First, thanks to all of you who have overwhelmed us with your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers. You have done that here, on Messenger, via text, and email. A number of you have probably done it on social media platforms I have never heard of, and where I have therefore stored up countless unread messages. Many thanks to all of you. secularists like to sneer at the impotence of “thoughts and prayers,” but we know better. I thank God and I thank you.
Thabiti and Thanks
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on Thabiti’s recent posts, as well as the greater cultural themes at stake here. I appreciated your honesty and clarity, your gospel-centricity, as well as your pastoral care for your readers and for Thabiti. I was greatly encouraged. Thank you,
Jonathan, thank you. I like Thabiti a lot, but I think he is on a dangerous path. There will be more to come.
Re: “Dear Thabiti” Thank you for this, Doug. Writings like this have blessed me in how I can better respond with more grace and tenderness.
Very good. I would add that the spotlight hasn’t spontaneously landed on racial injustice. It is a specter being conjured. The anger and bitterness of people of color, as well as the false “guilt” of white people are being stoked and manipulated by “progressives” (statists) to manage and control. Here is their game plan: https://medium.com/s/state-of-the-future/the-great-lesson-of-california-in-americas-new-civil-war-e52e2861f30 (4 part article). Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, etc (I myself am two of those three categories, by the way) must either acknowledge this reality or else be used as pawns by players who could care less about them or the injustices of the past or present. All the talk of collective, corporate guilt aside, a white neighbor of mine is no more at fault for the institution of slavery than an Hispanic neighbor would be for a gang killing in LA. Nor am I a victim or perpetrator of any Native American massacres (by either side) just because I have Native American ancestry. We forgive, and pray, knowing that is where the real power lies for things to change. We cannot compel repentance but God can. We move on and thank God we live in a country where there is the social justice of hard workers being able to keep a large percentage of their earnings.
Ginny, thank you. The new commandment is not a new commandment. Love one another.
I think it is good to be reminded at times of the terrible injustice done to people of African descent in the US. I have been reading sections of Dr Joel McDurman’s excellent book The Problem of Slavery in Christian America where he specifically looks at the church’s failure on this issue. In the section “Chattel” and Equal Protection of the Law?…, it shows the evolution of American law to further permanently enslave black Americans. How slaves went from some protection under the law as being human into being recategorized as livestock (so the children born of slaves and white men could not sue their fathers). How the the murder (called capital punishment) of slaves became easier over time for any infraction (of course they were not allowed to testify on their own behalf), and “the irrefutable record of rampant sexual sin committed against black female slaves.” All the while prominent pastors wrote and preached in favor of these laws. It’ shocking. At the same time as reading this, I saw something on television about an older white woman who had a Confederate flag hanging proudly in her front yard despite her black neighbors many protests. Then the woman had a heart attack and became convicted about that flag, took it down, and became friends with her black neighbors. I had always seen it as a heritage issue for white southerners (I’m from straight Yankee stock), but after reading some of Joel’s book, I finally understood why the Confederate flag is so hated by black Americans. I think the reason that Tabati writes about these issues is not that he wants to continually rake us over the coals of the past, but he wants us to see how the past colors what we do and believe today. PS – When are you going to review Joel’s book Pastor Wilson?
Valerie, no current plans to review the book. Sorry!
In Thabiti’s response to James White, he cites Revelation 7 as an example of the virtues of diversity, “Heaven will forever praise God not only for His redemptive work in the people groups of the world, it will in that way acknowledge human diversity for all eternity.” His stress on acknowledging human diversity is not uncommon but I believe it totally misses the point. Yes, heaven will be diverse for all of eternity, but so will hell. There are people saved from every tribe, and people damned from every tribe. The diversity of heaven, as far as I can tell, is not about affirming us, or our concept of diversity. Rather it displays the character of God, that he is impartial (Rom. 2.11) in both salvation and in judgment. We have elevated the idea of diversity as being, within itself, morally right. I think it here we have bought into ungodly thinking. Diversity is not morally righteous or unrighteous, rather it is morally neutral. I can go to any number of clubs downtown this weekend which will be very diverse, but that does not make it a good place. In fact, such clubs are places of high rebellion against God. In the same way, hell is a very diverse place with people from every tribe, nation, and tongue. Its diversity is neither good nor bad, it just is. Like heaven’s diversity, it shows us God’s character, his impartiality in judging. I believe this one of the major problems we evangelicals are having, we have elevated diversity to one of the highest virtues to achieve, so we twist and distort texts to fit that narrative. The scenes of glory in Revelation are not about us, they are about God. Yes, heaven is a diverse place, but so is hell. Diversity doesn’t make something right, or wrong. What we are to see in this diversity is the beauty of God’s holiness and impartiality in both salvation and judgment. He always judges rightly, not by some forced quota of diversity. To make much of our diversity in the presence of God is to set up an idol in the very throne room of the Most High which must be appeased. That is truly a dangerous game to play. I am greatly concerned by much of what is being discussed by our evangelical leaders. Am I off track in my thinking? I would appreciate your thoughts.
Levi, I don’t think you are off track at all. Heaven will be a gloriously diverse place, while Hell will be a morass of intersectionality.
This and That
Mr. Wilson, I really enjoyed “Reforming Marriage” and thank you for writing it. I love the illustration on the front cover — a nod to the exhaustion that comes from marriage, work, and family. Please tell me who the artist is so I can get a copy framed for my kitchen. Thanks
Josh, sorry. It was many years ago, and I don’t recall who the artist was. I am currently in the SLC airport and not in a position to look it up.
On the subject of Tuesdays, would it be possible to keep the comments section on the letters post open a bit longer, maybe through Friday? Sometimes it seems like the conversation is just getting past the noise and getting rolling, and I check back, and it’s closed. I concede that you might have excellent reasons for doing it after only a couple of days, however.
Jane, no, no good reason. I would be happy to do that just as soon as I figure out how.
Love Your Creditors
Re: Loving Your Creditors Doug, quit being convicting. I’m crawling under my desk just reading this … No, in all seriousness, unless we attend to the practical consequences of our faith, we don’t have much of a faith. Very valid point.
Tom, yes. And particularly practical consequences when it pinches.
Microagression: The Musical
Term “Microagression” in song at MLK50 conference. I found this on James White’s AOMIN broadcast. He quotes the song verbatim at the beginning of his show. Very sad. http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/2018/04/04/micro-aggression-worship-songs-tweets-from-the-mlk50-conference-ehrman-on-the-gospel-writers-open-phones/
Seth, thanks for the link
A Little Reformational Zen
You wrote: “Those under authority owe certain things to their liege-lord, and the one in authority has the right to require it of them. But all the persons involved in this are equally bound in an organic, constitutional way. No one person is absolute — (How to Exasperate your Wife, p. 16) and… The most important word in the marriage vows is ‘obey’” —How to Exasperate your Wife, p. 95) If both those statements are true, then the husband has the right to require obedience from his wife. But you also wrote in your 21 Thesis on Submission in Marriage: “The Bible does not teach husbands to enforce the requirement that was given to their wives. Since true submission is a matter of the heart, rendered by grace through faith, a husband does not have the capacity to make this happen.” If that’s true, then a husband has the right to require obedience from his wife, but zero authority with which to enforce that requirement. But you also wrote in Chapter 2 of Reforming Marriage that a husband is like a ship’s captain, and is therefore responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen in his home, just as a ship’s captain is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen on his ship. But a ship’s captain has BOTH the responsibility to lead his subordinates, AND the authority to enforce the rules when his subordinates refuse to follow the rules. But you wrote that a husband has no such authority over his wife. But you also wrote in How to Exasperate Your Wife that: “In a certain sense, a husband (as the head of his wife) is an honored and permanent guest, but he should learn to see himself as a guest. He wipes his feet at the door, he eats what is served to him, and he seeks to conform to the pattern established by her as she in her turn seeks to honor him.” A guest — honored or not — has zero responsibility OR authority over the home in which he’s a guest. Have you ever tried telling a ship’s captain — or any other military commander — that he’s a guest in the unit he commands? Can you see why this is confusing when you put it all together? So, which is it? Is a husband… A) A ship’s captain, with BOTH the responsibility to lead his wife, AND the authority to enforce the rules when she refuses to follow? Or is a husband…. B) A figurehead, with the responsibility to lead his wife by example, but zero authority to enforce the rules when she refuses to follow? Or is a husband…. C) A guest in his own home, with zero responsibility AND zero authority over anything that happens in the home? These are mutually exclusive categories. So, which is it?
Oscar, a husband has both the responsibility and authority to lead his wife. If he understands his wife, as Peter requires, and treats her like a joint heir, then his prayers will not be hindered. Christian husbands are not to act like neutered beta-males, but neither may they act like a Muslim bossy pants. That is what I am after in my layered metaphors. Real love, true authority, genuine delegation, mutual respect for our divinely-assigned roles, and cheerful obedience.