An Important Note
My ministry colleagues here at Grace Church and Grace to You at last have an official and absolutely complete version of the ShepCon Panel Q&A Of Note posted. Perhaps you’d be willing to amend your articleto reflect this? Grace and peace to you, brother.
Bill, thanks. And we will post this note in my Thursday Content Cluster as well.
The Hillary Debacle
Bravo! A scintillating analysis of what the Russia investigation was. Deflection from examining one of the most ruthless and wicked political figures in American history. Ah, she was never indicated they say. Well, the deep state has its ways.
Ron, thanks. Accolades are always fun.
“It would take about 5 minutes to make that look like petty retaliation.” I would like to point out that petty retaliation is not something we should put past our current Commander-in-Chief.
Michael, I take your point. Petty retaliation might even be considered his wheelhouse.
“But he is not well-positioned to launch a counter-investigation of his own. It would take about five minutes to make that look like petty retaliation.” Make a Hillary investigation look like petty retaliation? By whom? Buzzfeed? Jim Acosta? Rachel Maddow? Anthony Wiener? Fauxcahontas Warren? Their credibility has been wiped, “Like with a cloth”!
Jason, I don’t know. The Democrats are going to nominate some kind of commie, and about half the electorate will be voting for that commie. They have their own plausibility structure going over there. We are nowhere close to being out of danger yet.
By the way, Hillary did not just rip off the Haitians. She trafficked their women and children to satisfy her cohort’s Epsteinian appetite for hot dogs, pizza and walnut sauce. I wish it weren’t true. I know you don’t buy into this yet, but it will all come to light soon enough, and I know ministers of the Gospel such as yourself will be the first to do whatever ministering will be necessary in the throes of whatever collective wailing and/or justifying ensues when it is no longer possible to deny that the unthinkable extent of ungodly lusts has been made manifest (Rom 1:28-30).
Joe, I assume you are referring to Pizzagate kind of stuff? For me the issue is not what could have happened—the depravity of man can sink pretty low. I simply am not up on it. But what some are alleging took place there—trafficking in underage victims—did happen in fact with Epstein’s Lolita Island. So pretty much nothing should come as a shock anymore.
Pence, the Bedrest President
I fear that your assessment of a Pence presidency is off. He is the establishment. Pence is to Trump as Bush the elder was to Reagan; and that wasn’t a good thing.
David, I agree that Pence and Bush I were/are both establishment figures. But I think there has been a change in the establishment’s center of gravity, with more weight being given to evangelicals.
Trump as Chemo
I couldn’t help but think (in a general way) that the president is one of God’s foolish things of the world, that is, of course, higher than man’s wisdom.
Paul, right. Whether or not Trump is playing three-dimensional chess, God certainly is.
I voted for Trump and no had no issues of conscience in doing so. That was until I had read that you did not vote for him. If it came down to Trump and any baby-killing, economy-sabotaging, gun-hating, pro-homo democrat, I’d feel comfortable voting for him again. I was just wondering if you would take any issues with my train of thought, which would lead to this pro-chemo vote. Up until you, I had been largely influenced by the ideas shared in Grudem’s book on politics. There he shows just how much the governing principles of the conservative Republican view align with the social Christian ethic. Combine this idea with you educating me on the biblical necessity of a Christian theonomy, and that it is never whether we legislate mortality, but which morality we are going to legislate and that Christ desires all rulers to be subject to him. I now understand that any government is a failed system if it is not working directly for Jesus Christ, but even though choosing the lesser of two evils is ultimately worthless, in the spirit of Ecclesiastes, “there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.” How can voting Republican in the meantime not be considered godly strategy? You’ve stated that a large part of what has kept our country from dissolving around us presently, given the current God-hating insanity, is Christian capital from the past. If past Christian capital can stabilize in spite of being outnumbered by very influential God-haters, to borrow an idea from your book Rules for Reformers, why shouldn’t Christians cash in on some of this capital by continuing to ensure conservative ideas are perpetuated, at least in the meantime until we regain our footing? We can keep buying time with Christian capital while simultaneously addressing the unbiblical worldview that underlies all our problems. There is a game at play and who better to come out on top than a Christian player? Elijah stooped down and played into the current system of idol worship, even encouraging idol worship and the supplication of other gods because he knew they were going to fail and that God would be proven. My last thought on the matter is that all leaders are a form of judgement or mercy. In 1 Chronicles 21:10 God gave David the choice of three forms of judgement. Even though all three were forms of judgement, there was no sin in one choice over the other. They all suck, but David had to choose. There was no sin in choosing the lesser of the options. Do you want the belt or do you want the switch? I would take the belt of Trump over any of those Democrat switches.
Rope, you state that case very well. And I respect the decision you made.
So would it be accurate to say that you made a mistake/blunder in your earlier decision to waste your vote and write someone in? And that you also encouraged many Christians to do the same?
CJ, thanks for the question, but no. I am happy to say that I was mistaken about Trump, but I don’t think it was a mistake to be mistaken. Confronted with the same choice again, with the same information available, I would do the same thing again. My point about 2020 is that we now have much more information available. For those who voted for Trump in 2016, I am also happy to say that they saw more than I did, understood more than I did, and were wiser than I was. That said, my view that Trump was simply a New York liberal making some populist noises was reasonable, given the circumstances.
A president that that boldly prays and gives thanks to God on national television. A president that elects two conservatives to the highest court of the nation among many elected conservative district court judges. A president that supports and is pushing legislation that is pro-life. And as Christians we are still questioning whether we vote for Trump in 2020? Give me a break. Character matters. Yes. Given the dirt we know on John F. Kennedy, should he have been elected president? Given the dirt we know on Martin Luther King Jr., should he have been the leader of the civil rights movement? We are electing a president here. A flawed human being that needs saving along with all of us. Let’s keep that in perspective people. Trump is absolutely worthy of Christian voters.
Alex, when David repents of his sin with Bathsheba, one of the things he asks for is for God “not to take His Spirit” from him. This is not referring to personal regeneration, but to the fact that he knew that he had forfeited God’s empowerment in maintaining his dynasty. If God had taken that away from him, because of the adultery, it would have been just to do so. In other words, while I believe a case can be made for voting for a man like this, I don’t think it is easy. I think we need to work through it. Otherwise, we might become such partisans we find ourselves cheering when we hear news of Uriah falling in battle.
I easily voted for Trump after weeks of agony about him being nominee. Reason 1. I read “Paul appealed to Caesar.” Would I rather appeal to Trump or Hillary? Trump. 2. I viewed Hillary as crazy King Herod and Trump as arrogant King Nebuchadnezzar, an amazing number of parallels there. Pence being with Trump made a big statement to me. 3. Many Republican lawmakers didn’t like Trump and I saw safety in that. Hillary would have made government corruption much worse with her party bowing to her. 4. Supreme Court picks we’re looming. 5. The mainstream media problem. 6. I ultimately knew I would be relieved if Trump won, so I didn’t want pietism and the reserved right to say “I didn’t vote for him” to guide my vote. The choice wasn’t hard to make but it wasn’t fun either. Thanks for writing this, Doug. How do we get Doug Wilson to be pastor to the President?
Hannah, thanks. And to your last point, I think that is what we would call a long shot.
I am one of the ones who wrote to caution you about speaking to the FBI. I read your response to my ilk. I submit the following video in my defense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63eltabU4k4 Start watching at the 10:20 minute mark for about 20 seconds. Glad you made it out ok this time, don’t do the same thing again.
Tim, thanks for the cautions. And yes, they did do that to Flynn.
What would constitute need to confront? I pretty much always talk myself out of confrontation. Happy Lords Day!
Jeb, you are referring to the part in the sermon where I say that we must either confront the sins of others, or cover them with fervent love. My rule of thumb would be this: don’t confront someone with their sin unless you find that you can’t cover it. You will find that this usually leaves sins that are in the Ten Commandments category.
In your post “That Lutheran Jezebel Lady,” you rightly denounce Nadia Bloz-Weber’s un-biblical theology. She tries to tell us that sexual sin is not sin. She tries to tell us that the Bible is wrong about sex and purity, that our thoughts are higher than God’s thoughts. I wonder though if we need to define our terms here when you and I and Bloz-Weber and the writers over at The White Horse Inn talk about “purity culture.” You seem to understand purity culture in your blog post as the biblical idea of purity. (i.e., sex is not an anytime/anywhere kind of thing. God has given it a time and place, and to disregard God’s limits for sex is sin. Sin is a grave thing, and we are rightly condemned when we fail to follow God’s law.) But DeLong and Ventura, Bloz-Weber, and I seem to hear something different in the term “purity culture.” DeLong and Ventura’s blog post defines the attitude of “purity culture” as I believe many of us intend it—“Christ may have borne the punishment for our failures, but virginity cannot be restored. It is the unforgivable sin, and all others pale in comparison.” You raise a seemingly rhetorical question in your post about who is teaching this nonsense. You ask, “You know, does anybody anywhere actually say that a woman’s holiness is reducible to her virginity?” Children are born logicians; they don’t need to be told something outright. And I and many other young girls inferred from what we were taught and the way were taught about sex that we were “ruined” if we committed this sin— not worthy of marriage, not worthy of fidelity, not worthy of forgiveness from our future husbands. It was easy to infer that God wouldn’t forgive us either. When you say it was no one’s fault but your own that you didn’t learn good theology in youth group, you seem to put the onus on children to ferret out where they’re being taught bad theology. Of course, as I grew in faith and continued to study as an adult, I learned that all of my sin can be forgiven, that I can understand the gravity of sin without being crushed by the weight of it. But childhood lessons are keenly felt, and I am still sometimes crushed under a burden that I know has been taken up for me on the cross. I appreciate your open condemnation of bad theology. I would also ask why it’s wrong to point out that young girls may have been harmed not by the just condemnation of the law but by a culture that taught us that a woman’s sexual sin is a blind spot for the gospel. We can’t fix something we don’t acknowledge.
Kristen, thank you. And, as you describe it here, I agree with you completely. While I don’t know of any mainstream place where these doctrines are taught, I do believe there have been many places where such attitudes take root. And there are places where the doctrine does not adequately anticipate the tendency of the human heart to grow such attitudes. At the same time, the thing I want to be cautious about is that I have seen these attitudes growing under teaching that is explicitly antithetical to them—and then completely orthodox Christians are charged with cultivating attitudes they actually loathe.
The Affliction of Singleness
Hi! I am writing in response to a blog post I just read of yours from 2012: Celibacy and Singleness. It was a terrific article and one of the only ones I have read in the Christian community that treats singleness how it feels—like an affliction. Thank you for addressing it so well. I do have a few questions, and totally understand if you cannot respond. I thought it was worth a shot :) My name is Sandy. I’m 36 and single. Became a Christian around 27/28, and live in Atlanta! In any case without going into too much detail, I’m just wondering how to look forward practically as someone who is unmarried? When speaking to pastors they mention to not idolize marriage, which I know. Then they tell you to enjoy the gift of singleness. I go to a reformed PCA church which is sound, but it’s just difficult to know how I look forward. Do I pray to God with the confidence that He will provide a husband since I don’t have the gift of celibacy? I don’t want to assume marriage is promised, and yet it feels so natural, almost significant and important for life. It’s just so commonplace. It might seem an odd question, but should I hope for marriage? Or because it is not promised, should I assume a life of singleness? How much effort does one as a female put into meeting people when there are no single men in the church at a similar age? I guess among all the feelings I have, feeling sort of “lost” is a huge one. I don’t struggle with purpose because my family needs Christ and I have a lot of friends who don’t know Christ either and so I’ve been able to have conversations and spend time and share the gospel with all of them— in ways I truly don’t think I could have done if I had been married. But for my own personal life, it feels strange to be in this place, at this age, with no spouse or children. I don’t know what to do. You mention singleness as a trial and affliction which God will bring good from. I am so thankful for that even when I struggle to believe it. Yet, I so often wish to be delivered out of it. My desire to be married is so strong I have to fight daily to not be so discouraged. I hope the letter doesn’t come off so depressed sounding! I truly struggle with the practical side of how to approach God with this. Any counsel would be appreciated but again, I understand you are busy. Thank you for all of your sermons/podcasts/books. I just bought your daughter, Rachel’s new book which was wonderful. Take care!
Sandy, I am not at all sure how much help I can be in this short space, but here is my shot at it. When I say (for those not gifted with celibacy) that singleness is an affliction (and only a “gift” in the sense that an affliction is a gift from God), we have to go on to distinguish different kinds of afflictions. If you lost your leg in car accident, this would be an affliction. Not only so, but it would be an affliction that, as far as this present life is concerned, you would have to reconcile yourself to. You are going to go to your grave without that leg. But if you were to be falsely charged with a crime, and locked up in jail, that is a different kind of affliction—because the prospect of getting released is always a possibility. And dealing with false hopes, and the “what ifs” of an uncertain future, is part of what makes it such a tough affliction. And this is where so many modern pastors have a tin ear. When you are told not to make an idol out of marriage, there is of course a truth in there. But it is like a pastor visiting an innocent person in jail and telling him not to make an idol out of walking around free—saying this right before he walks out of there free. So the first thing I would counsel you to do is name your adversary accurately. You want to be married, and you want it a lot. The second thing is this. Work on becoming the kind of person that the kind of person you would want to marry would want to marry. The benefit of this is that if you eventually marry, you have been preparing for it. If that is not in the providence of God, you have equally been preparing for that. It remains an affliction, but it is the kind that you have learned not to chafe under.
I think your reparations plan is brilliant. And while we’re at it, can we make the media and the deep state pay the country reparations for that joke of a corruption investigation?
Clark, there you go.
Would the duration of that tax exemption be reduced by the estimated percent of an individual’s lineal descent from slave holders or treaty breakers?
John, yes—or some other form of commensurate adjustment.
Woker Than Thou
The “woke” movement in the evangelical church seems to have gotten to the point where some so-called evangelicals are worshiping a different God and following a different gospel, and are aided by a lack of biblical and historical knowledge among many, if not most, Christians. They are teaching that most races should have an identity, but whites should only feel guilty, and that is not the worst of their problems. If the leaders of the church will not speak out against these movements soon—and I fear it may already be too late—one of these two things will likely happen: 1. Because ethnicity is naturally part of almost anyone’s identity—and that’s usually not a bad thing—after a generation or two, most whites will leave the church, and it will be hard to bring them back in because the church will still be teaching that all whites are racist. 2. Because there are and will probably remain many faithful white Christians, it is more likely that these will separate from the church and form their own denominations at some point. These may have to emphasize parts of the Bible that discredit the woke movement, and some of them may, unfortunately move towards white supremacy or some slightly-watered-down version of Westboro Baptist Church. If the evangelical elites and their followers continue with the woke movement, even more moderate white Christians may conclude that it is not worth it to evangelize people of color, and whatever happens, the woke movement will be bad for Christians of color because many of them will be listening to a different gospel, and think it was real Christianity.
James, yes. I think bad reactions like that are likely, and there will be others as well.
I’m working my way through the library of your books I accumulated last November and am enjoying them immensely. I just finished Empires of Dirt and I was curious how you think your position relates to the RPCNA position concerning Christ’s mediatorial kingship. On a surface reading it would appear quite compatible to me. Thanks.
Jesse, yes. I think there is a high level of compatibility also.
More on Vaccines!
A post-post-script on vaccines: To the previous letter-writer who was suspicious of Walgreens and CVS “giving away flu shots for free [because] when does Big Pharma give away anything?” First, those flu shots are not actually free; they may be free “to you,” but only because your insurance company pays the pharmacy for them. Without insurance, you will pay $50+ out of pocket for a flu shot. At least, you will at the local Walgreens here in Moscow; ask me how I know! Secondly, pharmacies also offer these “free” flu shots because they know it brings people into their stores, during which time they tend to spend money on other merchandise. That’s not a scary Big Pharma conspiracy, just a pretty standard marketing technique. https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/flu-shots-at-the-pharmacy-easy-for-the-patient-profitable-for-the-retailer/ Thirdly, some clinics do offer truly free flu shots to people who are poor, uninsured, underprivileged, or unlikely to have access to shots elsewhere (e.g. college students who don’t have a doctor they see locally). Those clinics offer free shots because they know that increased immunity saves the healthcare system more money in the long run (keeping more people out of the emergency room is always a good thing), and saves people in the community a lot of time and trouble. Influenza costs everyone money—patients, insurance companies, hospitals, employers, the government, etc… https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/11/16/free-flu-shots-can-save-billions-consumers-businesses/74674654/ https://achemistinlangley.net/2017/01/10/flu-shots-save-both-money-and-lives/ Please, everyone, get your annual flu shots. Flu vaccination is not a conspiracy, and offers of free flu shots should not “set your antennae twitching.” Vaccination is life-saving preventive care. Every year, influenza kills thousands to tens of thousands of people; those at highest risk of dying are babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and the immune-compromised. Even strong, healthy people can be sent to the hospital with complications from the flu. It is not a disease to be trifled with. Vaccine-skeptical folks often respond to these arguments with statements like, “I’ve never gotten the flu before, so why bother vaccinating now?” or, “I had the flu once and I turned out ok, so it can’t be all that bad for other people.” But these are elementary errors in scientific reasoning. Past health does not predict future health, and the plural of anecdote is not data. Look at the actual data on the flu; it can be a very serious illness, and everyone should protect themselves against it. In short, the “cult-like zeal” of those who encourage flu vaccination is not evidence of a “PC” or “Big Pharma” conspiracy of some sort. It is a laudable effort to promote public health.
A, thanks for the exhortation.