Snowy Letters for a Snowy Day

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Some Unicorn Business

Re: Two Corrections Could not the unicorn in Job be the following: Elasmotherium AKA “Siberian unicorn”?


Ian, yes, that could be. It was not a sparkly unicorn as portrayed on little girls’ lunch boxes, but the LXX translates it as some sort of one-horned beast. My correction simply had to do with whether or not the question of plowing with an aurochs was ridiculous, the same way that a hippo’s tail being compared to a cedar was ridiculous. So I was questioning one of my counterarguments, in other words. But the translation of rem in that passage remains open.

Where’d I Say That?

I am undertaking some studies through Christian Leaders College (on-line). Prof. David Feddes recently paraphrased a quote from one of your books during a video on baptism. It was essentially a question whether we are vines on a branch or marbles in a box. Unfortunately he did not mention the name of the book so I thought I would ask you as the author directly and to thank you for the great apologetic works that I have been blessed to follow on video over the past 15 or so years starting with your debates with Mr. Hitchens.


Michael, one place I use that expression is in To a Thousand Generations, p. 84.

A Mini-Dagger of the Spirit

You may want to check this out. It’s a complete KJV Bible that’s about the size of a box of mints. Only $29, with better prices of you order more than one. If it sounds like I’m selling it, that’s because I am. I want it to get to the minimum required so it prints. Because who doesn’t need a pocket Sword to stash away in every nook and cranny?


John, thanks. Easier to get through check points.

I Think So

Is Dispensational Theology at odds with the Westminster Confession? A controversy has occurred in my church (PCA & TR) regarding a Sunday School teacher who was previously vetted by the Session.


Jerry, I believe there would be inconsistency at any number of points, but the central one would the Westminster saying that there is one covenant of grace throughout all history, and that the Mosaic economy was an administration of that covenant of grace.

Sir, You Mistake My Meaning

Seeing that you are continuing to point to God speaking from Sinai as the reason we may not kill one another, I’d like to make another attempt at pointing out some pitfalls to this approach. Please know that I do this while enthusiastically cheering your project in general and being very thankful for almost all the specifics. You have said multiple times that people must not commit this or that atrocity because God said so to Moses on Mount Sinai. This is a historical error, but also a metaphysical one. It misleads as to the nature of the universe and that of the moral law. We do not live in a universe where wanton killing could be ok, but was arbitrarily ruled out-of-bounds at Sinai. Murder has been wrong since the creation of man.

I understand the desire to emphasize the authoritative word of God as the basis for morality and human law. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this. Our society must repent of going its own way as if God had not said.

The problem comes in misidentifying the moment of God’s authoritative speech. When it comes to murder, the authoritative word was “Let us make man.” This can be distinguished from the moment God delegated to mankind the authority to execute murders, which took place on a mountain, but not Sinai. Some things are from the beginning, in the created nature of the thing itself, other things arise through historical development. To mistake something from one category as being from the other category may be a simple historical error but a profound metaphysical blunder.

If we say murder is unacceptable because of Sinai, we aren’t actually submitting to the word of God, we are instead failing to give God’s creative word the full respect it deserves. That creative word is authoritative. It included not only raw fact, but also value, meaning, purpose and moral obligation, in the same breath.

The practical fallout of this error is likely to be threefold:

1. It unnecessarily restricts the camp of those working with you on your mere Christendom project. It will tend to exclude all doctrinal traditions which do not believe the Mosaic law is directly applicable to other nations, e.g., Lutherans. The error undercuts a general equity approach to the Mosaic law.

2. It mistakes the nature of repentance we are calling for. Our neighbors are facing destruction in hell not because they don’t know murder is wrong, but because they know it, from creation, and yet make excuses for it. God is not requiring them to submit to something along the lines of “don’t wear mixed fabrics.” Confusion on this point may be a stumbling block to repentance.

3. Finally, it threatens to be an even greater stumbling block to future generations that might seek to build on your work, as this mistake presents an avoidable provocation to fall into a “tablets of stone” mindset concerning morality. Again, the nature of the obligation to not murder is entirely different if it arises ex nihilo at Sinai. The only way someone could embrace all the implications of that would be to delight in the bondage to the law which Christ died to free us of.

As discussion of a new basis for law in our society increases, it would be best if we speak as accurately as possible about these things. It may appear rhetorically effective to point to Sinai in the way you have been, but the cost in confusion of serious matters is too high.


Nathan, of course you are correct that murder was a sin and a crime from the beginning, and did not begin to be wrong at Sinai. Satan was a murderer from the beginning, when he inspired Cain to murder Abel, an act manifestly sinful (1 John 3:12). And it was a sin back then, treated as such (Gen. 4:10). So why do I use the Sinai example? I believe it is rhetorically effective. Suppose a family had a constant rule, a rule that had been in force forever, that the kids were not to jump on the couch. Right before mom left one day, she reminds them all. “No jumping on the couch.” If one of the kids starts jumping on the couch as soon as she is out of the driveway, and a sibling says, “Mom said not to do that,” it does not follow that he is denying the authority of the standing rule.

Church Covenants

You have spoken about covenantal relationships that God ordains. At your church, are there covenants (with associated oaths and sanctions) between the male heads of household? Would a covenant be broken if a member of your church moved for “trivial” reasons? I am interested in understanding the covenantal relationship of the body of Christ. I understand the marriage covenant and the covenant with the state, but the covenantal relationship between members of the body is not as clear to me.



David, in our church we have families take membership vows, and these vows have the force of a covenant. But someone would violate these vows by deserting his wife, for example, and not by moving to South Dakota—even for reasons that we thought were poorly thought out.

Disability Woes

You mentioned recently your recommendation for Christians to begin cutting out the benefits in their lives that they ideologically disagree with, even if they profit from them. I think you mentioned denying the COVID checks mailed out by the government, for example, since this is obviously a gross lack of stewardship on the government’s part.

Can you please share some further thoughts regarding this?

A personal question I am wrestling with has to do with VA Disability benefits for having served in the military. I was abundantly honest with my medical reviewers when exiting, but was shocked to receive a rather high percentage of benefits when the process was complete, even though I am not ultimately disabled. True, there is some minor residual pain from activities undeniably linked to my service, but I am wondering if my conscience should be more troubled than it is to receive the high level of tax-free income that I do.

On the one hand, I know that it is the government’s fault not my own that these processes are often incompetent, and moreover I committed to God early on in process to tithe/offer well above my normal rate on any disability benefits that I received. Therefore, I know the money I receive will be better spent than the Federal Government would spend it if I were to turn it down. Lastly, I suppose the government is “rewarding” her service members, although I’d say it’s a stretch to consider myself being compensated for disability, per se.

On the other hand, I want to heed Proverbs 28:6 “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”

Of course, I am not asking you to compel my conscience, but I would be very grateful for any wisdom, similar examples Christians should think through, or any other thoughts you may have.



Jason, from this distance, and given the facts I do not have, I cannot address your question directly. But I can say that you are asking the right questions. If you had lied during the evaluation, the answer would be easy. Another factor would be whether or not your injury prevents or hinders you from working.

Good Thing? Bad Thing?

What does the native Idahoan think about the Oregonians wanting to join your state? Good thing? Bad thing?


Tim, good thing. Hope they pull it off.

Background Reading

I recently listened to some Q&A interview or another of yours in which you said, roughly, “If I were in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Rousseau, and had a gun with just two bullets in it, I’d shoot Rousseau twice.”

Being a product of public high school, and not having studied politics or philosophy at my Christian college, I don’t know much about Rousseau at all, and when I search for Rousseau on Canon+ (loving the app by the way, and glad to support it!) I don’t find any results. Do you happen to have a list of reading material with which I might educate myself on this guy and why he merits a Zombieland double tap?


Ben, check out the first chapter of Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals. Also try E. Michael Jones’ book Degenerate Moderns, although I don’t think he treats Rousseau directly there.

Someone Else Comes Clean

Epic English Words:

I KNEW it! I had a deep, abiding suspicion that you read dictionaries. And I am glad—finally—to wrest myself free of that selfsame sheepish guilt clouding my childhood. Freedom at last! Having written a novel—”In the Company of Dragonslayers” (available now on Amazon)—I have made a study of epic English words. I have a character in the sequel, “Scarlet Trails” (will be available soon), who makes ubiquitous use of pretentious and superannuated words. It really has been a lot of fun uncovering the more baronial options in our lexicon, seasoning the story with resplendent or even alpine terms where others would use more plebian or hackneyed phrases. Why write in greyscale when there is a whole palette of vibrant words?

But I have the perfect word for you, Doug. If you’ve not encountered it before, it will delight you. But even if you have, which I suspect, it is a fitting label you should wear with abashed pride. You, sir, are a sesquipedalian.


Andrew, try eschewing prolixity.

Is a Correction in Order?

Regarding your Carolina Reapers, I thought several things were worth bringing to your attention: First of all, Tara Burton has never written for Mere Orthodoxy. She was interviewed twice on a podcast (which, admittedly, I haven’t listened to) and one of her books was reviewed (and criticized). Additionally, William Wolfe has taken down the tweet which you screen-capped and have posted here.

Additionally, Stephen Wolfe has written for Mere Orthodoxy on a number of occasions over the years. In Christ,


Benjamin, I used to write for Ligonier, but things change, do they not? I am checking on your other points, and would be happy to issue an update or correction if necessary.

I Am Inclined to Believe . . .

What was the date of the resurrection of Jesus? Thanks.


Gary, we are told that Jesus was around thirty when He began His ministry, and it is possible we have a hard date for His birth in that Herod the Great appears to have died in 4 B.C. So the traditional understanding of around 30 A.D. works.

All We Have to Do Is . . .

I’ve been encouraging people in our church to watch “How to Save the World in 11 Simple Steps” and tonight one of our members admitted that all she can think of when I talk about it is Hugh Laurie’s “Protest Song” Just wanted to say thanks for being clearer than Mr. Laurie about how to save the world:)


Cory, thanks. And thanks for the link.

No True Solution

Re: this article from THC:

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. It makes me uncomfortable but I don’t know why.


Laurel, I think this is very naive. I do not have a problem with desexualized contracts of this nature in themselves—so long as they are not treated as a generic brand marriages. The naive part is that there is no way that homosexual activists would go for this—because their goal was never to let somebody visit their partner in the hospital. Their goal was to make America applaud their perversion. Having obtained that, why would they go for something like this?

Charisma Things

Train Your Ear

Not pertaining to any particular post, but a child discipline question: Our son is 14 months and only has a few syllables that he speaks. He whines frequently when he does not get his way. We want to discipline him for these offenses; however, we are leery of training him to not cry/notify us in instances of actual need (ie hunger, thirst, discomfort). Any advice is appreciated.


Jay, you need to train your ear. There is a qualitative difference between whining and crying over a true need.

What’s That Song?

I have been listening to the Plodcast for probably 5 years now and have been wracking my brain for most of that time wondering who the female vocalist in the beginning of your podcast is. It sounds eerily similar to Myrna Brown from World Radio. Please tell me I’m crazy.


Abel, here you go.

Travel Policy

I seem to recall you saying someplace or other that you and Nancy don’t travel separately on principle. Is this right? If so, have you spelled out that principle somewhere in more detail? If not, could you? I’m assuming it’s more than a mere accountability tactic, but would be interested to know.

Thanks in advance,


Gabe, when our children were younger, we tried to limit how much I traveled alone for family reasons. I didn’t want to fly around the country telling people about the importance of family time. With our kids grown, Nancy and I now travel together almost all the time. The policy is that you may have heard of was that Nancy did not want to travel alone in order to pursue women’s ministry. Sometimes she has gone to speak and I have tagged along for a reading retreat or something.

The New Division

I am a Calvinistic Dispensationalist (of the pre-mill, pre-trib variety, if that matters). And the more time goes by, the more committed I am to the Calvinism, as well as the Dispensationalism. And by Calvinism I mean essentially the 5 points. I’m also not a “seeker sensitive” type, I believe in what might be called a traditional view of headcoverings, I do not buy into this recent woke craziness, etc. Anything else I need to mention? Having said that, I really appreciate your ministry. But as our world gets crazier and crazier, those of us who agree on very important things need to band together. It seems like the evangelical crowd is splitting into two camps, woke and non-woke. And this is true whether you’re post-mill or pre-mill. It’s happening in Presbyterian churches and Plymouth Brethren churches (I happen to be meeting at a PB assembly).

I just hope that we can avoid throwing shade on each other over the eschatological issues that we disagree on when we have so much agreement on other matters. Or if these issues need to be discussed, maybe an open and formal debate would be best?

Blessings to you in Christ!


A, agreed. In times like these we need to form intelligent alliances.

It Might Already Be Done

I’ve been a follower of your ministry for quite sometime and have bought several of your books. Back in 2016, you preached a series of sermons on Kingdom optimism under the title, ‘Savior of the World.’ I was wondering if you had given any thought to making these sermons into a book.

If you haven’t thought to do so yet, I wish you would consider it as I think it would be a great way to help people articulate why they can have a Christian-ly optimistic worldview without having to adopt the ‘too blessed to be stressed’ milieu.

Thank you,


Wendell, I believe that a bunch of material from that series made it into Heaven Misplaced.

Wolfe, Achord, and Others

‘Then we have an example of hypocrisy about “adjacent” problems that is truly breathtaking. A woman named Tara Isabella Burton writes for Mere Orthodoxy, and posted in her bio at Mere O is the fact that she wrote a book called Social Creature, which contains a goodish bit of lesbian erotica. But a number of Wolfe’s critics also write for Mere O—e.g. Brad Littlejohn and Alistair Roberts.’

I feel it is necessary to point out that this is not really analogous to Wolfe’s relationship to Achord. They did not simply write for the same outlet or publisher, but co-hosted a podcast together, and Wolfe just recently recommended Achord and Dow’s book, “Who is My Neighbor” on Twitter.

This is what fuels the question of whether Wolfe’s thesis is not only adjacent but incorporates or is compatible to Achord’s more heinous anonymous statements. I would be interested in Doug commenting on Achord’s book and whether this, like the Tulius Aadland account, must be repudiated.

If it must be, then why would it be unreasonable to ask the question about Wolfe’s relationship to that work?


Christopher, I have not read that book, and do not have a copy. If I did, I might find that it was problematic, but I don’t think I would find it as obnoxious as the anonymous tweets. There was a debate on our minister’s list serve over whether or not it was “soft” kinism. But if it is kinism, I would be happy to denounce it. One of my little hobbies.

In response to ‘My Part in a Delightful Little Proxy Row’ and ‘Christian Nationalism, and Thomas Achord.’ Doug, I am a regular listener of the blog and am very encouraged by the way you have tried to frame the conversation of Christian Nationalism, yet the developments of the Thomas Achord situation have greatly troubled and frustrated me. If we are building a nation for Christ it seems to me that we need to be as blatantly against kinism as wokeism and any other sin. Yet, it does not feel that this situation has been met with the same repulsion as big Eva and compromises there. True, you have denied kinism in general, but now it almost feels like this situation is being swept under the rug. I understand that it does not directly bear on the arguments of Wolfe’s book, yet Wolfe sounds at times as if he is defending Achord. I not only think that Achord’s apology was lame but that it tries to blame behavior on depression that appears to be more habitual and thought out than a few slip-ups. Dreher has addressed this well in my opinion. I am not saying there is no forgiveness for this, but he does not seem to be confessing to the totality of the evil. I am also very suspicious of Wolfe who states he did not know the account was Achord’s, yet was clearly following it for a time. Why would he even be following an obscure account that said horrible things? As a reader of his book, I feel a bit betrayed because it does not seem that Achord or Wolfe are being honest about the situation. When the left asked for a COVID amnesty you said they needed to repent of the actual sin committed. Is the same not true here? I’m not here attempting here to accuse you or Wolfe of kinism, but I would not want to be light on sin because the full confession and repentance of it might make the new book look bad. I’m just hoping you could speak more to the issue of the actual sins committed and the need for serious repentance. You may have plans to do so already and if so apologies for taking your time. Thanks for everything you all do.


Ethan, the sins committed here by Achord included malice toward image bearers, deception of friends, disrespecting his wife, and so on. With regard to whether I have been hard enough on this sin, I think you would be hard pressed to find any conservative leader who has been in more brawls with kinists than I have been. For evidence, consider the next letter.

Regarding Proxy Wars-

The entire Thomas Achord scenario has really shown there is no safe haven for anyone who disagrees with the liberal idea that race is a construct that means nothing. Anyone who points out how America is suffering from multiculturalism is slandered and their lives destroyed, even by their fellow Christians, who can at times be as militant against acknowledging the existence of race as the wokest leftist. In a society that does nothing but vilify white people who see themselves as white people, wants them fired and removed off the face of the earth, there is a desperate need for people to come alongside those outcasts and support them. And yet even you, who understands the modern world better than most, do not support them, but shun them for their sins of denying the liberal order of things. I must say, I am disappointed.


Kyle, no. It is not for the sin of challenging the liberal order. We do that here, and we do it all the time. It is for the blunder of jumbling your opposition into sinful categories.

Ride, Sally Movie?

Is there any update on the Ride Sally Ride movie? The last Interview I heard Granda had mentioned aiming for its release before 2022 midterms. Thanks!


Jon, we would still love to do it, but the decision was made that to do this movie right, we would need a lot more money than was available.


I have been making my way through the Reformed Basics videos on Canon+ and have a question regarding paedobaptism. You make several strong arguments for upholding paedobaptism over and against credobaptism, one of the primary being baptism’s link to circumcision.

It seems to me that the circumcision of a son was a display of the parents’ faith in the promised seed of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent, which explains way it was only males that were given the mark of the covenant. This would then be a sacrament on the part of the believing parents rather than a sacrament of the covenant child. We now no longer look to our children for Christ’s return meaning their baptism would not be a sign of the parents’ faith in Christ, but only of their faith/hope in their child’s salvation.

Does this view hold water or am I simplifying circumcision to fit my credobaptist upbringing?

On another note, how does your Church acknowledge instances of regeneration where the moment was obvious? Is there a type of ceremony or does the newly regenerated member give a testimony?


Stephen, second question first. No, there would be nothing formal. If there was a radical conversion of a covenant member, there would be plenty of informal testimony about it. As for your first question, I would prefer to say that the sacrament should always point away from the one bearing the marks of it—it should always point to Christ, whether in the old or new covenant.

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1 year ago

“…eschew prolixity…”


Andrew Lohr
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew

Well, love your neighbor by defining adjeeb words in a footnote on the same page, or within parentheses, instead of making him look them up. (“Adjeeb,” uh-JEEB, Urdu language, means odd, weird, strange.) /// But if you enjoy “The Worm Ourobors,” by E. R. Eddison–and a niche minority does, tho many do not–fine (tho it leans more to adjectives and archaisms than to big words.)

Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago

Michael, one place I use that expression is in To a Thousand Generations, p. 84.

Now that is what I call a phenomenal memory …

1 year ago

Benjamin says, “Tara Burton has never written for Mere Orthodoxy,” and yet has her bio and 3 posts by her. (For what it’s worth.)

1 year ago
Reply to  sloppyedwards

bUt lEsBIaN wOrD pOrN iSn’T aS bAd aS XiAn NaTiOnALisM!!

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
1 year ago
Reply to  sloppyedwards

Specifically, three featured posts by her. Her bio there also lists the novel in question.

Zeph .
Zeph .
1 year ago

Jesus had to be thirty before his ministry
began. Numbers Chapter 4 gives three separate examples of God putting the minimum age of a Priest at thirty.

1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph .

That’s under the levitical, not melchizedekian priesthood. It may be that Jesus intended to present himself in such a way that his onlookers would go “huh,” and we should connect his baptism to his consecration to ministry. But Jesus was not subject to exactly the same rules and regulations as Levitical priests, his genealogy being the case in point in Hebrews. Those rules certainly /teach/ is something about his priestly office, but only as a schoolteacher or a type and shadow. In Jesus the true reality of priesthood is revealed.

1 year ago
Reply to  Zeph .

As far as I understand, He didn’t undertake any priestly duties until His death, and He wasn’t in the priestly line, so I’m not sure that the priestly standard necessarily applies, at least before the last days of His life. “About 30” is what we’re given and I don’t know that we can deduce anything more precise than that.

1 year ago

I am also very suspicious of Wolfe who states he did not know the account was Achord’s, yet was clearly following it for a time. Why would he even be following an obscure account that said horrible things? A possible explanation for this. Social media sites recommend accounts for you to follow based on what you are posting about and what other accounts you follow. It is reasonable to conclude an algorithm recommended this account to Wolfe without him knowing it was Achord. Also, just because you are following an account doesn’t mean you have read every post made by… Read more »

1 year ago

Regarding DW’s latest post, take a look at this–far worse than anything I’ve heard from a kinist, Fuentes-type (half-Mexican white supremacists?), etc. And this is from a Rutgers professor–a position none of the former group could ever get, even if they had impeccable academic credentials. The bottom line: saying “A group of white men control the world and must stopped. White supremacy runs rampant in our society.” is every bit as wrong as saying the same and replacing “white” with “Jew.” Truth be told, there are quite a few Anglos and Jews in very prominent positions at national and global… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by C Herrera
1 year ago
1 year ago
Reply to  Gray

Do a deep dive into Brian Auten, one of the chief Deep State FBI agents involved in the Hunter Biden cover-up and Russia-Collusion myth. Auten is also connected to TGC, Mere Orthodoxy and Davenant through articles he’s written or board membership. Patrick Henry College was the only place to call him out on his shenanigans and cut ties (he used to teach there). He’s a lot bigger problem than Achord.

1 year ago
Reply to  Cherrera

Just looked him up. Holy smokes! He’s everywhere in Big Eva circles. They’re already in our gates.

Nathan Ryan James
Nathan Ryan James
1 year ago

Re: Sir, you mistake my meaning

I am sure I’m not the only one.

1 year ago

Forgive me for arriving late to the party; I’ve been a Christ follower all of my life, but I’ve only recently begun learning about the differences in theology (Armenianism vs. Calvinism), definitions of long words (dispensation), and other such things. There is one thing that I haven’t quite figured out yet: can someone explain to me what is meant by ‘Big Eva’?

1 year ago
Reply to  Brandon

Brandon, it’s a spin on “Big Oil,” “Big Pharma,” etc. In this case, “Big Eva” is that part of Evangelicalism that thrives on the promotion of high-profile pastors, speakers, and authors; big churches, big conferences, etc. There is a tendency to protect “the brand” by minimizing negative things and putting forward that which will have broad appeal, even if it means avoiding or watering down truths that are unpopular. At least, that’s the accusation implied by the pejorative term. A prime example (or target, depending on your perspective) would be The Gospel Coalition.

1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Thank you! That makes a lot of sense.

Ken B
Ken B
1 year ago
Reply to  Brandon

The term was coined by Carl Trueman, a Brit no less. :-)

Whilst it has the potential to do a lot of good and probably has in its time, he seems to be to be critical of as it can prove the adage power tends to corrupt.

1 year ago

Re “Covid amnesty” Pandemic amnesty is more of the psychopathic authorities’ typical screwing with the public’s mind, for THEIR benefits, of course. Nothing else. First the psychopaths PLAN and execute a holocaustal operation called Covid-19 THEN they want to be acquitted of any wrongdoing. This criminal game is one of the key traits of psychopaths when they should be in prison lifelong without parole ever. But…. 99% of people STILL have NO clue that psychopaths are the leaders of all governments because most people prefer being asleep than awake to reality, and they have a FALSE idea of what psychopaths… Read more »