Tuesday and Letters Just Go Together

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No Quarter November?

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr you planning on another No Quarter November? Aye or No?

Todd

Todd, that would be an aye.

Beyond All Beyonding

Mark Jones did a less entertaining but no less serious review of this book’s weaknesses and the subtle dishonesties in its presentation over at Mere Orthodoxy. You’re not the only one paying attention, which I find encouraging.

Michelle

Michelle, yes, I read Mark’s piece. It was quite good.

My curiosity piqued by the book review you linked, and knowing nothing about her, I searched for Rachel Miller on your site and eventually found my way to her article analyzing in great detail your comparative word usage throughout your wedding mediations . . . absolutely astounding.

Being JEDP’d is an astute description. Wellhausen himself could not have done better. This kind of analysis rivals even the impeccable scholarship and evenhanded methods of the Jesus seminar. Having performed that kind of painstaking linguistic analysis (matched only by the most prestigious critical scholars), I am a bit surprised that Miller and her co-author were unable to recognize the obvious fact that 1/3 of your wedding meditations are pseudopigriphal.

Perhaps most insightful (and damning to you) was their criticism that “the word ‘respect’ occurs 39 times in the wife sub-corpus and 4 in the husband sub-corpus . . . so we can safely assume that, for Wilson, this concept [respect] is strongly associated with being a wife but not a husband . . . in the male texts, on the other hand, actions dominate, such as ‘love’ (2nd highest keyness score)”

I’m afraid their research is incontrovertible: your use of language betrays a personally invented and perverse notion that husbands should “love” their wives while wives should “respect” their husbands. Perhaps this would not be so unforgivable if you had any Scripture whatsoever you could claim to have derived your bizarre ideas from, but it isn’t like Scripture says anything that could be even remotely interpreted as meaning “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
In all seriousness, what in the world is wrong with these women? They go through all these painstaking erudite linguistic analyses to chastise you for using language quite obviously lifted directly from Ephesians 5? Would that they had exercised such detailed exegesis on the Bible itself; perhaps they might have noticed they were excoriating you for repeating the apostle’s own words.

To paraphrase from Lewis, “After a woman has said that, why need one attend to anything else she says about anything in the world?”

Daniel

Daniel, yes. It was quite an astounding display.

Soft Totalitarianism Isn’t

Don’t know if you saw this: “British Court In Transgender Case: Bible Belief Is ‘Incompatible With Human Dignity’”

Gray

Gray, I had heard about it. Not even subtle anymore.

Apostasy and Family Matters

I’m a settled paedobaptist (thanks to your work) so the following inquiry comes from a place of belief, not doubt. I want to better understand what obedience this doctrine looks like when fully played out.

Joshua Harris recently posted on his Instagram a picture of himself shoulder to shoulder, smiling with his two brothers and referenced how they can still get along even though they disagree about the validity of Christianity (and in this case it would also include the committing of what appears to be an unlawful divorce from a wife and publicly approving of sexual deviancy).

I know for myself, given the gravity of the situation, it would be very difficult for me to take a smiling photo with my brother or son who went apostate after they have been baptized and held to the standard of Christianity. The captured image would be a lie because I would truly be in a constant state of grief with this person. It would also be hard for me to do anything that would give anyone, including the wayward Christian, the impression that I am (or could be) in any other state over their choices.

I have questions about what church discipline is supposed to practically look like between family members (parents to children and sibling to sibling) who are baptized and raised in a Christian home. (Note: All of these questions would assume confession and repentance on the part of parents for any lack of faithfulness to the God prescribed means of winning the heart of the child to obedience to Christ.)

What if the child is grown (out of the house) and then he goes apostate? What are holidays and other family gatherings supposed to look like?

What if your grown child is legitimately under the discipline of the church, say for an unlawful divorce? Is that child still invited over for family Christmas and birthdays? Does this change if your child has your grandchildren?

What about a sibling who is fornicating and even after being confronted by the entire family, refuses to stop? What if mom and dad and the other siblings still want to have him over for Christmas and other family gatherings? Do you still participate in the family event?

R

R, as for the photo in question, I would have been willing to post for a photo for the family album, but not for use on Instagram. Josh Harris is wanting to massage public opinion on this, and I wouldn’t want to help him. The Westminster Confession says (wisely) that excommunication does not erase family relations and obligations. This would be particularly pertinent for a wife with an apostate husband (one who had left the Lord, but not her).

For the rest, I think that family events like Thanksgiving can still occur, but the faithful believer can’t agree to pretend (there would need at some point to be a conversation), and can’t agree to participate. Your brother’s girlfriend would be welcome to come to Thanksgiving dinner, but you wouldn’t put them up in the same room.

Enneagram

Apropos of nothing recently posted, but of some urgency in my context having recently been invited by my church leadership to participate in an Enneagram Workshop and learning during a sermon of the lead pastor’s “number” and of the benefits of this “personality test” for gospel growth … what’s your take on this? My family’s cursory research on this elicits a fight or flight response … mostly flight. Thoughts?

Jon

Jon, if the pastor is getting into it, there probably needs to be one or the other. A battle or a departure, depending on the situation on the ground. But before doing either, check to see if the pastor is at all open. I would refer you to the Facebook feed of an old friend of mine named Ron Huggins, who has done valuable work on this.

Wedding Terms

I’ve heard you say you wouldn’t attend a homo wedding, but would you attend a Muslim wedding ? Or any other pagan ceremony ? Or work at one, If asked ? Where do you draw the line ? Thanks

Adam

Adam, yes, I would be willing to attend, provided I did not need to participate in any act of worship. The Muslim couple are doing something that is lawful for people to do. The homosexual couple are doing something that cannot be applauded or celebrated.

At the end of the ‘Can Obergerfell be Overrtuned’ Ask Doug video you say that you can not get married on your own terms. I would like to hear your thoughts on who does or should set the terms for marriage; because marriage on our own terms is what our culture has been demanding for longer than I’ve been alive

Christopher

Christopher, yes, exactly. Beginning with easy divorce, we have wanted to have it our own way, on our own terms, as though marriage were an invention of ours that we have authority over. I may have to write more on this at some point.

Discernment Ministries

I have often wondered what is your take on discernment ministries? With that question to my elder, I do not allow for a pithy reply… with all due respect. Remember, I said all due respect so I’m covered.

Jordan

Jordan, yes, you are certainly covered, but here is a pithy reply anyway. The need for discernment ministry is great, given how the Christian world at large is behaving. But the problem with many discernment ministries is the lack of discernment.

Forgiveness in the Courtroom

Would you be willing to speak to the recent Botham Jean/Amber Guyger case/verdict from Dallas in terms of biblical law and justice? Murder? Manslaughter? Flying ax heads? Cities of refuge? Etc. Thanks, TR

TR

TR, I don’t know a lot about the case at all, other than the courtroom forgiveness scene and the judge giving her a Bible. And I thought both of those things were admirable, as far as they went. But here is the problem. We are an emotional people, running on feelings, and cops are recruited from that general population. If we are giving them guns and authority over us, we need cops that don’t easily lose their heads. Cops are in need of a lifetime of training that a police academy can’t really supply. So in cases like this, we need stiffer penalties for cops who abuse their authority, and to prevent cases like this, we need to stop arming people to represent the state when those people are not emotionally equipped to handle that responsibility. Part of this would be to return to exclusion women from serving in front line capacities. And when male cops lose it, they should be hammered.

Copyrights and Wrongs

I have enjoyed the 2 discussions on copyright. In your most recent plodcast you mention that you think the term “spiritual property” may be preferable to “intellectual property” because it is something that men (imago Dei) have but animals do not have.

As you say, the battle is over the dictionary, and I think that the term “property” is the problematic one.

Property implies ownership, or at least the possibility of ownership. But really this is what most of the debate concerns. Can one own intellectual property? But by using the term “property” we are giving too much ground to the defenders of copyright.

Even if we come down on the side of ownership, ideas are not intrinsically property. Property means something material and ideas are not material, they are information. When I read your blog, or your books, or listen to you plodcast, I am getting information from you. The information is not intrinsic to the paper, ink, computer screen, or air (in the case of soundwaves). Those media (carriers of ideas) are all material.
I think grasping this concept is the most important step in dealing with questions of copyright and patents. I would go as far to argue that I think it perhaps impossible to even think rightly about copyright unless one understands this.

B

B, yes, I agree that the thoughtless use of the word “property” complicates things for us. But in the reading that I have done on this, even the most radical of anti-current-copyright-law guys believe that an inventor or composer or author should have some secured stake in his work. It is a challenging problem, and one I hope to continue to pursue.

Liberals and Religion

I wanted to hear your thoughts on this article. Thanks.

Paul

Paul, about time somebody figured out a way to drive liberals away from religion.

Obama and Impeachment

I disagree with much of your political analysis, but instead of responding to that I will simply point out that nowhere in your piece to you mention, much less analyze, the question of whether President Trump has committed impeachable offenses. And be honest: If President Obama had enlisted the help of foreign governments to dig dirt on his political opponents, your hair would be on fire and the Congressional Republicans would have impeached him within a single news cycle. But that doesn’t matter, because this is all tribal: You hate the Democrats, so even when they’re right you’ll find a way to trash them.

And by the way, assume you are right and it is political suicide for the Democrats to impeach the President. That’s not what the polls are showing, but say you’re right about that. In that case, the Democrats deserve credit for doing the right thing despite a political cost. Can you tell me the last time the GOP did the right thing despite it being bad politics?

Mike

Mike, the problem with your thesis is that the DNC and Hillary’s campaign (with likely encouragement from Obama) did attempt to use foreign sources to dig up political dirt on a political opponent (the dossier). And far from yelling for Obama’s impeachment with my hair on fire, I was arguing for caution in the other direction.

I’m having trouble squaring your arguments on a pair of issues. Those issues are the rubella vaccine and the so-called racial reconciliation movement. With regard to the former, you argue that Christians should forgo the rubella vaccine because it would be sinful to use for personal benefit the fruits of a heinous crime committed long in the past. In what way is this principle distinguishable from the argument by some that Christians ought to undertake the project of dismantling networks of privilege and marginalization that are of personal benefit some people and are the fruits of past racial crimes? Is the difference that, with the rubella vaccine, the origins of the rubella thing involve obvious sin, while the root causes of social and economic disparities among races are more complicated? Because it seems at least plausible to me that, while the origin of the rubella vaccine is sinful, numerous other intervening causes over the course of 50+ years have diluted that sinful content, just as the individual choices of innumerable black Americans might be regarded as intervening causes that dilute the sinful content of Jim Crow and the welfare state, thereby greatly complicating the assignment of culpability. Were we to trace every human-invented thing to its origins, I doubt that we would find a single one that is without the taint of some shocking wickedness.

Chuck

Chuck, I agree with you that the history of anything in this fallen world is likely to be a history that contains shocking wickedness. And I also agree with you that the issue is complication and distance. But with the vaccine, we know exactly where it came from and how, and how many steps were involved. With racial crimes, and the millions of variables involved, we know virtually nothing. If we pursue justice that way, we are far more likely to perpetrate new crimes rather than remedy old ones.

Future Men

I’m half way through and maybe you will address this by the end . . . how do I discern between “manly” activities and manhood in activities? I am a police officer, I hunt (my boys are 5 and under so alone for now), I teach fighting, build guns, woodwork, etc. My boys seem to take an interest in all I do, but I also know effeminate men can do all those things and still be effeminate. What is God’s litmus test for true manhood when all the visual boxes are being checked? Thanks.

JP

JP, actually effeminate men do such things more rarely than you might suppose. But you are quite right that they can. I define masculinity as the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility in your relationships — to the boys’ mother, and toward them. If you do that, they are not going to resent the external badges of masculinity.

I just wanted to give appreciation for the Grace and Peace posts providing your commentary on particular Proverbs. I’m sure you have a mile long grass catcher list of works that you would like to create, and this may already be on the list, but I would really love to see your commentary on the entire book of Proverbs. You have a unique ability to see through a verse for all it is worth and explain it in such a way that causes the lights to go on.

R

R, thank you. If I get enough of them done, I will likely collect them for publication. And for those who are curious about what he is talking about, I have a weekly Grace and Peace meditation that is published at our church’s web site.

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kyriosity
Member

In response to the response to the first letter, I would like to give an Aye! for an aye.

Trey Mays
Guest

Doug,
Awesome! I can’t wait for No Quarter November 2019! I think it would be potentially a good idea to give your unvarnished, unfiltered, no qualifers positions on most of the issues that the Woke Christians assume you do not hold but are actually in agreement with them. Except with your trademark serrated snark and humor. And then watch how many of those Woke Christians will assume that you are confirming their assumptions about you, when you’re actually in your trademark way of writing agreeing with them.
Trey

dchammers
Member

Soft Totalitarianism Isn’t: Maddening! There is nothing in the universe, nada, that offers a basis for human dignity other than the Imago Dei. Such profound ignorance. What is their basis for dignity? Darwinism?

Nathan Smith
Member

I think their basis is – it looks like me so it’s valuable. This leads to any number of problems depending on the direction you run with it. You can use it to defend racism or classism, or, if you are a little more enlightened, political “party-ism.” Of course you can completely object to the principle, reject it absolutely, and end up granting “personhood” to animals.

Absent God, everything is a mess.

adad0
Member

Joe Carter wrote a pretty good description of the sketchy nature of the enneagram.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-faqs-what-christians-should-know-about-the-enneagram/

The folks I know who promote and teach the enneagram cannot be trusted to consistently obey the most basic instructions of Jesus, and His Word.

Nathan Smith
Member

I plan to read his enneagram article, but with his kinism article as a background it may be tough to take seriously.

All these tgc guys…

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kinism-cultural-marxism-and-the-synagogue-shooter/%3famp

JP Stewart
Member

Yeah, I’ve noticed that pattern with a lot of guys like Carter. They can be really critical of soft targets (self-help stuff, anything resembling health-wealth or Joel Osteen) but shy away from the SJW/woke supremacists who are a much bigger threat to the church.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

The enneagram became popular in lay Catholic circles twenty years ago, so much so that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a warning about its lack of scientific validity and its spiritual implications. I thought these paragraphs were especially good: “The attempt to make use of the enneagram also shares the principal difficulty involved in adapting any non-Christian wisdom, whether psychological, philosophical, or religious, within a Christian framework — that of making sure that this doctrine does not become the criterion by which Christian beliefs will be judged. The ever-present temptation is to conform Christian belief to the doctrine,… Read more »

Douglas Singer
Guest
Douglas Singer

Re: Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Zodiac, and the like. The models have plausibility because people act in predictable ways up to a point, especially in societies where traumatic events like war and imprisonment neither threaten to push our personality into new letters and numbers, nor rob us of the time to analyze ourselves. But to me, the models appear to be what the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls a “procrustean bed,” after the Greek myth. A procrustean bed is a reversal, fitting (by stretching or chopping) man to the size of the bed instead of the other way around. So, in the… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member

Good point. It also ignores the fact that some extreme introverts have broken out of their shells and gone on to become great public speakers, leaders, etc. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly possible…even for some non-Christians I know. I don’t like the idea of being pigeon-holed and even celebrating the categories and limitations these models give you.

Jane
Member

Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” is a helpful look at understanding what introversion is, without falling for the idea that it defines or limits you, or requires you to celebrate the weaknesses associated with the type.

Jane
Member

I think the introvert/extrovert distinction can be quite useful, if it is used as a way of understanding oneself. Realizing I’m an introvert helps me realize why I react certain ways in certain circumstances, and enables me to question whether I need to change that reaction, or fight against what that reaction inclines me to do or to think, instead of just assuming that it’s normal to react that way. I think it’s like anything — if you use it as an excuse, or define yourself by it, it’s a problem. If you use it as a “diagnosis” or a… Read more »

Douglas Singer
Guest
Douglas Singer

Well said. I like your distinction between defining oneself and diagnosing oneself. Good research counts for a lot more than my opinion. Is there a piece you’d particularly recommend reading?

Jane
Member

I mentioned Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” above, which goes into the research that strongly identifies linkages between the tendencies that make up the introverted type. Cain herself is also a strong advocate for the idea that introversion is something you work with, not something you define yourself by. She addresses the idea that introverts can become socially competent, even publicly active people, by knowing how to navigate their tendencies.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I agree, Jane. It’s useful in the same way it’s useful to know if you have a quick temper or a tendency to avoid conflict or a habit of getting lost in your head when people are talking to you. And it’s helpful in understanding why people whom you love can have very different needs for social contact, and why they are exhilarated by situations introverts find exhausting. Self-knowledge makes the acquisition of virtue a lot easier. And while I think the enneagram lacks scientific validity, I have to say that it nailed my personality in one or two sentences.… Read more »

Bill Peacock
Guest

I’m psyched about the second edition of No Quarter November!

JP Stewart
Member

“If President Obama had enlisted the help of foreign governments to dig dirt on his political opponents, your hair would be on fire and the Congressional Republicans would have impeached him within a single news cycle.” I’m not sure what universe Mike lives in but this is the exact opposite of the truth. Obama was by far the most protected, coddled president in U.S. history. After all, any attempts to impeach or strongly criticize him would be “racist.” Just compare the witch hunts by the MSM and other politicians re: Trump’s’ tax returns to Obama’s birth certificate (“conspiracy nuts!” “Who… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

I think the big difference between manly activities and manhood activities is based on maturity of the boy. I don’t want a nine year old boy working on the car, but I want a nine year old to be willing to help an elderly neighbor carry in groceries, from time to time without being told to. The manly activities need to mature into manhood activities. It certainly should start with how he treats his mother, but it shouldn’t end there.

Carmela Cervantes
Guest
Carmela Cervantes

Hello. I’ve been listening to you on YouTube. Most recently regarding Jonathan Edwards.
I simply want to thank you for what you said about morbid introspection. By the grace of God I hope to be free from the inclination.
I heard what you said about being arrogant, self-absorbed, etc. Thank you.

I didn’t know how else to get this message to you, so I simply went to “Join the discussion”. (Had to use Google.)