What’s Wrong with the World

byzantine double eagle

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

April 26, 2017

Anniversary Post--Conservatism Without Craziness

When we authors at W4 started thinking about the tenth anniversary of the blog, various suggestions were made as to who might write what. The idea was mooted that perhaps my contribution to our anniversary series might be a post on what is worse about the world now than when the blog started--an assignment in keeping with my gloomy bent and reputation.

Of course there are many possible answers. The homosexual and transsexual agendas have advanced with a speed I never would have predicted ten years ago. Things have gotten to such a pass that a man, now living in Hawaii, has sued the state of Idaho (in federal court) for refusing to let him change his designation on his birth certificate to female, because he identifies himself as a woman. Would that one could laugh this off as a frivolous suit with no possibility of success, but one certainly can’t be sure of that anymore.

But what seems to me perhaps the saddest change in the last ten years is the further fragmentation of conservatism in that time period.

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April 22, 2017

An International Day of Celebration

Today is April 22, 2017. Do you know what that means, in human terms?

Everyone should know what today is, because today, in a special way, we entertain a vision of a better future for everyone.

It is, in fact, an inevitable future.

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April 19, 2017

Is This Conservatism?

Although the contributors here are by and large conservative, this site is not simply about conservatism, it is fundamentally about Christ Jesus. We profess Christ Jesus, and Him crucified. It is to Him that we commit ourselves without qualification, not to conservatism.

Still, we are more conservative than not. In this regard we perceive that conservatism bears a notable and vital relationship to our carrying out fully and wholly the Christian calling to embrace the Truth and live it in true freedom (i.e. freedom in the sense of John 8:32).

“Conservative” has taken on so many meanings to so many people that in usage it has begun to bear no more than a vague direction of an idea. However, not so long ago it did have a more determinate meaning, and it is still fair and honest to demand respect for that meaning as still recognizable, and demand recognition of the word as still capable of carrying that earlier meaning more truly than other meanings. I aim to set forth, again, what that is.

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Ten Years of What's Wrong with the World

Ten years ago, when I was a much younger man, What’s Wrong with the World appealed to me as an editor because it was ecumenical. That is to say, we all agreed on the core doctrines of Christianity (let us say, for simplicity, the Apostles Creed) while preserving without apology our differences in detail. Meanwhile, the keystone of our firm unity lay in our opposition: to the liberal spirit of the age, which among other outrages exposes our most vulnerable people to extra-legal execution, and denies the clear facts of mammalian biology; and to the marching might of the Islamic religion, with its endorsement of assassination, treachery and terror in the service of God.

Of those ten years it is difficult to compose a summary. Things have changed.

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April 18, 2017

Metaxas and Brierley interviews

Just a couple of interview links for those who like to listen to things.

My interview with Eric Metaxas became available this past week, and you can hear it here. It's about forty minutes long.

A much shorter interview with British talk-show host Justin Brierley, almost entirely on Acts, was tacked onto the end of a show here, starting about 1 hr., 9 1/2 minutes.

I'm also pleased to announce that a Kindle version of Hidden in Plain View is "in the works." I don't have a release date for it but hope it will be out within a couple of months. Of course, don't let that stop you from buying the physical version if you are so inclined! A joyous on-going Easter season to everyone!

April 15, 2017

The Empty Tomb


Few things are more humbling than to properly place ourselves in the story of the Passion of Christ. We are among the disciples who fled after the arrest at Gethsemane. We are with Peter in the courtyard, denying our Lord. We are in the crowd, calling out, “Give us Barabbas!” We are cynically washing our hands, like Pilate. We are twisting together the crown of thorns and mocking him. We are casting lots for his garments.

Out of such humility, however, there emerges an essential truth: We could never do this for ourselves. We have no power to restore a right relationship with the holy and righteous Lord God.

We need the Cross. It is why, despite the horror of an innocent man, who was also God, betrayed, mocked, scorned, spit upon, beaten, executed, we can still call the Friday just past Good. Always it will be a solemn day, and yet a good day.

But we also need the Empty Tomb.

What extraordinary irony in that phrase! In a sense, and with apologies to grammarians, nothing was less empty than that empty tomb.

The celebration on Easter morning presents countless aspects for contemplation and rejoicing. It abounds with meaning. I’ll mention one aspect.

The Resurrection demonstrates conclusively that the sacrifice was acceptable. “It is finished,” He said. And the Risen Lord is certain proof of his Lordship, his conquest of sin and death. They are vanquished.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hallelujah! He is risen.

April 12, 2017

Making the Inklings talk to the future--On Death

In C.S. Lewis's introduction to Athanasius's "On the Incarnation," he has this to say about reading books from other time periods.

Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united – united with each other and against earlier and later ages – by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century – the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?” – lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.

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April 4, 2017

Deathworks Everywhere

Rod Dreher just posted an interesting and long excerpt from an article about one of his favorite go to analysts of our cultural moment, Philip Rieff:

Rieff evinces more concern about the “triumph of the therapeutic” in his famous book of that name published in 1966. That work opens with the text of Yeats’s “Second Coming”—a sure sign that what follows will not be painted in the sunny colors of American progressivism. Rieff now worried that, though Christian culture had been all but entirely shattered, nothing had succeeded it; there were therefore no extant authoritative institutions whose demands and remissions (the culturally regulated relaxation of those demands) could be internalized, thereby acting to “bind and loose men in the conduct of their affairs.” This failure of succession was no accident but rather the explicit program of the “modern cultural revolution,” which was deliberately being undertaken “not in the name of any new order of communal purpose” but for the “permanent disestablishment of any deeply internalized moral demands.”

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April 3, 2017

Relentless Strike by Sean Naylor

At 10:30 P.M. on November 13, [2001] the silence of another moonless Afghan night was disturbed by the thrumming of a single [MC-130] Combat Talon’s four turboprops 800 feet above the desert about fifty miles southwest of Kandahar. From the plane tumbled forty dark shapes that floated to earth in a matter of seconds after parachute canopies blossomed above them, barely visible against the night sky.

The parachutes belonged to thirty –two [US Army] Rangers from 3rd Battalion’s B Company and an eight-man [US Air Force] 24th STS [Special Tactics Squadron] element. Their mission was to seize a desert landing strip named Bastogne and prepare it to receive two Combat Talons, each loaded with a pair AH-6 Little Bird gunships, a mobile forward arming and refueling point, and the pilots and other personnel to man them. The Little Birds were then to fly off to attack preplanned targets. Bastogne was the Rangers’ second combat parachute assault of the war, but unlike the seizure of Objective Rhino, this mission was most certainly not a propaganda exercise. There would be no Pentagon press briefing about it, ever. Rather, the Bastogne mission was the latest step in a campaign of deception and destruction Task Force Sword had decided to wage across southern Afghanistan.

The details of that campaign would remain secret for years, but even the broad brushstrokes had not been imagined when, with the Gecko and Rhino raids finally out of the way, the staff on Masirah [an island southeast of Oman, memorable to American special operators because it was a staging base for the failed Eagle Claw mission to rescue Americans at the embassy in Iran in 1980] pondered Sword’s next move. There was no long-term plan. Everything was seat-of-the-pants decision. “After we did this first mission, we went, ‘All right, what are we going to do now?’” said the retired special ops officer.

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March 27, 2017

The Kids Are (NOT) Okay

So here's an abomination for your Monday, one that would have been considered a reductio just, say, ten years ago. Of course we aren't going to share a child among three "parents," we would have been told. Well, guess what? The great state of New York is mandating that three adults share custody of one child.

I'll try to summarize the abominable mess briefly: A and B (man and woman) were married. Then they decided to have a "polyamorous" relationship that included C (a woman). B was infertile, so C and A conceived a baby together. Then B and C decided that they wanted to be a woman-woman "couple," so they broke up with A and moved out together. A and B got divorced. Now even the two women are "no longer romantically involved," though it sounds like they might still live together. The story is unclear on that point. The biological son of A and C is now ten years old.

Woman B got worried that, since she isn't the boy's biological mother, nor even in any legally recognized relationship with his biological mother, nor in any legally recognized relationship with his biological father, nor an adoptive parent of the boy, she might at some point not be able to have any relationship with him at all. Woman C supported her getting this cleared up legally and being officially recognized as his "parent." Maybe for political reasons. His father, A, didn't want his ex-wife, who is not related to the boy in any way, to be officially recognized as his "parent," so he opposed it, so it went to court.

Here's the outcome:

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March 25, 2017

Feast of the Annunciation: God Sent the Angel Gabriel

And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. (Luke 1:28-31, Catholic Revised Standard)

That isn’t necessarily a perfect translation of Luke, so let’s see some others:

King James Version:

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

Most of the translations have “favored” in some sense or other. Some of them make the construction out to be a declarative sentence in its own right:

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March 24, 2017

Timothy Miller and Philip Zodhiates sentencing updates

Thanks again to this blog spot, I have an update on Timothy Miller and Philip Zodhiates, who were both sentenced in the last two days. The Department of Justice website wasn't nearly so helpful, as I was able only to find there this post about Philip Zodhiates and nothing new about Timothy Miller.

The biggest good news (according to this source, which has proven accurate in other sentencing matters on these cases) is that Timothy Miller is (more or less) free. After his plea bargain, he was sentenced to time served and one year of parole in Pennsylvania, plus a $100 fine. Let's not forget, though, that the vindictive Janet Jenkins is still planning to bring a massive RICO suit against all of these people, which is independent of the criminal charges. So he's not out of the woods yet. But for the moment I'm sure he's rejoicing just to be reunited with his family.

Philip Zodhiates was sentenced to 36 months in prison, but he's appealing and is free pending the appeals. I don't hold out much hope for the appeals (it didn't work in the case of Kenneth Miller), but he's able to be with his family meanwhile.

Continue to pray for Kenneth Miller (see here for occasional updates) and pray that Jenkins's malice will be thwarted in the attempted RICO suit. Pray also, as always, for the continued safety of Lisa and Isabella, probably in Nicaragua.

March 20, 2017

Jonathan McLatchie on OT Undesigned Coincidences

If you are interested in undesigned coincidences, head on over to Answering Muslims and check out the work of Jonathan McLatchie. McLatchie has a lot of good material on a lot of subjects and is generally a very smart and interesting writer. He has posts on Old Testament UCs here, here, and here that I have not covered.

In other news, my book Hidden in Plain View is right now ranked #1 new release on Amazon in the category of Jesus, the Gospels, and Acts. I was interviewed today by Eric Metaxas and will let readers know when that interview will air. I thought it went well.

March 16, 2017

Six things wrong with this article on "homophobia" in the church

I just became aware of this article, "Homophobia Has No Place in the Church," from a year ago at the "Desiring God" blog. In case you don't know, this is the blog of an organization run by (normally insightful and careful) Pastor John Piper. Piper didn't write this article, but it's highly disappointing that it appeared on Desiring God.

The piece is by a pastor named Nick Roen, who (according to the article) has revealed that he struggles with same-sex attraction. It epitomizes what is often wrong with even relatively conservative Christian dealings with the issue of homosexuality. In these dealings, Christians state that actually having homosexual sex is morally wrong, but they repeatedly undermine their own position by attacking any natural law basis for this position and by generally normalizing homosexuality (e.g., through teaching that it is no worse than any other sin and by encouraging "coming out") and watering down opposition to it. In the end, it becomes "just another sin," and this position fails to do justice either to the unnaturalness of homosexuality or to its current cultural urgency and the need, now more than ever, for us to speak clearly about it. The article runs almost entirely on implication, and here I'm going to draw out a number of these implications and point out their falsehood.

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March 12, 2017

To be or not to be...human.

One of the current problems with discussing things about marriage, transgenderism, homosexuality, and related issues is a relatively unsatisfactory degree of agreement about what it is to be “human”. And this poisons a lot of the discussions.

The ordinary “definition” I use is the one that Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas generally applied, man is a rational animal. To give a proper and complete definition of a substance is to give state all 4 of the kinds of cause for the thing, but primarily it is to state the “nature” of the thing, which is given by its form and matter – its formal and material causes. For a natural thing, it suffices, then, to state the genus in which the thing’s species is found, and the specific difference that differentiates it from all other species in the genus. Man is in the genus animal (which implies the material aspect), and he is different from all the other species by the fact that man is rational.

I don’t posit this as if it were undebatable, for others surely bring up problems with that definition. For the purpose of this discussion, it is sufficient to note that this is a reasonable attempt and a widely held classical definition. What I find interesting about it is that it often goes unnoticed that if this is the proper definition of man, it would imply that “animal” is the lowest possible genus above the species 'rational animal'.

This matter is taken up somewhat in an interesting article by David Oderberg in discussing whether there can be enhanced beings derived from humanity so that they would be a different (superhuman) species.

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March 9, 2017

Amish farmer in jail for selling salve

February 28, 2017

Vincent Lambert is still alive

February 24, 2017

Hidden in Plain View: Book update

February 20, 2017

Throwing Out the Baby to Keep the Bathwater

February 18, 2017

Two unrelated links