The Moral High Ground of Grace
Long time reader. First time writer.
What a breath of fresh air THAT post was. Keep going!!
Art, thanks, and I hope to keep going as the Lord enables.
“I will say again that when debating with white racist punks, I will not apologize for Col. 3:11, which is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine.” I love you, Doug, and I’m not one of your “white racist punks,” but if you’re going to use Col. 3:11 in a post where you’ve got everybody thinking about Jim Crow and Martin Luther King, you need to stop first and give us an answer about where “here’ is, as in “here there are not Greek and Jew . . .” In my reading of the text, “here” is not throughout secular America, where the Spirit does not indwell and the Word is not considered its final authority. “Here” is in Christ. Among believers. That one you can absolutely have. So on Al Mohler and the original seminary issue, absolutely. That verse is fair game. But if we are still talking about “tough questions from non-Christians” and “authority over the consciences of unbelievers,” how does Col. 3:16 legitimately enter into any discussion of how the unregenerate ought to order society? Those outside of Christ have not got the necessary preconditions in their hearts to make it work.
Tom, you are absolutely right, and we agree completely. America can have no racial reconciliation outside of Christ. No salvation without a savior. If the secular nation turned to me and said, “We want your wisdom, but we don’t want your Jesus. What do you think we should do about this racial tension that we keep making worse?” my answer would be, “Sorry, I’ve got nothing.”
One issue that I feel this ongoing essay series of yours hasn’t addressed is the myriad of examples of subtle racism that blacks in our society continue to face. Yes Bull Connor isn’t Sheriff anymore, but when a city implements a “stop and frisk” policy that just so happens to result in black people being patted down at an absurd rate compared to their white counterparts isn’t that racism that needs to be repented of? In conversations with my black friends, they are all ready and willing to forgive, but point out that you can’t forgive someone who doesn’t repent. Correlation isn’t causation, but if so many outcomes in our society continue to break along racial lines is it illogical for blacks to conclude that racism is playing a part? You are correct in pointing out that blatant racial animus is gone, but there are dozens of examples of racial bias. When a club or employer, or business just so happens to only choose white applicants over black ones time and time again, when do you think it’s appropriate to ask if race is playing a role (even an unconscious one)? I’m sure you’ve heard of the study where identical resumes were sent out to businesses with nothing but the names changed. It shocked no one when the “Tyler” resumes outperformed the “Tyrones.” Do the hiring managers who filtered out the “Tyrones,” consciously or not, have anything to repent of? I would love to hear you address this issue. Thank you so much for your time.
Paul, I have 4th Amendment concerns about “stop and frisk,” regardless of where it is undertaken. I have those same concerns at airport security, even if it turns out that a disproportionate percentage of air travelers are white.
At the same time, I have a real problem assigning racism as the root cause of a disproportionate number of arrests in the black population. The number of crimes committed in an area also has something to do with the number of arrests, and I don’t want to admit an argument with a built-in structure that would serve white racists equally as well—e.g. “blacks are disproportionately disposed to commit violent crimes.”
Question regarding: 21 Theses on Submission in Marriage
I’m embarrassed to ask this question. What behaviors are permissible within a Christian marriage? To give some background, a few years ago, while prayer journaling, my wife felt convicted by Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” She approached me saying she wanted to offer everything about our union as a living prayer to God, including the romantic aspect of our lives. At first, her desire struck me as odd, but she persisted in asking me what ways she could submit to me that would please me, and thus please the Lord. I told her that nobody can beat the hallmark obedience of man’s best friend (a puppy dog). We started experimenting with leashes, playing fetch, and going for walks, and we’ve both gotten really into it. The neighbors don’t ask too many questions and seem fine with it, so I don’t think it’s hurting our Christian witness. My wife loves belly rubs, scratches behind the ears, and of course, baths with a garden hose and plenty of suds. It turns out she’s always had this fantasy of being somebody’s adorable little puppy dog since childhood, and training her, making her sit, lie down, and so on, is incredibly intoxicating for both of us. Still, I sometimes wonder if God’s okay with this, because it feels like her pretending to be a dog is literally dehumanizing her. Please give me some pointers and verses.
Joe, God’s not okay with two things. First, He is certainly not okay with that kind of demented behavior in marriage. But He is also not okay with you mocking biblical authority and submission with your fake letter and scenario, pretending as though such a thing could be remotely part of the biblical worldview. At the same time, I decided to answer this letter because “furries” are actually now a thing among those who will not have God for a Father.
Thank you for your response to my question re: “Take Me Instead.” In your response, you wrote: “A man receives a job offer in another state, which he thinks he should take. His wife differs. After extended discussion, they still don’t agree. At that point, as the deadline approaches, he makes the decision, and the whole family moves. That’s authority.” Authority is easy to exercise over an obedient subordinate, even when that subordinate disagrees with the one in authority. But what if the wife says, “I’m not going anywhere, and neither are the kids?” How does the husband exercise his authority then? Thanks in advance.
Oscar, what we have to recognize is that all forms of familial authority require broad societal support for the hard cases. When men are strong leaders, or when women are biblical and submissive, or both, a family can get along quite well—even if the outside culture is going to blazes. But there are many marriages that require the buttressing support of a strong community—where overbearing authority or unsubmissive rebellion are simply not tolerated or supported by the broader community. Now our outside society has broken down completely in this regard, and the intermediate support network of the church has largely broken down. This leaves men in a very bad position, with very few options. (I am assuming here a godly man who wants to exercise responsibility responsibly.) About the only sanction he could bring to bear without the broader society coming down hard on him would be the sanction of simply leaving. I hope to write on this problem more in the near future.
Might I direct your attention to two TGC articles (at bottom). So let me get this straight. The ratings of the top 10 recommended movies are as follows: R, R, R, PG-13, R, PG, R, PG-13, PG-13, R. The movies listed in the “18 pieces of goodness in pop-culture” article are no better. I know the MPAA ratings aren’t always the best indicator of whether a movie is appropriate. But a quick internet search made me thankful to have not seen any of these movies. We as Christians are told to watch such filth as “A Star is Born,” complete with its 100+ f-words and nudity? Where does stuff like this come from? This nation is filled with Christians who regularly put this evil in front of their eyes on a regular basis. What a mess. Links here and here.
Roger, yes. We do have ourselves a problem.
Chief Cook, regarding your conclusion on Ex. 31:16. No, we should not have maximum penalty. Don’t forget the preceding verse. Shall we sentence to death the one who strikes their mother or father? These beg for closer study. The Law is beautiful, wondrous, prophetic. God’s justice is perfect—always 1 for 1, wound for wound, life for life. You reap exactly what you sow. You’re a smart man, but I’m feeling dread at the thought of being under your government, so far.
Matt, having the death penalty as an option as a maximum is not to say that the death penalty should be hauled into difficult cases as a minimum penalty. No need to worry. If I were president—and what a rambunctious three days that would be—you wouldn’t know what to do with all your liberty.