Thanks for all of your work on these posts.
I notice the Lord’s hand on this virus. He has done this in a way that protects children, exposes hearts, and knocks over idols (NBA, NCAA, PGA, MLB, NHL, and maybe the Olymipics).
Blessings to you.
JP, yes, more than a little divine iconoclasm going on.
Thank you for your two articles on the Corona virus. I’ve been struck for the last couple of month how historically plagues/sicknesses have been reasons to cause the church to repent and yet I’ve heard nothing along these lines until now. Of course God doesn’t want us to return to ‘what it was like before’ so how can we pray along those lines? I’m in China, and we’ve had online church for about 6 weeks now. Churches that had been tolerated were told to close. My fear is that we will never get the signal to say “the virus is over, let’s move back to the unofficially tolerated situation you were in.” Please pray for us.
And when it applies to you, please keep posting how Christ Church is responding to the virus. Online services seem to be a good emergency step under lock down, but it poses big question about things like communion. If the main services closed down and were done online, would things like communion stop (and would it be seen as a sign of God’s discipline that you weren’t able to worship him as before?) or would it continue in some other form? Would it be appropriate for home groups to act as church for a period – assuming that meetings of 20 or so were allowed, but nothing bigger?
Josh, we would want to discourage taking communion at home. It would, in my view, do more harm than good. It would be sort of an oxymoronic koinonia, which is the last thing we need right now.
Thank you for this very thoughtful and timely article. May I please ask for more regarding Romans 13 vs “Public Safety.” Every tyrant has cried “Public Safety” to sell restrictions to God -given rights, and the freedom of assembly, while currently imprudent to exercise, cannot be stripped but by due process. No POTUS, SCOTUS, FBI nor CDC can either veto Natural Law or save a soul. God is not mocked. Nebuchadnezzar is getting his comeuppance, as you foretold.
Please forgive us if we’re slow to grant them the benefit of the doubt.
Ron, I understand fully why you don’t want to grant the benefit of the doubt. This is why I believe that the leaders of the church should monitor the whole situation on a week-to-week basis. But right now, it is not as though churches are being specially targeted, not at all.
Regarding “At Least No Presidential Candidate Has Called It COVID-18 Yet,” I found it highly amusing that soon after I read this post, I read an email with the subject line “SEBTS Update: Monitoring COVID-18.” (Not long after the first, I received the requisite “Correction:” email.) I like to think that there is a Doug Wilson fan at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, having a bit of fun with all of us. Alas, the email was sent before your post. Perhaps we should just ascribe the humor to the Almighty Hand of Providence.
David, that’s always a safe ascription in many situations.
Letters From the Doghouse
RE: In The Doghouse This is essentially the plot of Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”
Ken got off easier , I think.
Thomas, thanks. Maybe he did.
n response to “Not in the Doghouse”: the vignette tidily suggests the woman left because she could no longer control her spouse through guilt. That would be an extremely unhealthy and unfortunate dynamic. In this story, though, I am left wondering what else was going on. I have read nearly identical narratives in which it turns out that the reformed spouse had been abusive, and was using the influence of the church to exert social control over his partner. I am uneasy about morality tales like this one because of the complete consistency between it and actual accounts of abuse. Respectfully,
Christina, thanks for the note. But if I might reply, with equal respect, the advantage of such a tale is that it is hypothetical. I made it up to illustrate a situation where the woman had by far the deeper and more serious problem. Now I know there are many situations where that is not the case, and where the abusive man feigns repentance, etc. But not in this one, and I know that because I made it up. The wife here was never abused by her husband, but routinely abused him. Not only that, her father was a kind and gentle soul, who always gave her what she wanted, which was the original source of the problem. So unless we are prepared to say that the wife is never the problem (which our culture currently wants to do), we have to acknowledge the way it tends to work out when she is the problem. The tale I told represents real situations, as they actually are. Only a partisan would say that it “has to be the man,” or “it has to be the woman.” We are a sinful
RE: Not in the Doghouse:
Ok, Mr. Wilson, I’m surprised you didn’t notice the real villain here is the elder’s wife who overheard the conversation in the parking lot. Had she just kept quiet, as she should have, everything would have been fine and the marriage still intact. But instead, she had to gossip and share the juicy morsel with the pastor’s wife who then told her husband who then stuck his nose into Ken’s business, and in short order, a marriage is destroyed.
Now I’m not the expert here, but I’m pretty sure the Bible has some advice about gossips and what to do with them. Mayhaps the church needs some strong policy documents on how to administer proper discipline in this regard, eh?
David, I think you are pulling my leg. But with the off-chance that you are not, I wrote the story (see above) in such a way as to keep the elder’s wife free of any hint of gossipy motives.
Thank you for “Not in the Doghouse” about “Ken” and “Cherise.” Ken was acceptable to Cherise only while she had a club to beat him with. In your example, Ken had a definite sin problem that needed to be dealt with and repented of. Cherise had Ken right where she wanted him. I’d like to mention a few other variations on this topic and get some feedback. There are Kens out there who are tempted by porn partly for reasons related to their spouse’s unilateral and years-long refusal to be a wife. Despite I Cor 7:5, wives know that refusal of sexual intimacy is a very sneaky and effective club because it’s one that husbands generally won’t discuss with anyone. For the husband who still loves his wife, hope deferred really does make the heart sick (Prov 13:12). Of course, sin on the husband’s part is totally inexcusable regardless. There are other cases where the wife, seeking to justify her own rebellion, believes the husband to be utterly sinful and believes herself a long-suffering and innocent victim of something she cannot define. The latter is illustrated by the old adage, “If a husband speaks in the forest, and there’s no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?” where the husband, from the wife’s viewpoint, can’t do anything right and she wants to pound that theme home.
My question is, how do any of these Kens, with the support of their pastor and elders, manage their households and compassionately influence their wives in the direction of godliness? What if the wife steadfastly dismisses them all?
R, thanks for writing, and this is a very real problem. It is not a universal problem, but it a very real one. I would suggest, initially, three things to do. The first would be to clean house personally before the Lord, confessing all your sins, including especially the sins of bitterness and resentment. Secondly I would whatever you can to educate yourself on your options — whether familial, financial, theological, etc. Study the problem as though it were a class you are taking, because it is. Here is one place to start. And third, I would take the situation to your pastor and elders, and request that they provide you with guidance over what to do.
Oaths and Vows
I enjoy reading your blog, and have been greatly edified by it, so a hearty thank you is in order. The question I have concerns an older blog post, which is an annotation of Westminster XXII, concerning oaths and vows.
Westminster (and your notes) observe that oaths that bind to grievous and difficult requirements are legitimate, as long as those requirements are not sinful. However, you mention that a vow to abstain from alcohol is something that would not be binding.
Is this suggesting that vowing to abstain from alcohol is sinful, or perhaps only sinful in some scenarios? Does it make a difference if the promise was made to a person (an oath, which is the situation I am in) rather than it being a vow?
Thank you again, your willingness to take Scripture at its word is a delight.
Luke, generally when people have taken a vow to refrain from alcohol, it is done under a false representation. This is the idea that Scripture prohibits the use of alcohol, and the person, a young Christian, say, is told that God requires this from him. He wants to obey God, and so he takes the vow. Later, he discovers that God did not in fact require this. When you discover that the contract you signed had a number of false representations in it, there comes a time when you can abrogate the contract.
The Grandparents’ View
In your videos on Why Children Matter, you mention that grandparents should refrain from offering unsolicited advice to their children on parenting matters. Elsewhere, you encourage church members to check up on younger parents whose children are a bit out of control. Also, your family members describe cultivating a non-defensive attitude about criticisms of their children. Are you advising a different approach for grandparents specifically? How does one decide if saying something to a fellow parent would be helpful or unhelpful meddling? Thank you!
Rebekah, no, not a different approach, although I think grandparents should exercise an extra measure of caution. Because they are so close, and because they may still be correcting their grown children in ways that they cannot even see, they need an extra helping of humility in this. Their comments may be entirely invisible to them. But with that said, I do think that grandparents have important things to offer, and if we saw something serious going on with one of the grand kids, we would certainly ask their parents if they would be open for some input. But we would ask if they were open to the input, and would not just volunteer it. And we would not want to offer anything “in the moment.”