A Pinch of Safety Incense

The churches that have, almost without critical moment, readily divided and dissolved themselves on the word of the mendacious media-political-medical complex will never have normal worship again, unless they repent of forcing a pinch of safety incense on those who would gather to assemble in Jesus’ name. If we do not stand up now to fearlessly worship King Jesus — despising the fear of sickness or death, and despising the dreaded loss of reputation among the pagans around us who demand absolute conformity to the medical-safety dystopia, we will be in the machinery of perpetual pandemic protocols for the rest of our lives. 


Those who have been duped into going along thus far may be forgiven, as we are not used to revolutions. We aren’t accustomed to being lied to by every expert at the same time. We want to believe in the basic reliability of public news and data. Many of us grew up with “Uncle” Walter Cronkite in a time when the media seemed so much a part of our national fabric. Today, all pretense of objectivity or national loyalty has been dropped.

We are occupied by a hostile, global, corporate-secularist empire puppeteering our ostensibly domestic media outlets, driving us toward infinite division down to the atomic level. The family is of course on the chopping block, and the willingness of local churches to comply with the hostile forces of the safety-as-ultimate-good secularist culture is nothing short of horrifying. Where is our witness as salt and light, when we cower beneath our face diapers like the gentiles do, barring open, clear access to the King of kings who can destroy both body and soul in hell?


To continue past this point requiring all people to pinch the safety incense in order to worship Christ is to enter into league with the revolutionary force, which seeks to dissolve the last bonds of family and community that exist outside the control of the progressivist, globalist borg cube. The local church is supposed to be an organic, living nexus point of spiritual bond between born again people in a shared geographical area, serving as the protective core of our resistance to being conformed to the world system around us. When she is co-opted into destroying herself, the culpability cannot be anything less than spectacular for those who could have done differently. Paul admonished the leadership in Ephesus day and night for three years, in tears, knowing that fierce wolves and existential threats arise within the church constantly. Those tasked with shepherding the flock in this time of universal deceit, fear, propaganda, and division must find their spines and refuse to further comply with the arbitrary and unscientific edicts now ruining our common life of worship, or step aside to allow men undaunted by their threats to lead the assembly in our divine business.


Some churches have decided to hold every-other-week services where respect of individual conscience is upheld. One may attend freely, without the face-covering incense in place. Other churches might hold two services each Sunday, allowing for those same matters of conscience in one service for those not trembling beneath the specter of the virus. In this case, the service where masks are mandatory is no longer an incense pinch, since there is an option for those whose consciences are violated by mask-wearing-as-access-to-worship.


To refuse to make concessions for non-mask wearers is to demand a pinch of incense to the empire before Christ’s sheep may meet with Him corporately. What odiousness. 


And yet, our problem is not who is right about the particulars of this disease, how it spreads, etc. Our problem is that we are a weak, fruitless generation of consumers, governed by the same lusts and fears as our pagan neighbors. We are leaderless and scattered. We quickly shut down our church gatherings when the demonstrably irrational ruling class said to do so, but nearly a year later, have yet to notice that virtually everywhere the virus behaves the same, regardless of what “safety” protocols are in place. We deny access to the assembly for those whose consciences are wounded by the requirement to participate in the charade. This is sin, and it reveals deeply-rooted confusions about the role and responsibilities of church leadership.

Apparently for some, acting as a lecturer on the Bible is virtually the whole of a local church ministry. Seeing as the virtual delivery of a sermon is nearly the same as the in-person, what’s the issue? Oh, well, yes, the Lord’s Supper sort of requires physical proximity, doesn’t it? Well, let’s just deliver bread and juice to the scattered people of Christ, for safety reasons. But of course, if you pinch your incense, you are welcome to partake together in assembly, of course, taking your mask off to eat and drink, because the virus will be busy praying and examining himself and won’t try to spread in that moment. He isn’t a monster, you know.


No one in our local churches, very few in general evangelicalism in fact, is/are making the name of Jesus known by a consistent witness from pulpit and home. Pulpit? Sure. Lots of doctrinally-decent sermons we’ve got. Home? Titus 1:7-8 “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” 


Paul isn’t just thinking of having church people over the house for hot dogs and beans on a warm summer night. Hospitality is reflective of Jesus’ own personality, as a welcomer, a seeker of the weak and needy, and one who never made the broken and hurting feel like they were putting Him out to come and ask Him for something. And even with the SyroPhoenician woman who was called a dog, He had in mind the full inclusion of her and her household in the covenant family. Being hospitable is a requirement of being an elder in the Church. Welcoming, opening doors, breaking down natural and sinful barriers between Christians — and seeing to it that if there were some extraordinary season wherein the people of God absolutely could not gather to worship, that the flock would be visited and ministered to in a more intense, personal, scrupulous manner. That if there were any way under the sun to gather some of the people, that leaders would find those ways, make those ways, and lead the way, never accepting for one minute that a single one of Christ’s sheep was left to languish in isolation and in fear. The leaders of the local assembly who loved their people would recognize that if we can choose to risk our lives to travel in automobiles to get to church, we can choose to risk our lives to breath the same air for a couple hours a week.


In past generations, Christians embraced danger if the other option was a dereliction of duty to love, worship, and so forth. In this generation, we gluttonize ourselves into oblivion, sending the numbers of diabetics into the stratosphere, and no one blinks an eye, but when the aborto-fascists tell us they want to save lives so we must stay home and not assemble for worship, suddenly we are health conscious, and don’t wish to put people at unnecessary risk. It is absurd, baldly self-contradictory behavior from the world’s weakest, most ineffective generation ever produced. We are not pleasing our Master. Showing up to heaven having squeezed out an extra 5 years by playing it ultra safe, while having hardly used the mountains of resources we have to reach the nations, is terrifying. And it is us. We are allowing our civilization to be disassembled and sold for parts, while we think ourselves virtuous for our holy detachment from this evil world, which by the way, someone once called “very good.”


I leave you with the words of our new masters, ready to go along with this as requirements for church attendance?


“I predict that we’ll restore the ability to socialize safely by developing more sophisticated ways to identify who is a disease risk and who isn’t, and discriminating—legally—against those who are. We can see harbingers of this in the measures some countries are taking today. Israel is going to use the cell-phone location data with which its intelligence services track terrorists to trace people who’ve been in touch with known carriers of the virus. Singapore does exhaustive contact tracing and publishes detailed data on each known case, all but identifying people by name. We don’t know exactly what this new future looks like, of course. But one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you’ll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity—an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains.”

In grief,

The citizen of New Jerusalem

What’s An Exile To Do? Live in Reverent Awe of Your God

When I was in seminary, I studied the final judgment for believers as my Master’s thesis. This short post captures the biblical essence of the subject – highly recommended. Encouraging!

Green Baggins

Posted by R. Fowler White

Exiles are non-essential, or haven’t you heard? Even as God’s kingdom-colony of exiles, the church is expected to pipe down, if not shut down. In response, however, the Apostle Peter cites a higher standard. Throughout the time of our exile, he says, we’re to trust and obey God’s commands. Called as we are to His eternal glory in Christ, we’ll endure the trials that test our faith, confessing that the God of all grace will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us after we’ve sufferedforalittlewhile (1 Pet 5:10). In the meantime, Peter exhorts us: conduct yourselves with fear—that is, live in reverent awe of your God (1 Pet 1:17b). In 1 Pet 1:17-21, Peter provides us ample incentives to do just that.

Live in reverent awe of our God, says the Apostle, because He is our Father…

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“Once in Christ, ever in Him” by Thomas Boston

Tolle Lege

“Once in Christ, ever in Him.

Having taken up His habitation in the heart, He never removes. None can untie this happy knot.

Who will dissolve this union? Will He Himself? No, He will not; we have His word for it; ‘I will not turn away from them,’ (Jer. 32:40).

But perhaps the sinner will do this mischief to himself? No, he shall not; ‘they shall not depart from me,’ saith their God. (Jer. 32:40)

Can devils do it? No, unless they be stronger than Christ and His Father too; ‘Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand,’ saith our Lord, ‘And none is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand,” (John 10:28, 30).

But what say you of death, which parts husband and wife; yea, separates the soul from the body? Will not death do it? No: the apostle…

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A Covid Reality Check for American Christians from Our trip to Zambia

A wake-up call regarding our attitude toward covid, and fear in general. Please read!

Engaging Thoughts

My wife, oldest son, my in-laws, and myself just got back from Zambia, Africa.My sister-in-law who is a missionary in Zambia/Congo got married to a wonderful Zambian guy named Saviour.It was a blessing to take part in their beautiful wedding overlooking a gorge full of rapids coming down from Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world.

While we were there we also had the opportunity to do many other things.We went on a safari and saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, and baboons among other animals.We stood 20 yards from very coveted Rhinos living in the wild but protected by men with rifles (because of poaching).We went to a crocodile farm and stood next to crocs who have killed numerous people and even held a 2-year-old crocodile.

We also got to share in some amazing ministry with the team that my sister-in-law has been leading.They are a collection of missionaries from…

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Christianity is Culture is Christianity

And culture is the cultivated garden of the shared beliefs of a people. God made our first father a gardener and co-creator, and the pinnacle of our human gardening and creation is Western civilization.

Thank you Christianity.

The British poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) most succinctly described the reality of Christianity as Western civilization:

Yet there is an aspect in which we can see a religion as the whole way of life of a people, from birth to the grave, from morning to night and even in sleep, and that way of life is also its culture…. It is in Christianity that our arts have developed; it is in Christianity that the laws of Europe have—until recently—been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance. An individual European may not believe that the Christian Faith is true, and yet what he says, and makes, and does, will all spring out of his heritage of Christian culture and depend upon that culture for its meaning…. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes.[1]

And Christianity is just about all went, in the West.

What replaces Christianity once it’s wiped out? Well of course, the anti-civilization that will make the return of Christianity the most desirable, delicious prospect anyone could imagine.

God has not allowed so much glory and beauty to redound throughout the European continent for millennia just to let it all get flushed into non-existence. I refuse to believe it; there must be a future for a Christian Europe. I will pray and live for that future.


[1] T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 29, 126.

The Wrong Enemy

A timely reminder for myself and all of us.

Green Baggins

I’m sure many readers have had the same experience I have had. This experience is to see a well-known doctrine in a new light. Yesterday, I was reading through Deuteronomy, and saw the command to annihilate the inhabitants of the promised land (which, of course, needs to have a post all its own as to why this doesn’t make God into a homicidal, genocidal maniac). The application to the Christian life is through spiritual warfare. It strikes me that the majority of Christians today can’t recognize the true enemy. We think our enemy is the person who wronged us, or called us names. We think the enemy is a political group. We think the enemy is human. We have our sights set on the wrong target, the wrong enemy.

Paul told us who the real enemy is in Ephesians 6. It is the realm of Satan and the demons. None…

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A Jeremiad

Couldn’t have said it better.

Green Baggins

The America I knew and loved growing up is almost completely gone. The name, at least, remains. Some call it progress. I call it destruction. The people in charge are those who yell and scream, not those who debate with reason and analysis. The political world consists of those who have become so practiced in screaming that I wonder they have any vocal cords left. All political orthodoxy is assumed, not proven, not debated. It is shouted. The power of the shout, and the accompanying shatter of glass, is the only power that means anything today.

This same hatred has poured forth into the Christian world, the theological world, even the “academic” world. Freedom of opinion is not allowed any more. Only certain voices can be heard, because they shout the loudest.

For what then can we weep? Must we not weep for the wrath of God that is coming…

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The Trouble with Fundamentalism

And I mean the Christian, particularly Baptist variety. That’s my arena of experience and familiarity, though the critique I aim to give here should generally apply to all kinds of fundamentalism.

Now follow me. I have to give you my thesis sentence with the complexity it requires. The main problem (and characteristic) of fundamentalism is an attempt to freeze the natural course of inquiry and education by applying the pressures of a cultural taboo against it, redirecting inquiry to arrive at predetermined answers. Of course most fundamentalists disguise this taboo by rhetorical misdirection, which is my nice way of saying intellectual dishonesty.

Put differently, fundamentalism is marked by an ongoing refusal to face honestly the complexity and variety of questions that arise in response to such a difficult and multivalent text as the Bible.

My Time in the Fundamentalist Camp

In 2005 I joined a fundamentalist church here in Rochester, NY because I was tired of the wishy-washy, life-change drivel I had encountered in the majority of evangelical churches. The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist denomination is marked by a strict adherence to the King James Bible as the sole valid form of the Scriptures, even over against the original Hebrew and Greek testaments. They would not call themselves a denomination, nor would they claim to be a part of the Reformation. They believe themselves to be truly independent, that is, separate and free of traditions. They truly see themselves as “Bible-only,” unfettered by the cultural accretions plaguing all other churches.

I stuck around for about two years, mostly because the church held Scripture in such high regard, and they spoke so unequivocally about truth and falsehood, light and dark, good and evil. At that point in my young Christian life, I was blessed and fed by the Scriptures even though the delivery was seriously flawed.

The Fundamentalist DNA

But to my point… the IFB churches have a litany of tradition and cultural baggage, but they are less able to examine these forms because of their vehement denial to holding them. Try telling an IFB guy that he is beholden to unbiblical, historically recent traditions if you are unclear on what I mean by “vehement.”

One of the traditions of the IFB is the primary authority of The Pastor. In whatever IFB church you may enter, The Pastor is a unitary figure of authority and charisma. If he lacks natural charisma and/or authority, he more than makes up for it with bluster and political savvy.

If a young man wishes to learn the doctrines of the Christian faith, The Pastor need only point to the pulpit, behind which he himself is standing. “You want doctrine? Come to church Sunday morning, night, Wednesday night, and for all special services. You’ll get Bible, you’ll get preaching, you’ll get doctrine!”

If that young man wishes to ask a more nuanced question than can’t be answered during one of the revivalistic performances The Pastor puts on during preaching time, he may be invited up the mountain to Pastor’s office for a little mentorship. I got a few of these sessions (and my pastor was a genuinely good man, as misled as he is in his perspectives). At one lunch we were having, I told him that I had bought a Hebrew-Greek Interlinear Bible to teach myself the original languages. I’ll never forget how he leaned forward over his plate, fork in hand, eyes squinted a bit, and asked me “now why would you do that?”

“Well,” I stammered, “because I’d like access to the original writings of the Scriptures.”

This was no hurdle for Pastor – he reminded me I had the King James Bible, which is superior to the Hebrew and Greek. Yes, he said that to my face with no hint of humor. And believe me, I was waiting for him to crack a smile.

But this was a manifestation of the Fundamentalist DNA. It doesn’t matter that the claim was completely laughable, (never mind that the King James translators said explicitly in the original preface to their work that their translation would be subject to corrections and revisions as scholarship improved). It doesn’t matter if 99% of the Christian world of learning and scholarship disagrees rather forcefully, the Fundamentalist knows what he knows because to question it would be to open the door to all sorts of doubt.

And that, friends, is the issue. Fundamentalism seeks to eliminate any and all doubt from the religious life, but not through legitimate, fearless inquiry into the sources and teachings of the faith, no, he seeks to elide questioning by steering questions into a bucket of pre-made answers.

Rotten Fruit

And what kind of Christian does this church produce? A spiritual infant who mistakes himself for an adult. He’s been told he’s been eating at the big-boy table, chowing on the heartiest of Christian meats and vegetables, but try to feed him on the real stuff and you best be ready to perform the Heimlich: he has no teeth to chew with, and he might get hurt trying to get it down.

Fundamentalists lose their children who grow into physical maturity, and who begin to experience life among a hostile world. I’ve seen them in many places, always sarcastically angry and just as vehement as their parents, just now from the opposite direction.

The antidote to Bible Baptist fundamentalism is the Reformation. Study of Luther, Calvin, and the development of the historical creeds and confessions of our churches is medicine more than strong enough to break the spell, to heal, and to give the true ability to read the Bible for what it really says.

And that, my friends, should be the goal for every one of us, fundie or not.

Blessings in Christ,

Adam