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The usual way people refer to this next doctrine is with the phrase “perseverance of the saints.” I believe that for the sake of a fuller accuracy, we should make the phrase longer, a bit more cumbersome, but much richer and more complete. We should call it the “preservation and perseverance of the saints.”
We do persevere, but only because God keeps and sustains us. If He did not, then we would not persevere. We could not. And yet, at the same time, when God preserves His own, the thing He preserves them in is perseverance in holiness.
Put another way, God is the one who saves us from drowning, but not by leaving us on the bottom of the pool.The Text:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:27–30).Summary of the Text:
The sheep who belong to Christ hear and recognize His voice (v. 27). He is their shepherd, and they know it. They know Him. The still waters that He leads them to, the green pastures they are blessed to lie down in, are the gift of eternal life (v. 28). We are in His hand, and as a good shepherd He gives us this promise—no man is able to pluck us out of His hand. As Christ’s sheep, we are in His hand. But how did these particular sheep come to belong to Him in the first place? The good shepherd has a Father, and this Father is greater than all. The elect sheep were a gift to Christ from the Father, and were a gift going from the Father’s hand to Christ’s hand, and all without leaving the Father’s hand. And because the Father is greater than all, no man is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand either. And this is why Christ then says “I and the Father are one.”Exegetical and Systematic Grace:
So you should see plainly that the idea of Christ purchasing the same individuals who were chosen by the Father is not some idea cooked up by theologians. Jesus simply says it. The Father gave a gift to Christ (you), and as a result Christ gave you a gift (eternal life). And because there is no life apart from Himself, in order to give you eternal life, He had to give you Himself in the person of His Spirit. Your eternal life inside you is not some inanimate or impersonal joy juice. He is a Person, and He is working inside you alongside the Father and the Son. They are all engaged in the same work, the work of bringing you home.But Distortions Are Real:
This is the one aspect of the gospel which the natural man thinks he might be able to like. But like all spiritual truth, the natural man can only love the truth through a distortion of it. So we need to be clear on this. We should therefore make a point to outline a few misunderstandings of the doctrine:
- The Existence of Distortions: One distortion is to grant (perhaps) that the doctrine is true but object to any kind of emphasis being placed on it. “If you teach the security of the believer, then men will become complacent and careless about sin, etc.” Yes, some will twist the grace of God into a license for sin. But we do not decide what to teach on the basis of pragmatics. Look at what was done with Paul’s teaching, and notice what he says in Romans 3:8 about the accusation and his accusers. Their condemnation is just. “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just” (Rom. 3:8). As Martin Luther once responded when he was told that if you preach this kind of grace, certain men will distort it. His reply was, “Let them.”
- Once Saved Always Saved: What does this mean? It is a wonderful truth or a damnable heresy depending upon what is meant by saved. Take a look at 1 John 2:19. When this is a distortion, it separates preservation from perseverance, and says that Jesus can be Savior without also functioning as Lord. But . . . “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19).
- Losing Salvation: The question is not whether the elect can lose their salvation—as though salvation were a possession of ours, like car keys or something. The real question is whether Christ can lose a Christian or not. The Bible teaches us that salvation means that we are a possession of His. So, can a sheep lose the shepherd? Absolutely. But can a shepherd lose a sheep? And the answer is glorious—not this shepherd.
- Both Sides Have Their Verses: This approach dismisses the question as one not having any great practical importance. But wise pastors know that it is a question of great pastoral import. There are many Christians who have been distressed over whether or not they could have assurance of salvation. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13).
The passages of Scripture that talk about apostasy (and there are many) are talking about losing your covenant standing in the visible church. Someone can be covenantally a Christian without being numbered among the elect.God-centered Salvation:
Man-centeredness causes some to talk about this as though it were a mere reversal of regeneration. But when salvation is understood biblically, i.e. as rooted in the eternal will of the Father in election, in the eternal blood of the covenant which secured their salvation, and the resurrection of the Spirit bringing them into life, the whole picture changes.
Man is mutable and what he does can be undone. God is immutable and what He effectually does cannot be undone. There are many passages which assert this, but one of the clearest is found in Romans 8: 28-39, which we have already considered several times.But What About . . .?
Let us look at just one passage which is commonly brought forward as evidence that Christians can lose their salvation.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:26–29).
What does it say? It does not say anything about Hell or everlasting damnation. The context is that the author of Hebrews (in the mid to late 60’s) is trying to talk some Christians out of returning to the Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. Obviously, they would have to go to Jerusalem to do this, and it was a masterpiece of bad timing, for Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. The Lord Jesus had prophesied that this would certainly happen within a generation, and that generation was almost up. The only thing they had waiting for them in Jerusalem was raging fire that would consume the adversary. They would not find in Jerusalem any sacrifice for sin. That was done, once for all, in the death of Christ.
“I believe that a free people should be able to grow, harvest, sell, truck, shelve, freeze, process, buy, cook, or savor whatever [food] they please, just so long as they do it on their own dime” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 146).
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“The coming ice age is coming, the globe is warming, and the science is settled, no, wait. Turns out the globe got so hot it cooked the books” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 143).
As Seen on the Web . . .
Now that’s the way you testify before Congress . . .
What in HELL is going on in Washington D.C.? This man looks demon possessed. pic.twitter.com/ryHJBftcqI
“Food must indeed be sanctified. But the only thing that sanctifies it is the gravy of grace and gratitude” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 140).
Thanks for the letter, and it sounds like quite a dilemma. You’ve been married for five years, and you have a good marriage, but for one sore spot. You didn’t put it to me this way, but that sore spot is the result of you gradually coming to realize (despite your intention in marrying) that you married a feminist. Or perhaps you might want to not put it so strongly and say that you married someone who is more than a little susceptible to feminist appeals, or perhaps someone who is gradually sliding toward feminism. In any case, you are worried about it.
You get along with her easily personality-wise, and she is a very diligent mom, and home-life is generally happy . . . unless some news story or controversy barges in (e.g. a #MeToo thing, or a wage gap news story, or a sex scandal in a church across town). When that happens you find yourself in inexplicable quarrels. You make it up afterwards, but why this keeps happening is a mystery to both of you. You make up “the quarrel part,” but you don’t really resolve what you know must be some deeper issues. Have I summarized all this fairly? She thinks you have periodic disagreements about “politics,” but you suspect that it runs a little deeper than that. You believe it runs way deeper than that.
This is actually an enormous subject, and so what I propose to do is give you some general categories to focus on in your prayers and in your study.
The first thing for you to learn is how to take responsibility before God for the whole thing. You can’t really complain about how she doesn’t respect the fact that you are the head when you don’t respect the fact that you are the head.
But we need to be careful here. We live in a “blame the male” era, a time when plain old vanilla masculinity is routinely described as “toxic masculinity.” In churches that mark things like Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, the mothers are genuinely honored, while the occasion is often taken to urge the fathers to step it up. When Fathers’ Day is noted in many churches, it is used as an occasion to beat the men about the head and shoulders.
Taking responsibility is a very different thing than saying you are the one to blame. Because of the egalitarianism that underlies feminism, we have lost our covenantal categories. This means that we believe that when you sin, God looks at you, and when your wife sins, He looks at her. But who does He look at when something in the family is dislocated? He looks to the head, which would be you.
So the first thing you need to do, between you and God alone, is to take responsibility. As you pray, pray to God as His appointed representative of the Galligers, as the Galligers, and acknowledge to Him what is happening in your household. Acknowledge it, confess it, and lay it out before Him to deal with. Do this without any expectation that this will result in any breakthrough conversations with your wife within two days. Start to function in the presence of God as the head of your family vertically before attempting anything horizontally. Do this long enough that it becomes a habitual cast of mind for you.
Your model in this, as you take covenantal responsibility, would be Job. Remember that when his children were done with their feasting, Job took responsibility for them before the Lord, and it was good.
“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:5).
And Job was doing this, not because of anything done overtly, but rather for things that they might be doing in their hearts. How much more, when something is clearly wrong, should the head of the house be acknowledging it daily to God? And remember that you are taking responsibility before God, which is not the same thing as blaming her before God. Adam blamed his wife in God’s presence, and that was not a spiritual exercise (even though his wife had a share in the blame)
Second, you need to learn what feminism is at the heart. If this is a spiritual virus that his threatening your wife and family, and it is, then you need to study what is going on. This will help you learn about what you are taking responsibility for. This is not so that you can leave dog-eared copies of MGTOW rants against feminism lying around your house in order to alert your wife that something is up. The MGTOW reaction is a very carnal reaction to feminism, just as feminism was a reaction to various forms of masculine boorishness. If you look at MGTOW memes and feminist memes, you will see a lot of the same kind of impotent bitterness. Such seething resentments can often be very pointed, and sometimes very funny in dark ways, but they don’t ever fix anything. So I am talking about studying responsible writers, theologians, historians, and not the rants of bitter guys in basements.
The heart of feminism is egalitarianism, the view that all egos are equal at the center, and that external things like physiology are just accidental accoutrements or accessories. If you drill down deep enough, you get to the equality part—and that central ego is supposed to be absolute. If that (genderless) ego decides to swap out the external accessories, which might be spouse, or private parts, or the objective truth about the past, or feminine vocations, or other creational givens, it is assumed by egalitarians that the ego has the absolute right to do so. This is a radical error, but it lies at the heart of most of our current cultural confusions.
Now I am going to make some observations in the next few paragraphs that are politically incorrect, and some of them may even be illegal by this point. Men and women are different, and they are different all the way down. Men and women relate to God differently, they relate to one another differently, and they relate to the world differently. When God comes, He is going to judge the world with equity, which is not the same thing as assuming equality while he judges it. He will judge us as men and women, boys and girls, and not as interchangeable egos. He is going to judge us with equity, which means that He is going to evaluate us on the basis of what we did with the biology assigned to us, with the family assigned to us, with the calling assigned to us, and so on. And it will become clear to us all that the promise that we could become whatever we wanted to be was a false and lying promise.
These lying standards insist that men and women be treated the same, period. Scripture standards require that men and women be treated the same, depending.
So sometimes “double standards” would be examples of us disobeying what the Bible teaches us about justice. If we required two or three witnesses to convict a man of a crime, but just one witness to convict a woman of the same crime, this would be ungodly wickedness. If habeas corpus applied to men but not women, this would be an outrage.
But here are some different examples. This one is taken from the world, not from Scripture, but we can learn something about the world from it. Why, if a woman sleeps with a hundred men, is she slut-shamed, but if a man sleeps with a hundred women, he can get away with bragging about his “conquests”? Well, consider this factor. A key that opens a hundred locks can claim to be a master key. A lock that opens to a hundred keys can only claim to be pretty much worthless. And lest you think that I am somehow “approving” of the man in this instance, I actually include him among the fornicators who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor. 6:9). The point is not that his sin is praiseworthy and the immoral woman’s is not, but rather that their sins are radically different because they are radically different. But to say they are radically different is not to say one is blameworthy and the other not. He is a scoundrel, and she is a tramp—let us not praise either one, but let us not confuse them either.
Here is a difference that seems “unfair” to the men, also taken from the world. When a woman has a husband who strays, she can count on sympathy and commiseration from other women. When a man has a wife who is unfaithful to him, he can count on being the butt of the joke among the other men—he is the cuckold.
So assume that egalitarianism is false, and study to learn why and how it is false. Men and women are not interchangeable, and the lie that they are interchangeable has been the source of a great deal of heartache.
Third, you must learn how to distinguish your real sins from the fake ones, and resolve to really deal with the real ones. Refuse to deal with the fake ones—the sins against various feminist standards. But before that, make sure that you are dealing with the sins that God identifies as sins. Confess them to God (1 John 1:9), and then, as appropriate, to your wife and children. They must see you growing in grace. Deal with your annoyances, your unreasonable expectations, your quiet resentment over what has happened. Confess it and forsake it. Mortify what needs to be mortified. Make it impossible for your wife to think that “he is just unwilling to change.” She should see you changing all the time—but you are doing so in response to the Word of God. When you don’t budge in response to the dictates of feminism, it will not be possible for her to attribute that to you being stuck in your ways. She should see good things happening all the time, in other words.
And last, you must be praying that God would bring the whole thing down to a testing point. It must be brought to a head, but not by you. You want that testing point, the point where you make a decision and she learns to submit to it because you made it, to be manifestly a moment of God’s appointment. Going back to the first point, where you are taking responsibility before God, this moment should be one that you pray for from the beginning. Don’t expect it to come within a few days or weeks. You want her to see that a radical transformation is happening in you, and radical transformations need to be sustained over time before you entrust yourself to them. She wants to know that the ice is thick before she walks out onto it, and that is reasonable enough.
There are many other things I could say, and there are many ways in which what I have said could be misunderstood or twisted, but I trust you have gotten the gist. Let me know how it goes.
Cordially in Christ,
“Once the indignation is established, it becomes possible to draw on a hidden premise that too many Americans share—that sins should be crimes—and move from that position to the idea that made-up sins should be made into real crimes” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 139).
And I hardly ever use exclamation marks.
As regular readers here know, I periodically review books chapter by chapter. We are now in the process of making those reviews available to you in ebook form, and the first one has now arrived on our digital shelves. Some time ago, I reviewed N.T. Wright’s book, Surprised by Scripture, and as with most of my reactions to Wright, the review is mixed. Some of his stuff is very good, and some of it is very bad.
Since by this point in the description, you are no doubt desperate to obtain this title, let me tell you what is involved, or how to go about it. As with virtually all the stuff in the Mablog shop, the cost is one dollar — that is, one clam, one buck, one greenback, one cucumber. The book is available in PDF, Mobi, and ePub, which I think was very thoughtful of us. You can get there by clicking on the image below, or by going to the top menu bar in the middle and clicking on Books > ebooks, where the title will appear at the top, or by going to the right side of the menu bar in order to click on Store > and every available item.
And I thank you for your continued interest.
“And don’t give me any nonsense about relationships having to be limited to two. Being bi necessitates either alternating serial relationships, or a standing relationship that involves three at a minimum. This is not a complicated math problem. If you want to work it out, I’ll wait.” I won’t get into the polyamory issue, but being bisexual no more necessitates having two partners than being heterosexual or homosexual does. If you asked any bisexual person, they would tell you that. I have the pleasure of knowing several lovely bisexual people in committed monogamous relationships. It’s really disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.
Christine, not disingenuous at all. I was talking about sexual expression. In order for bisexuality to be expressed sexually, or maritally, there has to be a minimum of three people involved. Of course a bisexual can be in a monogamous relationship—but only by denying, suppressing, or foregoing one aspect of his or her sexuality. If bisexuality as such is to be expressed, the options are what I have outlined. If it is hate to not allow a particular sexuality to be expressed maritally, then three is the minimum.The CREC Statement
When are we going to see this explicit a condemnation of sexual predation on wives and children within the CREC?
David, when a massive segment of the church starts applauding such sexual predation against women and children, you can count on us. We will condemn it soundly. But nobody is doing that. The reason our armies are stationed where they are, and are fighting where they are, is because that is where the invaders are.
Thankful for this statement. However, permitting individual leaders to speak on behalf of the presbytery or denomination is too open to abuse. When the moderator of synod signs statements on global warming or immigration, their perspective goes not match mine, but there is next to no recourse.
John, when a presiding minister speaks on behalf of the presbytery or Council, he must include that action in his next report to his governing body. If they approve it, it remains an official statement. If they do not, it is overturned.
If the image of God is sexually binary, how are unmarried people in God’s image? Barth’s answer, cited by Wesley Hill at First Things is that we are all, each one, including single people like Jesus, male and female—that is, “male in relationship with female,” or vice versa. What do you think of that solution? Why do we need the idea of a sexually binary image in order to criticize that surgery? Aren’t creation structures enough?
John, I don’t think the overwhelming norm is set aside by the exceptions. Christ is the Word, and we reflect that when we speak. But those who are dumb and cannot speak are not excluded from the image–they belong to a race of speakers.Comments on the Cavalcade
Your identification of the “+” as the catch-all at the end of the cultural pantheon of L, G, B, T, and Q reminds me of the Athenian altar “to the unknown god” in Acts chapter 17. Would you venture a guess at what the Apostle Paul’s sermon points would be to those who worship at the altar of “+” if he were present today? I have been reading G. K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and I have been thinking of the way he described paganism as: “. . . an attempt to reach the divine reality through the imagination alone; in its own field of reason does not restrain it at all” (Chap 5: Man and Mythologies) Would it be correct to see the sexual sins and confusion of our day both as purposeful blindness and rejection of God in a Romans 1 fashion, while simultaneously being a desperate grasp for some “divine reality” or transcendent meaning/purpose that the real Trinity actually offers through faith in Christ? Not so that confusion and sexual sin can be affirmed as good, but so we can preach towards the deep human desires that have their satisfaction in Christ only. Perhaps it is a stretch but I covet your though.
Yes. All idolatry is an attempt to squeeze out of a finite thing what only the infinite can provide.
I am in rural SC and my husband’s co-worker (a real redneck by anyone’s standards) was complaining to him at the end of last semester about a first grade boy at his son’s school wearing lipstick to school . . . So I don’t know if even the red states are safe anymore. The public schools are mostly run by women who are not only more likely to be deceived but also more afraid resist their leftist overlords.
Well, in the blue states, it would be blue lipstick.
I have to think there are frustrated, orthodox, right-minded thinking members of PCA congregations that simply do not know what do right now; bolt? Stay? Fight? So far the PCA hasn’t said squat (to my knowledge) about Revoice. How would you counsel the angry masses in PCA churches?
Todd, I would encourage them to petition their sessions to instruct their delegates to file a complaint or charges at presbytery.
My morning reading Revoice rebuttal: Psalm 66:18—“If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
Christian, thanks and amen.Weights and Measures
Re: “What Regulation Does” Are you saying that all regulation of business inherently corrupts government by making inappropriate connections between business and government? Or are you saying that in our current government system calling for such regulation will result in crony capitalism? Is this a universal principle or a particular case? If the government’s purpose extends to certain moral concerns, as Romans tells us and WCF affirms, then I don’t see how regulation is inherently corrupting, especially when it comes to preventing businesses from being unjust to their customers, whether through dangerously lax cleanliness standards, false advertising, or the like. Now, I’m not advocating for all the government regulation we see today, but surely there is room for some government regulation of business?
Carson, it all boils down to what you mean by regulation. I believe the government should set the standards—what constitutes a Troy ounce, what is meant by a liquid gallon, what counts as decent hygiene. But this means the government should define, not regulate beforehand. If someone sold someone else a pound of beef that was actually not a pound of beef, they could bring an action.Little Video Thingies on Facebook
I love the parenting “moment” with Mrs. Wilson!! It is a great length—so shareable—good conversation starters. More of these please!!
Kat, more on the way.Everybody’s a Critic
I don’t see any birch in that stand of poplar . . .
Desmond, I was a philosophy major. Leave me alone.A Practical Dilemma
I’m seeking your thoughts on something not directly referred to in any of your recent articles. As a brother in Christ who enjoys your writing ministry from afar off, help me understand how it can be permissible (a conscience issue because the Bible does not say, “thou shalt not . . .”), for a Christian parent to attend, as a silent participant, their child’s wedding related to a so called “gay marriage?” A fellow Christian in my life was faced with this unfortunate scenario. I attempted to discourage him from attending. His response to me was, “who do you think you are!” I was very disheartened by this response. It almost became a source of stumbling because I had looked up to him. How could a Christian parent attend this? Do they clap when the two kiss? Do they hug them and shake their hands to congratulate them on their new and evil union? How is doing so not a grave sin? Others have challenged my dogmatism related to this by asking, “what other weddings would you discourage Christian parents from attending?” I certainly recognize that the precedent related to the compromise of (unbiblical divorce and remarriage) certain types of marriages upstream has resulted in the further compromise of evil marriage concepts downstream. Shouldn’t conservative Christians agree not to attend such a proceeding (doctrine of demons ceremony may be a better title?) as a silent participant? The reasoning offered is usually along the following lines, “I want to maintain the relationship” or “I see it as an evangelistic opportunity.” Doesn’t even Russell Moore discourage Christians from attending, as a silent participant, a wedding related to a so-called “gay marriage?” If you know of any Christian who intends on attending one of these so as to severely and vocally denounce the proceedings, please let me know, as I could use some fresh inspiration right about now. On a side note, please keep up your writing ministry. You greatly encourage me. There are very few people that can make me laugh, but you have accomplished that feat. God Bless.
Doug, a wedding is a celebration, and if the celebration is over the violation of God’s law, then Christians should not be there—whether the disobedience is heterosexual or homosexual. Russell Moore once made a statement that Christians shouldn’t attend the wedding, but could attend the reception, which completely misses the point. We cannot be celebrating when God is denouncing.
The PCA Really Needs to Do Something
Your “On the PCA Getting French-Kissed by the World” piece was a fine and appropriately probing essay, as usual. Another question that ought to be asked of the T-supporters among the brotherhood is “Can a person with two X chromosomes, who identifies as male, get behind a pulpit?” If the Church has begun to distinguish between sex and gender (which by my reckoning, is a prereq for this sort of thing), do the complementarian roles apply to the sex or the gender? Of course, I am concerned that the answer to such a question will be neither at the rate we are going now. Anyway, thank you for your faithful service to the Body.
Matt, what seems like a reductio argument now will be an actual argument in five years.
There are answers that leave one’s feet on a firm foundation and one’s mouth closed and heart at rest in the truth . . . even if that truth is hard. Then there are “answers” that leave one endlessly adrift, words multiplying, and heart completely restless. Only more questions (like the kind you’ve raised here) will come.
Matt, yes. As Van Til put it (I think it was Van Til), this is integration downward into the void.The Supremes
Regarding Kavanaugh, in the words of Elizabeth Bennett, I’ve heard such conflicting accounts as to puzzle me exceedingly. He was Ann Coulter’s pick, AFA opposes him, he wasn’t in Mark Levin’s top 3, Hannity & Gingrich give him a big thumbs up, Michael Farris seems neutral (https://www.facebook.com/michael.farris.374/posts/1711074392323579).
Ginny, he wasn’t my top pick, but I still have good hope.And Now, From the Left Field Bleachers . . .
Curious your take. I’m firmly in the life begins at conception camp and believe that abortion is the destruction of a human being. But is an early-term abortion (or early miscarriage) the death of an eternal soul? My tendency is to say yes, that when a child is aborted, a human life with an eternal soul is being killed. However, what about the case of identical twins, where one life becomes two lives? Did one soul become two souls at that point? Or does God assign an eternal soul to a person at some point post-conception? Forgive the poor wording of the query. Trust in God and keep your powder dry.
Roger, not surprisingly, this has been debated at an earlier stage of church history, and there are two basic positions. The creationists argue that God creates a brand new human soul at conception, which means, in your scenario, He would have to do it again when the one child became identical twins and separated. The other position was held by the traducionists, who held that we inherit our souls from our parents the same way we inherit our bodies—some from mom and some from dad. This would mean that when the identical twins form, the same thing is happening with them as happened with all of us, only they are identical in soul as well as in body. The Lutherans tended to traducionism while the Reformed tended toward creationism. And although I am Reformed, on this one, I lean traducian.Abortion and Vaccines
As someone who has always been cautious about vaccinating my children I had heard references to vaccines being derived from aborted babies but only recently looked into it. It’s worse than that, I’m afraid—how can you continue to advocate for anything other than Christians abstaining from vaccines? See the link here.
Amanda, I looked into this issue a few years ago, and I am almost sure I wrote about it. But I can’t find it with the usual search terms, and will have to crowd source the search. Does anybody remember me writing about this?Questions About Reading
Below are a few questions from us laypeople who don’t have the time to read Church Dogmatics or the Institutes twice a year while maintaining a healthy time of prayer and meditation upon God’s Word. 1. As a student of philosophy (for the lack of a better phrase), how do you see that education forming the way you read and understand other thinkers? Where do you locate the benefits of that sort of education, and how can I best glean the writings of arcane or seemingly distant thinkers with which I should be reckoning? I’m a student of Philosophy and Economics at UT Knoxville, so this is a sort of niche personal question. You wouldn’t believe the sorts of dancing professors do to dodge questions nowadays. 2. How do you go about reading several books at the same time, with limited time, and maintaining adequate time in each while keeping the contents of the arguments straight? Or, do you? 3. How do you go about reading the current influential bits of liberal theology, modern theology, analytic theology, and all the other fields that are having a decently wide influence in the admittedly modern theological landscape? Do you reject the study of non-Reformation theology entirely, or do you spend a lot of time reading the thoughts of modern writers (both evangelical and not)? I’ve seen through a recent study of John Stott’s life and ministry that dialogue with other aspects of the faith holds vast benefits and needed challenges. In Christ,
Andrew, I would too believe the kind of dancing they are doing. I do read multiple books at a time, but usually limit myself to a few pages at a go. I plod, I chip away, and I mark things as I go. And I do not limit myself to Reformed writers, and have learned a great deal as a result.And Calvinism Last, As Usual
One commenter wrote: “And beside all that, the particular atonement is unnecessary for Calvinism’s other four points. People can still be totally depraved or persevere in salvation, for example, even if Jesus did indeed die for all mankind.” But—people cannot be totally depraved (really, REALLY TOTALLY – as in “I love my sin and would never love anything else,” dead-like Depraved) without limited atonement, because to overcome what we mean by totally depraved requires an act of God to reveal Christ, create a new love, a new creation, change the heart of stone into a heart of flesh, which change evidences itself in a decision, love for God and deeds of faith. The only other options are universalism (God reveals Christ to everyone & saves us all), or no one gets in. There are no descriptive statements in Scripture stating that we have ability to believe, but a number that say we have no ability (example: apart from me you can do no-thing . . . universal negative) Grace,
Craig, preach it.
“If you like to eat what you like to eat, this means that you are a human being. If you are morally indignant about the food choices of others, this means you are well on the way to becoming a food leftist. Leftism is that impulse that wants to establish coercion and call it community” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 139).
In the midst of a great deal of confusion on sexuality and gender (see the previous post), I am very grateful that the denomination Christ Church belongs to (the CREC) has issued a statement on one of the basic issues involved. That statement can be accessed here.
For those unfamiliar with the polity of the CREC, we are set up in such a way that permits our presiding minister to make statements on behalf of the entire denomination in between meetings of Council. The presiding ministers of our six presbyteries can do the same on behalf of their respective presbyteries. These statements are then included in the presiding minister’s report at the next meeting of presbytery or Council, at which time the statement is affirmed (or, in an extreme case, not).
We live in a generation of confusion, and we should be grateful any clarity that comes our way. This is some of that clarity.
I believe that it is past time for us to add the P to our conga line of kink. The reason we must add the P, standing in for pedophile, is that we have already in principle added the P. This already happened, with virtually no one noticing when it happened exactly. There is a difference between crossing the Mississippi in Minneapolis compared to Memphis, but you are crossing the same river in both instances.
Pedophilia has already been accepted by our culture. The only thing that remains for us to discover that this is so, and for lots of clueless evangelical cultural observers to smack their foreheads five years after the fact. Who knew? Why weren’t we told? Why weren’t we warned?Why So?
My argument is an a fortiori one, a “how much more” argument. If it is now legal for a minor to begin the process of transitioning, with that process including the use of hormone blockers to prevent the onset of puberty, and to go under the knife, which is a monumental and irreversible decision, shouldn’t they be allowed to experience sexual activity, of whatever kind they want? If a child is competent to decide to allow a 35-year-old surgeon to cut off her breasts, then why is she not competent to allow a 35-year-old surgeon to fondle them? Which is the bigger decision? Which has the greater long-term consequences?
We can rest assured that there are in fact 35-year-olds who do want to fondle them, because there always are, and we can be equally assured that there are 35-year-old surgeons—because money talks—who will want to cut them off.
Not only is this kind of iniquity legal and approved, but it also “hate” to be critical of it. The reason disagreement is deemed hatred is because this kind of hatred of God loves to project. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17).
Progressivism is progressing all right—in tighter and tighter clockwise circles, approaching the sucking nadir of our drain to the sewers, which our demented solons and poohbahs want to call the apex of our enlightenment. Now admittedly our laws are in a state of flux, and it might be a few years before everything is sorted out. Right now, in many states, if you “fondle them,” it is off to the Big House for you, while if you simply cut them off, your chances of a TED talk gig and a book deal are pretty good. So there are angularities. We should allow ourselves some leeway for such inconsistencies to get ironed out. But given the current state of our culture, which way that inconsistency is going to be reconciled is kind of obvious.
The structure of my argument is a simple one. If we have decided that 10-year-olds can walk for an hour across town, busy thoroughfares and all, then we have already settled in principle that they can walk around the block.
What kind of sense would it make if our laws did not require parental permission for permanent tattoos, but in order to get a temporary henna tattoo you needed a signed statement from both parents, and a court order from a judge?
Put yet another way, if you managed to swallow the camel, you will probably be able to get down the gnat.
I mentioned the angularities, which are a tangle of contradictions. But the lust imperative is in the process of sorting them all out. Right now, if a young high school sophomore wants to get it on with a boy in the school, the one with the acne problem, the school nurse has to give her a supply of pills, and may not inform her parents, but if she wants to do the same thing with the older man parked behind the stadium, the one with a steady job, the school nurse has to call the cops. This is because, we say, older men are capable of “grooming,” which is an insult to individuality and so on. This is not to say that grooming isn’t evil; it really is wicked. I am simply saying that our entire society is busily grooming all our teenagers, and we have not yet worked out the legal angularities. She can decide to have sex with her boyfriend, for she is her own person and quite mature. She can decide that she is actually a boy now, for she is her own person and quite mature. But if she exercises that maturity in the direction of an older man, then suddenly she is a widdle gwrl.
This is a lunatic inconsistency, and I have ten dollars here that says it will be resolved in favor of the imperialism of lust.A Brief Interlude
So you tell me. Suppose a second grader in some public school near you decided to transition to a girl. His parents were totally supportive, and wanted to throw a classroom party in order to celebrate the transition—confetti for the cutters, you might call it. Notification of the parents of the other kids in the classroom would be a total infringement of something ACLUish, and any children who were not totally supportive after the fact would be—naturally—registered as “bullies,” a category that is much harder to transition out of. You can’t just announce that you don’t identify as a bully any more.
I would like to interrupt this rant in order to say a few choice words about Christian parents who still have their children in the government schools that are promoting this savagery. And yes, I acknowledge there are still exceptions. I am not talking about you parents in rural Alabama where the school board is made up of all Baptist deacons, the principal is also a Sunday School superintendent, and the music teacher opens assemblies by leading them all in singing Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners. That particular school district is not my concern. My concern has to do with the Christian parents who are subjecting their children to these cheerleaders for mutilators in California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts, and who are doing so for the same reason that drives the mutilators to mutilate—money. Homeschooling would mean that mom has to give up her job. Private school would mean tuition. Mammon. The same thing that drives the cutters.
The fact that government schools are not facing the economic consequences of a mass exodus of Christians from their schools is a testament to the fatal compromises that have infected a large part of the church. We are complicit. If we were not complicit, none of this would be working.
And by the way, after a couple more years of this, I am even going to start attacking those red state school districts that have their football teams working through the Westminster Shorter Catechism.That Woke Thing—Another Brief Interlude
Being woke is no piecemeal thing. And so I would like to issue a cautionary word to all those Christians who are finally getting woke on racial reconciliation issues, or getting woke to the siren summons of socialism. If you are getting woke on anything, then you are just one or two wet kisses away from being woke in the wrong bed.
If you think you are just “being biblical,” then it will come as quite a shock to you to discover that all of your hermeneutical subtleties were about as sophisticated as simple Simon going to the fair. The revolution is all of a piece. The whole project stands or falls together. You can’t make the inroads of cultural Marxism disappear simply by scrunching up your eyes, and rubbing your fists in them.
So a word to the woke in any arena assigned to you by the worldlings. You should prefer being awake to being woke. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14). That is Christ who gives the light, not the dim bulbs of the secular establishment.
If you are woke at all, you are part of the parade. If you care what the world thinks of your wokeness, then you have assembled and entered a float in this cavalcade of concupiscence.Smuggling all the Extras In
So back to the argument. In our lineup of alphabet rights, there was more than a little bit of contraband in those letters that we just started to stack up together. I still remember the old puritanical days when it was just LGB. Our local university even had a gay/straight alliance, as though a simple binary categorization could possibly satisfy a demented culture with a head full of bees. What a repressive bunch we were back then. Gay/straight. Almost as bad as male/female. Then somebody, somewhere, probably the devil, added the T. Ah, the T, of course. It was just a string of letters—right?—and we want the government out of our bedrooms—right?—and so whatever T means, it must be okay. I mean, HR at Hewlett-Packard is being supportive of the T, whatever that is.
And because the sexual revolution is fissiparous and splintery, the Qs were not long in coming, and then genders started to multiply like they were straight bunny rabbits, and Facebook gave you a choice of some 71 gender options, then some genius came up with the + sign, so that we could be preemptively inclusive of whatever the hell was next, and we could do it without winding up with a string of letters that made the whole thing into a clown car revue of letters that nobody could even remember, and nobody could see the end of. Who wants to do hard time because he forgot a letter? And then be busted for a parole violation because he used the wrong pronoun?
So what is entailed in the + sign? That is the genius of it. Whatever your horny little lusts demand of it. I mean, can you imagine that + sign saying no to anybody? The little tramp.
And remember, lust is really bad at impulse control. God is the one who invented the concept of the straight and narrow. “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deut. 5:32, ESV). But the plus sign careth not if you turn aside to the right or to the left.
There is no principle of internal restraint inside that + sign. There are no brakes in that car. There are restraints, but they are all external. As long as it is possible to shock the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie will provide some friction, some resistance. But as soon as the bourgeoisie is worn down, or worn out, or off in reeducation camps for the ideologically unfit, the absence of an internal braking system will become at that time fully apparent.
The necessity of more than two sexual partners was smuggled in under the B, and the ink was hardly dry on the T before there was some poor trans-kid gracing the cover of National Geographic, and so the age of consent barrier was shattered in principle. Throw the Q and the + in there, and I have some additional candidates lined up for you.
So you have signed up for the whole stinking menagerie. LGBTQP+. Deal with it.
From widespread use of child porn, from the mainstreaming efforts of Call Me by My Name, from Roman Polanski, from the use of sexually provocative underage models for major clothing retailers, from Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey (a family values conservative) getting busted for child porn and sex trafficking, from the marketing of child sex dolls, from Clinton friend Epstein’s Lolita Express, to the a priori discrediting of those voices who consistently protested at every stage of this apostasy into sexual ruin, we can see that, apart from a spirit of repentance granted by Heaven, we are in no position to, quote, “deal with it.”But What About . . .?
Now somebody is going to come along and try the tu quoque on me—“what about you?” On more than one occasion somebody has wanted to find out more about this Douglas Wilson character and they have made the mistake of typing my name into that little Google bar. They thereupon discover that I am the purported Friend of Pedophiles, and what about Sitler and Wight, huh, huh, huh??!!
I am actually glad you brought this up because it gives me the opportunity to write about the only thing that matters in all of this inchoate mess, and that is the fact that Jesus is Lord.
But before getting to that good news, one preliminary point should be made. If I were really a friend of pedophilia, if I were genuinely an enabler of that kind of appalling behavior, then this is what you should look for in the coming years. When the P is finally openly attached to that chain of letters in an irrevocable bond, and we all come to realize that the exclusion of P from its rightful place in the alphabetic daisy chain was a grotesque violation of human dignity, and an intolerable and grievous lack of wokeness, what should happen at that point, if the slanders were correct, is that I would be hailed as a pioneer—a conservative voice who was a friend of pedophiles before it was cool.
The reason I would urge you all not to hold your breath is because that will never happen. The reason it will never happen is because the only place anybody can be a friend to any sexual sinner—pedophiles, sodomites, lesbians, fornicators, cross-dressers—is under the blood of Jesus Christ. It is true that I offer the gospel of Christ to repentant pedophiles, just as I offer the gospel of Christ to those who slander me. Christ died for sinners, and that leads to the last point.
And this is why I (and others with me) will not be hailed as heroes when we get to the next stage of our debauched wokery. In this world of ours, this world of unraveling lusts, the smell of repentance, the smell of faith, is the stench of death to those who are perishing. It is only the aroma of life to those who have been turned.The Restoration of the Image of God:
Mankind was created in the image of God, male and female (Gen. 1:27). In that image, we testify to the one who created us. When our first parents disobeyed, and fell into sin, the result was that this image was marred. It was not eradicated, but it was terribly damaged. We know that the image is still there in a fallen world because God assigns the death penalty to murderers on the basis of it (Gen. 9:6). The image of God is still borne by all the sons of men, and because of our rebellion, we hate the fact that we bear that image.
One of the central ways for expressing that hatred is found in the attempts of our sexual engineers to erase that image, and they think an effective way to do it is by erasing the binary image of male and female. And so they set to work with their knives, and they pass laws making it illegal to point out that their knives are not erasing the image, but rather just leaving scars all over it. Stop saying that, they demand, and bow down to the androgynous ambiguity.
In the meantime, Christ came to work in the opposite direction. He came to restore the image of God in man. He is the bridegroom, and the Christian church is the bride. He lived a perfect, sinless life, so that His obedience could be reckoned to us. He died on the cross so that we could be permitted to die in Him. He was buried in a tomb, so that we could descend down to death in Him. He rose from the dead so that all who believe in Him might be given the gift of rising in Him. In Him, we have salvation, and in Him we realized that salvation and the restoration of the image of God are the same thing. And this is why the Revoice conference, along with all of its defenders, fellow-travelers, and excuse-makers, are standing in the way of the cross of Christ.
The culmination of human history is found in the New Jerusalem, descending like a bride out of Heaven. And the bridegroom is standing there, hands extended, palms up. Our final eschatological and blessed hope is a binary hope. If it is not binary, it is not blessed. It is a heterosexual wedding. Can you not see?
And so we see that the only scars to be found in the renewed image of God are the scars in His hands, His feet, and His side. Every other blemish—among which we must reckon every lust—will be removed, taken away, cleansed, washed, forgiven. The bride will have no scars because her bridegroom has them all.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come” (Rev. 22:17).
We have learned from Scripture that our salvation is from all eternity, which is the reason it will extend into all eternity. In accordance with His good pleasure, the Father has chosen those who will make up the number of His elect. He did this before eternal times, before all worlds. His choice determines what will happen in the world; the world does not determine what He will decide. In line with this choice, the Son came to earth, lived a perfect sinless life, and died on the cross in order to secure the salvation of those whom the Father had chosen. This happened outside Jerusalem, two thousand years ago.
And so what does the Spirit do? As I said last week, the Father decides on the purchase, the Son lays down the payment, and the Holy Spirit takes you home. He does this in the course of your life by giving you a new heart, forgiving your sins, and washing you clean. The Spirit is the one who takes you out of the miry clay, and sets you on a rock.The Text:
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body . . . For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:23, 29–30).
We have already considered part of this passage. We see the golden chain—election > predestination > called > justified > glorified. But election occurs before ancient times, where we can’t see it. And glorification occurs at the last day, which we cannot see yet either. The two ends of your salvation lie outside human history entirely. We know that this is a reality for God’s elect because of the plain teaching of Scripture. But if you have no access to the roster of that election, or the roster of the finally redeemed, then how can you possibly know of your interest in Christ? The scriptural answer to this is the guarantee of the Spirit, as He works in your life.
The Spirit works in us, making us long for our adoption as sons, which is the redemption of the body (v. 23). This redemption of the body is the same thing as our glorification. The calling and the justifying are realities that you experience here, in this life, and you reason from that experience backward to election and forward to glorification.The Effectual Call:
What happens at the moment of the effectual call? We call this effectual because there is a distinction to be made between the kind of call that is issued, and may or may not be responded to, and the call that actually summons, actually gathers. For the first, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). For the second, consider this:
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23–24).
The Spirit effectually calls and then regenerates the one He has called. We are not born again because we repent and believe. Rather, we are justified because we repent and believe, and we repent and believe because we were born again. The Spirit moves wherever and however He pleases, and no one can build a windbreak that can hold Him out (John 3:8). Think of it this way: called > regenerated > repentant > believing > justified > sanctified. At the crown of this process, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us, making us His dwelling place, the Temple of the Spirit.Guaranteed in Blood:
What do you think of guarantees that don’t guarantee anything? The merchant gives you a lifetime guarantee, and you take your busted one in for a replacement, he shrugs and says that lifetime guarantee means the lifetime of the product. Which looks like it has expired.
Election and glorification are outside our intellectual reach. Our minds cannot extend that far. Our arms don’t reach that far. But fortunately, God does not want them to extend that far except by faith. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). If you try to unravel the secret things, they will only unravel you.
The handles by which you are to hang onto election and glorification are handles that are within your reach. Here they are. You, right now, can experience the joy of sins forgiven. You, right now, can taste the relief in how God has declared you to be not guilty. You, right now, can experience the exhilaration of standing in the presence of the Holy One of heaven, and doing so upright, and clothed in the immaculate righteousness of Jesus Christ. It comes to you here. It is the word in your ears. It is the water on your head. It is the bread on your tongue. It is the wine in your mouth. The Word is near you, in your heart and in your mouth. “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Rom. 10:8).
And this is why God speaks to us in terms of guarantee. I have used the ESV here because I wanted you to see the word guarantee, which is stronger to us than earnest. And we need to feel the strength of it. God never saved a sinner who was not completely and entirely tied off with everlasting and celestial ropes.
“and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 1:22, ESV).
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:5, ESV).
“who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:14, ESV).
And so those who have Christ now will always have Him. Those who are cleansed now will always be cleansed. Those who have tasted forgiveness in and through Jesus will, by God’s grace, never be permitted to taste anything else.
“I believe alternative food producers should be free to sell their unpasteurized milk off the back of their pick-up truck if they want to. We are all Christians here, and we all have to go to Heaven sometime” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 136).
“But to call for regulation of industry is to call for just this kind of crony capitalism, what I have elsewhere called crapitalism. This is what regulation does. This is hair of the dog that bit you reform, which is to say, no reform at all, no solution at all.” (Confessions of a Food Catholic, p. 134).
The Web Makes us Grateful for things we never knew we should be grateful for…like peekaboo tricks on parrots
strong contender for best video on the internet right here pic.twitter.com/Zu4vC0HROx
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) July 5, 2018Have I mentioned any of my ebooks lately?
- A Parliament of Pots $1.00 Select options
- Education (Chrestomathy) $1.00 Select options
- Letters on Homosexual Desire $1.00 Select options
And, as always, more here:
A Recent Interview on the Revoice Conference:
I was interviewed yesterday on the Revoice thing. Here’s the link: https://t.co/43R2Kn2hgX
— Douglas Wilson (@douglaswils) July 10, 2018Make Sure to Follow the Christ Kirk Blog
“Keeping the 8th commandment is nothing short of imitating Jesus Christ, who took nothing but our sins, and gives his life abundantly.” Ty Knighthttps://t.co/FgAJsk56ko
— Christ Church (@Christ_Kirk) July 10, 2018Sharenting about Parenting
— Canon Press (@canonpress) July 10, 2018And a Little Video Short by Some Friends . . .