McAtee Contra Tuininga on the Idols of Traditionalists Concerning Marriage and Family

Here we find a recently minted Dr. of the Church giving his opinion on the putative correlation between idolatry of the family as practiced by “traditionalists” and idolatry of perverse sex as practiced by progressives.

The Christian Idols of Sex, Marriage, and Family

Another source tells me that Dr. Tim Keller reasons in a similar fashion but as I don’t typically read Keller I’ll have to take my sources word for it.

MT writes,

In the sex-saturated culture in which we live, both progressives and traditionalists have come to embrace overly sexualized narratives of sex, marriage, and family. Both tend to idealize sex as a fundamental part of human flourishing, essential to personal wholeness. Progressives emphasize the goods of sex to such an extent that they have largely abandoned the notion that good sex can only take place within a heterosexual, married relationship. The only ethical guidance they seem to be able to provide individuals seeking sexual flourishing is to tell them to respect the consent of others and do what seems right to them. Traditionalists, for their part, idealize the permanent union between a man and a woman and the nuclear family that is supposed to flow from it as if it were the greatest and most wonderful relationship that any person could know in this life.

BLMc responds,

1.) I would dearly love to meet some of these “traditionalists” who are “idealizing the permanent union between a man and a woman and the nuclear family that is supposed to flow from it as if it were the greatest and most wonderful relationship that any person could know in this life.”

As a minister, as most ministers, I deal with the flotsam and jetsam of wrecked family lives on a consistent basis. I personally know of no one, outside or inside the Church who fits the description that Tuininga gives above regarding “traditionalists.” They may exist, but to speak of them as existing as a equally serious problem as progressives blow all my circuits.

The facts about how the family in America is in disrepair are pretty well known. These facts remain true whether you consider statistics on those outside the Church or those inside the Church.  For example,

a.) Only 46% of U.S. children under 18 live in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. This stands contrasted with 1960 when that number stood at 73% and 1980 when that number stood at 61%.

b.) The percentage of children born outside of marriage is now at 41%. This number stood at 5% in 1960.

c.) In 1960, only one in ten adults 25 and older had never been married. In 2012 that number has jumped to one in five.

We could go on repeatedly citing these kinds of numbers. The plea I have for Dr. Tuininga is to please introduce me to the kind of Traditionalists that you say are making the equal but opposite error of the progressives.  Where are all these Traditionalists you speak of? I can easily introduce you to all kinds of progressives that fit your description. These progressives would even accept your description of them. But where do I meet a flesh and blood traditionalist who would stand up and salute your description of him as being accurate?

2.) Since I am convinced that very few if any of these kinds of Traditionalists exist I begin to wonder if Traditionalists, as described by Matthew, becomes more of a stalking horse in order to suggest that those who oppose progressives are equally sinful as progressives themselves and so have just as much to repent of as progressives. This reasoning serves the purpose of hinting that those who are pleased with Biblical marriage and family as a gift from God and who want to defend that institution are as equally in sin as sodomites, transgenders, and pedophiles.

3.) Obviously, the “most wonderful relationship that any person could know in this life,” is that relationship wherein man, by God’s grace alone, enters into covenant with His creator and redeemer and so walks in light of that grace. But again, I don’t know any Traditionalists who would deny that and insist instead that marriage and family are even more superior to walking with the Lord Christ by the power of the Spirit.

Once again, I am convinced that Dr. Tuininga has created a false dichotomy that has the effect of saying, “Well the church has problems. First it has problems with the progressives but then it has a problem with the traditionalists also and we can’t speak to one of these problems without admitting that we have both problems.” This has the effect of diminishing the problem we have with progressives. When I meet traditionalists who embrace Dr. Tuininga’s description of them, as progressives would embrace Tuininga’s description of them I’ll then only begin to consider his claims.

MT writes,

These narratives have deeply shaped Christians too. Progressives in the church increasingly find themselves questioning classic Christian prohibitions of fornication (i.e., sex before marriage), homosexuality, and divorce, while traditionalists cling all the more tightly to the glories of the married relationship to which everyone is called and for which everyone who is not having sex must necessarily wait. Progressives are abandoning gender as merely a human construct, while conservatives are holding to gender distinctions all the more rigidly as the inviolable decree of creation. Both groups seemingly despise the celibate life, finding it deeply implausible, and both tolerate divorce in virtually every instance in which a couple really wants it.

BLMc responds,

1.) Again, I’d like to meet these traditionalists, who insist that everyone, without exception, are called to marriage. Really, I’d like to meet them because I don’t think they exist in any real numbers.  To posit them makes for a nice counterbalance in arguing we have equal but opposite problems among our constituencies but these flesh and blood people don’t exist as any real presence in the Church.

For Pete’s sake, as far back as 1947 Social Scientist were shouting loud and clear that the American Family was in deep trouble. Writing in 1947, Carle Zimmerman, in his classic “Family and Civilization”, had this to say about “The Greatest Generation.”

“The fact is now well known, and associated with these changes, that the Western world has entered a period of demoralization comparable to the periods when both Greece and Rome turned from growth to decay. Divorce, premarital sex experience, sex promiscuity, homosexuality, versatility in sex, birth control carried to excess, spread of birth control to every segment of the population, positive antagonism to parenthood, clandestine marriage, migratory divorce, marriage for sex alone, contempt for familism, even in the so-called educated circles—all are increasing rapidly. In spite of our virtuous words, and without even the intellectual honesty of the Greeks and Roman, we have gone as far as they, and it would appear that we are going even farther. The family crisis of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is like that in Greece and Rome, except that we do not recognize it and are intellectually dishonest with ourselves on this subject.”

~Carle Zimmerman, “Family and Civilization”, p. 174

Where is all this familolatry  that Tuininga abhors?

2.) Unless Tuiniga can show Scripture that teaches to the contrary, traditionalists are correct to insist that “everyone who is not having sex must necessarily wait” for marriage.

3.) Tuininga complains that “conservatives are holding to gender distinctions all the more rigidly as the inviolable decree of creation.” I wonder, can Dr. Tuininga point out anywhere in Scripture that affirms gender is a social construct and so Christians, out of deep compassion and love for errant progressives, shouldn’t hold on to gender distinctions all the more righteously as the inviolable decree of creation? Where does Dr. Tuininga find that gender is a violable decree of creation?

4.) Note how Tuininga jades the conversation with the language he uses.

“conservatives are holding to gender distinctions all the more rigidly as the inviolable decree of creation.”

Traditionalists, for their part, idealize the permanent union between a man and a woman …

MT writes,

From the perspective of the gospel, both of these narratives are deeply flawed. True, Jesus clearly affirmed traditional Jewish teaching regarding sexual immorality, and he affirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman because that is how God declared it to be from creation. Up to that point, at least, the traditionalists are right.

But Jesus said so much more than that – the gospel says so much more than that – and that is getting lost in the debate. If the church hopes to truly exercise a prophetic voice in the midst of a culture whose radical over-sexualization produces ever greater numbers of abused, scarred, and disillusioned victims, it needs to recover the good news of Jesus for sex, marriage, and the family.


It may be true that Scripture says “more than that,” but it is also true that Scripture does not say less than that. Marriage is God’s good gift.  Children are a heritage of the Lord. God says that “if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  So, highly did St. Paul think about family that he was inspired to write,

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

One wonders if Dr. Tuininga would accuse God of being a traditionalist “who idealizes the permanent union between a man and a woman and the nuclear family that is supposed to flow from it as if it were the greatest and most wonderful relationship that any person could know in this life.”

MT writes,

Catholic ethicist Julie Hanlon Rubio points out that Jesus consistently challenged his followers not to hold too tightly to marriage and family. Jesus, like his most famous follower, the Apostle Paul, lived a celibate life, and like the Apostle Paul he did not hesitate to characterize the celibate life as one that is especially conducive of devotion to the kingdom of God. He called his disciples to leave their family members for the sake of the kingdom, using language that still shocks us today (if we have ears to hear it):

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

BLMc responds,

1.) We are Reformed not Roman Catholic.

2.) Certainly Dr. Tuininga understands that all relationships, all the good loves of this world, all the things that are good gifts from God, must be related to as “hate” when compared to our love for Christ. All our good relationships must never be ends in themselves. They must all be engaged in keeping with our higher love for God. God has called me to hate my love for family in comparison to my love for Him but He does not call me to hate my family in an absolutist fashion. I suspect that Dr. Tuininga loves his parents. I suspect that Dr. Tuinga loves his siblings.

3.) We do not know absolutely that Paul was not married. History suggests that a member of the Sanhedrin was required to be married.  That Paul was celibate for long periods of time is not denied.

4.) We should not be surprised that someone from Rome, with their requirement for celibacy in the Priesthood, is going to argue that celibacy is a good thing. Of course the Reformers disagreed with Rome on this issue.


The problem, for Jesus, was not sex. The problem was that marriage, like other familial bonds, places on human beings a host of demands that can easily distract us from the things of God. It calls us to serve one another with absolute fidelity. It tempts us to pursue a life oriented to pleasure, property, and the pursuit of happiness. It makes us, like the rich young ruler, unlikely to be willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus once we have considered what the cost of such discipleship might be.


Now, it seems that Dr. Tuininga has taken up Roman Catholic platonic like reasoning and is suggesting that Marriage is a lesser place than celibacy. Marriage and family makes us unwilling to take up our cross and follow Jesus? Marriage and family distract us from the things of God? Doesn’t this imply that marriage and family are not “the things of God?”  Those are pretty big claims Dr. Tuininga is making.


Indeed, when the disciples heard the extent of Jesus’ teaching on marriage their response was not, as it is for so many traditionalist Christians today, to yearn for it all the more deeply (and feel ever more guilty for denying sex to those who are not yet or cannot be married). On the contrary, they exclaimed, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). And Jesus does not rebuke them for this conclusion. On the contrary, he said,

Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. (Luke 19:12)


Clearly it is the case that for some people and especially during certain epochs that being married is not ideal. I’m not sure what Dr. Tuininga’s point is here. It is widely and roundly accepted in the Church that not everyone is called to marriage and family. Point taken. Praise God for those who have the gift of celibacy. Praise God that he raises up some to be single all their lives.

MT writes,

When is the last time you’ve heard a sermon on that text? Jesus, like Paul, recognized that there is something better than sex in this life, a calling that far transcends gender roles, and one that is worth pursuing for those willing to receive it. He himself chose that path, rather than the path of marriage.


There is no calling, not even one of celibacy, that transcends gender roles. If God calls a man or a woman to celibacy He calls them to celibacy as a man or a woman which He created as a man or a woman.

MT writes,

And yet, his point was not to reject the family. His point, rather, was to get his followers to look beyond their own marriages and families to the much more important family of those who have been reconciled into communion with one another and God. When his own biological family came seeking him, attempting to interrupt his kingdom work, he spoke words that would shock us if we actually took them seriously:

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Luke 12:48-50)


Certainly spiritual family is more important than physical family who reject our undoubted Catholic Christian Faith. But physical family that is also spiritual family is to be prioritized above both spiritual family alone or physical family who reject Christ.


Nor was Jesus simply thinking of his own unique messianic situation when he said that. On the contrary, each of the synoptic gospels records Jesus, immediately after his conversation with the rich young ruler, pointing his own followers in the same direction. As Mark’s version puts it,

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Mark 10:29-31)


It is stipulated that God is no debtor to man and that for those who are called to leave family for the Kingdom will be rewarded richly by God, just as those will be richly rewarded who were called to family and loved their family to the glory of God.

MT writes,

To be sure, sex, marriage, and family are good things, gifts from God. But they are not the best thing. And if the words of Jesus or Paul mean anything to us at all, there is something about the celibate life that is, in fact, closer to that best thing. The early church saw that (indeed, they took it much too far), but our culture has blinded us to it.

BLMc responds,

This is not true.

1.) What is true is that the celibate life is best for those who are called to be celibate while the married and family life is best for those who are called to marriage and family. This idea that the celibate life is best is platonic and I suspect comes from Dr. Tuininga reading too many Roman Catholic ethicists.

2.) The early church was awash in Platonism and Gnosticism. Many despised the body.  The Reformation embraced marriage as a good gift from God. Did Luther live a less than best life because he married Katy? Did Calvin live a less than best life because Idelette was always afoot? Dr. Tuininga really does go a bridge to far in this “reasoning.” Is Dr. Tuininga trying to turn us back to a “material word only so so good” vs. “spiritual world really good,” thinking? Beware the leaven of Roman Catholic ethicists.

3.) Neither celibate life nor non celibate life is closer to the best thing. To suggest that either is ideal, in and of itself, over the other is not Biblical thinking. Biblical thinking understands and affirms that we, in the Church, are all gifted and called differently and all those gifts and all those callings serve the body of Christ for God’s glory.  If God gives the gift of celibacy to a Brother or Sister in Christ then praise God. But it is no lesser existence to know that God has called one to marriage and family.

MT writes,

If the Christian sexual ethic has become less plausible in American churches today, if churches are less and less willing to call their followers to the path of radical discipleship, indeed, if the celibate life of the Christ to whom we are supposed to be conformed has itself become inconceivable to us, then that is a testimony to just how much Christians – progressive and traditionalist alike – have failed to hear the gospel and believe it. Just like our culture, we have idolized sex, marriage, and family. We have confused the American dream with the gospel.

BLMc responds,

The progressives certainly have idolized sex but I’ve yet to see any evidence that traditionalists are idolizing family and marriage. I read assertion after assertion but I see no evidence that we have a wide ranging problem in Church and culture of a pervasive traditionalism that is gumming up the gears. Instead what I see is marriage and family on the rocks. I see almost the complete and total breakdown of the nuclear family. The extended and Trustee family is almost to the point that it is barely remembered. Atomistic individualism reigns supreme to the point that familial covenant identity is non existent. I see all this, and I’m supposed to believe that we have a problem in our culture and church with traditionalism that turns the family into an idol?

I’m not buying it.

MT writes,

If that is indeed the case, then as Ed Shaw puts it in his must-read, Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life, the church should give thanks for the phenomena of homosexuality and same-sex marriage because it might just serve as the wake-up call the church needs. In the words of the songwriter Rich Mullins, “We are not as strong as we think we are.” If progressives are caving in to the spirit of the times, then traditionalists are too often basking in a hypocritical self-righteousness. Both need to repent and return to the gospel.


1) I certainly agree that “we are not as strong as we think we are.” I find the proof of that in Dr. Tuininga’s article.

2.) The next to last sentence of that paragraph above pushes me into thinking that this was the real purpose of the article. Both progressives and traditionalists are equally sinners, in terms of their convictions, in this sodomite marriage debate. The convictions of neither camp are superior to one or the other. Once they are both seen as being equally sinners then the stench of sodomy and perversity in the Church fades as traditionalists are equally full of self righteous stench.

But again… where are the traditionalists who will own the description that Tuiniga gives them? The progressives are glad to embrace Tuininga’s descriptors. They will gladly admit that they,

emphasize the goods of sex to such an extent that they have largely abandoned the notion that good sex can only take place within a heterosexual, married relationship. The only ethical guidance they seem to be able to provide individuals seeking sexual flourishing is to tell them to respect the consent of others and do what seems right to them.

Where is the evidence that family life in America is awash in traditionalist thinking per Tuininga’s claims? All the stats point to just the opposite. Where are those traditionalists who would despise people called to celibacy? Introduce me to some of them. I want to meet them.

Dr. Tuininga’s article is deeply flawed because he’s created a caricature out of the Traditionalist position and then posited that caricature as being a equal problem in the culture and church as the progressive position. This equalizing then serves to diminish the real problem of progressive LGBT’ism.


God’s Call For Virgin Skin … Tattoos in their Broader Historical and Cultural Context (#5)

Proverbs 22:28 “Do not move the ancient boundary Which your fathers have set.

“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'”

G. K. Chesterton

When I was a boy, a short 45 years ago, I almost never saw a tattoo. There was one exception. Mr. Welty, who lived down the road a couple miles, had been a sailor and had a tattoo. Mr. Welty was a nice man but had the gruffness of a former Swabby.  He had two sons who were my friends and whenever I went over to the Weltys to see Hal and Craig I couldn’t get my eyes off of that anchor tatted on their Dad’s forearm.  At least I think it was an anchor. 45 years ago is a long time.

Now, nobody ever sat me down, as I recall, and taught me of the impropriety of tattoos. It was just something known that people with tattoos were to be avoided. Good Christian people didn’t get tattoos.

Now of course 45 years later I understand that one can have a “past” and so have a tattoo and still be Christian. Nothing I have said in this series should be construed that one can’t be saved and owned by Christ if they have tattoos. That would be just ridiculous. No, the point in this series is, and has been, that biblical Christians don’t pant and hanker after tattoos since they are not biblical and are associated with paganism. Let me say this again. Having a tattoo is not an unpardonable sin any more than doing anything else stupid in one’s regrettable youth is an unpardonable sin.

If we look at the history of tattoos we learn that even the word itself comes to us from a pagan milieu as the word was brought to the West upon the return of Captain Cook’s 18th century voyage to Tahiti. Originally as “tatau” the word morphed into its phonetic spelling.  Though the word had been introduced to the English lexicon the practice was known to our people in antiquity in pre-Christian times.  Both the Greeks and the Romans embraced the use of tattoos or “stigmata” as tattoos were called then. As we have noted elsewhere the stigmata (or tattoos as we know call them) were primarily used then as a means to mark out as identifying with a religious sect or as a brand signifying ownership whether as slave or criminal. So true was the branding aspect of this that even Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C), a Pharaoh during the Ptolemaic times in Egypt, was said to bear stigmata (tattoos) of ivy leaves to communicate Ptolemy’s devotion to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time.

The fashion of wearing stigmata (tattoos) was also not unusual in Roman times and was adopted by soldiers of Rome who then exported the stigmata across the Roman Empire. This continued for centuries until the rise of Christianity. With the rise of Christianity the correlation of stigmata and tattoos with witchcraft and paganism was made and so, on the that basis and upon the basis that tattoos were believed to disfigure that (which was) made in God’s image, tattoos were finally banned by Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. In doing this the Emperor Constantine was self consciously reinforcing the biblical ban on tattooing.

The tattoo, as we hinted above, was reintroduced to the West via Captain Cook’s exploration. In “Mutiny on the Bounty” tattooing becomes a sub-theme that works through the book. In some of the film versions, tattoos are clearly part of the process, along with the lust for strange flesh, whereby Mr. Fletcher Christian abandons his ties to Captain Bligh and civilization.

As Mr. Dan Brannan informs us in his fine article, “Tattoos & Taboos: The Marilyn Mansonization of the Church,”

“But the heathen connotation of tattoos was still taken entirely for granted a century later in Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), wherein we read of captain Ahab’s descent into madness leading to a renouncement of the Christian faith punctuated by a ceremonial session of tattooing by which Ahab says he has joined his “heathen brothers” – Polynesian, Amerind, and African harpooners. Which is to say that it was still, mid-nineteenth century, comprehended as sacrilege tantamount to selling one’s soul to the devil.”

Indeed, legally speaking, tattooing is still eyed with suspicion as seen in the fact that at least 45 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, though most allow tattooing minors if a parent or legal guardian is present.

So, given all this background of the Christian West it was not surprising that as a boy, and a son of Western more’s and norms I would have absorbed an instinctual revulsion for that tattoo on Mr. Welty’s forearm.

But of course all that has changed in the last 40 years or so and it causes me, at least, to ask, “what changed that in such a short time that tattoos went from a taboo to being all the rage?

The only answer here possible is that in those 40 years the West has had a whole scale change of a religion. Any time a people’s more’s, norms, and ethics change the way that the more’s, norms, and ethics of the West have changed you know that a change in institutional religion has occurred. Anything the defines right and wrong and defines good and evil is a religion. We once had a religion that defined tattoos as wrong. We now have a religion that defines tattoos as good. This didn’t just happen without a change of religion.

Now, of course a predominance of people would deny this. I would guess that even the predominance of the clergy would deny this. What tends to happen when a people’s institutional religion is whole sale changed out this rapidly the way that our institutional religion has been changed out is to reinterpret the former faith (in this case, Christianity) in light of the new faith (in this case Cultural Marxism). Cultural Marxism is America’s new Institutional religion and Cultural Marxism says tattoos are fashionable and because Christianity is being reinterpreted through Cultural Marxist categories a large percentage of the Church as well as many “Ministers” are now chiming in with one voice with the Cultural Marxists to sanctify tattoos as a positive good.

The Cultural Marxists spoke long ago about the need for a long march through the Western institutions and Western cultural infrastructure. The Cultural Marxist believed and realized that unless culture was changed from the ground up there could be no way they could achieve destruction of biblical Christianity and the implementation of their halcyon goal of the satanic egalitarian social order.  The signs of our Cultural Marxism civil religion are all about us as well as the sign that Cultural Marxism has displaced biblical Christianity as our “guidance providing social order religious North Star.”

In my lifetime tattoos, especially for and on Christians, were once counted as “taboo.” Now they are counted as socially acceptable and now the protest against them is “taboo.” In my lifetime sodomy had gone from a wicked love that dare not speak its name to the enriching love that won’t shut the hell up.  In my lifetime body modification piercing has gone from a wickedness unheard of to a positive good that finds the beach doubling as a Iron salvage yard during the summer. In my lifetime a political candidate with a divorce in his background was scandalous. Now we have a Republican nominee with two divorces in his background not to mention being now married to a former centerfold of a men’s magazine. In my lifetime Churches which had women in the pulpits were sedulously avoided. Now however if someone attends a church with a woman minister it is a sign of how enlightened the parishioner is. And we haven’t even begun to speak of Trannies, women in combat roles, fashion or the lack thereof, dyed hair, cowardly clergy who refuse to engage on these issues, and any number of other things that were once considered socially malevolent. Clearly we have lived through a religious revolution. What were once taboos now have a waiting line for club membership. Indeed the only taboo today is to do what I’m doing now, to wit, publicly advocating that these things should still be taboo.  One can now be a male tran-sexual with body modification in a fifth marriage to a female transgender who fought door to door combat in Fallujah and everyone will fall all over themselves to make such people feel welcome at family reunions but let someone show up at the family reunion saying these things are not Christian and “katy bar the door.”

All this, from the casual acceptance of tattoos by Christians to John marrying Steve and everything in between can be explained by the changing out of the Western Civilization of Christianity for the faith of Cultural Marxism.

It may be the case that tattoos are only the tip of the iceberg. It may be, as compared with all the other perversions I listed, that it is not that bad of a thing. It may be that a 18 year old young lady getting tatted with a butterfly or a hummingbird may not be that terrible in the total scheme of the current Kulturkampf that we are living through but it is significant enough for me to want to at least tease out the battle lines and the meaning of being tattooed in the largest possible context.

So, we have moved the ancient boundary stone set by our Fathers that God warned against us doing so, and contra Chesterton, we have removed fences we had no right in removing since we never understood why they were present in the first place.

And as a social order we are now, institutionally and structurally speaking, anti-Christ for doing so.


God’s Call for Virgin Skin … Teleology and Tatts

The external appearance of the people should reflect their internal status as the chosen and holy people of God (Dt. 14:1-2). Paul uses a similar line of argument in I Cor. 6. The body of the believer belongs to Christ, therefore, “glorify God in your body.”

Gordon J. Wenham 
British OT Scholar 
Commentary on Leviticus

When we talk about teleology we are talking about the goal, end, or purpose of whatever is in question. When we talk about the teleology of a knife we would say its end, purpose or goal, is to cut or stab. If we were to talk about the teleology of a book we would say it is to inform, instruct or amuse. When we talk about the teleology of man we know that it is to glorify God by fully enjoying Him forever.

Proper teleology is part of the substance of Christian worldview. When we talk about teleology in relation to our study of man (anthropology) we inquire about the end for which man was made.

The “image laws” that we find in Leviticus 19, wherein God communicates how His people are to be Holy (set apart) in their physical selves and even in their fashions, is part of the answer to a biblical teleology for anthropology.  Many assume because they can’t understand the general equity in such laws as Leviticus 19 therefore they assume such laws are void. To avoid this is why God gave some to the Church to be Pastors.

Leviticus 19 when read in light of all of Scripture according to the “anaologia fidei” …  when read in conjunction with verses like I Corinthians 6:19-20 and verses like Ephesians 5:27f we begin to see the proper teleology for man and so begin to understand what man was created for and so that for which fallen man is re-created.

The intent of God, for man, in terms of man’s teleology, has always been to present unto Himself a people without spot, wrinkle, blemish or any such thing (Eph. 5:27). This is put on display in the ministry of Christ with the bringing in of His Kingdom as He brings wellness, health, and restoration via His Kingdom ministry to the palsied, the blind, the halt, and the deaf.   All Christ’s healing, resurrections of the dead, delivery from demon possession, and forgiveness of sins was to communicate that the teleology of man, in today’s lingo, has always been human flourishing. Christ came to give life that was and is abundant.

Some want to reduce this prospect of Kingdom life without wrinkle, spot, or blemish to some kind of spiritual realm, so that it is our souls or our spirits alone, which are blemish free. We to often forget that the body has been redeemed likewise. Now, before I am accused of arguing that there is automatic physical healing in the atonement, I fully understand that not all physical blemishes upon God’s people are done away in this life. The last enemy to be defeated is death. My argument here is that if the teleology of man is wholeness, shalom, and well-being then that includes man’s body as well as his soul. Our corporeal selves are to be a reflection of our incorporeal selves and so for the Christian to pursue spots and blemishes upon their skin is a contradiction to Christ’s ultimate intent to present us without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or any such thing.

That this is no stretch notice the connection in Deuteronomy 14:1-2 between God’s people being Holy with their corporeal wholeness and well being.

Deuteronomy 14 “You are the sons of the Lord your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

It wasn’t just that God was saving a people so their souls would be without spot, wrinkle, blemish or any such thing. He was saving a people who would be physically unmarred unless He Himself, in His providence, decided to mar them physically.  Even then, in the fullness of the Father’s Kingdom, those who God had marred in His providence would be physically whole again. This is the teleology of the Saints.

God’s people remain, as Deuteronomy 14 teaches, a people who are his possession,

 I Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Notice both in Deuteronomy 14 and in I Peter 2 this possession language is used. In Deuteronomy God’s claim of possession follows his prohibition upon cutting. (We looked at this in some depth in the previous entry.) Are we to believe in I Peter God likewise claims possession but now doesn’t care about cutting and scarification? Did Jesus come to die for the sins of His people so that they could now scarify themselves in tattooing? God doesn’t own for Himself a people in the Old Testament who scarify themselves and yet in the New Testament God does own for Himself a people who do go out of the way to scarify themselves via tattooing?

When the modern Church disregards God’s teleology for man’s physical wholeness and so allows and even advocates for scarification and tattooing the Modern Church is confessing a Gnostic Christianity. Gnosticism, the Church’s first, and still present,  and now long abiding heresy taught that the corporeal world was unimportant. All that was important was our spiritual selves. The body was alienated from a spiritual salvation. Sometimes, in Gnostic quarters, it was explained that the spirit of man was entombed in the evil corporeal quarters that was man’s body. Because the spirit was all that was important, it didn’t matter what a person’s body did or was involved in. The Gnostic saw the flesh at best as meaningless and at worse as positive evil. If the flesh is meaningless then anything can be done with it or to it including scarification and tattooing.

But this was not to be so among God’s people. God’s claim was upon man both body and soul. This is why the Continental Reformed have always confessed,

“That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death —to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

This is why Wenham can say in our introductory quote that,

“The external appearance of the people should reflect their internal status as the chosen and holy people of God.”

My body belongs to Christ. It should reflect my internal status as redeemed, and so chosen and holy. What I do to my body is significant and if God tells me that my body is His Temple possession and significant in terms of communicating His teleology for me then who I am to scarify or tattoo my body and so contradict Him? God calls us to serve Him with the whole man, body and soul, and when we tattoo ourselves we are confessing a worldview that has a teleology component that is contrary to a Christian teleology and a Christian worldview. We are contradicting the abundant life Christ promised to give.

In the future installments I hope to get to some history of the tattoo as well as cultural considerations that are wrapped up in tattooing.

A Look at Dr. David Wright’s and IWU’s Surrender to the LGBT Religion — Part I

The President of my alma mater on 27 January 2016 testified before the Indiana State Assembly in favor of legislation that would extend special rights to the LGBT community.

Below is the link of Dr. Wright’s testimony,

I will spend some time fisking this testimony but before we get to that let me provide just a little background. The legislation that Dr. Wright is supporting has, as its intent, according to reports, the elevating of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers, while still protecting religious freedom and other rights cherished by conservatives.  The legislation here that Dr. Wright is supporting would mean, in part, that a Christian campus like Indiana Wesleyan University would remain a kind of safe “ghetto zone,” for now, where Christians could still ply their Christianity, such as it is. The trade off that Wright is surrendering in order to secure that safe campus ghetto zone would be his support of elevating protections for LGBT people. Keep in mind that the elevating that we are talking about means that Christians outside the safe ghetto zones, that the legislation creates, will be forced to treat LGBT’ism as normative for the culture and social order. Wright prioritizes his precious campus at the price of surrendering up individual Christians outside the campus ghetto safe zones, some of whom who have been trained at IWU, to the maws of LGBT political correctness. This looks a great deal like Wright throwing someone else out of the lifeboat so he can save himself and his own interests.

Of course the LGBT true believers are outraged with this bill. They don’t want campus ghetto safe zones to be created. They want to infiltrate and conquer everything before them. Wright believes that his position is compromise and that by it he gains half a loaf. The problem here is that everyone with half a brain in their head  knows that once the LGBT community consolidates their gains they’ll come back for the campus Christian ghetto safe zones.  Does Wright really believe that once LGBT’ism is completely normative in the broader culture that they will tolerate his precious campus to be historically Christian?

Well, therein lies the background to Dr. David Wright’s testimony and capitulation before the Indiana state assembly. Now for fisking Wright’s testimony itself.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

IWU is a Christ-centered university that pursues the best traditions of academic inquiry and teaching while remaining grounded in the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition of the historic Christian faith.  For 95 years our university has served the public good of our state and region by graduating exceptional citizens who serve as some of our region’s best teachers, nurses, counselors, business people, pastors, and scientists.

Rev. McAtee responds,

Dr. Wright you say that IWU is grounded in the rich intellectual and spiritual tradition of the historic Christian faith.

Can you name one notable Theologian from Church History prior to 1950 or so that testified in favor or elevating LGBT protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers?

Surely if your grounded in such a rich intellectual and spiritual tradition that is the Christian faith you can find a few Theological heavy weights from that tradition that spoke like this?

Augustine? Anselm? Bonaveture? Grotius? Luther? Wesley? Asbury? St. John of the Cross? Meister Eckhart?

I didn’t think so.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

We do not exist for the purpose of proselytizing people to our denomination though we are happy when our students find their faith strengthened and made more meaningful in their lives as a result of studying with us.  Instead we exist to serve the public good.

Rev. McAtee responds,

Note the last sentence above. Wright offers as the reason for IWU’s existence is to serve the public good. I would have thought that a Christian man who is President of a Christian University would say that, “we exist to serve the God of the Bible and His Lord Christ.” Already out of the gate, in this testimony, the careful eye notes that Wright is man centered in his thinking. He posits that the University exists to serve the public good.

Secondly, how can Wright make the case that it is for the public’s good that LGBT’ism protections are elevated? Is it the public’s good that the public square be paganized even more? Is it the public’s good that Wright send his trained “world changers” into a public square where the law requires them to shut up regarding right and wrong, and good and bad, in terms of sodomy?

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

Here is our mission:  Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership.

Rev. McAtee responds,

1.) Committed to changing the world while at the same time committed that the world should be allowed to legislate against the world being changed by the students of IWU. How can IWU’s students change the World for Christ when it’s own President is advancing a position that will not allow the world to be changed in terms of a sexuality that reflects Christian doctrine?

2.) Are we to look for the same character of IWU graduates that we are finding in its President? A character that seeks to protect its own at the expense of the expansion of Christianity in the public square? If this is the kind of character we can expect from IWU students then I find myself hoping I don’t encounter IWU graduates.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

So I come today to offer you reflections on the current intersection of civil rights, public and private moral values, and religious freedom from the perspective of a deeply religious, conservative, yet irenic and hospitable university community.

Rev. McAtee responds,

There is not a thing conservative about what Wright is offering. However, it is most certainly “deeply religious.” Unfortunately, it is not religious in a Christian sense.  And this is not so much irenic as it is surrender.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

“Second, I wish to commend those of you who, under exceedingly difficult and contentious circumstances, are seeking ways to wisely balance the civil rights of all of Indiana’s citizens, while also safeguarding the religious freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”

Rev. McAtee responds,

I wonder … if LGBT people have civil rights that need to be balanced then why don’t necrophiliacs have civil rights to be balanced or pedophiles have civil rights to be balanced or bestialiacs have civil rights to be balanced? If we are going to extend civil rights to one perverted form of sexuality why not extend civil rights to all perverted forms of sexuality? I fear, Dr. Wright, that you are a hater not wanting to treat all perverts with the respect they deserve.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

“I am struck with how often fear and anger are the subtexts of the conversations. Fear and anger are present on all sides of these debates. “

Bret responds,

Can you show me from Scripture where anger is universally sin? Maybe this is a time for anger Dave? Maybe you should be angry?

In this testimony, you speak about the rich Christian tradition from which you speak out of Dr. Wright. Well, allow me to quote someone from the rich Christian tradition who had something to say about anger,

“He who is not angry, whereas he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices, it fosters negligence, and incites not only the wicked but the good to do wrong.”

John Chrysostom, c. 349, Archbishop of Constantinople

Next you mention fear?

Well, fear is an act of worship and so belongs only to God but if I were to fear my fear would be of sell outs like you who think you’re doing the Lord Christ a favor by testifying to elevate LGBT protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

If we are intent on following the metaphor of warfare to its conclusion, this means we will be locked in combat until one side dominates or destroys the other by force.

But I ask you, how can we embrace a trajectory of warfare that leads us to seek the destruction of our enemies when our enemies are our neighbors?

Rev. McAtee responds,

What a terrible thing that Christ and His people would have dominion over the enemies of Christ.  God the Father speaks to His Son in Psalm 2,

Thou shalt break them (God’s enemies) with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

But Dr. Wright says, “We dare not think about having dominion over God’s enemies.”

Psalm 2 teaches the Christ hater to,

12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way,

But Dr. Wright says,

“We just want to live in peace and harmony with you. We would never want to have Godly dominion.”

Then Dr. Wright moves to the whole trajectory language. Here we see that Wright would rather seek the destruction of Biblical Christians by forcing them to create a social order in keeping with the religion of LGBT’ism than the end of a LGBT religion that imprisons and destroys people.

Dr. Wright, isn’t the whole goal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to destroy the enemies of the Gospel through conversion?

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly saying,

“By the same token, our religious convictions also call upon us to honor the dignity and worth of our fellow citizens who, for their own good reasons, disagree with and choose to live in ways contrary to our convictions. In fact, in this intensely conflicted debate about sexual orientation and gender identity, most of us who hold the religious convictions I have described know, care for, serve, and associate with persons who are either uncertain about their sexual orientation or have come to the settled conviction that their personal happiness lies in the pursuit of a life different from the one we would choose.”

Rev. McAtee responds,

Dave, you can not have a stable social order and culture by trying to combine people who have diametrically opposite worldviews. This is what you are championing. The way worldviews work is that they favor those who embrace them and disfavor those who do not.

We have come to the point where the ability to honor the dignity and worth of LGBT folks is not possible because they have come out of the closet and will not be satisfied until Christians are shoved back into the closet they escaped from, and here you are helping the LGBT crowd push Christians back into the closet in the public square.

The expansion of LGBT civil rights will, by necessity, mean the diminution of the civil rights of those who are Biblical Christians. You seem to think that it is possible to have these two religions co-exist in one social order but that is not possible. We have that truth before us every day. Our children are being recruited for the LGBT agenda. Our Churches and Universities are collapsing in the face of this onslaught. And yet here you are thinking that these polar opposite religions can live in harmony with one another.

President David Wright of Indiana Wesleyan University testified before the Indiana State Assembly

“What do we want for these friends and neighbors of ours? We are not at war with them. We are in conflict with their understanding of the pathway to personal and social well-being. But we do not view them as enemies to be ridiculed, bullied, punished, or persecuted. They are the neighbors whom Jesus has called us to love as we love ourselves.”

Rev. McAtee responds,

We are in conflict with their understanding of the pathway to personal and social well-being but we are not at war with them?


They desire to build a different social order and culture than what we envision. They intend to recruit our children and grandchildren to their cause, religion, and lifestyle. They intend to change legislation so that we are forced to associate and do commerce with them, and yet, you want to insist that we are not at war with them? What is war if it is not that?

Your whole Testimony Dave, was nothing but surrender wrapped in phrases that weren’t even all that high sounding. Further, your whole testimony Dave, sounds a good deal like a treaty that communicates friendship with the world which is warfare against God (James 4:4).

Biblical Christians are the ones being ridiculed, bullied, punished, and persecuted and yet here you are worried about the privileges of the enemies of Christ who are doing all that ridiculing, bullying, punishing and persecuting.

If the Church in the West is met with the Sunset of its existence, when the record is written, if it is written, it will be written that it was Church-men like you and your advisers who were the Judas-goats who betrayed the cause of Christ with your feckless testimonies and ubiquitous surrenders.












From the Mailbag …Dear Pastor, We must allow immigrants

Dear Pastor,

I am bothered by your stance on immigration. Europe decided to help people who come from war-torn countries get a better life. The Daily Mail is full of lies and over-exaggerates every negative thing based on its own right-wing agenda. The Daily Mail’s reporting on what happened at Cologne is such an example. Yes, there are bad Muslims, but they don’t speak for the majority. There are bad Christians, but they don’t speak for everybody, either etc. Most people just want to live in peace. We all come from and have been immigrants. Or are we supposed to not care because they aren’t all Christians? Can’t we just look at each other as human beings rather than place divisions between us? Everyone deserves a better life and a few evil people (on all sides) should not be allowed to represent the masses.

Laura Lindson

Dear Laura,

Thanks for writing. Let’s try to be somewhat systematic in our approach to your letter.

1.) Laura is a white female like the ones who were raped and assaulted in Cologne and yet, here she is defending the rapefugees behavior. She probably also votes for those who want to continue to pursue these policies … policies that might find her some day raped.

2.) Laura cannot distinguish between people coming to get a better life and people coming here to colonize and destroy the West. These people are not coming here to find a better life. They are coming her to turn the life that is better for the West into the same latrine hole that the lands they are coming from already are.

3.) Laura makes the accusation of “exaggeration.” Odd, because that is the very same accusation that was made against the early reports of the same kind of behavior that Allan Antonio is describing in this thread as it occurred in Rotherham England between 1997-2013 when over 1400 pre-pubescent white girls and boys were raped, tortured, and sex-trafficked by filthy Muslim men. For years people like Laura turned a deaf ear to those who were insisting that there was a major problem by means of insisting that these accusations were all “exaggerations.” They weren’t then. They aren’t now. Laura either is grossly naive and so a useful idiot or she is in league with those desiring the fall of the West. I would guess she is a useful idiot.…/projects/rotherham/index.html

4.) Laura wants to suggest that there is an equivalency between bad Christians and bad Muslims. Where are the news stories about gangs of Christians sex Trafficking children? Where are the stories about gangs of Christians gang-banging and raping minority women? Apparently bad Christians are not quite the problem bad Muslims are. Apparently civilized nations can function as civilized with bad Christians as opposed to being able to function as civilized with bad Muslims.

5.) Most people just want to live in peace? Really? Having been in the people business for over 25 years I can testify that it is just not true that most people want to live in peace. What most people want to do is to control everybody around them even if that means conflict, friction, and destruction.

6.) Laura involves herself in myth when she invokes the, “We’ve all been immigrants and have come from immigrants.” The myth here is that immigrants moving from Western lands to Western lands are the same as immigrants moving from non Western lands to Western lands. While assimilation is possible when going from Western lands to Western lands it has become manifestly obvious that the West can not remain the West and be absorbed and abolished by the massive influx from non Christian and non Western lands as influenced, shaped, and informed by anti-Christ religions.

7.) Laura then invokes “caring” as a reason why we should accept being inundated by the stranger and the alien. But what Laura doesn’t mention is that by caring for the stranger and the alien we at that moment are throwing our children and women to the wolves. We have a choice in terms of caring. We can either care for our families and clans or we can care for the stranger and alien who desires to devour our families and clans but we cannot do both. Either we protect our women and children or we sacrifice them on the altar of multiculturalism and political correctness. In short, it is precisely because I care that I insist that immigration must halt and those who have come here be returned to lands of origins.

8.) Laura invokes the necessity that we all look at each other as human beings as opposed to looking at what divides us from one another. The problem here is that we are not merely human beings. We are people who belong to a particular place and who have been claimed by particular Gods. We are people who belong to particular families and clans. We are not merely human beings as if human beings were merely cogs that can fit into any place at any time. The way the West and the God of the Bible has shaped human beings is categorically different and so completely non-amenable to how Allah has shaped the sons of the Crescent. Scripture asks, “unless two be agreed how can they walk together?” We might add, “unless two be agreed how can they live in one nation together?”

9.) Everyone most certainly does not deserve a better life contra Laura’s insistence. Do rapists deserve a better life? Do people who desire the death of Christians deserve a better life? Do people groups who are known for their violence and Jihad deserve a better life? If they want a better life than they should start by serving better Gods. That is the only way they can have a better life.

Later you wrote back to me saying,

Laura writes,

Better Gods? What are better gods? What about abuse that has been covered up by Christian religions all these years? Or the fact that hard-line people of ALL religions still view women as walking wombs who should be quiet and serve their men? Why are you only bothered about Christians being hurt or murdered? What about everyone else, including those who don’t follow any religion? Vile people exist in all walks of life, religious or not. My only point is that I hate the hypocrisy of it all. And also, on another note, can you stop starting every line with ‘Laura’ and talking about me in the third person. It makes you sound incredibly patronizing and makes a mockery of my freedom to express an opinion. I’m not asking you to agree. I’m asking you to respect my right to see things from different points of view and respect my belief that in spite of the barbarians living in this world, there are also wonderful people with hopes and dreams and we need to stop putting people in categories. The end.

Bret responds,

There is only one Better God and that is the God of the Bible. All those who don’t serve Him love death. It strikes me that you are a testimony of that truth. Having refused the God of the Bible you are now advocating the importing of those who will be death to you.

And what abuse of Christians have been covered up? The abuse of bringing modern hygiene to the world? The abuse of bring life extending medicines to the world? The abuse of ships that ply the seas and manned rockets that explore space? The abuse of bringing civilization to heathen nations? The abuse of ending the slaughter and cannibalism that was found among the Aztecs and other tribal Indians in newly discovered lands? The abuse of bringing reading and writing to whole people groups? The abuse of architecture that built mind stunningly beautiful Cathedrals and later skyscrapers? The abuse of creating Governments that provided the greatest liberty the world has ever known? The abuse of international trade and economies that could sustain a standard of living that the ancients couldn’t even dream of? The abuse of Missionaries traveling, at the cost of their own lives, to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations? You mean that kind of abuse?

Laura, you mention the possibility of those who don’t follow any religion. That, of course, is not possible, as religion is an inescapable category. No person lives who does not embrace a religion.

You ask if I am bothered by people from other religions being harmed and hurt. The answer, is obviously “yes, I am concerned about that.” The Holy Scriptures teach me that I must,

10  … While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

So you see, there is a priority listed here. Seeking to do good to all people but zeroing in on and prioritizing fellow believers in Jesus Christ.

Next,  Laura, it is the case that I do believe that God graced women with the beauty of the womb and so the ability to bear children. Further I believe it is the privilege of women to serve those who give up their lives to protect them. Finally, in terms of women being on the quiet side I agree with the Christian Scriptures which teach,

In like manner also, that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobermindedness, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly array,  10 but, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

Finally, I don’t respect your right or anybody else’s right to be wrong when being wrong means the approach of death. Indeed, I’m not sure where such a “right” springs from.  Sorry, but people who are wrong the way you are wrong need to be silenced by means of demonstrating their arguments as foolish, and  so once again be embarrassed to utter such death bringing opinions for fear of again being the outcasts that such people once were.

All the best Laura,