Her Submission is Her Glory

In the previous post on wives and women to be in submission I noted that there is much more instruction in the Bible about the order of Christian households than there is about the administration of baptism or the Lord’s Supper. Six passages were listed within the post, but I left out one in particular; a bit of “meat on the bone” that I hoped a commenter might gnaw off.

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 [1]

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

With this passage St. Paul blows out of the water the nonsense idea of “mutual submission” that so many pretend to glean from Ephesians 5:21.

My next post will probably be about my own error in applying 1 Cor. 11:15, but what is important in this post is:

  1. Understand that there is no excuse for the supposed “confusion” about who is supposed to submit to whom, and how.[2]
  2. Understand that a wife’s submission to God through Christ and through her husband (But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”) is supposed to be conspicuous–utterly obvious; not just a so-called “matter of the heart”. The sign and evidence of her submission is her glory! Without it, she has no glory.
  3. If your church teaches Biblical Inerrancy, but it does not teach overt wifely submission and head coverings, why–in light of 1 Cor. 11:16–would you believe it is a church of God?

[1] The ESV translators footnote that the words wife and husband used in the passage could be translated as woman and man, depending on the context, and that that word for angels could be translated as messengers or observers

[2] The linked post of Sheila Gregoire’s blog would be hilarious if she represented only a fringe element of Christian culture. She actually writes of those who quote 1 Peter 3 on the submission of women that they are ignoring the entire rest of the Bible, and that Peter’s instruction that wives act like Sarah is only in reference to Sarah when she followed Abraham out of Ur!

My drive-by commenters believe this verse clearly says that women should always obey their husbands no matter what. However, the readers of Peter’s letter would never have thought that. First, they would have known that Peter didn’t think this; but second, even if Peter had wanted to tell his readers to do so, he would not have used Sarah as the example. Sarah’s life was hardly the picture of a wife obeying her husband in everything!

Instead, when contemporary Jewish readers encountered Peter’s command that women emulate Sarah, who obeyed Abraham “rather than giving way to fear”, that last part would have given them the context of what Peter meant. They would have known that it was not a command to obey in all circumstances. Instead, they would take that bit of the verse–“rather than giving way to fear”–and hearken back to to the time that Sarah DID obey, even when it was scary.

And that was the time that Sarah followed Abraham out of Ur, because God called him. That was a pivotal time in Jewish history (really the beginning of Jewish history). It would make sense that Peter would remind his readers of it. And the message they would take? When God is speaking, you follow by faith. It’s that simple.

They would never think that it meant that women should not confront their husbands’ sin, or that women should forget God’s will and only follow their husband’s will, because that would go against everything they knew of Sarah, and everything they knew of Peter. [Emphasis in original text]

 

Advertisements

Though, the Best Retort is to Live It

Doc H. asks:

“How could I respond to someones claims that the sanctifying work in Eph 5:26-27 is exclusively the work of Christ towards the church AND towards the wife and that the only action of the husband is to love? Wouldn’t the So (“houtos”) in 28 imply that 26-27 show what type of love the husband is supposed to show?”

I’ve never heard this “interpretation” of Ephesians 5:26-27 before, but it does not surprise me that some hold it. People will twist the Scriptures in all sorts of ways to destroy men’s headship when they can, and obfuscate it when they can’t. The good news is we are blessed with all of Scripture.

Colossians 3:18-19

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

1 Peter 3:1-7

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Titus 2:3-5

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

1 Timothy 2:8-15

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Corinthians 14:33-35

33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

There are, in Scripture, few points of so much agreement compared to the order of Christian households. Not to put too fine a point on it, but: There is significantly less instruction on baptism, or administration of the Lord’s Supper, than there is for wives to be in submission to their husbands, and for husbands to love and manage (not quite the same thing as “lead”) their wives.

The last thing I would point out is: So what? So what does that mean to say the husband is called “only to love” while Christ performs the sanctifying work on the husband’s wife? Ephesians 5:22-24 is explicit:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

This goes back to the very post which prompted Doc H.’s question: Husbands are not called to ALWAYS lead, but wives are called to ALWAYS obey. Sometimes the head may give a subordinate the lead because that is the prudent thing to do. He does not give up the rule. He may take back the lead at his pleasure, and the subordinate is only right if she gives it up in submission. A wife is to submit and obey her husband.

CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible

Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed.

The wisdom here is simple, but deep and powerful. If she follows then she is able to fulfill her God-given design. Through Christ she is empowered to be godly even if her husband is a fool; even if he tries to lose her. Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”


Of course there are times where a spouse’s behavior is so wicked and odious that individuals should take prudential action under the guidance of secular and religious authorities. That’s not the topic today.

Real Men Don’t Impede Her Desires

Men will set expectations for other men. They will say things like, “You’re not a real man if you don’t know how to change your own oil.”, or,  “A real man knows how to harvest game from the field.”, or, “Real men help women first.” They will hold such expectations on a regular basis, and they will invent new ones as needed to make a point about the importance of this thing or the other.

Men will also set limitations for other men. They might say, “A real men would never wear a dress.”, or, “Real men don’t play video games for hours.”, or, “A real man never hits a woman.” I trust you understand the dynamic of expectations and limitations to which I refer. They know that a man is a man. What they mean by real is good; good men will do these things and won’t do those things.

Now, once in a great while a man will set a very general expectation on women. If he is a bold Christian he might say, “The Bible says wives should submit to their husbands.” It’s hard to imagine a safer statement than that. The man himself hasn’t actually placed any expectation on women.  Yet even then he will surround it with quibbles and bromides and caveats and exceptions so that the plain and unoffensive statement has no practical meaning whatsoever; lest some man out there start to actually believe what the Bible says. But at least he made some vague attempt at something that might look like an expectation if it is seen at some distance in a dark alley on a moonless night.

What he will never, ever, do is say, “Women shouldn’t  _________.” You can fill in the blank as you like. It doesn’t matter because whatever it is that you think women shouldn’t do won’t actually be said. You can think of the manliest activity, and ultimately a modern man will reason that a woman must not be forbid to do it because she wants to, and because he refuses to stand in her way. Only jerks do that, they say; only a jerks makes a women forgo something she wants to do. He will marshal all forces of technology or rule available to ensure that she gets to try whatever she wants. Worse: He can’t explain why.

He can explain that he doesn’t allow his son to wear skirts even just once a year because it is unseemly for a man to wear women’s clothes. But he cannot explain why he lets his daughter wear a ballcap, jeans, and sneakers as routine. If his son is given a doll he will throw it out, but if his daughter is given a football then the municipal Pee-Wee league needs to give her a shot on the field. If his son picks up knitting needles his father will sneer and deride, but if his daughter picks up a gun then she will be able to defend herself. If his son puts on shorts he will be corrected to dress respectfully. If his daughter dresses like a slut she is merely expressing herself, and what man would dare to make a concrete pronouncement on modesty anyway? Who does he think he is?

They can’t draw a line anywhere around women; what women are, what women aren’t;  what women are to do, what women are not to do.Any man who can find a reason to let her have her way (any reason will do) is an enlightened hero. But any man who forgets himself and tries to put real material expectations and limitations on a woman is scorned as a misogynist and belittled as a wimp who can’t handle women. He will be told it’s not his place to say what his wife or daughter–or wives and daughters in general–are to do or not do.

This is one of the themes which I have come back to over and over. I talked about it with modest dress in sports, cowgirl crossdressing, pioneer women, women roaming malls and churches in various states of disrobe… Modern Christian men simply will not stomach the idea of actual, real, discriminating expectations and limitations on women; of telling them, “No.”

 

Stop Being Distracted

Taken (only slightly edited) from several comments on Dalrock’s post, “First They Came for the Bald Men”.


The movement of which Antifa, commies, Democrats, etc. all belong isn’t anymore essentially Left than its opponents are Nazis. The essence of the movement to which these groups belong–what they have in common–is a hatred of three things:

1) Christianity
2) Men
3) Whites

The order of hatred depends on with which faction of the movement one deals, but the three are essential. For example: Feminism hates men first, then Christianity, then whites. Black Lives Matter orders it Whites, Christianity, then men, I think. Sometimes, as in the case of Antifa, more than one plank is of equal weight. Antifa hates America as a whole because it recognizes that America is fundamentally a work of white Christian men.

It’s not autonomous vs. totalitarian, nor is it globalists vs. nationalists, nor is it politically correct speech vs. free speech. They are not FOR anything in particular. They exist to be AGAINST things. Specifically, they are against

1) Christianity
2) Men
3) Whites

Some are fine–and even for–capitalism in China, India, wherever–as long as the benefits are not for Christian white men. They love to welcome Muslim mid-easterners, but the Christian mid-easterners are served right to be killed and exiled. There is no rhyme or reason to these affiliated groups except what they are against. Leftism has nothing to do with this movement.

They don’t know or care what Left means.
They don’t know or care what Nazi means.
They don’t know or care what Globalism means.
They don’t know or care what Right means.
They don’t know or care what Fascist means.
They don’t know or care what Nationalism means.
They don’t know or care what Communist means.

The words, to them, contain no meaning whatsoever. Those things are just words that dead white oppressors made up to separate the real people of color from each other and their belongings. They appropriate and use these terms as various forms of subversive weaponry: dog whistles, cloaks, and diversions.

Most people, people who describe themselves as Conservative, or even merely “normal” just don’t accept what they actually see. And the self-styled Conservative press are trained to look for ideological underpinnings and try to perceive the “end game”. There aren’t any. It’s just envy and hatred. The average American refuses to believe that and so they theorize imaginary ideologies and end games for BLM, Antifa, Feminists, and so forth.

Envy and hate aren’t ideological points. They are of the spiritual realm. It’s a spiritual war; not an ideological war, nor an ethnic war.

Provoked Judgment: The Pareto Principle of Manliness and Femininity

Sexual dimorphism in humans is real. There are sex differences and they cannot be overcome except that they are eliminated altogether; the result of which is less than human. But it is not as pronounced as in other mammals. One poignant example is that no other male mammal spends as much time caring for offspring as human males. Maladjusted and bitter feminists gripe about leaving women behind to care for the children, but men are the most tenderhearted males in the kingdom. A man is more womanly than a lion is lioness-ly. He’s also more godly; since women are also made in His image. The inverse is also true.

The division of male authority and female desire is not absolute. Men have desire too, and women also have authority. For the sake of ease of memory, think of it as another example of the Pareto Principle: 80% of a man’s decision-making is in reference to his authority, and 20% is influenced by his desires. The reciprocal is true for women: 80% of choices follow desire and considerations of authority make up 20% of their M.O.

I’m far from the first to recognize this: Taoism’s yin-yang concept is apt. The difference between my view and the Taoist view is, I think, that the yin-yang is egalitarian, and my view is patriarchal. The circularity of the yin-yang symbol is fundamentally egalitarian; each side chasing the other and going nowhere. I submit that there is an order: Authority–judgment–should rule desire even as desire provokes judgment, and that we should desire to go up, towards God and His authority.

An Example of the Difference Between Deception and Capitulation

For Donal Graeme, Moose Norseman, and Deep Strength; who are thinking through how men and women differently go astray.

Helen wakes and gets ready to see Tom; whom she desires. She does as she has been taught women do to get a man’s attention; what every woman she knows does. She shaves her legs. To her face she applies concealer, powder, lipstick, rouge, mascara, and eyeshadow. She films her dyed and highlighted hair with potions, and blow-dries it into a shape that defies its natural tendencies. Hose tightens and disguises her cellulite, while heels sculpt her legs and buttocks to appear longer and more pert. She puts on a bra that bulks her breasts before lifting and separating them. She tops it all with a frock which gives the appearance of bigger breasts, a smaller waist, and longer legs, and a spritzes herself with perfume to make herself smell different. She is pleased with herself, and thinks this is good for her and Tom; especially if it makes him love her.

Tom sees Helen. He is Texan and crass, and so he says to himself, “I believe I’d drink her dirty bath water.” Of course he believes nothing of the kind. It’s a funny thing to say (in a crass way, of course) because Tom knows drinking dirty bath water is foul, and wrong; just like fornicating with Helen. It’s an admittance that he’d give up his wisdom and respect for a chance to indulge himself in her deception, and her in her arrogance. He is not deceived about the nature of the event. He’s making a choice in full knowledge of what is right and wrong.

Did Helen deceive Tom with her appearance? Somewhat. He is aware it’s a show, and that it’s a show of an available woman. But keep in mind: In order to deceive Tom into believing she is more beautiful than she is, Helen has invested more than two hours in a campaign against her natural state. It is an elaborate and precarious setup which could not survive a washing. If Tom is fooled, then it is because the preparation was so intense.

To Helen he says, “What a lovely-looking lady”; whom he is not loving, and who is not a lady.

She falls immediately for his two-second line.

“The Difference between Gold and Pigs”, or “Mennonites in the Mist”

Some people are laboring under the delusion that there exists a continuum upon which modesty slides; that on one end there is attractiveness, and on the other end there is immodesty, and on the other end there is unattractiveness, and on the other end there is gaudiness… If you have figured out that we have too many ends for one continuum, then keep reading this post.

Modesty is first and foremost about holiness. Holiness is about keeping things separate that do not belong together, and keeping things together that do; to set aside for a particular purpose.

Immodesty isn’t about being “too attractive”. Bare breasts aren’t immodest because men find them alluring. Bare breasts are immodest because they don’t belong to anyone but the owner and her husband; who are one flesh. Don’t show what cannot be shared, and what you do show be prepared to lose. Likewise, modesty isn’t about being “not too attractive”. A nude fat guy with seeping wounds all over his body is not modest either; no matter how unattractive he is.

Modesty is on its own continuum, and attractiveness on its. They are separate things, and the second is much more subjective than the first in the eyes of those on this side of the dark glass. The author of Proverbs 11 said it this way:

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman without discretion.

Neither diminishes or even modifies the other. Gold is worth its weight whether it adorns a pig or a king, and a pig is an unclean beast no matter how much gold it drags through the mud. It only seems like the pig and the gold are modifying each other if we walk by sight rather than by faith. The faithful one distinguishes (again the idea of setting aside; making discrete) To the pure all things are pure: pigs, breasts, gold…everything. Even Mennonites!

Mom in a Shoe linked to some clothes

2010 sized3

that others[1] labelled “uncool”, “unattractive”, “weird”, and so forth. Whatever else one may say about them: One must admit that Mennonite women dress as their fathers chose, and not as their own natures tempted them. If you cannot say one other good thing about them, then you can say–must say–that they are obedient in their dress, even if nothing else. If modesty is of a kind with set apart, and separate, and pure, and obedient, then the dress of Mennonite women should be seen as–at the very least–women in contrast to the bedazzled pigs of modern society.

Do not put them down. Do not put down the clothing of any modestly dressed women if you want to see more modesty in general. You can encourage, or suggest, or model..but what does it mean to call a woman “uncool” in a world full of pigs? It’s foolishness. Say nothing if you cannot say speak good of good things. From the same Proverb:

With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
    but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
    and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
    but a man of understanding remains silent.
13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
    but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Besides: Look at the picture. Those are four beautiful girls. Appearances can certainly be deceiving[2], but judging by appearances: Any young man would be lucky to gain the favor of those girls’ father, marry one, and then in holiness dress her up for himself however he would like.

[1] These people are mostly young, and had the poor judgment to be born in the modern era just like the rest of us. I don’t blame them for being ignorant, but here it will be challenged. PancakeLoach was one of them, and she’s now engaged in a multi-comment, multi-post rant against me which is totally incoherent. This is what she choose to do when I pointed out that she is among those who are sneering at Mennonites. This has seemed better to her than to say, “My bad”, “point taken”, or something similar.

[2]For all I know they might not be family, and that photo could have been taken right before they modeled bikinis for another company. 

The Sacrifice of the Canaanites

When a grim post at a downstairs blog such as mine gets hits from the ironically-named upstairs blog “What’s Wrong with the World”[1], I wonder if, in some small way, it is not a bit less wrong now than it was the day before.

If you follow the link to the comment and from there back the the original post, you’ll find another link to the actual argument under discussion. She writes:

I have no solution to the slaughter of the Canaanites. It’s that simple. I don’t know. As far as I can tell, the text of Old Testament Scripture indicates that God ordered the Israelites to kill children down to and including infants, and this is a problem. (Women as well, but at least one can conjecture that maybe all of the people from the age of reason on up had committed crimes worthy of death. Not the babies, though.) Prima facie, this is in direct conflict with the commandment to do no murder. Any attempt to answer the problem by saying that original sin means that no one is really innocent proves far too much, for it removes the rationale for regarding the killing of infants generally as murder.

There is no particular textual reason to take the problem passages to have been added later. It helps a little bit if one is not a strict inerrantist. But even then, what one is left with, at most, is something like, “Maybe God didn’t really order that, but my only reason for thinking that is that, as far as I can tell, it is completely incompatible with divine goodness. I’ll hope to have this clarified when I get to heaven.” One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

And then she writes a whole bunch more that you don’t have to read because I’ve already quoted authoress McGrew sending herself astray…which I’ll come back to.

Let me state right away that the text is clear: The slaughter of the Canaanites was commanded by God. It’s not a translation issue. It’s not a euphemism. It’s not a parable. It’s not a myth. It is history, and the command to slaughter gentile (and Israelite) infants, children, and women is encountered multiple times in the OT testament. Here is the command from God; when the Israelites are instructed in how to conquer Canaan.

10 “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11 And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14 but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lordyour God has given you. 15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16 But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17 but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, 18 that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God.

“Devote them to destruction”; as in “sacrifice them”. This passage has the context of an offering about it. The “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a holy endeavor to its core, and in all its facets. It is a direct command from God. It cleanses the land of abominations. It preserves the Israelites from abomination. It performs the spiritual alchemy of turning abominable meat into a pure sacrifice worthy of the Most High God and gives even them a place to honor Him. It is also an opportunity for the Israelites to participate in God’s plan, and share in His holiness. I think even referring to is as the “Slaughter of the Canaanites” is a slander. I call it the Sacrifice of the Canaanites.

And it requires the shedding of innocent blood.

Children, especially infants, are innocent. However; they are not perfect. They are not sinless. They are not selfless, or even aware of others. They are not worthy and they have no worthy works. Innocent means they are not accountable; not that they do not offend, or that they are good. They are also signs of innocence, and that important for us and for our instruction.

It is upon this last that McGrew’s consternation turns. She thinks that if she knows anything, then she knows that infants are innocent. Alongside that, she thinks she knows that killing innocents is murder and always wrong; unless it is God himself actually doing the killing.[2] Lydia McGrew is wrong, and what follows is how we know she wrong.

She wrote:

One piece of good news, as far as it goes, is that there is nothing about the slaughter of the Canaanite children that is theologically necessary to the truth of Christianity. Unlike, say, the historical existence of Adam, the killing of Canaanite children is not woven into the warp and woof of Christian theology, doctrine, or ethics. Very much to the contrary.

It is bad to punish innocents, but punishment is not what God commanded. He commanded they be sacrificed. We’ll see this again later when the Lord of Hosts sends His only begotten Son to live as Himself and as us, and explicitly to be sacrificed to satisfy His own holiness, and for us and our salvation.

“Yes, but they were babies–”

Let me explain that you should shut up. Jesus is more than innocent. He is the Christ who chose to take on mere flesh. He is the only begotten Son of God. Unlike an untested infant, Jesus was tested in the refiner’s fire and found flawless, and a worker of many and marvelous good works; perfect as His Father in Heaven is perfect.  He is unique, flawless, utterly selfless, and very God of very God.

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to think about that? To not only think, but prepare the world for it? Since at least Adam, God has been planning  and moving to send His Son to be sacrificed to reconcile an adulterous people…humiliatingly, naked, painfully, on a cross, by Gentiles at the request of His own flesh and blood because they were cowards. That is INFINITELY more strange, startling, and inexplicable than the Sacrifice of the Canaanites by the Israelites.

Fretting over children sacrificed to a just and holy God who is the Lord of life is a mental walk in the park by comparison. Those who cannot see that have made idols of the flesh and their own wooden theologies, doctrines, ethics. That is to say: They’ve made idols of themselves, and that is very easy for us to do.

It gets back to the eye being the lamp of the whole body, and if our eye is dark (say, by being blasé about the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ) then the darkness in our body will be great. We will stupidly disconnect Him from other stories of sacrificed innocents, and from ourselves who are made innocent by His sacrifice, yet still die.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Weren’t they family; the descendants of Noah who alone survived God’s extinction of all other human life? Are innocents not valuable that God would abandon them in death? Isn’t taking up your cross doing what is distasteful and painful to follow God? Was Jesus not deadly serious (even when not literal) when He spoke of a sword? This is the lamp that should light your eyes.

There’s a lot more to say on the topic. I haven’t even touched on God having a soft-spot for those who intercede but which the Jews consistently refused to do, or the real reasons the Israelites balked at killing, or why they didn’t balk when they did kill, or why the prohibition against murder is more about the murderer being separated from God than the murdered being separated from life…lots of stuff.

[1]By the bye: The answer is “us”.

[2]Without getting too derailed: Suffice it to say that this is a foolish train of thought headed for God is Unjust station, and carrying murderous angels as passengers; among others.

Sheepwolves

There’s a concept that’s popular among right-leaning people, [1], and it goes like this:

There are three kinds of people in the world: Sheep (who cannot defend themselves), Wolves (who use violence to prey on the sheep) and Sheepdogs (who use violence against the wolves to protect the sheep).

People will tell you that they like this metaphor because sheepdogs do good work; that the sheepdog’s willingness to meet wolves with wolf-like violence is an expression of its true love for the sheep. To those people, the sheepdog is special because–like wolves–it has claws, fangs, strength, speed, and that it delights in the hunt, and in the kill; yet the sheepdog is on the side of the sheep, and that this is called righteousness.

This belief is how police officers (those conservative heroes) become paramilitary units; how they justify themselves (proclaim their righteousness or excuse their unrighteousness) when they kick down the wrong door; murder pets; slaughter children; abuse and embarrass innocent people. Because the more closely a person believes that what makes sheepdogs special is the sheepdog’s likeness to wolves (possession and desire to use claws, fangs, etc.) the more likely that person is to prefer the sheepdog metaphor.

Cops will tell you that they do what they do–whatever that is–out of love for the people. It’s a deep deception that corrupts the officer because he begins to think he is the source of that love. Then, having made himself the source of love for the people, he begins to think that what he does as cop (particularly the use of violence) is “real love”, as opposed to whatever it is that all those who are not officers do. Whatever that is, it’s not “real love” because “real love” includes the desire to do violence, so non-officer don’t “really love”. Now he’s not only the source of love, but separate from them. He begins to think that whatever he does is born of love, and can justify to himself any action he takes–especially violent–as an act of love. This is called self-righteousness; which is wicked. We recognize it when SWAT teams bust into a house, and shoot a little girl.

It also misses the point of sheepdogs. The more a dog emphasizes its natural dog-ness the more likely that it will start cannibalizing the herd, because the nature of a dog is very much like the nature of a wolf. What is really interesting and useful about sheepdogs is not their dog-ness (their resemblance to wolves) but that–despite their natural resemblance to wolves–they pursue resemblance to shepherds. Sheepdogs, like shepherds, spend the great majority of their time leading, corralling, watching, and instructing the flock; walking, barking, and nipping at the sheep. A good sheepdog does not pursue threats to the herd, but deters them, and–once threats are deterred–returns to the herd, and concerns itself with keeping the herd together.

The cause of this is not love for the sheep–although that often develops–but love for the shepherd. The best sheepdogs seek the shepherd’s approval above all things; receive sustenance from the the shepherd’s hand. They revel in the shepherd’s triumph over the wolves even if it was their own fangs which the shepherd used to do it, because they recognize that it was the shepherd’s investment in them that delivered the wolf into their mouths. They celebrate the shepherd. Another way of saying this is that really good sheepdogs are just extensions of the shepherd; that they are, in fact, little shepherds.

In addition to what I’ve said above: Shepherds have a much longer and greater pedigree than sheepdogs. Why, then, don’t truth-loving, God-fearing, Bible-clinging, gun-toting Americans or other Westerners just pursue the life of a shepherd instead of doing this song-and-dance about sheepdogs? It’s because they believe shepherds are weak, stupid, dirty, and boring. (Sounding like the perception of fathers and husbands yet?) They’d rather be wolf-like “for” the sheep; they want to be Sheepwolves.

Sheepwolves, though, don’t exist. They never have because not only are they not real, they are impossible. They’re just wolves without any sense at all. The senselessness of would-be sheepwolves is apparent because “sheepwolves” (ironically and insanely) are the ones who can’t distinguish between sheep and wolves. It’s just the sort of damned nonsense you’d expect from demons.

You’re going to have to choose: Shepherd, sheep, or wolf.

[1]I don’t remember where I first heard it, but you can find an extended version of it here.