Volume 9, Issue 2: Sharpening Iron
Sure, after all the hype in our last issue that the next would be our first bridal issue, we flaked and postponed it. At the very last moment we realized that it actually had far too many blank pages and would only qualify as a "leaflet" under the new United Nations regulations (97_567.89). So, we hope to get to it next time.
Please note the following address of our opponent in last issue's "Disputatio." Like all our opponents, he's terribly confused and evil, yet we had agreed to include it, but forgot to, due to our lack of brain vitamins: Address: Weisman Publications, 11751 W. River Hills Dr. #107, Burnsville, MN 55337; Internet: www.seek-info.com
MOTHER AND DAMNATION
The Mother Kirk issue was refreshing. It's good to hear arguments for church unity that don't end up in either schismatics or doctrine-watering.
A note in response to "Doctrine 101: Jesus Saves. . . ." My understanding of the salvation issue is simply stated. Salvation is always God's doing; damnation is always man's doing.
St. Louis, MO
EVANGELICAL SPINNING TOPS
Thanks so much for a great issue on Mother Kirk. I consider folks like you, CURE, and the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals to be doing a great and necessary work in the way you point out the peccadilloes of Evangelical Amerika. It has always amazed me how many Evangelicals reject the writings of the church fathers, tradition, and creedalism on the grounds that they are extrabiblical, only to embrace the very Catholicism that they once rejected, when they come to realize that their `feelgood' Christianity has no objective base. . . .
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
. . . Dude, your genius is lustrously clear: your IQ must hover in the neighborhood of at least 101 or 102. . . .
I know that this is exactly the sort of response you must cherish. Clearly, you aim to incite. . . .
You purport to have some basis in biblical belief. Consider, though, that the New Testament carries one overriding theme: love. . . . It speaks most often of unity, healing, acceptance, forgiveness.
But you find it funny to ridicule, to impose your judgment on others. Whenever you might find yourself in the Bible again (old book, 66 chapters, black cover--surely you've heard of it), take a gander at Romans 2:1.
So I hope you're enjoying yourself. If so, just know that it's at the expense of your playing a role in the great-white-evangelical-right-turn-people-away-from-God movement.
Lighten up. Love a little. Extend a little grace. Do a little good for the Kingdom. Best regards, someone who's concerned. . . .
Actually, our I.Q. is around 150, if you allow us to count three editors at a time.
You can take our names off your mailing list. You won't be getting any support from us, as I'm sure you would take exception to the filthy lucre that enters this household by virtue of my being a female physician and the primary breadwinner in the family. I've had enough of your inbred publication with its pseudo-intellectual banter, snotty condescending tone and prominent pictures of women in subservient roles, all embarrassingly displayed under the name of Christ. However did you get our names in the first place?
Dr. and Mr. Loren Barron
We'd be happy to remove your name, but Idaho law requires that we have a note from your husband.
GROSS CARICATURE OF BARROW
Reg Barrow's original piece said: "From the quotes that I have seen here [on Knox Ring] and elsewhere taken from Frame's new book. . . ," clearly indicating he had read some of Frame. One does not need to read all of the Koran to condemn it publicly; likewise, a few quotes from Frame readily show he has abandoned, and is attacking, the very regulative principle he claims to uphold.
You have sullied Barrow's reputation, presenting to your readership a gross caricature of his character and scholastic aptitude; thereby violating the ninth commandment, which forbids "all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours . . . . [and] giving false evidence" (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 145).
Finally, your readers should note that Doug Wilson is not a "classical Protestant" in his doctrine of worship. Indeed, he has set himself squarely against such classical Protestants as Calvin, Knox, Rutherford, Gillespie, Henderson, Baillie, the Westminster Assembly, the entire church of Scotland at the time of that Assembly, and John Owen, to name only a few.
For Christ's Crown and Covenant,
Larry Birger, Jr.
We'd be happy to name some others: Luther, Tyndale, Zwingli, Bucer, Cranmer, and more.
Since I have long prayed that you [D. Wilson] (and the others who write for Credenda/Agenda) would come up to the attainments (especially the corporate attainments which still bind the moral person of the visible church in its lawfully constituted form [cf. Calvin's Institutes 4.2.12]) of the second (or covenanted) Reformation (Phil. 3:16), it is with some sadness that I read the comments found in your "Cave of Adullam" (Vol. 8, No. 4). Here you critique my comments from Knox Ring regarding the spiritual harlotry promoted by John Frame in his heretical new book on worship. In this column your writer twice claims that before I had made my comments regarding Frame, I hadn't read his book; and like a court jester (Eph. 5:4, Prov. 26:17-19) you title this diatribe "Great Experiments in Telepathy."
. . . What you claim (that I had gained "all" my insight on Frame "without reading the book!") is not true and thus you have violated the ninth commandment. I openly and freely admit that at the time of the writing of my letter (which can be viewed at: http://www.idontkno. ab.ca/books/newslett/actualnls/FrameExc.htm) I had not finished reading Frame's complete book--though I had read portions of it. Furthermore, large (and the most "damnable") sections of Frame's book, which I had not yet read personally at that time, had already been read to me over the phone. Surely you recognize that most people can smell a cesspool long before they step in it and that one need not read every page of every heretic before speaking against heresy. Thus, it should be obvious, that contrary to the comments in your column, I was already thoroughly familiar with the most salient points of the book relative to the critique that I was making. On this point you have clearly and publicly slandered my name and therefore (after numerous unsuccessful private attempts) I now, publicly, call you to repentance.
Sadly, even if you now do what is right and publicly repent and retract your false statements, this will still be a blow to your credibility among your more thoughtful readers. I know I will have a hard time trusting anything that you say in your "Cave of Adullam" again. But, on the other hand, by publicly repenting you will also be showing genuine integrity, thus restoring some of the lost confidence and trust that this incident has engendered among your readers and your friends. . . .
I had expected better from Credenda/Agenda (and have in the past and still continue to pray for it)--but it seems that the love of idols (like "Watts whims," i.e. uninspired man-made "hymns") can be very distracting to those taken captive by them--for this is not the first time that I have been slandered in conjunction with my defense of Reformation worship (Matt. 5:11). . . .
Our readers should know that in our extensive private correspondence, Credenda offered to print a retraction of our piece if Reg would estimate for us how much of Frame's book he had read at the time he made his comments about Frame. If it was a significant amount, we would be happy to stand corrected. But alas. . . .
I thought I'd briefly respond to two letters in the last Credenda/Agenda (Volume 9/Number1).
Mr. Jeffrey Yelton finds the proposition that "Jesus is our regulative Principle" to be vague. Fair enough; by itself it may be. What it means is that the stringency applied to the sacrificial orders of the Old administrations of the covenant are found in the New Testament applied to the doctrine of the Person and Work of our Savior, not to worship forms.
Mr. Yelton's letter is then followed by one from a man whom I delight to claim as one of my fathers in the Reformed faith, G.I. Williamson. Both Mr. Williamson and Mr. Yelton have difficulty accepting the proposition that the New Testament church is the Christian Synagogue. Their positions, however, mark a significant advance in this debate, for now all parties seem to recognize that while the so-called Regulative Principle of Worship governed tabernacle/temple worship, the RPW was not and is not the principle governing synagogue worship.
Mr. Williamson implicitly concedes that if the church were in fact the synagogue of Christ, the question of the admission of a different principle governing New Testament worship would move closer to settlement. But he insists that "the body of Christ is not synagogue but temple."
Surely, each gathered church admits of temple qualities (1 Cor. 3:16ff). There is, without dispute, that profound sense in which a gathered church is "temple" since "God is in her midst."
But that fact is quite beside the point. For each individual Christian is also a temple (1 Cor. 6:19), as is the church universal (Eph. 2:21, 22), as is the place where our Lord is seated now (Heb. 9 &10), as is our Lord Himself in a unique way (Jn. 1:14; 2:19-21).
What is to the point is the fact (not merely recognized, but cherished by Presbyterians for generations) that the church as an organization was founded according to the synagogue pattern, not the temple. Rome, to be sure, may think otherwise, but we are sons of the Reformation and see things differently.
Mr. Williamson says, "the urgent need today is to either . . . remove [the Regulative Principle] from Reformed Confessions or return to it `strictly.'" If it, as interpreted by "strict RP's," is indeed in the confessions, I vote that it be removed. Though I agree that the worship practiced in strict RPW churches is in accord with Scripture, I do not find the RPW itself to be Scriptural. At best, it is a helpful tradition. At worst, it is a cenotaph of the Schoolmen planted in the Reformed garden.
I was given a copy of Credenda/Agenda . . . the other day, and I was surprised. Finally a Christian publication prints a (true) story about black Confederates. I very much appreciated the memorial, articles, and pictures of these brave southerners in gray, butternut, etc. After over seven years of research and one year, two months, since publication, the truth is finally getting out.
Our culture sees everything as political. Political correctness is supposed to affect our every thought, attitude, and action. Infused in the rhetoric is the politics of guilt, pity, and shame.
To be in favor of supporting the cause of the Confederacy, or to state that the antebellum south was a Christian but not a perfect culture is to be labeled as a racist and insensitive--extremist. A corollary to this politicization is the strategy of assaulting one's opponent as not just wrong but morally evil.
The key issues fought out in the 1860s are still with us today. Disguised by "change agents" but whose character has never changed. I appreciate your presentation of the truth. Continue to "fight the good fight."
NOT SO FAST . . .
In your "True Defiance" Issue, you give the unsung heroes their due, but leave some troubling questions unanswered:
How can it be that of the 300 blacks who attended Dabney's church, only 3 came back after the war? Am I to believe as Dabney suggests that the unity of the body of Christ was completely destroyed by the Union Army and a handful of spiteful, northern zealots? Or were they preaching "another gospel" down there in Dixie?
Did the loyalty of black southerners run to the same percentages as the loyalty of black Christians? The infamous Sherman reported that "ten miles of freed slaves" followed one of his marauding columns back to union lines.
And what about those kind southern gentlemen? Were they Christian gentlemen or were they "whited sepulchers" like the Pharisees of Jesus' day? Chris Schlect tells us that "General Nathan Bedford Forrest was notoriously good to his slaves." Of course! (He was notoriously good to his horses too.) Count the dead at Fort Pillow before you put "That Devil Forrest!" on a pedestal.
The apostasy of the 19th century northern church is well documented. but if Abraham Lincoln was God's "Cyrus"--a tool to be used and discarded--then the south cannot escape the sobriquet of "Adulterous Bride." For your analysis to serve the church well, it must dwell, not on the sins of Cyrus, but on the sins of the whore. . . . Here's a check to help you get started on a follow-up issue to "True Defiance"--maybe you could call it "True Repentance."
I was surprised at the lack of Biblical advice in your article to husbands in difficult marriage situations--"Not Where She Should Be," vol. 9, no. 1, pg. 14. You seem to assume a command that I have not read anywhere in Scripture. Where does God say: "Husbands, rule your wives"? God's command is: "Husbands, love your wives" (Eph. 5:25). God's command is: "Husbands, be considerate with your wives and treat them with respect" (1 Pet. 3:7). The husband's example is to be our Lord Jesus Christ, who said He came not to be served, but to serve. I suggest that the hypothetical husband in your article get off his knees (where he is praying for his wife's sin of sloth), get off his high horse (where he is ordering her to get the dishes done), and pick up a dish towel to help her! May God help any petty tyrant as this. Your article might be useful on how to get more work out of a slave, but it has nothing to do with the covenant of marriage, in which a man promises to love, honour, and cherish his wife--for better or worse.
Doug Wilson replies:
My article was not directed to ordinary situations, but to husbands in extreme situations; not sheets changed a day late, but kids sleeping in urine soaked sheets that are never changed. Regarding ordinary situations Mr. Ganz is quite right.
PAUL HILL RESPONDS
Your Anvil article "Moving Beyond `Pro-Life'" [vol. 8, no. 5] was thought provoking.
I agree that "we must take up arms to defend God's covenant children (Neh. 4:14)." But I beg to differ with "we ought not take up arms . . . to defend the lives of Molech worshippers and their children."
Galatians 6:10 says, "So then while we have oppportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." If, as you grant, we keep the royal law by feeding the stranger when he is hungry and clothing him when he is naked, should we not also defend him when he is attacked as vigorously as we would defend ourselves? When confronted with the duties of the second great commandment, if the question is, who is my neighbor?, doesn't the story of the good Samaritan teach that all our fellow men are our neighbors?
Doug Wilson and Doug Jones reply:
The issue is not whether abortionists deserve to die; they most certainly do. The issue is whether vigilante Christians should take up arms to defend the emerging Molech state in a way that leaves their own covenant families unprotected and unprovided for. For details of the argument, we refer our readers to the original editorial.