The Eternal State
Re: “The New Jerusalem” This is compelling. If Revelation 21-22 explain what the bride of Christ looks like, does the Bible explain what things will look like after the return of Christ? Sure, God desires righteousness and justice, and the new heavens and earth would look like that, but it does seem like a continual progression to this perfect point doesn’t see much need for Christ’s return. (And I’m sure I’m missing something here).
With regard to the eternal state, it “does not yet appear what we shall be.” The whole creation is groaning, longing for that day, but we cannot really describe it now. My understanding is that the fundament divide between the historic state and the eternal state is the continued reality of death. Every enemy is subdued to Christ except for death. For He must reign until all His enemies are under Him, and then the end will come. If the premill or amill position were correct, then the first enemy to be destroyed is death.
Our Continued Sexual Hubbub
Excellent analysis of our present situation. On a barely related note, our cousins across the pond are celebrating “sologamy.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42415394 It is the ultimate in androcentric marriage, but because it seems mainly for women, we could say “gynocentric” which has the added benefit of sounding naughty. It wasn’t in the article, but I think the wedding march is “I Did It My Way” (probably the Frank Sinatra version) and the recessional is the most famous song by the Divynyls. In the meantime, MC and HNY to you and yours. Regards,
PS I’m glad you gave up the comments. They were getting to be like watching a dog fight. I think there is a prohibition against that in Hezekiah 3:8.
Yes, things are getting sillier by the minute. Another friend over your way sent me this notice—a couple of heterosexual men got married for tax purposes. Check this out.
I got here on Thursday and started writing a reply not noticing the comments were already locked. So rather than delete my reply, I’ll send it as a letter, though it’s addressing Malik’s comments, not yours Doug. “It has been shown to homosexual people’s brains more resemble the brains of people of the opposite gender. So how would you respond to the idea that the brain is more central to the person than the genitals, and therefore a more accurate determiner of sexuality?” “Christians make the argument that physical attributes determine gender, but the brain is just as physical as genitals, and much more a part of who someone is than the genitals.”
Malik makes these statements one right after the other. When he says “sexuality,” what precisely does he mean? If he is trying to cut the divide between sex and gender as people on his side usually are, then brain chemistry is objectively irrelevant to “sexuality” (read as “sex”). A creature lacking a Y chromosome is not considered a man biologically regardless of other features. This isn’t my perspective, it’s the scientific one. Even if we cede this point and allow for this distinction, the argument has not been about people with definable and tested medical conditions claiming to be of another sex, but instead it’s been centered on people who say there are no scientific criteria for genders at all. That simply declaring yourself something one day makes it so. That tomorrow I can declare myself a completely newly invented gender that I made up, and it is society’s responsibility to treat it as factually true. So even if we take Malik’s position here and run with it, it doesn’t account for the mainstream left wing view on gender and homosexuality.
“that a simplistic response that has been the conservative go to response for this issue does not fully accept the complexity of the world and this issue, as people born with mixed genitals clearly show.” There are babies born with two heads, babies born without hearts, and babies born with feet for hands. Is that a rational basis to redefine the quantity of appendages a human is supposed to have? This is anti-scientific nonsense. That there are blind people is not a basis for redefining what sight is.
“So should this mindset not infer that whether or not you believe it is wrong, it should be legal? Who is the government to decide what is right? Should they tell you that your kids can’t have communion wine because that is underage alcohol consumption?” This point of view incorrectly assumes that Christians agree with the secular definition of marriage, and just think certain kinds of it are immoral. If in fact that were the case, I would agree with you. The problem gay marriage advocates have in making this argument is they haven’t stopped to think about what Christians believe marriage is. To a Christian, a marriage is between one man and one woman. It isn’t that we don’t like it when it happens other ways, it is that it is not physically possible to happen anything other way. Two men can’t get married. A man and a Chihuahua can’t get married. Two stuffed animals can’t get married. It isn’t a matter of what kinds of relationships we allow and what ones we don’t, it’s a matter of telling a lie about the nature of the world. What gay marriage advocates are asking for isn’t the ability to have a certain kind of relationship. Without legal marriage, they can still do every single thing across the board that could be relevant for their relationship. They can have any kind of ceremony they want, call themselves Mr. and Mr. Fredrickson, love each other forever and ever and in every way “be married.” Don’t think that counts as being married? Ok, go to a married person. Any married person at all. Ask them “If the government sent you a letter telling you that you weren’t considered legally married, would you personally consider yourself unmarried?” The answer will universally come back to you “no.” Government backing is not and has never been integral to marriage. No Christian conservative is suggesting they not be allowed to do whatever they want. What they’re objecting to is the federal definition of something. I don’t think the government should define marriage as being between two men the same as I don’t think the government should define a “rainy day” as one with a lot of sun. It’s just plainly dishonest to assert that conservatives are in any way advocating sending the government to interfere in what gay people do with their relationship or their lives.
Doug, in A Brief Statement for the Organizers of the Next Big Women’s March, you noted “a top aide to the Texas Attorney General had to resign after he posted the McAllister article on Facebook.” When I first read about that, I too was concerned. I was concerned because Ken Paxton, the attorney general in question, is one of the best elected officials, from a Christian and conservative perspective, I have ever run across. So I hoped that the resignation did not stem from Paxton’s succumbing to public pressure on this issue. I have no inside knowledge about this, but it appears that it did not. Instead, it appears to stem from stupidity on the part of the aide, who wrote, when he posted the article, “Aren’t you also tired of all the pathetic ‘me too’ victim claims?” In all situations, including when a person represents another person or organization, some common sense is needed when speaking on controversial issues. Belittling all women claiming to be victims of sexual abuse comes up short of that standard. We all make mistakes. And sometimes the cost of those mistakes can be pretty high. I pray this gentleman doesn’t suffer too greatly for his.
Bill, I agree that he should have been wiser in his choice of words in his own comment. But I am still not sure that sort of thing warrants losing your job.
Comments, Comments, Comments
Having the comments section open is like unto putting two cats into a burlap bag and hanging it from a clothes line! Merry Christmas to all y’all!
Nat, yes. Theologians call that union without unity.
This is honestly pretty rich after talking about tribalism in a past post. You report things like Mueller (which of course you are right that it is wrong), but where is your post about Donald Jr. Or Flynn or anyone else who was indicted. It’s like Fox News in blog form. Honestly this really hurts your credibility, to talk about tribalism and then be this tribalistic.
Gerard, I will let this pass since it is obvious that you are fairly new here.
I think you are absolutely right, but I also think the rot goes further than snowflakes and evangelists with a penchant for flattery. When Catholics went to weekly confession, the priestly advice if you couldn’t come up with any sins was to ask for unsparing truth from your friends and loved ones. Today, that wouldn’t work because your friends would be too busy reassuring you that anything you did wrong really wasn’t your fault. Even clergymen, when you admit to a shameful sin, begin with “Don’t be too hard on yourself.” I don’t know when we became so fragile that the confirmation of wrongdoing would lead to a life of self-loathing, but I know that I am equally guilty of encouraging my loved ones to see themselves as perfect just as they are. I suppose, if I had my way, our Lord would have finished his conversation with the woman taken in adultery by reminding her not to beat herself up. After all, she must have had a horrible childhood, not to sin, but to make lifestyle choices that weren’t in her own best interest. But what is the cure for all this? There are times I would vastly prefer the plain speaking of the nuns (“You are a show-off who thinks too well of herself” to the excuses made by my dear ones (and by me).
Jill, are these the same nuns that whack your knuckles with a yardstick? I have heard about them.
Yes! I’m ashamed to say that I had spent my whole Christian life thinking, “Of course Jesus would die for me—I’m a pretty good guy after all. Why wouldn’t my buddy take a bullet for me?!” I had a wickedly over-inflated view of myself and a heretically small view of God. I remember growing up (I’m 41) how I would always say and agree with others that we as Christians were “saved,” but had no idea what that meant. It wasn’t until I heard a pastor faithfully preaching Scripture (Romans 5:9—what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear) that I had a reckoning and realized the weight of my sin and the ill-deserved (as opposed to undeserved) mercy God had shown me. It was only then that his grace truly became something amazing to behold. His grace is meaningless without a proper understanding of His wrath. Thank you for faithfully conveying the truth of Scripture and not today’s standard bromides.
Andy, amen. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
I don’t like your derogatory term of “snowflake.” I also don’t like your condoning of using non-soft language. You sounds like a Trump supporter. And of course no Christian could have voted for Trump or support him now as president. I would appreciate it if you please take down this article. Now.
Shelly, thanks for entering into the spirit of the thing. Well-played.
Pastor Wilson, regarding your article “Gospel for Snowflakes,” I resonate deeply with your observation and concern. Indeed, it was this basic truth—that the good news is only good when we understand the bad news—that was the fire that ignited my own Christian life to awaken many years ago. In my context, it was sparked in reading Jerry Bridges’s words: “The love of God has no meaning apart from Calvary. And Calvary has no meaning apart from the holy and just wrath of God. Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life; he died to save us from the wrath of God . . . The more we see God in His infinite majesty, holiness, and transcendent glory, the more we will gaze with wonder and amazement upon His love poured out at Calvary.” Simultaneously, it was also in that same context—as I was growing passionate about this true gospel in all its fullness—that I began to both discover and recoil from liberal theology. Just as I was growing ever more stunned by God’s mercy, I first encountered the “snowflake” version of the gospel in college. What especially struck me at the time was that its “evangelists” held an attitude, often explicitly in their words, that God ought to be honored to have the privilege of their company in eternity, and that God needed to live up to their culturally-informed modern liberal morality. The sense of stunned amazement at the mercy of a righteous God was entirely absent, replaced with a “give us what we deserve” mentality. Needless to say, the lives of these so-called evangelists likewise reflected a complete lack of either living in the fear of God or in stunned thankfulness for his mercy.
And even at the time I noticed the same trend working its way into so-called evangelical circles. What a contrast I noticed, and still do, between the attitude that says, “What kind of God is he who gives man enough knowledge to damn him but not enough to save him?”, and which says, “Lord, why was I a guest? Why was I made to hear your voice and enter while there is room, when thousands make a wretched choice and rather starve than come?” Later when I became more a disciple of C. S. Lewis, I realized he had perfectly articulated what I had been noticing with his observation that modern man has put God, rather than himself, “in the dock.” And to the extent that “evangelical” ministers are hiding, rewriting, soft-peddling, sugar-coating, or otherwise watering down the bad news, they are doing the same, and essentially abandoning any true evangelism—as half of being saved is the sinner’s recognition that he needs saving.
One brief observation . . . I fear that what makes evangelical churches susceptible to such infections are ministers that have themselves never been struck and amazed at the Gospel, who really just don’t know the gospel themselves. I cannot imagine someone who has been truly struck to the core of their being at the judgment they face as a sinner, and then struck by the gratuitous grace of the cross, reverting to preaching such platitudinous fluff. I imagine I am just as narcissistic, people-pleasing, man-fearing, longing to be loved and hating to be thought of as mean, as many of the liberal ministers out there. But being struck by the gospel myself, I simply cannot imagine selling someone a counterfeit. I hate being thought of as mean, of not being liked . . . but I hate the idea of lying to someone even more . . . proclaiming they have peace with God when they in fact do not. I want them to have the same wonder of salvation that I have experienced, and in my case at least, that is what overcomes the instinct to want to be liked. And one simply can’t have that wonder of his mercy without first trembling in fear of his righteous judgment. Neither can ministers proclaim this wonder if they have never experienced it themselves. Respectfully,
I appreciate the teeth-baring style of your theological musing, most because you present the gospel with fortitude and winsome vigor. Thanks for writing. The gospel is most certainly as you say, “the message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” But have you forgotten the good news of Jesus’ birth? Luke 2:10 “But the angel said to [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). Perhaps an oversight, though a classically evangelical one. The premise of your argument needn’t be cruciform in order to bolster the strength of your conclusion. That is, unless your conclusion is that the gospel is good news for people who love bad news. In that case, the bad news of being “hauled off in shame and disgrace to be nailed to the same cross where Jesus died” sounds like a good place to start but not a logical resting place for either yourself, or I. I’d argue there are better places to go with the good news.
Jesse, you are absolutely right. That was just a function of not be able to say everything every time. The birth of Christ was the first appearance of the good news on earth.
First, the new commenting format is perfect. Don’t change it. Secondly, thanks for this reminder. It is much needed. As one who is in a ministry context, though, I do have to ask. Where do we strike the balance between John Knox-ian fire and not crushing a bruised reed? I absolutely agreed with this post without exception, especially as it relates to our public effeminate evangelical hipsters, but in ministry I sometimes have people who fit the snowflake mold in my office. They are totally broken. They are so screwed up from trying to find the end of this secular rainbow (pun intended) that they are crushed, and they have no skills to adapt or adjust. How do I balance this in the pulpit? I know that counseling in the pastoral office is a fundamentally different thing than preaching the sacred Word in the pulpit. I guess I am just wanting to know how to do one well without hampering myself on the other. I appreciate what you do tremendously. Under His Mercy,
Yes, the gospel must be offered (tenderly) to those who are fragile, and every minister has experience with this. “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7, ESV). But a snowflake is not someone who is fragile. A snowflake is one who wields their fragility as though it were the ring of power.
The closing paragraphs of this post are among the best I’ve ever read from your pen. May God grant them to reach hearts that weren’t expecting such sentiments.
Doug, just wanted you to know how blessed I am by your teaching/writing/preaching/fight picking/debating and whatever else you might call your shtick you share with the world. Wish I had more room to tell you how I’ve grown in obedience to Christ as a Dad and husband and a son of the Risen King! I love you and appreciate so much the simplicity by which you annihilate seemingly tough issues based only on the true holy Word of God. Your light so shines, that I give praise to our Father in heaven. You make me hungry to know God’s Word more every time I read or listen to you. Godspeed my brother.
Pastor Doug, I just want to say a simple “Thank you.” Thank you for speaking sanely and biblically into the chaos.
I’ve not made it even halfway through before needing a comment section in order to say that ladling ranch-hand portions is one of your best metaphors yet. Merry Christmas to us!
Gents, and Katie, thank you very much, and thank the Lord.
A Bright Idea
Pastor Wilson, This addresses a potential post, “Cheaper Internet with Less Porn.” I am no expert on federal regulations, and I only recently have come to know what net neutrality is thanks to a recent podcast from Ben Shapiro, Ep. 438: “Is It the End of the Internet?” His explanation of the repeal of FCC regulations regarding net neutrality, along with my basic understanding of economics leads me to believe that there may be room in the future for start-up internet service providers to create a porn-free internet service, which might could be cheaper. Here’s my reasoning based mostly on suspicions, gut instinct, and a dearth of facts. I suspect that pornography use is using a lot of bandwidth, and the savings created by not having to accommodate that bandwidth could be passed down to the consumer. I think this would make a great article, and I’d like to know what you think about it. Plus, it could give you a much-needed break from writing about feminists’ view the sexes, how Christians should vote in lieu of sexual misconduct allegations, and about how our culture has decayed since the sexual revolution. Now you could write about sexuality and the economy. Well, at least you’d have a break from something.
Richard, I think it is a great idea. Now all we need are a couple of billion dollars, and a free country.
Another Bright Idea
Open Thread Tuesday Doug, You mention “theocratic libertarianism” as part of understanding biblical economics and the biblical importance of free markets. When are you going to write “The Theocratic Libertarian Manifesto” where you exegete the whole counsel of Scripture to lay out the principles and ideas of that particular social philosophy? Trey
Trey, give me a minute.
The Bright Ideas Just Keep Coming
I would love this mug if I knew I’d take it to work and drink coffee out of it every day. However, our company coffee is the nastiest swill you can find between the Mississippi and Missouri, and my family’s stock of mugs is in no danger of depletion. So I thought to myself, “what Mablog fan paraphernalia would I proudly tote around with me and use on a regular basis?” A vinyl sticker of the black dog. You may have noticed that stickers are popular things these days, and I have a slowly building collection on my Hydro Flask. I offer this suggestion for your marketing department’s consideration and also mention that it could likely be sent by post for the price of a “Forever” stamp (the audacity of our gods amazes).
Clayton, that is worth considering.
Pastor Wilson, I recently finished your debate on textual critical issues with James White. Seeing as though I respect you both immensely and don’t yet have a dog in this fight, it was, in a word, a doozy. And an exciting one at that. I found your argument regarding the preservation of God’s Word as represented in the Byzantine text-type particularly compelling. I know you mentioned some authors/critics in your opening statement, but what material in particular would you suggest on the TR, Ecclesiastical Text, etc., for someone relatively new to textual issues? Thank you for your contribution to what was a thoroughly exciting debate!
Gabriel, the place I would start is with Theodore Letis’ book The Ecclesiastical Text.