The Principalities and Powers Await Their Apology

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Do you want to hear what recently occurred on Facebook? Yes? Well, Joel McDurmon took the CrossPolitic guys to task over the issue of apologies, and the unmanliness of refusing to apologize. The matter in hand was the two second clip of Rachael Denhollander in the original trailer for the upcoming documentary entitled By What Standard? In the course of writing about this, Joel also referred darkly to other matters in the small town of Moscow that could use a little sunlight shining on them, and indicated strongly that we somehow think we should never apologize for anything., no matter what. Well, I apologize for anything I may have done to make Joel think that.

I am actually grateful for this latest skirmish, because it is really fine opportunity to explain, once again, what is going on all around us. Apologies come in two forms. One is when a person has wronged another person, and is seeking forgiveness as a means of restoring their relationship. This is commended throughout Scripture, and it is to be characteristic of our lives. Confess your sins to one another, the Word says (Jas. 5:16). The second is a form of crowd control, and is used pretty much ad libitum these days.

Weaponized victims, weaponized apologies, and a weaponized priestess class are the current instruments of choice in the neutralization of genuine Christian cultural influence. Shall I explain?

That Voice Over

In the original trailer, the image of Rachael Denhollander was shown when somebody else was saying “principalities and powers.” A hue was raised, along with a cry, and Twitter went nuts. The Founders must be saying that Rachael D was demonic, and an apology was, um, requested. Tom Ascol had the two-second clip of Rachael taken out, acknowledged that it was not the finest editing job ever. He explained, but did not apologize.

In doing this, he was following the fine example of the apostle Paul, who on one occasion clarified without apologizing.

“And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people”

Acts 23:2–5 (KJV)

My view is that Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7) was a problem with his eyesight. He signed one letter in large letters (Gal. 6:11), he says that the Galatians had loved him so earnestly that were willing to sacrifice their own eyes for his sake (Gal. 4:15), and he could be on trial in the Sanhedrin without being able to tell who the high priest was (Acts 23:2-5). This last claim particularly angered the Twitter mob, which insisted that Paul knew exactly what he was doing. His clarifying explanation was feeble and lame, and falls far short of what we would expect from a so-called apostle. We await our apology.

Tom said that the message that people were deriving from that juxtaposition in the original trailer was not what was were intended, adjusted the clip accordingly, and moved on. Because of this response, the Founders lost some of their board members, and work on the documentary (which you ought to make a special point of seeing) is moving forward.

Principalities and Powers

More Christians need to understand how respectable the devil is. The devil loves his place as an establishment figure. But our tendency is to think of troubled teenagers reading occult materials, or self-proclaimed Satanists dancing around a severed goat’s head in a black mass. We forget that our Lord was genuinely tempted to become a Satan-worshiper, and that temptation did not involve any mumbo-jumbo. He was shown the kingdoms of this world, and their glory, and it would all be His if He only bowed down to the devil (Matt. 4:8).

When we think of things that might accompany the word diabolical, we too rarely think of that which is the devil’s principal weapon—which is accusation proceeding from a settled demeanor of self-righteousness.

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).

Now in this sense, the Southern Baptist Convention is being lured, enticed, tempted, and seduced into thinking that they can find true justice from the principalities and powers. In a Christian civil order, God’s Word is supreme, and as a consequences, rules of due process are established. When someone is accused, the accuser is not given free rein. When someone is accused, that person is granted the presumption of innocence. We don’t automatically believe the prosecutor. We commit ourselves to believe the evidence, and we set up a system whereby the evidence is actually allowed to speak, as best we can arrange it, and we hold back on things like sentencing until after a verdict is reached.

But in an unbelieving law order, when the principalities and powers are allowed to have it their way, guilt and innocence is assigned on the basis of an assumed status. If you are in the approved class, then evidence is not necessary. If you are in the disapproved class, then evidence won’t help you.

This is the heart and soul of identity politics. You already know who the good guys are, and you already know who the bad guys are, and you are in a position to dispense with fussy little things like trials, evidence, and the rule of law.

In a Christian system, justification and condemnation follow the trial and are assigned on the basis of evidence. In identity politics, justification is granted to certain classes of people. This is why they know who the victims before any evidence has been presented in open court. They already know. And this is what befuddles Christians who think like Christians. Sure, we say. We ought to rally behind the victims, but don’t we have to find out who the real victim is?

No. In a Christian system, the trial tells you who the actual victim is. In an unbelieving system, the principalities and powers tell you who the victim is. A woman accuses a man of rape. If the accusation is true, then she is the victim. If the accusation is false, then he is. Christian await the outcome of the trial. But in our current climate, she is the designated victim, which is why their rallying cry can be something like “believe the woman.”

This is not a trifle. We are standing at a crossroads, and the two roads lead to two completely different kinds of civilization. In one of them, the Lordship of Christ is acknowledged. In the other, the principalities and powers already know who the culprits are. And if I might be so bold, if you are white, heterosexual and male, I would urge you to think twice about going that way. And, lest anybody pounce on that, I would also urge everybody else to follow their example.


So I have no problem with Rachael Denhollander being removed from the trailer, because that commotion really was a distraction. But I hope and pray that she and her misguided approach are going to be in the full documentary. And why?

Because she has been urging people to utilize the resources of GRACE, headed up by Boz, who is now part of the legal team suing Village Church. Who is Boz appealing to? What court is he resorting to? He is appealing to the principalities and powers.

And Rachael contributed to (and endorses) a book Becoming a Church That Cares Well, and in that book we find the sheer authority of the principalities and powers affirmed. You believe the victim because the powers that be have kindly informed us beforehand who the designated and approved victims are.  

Here it is:

“Regardless of whether the victim wants to take steps to pursue safety, there are two powerful things you can do as a ministry leader. First you can believe the victim. ‘Innocence until proven guilty’ is the appropriate legal standard, but you are a ministry leader, not a judge or investigator”

Cares Well, p. 87

And so in conclusion, Joel McDurmon is not paying close enough attention to the real game. Of course real men apologize when they are wrong. Of course it is not effeminate to seek restoration of a relationship when you have damaged it. But it is unmanly to get woke. It is unmanly to try to give back to the principalities and powers what the Lord Jesus wrested from them in His resurrection.