Book Plunge: Cynical Theories

What do I think of James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose’s book published by Pitchstone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Woke is a word that has shown up regularly in the past few years. Now we regularly hear about social justice warriors and of course, constant cries of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and fat phobia. Our world has become more divided than ever as everyone is assumed to be a closet racist and if you deny that, well, you’re a bigot and that just demonstrates what a racist you are.

I was eager to get this book to see what Lindsay and Pluckrose had to say about the topic. They do bring a lot of excellent academic work here, but the problem is they also seem to be fighting battles on two fronts. Their main emphasis is on the Woke and how that hurts scholarship and academia, but there’s a dose of mild scientism as well as any chance to take a jab at religious people.

That’s ultimately unhelpful for their work. After all, if they want to reach Americans and a large number of Americans are still religious, this will turn a lot of them off, which would be a shame. I kept seeing my position as a religious believer being misrepresented. I am able to see past that, but how many people out there will not?

The scientism is also a problem as too many times, the impression comes across that science is the only way to know truth. Science is a great way of knowing some truth, but not all truth. There are plenty of things we all believe that do not come through science. While I am an empiricist, I hold that while all scientific knowledge is empirical, not all empirical knowledge is scientific.

Another problem is the way that they talk about progress and liberalism. Much of what they call liberalism looks nothing like liberals I see today. I also definitely disagree with them on the approach to the LGBTQ+ community. I am not opposed to progress, but too often we get to a place and say “This is progress” when in many cases, I can see it as regression.

However, time should be spent on the positives. One of the biggest walkaways you should get from this book is that for the Woke, disagreement is not allowed. Yes. You are allowed to ask questions and you should ask to understand, but not to challenge. Theory, their name for anything like Critical Race Theory or any idea that goes with a political identity, cannot be questioned.

This is no way to do academia. Questions and challenges should always be welcome, even if a theory has stood the test of time for hundreds of years. Questioning allows us to grow and shows cracks where a belief needs to be examined. Perhaps in some cases, it could show the whole paradigm is flawed and we have to move to a new paradigm.

Also, there are health consequences in many cases. Consider the idea that being fat is not a risk to one’s health. Yes. This is being taught and some people can even find doctors that won’t treat obesity like a problem. As I write this, MonkeyPox is something big and yet many of us are noticing that while Covid was around, people were told they had to shut down gathering places, including churches, but no one is saying that about bathhouses. Everyone is just being told “Act responsibly.” Would that we had all been told that during Covid.

I can also remember that when 9/11 happened, one of the first matters of importance to get out there was that this did not represent true Islam. After all, we had to deal with Islamophobia. We have become a culture that wants to protect peoples’ feelings more than the people themselves.

So this is a book with a lot of important material, but keep in mind the caveats. Take the wheat and throw away the chaff. Get the good and embrace it and use it. We are in a real battle with Woke.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Live Not By Lies

What do I think of Rod Dreher’s book published by Sentinel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Dreher’s book is asking the question of what Christians in the West are meant to do in an age of increasing totalitarianism. Now this does not mean anything like what happens today in China or what happened in the Gulag, but it could be likely to happen in the form of a soft totalitarianism where control comes through social means more than government means. As I write this though, it is about a week after the raid of Trump’s place in Florida and a lot of questions are being raised.

The theme of the book comes from Alexander Solzhenitsyn who said that one thing we have to do is even if we don’t go out with a megahorn shouting the truth everywhere, we can choose to not believe the lies. For us today, these lies are being placed on us regularly by a culture calling into question truths we never would have dreamed being called into question a few years ago and too many people go along for the ride easily. I was stunned enough when I realized I had to defend that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Today, I have to defend the idea of what a man and a woman is. We have a woman sitting on the Supreme Court who couldn’t answer the question of what a woman is.

More and more, if you disagree with this ideology, you can be shut down. How many people do we know who have been removed from Twitter because of this? How often have we seen cancel culture dig up something someone said ten years ago and shut them down because of it? Keep in mind that before these people were culturally on top, they also insisted on tolerance. That didn’t last long.

Dreher’s book looks at people who went through the rise of Communism and survived in countries where it was. Their examples are often powerful and convicting. These aren’t superhuman people. These are simple ordinary people who did something unique. They lived out their faith in a world where it was condemned.

The repeated advice in the book is to see, judge, and act. Christianity when lived out can overcome any evil that is brought to bear against it. As our country comes closer and closer to more and more government control and government going in a war against reality, this is something we should all keep in mind.

Governments can push control in many ways, but we are in control of our minds and our attitudes. We can make it a point to say that we will live not by lies. We will choose to live the path that Jesus lived.

If I had any criticism of the book, it would be that the book is long on examples, but not long on suggestions. This is how people lived in hard totalitarianism, but I would have liked more that could be done by those of us in a soft totalitarianism or at least a growing one. I recommend Christians read this one and read it along side either Strange New World or The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman.

And live not by lies.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: The Flirtation Experiment

What do I think of Phylicia Masonheimer and Lisa Jacobson’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I try to read books about marriage despite being divorced. If anything, I read to get help for when my second marriage comes about, Lord willing and may He be. I read books written for wives, for husbands, and for both. This is a book written for wives.

Thinking back on it, I know authors don’t get to choose the names of their books often, but I think a better name might be The Connection Experiment. After all, when you see a book by women called The Flirtation Experiment and see fireworks on the cover going off, I suspect it’s going to be about buying outfits at Victoria’s Secret, jumping into a shower with your husband, and all manner of physical activities which is what a guy usually has in mind when he thinks about flirting.

That’s not to say the material in here is bad. It’s not. It’s really good. It just isn’t what I was expecting. So looking at the good, these are wives who have decided to invest in their husbands, which is also a plus since usually things are always assumed to be the husband’s fault when many times, it takes two.

There are thirty chapters which means you are meant to go through this book in a month’s time, sort of like a shortened version of The Respect Dare. Both women write fifteen chapters which means they go back and forth between themselves. Each chapter is built on a one-word concept and expounded on and could be read in ten minutes max.

The authors also really open up explaining about difficulties that they have had and about how they worked with their respective husbands. Sometimes, the husbands have a brief sidenote where they will write something and these were always a bonus to read. I kept hoping that there would have been one in every chapter.

All of these are built largely on forming an emotional connection with one’s spouse. Thinking about that, that will work for the men and women because the men tend to think about physical connection and when a woman feels emotionally connected, physical connection is a lot easier for them. It also helps that the women take the initiative in this since frankly, many of us guys don’t really know what to do when it comes to emotional connection.

One amusing part I found was in one of Phylicia’s chapters where she thought God was telling her He wanted her to play video games with her husband, so they played some Mario Party. I know I would be thrilled to marry a woman who wanted to play games with me. I remember hearing a story of a husband who really wanted his wife to go hunting with him and so one day she agreed and they went and sat in the same place all day and absolutely nothing happened. No game came out at all to shoot at.

How did the husband take it? He left saying it was awesome. I can guarantee you then that wife never said, “This is stupid! It’s a waste of time! We could be doing something else!” She just sat there quietly the whole time and he treasured that silent time with her as she participated in his hobby.

And yes, I do realize this needs to be a two-way street, but this is a book for wives so I’m mainly talking to them.

Every marriage can always have room for improvement. I recommend this one for the women out there. Get it and see how it works for you. Husbands can also look through and say what would and would not appeal to them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)

Of Marriages And Diets

Is this a valid reason to abandon marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I was writing yesterday’s blogpost, I had a number of people tag me on Facebook and ask “What do you think of this?” and this was the very picture I was writing about. Today, I’d like to tackle another one that has been making the rounds. It’s another one that sadly convinces me those on the left in this debate really don’t bother to listen to what their opponents say.

First off, the opening claim is just false. Even if you are a skeptic, it should be easy to accept that a redefined marriage of two men or two women is against someone else’s religion is a fact. That doesn’t say anything about the emotional state of the person who holds that religion. The anger is already imposed. (This happens all too often as those of us who are conservative are often accused of having hate towards the other side.)

I don’t go to bed at night steaming about homosexual couples. The issue matters to me, but I have many other things to think about. It’s on the other side unfortunately that if we are told we don’t agree, well here come the hounds out to shut down our businesses and demand our freedom to operate be taken away.

That’s only the start of the problem.

The majority of the real argumentation on the right is not going “The Bible says X, therefore Y should be forbidden.” Most of us are making arguments based on the nature of marriage and a natural law understanding of marriage. Yes. I am sure Pastor Bob down at the local Southern Baptist Church is getting up in the pulpit screaming about what the Bible says and doesn’t have a clue about these natural law arguments, but note I stated the real argumentation. I am not against the Bible, but if one side doesn’t believe it, it has no authority for them, at least in the sense that it doesn’t change their thinking.

Ultimately, when I have seen this debated online, it comes down to what a marriage is. It has always before been understood as two adults of the opposite sex coming together in a union generally with the goal of bringing about and raising children. Now we are told that it doesn’t matter what two consenting adults do.

But why should this be the case?

First off, consider the case of Armin Meiwes. He was a cannibal who was convicted for eating someone. Here’s the relevant part. This person wanted to be eaten. He fully consented to everything. Thus, we have an action between two consenting adults. To make this wrong, you will need another qualifier then. Two consenting adults is not sufficient.

Second, what exactly is an adult? In Biblical times, as was much of the world back then, as soon as the kids hit puberty, it was time to marry them off to someone else. Teenagers in the past would be forming families. Today, having a relationship with a teenager can get you hit with a statutory rape charge. There is nothing magical about the age of 18 that makes someone an adult. We’ve all known adults well over 18 who are essentially children and we’ve all known children younger than 18 who have been forced through circumstances to grow up early and practically function as adults. Also, consider how many children who commit crimes can be tried as adults.

Consent is also not good enough. This is supposed to protect it from applying to children as well, but we constantly make children do things without their consent that is for their good. They go to school, do chores, go to bed, eat healthy, and get vaccinations and medical treatment they don’t like, without their consent. Loving parents who genuinely love their children do this.

Third, we might as well ask about the number two. Why should marriage be limited to two people? The Mormons held to polygamy for some time and were brought before the government for that one. If we are removing the requirement that the people be of the opposite sex, it would be far easier to remove the number. Not only that, there is a much greater historical basis for polygamy than for the redefinition of marriage.

What is being asked is what marriage is and what is the purpose of it. It is not just a union for the happiness of two adults. It is a nation building institution in the sense that these people are the ones capable of bringing about the next generation. The state has all reason to want to promote that as it kind of needs new people to survive. Hypothetically, imagine how much damage we could do to China and Russia if we could launch a biological attack somehow over those entire nations that would sterilize everyone in those nations.

And if marriage is about the continuing of the species, then the state has an interest in promoting the type of union that can do that job. The state has no interest in promoting a same-sex couple as they can never do that. Marriage is not to be meant about the affirming of the people involved, but why the people are coming together in the first place.

Now suppose someone says “Well, Christians can really say that these are the reasons, but we know the real reason is what the Bible says!” Let’s suppose 100% that that’s true for the sake of argument. That doesn’t change the fact that the natural law based arguments are on the table. Those still have to be addressed.

Suppose someone makes a powerful argument to me for atheism and I don’t know how to answer it. It does not work to say, “You only make that argument because you want to be free to live your life sexually however you want.” That could even be 100% true. I am sure there are Christians who hold to Christianity just for the benefits they want to receive and I am sure there are some atheists who hold to atheism because of the sexual freedom.

The argument still has to be addressed.

This meme is not addressing any real arguments. It is not even making one. It is just pointing to motives and trying to read emotions into the other side.

It’s a shame so much has to be written to deal with something because so many do take it seriously.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Remembering the Sacred

Is nothing sacred? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about recognizing marriage as a sacred calling. As I wrote out those words, I thought about that. What is the sacred in our society? Do we have a place for it anymore?

In his book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Trueman writes about first, second, and third world cultures. First-world cultures put the ideas on how we should live on notions of fate or the gods. They’re not built on anything ultimate in a sense, but they are great and outside of us and we ought to follow them. The gods say it so whatever their reasons, you must obey.

Second-world cultures are those that do base the ideas in one transcendent God who can to some extent be known. Christianity presents such a culture. It’s not just “The God says so” which would be sufficient in itself, but also here is why the God says so and here are the reasons and God can enforce His rules.

Third-world cultures are like what America is in now. Everything is rooted in the secular. There is nothing outside of ourselves that morality is grounded in. It is all built on secularism.

What that also means is nothing outside enforces us. We have to enforce it. That also means there is no longer anything transcendent and lasting. Ultimately, it is moral relativism, but there is a who says going on in this culture. Who says? Whoever is in charge says. That’s who.

Consider our recent Supreme Court scenarios. Under this kind of ideology, the voice of the people is in some ways the voice of God. If the Court says abortion is allowable, then that is that. The case has spoken. The court is closed. Likewise if it says it’s going to stay out of it. Whatever side you take, I hope the problem is apparent. It’s the saying that a government that is big enough to give you rights is also big enough to take them away.

That’s why in America, our founding document is a second-world document. It roots our rights in a creator. The government doesn’t give us these rights. It recognizes these rights. It also cannot take away these rights.

However, if we remove that, then the only way to enforce the powers of the third-world and whoever is in charge is, well, power. Force will have to be used. The more secular a culture is, the more likely it will use this kind of force to control its citizens.

In looking at marriage also, we have lost the sacred. Marriage used to be a sacred calling where the two made a commitment. Now we have cheapened most everything about marriage. In the past, it would have been that if a man wanted to see a woman in all of her glory, he really needed to work a lot and prove he was a man and show the girl he was worth marrying and he would be treated on their wedding night, and hopefully, she would be as well.

Now? Nope. All you have to do is browse the internet for a few seconds and look at porn. If anything diminishes a human being, it is pornography, both the viewed and the viewer diminish one another in this. Internet pornography is one of the most destructive forces in our world today. It is a cheapening of the good gift of humanity and sexuality and turns women especially into objects to be consumed. If women truly wanted to fight the patriarchy, they would take a stand against internet pornography, abortion, and anything else that makes a man give them anything less than a lifetime commitment.

It’s honestly hard to think of anything our world holds as sacred. In a sense, we treat sexuality like the highest good, making it an aspect of your highest identity and if you haven’t had sex, there’s something wrong with you. How else is just a movie title like The Forty Year-old Virgin possible? At the same time, we treat it as simply a recreational activity and say casual sex is no big deal. It’s hard to think of how you can have it both ways. In a Christian worldview, you understand that sex is an aspect of something much bigger. It is indeed part of your identity, in that you are male or female and nothing can ever change that, and as an activity, it is an intimate one that is reserved for the most intimate of relationships.

One aspect of saving our culture is going to have to be the recovery of the sacred. Right now, we live in a culture of power plays and whoever is in charge has the power to enforce what they want and it will shift back and forth constantly as long as we have nothing outside of ourselves to ground it in. Hear this. You cannot be a true moral reformer if you hold to third-world principles of morality. It takes a second-worlder who says “No. This is something greater than us regardless of what the culture says.” You cannot stand up against slavery, Nazism, or any other evil and be a part of a third-world culture truly for you are just going with what you want for whatever reason and as soon as the other side gets more power, they can change that immediately and what standard can be pointed to beyond men to say “This is wrong.”?

Right now, our culture is on a suicide path. Those of us who are Christians and see the danger should be raising the warning alarms and crying out that something must change. We must be the Ezekiel watchman or else God will hold us accountable for not speaking up. When men forget God, what happens is chaos and some men become god for their culture. Nietzsche recognized this and lamented it knowing it would lead to chaos. He was indeed right. Nietzsche recognized the seriousness of the idea of the death of God and would think most atheists today are gutless embarrassments.

The rest of us. Stand strong. Everyday, build up the sacred in your own life and demonstrate it to the world. Remember Lewis also said that outside of the sacrament (And he said this as a Protestant) the most holy sight you see will be your neighbor. It all starts with how you treat him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Marriage and Consumerism

How do we view the other person? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m downstairs with the family and I multitask. I usually do that as I can pay attention to two things at once. So we’re watching something and I have my Switch with me and I decide which game I want to play on it. Easy. Which one will bring me the most joy at the moment? If I get frustrated or bored with it, I can just switch to another one.

That’s fine.

Suppose we’re watching a show and just lose interest. What do we do? Easy. We switch over and find another one. Easy. It works fine.

Suppose you’re at a restaurant. What do you get? What you can afford, what you want, and possibly what you think is good for you. Don’t like it when it comes? You can just trash it.

Suppose you get married to someone and you love them at first, but then you just lose that spark. You think there are better waters somewhere else. What do you do? Easy. Just leave them and go out and find love somewhere else so you can have happiness.

Yet somehow, I hope you paused at that last one and considered it differently.

There is no commitment to the game, the TV show, or the food at the restaurant. I didn’t make a marital vow to, say, Pokemon Arceus, and therefore I can’t switch over to TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. I didn’t vow exclusivity to Smallville, therefore I can’t watch the Flash. I didn’t say I will only order Subway sandwiches, therefore I can’t order french fries at another restaurant. None of those things will care either if I switch.

Unfortunately, we treat marriage the same way. Marriage is not about something bigger than ourselves often. It is just about ourselves. It is about what makes us happy and normally, about our feelings at the moment.

The Human League years ago did a song called Fascination where they said to keep feeling fascination, passion burning, love so strong. It’s a nice dream, but any married couple will tell you it’s false. You cannot promise good feelings to each other forever. Feelings come and go for whatever reason.

And too often, our lives are built on trying to get those feelings. Dare I say it, but I suspect our spiritual lives are often the same way. Could we often want joy in the Lord more than the Lord Himself? You could actually be worshiping the Lord properly and not be exuberant with feelings of joy. (How many of our worship songs are really about us and our emotional states instead of about Jesus?)

Marriage has really become a consumer good. Pick someone that makes you happy and brings you joy and when that fades, then go somewhere else. Marriage is about what the other person can do for me.

Now in some sense, you do have to know what the other person can do for you. As one seeking to remarry, I do have to think about what I like in a spouse. What qualities am I looking for? However, I also have to think about who I am good for. This other person could help me greatly, but is it a two-way street? Do I help them as well? If it’s all about what they can do for me, then when it looks like I’m not getting what I want anymore, I can move on after all.

If you are expecting someone to always give you good feelings, they will fail you. If I think I can always give someone good feelings, I will fail them. No one can do that. I cannot possibly go to an altar and promise another woman that I will feel love for her forever.

However, I can promise that I will love and that I will do loving actions. I won’t do them perfectly, but that will be my goal. I have to realize that marriage is bigger than I am. What we are entering into is a microcosm of a demonstration of Christ and the Church.

Suppose you are someone who reads the Song of Songs allegorically. Even if you do that, it has to be accepted that a physical love relationship is the means that the love of God for His people is demonstrated by. I do think the Song can be read as an allegory, but I also stress we should read it first as a love poem celebrating love and marital intimacy. See it as a love song about marriage and then say “And that’s a minor demonstration of how God loves us.”

So what do we do? Get past our consumer good mentality of marriage. We can use consumerism for things of this world often, but people are not just things. We don’t treat people like that. We don’t treat our relationships with them like that. People are greater than that and marriage is greater than that.

If we enter into a marriage expecting it to be all about us, it will end. If we enter a marriage asking what we can do for the greater good, we are far more likely to succeed. Marriage is not our story really. It’s God’s story and He lets us play a part in it.

Let’s play it well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Divorce And Reasons for Marriage

Why should someone get married? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Something I have noticed is a lot of you seem to like it when I write something on divorce. I don’t want to talk about it every day, because frankly it’s still painful for me to talk about, but give the people what they want. If all of this can help prevent someone from going down this path or help to revitalize a struggling marriage, then that will be enough for me.

A major problem is that we don’t take commitment seriously enough and marriage is not just a commitment, but it’s a covenant. Our culture already doesn’t place much on it. Want to have sex? That used to be a big incentive to get a man to be married and to invest in the relationship. No more. Men can easily get sex outside of making an actual commitment to a woman.

Does a woman want to be provided for? Again, not a big issue since the feminist movement. Women nowadays can often work hard and care for themselves financially and usually only need a man around when it’s time to make a baby. Oh wait. Thanks to artificial insemination, now they don’t even need that. Add in also that the government is more than willing to do what they can to provide for mothers who are single and not in a marital relationship and they have even more incentive.

When this happens, the question then becomes why should anyone get married? If we consider the first option with men, women who give in to men before marriage are not really giving any incentive for a man to get married. If he can get it and he doesn’t have to risk any kind of commitment, well why not? He can literally have his cake and eat it too. It happens so much that no one really even bats an eye anymore.

Yet something is wrong with it. The breakdown of the family has led to a lot of social unrest in our society. Gangs are often formed when men have no real male figure around that they can call Dad. There are many single women who for whatever reason, even one like being widowed tragically, are raising single sons alone and doing admirable jobs, but the sons are best raised if they have at least some figure in their lives they can consider a father figure, such as an uncle, a teacher, or a coach.

Women themselves? Many women still do want to get married and have a firm commitment they can count on. Too often they are giving sex thinking it will help them get that commitment, but it isn’t working. Men much more easily bounce from relationship to relationship because it’s easy for them to escape the consequences, which is one reason abortion is seen as so essential for so many people. It’s a way to get to enjoy a sexual relationship without consequences.

So with all of this, some could be asking why someone like me would still want to get married again?

It’s because I consider myself a Christian realist.

I think reality is that sex is meant for a covenant relationship in marriage. I actually think it’s a great evidence of Christianity when I consider its sexual ethic when it’s so counter-cultural in every way, even from Roman times, and yet it’s consistent too. I think a man and a woman go together physiologically and in every other way.

I also think every person is worth a lifetime commitment and to get sex from a woman without making that covenant before God and man with her is to demean her and lower her. She is worth nothing less than that lifetime commitment upfront and then she is the exclusive person to be with. The same applies to men in reverse.

I do think a man should want to provide for a woman, no matter how much the woman can provide for herself. A man will still on some level want to provide and care for someone. A woman meanwhile will often still want to be a mother and still give a good home and raise her children well and bring joy to her husband.

Ultimately, I look at the fruit of the sexual revolution and see that it doesn’t work. Right now, I have high hopes that with abortion being removed, we will hopefully get to a place where we will actually start taking sex seriously and thinking about what it means and what role marriage has in our society. Our culture is not in trouble because we have a high view of sex, but it is because we have a low view of it. We have taken one facet of it, the pleasure of the act, and made that everything.

For the church, if we are to change, it starts with us. Christian marriages have to be stronger than ever. I say this as one who has been badly burned in a marriage, but I still uphold marriage 100% as a good gift from God and to be celebrated.

Those of you who are married right now are the ones who can best demonstrate that this is true. Those of us who are looking for marriage again can meanwhile honor it by how we live. For me, it is still abstinence until I remarry, no matter how painful that is. I trust that assuming I remarry again, God will honor what I have done and make it worthwhile.

If we want to change the culture, it begins with us.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Preaching on Divorce

How should pastors handle divorce from the pulpit? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my pastor did a sermon on divorce and it got me thinking that I have not written on this facet. If you’re a pastor, how should you preach such a sermon? Our text was mainly Deuteronomy 24 with some of Matthew 19. I want to state also that my pastor did a very good sermon, but since you all likely didn’t hear it for the most part, I have to repeat the things that were right and then offer other aspects I recommend.

First, marriage must absolutely be upheld as a good. This is non-negotiable. Marriage must be seen as a gift from God. That does not mean everyone has to use it, but it does mean all are to respect it. Hebrews says marriage must be honored by all. The author doesn’t limit it to those who are married.

Second, divorce is an evil. This needs some clarification. It doesn’t mean that everyone who divorces or was the recipient of divorce is guilty of an evil in this area. It means that in a non-fallen world, there will be relationships that are meant to last a lifetime that will not last that long. People will betray their vows in a number of ways.

This means that every time a divorce occurs, that means someone has along the way broken their vows. How would this apply to a woman who divorces her husband because he is absuive? Sometime along the way, he also broke a vow to love and to cherish. I can agree that a woman does the right thing in leaving an abusive husband, but it still is a tragedy that someone committed such a great evil that the union has to be dissolved.

Third, if you are the one who initiated a divorce and did so wrongfully, we must always emphasize that there is forgiveness. Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. As one who attends a Southern Baptist Church, sadly, the SBC is usually among the worst in dealing with this. It is easier to let a murderer up in the pulpit than it is to let a divorced person in it, even someone who was wrongfully divorced.

This applies to any sin really. If you preach on the evil of abortion, you must always stress that God loves people who have abortions and is ready to forgive them. If you preach on gluttony or pride or homosexuality or anything else, the same applies. Grace must always be shown from our pulpits.

Fourth, if someone wants to remarry after a divorce, I think it is good to encourage them. It is true that you don’t need marriage to be complete and happy, but there are many things you don’t need that you can want and there is no wrong in wanting them. A couple could pray to God earnestly for a child wanting one. They don’t need one to be happy, but Scripture emphasizes that children are a gift from the Lord.

If someone on the other hand does not want to seek a new marriage, then we should celebrate with them in that decision. We should not treat a single person as an incomplete person nor should we celebrate when a single person gets married if we are saying “Now you are a complete person.” We should celebrate marriage itself, but we should also celebrate singleness for those who don’t desire marriage.

So if you want to remarry, you are not doing anything wrong. Marriage is a good to be celebrated. If you don’t want to, the same applies. You can still serve God as a single person. Some could perhaps serve better. It depends on the person.

Fifth, we always need some teaching on worldviews and that includes a worldview on sex and marriage. If someone wants to not get married, for example, they have to be willing to accept that they will be living a celibate lifestyle. While sex is not the only reason for marriage, it is still a reason for marriage. This is something that separates marriage from other relationships.

For our young people especially, and this I have talked about in many other posts, we need more regular talks about why sex outside of a marital covenant is not only wrong, but will cause more harm. The sexual revolution has not been a friend to society. Honestly pastors, you need to preach on the issues of sex and marriage I would say at least monthly.

Finally, we need to stress how to treat people who are divorced. There can easily be a tendency to look down on people who are divorced. I am thankful that when I went public, people knew me enough that for the most part, they knew that I was someone who always showed great love to my ex-wfe. Even today, when people tell me I loved her dearly, I always make sure they know it’s not past tense. I still want the best for her and pray for her well-being and holiness every night.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still struggles. I can be tempted to think ill of her, but I need to remember to think ill of her actions more than of her and see her as a fallen human being who God loves just as much as He loves me. If anything, this has been a great lesson to me about the grace and forgiveness of God.

In the church, this needs to be the case. A divorced person needs to be able to go to church and find love without people looking down on them or treating them as second-class Christians. Those who have not been divorced do not know how painful this is, and it definitely is. Every day, in some way, I suffer because of the fact that I am divorced.

Just yesterday, when I was working, I had a customer say to me “These ones” about something. It always bothered me when my ex said that because it struck me as a redundancy. Now when I heard it, it was just painful to hear. That’s a tiny example, but a tiny example could best illustrate the point. If a little thing can bring back a painful memory, how much more can bigger things?

Whenever we preach about any sin, we must always assume, and we could be right or wrong, that someone in the audience is struggling with that sin. You could preach on homosexuality, but you must always remember there could be someone in the audience who is struggling with same-sex attraction and doesn’t know what to do. Preach sin as sin, but always preach grace as greater than sin.

And along those lines, don’t make promises that aren’t promised. I saw last night getting set for bed a tract I picked up somewhere asking if you want peace. Now if someone wants peace with God in the sense that God doesn’t hold their sins against them and they are forgiven, that is promised. If someone wants peace in the psychological sense, that is NOT promised. If someone struggles with sin, there is no promise that God will take away that struggle in this lifetime. He might, but He might not. We cannot promise to remove the pain of divorce, but we can promise to be there in it. We should make that promise and keep it.

Divorce is hard. It is hard to teach on. It is hard to preach on. It is hard to go through. I hope these words of wisdom will help those who struggle with this. My pastor did a really good job yesterday with it. If you’re a pastor, I hope you will take this to heart from a divorced person.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Strange New World

What do I think of Carl Trueman’s book published by Crossway publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is one of those books that I was recommending practically immediately as I got into it. Carl Trueman has written a look at how the self has come to be in our times and the implications it has for our society. Now some of you might be curious about that. “Haven’t there always been selves? Why is this so strange to talk about the coming of the self?”

Yes, there have always been selves, but the self has not always been understood the same way. In the past, self was often connected with religion, family, and nation. Now, self has been disjointed. Self comes through who you are within. While we have always had feelings, those feelings have never defined us. Now, they normally do.

In the past, it was thought that culture civilized a man, but centuries ago, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued the opposite. Man was pure in his natural state. It is culture that makes him what he is often not. This would include the effect of technology and the sciences.

From here, we continue down a path of more and more looking inward to find who you are. Marx had his impact with putting man against society. Nietzsche announced the death of God and said the Earth had been untethered from its sun. Unlike today’s modern atheists, Nietzsche knew the serious ramifications of the death of God. Freud started us down the path of making our main identity be the sexual identity.

Today then, we live in a culture where we don’t know who we are and our identities are psychological. The problem is that psychology is often flexible and fluid so we have no stable basis for identity. At the same time also, how can you argue against what someone else is feeling? We live in a world where the feelings are true and when someone gets in touch with their feelings, they are experiencing their true selves.

Along the way here, we talk about being authentic. How can you deny your true self? Now in a sense, there is some good in authenticity. Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy, However, the problem comes with when we think that every feeling is something that must be lived out. It starts with assuming that man is innately good, per Rousseau, and we still have the effects.

Today, the biggest way we are seeing this is the LGBTQ movement. This is one of the biggest results of feelings being given the ultimate authority. Tolerance would never have worked for the LGBTQ movement because that would be seen as putting someone in a lesser state and denying their personhood. After all, if your identity is based on your sexual desires and behavior, then to question those is to question your humanity. If people have this mindset, love the sinner and hate the sin does not work.

The self has been redefined, but now we are going further. The family is being redefined. All of this is done as we keep looking inside ourselves to find out who we are. Emotions and feelings become the main moving forces in our lives and they are to be obeyed and treated as the main authority. Our courts are moving more and more this way and the path won’t stop.

We are becoming a society where the goal is to always feel good and be happy. This has even happened in the churches. Don’t like your church? Go to another one. Now some Catholics and Orthodox readers might say “We don’t have that problem” but they do as well. Church is a choice and the Catholic and the Orthodox have to be given a reason to keep coming to church. They can just as easily stay home.

As our culture becomes more and more of a self-focused culture, the church is going to be on the hard end of matters as we return more and more to Roman Empire times and the state assumes control. For all of us, the challenge will likely come sometime. Will we risk getting fired because we won’t use a certain person’s pronouns of choice? Will we have our businesses be destroyed because we refuse to bake a cake for a “gay wedding” ceremony?

This is definitely a book where I say to get it and read it and learn it. The one who told me about this book said they read it once every year. I could very well start that myself as well.

This book is also a smaller version of a bigger book of his on this topic, so it is also accessible for everyone. It would be one of the best books for a church book study to do. Bottom line: Get this book and learn it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Selling Yourself Short

How much is a girl worth? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I watched a YouTube video talking about the problems girls are having on OnlyFans where no one is subscribing to them. There was a girl in England who was complaining that she couldn’t get someone to subscribe to her page for just two pounds. The girl was saying she was actually worth a million.

Yes. Yes, she is.

The medieval philosophers would have said she is worth more than the universe. Every human being is. Unfortunately, many of us today don’t see it and since OnlyFans is about women selling themselves, I will be addressing them. In relationships, women are usually the ones who control the market. Men for the most part do the chasing and the women decide if they are interested or not.

Unfortunately, when women decide that they have to go out all there to get male attention, they are really selling themselves short and if it doesn’t work out that way, then it is extremely dehumanizing. After all, if a guy doesn’t want to pay just a small amount to see you, what are you to think about yourself? However, while that is sad, isn’t it sad that a woman places herself that low to begin with?

We live in a day and age where if a man wants to see a nude woman, he doesn’t really have to pay for that. Any man right now could easily access such things on his computer. You could turn on streaming services that you have and probably find that soon as well.

When you treat beauty that is personal and intimate as if it is common, it only lowers it. This girl is selling herself for two pounds. She could consider saying she is worth a lifetime commitment from a good man who makes the deal and follows through upfront. This will also show the man who is truly interested in a relationship with her.

Ladies. Just because a man will pay to see nudes of you, it doesn’t mean that he’s interested in you. It means that he is a man with normal male urges. Some men will just constantly give in to those urges and just see every relationship as another fix. Some men will believe those urges need to be saved and controlled and will give them to someone in a committed marriage. Of course, there are various areas all in between, but to the woman, it’s up to you to decide how valuable you see yourself.

Many women will also give in to the advances of a man thinking that that will keep the relationship. I’m not saying it always happens, but too many times, the guy decides to leave shortly after that. It’s one more great reason to save yourself for making that full commitment upfront.

Ladies. Please do not sell yourself short to anyone whatsoever. Don’t put a price tag on a website for your beauty. You are worth so much more. Treat yourself like it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)