Does God Create Division in a Marriage?

“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  

But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 

Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth?

I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 

For from now on five in one house will be divided:

three against two, and two against three. 

Father will be divided against son and son against father,

mother against daughter and daughter against mother,

mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law

and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Luke 12:49-53

I was reading this to my daughter the other day, and it struck me that the one major family relationship not mentioned is Husband against Wife and Wife against Husband. That got me pondering as to why this is because I do not believe it was an accident that it was omitted.

Remember when God created marriage in Genesis:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

And then in Matthew 19, Jesus says:

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

When God joins a man and a woman in marriage ~

which I believe God does supernaturally when a virgin woman has sexual intercourse with a man and therefore a woman is married to the man who gets her virginity at the moment he gets it, regardless of any civil or religious ceremonies that have or have not taken place or will or will not take place before or after ~

When God joins a man and a woman in marriage ~ God does not separate them, nor does God create division between a man and his wife or a wife and her husband.

And if her husband is an unbeliever?

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,  when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.  I Peter 3:1-2

No where does it say a Christian woman is to leave her husband if he is an unbeliever. Because her husband is the man who got her virginity … because God supernaturally married them when the man had intercourse with the virgin woman and made them one.

There is one place where a caveat is given for a Christian woman to depart from her husband. If there is reason for a Christian woman to leave her husband – I would place abuse in this category – then she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband if it becomes safe for her to do so. Other than that, a Believer is not to leave their marriage.

Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: 

A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.

And a husband is not to divorce his wife. 

But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.  

And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.  

But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. 

But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? I Corinthians 7:10-16

Superpowers, Trust, and the Value of Being a Parent

A little over a year ago we were praying for Amir and Mrs. Larijani’s baby Abigail who spent 49 days, many quite scary, in the hospital before she could come home. I am over-the-moon excited to report that this little one is doing exceptionally well! She is a very happy, well-adjusted, healthy baby girl. This Mother’s Day her Mama, Mrs. Larijani, wrote the following:

“I am a Mom because of this sweet one.

“Most days, I feel unworthy to be the one that can comfort her when she needs it. Sometimes, she gets so upset and screams so loud. She will reach or crawl frantically to me. I scoop her up and in a minute she calms right down.

“I get to be greeted by her smile each morning.She will crawl around saying “Mamamamamama” and not need anything.

“She gives me superpowers I never knew I had.

“I scan a room before leaving it to make sure she is OK.

“I can see what she is doing sometimes with a wall between us.

I can’t sleep when she is awake (unless I have the flu).

“I am learning to move faster than I have needed to move in several years.

“I can make her mad only to have her giggle 5 seconds later.

“I so often feel the weight of how much she trusts me.

“I wanted [my Husband] to have the opportunity to be a dad. I totally downplayed how important I would be.

“This one made me a mom. Her birth mother gave me the weighty gift of motherhood.

“How thankful I am for the both of them.”

I love this. I love so much about it. Her first Mother’s Day was amazing. This, her second Mother’s Day, was more reflective, and while still delightful because she’s a Mom, she’s had more time to ponder the weight of it all.

Superpowers

“She gives me superpowers I never knew I had.”

Isn’t that an amazing thing as a parent … the ‘superpowers’ our children give us? The power to calm their storm, to heal their pain, to empower them in weakness, to encourage them in anxiousness. But there’s also the power to hurt them in ways no one else can because we’re Parent. That gives us the power to teach them how to fail – hopefully with grace … how to admit our mistakes and take responsibility for our own behavior, choices, and actions … to teach them that we’re all sinners, even Mom and Dad … and how to ask for forgiveness.

Not long ago my sister, who has been jealous of me all her life, made a snide comment about me in front of my daughter. She said something like, “Your Mom always thinks she’s right.” To which my daughter immediately responded, “Actually, no. My Mom knows she’s not always right and is very humble about it.” Shut my sister up. I taught my girls from the beginning that I’m not perfect, that I make mistakes, that I am in need of forgiveness, and I’ve had to humble myself many-a-time to tell them I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness. The beautiful thing about that? My girls have always forgiven me. Wow. So very powerful.

Trust

“I so often feel the weight of how much she trusts me.”

Trust is such an incredible gift. We can easily think it’s a given … that it’s owed to us simply because we are the parent. But that is not true. Trust is a gift … a very valuable, weighty, gift. One we should show great respect and handle with great care.

My daughter recently shared with me part of a recent conversation she had with a friend. She told her friend that she’s learned over the last couple years how much I protected her and her sister as they were growing up, and she said that while she thought I was the best mom ever before she knew, now she knows I’m the best mom ever to eternity and back.

Wow. I am so eternally humbled. That is a gift. And a responsibility. I do not take it lightly, nor do I mess around with it. I respect it. I handle it with care. And I treasure it deep in my soul.

Value

“I wanted [my Husband] to have the opportunity to be a dad. I totally downplayed how important I would be.”

It is a very humbling place when we, as parents, realize the extent of our importance and value with our children. Our children are born with a Mommy-Spot and a Daddy-Spot hardwired into the very depths of their beings, of their very souls, and if we don’t fill them, they will forever remain empty, abandoned, unfulfilled … and longing. No one else can fill that spot. That is a huge responsibility,

Now that my daughters’ father has passed, and I’m all they have left, they say from time-to-time, “Mom, you cannot die! You cannot orphan me!” I assure them that I pray all the time that God would let me live a very long time just for them. Neither of our families cared to invest anything in our children, so they don’t have any aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins who care one way or another whether that they’re even alive. This is a heavy burden for me that I pray about all the time … that God would enable me to be and become the Mother they need now and tomorrow and for as long as God would let me live on this earth. I pray that God would enable me to pour so much of myself into my daughters that, when I do pass someday, they will have enough to hold them over till they join me on the other side.

That’s … wow. That’s … humbling. Me? I’m not anything exceptional. I’m normal. I blend in. I’ve not done anything out-of-the ordinary in my life. I’m average. Except … to my daughters. To them, I’m everything. They not only need me, they want me and long for me.

That’s power. That’s trust. That’s value.

That’s me.

That’s a precious, priceless gift from Holy God, and I never, ever, ever want to take it for granted or to give it a value less than what it is.

That means I have to believe in myself and my own value. And that’s … huge.

A Christian Married Woman’s Priorities

It has been stated that a married woman’s priorities should be:
1. God
2. Husband
3. Children

I think that needs to be a bit more defined in the church culture these days. Women tend to skip Husband in there thinking that God is all they need, so whatever they believe God tells them, that’s what they should do.

God never ever contradicts Himself. He never changes.

In the Bible, God says in Genesis 3:16:

To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

in Exodus 20, God says:

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

God tells the woman in Ephesians 5:22:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

In Ephesians 5:33 God tells wives:

and the wife must respect her husband.

and in 1 Peter:3, God tells wives:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Sooo … in order for a Christian married woman to honor God and put Him first, she MUST obey God’s commands which are clearly written in the Bible. If she ‘believes’ she’s ‘heard’ God speak to her anything that contradicts what is written in the Bible, then what she believes she heard is a lie.

Roundup — 12/20/2017

Is Trump a blessing or curse for evangelical conservatives?

David French, Ross Douthat, and John Zmirak discuss that here.

My take: so far, so good. In fact, for a pragmatic Republican, Trump is proving to be more conservative than Reagan, Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain, or Romney.

On abortion and guns, Trump has been sterling to date. His court picks have been very solid. On top of that, the DoJ is investigating Planned Parenthood. While prior attempts at a direct repeal of Obamacare have failed, the tax reform package–which just cleared both houses today–ends the “Individual Mandate”. Ergo, Obamacare is all but dead.

And while Trump lost in the Alabama Senate race, that had more to do with Roy Moore’s failures in the last two weeks of his campaign than anything Trump did or didn’t do. This is a small setback to Trump, as judicial confirmations will get dicey.

As for his past conduct, I find it reprehensible. OTOH, the difference is this: for all his faults, Trump is at least open about them, and–as far as we know–has not engaged in such proclivities as President.

As far as we know, he hasn’t deflowered teenage aides (like JFK did a la Mimi Alford), or kill his aide in a drunk driving accident (like Ted Kennedy did a la Mary Jo Kopechne) or ejaculate all over his interns (like Clinton did a la Monica Lewinsky) or enlist his wife to destroy the women who accused him (a la Paula Jones), or have sex with his secretary (which former VP Nelson Rockefeller was doing when he died of a heart attack), or have sex with children (which House Speaker Dennis Hastert did when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach).

Trump may be a cad, but at least he’s an honest cad, and–to his credit–seems to separate his hedonistic pursuits from his professional work. That doesn’t make him a saint, but at least it shows that he has boundaries that have served him well.

And he is doing a remarkable job going after child traffickers.

As for the Democrats, particularly those in entertainment and media, they can go sit on a hand grenade and pull the pin, and the world would be a better place. ‘

They lectured us about Trump’s “grab [women] by the pü$$y” brags, all while they were busy groping subordinates, having sex with them, and pressuring them to do other demented, perverted things. I hope the women–and even the men–on the receiving end of those actions sue the living hell out of those companies, and the executives get bankrupted.

Book Review: The Last Closet

In another life, I am very good friends with a retired Marine Corps Colonel who served as a co-van (advisor) in Vietnam; one of my great privileges has been to help him tell his story. He is an advocate for the cause of POWs and veterans with traumatic injuries including PTSD. In the course of helping him, I became enamored with the heroism of a select group of POWs: James Stockdale, Jeremiah Denton, Sam Johnson, George Coker, Harry Jenkins, George McKnight, James Mulligan, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz, and Nels Tanner.

These POWs resisted the threats, beatings, and other tortures of their captors, and–in some cases–even turned the tables on their captors. (Denton’s and Stockdale’s exploits are the stuff of legend.) They strengthened the morale of other POWs and, as such, represented a special threat to their captors. For this reason, they were isolated from everyone else.

They were the Alcatraz Gang.

They didn’t take their abuses lying down; they fought back to the extent that they were able. They would become the standard-bearers for POW conduct: Stockdale would receive the Medal of Honor; Denton and Coker would receive the Navy Cross. Denton and Johnson would even go on to political careers. Denton’s book–When Hell Was In Session–is a classic.

But what does this have to do with Moira Greyland, who–a year older than myself–never saw action in Vietnam?

Moira was every bit the badass as every member of that Alcatraz Gang.

For most of her life, Hell was in session. Her story–The Last Closet–is now in print.

Fair warning: if you have endured and form of ongoing abuse–particularly physical and/or sexual–this book can be triggering, although Moira does a splendid job of providing warnings about very difficult paragraphs.

The daughter of science fiction legend Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB) and famed numismatic expert Walter Breen (WB), Moira–on the very top of the surface–had a good life. Like her parents, she is very intelligent: a member of Mensa. She has many talents from sewing to singing to fencing and especially the harp.

OTOH, to call her home life horrific would be charitable.

While MZB and WB were very intelligent and accomplished, they were incredibly perverted: WB and MZB were extremely libertine about sex. To them, inhibitions were the result of religious persecution. MZB called marriage “an outdated screwing license.” To WB, homosexuality was the natural state, and heterosexuality was a product of religion. To them, “anything goes” meant “have sex with whomever and however”, including with children.

In WB’s case, especially with young boys.

MZB was abusive both sexually and physically, in many cases using the physical abuse to force her children to provide her with sexual gratification.

To Moira’s credit, she provides about as charitable a presentation of her parents as anyone could. They each were themselves abused sexually and physically; WB was raised by a very abusive Catholic mother, and was bipolar and a paranoid schizophrenic; MZB was herself raped by her father; WB was molested by a Catholic priest. They each had horrid upbringings that undoubtedly put them behind the 8-ball.

At the same time, Moira, also to her credit, does not excuse their abuses, and in fact lets their record speak for itself: when they were victimized by their parents, that was their parents’ sins. But when WB and MZB chose to abuse their own children–and, sadly, other children–they transcended even the depravity of their parents.

They did this in no small part because each, after enduring their abuses, rejected God. In effect, they said, “God didn’t save us from our parents, so we want no part of that deal.”

Their resultant lives–aside from their professional successes–were a complete descent into the worst of sexual depravity, leaving a trail of damaged lives. Some of their victims, broken from the abuses, would die young from suicide or other forms of self-abuse. Others would fight off various addictions and hangups for years.

Moira struggles with complex PTSD to this day, and probably will for decades to come.

(I am aware of complex PTSD because a family member on MrsLarijani’s side, also a sexual abuse survivor at the hands of her father, described that form of PTSD to me recently, as she has undergone much therapy and has even started her own initiatives to educate people in her profession about PTSD issues. And some of her reactions to certain things are similar to what I know from a friend of mine from my SBTS days who–also abused in such a fashion–experiences the same reactions.)

Here are my takes:

(1) Moira is brutally honest, even about herself. I’ve always contended that, if you’re going to recover from abuses–no matter how terrible they are–you must be willing to face the truth. She shows a lot more courage in her honesty than she credits herself. That also is probably why, in spite of suffering more than even her parents did, she is a Christian today whereas her parents rejected God altogether.

She was not perfect in her life; the abuses she endured left her with thin, marginally-existent boundaries. That led her to a level of experimentation in her teen and adult life that could have led to disaster. It also weakened her ability to see which men had her best interests in mind when they pursued her.

Thankfully, she escaped from that with a comparatively moderate level of self-inflicted baggage. I’ve seen people suffer far less than she did and make far worse decisions, and never learn from them.

(2) Moira shows, in stark, stomach-turning detail, the telos of the Sexual Revolution.

Her father, WB, was one of the early movers and shakers in NAMBLA, which promotes “man-boy love”; i.e. pederasty. They were the ones who coined the slogan “sex before eight or it’s too late”. Their view: pederasty is the purest form of love, and will prepare boys for adulthood.

Her mother was herself very “uninhibited”: she was a lesbian, but had many liaisons with men, multiple partners, etc. MZB and WB were polyamorous.

There were no sexual boundaries in her home. Nudity was expected; any expression of affinity for heterosexuality was met with hard criticism and derision; orgies were common; and MZB molested both Moira and Patrick frequently.

Every time Moira brought a boyfriend home, her father would pursue him for sex.

Her parents, obsessed with sex, dehumanized their children. Emotional support was all but nonexistent, with MZB always living on the edge of rage and WB lacking the stones to stand up to her. MZB, rather than being supportive of her daughter and complimenting her on her singing skills, was always hitting her with hard criticism. Moira could never be right about anything. WB, in contrast, was passive and often distant, chiding Moira for being a prude.

Early on, when Moira tried to report WB to police, her complaints fell on deaf ears. It was not until the late 1980s when, with the help of a counselor, she was able to successfully intervene on behalf of a child that WB was molesting.

Moira does a wonderful job articulating the whole problem with the paradigm of “consent”, even among adults, and why, even in libertine arrangements, it isn’t as cut-and-dried as the word connotes.

(3) Moira does a great job articulating the problem with gay “marriage”, and masterfully destroys the notion that sexual orientation is unchangeable. While Moira does not condemn gay people, she does confront the profound level of toxicity and dysfunction that is inherent in that lifestyle. That has rankled many in the sci-fi community who otherwise supported her, but that is her strength: Moira is, if nothing else, a truth teller.

My only criticism of her book: I wish she had shared more detail with respect to the spiritual side of her journey. She does point out that she became a Christian in her teen years, and she does a good job quoting Scripture in context in describing various situations. But other than that, not a whole lot about that side of her life.

In fairness to her, though, it could be that it’s still too early in her recovery–and the wounds are still raw–for her to do an adequate assessment of that.

—–

In this review, I do not refer to Moira by initials or even by last name; I call her by her first name. There is a purpose for that.

One of the things Moira struggles with is the depersonalization that she suffered at the hands of her abusers. She was effectively a nobody. She wasn’t allowed to have a personality; she wasn’t even allowed to have a sexual identity: her father wanted her to look neither masculine nor feminine; her mother eschewed all semblance of femininity.

I will end this with a note to Moira:

Moira, you have a name. And, given that you are in Christ, you have a gift that no one can take from you.

That is important, as your parents failed you on just about every relevant front, not just sexually. While, through their successes, they were material providers, they failed to provide a stable, loving home life that even mediocre parents provide their children. Even worse, they subjected you to the most dehumanizing of abuses, stealing from you what was never theirs to receive let alone take.

Thankfully, in Christ, you have a reward that will never perish, nor shall any man (or woman) take it from you.

Some may ask why God didn’t stop the abuses. Almost every survivor of profound hardship will wrestle with that question. There are various theological answers based on particular schools of thought, most of which don’t rise to the level of useless.

My take: your experiences, Mark’s experiences, and every experience of every one of their victims, will be a witness against them on the day of judgment. There will be a day when they will receive the payback for their atrocities. And as the saying goes about payback, it is, in fact, a Biblical truth.

On the upside: your perseverance will also be a witness on the day of judgment. Jesus Himself said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give to them eternal life. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

Your parents, having suffered a great deal in their childhoods, rejected God on account of what was taken from them. Their thinking was, in spite of their God-given intelligence, short-sighted and temporal. The results were tragic.

Your parents took a lot of things from you, including most of what was your earthly identity. You are recovering that, even if–at times–the progress comes in inches rather than miles, and takes years where you are used to accomplishing things in hours and minutes.

Having said that, the identity that matters most–the fact that Jesus has your name written on his hands–no one can take that away.

You were raised by two of Satan’s most devoted worker bees. Their abuses went far beyond sexual, although those alone were worse than horrid enough in their own right. They did everything they could to indoctrinate you in a secular paradigm that would gross out most hedonists. They tortured you like the Communists tortured American POWs in Vietnam.

But, by the grace of God, you fought back against your captors in a way that would have made James Bond Stockdale and Jeremiah Denton proud.

I know you don’t always feel like you acted with courage. But you did. In spades.

Hell was in session, and the gates of Hell lost.

You have fought valiantly, and have prevailed. There are still battles to fight, and there will always be times when those demons rear their ugly heads. But you will prevail, not because of great works you have done, but because you received Him who does great works.

Keep fighting the good fight!

The Alabama Senate Race and Roy Moore

Honestly, the issue of Roy Moore–particularly the latest allegations against him–is a tossup. I will neither condemn the man, nor will I proclaim his innocence.

In all honesty, the only people who know the truth about this are Moore and his accusers.

The one accusation that is most troubling is the allegation of his sexual proposition of a 14-year-old. (He was 32 at the time.) If true, that’s a major problem.

I would not be thrilled about his DATING a 14-year-old, even if he were chaste about it, given that he was 32 at the time. Apparently, as a man in his 30s he was drawn, at the very least, to younger women. In and of itself, that isn’t a big deal, but 14? 16? I dunno…that’s under the bubble.

(MrsLarijani is 14-and-a-half years my junior, but I was 42 and she was 28. And before her, I pursued Christina, who was almost 18 years my junior: I was 41 and she was 24. Both were grown adults–and college grads–so I saw nothing inherently wrong with either pursuit, although, I must admit that, had I made it to the point of meeting Christina’s parents, it would have been interesting: I was not much younger than her mother.)

OTOH, Moore appears to have sought the permission of the parents in his pursuits, and that is indicative of an old-school traditional-values mindset: many Christian gentlemen in the South took that approach when they were interested in potential marriage, as it was their way of saying they intended to be honorable. And the world was indeed a different place in 1977. Remember the age gap of Elvis and Priscilla. And we ARE talking the Deep South here.

Moreover, his conduct over the years–from what we know of him–does not appear to jibe with that of a predator.

Still, given the flurry of sexual assault cases in Hollywood and the Big Media, no one wants to come down defending a predator, even unwittingly. Not long ago, the Republican Speaker of the House–Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)–was a gunshot and a heart attack (Dick Cheney was VP) away from being President, and HE WAS A CHILD MOLESTER!

Do we want to go there again?

I’m not saying Roy Moore is that. I’m on the bubble, but leaning toward his innocence pending other evidence. I say that for three reasons:

(1) Timing. Roy Moore is not new to the political arena. He has been a lightning rod for a very long time. And these accusers are now surfacing a month away from a Senate election? If you smell B.S., it’s understandable.

(2) He has been steadfast in his denials. Not only has he denied the allegations, he has provided credible explanation for  his actions. Those do not appear to be the actions of a predator.

(3) His accusers, particularly the would-be 14-year-old, have their own credibility issues. At least one of them is working for the Dems. The 14-year-old has a history of accusing ministers of sexual misconduct. She has also filed for Bankruptcy not just once, not just twice, but THREE TIMES. I’ll give her a mulligan for once. I might even give her a benefit of a doubt for #2. But 3? I say that because, while we all are capable of making financial mistakes that could require Bankruptcy, there does come a point, especially with multiple filers on the Personal Bankruptcy front, that it reflects an issue of integrity. And while there are sexual predators among the clergy, I find multiple accusations from the same person against multiple ministers, to be far-fetched.

I remember being involved in a particular congregation. There was an older gal who frequented the services. She claimed to have been raped many times by multiple ministers. When she described the accounts, let’s just say we all–while otherwise empathetic with such cases–figured she was either lying or she was a seductress.

So yes, I’ve seen both sides of that coin. And while Boz Tchividjian is correct–very few child accusers make those stories up–it is also established fact that there are adult liars out there. Duke lacrosse anyone?

Could Roy Moore be guilty? Absolutely. If you cannot stomach the fact that he–being in his early 30s–dated women who were on the bubble of adulthood, I totally understand. I would probably deny permission of he asked that of my daughter and she were in that bracket.

At the same time, from what I am seeing, his actions do not appear to reflect someone who is bent on using teens to satisfy his sexual vices but rather one who simply wanted a wife with whom he could start a family.

At this point, I would give him the benefit of a doubt, pending revelation of hard evidence.

Libby Anne and the “Evangelical Response” to Weinstein

By now, almost everyone who has been awake for the last three weeks is aware of the emerging conflagration in Hollywood, which began with the exposure of longtime sexual assaults by Miramax producer Harvey Weinstein–and the ensuing coverups by everyone who knew about it.

Weinstein, as we know, is neither the only sexual predator in Hollywood, nor is he even the worst offender. (My take: they are throwing Weinstein overboard to cover for worse offenders.)

In the aftermath of Weinstein’s indecent exposure, other sex scandals in the entertainment, political, and news media have come to the surface, some of them involving high rollers on both the left (Oreskes at NPR) and right (O’Reilly at Fox).

I am all for the exposure of such matters, even in the Church. When we’re dealing with sexual assaults, it’s best to uncover the family jewels, lay them bare for the whole world to see, punish the wrongdoers, affirm and support those wronged, and re-examine what happened to help prevent it from recurring.

Having said all of that, Christians need to be measured in their assessment of Hollywood, given that there is a mother lode of such family jewels in otherwise conservative Christian circles. Many high-profile conservative figures–from C.J. Mahaney to Joshua Harris to Tom Chantry–are proving to have been complicit in the coverup of sexual abuse, or, in Chantry’s case, possibly directly guilty of said acts.

(Chantry currently awaits trial, and he is entitled to a fair trial. I would be remiss, however, if I did not acknowledge that the body of known evidence does not look encouraging for him.)

And to that extent, I think Libby Anne is generally on the money. I would, however, qualify that with these observations:

(1) In Election 2016, evangelicals, particularly conservatives who voted for Trump, had a very bad set of choices. The other alternative was a woman who built her career by covering for a man who is known to have committed such assaults.

(After all, I hope we are in agreement that when a sitting Governor pulls out his tallywhacker and tells a state employee, which is what Paula Jones was, to “come over and kiss it”, that is every bit as serious as Trump–assuming he actually acted up to his brags–“grabbing [a woman] by the pu$$y.”)

Ergo, voting for Trump does not equate to moral equivalence with Weinstein, although Hillary Clinton is in the same league as those who knowingly covered for Weinstein.

(2) I would also be careful in assessing the “evangelical response” to child sex scandals. Many evangelicals are speaking out, although not as boldly as I would like. Many are simply voting with their feet.

This is why Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) is in financially-tenuous condition today, as parishioners are fleeing the SGM ranks and many churches–formerly enthusiastic affiliates of SGM–have severed ties with SGM. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) even broke off their sweetheart deal with SGM’s “Pastor’s College” in the wake of the Nate Morales scandal.

And while Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard–and the boards that enabled them–have had their covers blown, it’s not like the evangelical world has rushed to defend them.

When they were exposed, some wondered aloud how that would impact homeschoolers. My prediction then: very little.

I was correct. While homeschoolers, many of whom relied on Gothard and Phillips for materials, didn’t go back to public schools, they are, as a group, voting with their dollars.

The market for homeschool curriculum has matured greatly over the years. Gothard and Phillips–while pioneers in homeschooling–are far from the only games in town.


Where Libby Anne is correct, however, is with respect to the Donn Ketcham scandal. This is because the Donn Ketcham scandal–which I referenced here–exposes the very same insidious dynamic in the Church that we see in Hollywood:

(1) with Ketcham, you had a medical missionary who was in high demand in impoverished Bangladesh, who attracted a large following on both sides of the pond, and whose removal would have had serious consequences. Sadly, as a result, a victim who spoke out was ostracized. Ketcham’s fellow missionaries covered for his immoralities as they told his victim, “Donn is needed here. You aren’t.”

(2) with Weinstein, you had a major movie producer who could make or break careers in Hollywood. Making him happy was often the difference between waiting on tables and making millions of dollars.

Just as with the missionaries in Bangladesh who covered for Ketcham, for everyone who wanted to make money in Hollywood, there was a benefit to keeping silent. Like Ketcham, Weinstein was needed, whereas actors and actresses–like missionary kids–were always a dime a dozen.

The takeaway for the Church?

When we compare the Ketcham affair with the Weinstein affair and others in high news and entertainment, one thing becomes obvious: in the case of Ketcham, the Church body–Association of Baptists for World Evangelism–acted exactly as the world operates.

They may disagree on worldviews, but the people involved–in Hollywood and the Church–are equally cold, calculating, cunning, and willing to throw people under the bus to look good and make money.

THAT is what needs to change.

What we see in Weinstein is exactly what we should expect from Hollywood.

At the same time, we ought to demand better from the ranks of the redeemed.

Dr. Iain Campbell: The Ugly, Sordid Truth

Fair disclosure: I had never heard of Iain Campbell until the news of his suicide broke. I do not identify as a Calvinist–although I support a Calvinist hermeneutical model while remaining skeptical of the dogmatic model–and, moreover, do not stay abreast of the celebrity pastor/theologian circuit. That is not to say I don’t like any of them–I like Piper, Keller, and Chandler, while having some differences with them–I just don’t fawn over them. They generally are good preachers, but I do not take marching orders from them either.

(As an aside: I started attending an Acts 29 church in 2008. While I was familiar with Mark Driscoll, I didn’t listen to his sermons very often. When MrsLarijani–who was not a “29er”–married me, she was more up on Driscoll’s sermons than I was. And, for the record, we each supported the expulsion of Driscoll from Acts 29, and I do not support his return to the pastorate.)


As for Campbell (IDC), Dee at TWW provides Part 1, in all its ugliness*, here. There will be more to come. I blogged on his death–a suicide–in April.

What Dee provides is not surprising to me, not in the slightest.

During my time in Anderson, IN, I became a member at Redeemer Baptist Church (RBC), which, at the time, was pastored by Hervey Lawrence (HL). HL struck me as a decent preacher who was affable. He was married and had children. I enjoyed public speaking–I did that on behalf of a number of pro-life causes at the time–and HL pushed me to get involved in teaching at RBC. In 1993, as my employment came to an end at EDS, HL was the one who pushed me to go to SBTS.

Over the ensuing years, I had two rifts with him, but we patched those up. I lived in Kentucky, but still was friends with several folks at RBC.

But in the late 1990s, HL was caught in an affair. Initially, he confessed, quickly claimed repentance, and was immediately “restored”.

A short time later, he was found to have continued the affair, and–at that point–he either resigned or was fired, I can’t remember which. His marriage would end in divorce. Can’t remember who filed what, but–at this point–that is moot.

While I was at SBTS, the local standard-bearer for conservative theology–Highview Baptist Church (HBC)–became embroiled in scandal. Their longtime pastor, Bill Hancock, who had recently run (unsuccessfully) for the Presidency of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, was exposed for being in a 5-year affair. He was subsequently fired. (I was underwhelmed with Hancock’s preaching–he talked a lot without saying much–but I can’t say that anything jumped out that said, “That man is leading an immoral life!”)

Hancock had been the “go-to” man for Baptist conservatives in the Louisville area for many years. And yet, for at least five years, he would preach on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, all while sleeping with another woman.


Why do mention these cases? Looking back, there were men and women who really enjoyed them as pastors–Lawrence and Hancock were not repulsive individuals, and they didn’t preach unsound doctrine–but, during that time, each was carrying on an affair.

Putting this in perspective: irrespective of what you think, if you are a Christian with any basic understanding of Scripture, having an affair requires a lot of work. It requires a lust that grows to overwhelm every alarm from Scripture. Taking off your clothes for someone else requires forethought. It requires purposeful effort. Heck, sex with your own spouse requires work–yes, it’s fun, but it is rarely “spontaneous”.

By the time a pastor disrobes for another woman, he’s thrown all that is holy and important under the bus. The spiritual erosion is disastrous. At this point, he is not qualified to preach to–or counsel–a pack of dogs.


Iain Campbell (IDC) was doing this for virtually his entire ministerial life. It was not simply one affair, although that would have been bad enough. What Dee provides is a glimpse into the utter depths to which he had sunk for a very long time. And, during that time, he became a revered pastor and representative of the Reformed tradition. The IDC who wrote books, contributed to popular ministries such as Ligonier, and preached on Sundays and at conferences worldwide, was a carousing pervert given to bizarre fetishes.

In the Church community, many held him up as their standard-bearer. But outside the pulpit, he had more in common with Hugh Hefner than with Charles Spurgeon.

When confronted by one of the husbands of a mistress, he apologized but did not resign his position. After he confessed to his wife and family, he refused to resign or confess publicly.

He refused to apologize to his wife, to whom he had been unfaithful for most–if not all–of their marriage.

Ultimately, he tore a page from the life of Judas and strangled himself to death.


Like Judas, there is no pretty way to assess IDC’s life and death. Not only did he commit suicide, he did so, like Judas, under a cloud of egregious sin. Rather than stick around–like Peter did–and receive forgiveness after feeling the brunt of the sin and shame, he chose an attempt at self-atonement. (That never works.)

IDC, like Judas, was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Like Judas, he had the best of Biblical teaching at his disposal; like Judas, he knew the Scriptures well; like Judas, he exchanged the truth for a lie at various critical points in his life. The same exchange that drove Judas to first betray Jesus and then attempt to atone for his sins via suicide, drove IDC to commit serial adultery and ultimately suicide.

The Scriptures are not encouraging with respect to where Judas is right now. And while I make no definitive judgment on IDC, I really do not envy him right now.  While God will have mercy on those he will have mercy, I would not want to face the King of Kings knowing the last thing I did on this earth was commit murder.


As for his friends and colleagues who seek to rationalize his infidelities or even his suicide: stop. Just. Stop.

His wife is not responsible for his sins; IDC is.

I don’t care if she was Jezebel II; IDC, not his wife, is responsible for his sins.

She did not drive him to suicide; HE drove himself there.

HE was the one who–confronted with his sin–rejected the grace of repentance, lamenting his damned reputation rather than his offense. Contrast that with King David. Don’t believe me? Read Psalm 51.

Make no mistake: IDC was a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

If you have books written by him, I suggest one of two things:

(a) dispose of them, as you have every reason to cast anything he said under suspicion, even though most of what he said was probably sound;

or

(b) keep them, allowing them to be an example of what evil looks like.


I have harped in this before, but–for those new to this–I’ll say it again….

We often expect evil people to “look” evil.

We expect the child molester to look like Peewee Herman or some creepy pervert in a trench coat. In reality, the child molester is the affable family man whom everyone finds likeable, charismatic, and trustworthy. By the time the cops catch up to him, his trail of victims is at least a mile long.

We expect the philandering pastor to be a peddler of bizarre doctrine. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Tony Alamo, and others like them peddled false if not weird doctrines. In point of fact, though, most of them, in interpersonal terms, were affable and likeable.

The same was true of the two pastors I mentioned: Hervey Lawrence and Bill Hancock. They were each well-liked both inside and outside the church. Hervey, in his day job, was well-liked. Neither, to my recollections, preached unsound doctrine. They, however, failed to practice the otherwise sound doctrine that they preached.

Hancock, according to those I knew who knew him, repented and returned to ministry eventually. (Not saying I endorse his return, though.) He recently died.

I cannot, however, speak one way or another about Lawrence.

The issue here, is what you DO when you are confronted with the premise that people you love are embroiled in hideous, evil, immoral practices, or–worse–commit suicide when confronted with their sin.

Do you attempt to justify or mitigate the severity of their actions by blaming others?

Do you attempt to mitigate the severity of their actions by appealing to what you think is his (or her) character?

Or do you grieve while accepting the possibility that the worst implications could very well be true?

Do you allow the facts–once they are known–to speak for themselves?


*When I say “ugliness”, it’s not directed at Dee’s writing, but rather IDC’s life.

How to Keep People Away from Your Church

In this age where we don’t want to offend anyone, the church has taken a back-off stance. But they’ve taken it too far.

Quite a few times I’ve been asked about my kids from people in churches we have visited. I have told them to contact my girls. Develop a relationship with them. Give them a reason to want to come to your church. Have any of them done this? No. Not one. Not even one text message.

If you’re a church person, and you want people to come to your church … here’s what you do not want to do:

~ Do NOT try to build a relationship with that person.

~ Do NOT try to contact them in any form.

~ Expect them to always want to come to you regardless of how you treat them.

~ Think that making the services more Relevant is more important that making an effort to build a relationship with them.

~ Believe that your church is so good that no effort is necessary, that people should want to come to your church simply because it’s just that good.

Having a Bible teaching church is priority. I don’t think there are many of them around anymore, but I could be wrong because I haven’t been to them all. Next to that, it’s the relationship. I’m not talking going all BFF crazy with every person who walks in the door of your church. I’m simply talking about the basics. Just sending a letter or note when they visit, sending a text message every several weeks or months ~ that’s almost disrespectful, dutiful. And if you’re not willing to put forth any effort, then don’t ask what you can do to encourage someone to come to your church.

Nothing to See Here

Ever since Hillary Clinton went down in flames, the leftard brigade has been gaslighting you into thinking that this was all because “Russia hacked the election”, or “Trump colluded with Russia to undermine Hillary.”

But remember, folks, as Vox Day often points out: Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) always project.

(The Democrats actually have a long, storied history of colluding with Russia, as they actively sought the help of then-Russian Premier Yuri Andropov to undermine President Reagan during the 1984 election cycle. And THAT was during the height of the Cold War.)

In point of fact, a DNC staffer, who was murdered last year just steps away from his home in Washington D.C., was a key source for WikiLeaks.

The murder of Seth Rich is very likely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign.