Posted by TJH @ 9:53 am on January 13th 2015

Review of “Hold Your Peace” by Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson has reached a new height with the release of a video song, “Hold Your Peace.” A new height of chutzpah, that is.

A couple things should be mentioned before delving in to the dirty deed itself. First, the band’s name “Jenny Geddes” is not unproblematic. It may be that some Scots take pride in Jenny’s insolence, but some Englishmen might wonder in return, “why can’t you people keep your women in line?” Said differently, if Jenny’s issue was a legitimate one, where were all the great and renowned Scottish warriors? Just as, the greater you make Joan of Arc, the lower the Frenchman becomes. If we don’t want our girls at the front line of combat, do we want them bopping ministers over the head with stools?

Second, note that the iTunes credit as well as the inset to the video now identifies the band’s full name as “Douglas Wilson and the Jenny Geddes Band.” This man won’t do anything unless his name is on the marquee. That he accepted that designation for this band of buddies tells you everything you need to know about Douglas Wilson.

The song is an in-your-face celebration of a particular understanding of God’s sovereignty. It picks up on the metaphor of the potter, who can do with his pots as he chooses.

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor? Rom 9:21

To exemplify this sovereignty, the guys take turns pitching patio flower-pots to a fellow, who whacks each one into smithereens with a baseball bat.

1. But note that an important theme of Rom. 9 is the fittedness of the destiny of each pot to its nature. In contrast, these nice clay pots are eminently suitable to protectively surround a plant, and grace a patio or porch with the same. Moreover, they have literal value. The guys shelled out a not inconsiderable sum at Home Depot to acquire these pots (I’m especially jealous of the 12 incher), then wantonly destroyed them, like vandals.

2. God’s justice is not wanton.

3. God does not deal with his creatures like a vandal.

4. God’s justice is not casual, perfunctory, meaningless.

wilsons babeThere is a smug gloating throughout this video. Even the little old ladies are roped in to a Wilson sneer. But this is not the Apostle Paul’s attitude. His tone is gratitude for mercy shown, coupled with a deep reflection on his lost countrymen, for whose redemption he would be willing himself to go to hell (Rom. 9:3).

Even such a small detail as the mindless thump thump thump of a baseball bat on a 55-gal drum at 0:33-36 is telling. To me, it reminisces of the boot stomping the human face in Orwell. Ceaseless percussion is either murderous or sexual. This was not lost on the original rockers who embraced it. (It is not heard in serious music. “Douglas Wilson and the Jenny Geddes Band” are not serious men, though they certainly look somber. But this is the somberness of a proleptic unmourned funeral, not the solemn joyfulness of a man simul justus et peccator.)

Someone in the crowd of groupies can be counted on to blurt out, “didn’t you see the time reversal? that’s redemption!” No it isn’t. If these are vessels fit for destruction, time-reversal merely restores their fittedness for destruction.

Bad try.

Posted by TJH @ 11:27 pm on January 1st 2015

A holiday observation by Jonathan Edwards

New Year’s Day is kind of like a collective birthday — the common passing of another year. In Jonathan Edward’s day and place, Election Day was one of the festive days of the year. In George Marsden’s biography is found this choice quote from 1725.

Thus our elections are times of pleasure and rejoicing; and what an influence has it on the mind of the youth all over the Colony, to think this time is by general agreement made a time of mirth. How uneasy are they if they are alone and not in company, and han’t opportunity to be merry as well as others; how extraordinarily unnatural and unpleasant does serious business and solitude seem at such a time, which would seem pleasant at another time; and how does it promote mirth, to think that the whole country are then merry. This abundantly convinces me of the rational foundation of sabbaths, and holy days of fasts and thanksgivings. (page 105)

I am struck by the phenomenology of solitude-against-a-backdrop. In the context of an ordinary day, life holed up in a dusty library seems like heaven to many of us. But doing so while knowing that the whole nation is dressed up, chatting gayly, playing games, singing, feasting, and dancing, is unbearable — though it would seem pleasant at another time.

The social nexus is foundational. If one were the sole survival of a nuclear wipeout, would making music on the empty town square, or attaining scholarship in vacant libraries, still bring any pleasure? Clearly not.

The holiday is a representation of this reality, i.e. a vivid re-presenting of a reality that is latent at all times.

Solitude is pleasurable when the context is the possibility of its negation.

Posted by TJH @ 9:53 am on October 29th 2014

Doug Green and Westminster Seminary

The forced retirement of OT professor Doug Green at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) should not require months and months of agonizing. I was reminded about this while reading the endless series of articles on arcane matters of hermeneutics at the Green Baggins site. See, for example, the seven consecutive articles starting with this one and going backwards in time. Though disguised under academic-sounding titles, it is obvious that the meta-narrative is to show why Green & Enns can’t teach at WTS. But if it comes down to such subtle and nuanced positioning, we are in trouble.

The reason Green & Enns are unacceptable as teachers at a confessional school can be stated very simply: on their hermeneutic, you could never deduce the Confession their school gathers around.  There it is, in one sentence.

I made this point six years ago in connection with the Enns affair. The point still holds.

It is not enough to “affirm the Confession.” If it turned out that someone wholeheartedly affirmed the Confession because one day fairies whispered in his ear that it was true, that would be worse than denying the Confession honestly.

We need people that affirm the Confession just because it is taught by the Word of God. And this cannot be done from the hermeneutic taught by Enns and Green.

Posted by TJH @ 5:29 pm on September 9th 2014

Confessionalism Type B: The Case of the RPCUS

The RPCUS provides an interesting case study (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 8:47 pm on November 17th 2013

The Federal Vision: Not Catholic At All

It seems clear that one of the motivations for the Federal Vision (FV) movement (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 8:34 pm on November 13th 2013

The World Chess Championship

is happening right now in India.

It is of great interest — 22-year-old Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, having the highest rating in history, challenging Anand for the title.

Unfortunately, you will have to get up at around 5 or 6 AM (east coast) or even earlier (further west) to watch it live.

It can be done at chess.com, which hosts GM-level running commentary as the games are being played.

I am not good enough at chess to even understand, unaided, why champion-level players move what they do. But with the expert commentary, I can understand a lot. It really opens up what the game is like at the high level, and makes it very exciting. Try it out. Schedule is below

 

Chess schedule

Posted by TJH @ 10:08 pm on September 12th 2013

C. S. Lewis’ Second Argument for Purgatory

The introduction to Lewis on Purgatory, and discussion (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 5:01 pm on May 26th 2013

C. S. Lewis on Purgatory

Some of his fan base may be unaware that C. S. Lewis believed in Purgatory (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 9:43 pm on April 11th 2013

Walküre on Met matinee broadcast Saturday 13 April 2013

Reminder to tune in to your NPR station that carries the Met broadcasts, starting at 11 AM. (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 6:37 pm on March 24th 2013

Preface to the Frank Schaeffer you-tubes

The son of the L’abri founder Francis, when he was an angry young man, went by “Franky” (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 8:20 pm on December 30th 2012

Pipa on The Lord’s Day

The sabbath principle is explained using the analogy of a beautiful park. (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 11:41 pm on December 2nd 2012

Book: T. David Gordon on Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns

The surprising thing about this contribution to the debate on worship is (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 6:14 pm on July 1st 2012

The Covenanters in America: A Brief History

This is a review of the mimeographed history by D. Carson (more…)

Posted by MRB @ 11:57 am on November 30th 2011

Gordon Clark on Music

Some people think music a primitive art because it has only a few notes and rhythms. But it is only simple on the surface; its substance on the other hand, which makes it possible to interpret this manifest content, has all the infinite complexity that’s suggested in the external forms of other arts and that music conceals. (more…)

Posted by MRB @ 9:28 pm on October 31st 2011

Book. Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live? Part 2.

We have considered Schaeffer the philosopher in part 1, now we will consider Schaeffer the historian. (more…)

Posted by MRB @ 12:14 pm on October 1st 2011

Book. Schaeffer: How Should We Then Live?

C.S. Lewis once said that marking good essays and bad essays is easy, it is the those that fall in between (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:39 pm on May 31st 2010

Robert Preus, Justification and Rome

This is a brief yet surprisingly thorough and lucid treatment of the issues (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:39 pm on January 1st 2010

The Proposed OPC Directory for Worship

The OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) is in the process of ratifying a new “Directory for Worship.”  It is available on-line by clicking an appropriate link here. The purpose of this essay is to bring some arguments against the proposed revision to the church. (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:38 pm on November 24th 2009

Introductory criticism of Wilson’s “‘Reformed’ is Not Enough”

The book “Reformed” is Not Enough created quite a stir a few years back (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:35 pm on October 21st 2009

On Deacons Serving Communion

At issue here is a practice, reported in some quarters, of Deacons assisting in (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:34 pm on May 28th 2009

A WW2 story

Every war has a big story and thousands of little stories. The little stories are (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:32 pm on May 18th 2009

Keys of Church and Presbyterial Succession

Attached is an mp3 of a Sunday School on Heidelberg Catechism 83-85, (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:31 pm on May 11th 2009

Heidelberg Catechism and Paedo-communion

Attached is the mp3 of a Sunday School lesson I taught yesterday on Heidelberg Catechism 81-82, including a discussion of Wilson’s (and others’) paedo-communion doctrine (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 1:27 pm on December 27th 2008

The tip-o-meter

The American custom of tipping is like a dance that neither party really wishes (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 7:47 pm on October 21st 2008

The “human life amendment”

There is a lot of discussion in conservative circles of (more…)

Posted by MRB @ 3:58 pm on September 5th 2008

Comments on Lewis’s Perelandra

After writing a response to a question under another post, (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 11:15 pm on August 30th 2008

MacGregor on the Future of the Catholic Church Reformed (HCC #4)

The author was a prominent Church of Scotland man (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 11:25 pm on August 2nd 2008

The Slovak people continue five centuries to 1938

Continuing the brief history of the Slovak people from the narrative begun earlier, through the modern (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 10:25 pm on May 31st 2008

The Slovak people: original settlement

This report is based on a “target of opportunity” — an old beat up book from a co-worker; though held together with masking tape and rubber bands, (more…)

Posted by TJH @ 10:18 am on May 22nd 2008

Discussion of Wagner’s Ring: Rheingold

While only a few people will be interested in our philosophical podcasts, I hope many will give the operatic ones a try. Here, we discuss (more…)

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