Blogroll Category: People I don't know
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“To withdraw from the world into the Bible (escapism) or from the Bible into the world (conformity) will be fatal to our preaching.”
Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, p. 40
“This part of town had their crazy pastors too, but they mainly operated out of storefronts with names like Knee Deep in Glory Gospel Center. And some of their pastors had tattoos, but these were just tattoos that said, ‘I was in the Navy once, before I met Jesus,’ instead of the uptown ecclesiastical version that said, ‘I am desperate to accessorize my iPad.”
RE: The Crisis Regarding “Evangelical Fascism”
Posted on Monday, January 20, 2020 Well done. This “I feel” instead of “I think” is dangerous and part of the feminizing of our culture. I’m old enough to remember when feeling was no substitute for thinking but now it is much preferred.
BTW, I had to check my calendar and make sure I hadn’t gone through a worm hole into November.
David, the bad guys are trying to make it always November and never Christmas.
Today’s blog post, “The Crisis Regarding ‘Evangelical Fascism'” is timely and helpful, but I think needs to be tempered a bit by John Frame’s recent post on Gentleness. I think if we can attain to gratitude, confidence, joy, AND gentleness (where appropriate—Jesus was not ALWAYS gentle) in our fight, we’d be really well set.
Scott, thanks for the reference.
What should a faithful man do if he believes his church is falling victim to the sentiments you describe here? Well intended as the elders may be, it concerns me. Should I gather the evidence leading me to my hypothesis and present to the elders? How can I ring the alarm bell and demonstrate respect at the same time without undermining authority.
Tim, it depends on whether you are picking up a vibe, or whether there is concrete evidence. If there is evidence, then you absolutely must submit what you see to the elders. If one of the Sunday School classes is going through some awful book, then yes. Submit your concerns. But go straight to the elders — which is how you demonstrate your respect.Or Maybe Romans
I have a friend who is a marginal Catholic, he is always dealing with the fact he feels like he never measures up, and has severe depression. He is the father of two and is constantly feeling like his prayers don’t go farther than the ceiling. So I was shocked that he asked me to do a Bible study with him. My question for you, is where do I start? What would be your starting place? I was thinking 1 John, but is there a better book to study together?
Thank you in advance.
Jonathan, I would do a book like Galatians. You want something that is gospel heavy, in a high octane “no condemnation” form.Career Advice
I am a Christian in the first year of my undergrad at a state school in Georgia and I want to teach post-secondary education at a non-religious school (history or philosophy in particular). However there are some difficulties: I believe in God, I believe in the Bible as His inspired Word, and I also believe that men are men and women are women. Taking all this into consideration, is the idea of someone that I have just described teaching at a secular institution laughable? Is my pursuit of a career in higher education worth-while in any way? I would appreciate any resources or information you could point me to!
Grace and Peace,
Justin, the way things are going, the pickings are going to be pretty slim. Honestly.Postmill Resources
This is actually in regards to your “Reformed Basics” video on Amazon Prime. Where might I find some solid resources and books on postmillennialism?
Wayne, as an introduction I would recommend Keith Mathison’s Postmillennialism. A more detailed treatment would be He Shall Have Dominion by Ken Gentry. And if you wanted to make me happy, you could get my book on it, Heaven Misplaced.Permission Granted
My name is Dennis and I’m a christian blogger from Germany.
I have a question: Would it be possible that I translate some of your blog posts into German and publish the translation on my blog?
Of course, I will refer to your website and set a backlink. Thus it will improve your domain authority at Google and indicate who is the origin author.
Are you okay with that?
Dennis, absolutely. Have at it.What to Do?
Re: Rabshakeh, Chief of the Pronoun Police
Posted on Friday, November 29, 2019 So I’m reading your post thinking, “Great, Wilson is gonna tell me how to deal with this lunacy.” Like, do you use the preferred pronoun or not and in what circumstances, and if not, then how to navigate it without going to jail or being murdered.
I already have my own ideas on how to handle it if (when) the need arises. But anyway, I get to the end of your post and decide, “Rats, I guess I’m gonna have to read the link.” So I did. Not very satisfying. Please, tell us what to do.
David, sorry for leaving you hanging. I do need to write more about it. I believe that Christians can use the new proper name that someone has adopted, but that we should refuse to adjust on the nouns and pronouns. If a man changes his name to Heather, that really is his name now. But he has done nothing in God’s world, which is what the pronouns refer to. I believe that Christians should simply refuse to comply.Sweater Vest Question
I just finished the sweater vest dialogues and very much enjoyed the conversation. There were some enlightening moments for me, specifically differentiating between eternal and incarnate and how we view God the father and God the son in relationship. Thanks so much for doing these videos. I am however unaware of the “controversy” this talk came from. Can you point me to what you and James were referring to that started this?
Jordan, here is a rundown on some of it.Headcoverings Once More
A few weeks ago you received a few questions about head coverings in I Cor 11. You dismissed the commandant as either cultural or not required b/c of verse 15. But the command of the head covering was universally practiced in the early church and widely practiced across church history up until recently modern times. So if it was cultural or not actually required, why was it practiced for so long? What happened in the late 19th and 20th centuries that made not wearing acceptable? Then I read this from you today, “… the end result is that such a person finds himself seeing what nobody else wants to see, and saying things that nobody wants to hear.”
My assessment is that pastors aren’t willing to preach I Cor 11 straight down the middle, because they know there would be a roughly 0% acceptance in roughly 100% of American churches. They can’t see the text clearly because they know what it would mean for them if they became convinced that it is a command. The pastor would immediately be labeled as a legalistic and kook. But isn’t that the call of pastors? To “see what nobody else wants to see, and say things that nobody wants to hear.”
Roger, thanks. But I think you may have misunderstood me. I don’t believe it is a cultural thing at all (like foot washing). Paul teaches us that the very nature of things requires women to have their heads covered. I believe that the requirement is very much in force today.Theonomic Hard Edges
Modern Day Theonomy I’d like to know what cherem laws (Deuteronomy 13:3-11) are supposed to look like for us today alongside the idea of how only an explicitly Christian settlement can truly protect the religious liberties of a people, more so than any other religion.
In your post “Moses and the Modern World” you state . . .”to say that something in the Old Testament fell under the cherem ban does not mean that it does not apply to us today. Rather, this principle affects how the cherem penalties should be applied.”
If a Christian government were operating according to it’s full function, would the death penalty eventually be instituted for those who practiced false religions?
And if did not require death or penalize their worship of false God’s in any other way, would a Christian government eventually want to change it’s constitution to prohibit non-Christians from obtaining any position of magistrate? How else would you preserve itself?
Since all societies are inescapably theocratic, this question comes from a place of belief, not doubt. Just seeking remedy my ignorance. You’re thoughts are always a good for that.
Rope, okay, for instance. I believe that in a consistent Christian republic, church bells would be legal, but minarets would not be. At the same time, I don’t believe it would be in any way illegal to be a Muslim. The severe cherem penalties are fulfilled in Christ. But then Christ told us to disciple the nations, teaching them obedience. That part of it is done via gospel, not via sword.A Stumper
Do you know of any good books about our cultural fixation on youth / fear of aging? I’ve looked but I didn’t find anything except cutesy devotionals and self-help trash. I’m only 26 but I’m already getting upset about my receding hairline, pining after my old college days, etc. But I don’t want to become one of those pathetic 40 year old men who’s dressing like he’s 20. I want to learn how to leave behind youth and embrace manhood. Any advice or resources about this?
Ryan, sorry, no, I don’t. And that’s a shame because it would be a most helpful resource to have a book like that. The only resource I know of is Bruce Springsteen’s song Glory Days.
“We must preach and defend the gospel, but we must also teach and defend biblical sexual ethics. They are essential to a society’s health; failure to keep to them destroys a nation and a community.”
Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, p. 38
“‘And I know that if you have not yet done this this, it is not yet necessary.’ At this she bobbed her head perkily like a ponytailed girl in a biscuit commercial from 1957.”
I may as well start by giving the game away, right at the top. The central peril regarding the subject of evangelical fascism will be the mistake of coming to believe that there is such a thing.
I have been raising the alarm — and will continue to raise the alarm — about the coming attack on evangelical believers in the United States. I believe that it is coming regardless, but I also believe that if Trump is reelected, and if evangelical support continues to be a significant part of his base, then that coming assault is a near certainty. The attack will be concerted, unrelenting, and fierce. The Russian collusion story came up a dry hole, and they will have to blame somebody.
Evangelicals will be the natural (and I think inevitable) target. Look for a rash of books, documentaries, television exposes, and articles, all of them revealing what a threat evangelical fascism presents to our democracy. Apparently, that’s how one threatens true democracy as the left envisions it — by voting in elections in such a manner as to impede what the left desires. A threat to democracy is apparently what we call it when the left loses elections.
But what about that pesky word fascism? What is that doing here?What Is Fascism Anyhoo?
A number of years ago, I went to a press conference that our congressional representative was going to hold (her name was Helen Chenoweth), up on the University of Idaho campus. She was a stalwart conservative, but she was also running late, so when I got there I was confronted with the spectacle of a bunch of protesters standing around the room with signs. Nobody was doing anything, just standing there waiting. There was a young man across the way from me who, if memory serves, looked a lot like Napoleon Dynamite, and he was holding a sign that said something like “Down With Fascism.”
Well, you know how idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and there we all were, burning daylight, so I went across and stood next to him. At an appropriate moment, I leaned over and asked him, “What is fascism?” That question, truth be told, totally flummoxed him. Fascism was certainly something that he wanted to see go down, and he also apparently believed that it had something to do with Helen Chenoweth’s limited government conservatism. So much could be inferred from the fact that he was there at that event holding that particular sign. But after that point, it soon appeared that he had nothing. He eventually managed to get out the fact that it was when the government did “bad things.”
And of course this is nonsense. Bad things have been done by every form of government known to man. So what is fascism then? Fascism is when the government allows the means of production to remain in private hands, but wants authoritative control over what happens. Communists are internationalist collectivists who want the government to own the means of production. Fascists are nationalist collectivists who want an autocratic government to control the means of production. In modern parlance, we like to call such things government/business partnerships. Calling it that fixes everything. By way of contrast, limited government conservatism, of the sort that Rep. Chenoweth represented, was a mortal foe of all that kind of stuff, fascism included.
So in the coming onslaught against “evangelical fascism,” what will the term mean then? We live in a time of economic illiteracy, and so it will of course have nothing to do with what the term actually means to informed people. It will no doubt mean something like this — evangelicals will be convicted of still maintaining what everybody in the world believed until about twenty years ago, to wit, that a boy cannot become a girl just by wishing upon a star for it.
And we will at that point descend into the Orwellian linguistic maelstrom. War will be peace. Up will be down. Black will be white. Boys will be girls. Sanity will be madness. Threats to democracy will be all those recalcitrant voters expressing their unapproved opinions.An Evangelical Susceptibility
I have said, just above I said it, that there is no such thing as evangelical fascism. But there is such as thing as evangelical susceptibility to it, and this is in fact the reason why we are now confronted with an epidemic of wokeness. That particular commie trick was made as effective as it has been in certain evangelical circles by the propensity that many pious souls have had which is the desire to rush to experience and application — before finding out what the text actually says.
For a long time now, many well-meaning evangelicals have been sitting in Bible studies where someone would read the passage, and then the first question asked by the leader was something like “now what does this verse mean to you?” What could I say that might persuade the people of God to stop doing this sort of thing? Perhaps I could adjure them by the beard of Zeus. Maybe they would listen then.
From “what does this verse mean to you?” to “what does this verse mean to you as a black single mother?” or “same-sex-attracted Navajo?” or “menopausal skateboarder?” was a very short intersectional step. And because it was such a short step, a number of people took it. This was a natural extension of that misguided evangelical practice of cultivating an “experiential hermeneutic.”
The reason we have such a swamp of corruption in Washington is because there is a such a swamp of sentimentalism in the hearts of the people. “How do you feel about this?” has been made into an all-purpose substitute for careful thought. In evangelical circles, it has been accepted as a substitute for exegesis.
So we should not care what this verse means to you or to me. Our task as interpreters is to find out what the verse would have meant had you and I never been born. What does God’s Word say? Once that is determined, and only when that is determined, it is then permitted (and necessary) to inquire what we intend to do about it.
Notice that when we make this shift, we are placing ourselves under the authority of Scripture. When we rush to what we call “application” first, we are placing Scripture under the authority of our misguided experiences. But that passage meant what it meant long before you were born, which means that the meaning was objective and externally fixed and settled before the first person who ever misunderstood your feelings did so.
And this is the point of linking to C.S. Lewis’s great essay The Poison of Subjectivism. It really is poison, and those evangelicals who have been poisoned by it have ceased to be evangelicals. The first thing the poison reaches is the evangelicalism, and kills it dead. Unfortunately, it does not kill the lingo of evangelicalism. That soldiers on.The Locus of True Inerrancy
This intersectional rot, this canker of critical theory, this diseased leprosy of the mind, operates by changing how all definitions work — which is why the people who are advancing these things are getting away with it. So far. They can affirm inerrancy, for example, thus securing their continued employment at the seminary, for have they not said the magic word? And they can do this because of course the Word is inerrant after they have jiggered with all the words.
After the Word has had an intersectional hermeneutic applied to it, and has received what we like to call The Treatment, such that we can learn to ache with the horse and rider that were thrown into the sea, and can empathize with the mothers of Sisera’s men who would never see their boys return home again, and can lament the hegemonic impulses that caused Joshua to undertake his genocidal rampage through the Canaanitic First Nations, and can learn to wrestle with the fact that King David, a man after God’s own heart, was Bathsheba’s rapist, we can come to the point where we can let the healing begin. This is what all these passages mean to me, and is not my heart inerrant? Have I not confessed my complete faith in inerrancy?
The confusion is understandable. Inerrancy and inerrant me do rhyme.
In this new order of things, the god of the system is the god of the feels. If I feel that the apostle Paul said some hurtful things, then this is my inerrant filter. Anything my feelings touch are sanctified by them, and thus I can confess that Paul’s writings are inerrant, by a sort of reverse osmosis. After I have done all that I want to his words, I can then receive them as edifying to me personally, as properly understood.Not Woke Is Not the Solution
As necessary as it may be for all of us to be not woke — and it is a basic moral duty of every Christian to not be woke — that is no solution to the emotional warp spasm we see happening all around us. I will no doubt write more on this in the days to come, but let this short statement suffice for now.
Believers who are looking aghast at a world gone mad need to cultivate, in the power of the Holy Spirit, three basic attitudes. We are to fight, and we are to fight with a whole heart, but those hearts need to be filled with gratitude, confidence, and joy.
Christ died and rose so that enemies could be made into friends. The death, burial and resurrection happened two thousand years ago, transforming everything, and nothing whatever can be done to reverse it. If we have believed, then this necessitates deep gratitude for the past.
God sent His Son into the world to do this, and He did not send Him on the basis of a gambler’s hope. The world will be brought to Christ, and He will be honored, from the river to the ends of the earth. Filled with eschatological hope, we must cultivate confidence with regard to the future. God knows what He is doing, and His gospel will prevail. Confidence is fitting whenever we think about the future.
And with gratitude and confidence in a hot fusion, this will enable you to fight with joy in the present. We are to fight, and fight fiercely, but not like a racoon trapped in a dumpster.
Rather, with gratitude for the gospel of grace, and confidence in God’s promises for the future, we are to fight in a state of joy, with joy as a glittering weapon, like we were Puritan cavaliers.
This psalm is part of a matched set, together with the previous one. Both this psalm and Ps. 111 are alphabetic psalms, with each portion beginning with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. As a consequence, the two psalms are right around the same length, and there are frequent echoes between them. The theme of the former is the glory of God, and the theme of the latter is the glory of God as reflected in the life of the godly man.The Text:
“Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever . . .” (Ps. 112:1-10).Summary of the Text:
So what is the godly man like? How does God bless him? First we must define the godly man. He is the man who fears God, and this is to be understood as someone who delights in God’s commandments (v. 1). Notice that this is no servile obedience, but rather a delighted obedience. Not only will he be blessed, but so shall his descendants be—his seed shall be mighty (v. 2). His house will gather in wealth, and his righteousness will continue (v. 3). The upright, though in the darkness for a time, will see the sun rise (v. 4). He is a gracious man, compassionate, and righteous (v. 4). He is generous and open-handed. He lends (v. 5). A neighbor who borrows all the time is a perfect nuisance, but we also need to compare him to the tight-fisted guy on the other side who is just like him. He is a perfect nuisance also. But at the same time, this generous man is shrewd (v. 5). He will be a permanent fixture in God’s story. He shall not be moved forever. Remember Abraham? He lived in tents, and the story of his faithfulness will be told to the end of the world. Have you seen the pyramids? Great monuments to “we’re not even sure who that was” (v. 6). Ungodly pharaohs built durable monuments to their own anonymity. But the righteous man? Rising trouble does not trouble him. He is courageous. His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord (v. 7). His heart is established. He shall not fear, and he will see his enemies dealt with (v. 8). Again he is open-handed, not tight-fisted. Notice that this is mentioned twice. His righteousness goes on forever, and his horn shall be exalted (v. 9). This blessing that envelops the righteous man is something that grieves the wicked (v. 10). The wicked will gnash their teeth at him, for all the good it will do. Like a slug on the sidewalk, the wicked will melt away, and their only monument will be the slimy trail they leave behind.Who is this Righteous Man?
The first thing we must note, and note it firmly, is that there has only been one person who met this description perfectly—the Lord Jesus. He gathers wealth (v. 3), and Jesus is the heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). He is open-handed and generous (vv. 5, 9). The Lord is the one who brings salvation to the world in order to give it away. His heart is fixed when trouble arises (v. 7). The Lord set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51)—like flint (Is. 50:7). This description of the godly man is therefore a description of the perfect man, and we all know who the only perfect man was.The Path of Imitation
At the same time, we are called by our name of Christian to be followers of Christ. We are to imitate God (Eph. 5:1). We are to copy the Lord. We are summoned to imitate more mature believers as they imitate Christ (1 Cor. 4:16; 1 Cor. 11:1). We are to imitate the saints as their lives are described for us in Scripture (Heb. 6:12).
And as we imitate the Lord, we must also keep an eye on the astonishing promises that were given to Him. Imitating the Lord means imitating His expectations also, and His expectations were grounded firmly in what God had promised Him. These promises are ours also, but they are only ours in Christ.No Wooden Imitation
This psalm, taken by itself and interpreted in isolation, could lend itself to a “health and wealth” doctrine. But remember what you have been taught—God’s servants, the ones we are told to imitate, were saints who overcame great obstacles (Heb. 11:33-35a) and who also endured severe persecution and hardship (Heb. 11:35b-38). And remember that the Lord Jesus Himself has inherited every form of wealth that there is, but that the path to His kingdom of fabulous wealth was a path that went to the cross, wound down through the grave, descended to Hades, and up again to the throne room of the Ancient of Days. God did place universal dominion into His hands, but they were pierced hands.In Christ Himself
Now Scripture teaches us that we have been given all things because we belong to Christ, and Christ has been given all things.
“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21–22).
Think of it this way. We are the body of Christ. When He extends His hands to receive what His Father is giving Him, we are those hands. When He walks the earth to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, we are those feet.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22–23).
God has placed all things under His feet—and in the same breath He tells us that we are those feet. The Lord has inherited all the things promised in this psalm, and throughout all Scripture, and learning that this is true can be quite a heady experience. But if we are His feet, and all things are His footstool, we have to remember that the feet on that footstool are pierced feet. If the Father has placed universal dominion into His hands, and we are those hands, recall that the hands are pierced. If we are the bride of Christ, as we most certainly are, remember that the new Eve was taken from the side of Christ just as our first mother was taken from the side of Adam. If we are His bride, all that He has belongs to us—because we were taken from His pierced side (John 19:34-35).
We may glory in this, and indeed we must glory in it. But we must glory in the full story.
The Lord does not gather you here, week after week, and year after year, in order for you to watch trained professionals conduct religious activities on your behalf. You are here as singers, as communicants, as learners, as worshipers, as disciples. You are not here as mere spectators, as simple observers.
Every person here has been summoned so that together, corporately, we all might do something. And this leads naturally to the question—what is that something?
Now a simple answer (and a correct one, as far as it goes) is that we are here to give glory to God. But we need to make our statement of it a great deal stronger than this. We are here to glorify God in such a way as to reshape the world. This does not subordinate the glory of God to a lesser thing, a reshaped world, because the point of reshaping the world is to bring even greater glory to God.
So what we do here does not evaporate when we are done. It does not disappear. It is more like laying a brick than gathering bits of fog.
Or let me compare it to two musical instruments—the piano and organ. The piano is a decaying instrument. You strike the note, and the note fades. But when you press the key on an organ the note remains—it is a sustained note.
When we give glory to God, that note that we strike in this worship service does not decay. God gathers it all up and He incorporates it into His symphonic rendering of all human history. And when the final crescendo is reached, we will all finally see that whenever glory is given to God, such glory cannot fade, by definition.
How could it? Psalm 22 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Of course it is permanent. Of course it remains forever. It is the house of God. And as that house grows, it will reshape the world, to the greater glory of God.
Because our church community is growing so rapidly, it is necessary for us to remind you of certain things from time to time, and this is one such reminder. If you are new to our community, as many of you are, you may have noticed that our children worship together with us, though the entire service. Or at least through most of the service. He’s getting better.
And you may also have noticed that children (who have been baptized) partake in communion a lot earlier than what you have perhaps seen elsewhere. We don’t administer the elements to newborns in some superstitious way, as though bread and wine have innate powers. They have no magic power apart from the rite of God’s people partaking together under the authority of the Word. They do not.
But if you have a baby who is worshiping the Lord together with us, trying to say amen, raising his hands at the doxology, and so on, and he notices the tray going by, and he sees all his people partaking, and he discerns the body, then it is time for him to partake. But because this sacrament is not a household ordinance, we would request that you let one of the elders know that your child is partaking. The elders “hold the keys,” not fathers and mothers.
To those who argue that such little children, including one-year-olds, are too immature to discern the Lord’s body, our reply is simple. The body is up and down the row you are sitting in. The entire body is all around you. The body is made up of your people. And when a child wants to partake, seeing that his people are doing something that he wants to do as well, he is discerning the Lord’s body. And if you want to partake of the bread and wine, while excluding him, then you are not discerning the Lord’s body. We grant that the child is not doing this perfectly—none of us are—but he is doing. And it would be a shame if he were doing a better job of it than you are.
All who are bread should get bread.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.
A select committee in the House of Representatives yesterday took about fifteen minutes to devolve into chaos. Chairman Trevor McGuire (D.—NE) was preparing his committee on the pressing topic of range management, as they thought they were going to hear testimony from Lloyd Johnson from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). What they actually heard was testimony from Katisha Johnson from Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Johnson opened with an aggressive statement, accusing the committee of luxuriating in their white privilege, and saying that someone really ought to come in and shoot them all. For congressmen who had sought out the institutionalized ennui of agricultural committee meetings for a reason, this was a bit too much. Brigham Tanner (R. – WY), responded with an “oh, yeah?” which drew several sharp looks from his compatriots. This is what it meant, in their world, to have a hearing devolve into chaos.
Down the hall, another committee did not devolve into said chaos as Lloyd Johnson from the Bureau of Land Management showed up with three stuffed notebooks, and a thermos full of coffee. The committee was there assembled and braced, together with all the journalists who were jammed along the walls waiting for the fireworks they had been promised, only to be treated to an hour and a half of testimony on alfalfa growth rates, and rental statistics for this last year’s silage.
McGuire’s scheduling secretary regretted the error, and said that steps had been taken to ensure that it would not, indeed could not, happen again.
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once responded, when asked how he reconciled God's sovereignty with human responsibility, that he did not—he never reconciled friends. There is no tension between the authority of the Creator and the freedom of the creature.Watch on Amazon Prime Video: bit.ly/reformed-basicsPosted by Christ Church on Friday, January 10, 2020 Share with your Facebook friends! Great Resource for Churches Online Church Auditing Heartening News Out of Texas January 16, 2020 As In, Way Out Of
“We learn, for instance, that sexual intercourse belongs only in lifelong heterosexual marriage (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:5-9; 1 Thess. 4:3-5). What is more, since marriage was established at creation, these divine standards apply to everybody, not just to believers. It is impossible, therefore, to limit the faithful teaching of biblical sex ethics to the congregation; we also have to be involved in public discussion about marriage, about divorce, about the remarriage of divorced persons and about homosexual partnerships. Christians should discuss these issues thoroughly and should use the pulpit to do so clearly and bravely.”
Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, p. 38
The post And Try to Say “Bravely” Without the Voice Quavering appeared first on Blog & Mablog.
“And Bill used to play that role just fine. If Bill had been a local potentate centuries before, and his city was under siege, and he had been told by the randy and imperious besieger to ‘Surrender all your gold, and let us ravish all your women,’ Bill would have appeared above the city gates to say something along the lines of ‘Okay!’”
A fragmented worldview is one that is made up of pieces and bits, and all of it thrown into a cardboard box. When something happens that calls for a response, what you do is rummage in the box until you find something that feels right in your hand, and you pull it out. And by “feels right” in your hand, I am talking about the emotional fit. And by “emotional fit,” I mean that phrase both ways.
The end result of all such fragmented thinking is that people in the grip of it think that what they feel like doing is what they ought to be doing. But those are not the same thing at all.The Alternative
If Christ is Lord, and He is, then those who confess this truth ought to confess Him as the point of coherence, the point of integration, the place where all reality hangs together (Col. 1:17-18). There are many Christians, however, who understand the Lordship of Christ as meaning that He is Lord of the Sunday piece, or of the private devotional bit. He is the Lord of my happy thoughts, which, come to think of it, are increasingly rare.
This kind of thing is loathsome to God. It is the sort of approach that He judges.
“And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD”
1 Kings 20:28 (KJV)
In Screwtape, Lewis says that the modern person has been trained to have a dozen incompatible ideas bouncing around in his head. Lewis’s friend, Owen Barfield, once said that what Lewis thought about everything was contained in what he said about anything. Francis Schaeffer once said that the problem with modern Christians is that they think in parts and not in wholes.
But the Lordship of Christ is the warp, and absolutely everything else in your life, whatever happens, needs to be the woof
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”
1 Chron. 12:32 (KJV)
But in our day, in the new Israel, the tribe of Issachar is almost extinguished—and those that do remain alive are largely on the lam.Speaking of Understanding the Times . . .
But not being able to think in this integrated way is not an intellectual problem in the first instance. It is a moral issue, one which Jesus identifies as hypocrisy.
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” (Matthew 16:1–4).
Our usual pattern is to define hypocrisy as saying or teaching one thing and doing another. And this is how the Bible does define hypocrisy in a number of instances. For example, in one place Paul gives a classic example of this kind of thing.
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”
Romans 2:1 (KJV)
That is a problem. This person is doing the very things he condemns others for doing, and this is hypocrisy. But it is only one species of hypocrisy. The sin is larger than that. The genus contains other species.
In the passage from Matthew above, the Lord does not call them hypocrites because of private vice hidden underneath public virtue—at least not in this passage. They did have that problem too (Matt. 23), but what does He rebuke them for here? What He calls hypocrisy here is their utter inability to connect the dots. What they knew in one part of their lives (how to read the weather) they did not know in another part of their lives (reading the cultural weather).A Brief Apologetic for How I Carry On
Some want to say that I have isolated myself, that I dwell as I do on the outskirts, because I say outrageous things. And I write outlandish things. And my thoughts about this and that are outlier things. Lots of outs being used as prefixes.
In short, I am supposedly out of the mainstream.
Now there really are some fever swamps out there, and there really are people who get themselves into some weird doctrinal juju. That does happen, and it has even happened to some people in Idaho—believe it or not. But there is a difference between the weirdo who believes odd things that are out of the mainstream, and the person who is odd because he actually believes what the mainstream affirms on paper.
When someone actually believes mainstream Christian teaching, and has the temerity to connect it to everything else, the end result is that such a person finds himself seeing what nobody else wants to see, and saying things that nobody wants to hear. You find yourself arguing something like “girls are not boys, and should therefore not be treated like boys,” and you would think from the warp spasm reaction that results that you had said something genuinely outrageous—something like “girls can become boys if they close their eyes and wish for it hard enough.”
As is frequently the case, Chesterton described our generation well, and he was able to do so because he saw the seeds of it in his generation.
“We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.”
And so the question, with all the foregoing in mind, is a simple one. Why is it the case that Chesterton could tell us what was going to happen a century beforehand, and the general run of our evangelical solons cannot tell us what actually happened ten years ago?
An Honest Answer
And the answer is an unpleasant one. We have given way to worldview hypocrisy. We refuse to connect the dots because doing so might inform us that the great need of the hour was courage.
Proverbs tells us that an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips (Prov. 24:26). But we have to acknowledge that sometimes an honest answer is like a punch in the mouth.
America is in the state it is in because it is the home of millions of evangelical believers who think in bits and pieces, who try to think in pieces and bits. I have written in the recent past that evangelicals are going to be made into the scapegoat if Trump wins reelection. One of the central charges will be that we are all a pack of hypocrites.
And the honest response to this should be that we deny the charge as it is intended, but we plead guilty to the charge in a more fundamental way. We have been guilty of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. We have been piecemeal Christians for far too long. If Jesus is not the Lord of all, then He is not the Lord at all. And if He is the Lord of all, then it follows that He is the Lord of economics, the Lord of art, the Lord of music, the Lord of the Senate and the House, the Lord of peer-reviewed scientific literature, the Lord of journalism, the Lord of waste management, the Lord of foreign policy, and the Lord of absolutely everything else.
Jesus is Lord. Is that a mainstream Christian conviction or not? Asking for a friend.
This week Pastor Wilson talks the compartmentalization of hypocrites, the greek word aselgeia, and recommends the book Ball of Collusion. Don’t forget to grab his brand new book, Ploductivity at https://canonpress.com/products/ploductivity
“To teach the standards of moral conduct that adorn the gospel and insist that our hearers heed them is neither legalism nor pharisaism but plain apostolic Christianity.”
Stott, The Challenge of Preaching, p. 35
“The controversy had gone national when he had achieved the high-water mark of two running jokes on Letterman. Here was a mega-bestselling evangelical author, caught up in a sex scandal. How could he not make it to Letterman? Then somebody took the AP wire, stretched it across the road and waited for Chad to come around the corner on a motorcycle like some nondescript Nazi in pursuit of somebody important in an old WWII movie. That had happened on Thursday.”
Good stuff! You might enjoy Andrew McCarthy’s podcast. You might also enjoy Dan Bongino’s. He’s an ex-Secret Service agent and an ex-NYC cop, which gives him a unique perspective on current events. He’s been way out ahead on all he spy-gate stuff.
Rob, thank you.Ploductivity
Are you planning on making an audio version of your book about work?
Dave, yes. It is in the works, but no release date yet.Amazon Prime
So what does a guy and his wife do when they get hooked by the trailer for Man Rampant, but they live in Australia? Amazon Prime won’t let us purchase outside of the United States. Any reason you discriminate against my hard earned Australian dollars?
Peter, very sorry about that restriction. But it is Amazon’s restriction, not ours. With regard to the other things we have posted (e.g. Reformed Basics), we have overcome that licensing obstacle by posting them on our church web site in addition to Amazon Prime (christkirk.com).Protestant Stuff
Thank you for your ministry. I have been interacting with your videos on the possibility of Catholics being saved, and I think I am viewing the subject similarly to you. But does Galatians teach that the “false Gospel” of Rome would damn them? Specifically, how do you understand why the error of Rome is different from the error described in Galatians? If you have written any material on this, I would love to read/buy it. Thank you so much!
Michael, the thing we have to distinguish is false teaching and false brothers. A false brother is lost, by definition. A true brother can get tangled up by false brothers, and need to have someone like Paul write them a stern letter. I believe that false systems of doctrine do not necessitate the damnation of those entangled in them. But those people are saved in spite of the system, not because of it.
“His besetting sin was refusal to be accountable, and by sheer effort of will he managed to make his besetting sin into his supreme virtue. And no one is ever going to tell him differently.”
This is an excellent description of John Calvin and the other reformers. And why I converted to Eastern Orthodox.
I recommend Fr Josiah Trenham’s book Rock and Sand.
Russell, very sorry to hear that. But the perceived hypocrisy of others is a very poor reason to convert to anything.Fifty Ways
Your imaginary pastor is going to be meeting a lot more like Jon. The emerging ethos among many of the young will take a rejection of accountability much, much farther than this. Many have noses like bomb-sniffing dogs, and they can detect the faintest whiff of obligation, duty, or responsibility, and they’ll alert on it and start barking. I’m running into young adults who won’t enter any kind of human relationship in which they are obliged to do anything, especially if it’s on a long term basis. This is one of the engines driving the so-called “gig economy” comprised of short term jobs and no long term commitments. And this explains sexual hookups in place of marriage, radical dishonor of parents, a revulsion against the notion of having children, or even simple things like buying a house — because they will be responsible for their own taxes and repairs. It will be flat-out impossible to build a church with these folks without a conversion experience in which commitment aversion is one of the sins they’re consciously repenting of.
Steve, yes, exactly.
So far, just about every one of these Fifty Ways articles has brought specific people or situations to mind. At times its as if you’ve had a spy at our church…which is unlikely.
Andrew, yes. But this is because people sin in predictable patterns.Praying and the Trinity
In relation to your article “A Thumbnail Statement on the Trinity”, I understand the way you’ve respectfully laid out the ranking of positions within the Godhead of all three persons. What I have pondered is since listening to your sermon of “How to Worship Jesus Christ” I get a sort of vibe that the idea of praying to or worshiping any other person of the Trinity for a time is perhaps wrong. I don’t want to outright say that you were claiming outright that it is, but I did walk away from that sermon somehow concerned about times where I did admire the road to the Father (Jesus) since he is God, or asking the car (the Spirit) to keep me traveling safely since is God equally to the other two persons as well. I suppose I just found it important to hear from you on these things since it feels like if it hasn’t always just been the Father that I pray to that I am bordering on idolatry. I think of Thomas falling down before Jesus proclaiming “My Lord and my God”.
Daniel, I think the normative biblical pattern is to pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. But I also believe that it is fully appropriate to occasionally address the Son and the Spirit in prayer. Another example would be Stephen saying “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”Housekeeping
Your little book quotes and other non-article posts are no longer appearing on the main “recent posts” web page on my mobile (iOS), but they do appear when using the prev/next buttons at the bottom of posts. Configuration issue?
Andrew, yes, but a deliberate configuration issue. The full blog, as it used to appear, is now on the second page, with the most recent main articles appearing on the front page.Good Old Huey
I just wanted to thank you for quoting Huey Long. I have an autographed edition of T. Harry Williams’s great biography of him, and several essays and term papers about the Kingfish are a big part of the reason I made it through high school and undergrad, although I rarely see him cited these days.
Bernard, you are most welcome. Least I could do.Sounds FV
You were called out by name, basically as a heretic on the Aquila Report. It was in reference to FV. I am late to the game in all this and what I’ve read on FV is somewhat confusing, sort of like the crowd led by Sosthenes.
Here’s what it said: Moreover, the FV will be over when legalism is over. Until then, legalism will periodically repackage itself while retaining the two cornerstones of their position—salvation by ceremonies (circumcision, baptism, etc.) and salvation by moral works (keeping the commandments in order to earn salvation). Whenever people express either or both of these views, they are teaching legalism.
I’ve read your post on ‘FV No Mas’. Why are people not convinced?
I was also surprised to see an old article by Rachel Miller still the top 50 of 2019. I looked up your response and read it.
There seems to be such a visceral response to what you have to say. Unless I am blind, deluded and lack any discernment I cannot figure out why.
Jeff, I think it is because an error on justification would be very serious, and it is also very easy to allege, and it has worked for them so far.A Theology of Attraction
There are two gentlemen who are slowly gaining prominence for their articulation of the doctrine of patriarchy, Michael Foster and Bnonn Tennant. I was going to recommend them to you as guests for the next Man Rampant season, but it appears worlds have already collided. In their latest newsletter they mentioned they are in talks for a book being published by Canon Press.
I would love to hear your interactions with them on some of their stronger unconventional ideas of gender piety. Their podcast episode on “a theology of attraction” was some of the most interesting content I encountered last year. Really eye-opening stuff taken straight from Genesis. Link shared here for all to encounter their work.
Rope, thanks.Parenting Presbyterians
I’m a Reformed Baptist kind of fellow in a Southern Baptist church. However, boy you Presbyterians write some great stuff on parenting.
My wife and I are about halfway through our first pregnancy, and I’m trying to devour as many good parenting books as I can, including and especially 6 by you and Nancy. I quickly found out two things: I had no idea what being a father is, and you do, praise the Lord.
I write to you asking for a clarification. How does a wise man resolve the seeming tension in the responsibility of a father and mother to “fill the tanks” of their children, boys by respect and girls by love, while acknowledging that that should eventually primarily come from Christ?
Or to apply it another way, should a husband rely primarily on his wife for feeling respected, or primarily on Christ? If he finds himself craving it, where should he go?
Ross, in all such relationships, you have to think of Christ as the source. But Christ ministers His grace to us directly (through the Spirit) and through created instruments (family, friends, etc.). When your wife respects you, and this edifies you, that is not a Christless event.Prognostication
Ruh-roh! The Donald is in trouble now. Being picked as a political winner by Doug is about as big a curse as being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
DC, ah, but careful now Before the actual event, let me just say that I was very careful not to pick a winner. The most I am saying right now is that a second term for Trump is a distinct possibility. Which is why some people need to be emotionally braced.
“His moral authority was apparently stuck, like an oil-soaked T-shirt down in the sump pump, and this made it hard to control the flooding in this elder-meeting basement of his.”