Whining about Wilson

Many people in the Reformed/Calvinist community warn their flocks about Doug Wilson for his involvement in the Federal Vision. He now says he no longer identifies with the Federal Vision, and many Calvinist ministers retort that he still has the same theological views regardless of whether he identifies with the movement. Wilson says pretty much the same thing on his blog:

This statement represents a change in what I will call what I believe. It does not represent any substantial shift or sea change in the content of what I believe. I was, am, and will remain a Westminster Puritan within an irenic river of historic Reformed orthodoxy. I am making this lexical shift for the sake of clarity and communication—defining more precisely what was already there. Good fences make good neighbors, and so do good nouns and adjectives.
This represents no change in my friendships or personal commitments, or denominational relationships. All my friends are still my friends. Although I am currently the presiding minister of the CREC, this statement is in no way a statement on behalf of that body of churches. What I am saying here represents my views only. I hope that it has a good effect elsewhere, but I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else.
I trust that a proper development of doctrinal precision can be matched by a corresponding zeal for doctrinal charity. Charity and clarity should not be at odds. They even rhyme.
I would still want affirm everything I signed off on in the Federal Vision statement, but would also want to point out two things about that statement. First, it was a consensus document. I would now want to go further in some directions with that statement while other signatories would almost certainly want to go further in other directions. And that brings us to the second point. Some of those areas of divergence would be highlighted in the postscript to the statement, and the tension that exists there in that section does require some sort of resolution. I am attempting that resolution here.
In short, I believe the statement was fine as far as it went, but does not say everything that needs to be said. My proposal for a true resolution is to sign away all rights to the label federal vision. What I used to call oatmeal stout federal vision should now just be called federal vision. What I used to call amber ale federal vision should just be called . . . something else. I don’t care what you call me, just don’t call me late for dinner.

Personally, I don’t see how you can call yourself a subscriber to the Westminster Standards if you’re modifying them into a form of “covenantal Arminianism” which not Calvinism at all.

Wilson is also a post-millennialist. That, by itself, is not a huge issue since Calvinists have held many views about eschatology. BB Warfield, for example, was a post-millennialist. Those who hold this eschatological view can tend towards a triumphalism that isn’t warranted by Scripture. As an amillennialist, I think this present evil age is going to get worse as in the days of Noah. That said, Paul is certainly a triumphalist in the sense that with Christ, we’re on the winning side in the long run and we need to fix our hopes on that.

In summary, I condemn Wilson’s views of the end times and his doctrines of justification and perseverance of the saints as far as they disagree with the Westminster Standards. I think the Joint Federal Vision Statement was unnecessary if you already subscribe to the Standards. I wouldn’t attend his church because of his involvement in the Federal Vision.

With all that said, he’s completely right about the state of Reformed churches these days – particularly the PCA – and their capitulation on so many cultural issues. The PCA, in particular, is about to cave-in to the “Side B” homosexualists within its ranks as he explains here:

He’s also correct about the Reformed community’s cave-in on sex roles:

He’s right that no one in the Reformed world is leading the charge against the issues that are tearing it apart. He actually tackles these issues, provides a platform to those who also want to tackle these issues like CR Wiley, and has a plan. He fights on issues that matter to the laity. As a minister and Christian thought leader, he’s like Ullyses S. Grant as a general: definitely not a perfect man but he fights, and fights strategically.

Here’s my charge of you’re a NAPARC minister and you don’t like Wilson and won’t recommend ANY of his books or books of those associated with him: what else should I read? Where else should I turn for advice on how to be a biblical man? Why aren’t you tackling the issues of Side “B” Christianity, feminism, the Federal Vision, the loss of community and Christian worldview from your pulpit? As a general rule, the biggest cultural problems inevitably flood into the church and are the least preached-on or handled by elder boards. I’ve brought up the lack of men in church and the lack of guidance to young men and young fathers. I’ve brought up the lack of discipleship for young women who want to be good mothers. I’ve discussed how Side B Christianity was going to split the PCA. I’ve discussed the isolation experienced by many Calvinists in many parts of the country. To all these things, I’ve received shrugs or changes-of-subject. With the divorce rate in excess of 60%, men dropping out of the workforce, a lack of even Christian families, cultural collapse and looming persecution, we need leadership from the church just as the first and second century church lead the flock through difficult times. If we don’t get leadership, we’re going to do what seems right in our own eyes. Every man for himself! Is that what we want?

Say what you want about Wilson, but he at least sees the problems and is willing to tackle them. He’s not in the mushy middle – pastoral flotsam like so many ministers today who just fail to combat the liberals within their denominations until yet another collapses into liberalism.

Michael Vlahos on the weakness of empire

This is an article from 2006 by Michael Vlahos on the weakness of empire vs. the strength of republics. The United States has transitioned to empire while maintaining some of the framework of a Constitutional republic. The Constitution is eroding with the decadence of the American people which is demonstrated by our political instability. In Vlahos’ short article, he didn’t have time to discuss the 100-150 years of political instability and civil war that resulted from the collapse of the old republican order in Rome before finally stabilizing in the person of Octavian aka Caesar Augustus. Octavian had a long life and a long tenure as emperor. Succeeding emperors often had shorter tenures than many of our presidents and often died by murder. By the time of Marcus Aurelius, the political instability was marked by severe instability throughout the empire, eventually resulting in its final collapse with the sack of Rome in 420 AD. So, empires are definitely weak, unstable, and often violent. You could even argue they’re a judgment on both the rulers and the ruled.

Insurgencies already a reality in the United States

After 9/11, the massive security and intelligence apparatus that failed to predict both 9/11 and the collapse of the Soviet Union was turned on global Islamic insurgencies. After this happened – you’ll notice – Islamic insurgency because more of a problem: we’re everywhere so Islamic insurgents felt they needed to be everywhere also, particularly in hotbeds of jihad like Mesopotamia where ISIS began. We also increased Islamic immigration, setting the stage for future Islamic insurgencies in CONUS. The Bawstun Bombers and Representative Omar are just the beginning. While we were distracted overseas, domestic insurgencies sponsored by Latin America and China expanded like wildfires at home. H. John Poole explains this in two of his books written in the Aughts: Homeland Siege, and Tequila Junction. He repeated his warnings about the Chinese in Sinoland.

Given Poole’s excellent research and his popularity among military and Federal security agents who form the tip of the spear, you’d think our security apparatus would be focused on the threats he identifies. Instead, it’s focused on Dread White Males (DWMs). I think the reasons for this are several. They are discontent and therefore a source of insurgents. They also tend towards outrageous acts of leaderless insurgency which make for bad press that cause the voters to scream “WON’T SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!” They are also potentially easily-monitored using the unconstitutional bulk data collection apparatus we’ve set up over the past 17 years. Most DWMs spend a lot of time on their cell phones and on the internet. It’s their primary form of communication. You can collect intel on them without leaving your office chair.

Whatever the reasons for focusing on them, the best way to combat DWMs is by policies that shore-up the family and wages: stop forcing young men entering the work force to compete with foreigners. Make divorce rare so young men have a father at home to teach them the basics of life and young men know that when they marry and have families, their families and wealth won’t be stolen through a state-sanctioned divorce process. Married men with jobs, families, and bills can’t go a-viking. Instead of doing this, our elite – and therefore security apparatus – appear to be doubling-down on the failed policies of the past several decades which have weakened not only men and the family but also state legitimacy. Bronze Age Pervert explains this in his response to Michael Anton/Decius Publius Mus. DWMs, which where barely a problem before, will become a serious problem in the future if we keep headed in the same direction. Does the United States need more insurgents in addition to the thousands of street gangs, cartels, Triads, Islamic insurgents, and Chinese double-agents? (More on this shortly)

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Academics and men of letters tend to work off each-other. They are now discussing the prospect of a second American civil war. Bill Lind’s latest essay on the topic of Constitutional breakdown leading to civil war appeared the same day as Michael Vlahos’ essay on the same topic. Bill Lind wrote an entire book on the topic called “Victoria.” The parts about the green totalitarian state of Cascadia are more and more true every day.

The basis of our civil war is conflict between two worldviews: a nominally-Christian, rural Constitutionalist one and an urban, materialist, secular humanist one. Both sides carry heavy baggage of postmodernism and neither side would be recognizable in 1776. Most of the bad ideas leading to the mess we are in today were just invented or were just being invented and hadn’t worked their way into the marrow of our civilization yet.

Whichever side wins, the old order isn’t coming back. There were civil wars in the Roman republic before it gave way to the empire. Attempts to save the republic were made but failed. Killing Julius Caesar didn’t bring back the Republic after he declared himself dictator for life. So it is with the United States. The people and the state are too decadent for the order established in 1776 to persist, and most great powers last on average 250 years. The United States is right on the brink of its doom one-way or the other: senescence, decadence, demography, and invasion are bringing it down right before our eyes.

The implications for the dissolution of the United States are large: it is the lynchpin of the 372 year-old Westphalian nation-state order established in 1648. Its navy and army rule the world though they’re being severely challenged by an upstart China. It is the guarantor of the world order inherited from the British Empire. When the US is gone, the nation-state system is gone. It’s helpful, therefore, to see this nation-state era as just another epoch in history. There will be others until the eschaton which could come in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet.

People already sense the fracture of the United States and are working in its fissures. Vlahos explains this in a previous essay that compares gangs to the local powers that sprung up during the collapse of Rome. These local powers are who you’re going to answer to if the state and federal government can’t maintain order. In California, for example, the ability to maintain order is the subject of ridicule since the government can’t keep the fires out and the lights on.

Who do you live around? Who would take power should there be a vacuum? These are things to consider. Pretending it can’t happen won’t do you any good. Public order can break down in as little as 24 hours, as it just did in Ecuador. Panic is also unwarranted. God shatters kingdoms as a way of judging its kings and their gods. It’s not directed at you if you believe in His Son.

Was Calvin a Theocrat or a Platonist?

Post-moderns Christians read both the Bible and the Reformers with a post-modern worldview, which is not only materialist but employs a fact value distinction. Materialism is

 is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are identical with material interactions.

Post-modern Christians are materialists in the sense that they believe in Jesus, but essentially believe in “Carl Sagan’s universe,” as CR Wiley put it: the universe and matter is all there is. There is no invisible realm of angles, demons, principalities, powers or authorities.

Post-moderns also reason using a fact-value distinction, which means you can’t derive ought from is. Transgenderism results from a fact-value distinction. Transgenders reason they can be whatever gender they want and it doesn’t matter whether their biological sex is male or female. When Christians reason this way, it might go like this, “Just because there’s an invisible realm doesn’t mean I ought to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come…'”

The Reformers, like Calvin didn’t reason this way at all. They were Platonists since Plato essentially describes the Biblical cosmos consisting of a visible and invisible realm and the typological nature of the visible realm to the invisible realm which is the greater reality. The visible world will be “heavenified” at the Day of Judgment by the invisible realm purified of evil. The visible cosmos is therefore only typological in the sense that it will give way to the greater reality. Consequently, they didn’t maintain a sharp distinction between heaven and earth or the Kingdom of God and the City of Man though they affirmed both. What is done on earth matters in heaven. Jesus even said this to his disciples in Matthew 18:18. Jesus tells other parables that indicate that what we do here on earth matters in the consummated Kingdom after the last trumpet.

This carried over to their advice to civil magistrates also. Every European magistrate claimed to be a Christian, so the advice of the Reformers to many magistrates was to act like a Christian. Advice was often taken from the theocratic period of the people of God when they lived in Israel under the Mosaic economy. This is a mistake, reason many post-modern theologians since Israel was sui generis and therefore typological of the New Heavens and New Earth. “Exactly,” a Platonist would say, “There’s a correspondence between the visible and invisible. What you do in the visible realm matters in the invisible realm and what matters in the invisible realm should matter in the visible.

Blasphemy laws worked this way and Reformers advocated them reasoning, wow can you allow man to blaspheme God the invisible Creator if you punish men for speaking against a visible King? Isn’t God greater than the king? “See, Calvin was a theocrat!” argue post-modern theologians. No, he was a Platonist: the invisible realm was the greater, more important reality to keep in mind during life in the visible, present evil age. (I am, btw, against blasphemy laws since they are a tool of tyrants everywhere. Our new secular blasphemy laws are just awful. )

Herman Bavinck on Men and Women

Bavinck wrote against feminism in 1908. His work was only translated into English in 2012. He is saying the same things that CS Lewis, Chesterton, and many others from the Anglosphere wrote after him. Here we are 100 years later and feminism is still going stronger than ever. Why? If you can pit men against women and remove power from men in their own households, it’s a great tool of control, isn’t it? Think of the men who cower before the State when women take their kids and half their wealth in state-enforced divorce settlements. Unsurprisingly, men are reluctant to marry nowadays. Sex differences are themselves a law and the State legal system doesn’t like competition, so the State has every incentive to remove this competition.

Calvinists are supposed to understand this law. It’s embedded in our standards in numerous places. In fact, it’s a heinous sin to violate it. Consider WLC 150 and 151:

Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
Question 151: What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
Answer: Sins receive their aggravations, From the persons offending: if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many. From the nature and quality of the offense: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, wilfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance. From circumstances of time and place: if on the Lord’s day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

It’s against the light of nature for women to go to war or work in male professions – those which require male attributes to perform competently. This includes most of engineering, law, law enforcement, and the trades which require male strength and ingenuity. In my experience, I see few women performing these jobs competently, or at least as well as a man could. Where is the condemnation of feminism from our clergy? Mostly absent. This is not a small problem. It aims at the very heart of God’s design in Genesis 1 and 2.

Dr. Carlson on the household economy

Dr. Allan Carlson and many others have made an excellent case our collapse is due more to the Industrial Revolution than any other cause. I highly recommend People of the Abyss by Jack London to see the extreme effects of the Industrial Revolution in England. Carlson recommends government policy changes in favor of the family. I just don’t see this happening from the top-down since all the financial incentives are against it. Rather, we must figure this out how to recover household economies and governance on our own. Since it is God’s design, we can pray for God’s help and get it. More and more, I am convinced that the moribund Wesphalian nation-state system in general and the United States – its chief enforcer – in particular are against family and for international bankers and corporate entities that skim off wealth for the elite. The Peace of Westphalia was a great solution to the 30 Years’ War, but solutions of the past are the problems of the future. 1648 was about 372 years ago. Every epoch of history has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think it’s time for this one to end.

Adapting to Third World Life

California is rounding the base at Second World and heading towards Third World. “Home-base” may be defined as re-joining Mexico as a vassal of China. Third world life consists of poor infrastructure, sanitation, and access to capital with high concentrations of wealth and power among the elite and a bureaucracy that skims the rest. Given the Silicon Valley plutocratic insurgency, the $1 trillion in unfunded public pension obligations, the $100 billion in deferred road maintenance, and the resurgence of typhus and other flea-borne illnesses spread by rats in vagrant camps, you could make a credible argument that California is already there.

This week added a new dimension to our infrastructure collapse: two-day power outages affecting much of Northern California. PG&E shut down much of our power grid due to a “red flag warning” by the National Weather Service. We had high winds and low humidity for an evening which allows fire to spread easily. Of course, PG&E never shut off power during these conditions before. It’s only now that they’ve been sued into bankruptcy that they’re taking fire prevention more seriously, and only in a way that’s convenient for them. They’re not, for example, lobbying for better logging regulations nor trimming trees back from power lines nor installing lines that resist higher winds nor encouraging the public to accept acts of God more manfully. This is the other aspect of Third World life that I didn’t mention above: constant CYA and lying from public officials with promises to do better next time and credulity by a whiny, gullible public.

Our government is really a perfect reflection of us. Nowhere is this more true than California: the Land of Fruits, Nuts, and Flakes. It’s finally catching up with us as the infrastructure built by hyper-competent men in the 20th century is decaying and we don’t have the civilization to replace it. As a citizen, there’s little you can do but adapt. Third Worlders typically adapt to power outages by using a lot less power which means fewer appliances and by installing backup generators and a transfer switch to run their house off it.. How many extra appliances do you have in your house that you don’t need such as coffee makers, Keurig machines, etc? Eliminate them. Start grinding coffee at the store or at home by hand and making it in a French press with a tea kettle. What about refrigeration? I’m not sure about this but I imagine that’s the one thing you want to keep running ina power outage. Electric lighting is another great convenience of modern life. Do you have backup lanterns? What about heat? Bundle-up and increase insulation. Maybe a backup propane tank to run your heater is a good idea. People in favelas tend to cook on gas since chopping trees is a huge PITA unless you live on a rural wooded lot (do you have property?)

In the Third World, you often can’t drink the water. This means installing a reverse-osmosis purifier somewhere or buying drinking water. Lastly, if sanitation goes bad, cholera becomes epidemic. Much of the Third World seems to actually deal with this problem by at least flushing waste untreated into the ocean. Home-based solutions include composting toilets and septic systems. Beyond that, you’re digging a pit and putting an outhouse over it. There are a lot of things to do, but start by fixing what’s affecting you now and at least research what you’ll do if the other systems go out. Use the rule of 3 as a guide: you can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter (for protection from hypothermia and heat exhaustion), 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

Update: I’m going to miss the indoor plumbing as well.

The Elite are Almost Always on the Wrong Side of History

God puts his enemies in power and gives them a lot of wealth. They are elite. The elite thank God for their wealth and power by raging against Him and the goodness of His created order. Starting in 1619 at Jamestown, the elite owned white and black slaves. In New England starting in 1620, the Puritan elite were on “God’s side” but somehow this resulted in the displacement of all the Eastern tribes and the eventual ethnic cleansing of all Indians in the expanding territory of the United States for the next 250 years. Even when the Indians were given reservations and lands by the government, it was with fingers-crossed. The Elite colluded in post-Civil War era to establish Jim Crow and crush Black economic and civic power. In the first half of the 20th century, they blundered into two world wars. They embraced eugenics. They made policy that whipped everyone off the farms and into the cities. Then in the second half of the 20th century, they got us into Vietnam, made infanticide national policy, put the last nails in the coffin of the family, and made infanticide national policy. Toward the turn of the 20th century they worked on establishing homosexual marriage and, having railroaded that through the Supreme Court despite its defeat in every popular vote, they’re working on normalizing transgenderism and pedophilia. They’ve also brought back slavery in all but name.

For this, they will all answer to God sooner or later. God puts the elite in charge to rule. With great power comes great responsibility and accountability. Most elite fail to call God “Father.” Rather, they answer to their lord and master the Devil. So it was in Jesus’ day, so it is in ours.

What is standard of living?

If you’re Generation Z, you’re probably wondering if you’re going to have the same standard of living as your parents. If you’re a Millennial, for the most part, you know you’re not. Materially, you may even be better-off since the government has pushed more and more debt-backed USD into the economy which has trickled down to you. You may have used it to gain assets like property, notes, or securities. But in the back of your mind, you know the material things are no substitute for what our parents grew up with immediately post-WWII: new infrastructure, community, friendship, strong institutions, and the bonds of citizenship with other Americans. These are things that money simply can’t buy. Our parents also had much-lower costs, particularly in college tuition and health care. Then there was the post-WWII business climate bequeathed to the Boomers by the Silent Generation which practiced a noblesse oblige towards this nation and its families by developing this nation’s technological and industrial base and paying high wages. This, too, has disappeared and can’t be bought nor brought back.

In every other metric besides the economy approximated by the DJIA and the ability to consume Chinese junk, standard of living is already much lower than it was for our parents and even grandparents who lived through both the Great Depression and fought in WWII. This is cultural collapse. The good news is that the elements of standard of living that cannot be bought are also free. You can establish relationships with your neighbors by inviting them over. You can have your kids play out in the street together. You can form small towns of 2-3 extended families on rural properties just like they have in Europe. You can build your own house to your specs for cheap even without ties to the Grid. You can find ways to make money outside the Corporate GloboHomo regime. You can send your kids to Christian school or homeschool them. You can find a good church and attend. You can create your own Benedict Option.