Seek the truth
Listen to the truth
Teach the truth
Love the truth
Abide by the truth
And defend the truth
Unto death. —John Huss
Here’s a question we received this week that is worth thinking about:
I can’t figure this out… Why is such a large portion of the Reformed community left-leaning politically? The inconsistent ideology and blatant anti-Christian policy would seem to drive Reformed Christians away from their platform, but it just doesn’t for whatever reason.
In one sense, the answer is complex, and we’re still working on getting a handle on it.
But in another sense, it is very simple: The Reformed community is simply not fundamentally different from any other Christian community today, and all these are all full of fools who don’t fear God.
We intend to come back to analyze why this is at another time. But for now, suffice to say that it’s true.
It is a mistake to equate right doctrine with right living. It is far better to be a man after God’s own heart than to have a head filled with the right knowledge, but a heart that is far from Him. Knowing that faith is a gift doesn’t mean you have actually been given that gift. Knowing that God is sovereign doesn’t mean you live like it. Strong doctrine doesn’t automatically equate to strong character. In fact, often it is a way of compensating for weak character. There can be great pridefulness in it. Just because someone has received much, and will therefore have much required of him (Luke 12:48), doesn’t mean that he will meet that standard.
Scripture says that the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. There are many corollaries to this:
At the far end of the scale, the fool says in his heart, there is no God. Many Reformed people are simply not Christians. They are unbelievers who like the way that Reformed doctrines make them feel smart, superior to other people. They fancy that they’re not as dumb as atheists, for instance, or those silly Arminians. (But the atheists and the Arminians at least have the benefit of honesty about their feelings toward God.) Naturally the loyalty of Reformed goats is ultimately to the world, as they are not sons of God, but sons of the devil. So to see them leaning left is no surprise at all.
Related to this, there is also a cult of Athens that is much worse in the Reformed world: the desire to be admired as intellectual, to be respected in academia, to focus on heady doctrine and theology. This effeminate attitude is pervasive among Reformed leaders. But pride and vainglory are a species of the fear of man, a leverage point that the world can use: “you can have our respect as an intellectual as long as your theology remains theoretical.” A good example of this is the radical Two Kingdoms theology out of Westminster Seminary in Escondido, where ministers have for years been trying to convince the Reformed world of patent falsehoods, like that “king of kings” isn’t a political title, and that separation of church and state actually means separation of God’s law and state. Another is the rank antinomianism that has seeped deep into the Reformed world, such that if you quote the Reformers themselves on the place of works in salvation, you can generally expect to be accused of the Galatian heresy.
Average Reformed pew-sitters are people like the rest of us, so they are inclined to base their convictions on what they perceive to be generally acceptable, on peer pressure, on the desire not to be cool-shamed, on unspoken social rules, on their own feelings, etc. Even though in principle they might agree that their convictions should be based on God’s word, that is not their practice. Plenty of such folks have been made fools by their ministers. Is the average Reformed Christian generally better-educated or more intelligent than the average Joe? Doubtful. So think about someone you know who is decidedly average, and now consider the fact that half the people in the world are less able than that—including the Reformed ones. Such people are no less valuable than smart ones, and they really are made to image God, and are thus capable of great things—but they require more teaching, training, and discipleship than autodidactic people. (Being an autodidact carries its own dangers and sinful tendencies, including the tendency to assume superiority over average folks. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.) But what kind of teaching, training, discipleship do most people in the Reformed world get? Well, see our previous comment on Reformed ministers. It is primarily antinomianism, which treats faith as functionally dead, and God’s law as purely negative, rather than as something that Christians should love and obey. It is primarily pietism, which treats the gospel as a personal message of moral restoration, rather than a cosmic message of the triumph of God’s chosen King, and his claim on every soul in every job in every moment. Most Reformed folks, like everyone else, simply don’t believe, in practice, that Scripture is really is sufficient to completely equipping us for righteousness and every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)—including in the civil sphere.
There are also plenty of Reformed folks who, whether regenerate or not, are the kind of people are wise in their own eyes. There is a way that seems right to them, and they don’t want to hear otherwise. When Paul warns Timothy of people who will turn aside, seeking to have their ears scratched, he didn’t say, “Except for those with a high view of God’s sovereignty and a good understanding of covenant theology.” Being a fool is not fundamentally a head problem; it is a heart problem. Fools don’t fear God, and so they don’t take his law seriously, or work diligently to apply it to their lives.
Finally, many Reformed folks are privately much more right-leaning than you might expect, but are simply cowards about it. We say this sympathetically, knowing the pressures that vocal opposition to the left entail—even within the church—but there is no way to sugarcoat it. “If he shrink back, My soul hath no pleasure in him.” The church, both in the Reformed world and without, is primarily filled with invertebrates. They have convinced themselves that it’s not worth the trouble to say anything right now, that it’s better for “unity” and “peace” to go along to get along, that they shouldn’t “damage their witness,” that it is a sin to be unmannerly or mean. They manage to dress up their cowardice in the language of love, and thus accommodate the leftward lean without too much pricking of the conscience. Mostly they have convinced themselves that it isn’t “yet” time to fight; that they need to maintain their good relationships so that they have some social capital still when the time finally does come. But capitulation is habit-forming, and it is literally insane to think that if you won’t stand firm even when the pressure is small, that you will magically grow a backbone when the pressure becomes great.
In short, many Reformed people love the world, many Reformed people are stupid and ignorant because they have been made dull by their ministers, many Reformed people don’t understand, or don’t believe in, the sufficiency of Scripture, and many Reformed people are cowards.
A lot fathers do the dishes because they want to serve their wives, but won’t serve her by disciplining the kids. Those dudes are failed men.
A lot of fathers discipline their kids because they want to be rulers of their houses, but won’t help with the dishes because it’s beneath them. Those dudes are failed men too.
The wise husband knows…
- when to push
- when to pull
- when to persuade
- when to command
- when to give space
- when to close the distance
- when to listen
- when to speak up
He is a craftsman who understands human nature—including feminine nature—and what to use from his well-stocked toolbox.
Our podcast is approaching a quarter million downloads. If you didn’t know we had a podcast, check it out:
Michael and his wife are starting a YouTube show on marriage and family. What topics would you like to see them cover? Reply back and let us know.
Some lessons from the Nostradamus School of Pastoral Care:
- Pass off wild hunches as deep insights into people’s lives, by making little of the times you were wrong, and much of when you were even kinda right.
- Maintain your guru-like mystique by telling people that you know what this is “really” about, even if you don’t. Keep their heads spinning.
- Constantly reference an occasion of failure in someone’s past as if it is paradigmatic of their entire life—even if it’s from decades ago.
According to Padma Lakshmi (some kind of blue checkmark Top Chef host or something):
If you can’t accept your child for who they’re telling you they are, then you have no business being a parent.
This was the catalyst Michael needed to pour out his soul in confession on Twitter. I have reproduced his soul-wrenching testimony here without editing:
Here is how I came to terms with my son’s newfound identity… We always knew my four year old was different from his brothers. They would play football. He’d prance around the house. They would play in the dirt. He’d always be cleaning himself.
My wife accepted it long before I did. He always connected with her better than he did with me. His behavior made me feel like a failure as a man and a father. It created what felt like was an impassable gulf between us. What did I do? Where did I go wrong?
How could I help my son change? I sat down with him. You know, to have a father-son sort of talk. He looked at me and said, “I’m a cat. Mmmeeeooooowww!” I passionately pleaded with him, “No, son! You are boy! Not a cat. This has to stop.” He cried and ran to his mother.
My wife told me I should just love him for who he is. I told her his actions weren’t normal or natural. We needed to get him help. We took him to a family counselor. I thought for sure she’d be able to help him. But she made me see that my son wasn’t the problem. I was.
My son had “Species Dysphoria.” Species Dysphoria is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe people who experience significant dysphoria (discontent) with the species they were assigned at birth and/or the roles associated with that species.
My four year old was a feline trapped in a human body. He looked like a little boy but on the inside was actually a kitten. I went home and embraced my son. I told him he was ppuuurrrfect the way he was. And we’d accept him as the cat he longed to be.
Hormone therapy and corrective surgery has helped him in his appearance. But kids still make fun of him. They pull his whiskers out and claim he isn’t a real cat. Society has a long way to go. The Civil Rights movement must move forward.
Who are we to say that biology limits a man from being a cat?
Who are we to judge?
Join with me in the fight.
The revolution starts meow.
New content this week: #
The recording of Michael’s talk at the 21 Convention—including Q&A—is now online. He really swings for the fences. A helpful primer on understanding how we got here as a society, and how to get back: From Bastard to Patriarch
Michael appeared on the Renaissance of Men Podcast: A Joyful Swagger. Some highlights:
- How he went from being an atheist and a near-high school dropout to a Christian and a pastor
- Jordan Peterson, his relationship to Christianity, and how 12 Rules for Life compares and contrasts with Bronze Age Mindset
- The words Justified, Convicted, and Propitiation, and how they illustrate God’s lawful nature and Jesus’ role in liberating us from the natural consequences of our actions
- Masculinity in film, including some favorite examples over the past several decades
- The best books about masculinity and Christianity
Jon Harris had to put a content warning on his interview with Michael for the Conversations That Matter podcast:
Michael Foster On Being A Man
@NJames99 on Gab had a good insight about how feminism is powered by flattery:
Biden said ‘women can do anything a man do, just as well, if not better.’
That last phrase, ‘if not better,’ should be a dead giveaway that he’s just lying. Absolutely no one believes it.
If it were true, it would mean men are just an inferior version of women. But the more obvious (and correct) answer is that it’s pure flattery. He doesn’t believe it, and neither do you.
Some people like to be lied to.
Warrior Poet Society has a good little video out. We might quibble with some details, but the central premise is bang on:
The Tyranny Test | Are We Still Free?
Aaron Renn has a good podcast out on the importance of not being tossed about by the waves of editorial fads. Don’t let your agenda be set by others with their own agendas, and don’t let your sense of the importance of things be dictated by the fact that someone wanted you to focus on it:
Don’t Be A Slave To The News Cycle
Dominion Dating is offering half-price membership rewards for April. This is a project we have been personally impressed with, and believe it is greatly needed. If you’re single, check it out:
You can also catch our interview with its founder, Brandon Durham, on Developing a True Mission.
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael