for the layman I suppose, but another for someone like him. He does so much damage. I know God deals to each one a measure of faith or grace, but still. It angered me to read Moore’s article. Is that anger wrong? Or do I just “be angry, but sin not?” Perhaps when it comes down to it, I’m just asking, at what point do we move to a harder stance against what someone is saying or doing and tell them they need to repent? In this church climate, a person could either find themselves feeling guilty or unsure because they are either enabling way too many things, and being too soft; or they could find them against most everyone. Tough times these are. Blessings to your family and ministry, we pray for you,
Chris, we all have our blind spots. And God, in order to keep us on our spiritual toes, has enabled us to see everyone else’s.
A Primer on Theocracies: Saying that Russell’s stance is due to Baptist experience under Protestant theocracy is akin to Obama’s claim that Israel has a right to Palestine because of the Holocaust. Pastor Wilson has a wonderful way with words but his arguments are always at their weakest when he defends his post-millennial, theocratic beliefs. He argues past his opponent. And of course the reason for this is his replacement theology. He argues from the OT (given to Israel) while Russell would argue primarily from the NT (given to the church). The desire for the Church to reign is why so many Christians are willing to hold their noses and back ungodly leaders who promise to do things that resonate with Christians. Although Pastor Wilson did not back Trump, he gave a great deal of support to Moore. There will be a theocracy one day under the direct rule of the only One qualified to hold that scepter, Jesus Christ. Not under fallible, sinful Christians and the weeds so often in their midst.
Marc, if that were so then how would Moore argue from the New Testament that the civil magistrate is required to pursue racial justice?
Hello there Mr. Wilson, (This is in regards to A Primer on Theocracies) Let me first say how much I appreciate your ministry and writing. I read your blogs regularly, listen to the Plodcast, and I have been greatly helped and blessed by it all, even when I disagree! I liken it to how you are fond of mentioning C.S. Lewis and the Psalms and even amidst disagreeing I understand why we disagree and appreciate it. I am a seminarian at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and therefore hear much of Russel Moore, obviously. This last election brought a lot of things to the surface being on campus at SBTS and listening to Mohler, Moore, and other professors. Though many were like you in their denunciation of both “candidates,” the foundation was different and I found a home more in your thought than theirs. I told a friend recently that I could deal with the foundation differences between Moore and my own politically this past election because our house looked the same: in that we both could not vote for either candidate. Now, with this theocracy stuff, our houses don’t even look the same and it makes me wonder who the home association owner is, because it is not the Christian suburbia I hoped for! When I say I think I agree with you more despite saying the same thing I believe it is because of the issues you touch on in this primer article. From the Nashville Statement, to Roy Moore, to Trump/Hillary, to theocracies etc. Even when Moore and other Southern Baptists (I use southern baptists for the sake of clarification and in tying into your article, since this is indeed a mistake you’d expect baptists to make) are saying the same thing as I (or you at times) I am left feeling uneasy with their presuppositions. I feel like we are making small compromises and stepping into a snare. When I listen to Moore I am left feeling like he is portraying a form of Evangelicalism that desires to be liked and respected in the public square, not one that proclaims “thus says the Lord” even if the public square despises each word. I was going to make a Jehoiachim reference about cutting the scroll we read, but the modern adaption would look more like Don Lemon or Jake Tapper hitting backspace, which is far less dramatic, though just as disobedient. I say all that to say, I am sympathetic and daresay even agree with you (don’t tell my fellow congregationalists) on much of what you write in Empires of Dirt and in your blogs. I was wondering whether you have read/interacted with Jonathan Leeman’s “Political Church?” I have been working through it, and have been pleasantly surprised with much of what he is writing as an avowed congregationalist. He argues for the necessity of institutions, the reality that politics is really a war of the gods and no matter what we are bowing to someone/something etc. He seems to me to be far closer to where you are coming from than Moore. Which I find hugely encouraging. I was just curious if you have interacted with his writings at all and where (if you do) you and he would differ in your understanding of the church and state and its responsibilities. I ask all this because it seems quite pressing that we get our ducks in a row because if we don’t Trump won’t be the only lame one in the next few years. I pray for you and your ministry and am thankful for it. May God grant wisdom, discernment, and well-timed wit and banter for years to come!
Michael, I love it when people give me an excuse to add a book to my list. No, I haven’t interacted with Leeman yet.
An Absent Theos and Theocracy
Re: I Will Be Brief If I Can (Updated) The term “Theocracy” has come up a few times of late in your posts. In your reckoning, how would said theocracy work if Theos is not tangibly present? To clarify; who is the proxy for God, and what safeguards would be in place so that history does not repeat itself—where the theocracy degrades over time (like it did in certain other churches throughout history) if the Lord tarries? Thanks!
Bugs, in brief, I would want acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ in the Constitution, along with an acknowledgment of the authority of Scripture, and no established church.
Immigration and Theocracy
Your response to the theocratic admonitions of Christian leaders, who reject theocracies in principle, theocratically admonishing Trump for an allegedly crude and inappropriate phrase about certain countries was excellent. But it begged the question, then what is the biblical position on immigration? Because I don’t believe the plain teaching of Scripture on immigration is strictly from passages caring for Sojourners and refugees to draw an open borders, globalist view of immigration. But also don’t believe the plain teaching of Scripture of Nehemiah building walls and God sovereignly determining national boundaries of nations and kingdoms to conclude a closed borders, nationalist immigration policy is the complete biblical position either. And I was wondering if you might be willing to write up a primer of sorts on biblical immigration? Since immigration is probably the number one issue driving Evangelical support for Trump, and the Evangelicals who don’t support Trump and his vulgarity seem to be swinging in the SJW globalist direction on immigration. I don’t think Christian leaders are addressing this issue biblically, but instead emotionally. Thanks.
Trey, yes. Someone needs to write about immigration and biblical law. I hope to, but no promises.
What About Trump?
Okay, for us dummies can you explain? Are you saying that those Christian leaders who won’t say anything about the morality of the elective officials should not say anything about what Trump said, (or not)? And if they are going to say something, they should always say something about everyone?
Tammy, I was saying that many of the Christian leaders who are morally indignant about Trump are also morally indignant about those who would apply biblical standards to politics. And I am saying that you can’t have it both ways.
This is pathetic. Your condemnation of him was basically “well, non-Christians talk like that.” Look, of you can’t condemn someone who is not a Christian for doing something unchristian, then no one is going to hell. Everyone is held to the same standard, Christian or not, this is one of the most basic Christian premises. People can condemn him, and they don’t have to use the Bible to do it. You can use the Bible, and that would be perfectly fitting. I would love a Christian in the White House, that doesn’t mean I want a theocracy. I can hold a non-Christian to a Christian standard. From your logic it is unfair for someone who doesn’t want a theocracy to complain about a president murdering someone in the dead of night, because hey, he isn’t a Christian so you can’t expect him to act better. Also, for all your involvement in politics you are really good at never strongly condemning conservatives no matter what they do. Roy Moore, well no one knows what happens. Trump says something horrible, well, unless you want my theocracy you have no right to complain. But the left does anything and you are all over it. Come on, wake up!
James, I am afraid that you have radically misunderstood the point. And if you had been around here long enough, you would know that my criticism of compromised conservatism has been unrelenting.
Regarding Theocracies: I have long regarded the notion of a God-fearing theocracy as the very best form of government. Looking at Scripture, we see God giving us a moral Law by which to govern ourselves. This is what the Law does; it tells us what sin is. But it also tells us what to do about certain sinners who threaten to unravel the fabric of society, which we call “criminals.” Some pay restitution, some are imprisoned, and some are executed. I’ve always thought, “If God Himself devised a system of law and punishment, why do we think we can come up with anything better?” And so I am theonomic, and the very next and most natural step is to be theocratic. Of course every society is essentially a theocracy in that every society has a “god” at the helm calling the shots and meting out lashes. But why not a society that self-consciously, purposefully, admittedly theocratic with the God of the Universe at the helm? I dunno . . . makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is why a Christian would fear that.
Malachi, I understand why a Christian would fear that being done wrong, but I agree with you that there is no reason to fear it done right.
If only the thousands of Christians in public office had the same theocratic vision of that simple Kentucky Clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses . . . one can only wonder.
Three thoughts: One—As I read I keep thinking of Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh (or was it Pharaoh before God?) saying “Let my people go . . .” And Pharaoh responds “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice . . .” In other words: By what standard? Or in the parlance of my home, populated by grade-schoolers: Who says?! This is a very old question and, as you say, a reasonable one. Two—I find it surprising that many find it surprising that all societies have a “god of the system” or are innately religious. I’m reminded of an article which you have likely read but if not would likely find interesting. It’s called The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas by Joseph Bottom (or Bottum?). It’s probably 3-5 years old and is a good read, though not a brief one by typical internet conventions. Maybe denial is a river in Egypt . . . Third—Why are these liberals so upset? What standard have they? Game of Thrones—good. President using an expletive to describe the third world—break down and cry on national tv. Its right for a Christian to call leadership to account, but most of what is being said is just the same old Rules for Radicals theatrics. It gets old.
Thank you for this primer. I hope that this is the first of several posts on this subject, and so far, the butterscotch only seems to be sticking to the bottom of your shoes. Where it gets more sticky, in my mind, is when we ask what sort of theocracy we are talking about, and in particular, what parts of God’s law ought to be enforced by the state. The second table is easy enough, with the exception of such questions as whether homosexual behaviour ought to be criminalized (as used to be this case in this country—and some have argued it ought also to be punishable by death). The first table is tougher. The reformers supported laws against blasphemy, as did both the USA and Canada until the not-so-distant past. Is that part of the theocracy we are seeking? You defend religious freedom as a Christian value that would be enshrined in this ideal Christendom. My questions would be: how far does that liberty extend (e.g., may people blaspheme God? may non-Christians hold public office?), where do you differ with the Reformers on this, and most importantly, on what Biblical grounds would you defend this pluralism as a feature of the ideal Christian theocracy? It would be shame for our country to go theocratic on the assumption that everything’s going to be hunky-dory and nobody’s going to get persecuted, and then discover, once we get there, that we haven’t made a very robust defence of this pluralist position, and now there are bunch of folks with Bibles in the government who think maybe the other religions aren’t so tolerable after all. I would appreciate your further thoughts on this and the Biblical grounds that you give for them.
Jon, I agree that the First Table of the Law is the real challenge—how to implement it without overshooting (and thereby breaking the First Table). But too many do not recognize that there is no Second Table without the First.
Re theocracy The inevitability of theocracy is there because Jesus is Lord. The fact that Jesus is Lord necessarily means that Caesar is not and we are already in a theocracy and also should not go around trying to establish a theocracy. Rather we are to disciple the nations to acknowledge the existing theocracy.
Christopher, and therein lies the task.
Thank you pastor Wilson. You made me think and ponder this subject. I think the problem with Dr. Moore and a lot of Baptist (by the way, I’m a Reformed Baptist/ Postmillenialist/ Theonomist in progress) is the two kingdom theology which does not arrive to the Gospel’s logical and biblical conclusion in society. Again, thank you very much for fueling the Gospel fire into my heart. God bless. PS: Have you written any book that treats this same topic?
Pedro, the closest so far is Empires of Dirt.
I hope you get a chance to spend more time on this subject. For what it’s worth, I am a convinced baptist in terms of subjects of baptism, but I am also convinced that 1. The greatest civil law ever given is what God provided Moses in Scripture, and so all people are obligated to look to it as they develop laws and societies, 2. The Word of God is the absolute authority over all things whatsoever, government included, and so governments should submit to the authority of every word of Scripture as proper, 3. Jesus is Lord of all without exception, and so every government and politician is obligated to confess Him as Lord and submit to him pronto, 4. The ideological divide posited by Christians between the religious realm (church and private life) and the non-religious realm (everything else) is an abomination, and maybe the greatest reason for the present castration of the church. Question: What books other than Scripture are best for dealing with the myth of neutrality? Thanks, and as always very grateful for you. You are pastoring far more people than probably you know.
Excellent article Doug. Well said. Since you’re writing on the subject of theocracies, and are a postmillenialist, (which is right!), care to write an article explaining what America will (eventually) look like as a nation won to Christ? Would love to read it!
Dominick, as soon as I know, I would be happy to write about it.
As a Baptist all I have to say is, “Amen.”
Re “A Primer on Theocracies”: Going by the stats reported on this page, and taking into account that another full year has passed, I think it’s time to revise that abortions-since-Roe estimate to 60 million.
Thanks for this very well written critique. But I have to say, I don’t think you go far enough. Moore wants to take away the authority of God from the state, and hand it to who knows? He clearly hasn’t thought this through. But in your Theocratic Libertarianism you want to take away much of the authority of God from the individual. Libertarianism is simply autonomous self-rule, and as Christians we simply cannot grant that to sinful hearts. Why feel the need to notch out a libertarian space? While you are willing to acknowledge the big picture authority of God’s Law, why are you so hesitant to acknowledge it all the way down? Thanks again, Reverend Wilson.
Kilgore, by “from the individual,” did you mean for the individual?
In response to “A Primer on Theocracies,” It’s especially ironic that Moore says all this as the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission—which purports to advocate for public ethics. But how can they effectively do this when their president is effectively denying Christians the authority to approach the government with “Thus saith the Lord” on their lips?
John 19:14-16 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So . . . #2 it is then.
Jason, the point gets grimmer every time you think about it.
Regarding your article about the dog chasing the firetruck, I continue to appreciate your thoughts on theocracy here. The greater irony in all this is that these same evangelical leaders . . . so quick to call out our politicians for such things as offensive language . . . have all but capitulated on far more weighty matters. Politicians who support the murder of unborn infants, the redefinition of marriage, “hate speech” laws to censor Christian thought, persecution of the Church, or those who openly live a homosexual or drunken life themselves, do not receive the kind of disapprobation we hear from such evangelicals as when a politician says something that offends the god of the secular system. The former are grudgingly acknowledged as the reality of the secular system. But if a politician says something that dare sounds remotely racist, sexist, or simply uncouth . . . now that is something truly vile and demands obloquy. It seems such evangelical leaders have largely, if unconsciously, bought into the values of the world in these areas. Reading this article, the image of Bridge on the River Kwai repeatedly came to my mind . . . With Colonel Nicholson (politely) chastising Colonel Saito’s construction methods, chastising his own men for not being more cooperative with their captors . . . never realizing that by making these issues his battleground, he was slowly capitulating and effectively supporting the cause of his enemy.
Margaret Atwood and #MeToo
I’m afraid I can’t remember which post it was exactly, but you wrote a typically well reasoned argument in favour of due process in the me too furor, pointing out innocent until proven guilty. I thought it would amuse you to find Margaret Atwood agreeing with you on this point
Emma, it does amuse me.
What Happened to Femina?
Thank you for this . . . article. I really appreciate it, and many, many of your others. Wondering if I might inquire about the Femina link. It seem the most recent Femina article is dated 4/4/2017. I miss it. Respectfully,
Andra, the Femina blog is not discontinued, but the women involved are very busy practicing what they teach.
Pastoral Duties and Chasing Ants at the Picnic
Without calling it a problem, you identified the real biggie: “. . . if we haven’t seen someone at church in a few weeks, one of the questions we have to ask . . .” The first thing your elders need to hear at that meeting is your bark: “WEEKS??!! Did you just admit out loud that it has been WEEKS since any of us have contacted the Smiths??!!” If you folks are pastors—and let’s stipulate the “if” there—then you ought to blush red a bit that it has been WEEKS since you’ve seen some of your sheep. (A moment ago, I just got through a making telephone call to a good customer (I work a sales job), asking why they hadn’t placed an order recently.— Hello, why hadn’t I called earlier?! That’s my job!!) If God hath made thee pastor, you be a pastor indeed, regardless of the multitudinous clubs/quasi-business we call “denominations” in which the sheep sometime congregate. Yes, of course, you may have to be working with (or around!) other supposed or real pastors who post themselves under shingles of a different font. But your elders’ job is reach out, touch, heal, cajole, love—is it not? Not wait for sheep to assemble meekly at your feet.
Eric, while taking your central point (and agreeing with it in principle), I do want to say that our elders here are among the most pastoral elders I have ever heard of, and not having seen someone for a few weeks is routinely not a sign of dereliction of duty at all. People go on vacation (without having to get permission from the elders), they attend the other service, they come in through a different door, etc. When the elders meet weekly, and one of us says that “I haven’t seen the Smiths for a few weeks . . . has anyone else?” If no one else has, then it is time to check in with them.
My take on baptism is simple. There was no sign upon infants before Abraham, and it was actually a sign upon all males. It was related to the coming of the promised seed and ended between AD30 and AD70. The “covenant” not only grew up in Jesus but He is actually the covenant—a person. To put a sign upon an infant is to unwittingly testify that Christ has not come in the flesh. Things have shifted from sons of men (earthly fathers like Abraham) to sons of God (obedience and testimony to the heavenly Father), or from being put under guardians (such as godparents) to being invested or knighted in baptism as a sword bearing guardian. So baptism isn’t the boundary of the realm, but the staff uniform of the voluntary keepers of the realm. So not only is paedobaptism redundant, it robs Christians of a rite of passage intended to be a first step of obedience and public testimony of allegiance. But I can’t see you gents giving up this superstitious security blanket in large numbers any time soon. You’re fixated on the womb instead of the tomb, i.e. the wrong passage.
Michael, how can Abraham be an earthly father when he is the spiritual father of us all? “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).
The Image of God and the Sexes
Regarding “The Image of God and Life Between the Sexes”: Lots of good stuff here about the design for marriage in the original creation. Not sure, though, that marriage is the image of God, even in part. The first Adam, the original son and image of God, failed. Christ is the faultless son and image of God, despite never marrying. Or, rather, Christ married his people. Marriage therefore has to do with the divine-human relation. It is not an image of God. I find John Frame’s brief discussion helpful
John, the fact of it seems pretty straightforward to me. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).
The Doubts of John the Baptist
The idea that John the Baptist had doubts while in prison has always bothered me. You telling me that the baby that leapt in the womb of his mother when the in utero Messiah came near, the same man who admitted that he knew the Messiah when he saw him and was not worthy carry his sandals, the one who said he needed baptized by Jesus rather than the other way around . . . also doubted just a few short years later? I don’t buy it. Convince me.
T.F. these things are complex. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, Son of the living God right before Jesus rebuked him as Satan (Matt. 16:15-23). Most of it had to do with Christ fulfilling all the Old Testament prophecies while messing with many of the pious Jewish expectations of how those fulfilled prophecies would actually look. It is not hard for me to picture the faithful John in prison trying to figure out how it was supposed to look.