Wilson, Describing Driscoll Better Than I Could

So Doug Wilson and his two most loyal acolytes — his son, N.D. Wilson, and his son-in-law, Ben Merkle — have invited the coolest dude on campus over to their lunch table. And, wonder of wonders, he’s accepted the invite, leaving the other bullies and jocks and moving over to the smart kids table with a swagger and a cafeteria tray full of in-your-face talk about “relevance” and “authenticity.” All of the other kids are watching, even. Does it get much better?

Probably not. But it has gotten a whole lot worse.

Turns out that Reformed Christianity’s coolest kid in school, Mark Driscoll, is a buffoon and a bully — which could be why Wilson, et al, initially found him so appealing — but, alas, his buffoonery and bullying come with an unexpected taint of the kind of controversy that’s not, actually, all that cool, not at all, but kind of off-putting. Kind of unsavory. Kind of, in fact, grotesque. And while Driscoll might be the Big Man on the Reformed Campus, there are other alumni thereof who think he’s a loose cannon, and not in the cool and masculinely hep “up yours, you sentimental girly-man” way, and is also a pretender both to orthodoxy and to simple decency — the kind of decency their elders, and their ecclesiastical elders, expect those gathered around the lunch table to adhere to.

I’ve written about Wilson’s pretzel logic in explaining how it is that a cessationist like Mark Driscoll, someone who, like Wilson, believes the “sign” gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased, nonetheless says the Holy Spirit “shows” him sort of a sign or bulletin board-like thing over someone’s head that tells Mark the particulars, in graphic detail, of their past sin or past suffering. Most of the people Mark sees this about are women, it seems, and it generally tends to focus on Mark’s belief that, thanks to the Spirit, he can just “know” when some young woman’s been raped by her grandpa. (You can scroll down a few posts for the link). It’s terribly inconvenient for Wilson, even if Driscoll’s flights of fancy — we must not call them “Spirit-gift” names like “words of wisdom,” Wilson would say, because we’re cessationists — involved fairly pedestrian pronouncements. But Mark Driscoll appears able to see sex in most anything. He just doesn’t normally thank the Holy Spirit for the view.

In fact, evangelical stalwarts like MacArthur Study Bible Editor John MacArthur of The Master’s Seminary and the Grace To You radio program have taken Driscoll to the woodshed for his “soft porn” version of the Biblical Song of Solomon, and others in the Body have criticized those evangelical leaders who embrace the macho, coarse Seattle pastor. Driscoll is notorious for talking from the pulpit of things that most people tend not to discuss with anyone other than their partner, and his hearty endorsement of marital practices like anal sex, something that Wilson in earlier days would call a “foul sexual habit,” as well as his recent assertion that women can help win their unbelieving husbands to Christ by performing regular and robust blowjobs has our local Bishop of Bluster . . . befuddled indeed.

Here’s a recent Blog and Mablog post on pastors and other Christians who need to be seen as “edgy” and “real,” but who, Wilson says, are deluded, like a “jungle full of monkeys.” It doesn’t solve his Driscollian horny-in-the-side problem, but it is, I suppose, a brave attempt to deflect attention from the now-crowded cafeteria table over which Wilson will preside this weekend, when “The Grace Agenda” storms, or limps, its way into the confines of Moscow’s Nazarene Church:

“There are two basic ways for evangelical Christians to care about the arts. One is the Kuyperian Reformed route, and the other is the way of bohemian pose-striking. One of the most heartening aspects of the “young, restless, and Reformed” development is the possibility of a real aesthetic reformation. Perhaps I should explain myself.

Scripture teaches us, over and over again, that deliverance comes from odd and unexpected places. And Scripture also tells us repeatedly that the faithful who are waiting for such deliverance have a tendency to wait by the wrong door. David was just a shepherd boy. Joseph was handed off to a passing caravan for a bit of money. Daniel was a slave, captured in war. Esther was just one more beauty for the harem. Jeremiah was just a kid. And Jesus grew up in that podunk place, Galilee of the Gentiles.

When it comes to what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful, the emergent types have gone bohemian in all three areas. Their truth has gone to relativistic mush, their ideas of goodness are more interested in anal intercourse than they ought to be, and their concept of beauty is summed up by outre tattoos in inappropriate places. They have fallen for the simplest of Screwtape’s devices, the idea that “gritty” is real and “lovely” is bourgeois. They fell into that simple trap because they are such deep people…” (Blog and Mablog, Sept. 7, 2011)

Wilson continues, as he must, with the assertion that the Spirit may yet choose to do wondrous works in these types — because that’s the prerogative of the Spirit, who chooses, as Wilson’s words demonstrate, the most unlikely people to further the Divine will. Deft handling of the anal-sex favoring, tattoo-loving Driscoll required; deft handling done more-or-less well. But there is no handling so deft as to soothe the self-inflicted wound Wilson is suffering from.

Until he acknowledges that it was daft, not deft, to associate with Driscoll, that thorn in his side will continue to fester. Sadly, the infection will affect the reputation of the Nazarene Church, already compromised after having hosted the Sitler wedding in June, as well as that of the good people who worship there. I know that Wilson omitted news of Driscoll’s attendance at this “local” conference when he made arrangements with Nazarene Pastor Eby. Even in late winter and early spring, Wilson knew Driscoll was who he was, and “who he was” was evidently not something Moscow’s biggest pastor thought the conservative, Wesleyan Eby needed to know about. That’s dishonest, and Eby’s likely veto of the Driscoll Show would’ve saved Wilson a large measure of embarrassment, although Merkle and Nate sometimes provide some cringeworthy moments as well.

Still, they at least have their scripts OK’d by Dad, if not literally then by conditioning. Oh, to be a guy next weekend and hear the uncomfortable shifting in the seats that accompanies a Mark Driscoll appearance — either from embarrassment or unforeseen provocation of lust or dismay over bad theology. With any luck, it just might drown out the yammering of the Dangerous Women conference attendees as they discuss the “radicalness” of blindly accepting permanent, functional subordination to the chair-squeaking guys inside.


2 Responses to “Wilson, Describing Driscoll Better Than I Could”

  1. Unknown says:

    Will you be attending the conference? Would be interested in your take on the speakers and those in attendance first hand.


  2. Rob, surely you know that I can’t attend the Grace Agenda Conference. I’m a woman. And I can’t attend Dangerous Women because, alas and alack, I’m hardly anonymous and many of the attendees (attendettes?) know who I am. I’ll speak out against Mark Driscoll and his alliance with Wilson, but I won’t waste my money to attend a femme event that presumes I’d have nothing to learn from the big boys.


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