Advice to Justin Bieber Regarding Hillsong Pastor Scandal

The Biebs is reportedly pissed, and he has every right to be.

His pastor, Carl Lentz, has apparently confessed to bumping uglies with one not his wife.

Hillsong Church responded appropriately to Lentz’s infidelity by sacking him, but I’m sure Justin Bieber is left wondering how a man he apparently held in such high regard spiritually could fail so miserably morally.

Christians will likely be quick to advise Bieber that we are all sinners saved by grace, impliedly suggesting he should not have expected Lentz not to fornicate, that no one can really live in victory over sin, not even gross sin. I think that is about the worst advice someone could give to him.

Justin Bieber has every right to expect that the pastor of his prominent evangelical church is far enough down the road of sanctification that he will not commit adultery. Even in my profession, lawyers are generally disbarred when they commit felonies, and for good reason: how can clients trust their lawyers to put their client’s interests ahead of their own when the clients can’t trust the lawyers not to commit felonies?

Suggesting Bieber lower his expectations to assuage his anger is like suggesting one should not expect one’s surgeon to operate on the correct organ in case he operates on the wrong one. Expectations affirm the standard. And even though expectations will also give rise to hypocrisy, it is better than the alternative. As Francois de La Rochefoucauld said, “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

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Thanksgiving With Cotton Mather

I’ve just finished two biographies on Cotton Mather and purchased a third.

Cotton Mather is likely one of the greatest men you’ve never heard of, or if you have heard of him he is probably one of the worst men you never heard of.

If you have heard of Cotton Mather (1663-1728) you have probably heard him portrayed as the instigator behind the Salem witch trials, which means you have really never heard of him. But such false and defamatory portrayals draw clicks on the internet around Halloween, so the characterization remains.

Mather was a Puritan. He was a pastor, a prolific writer, as well as a scientist who first promoted inoculation in America to prevent smallpox. Mather’s writings and influence helped lay the groundwork for the Great Awakening, America’s first great revival.

But to the point of this post, Mather was also a husband and father, and his first two wives died young. The first, Abigail, died following giving birth, and the second, Elizabeth, died of the measles, along with two of their new born twins. Another son was born without an anus, and all Cotton and his wife could do was watch him die. Mather had fifteen children, but only two would outlive him. In other words, Cotton Mather would bury thirteen of his fifteen children.

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What Will Make America Great Again

After four years of President Donald Trump’s leadership, is America great again?

That is not intended to be a partisan question.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time you know I avoid political partisanship.

My question is meant to strike at the presupposition present in the promise that any political leader will make America great again.

When Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention, a man on the street asked him, “Dr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?”

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Why Intolerance is the Answer to Racism

There is much said about intolerance, and much of it is wrong.

As I’ve written here before, intolerance in-and-of-itself is amoral.

It is the object of intolerance that renders intolerance moral or immoral. It is good to be intolerant of racism; it is bad to be tolerant of it.

The reason racism is still pervasive in the United States is because we tolerate it. By “we” I mean those who are not victims of it or who benefit from it. We tolerate it because it doesn’t affect us, and to the extent it does affect us we benefit from it.

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