Shocking Truth Revealed! Why Everyone’s Always Picking On Doug Wilson

Ashwin, my frequent correspondent, insists that something odd is going on in our neighborhood, given the Internet’s buzzing with criticism of Moscow’s Bully-in-Chief, Christ Church Pastor and media sensation Doug Wilson. What to make of it all?, says Ashwin, clearly perplexed, but not really, that this one man somehow attracts so much shrill, virulent lambasting from the very Church he purports to serve. Lord love a duck and golly gee — ’tis a mystery, but Ashwin believes he’s solved it.

It must, he says, be Wilson’s WORLDVIEW. He is a Biblically conservative Christian in a hostile culture; therefore, the criticism he attracts is because of the power of the light he shines in a darkened, debauched world around him. Satisfied with his solving of the riddle, Ashwin then asks me to explain how it could be any other way . . .

Huh. Where to start? I could point out that the dozen or so OTHER conservative, evangelical, male Protestant pastors in town DON’T find themselves to be the targets of mass dissent. I could point out that faithful, ultra-conservative men like Andy Stanley or Max Lucado or countless other media pastors share Wilson’s worldview as defined by Ashwin, and they don’t receive the criticism Wilson does. Are these men not brave? Aren’t they faithful to Biblical, conservative truths? Why aren’t they lightning rods like Wilson? What makes him so different?

Well, for one, he’s a bigot, a bully, and a bloviator whose perceived expertise in all areas seemingly knows no bounds. His behavior is regrettable and has been for years, his theology — his Federal Vision, which I hope you’ve explored and rejected — is errant, aberrant, and, some say, heretical; his embrace of questionable theology, his alliance with racists and bigots and neo_Conservative white men seeking an Anglo-Celtic “homeland” in the American South; his defense of slavery — SLAVERY, Ashwin! — and his grotesque portrayal of Christian abolitionists; his hyper-control and out-of-place judgment in pastoring his followers (mocking people who worry about food allergies?); his insistence on divisiveness (real wine at Communion; grape juice is what’s wrong with evangelicalism, he says); his perpetual, constant choice to offend when offense isn’t necessary; his network of “ministry” and real estate and other ventures shrouded in secrecy and, often, a slippery evasiveness not becoming of, well, anyone; and his general arrogance in perpetuating among his followers the belief that, lacking formal ministerial or professional training, he is nonetheless a gifted, authoritative historian, philosopher, theologian, apologist for the faith, Latin expert, businessman, Oxford-like don, epistemological and pedagogical wunderkid, counselor, proud father of a Shroud of Turin expert, food critic, literary critic, cultural critic, poet, fighter jet pilot, fireman, pirate, and All-Star third baseman for the Yanks.

Sadly, it’s not only the last four of those you can dismiss out of hand as indicators of an absurdly overblown ego.

Wilson’s problem isn’t his “worldview.” Wilson’s problem is that bad behavior, theological, personal, and civic, is received in the marketplace of ideas and the town square of conviviality with distaste and dismay, as bad behavior ought to be. This shouldn’t be a mystery to Ashwin or anyone else who’s familiar with all things Wilsonish — if he’ll not only look, but see.

Ashwin, have you analyzed the Federal Vision? Really examine it, from his side and that of his critics. Does it bear any relation at all to the Gospel you’ve embraced? Have you explored Wilson’s “ministry” history? Have you ever spoken with people hounded and abused after they’ve left the church he pastors? (I have. It’s uniformly tragic). What about his conduct in our community? “Topless lectures?” “Sweet Home Alabama” gleefully sung in Moscow’s downtown during the height of the slavery controversy? Why do you think it’s true that virtually every book he’s written is from the publishing company he created, and created for that purpose? Might that tell you that, just perhaps, his theological and personal “worldview” is out of the mainstream of conservative Christian thought? That there might be a reason he and his men created their own denomination, the CREC? The development of a new denomination is neither, on its face, good nor bad — but you might wonder why no Reformed denomination would settle with him, nor Wilson with them.

You might wonder about all of these things, Ashwin, if you weren’t so insistent that the problem is a few screeching liberals ganging up on a misunderstood prophet in whose hometown he’s generally recognized as nothing more than a bearded, bullying nuisance bringing the kind of attention North Central Idaho hardly needs. I challenge you to really analyze the FV. Tell me what you think. Read up on his history and his interactions with critics. Attend a conference; too bad you missed last year’s sexuality conference in which Wilson gleefully embraced Tim Bayly’s assertion that egalitarians (that would include me) are the cause of the bloodshed of abortion. That’s not just untrue, and untrue to the point of absurdity, but utterly hateful. Where Wilson is, there’s ugliness. That’s not a “worldview.” That’s nothing more than a crying, pitiful shame.

I don’t understand why you continue to defend it.

2 Responses to “Shocking Truth Revealed! Why Everyone’s Always Picking On Doug Wilson”

  1. Ashwin says:

    If Douglas Wilson is all that you say he is, then there is little to defend.

    My view of him however is formed from the material he has put out on the Internet. And I see nothing in there that would justify your position on him. If what he says out loud is different from what he puts up online, then there is no way I can know of it.

    However if his verbal expression is consistent with his written thoughts, then you have a man to admire in your neighbourhood. Far from throwing slippers at him you should be having him for tea and biscuits every now and then.

    Now the fact that Mr. Wilson writes insightfully and cuttingly is perhaps really THE reason he is singled out for slander. He does indeed have a rare gift of writing. And he uses it well – to call out the sins of the world. And he has panned both ends of the political spectrum as well as many within and outside Christendom.

    Those who oppose him cannot but be tempted to resort to shouting him down – and several seem to have yielded to that temptation.

    And as for the other conservative Christians who seem to have been passed over for criticism, just you wait. Once Douglas Wilson has been done away with, their turn will come.

    And please don’t parade the “Douglas Wilson supports slavery” canard again. I have read his views of the Antebellum South and his appreciation of what was good in it. He too considers that slavery was not its ornament. However he does not go further to claim that that fault nullifies the all other good that was in that society.

    And lastly, you don’t have to be a trained minister to be a good preacher. All you have to do is read the Bible with the view that it is inspired by God.

  2. Sigh.

    Ashwin writes, “If Douglas Wilson is all that you say he is, then there is little to defend.” He then acknowledges that what he knows of Wilson is what Wilson writes about
    . . . Wilson. And while I suppose that Wilson-on-Wilson qualifies as “primary source documentation,” it’s obviously not going to help Ashwin get the full picture.

    On the other hand, my earnest correspondent’s unbridled loyalty to Wilson-as-sage-and-prophet precludes any real examination of critiques that demonstrate otherwise. My question to Ashwin is and has always been simple: Why do you look but not see when it comes to assessing Wilson’s place in evangelicalism (particularly his media anointing as a qualified, reasonable apologist for the faith)?

    As for Ashwin’s final paragraph — well, that deserves a blog post all its own.

    And Ashwin deserves, as always, my thanks for his views, however skewed I believe them to be.


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