Doug Wilson’s 10-pt. "Resisting Tyranny" Mandate, Part 2 — Point-by-Point, Error En Toto

From Blog and Mablog, Doug Wilson on the Christian (man’s) Biblical obligation to resist the “tyranny” of a Barack Obama administration. My comments follow each:

1. “Active resistance to tyranny, and to this tyranny in particular, is not just permissible for Christians. It’s mandatory.”

Again, I find this astonishing from a man who has been biting in his critical assessment of slave rebellions, Christian abolitionism, and the civil rights movement. Evidently, the presumed horror of Barack Obama, the man and the presidency, is beyond those evils and requires “active resistance,” the parameters of which he doesn’t really define. In this culture of Obama-hate and fearmongering, which he and others like him have created, that’s reckless. At best.

2. “The question is therefore what form the resistance should take, and not whether there should be resistance.”

No, the question ought to be, “What profound evil greater than other evils for which he does not prescribe resistance does Wilson find in Obama’s presidency?” And, in the climate of hate and violence he and others like him have fomented, it would seem reasonable that he might lay out some guidelines on what form the resistance should NOT take.

3. “The theological basis for this resistance is that Jesus is Lord, and Caesar is not. Jesus is our Savior, and one of the meanings of Savior is Healer. We already have a messianic health care program, thanks. Not only do we not need two of them, but as Christians we are not permitted to have two of them.”

It’s tempting to just go with “HUH????” But let’s examine the idea that worshiping Jesus as Savior and Healer somehow relates to healthcare policy in any way OTHER than recognizing, as Christians, the utter immorality of a healthcare “system” that, in its obscene devotion to the free market, is an abomination of discrimination and injustice. Would Wilson suggest that seeking a just, efficient healthcare delivery system, much less making use of one, is a foray into idolatry of “Obamacare as ‘Messiah’”? Evidently. But such an argument is an embarrassment — if it’s not itself a tyranny of egregious pastoral counsel.

4. “The great danger is this developing resistance movement is not that it will be unsuccessful. The danger is that it will be successful, and that the credit for it will go to the “conservative, good sense of the American people” instead of to Jesus Christ.

Let’s not ever ascribe to the Lord Jesus any actions or policies that result in, by design, the injustice of inequality. If the “resistance” Wilson commands against Obamacare is successful, by whatever measure, I pray the Church would distance itself immediately and vocally.

5. “Christians may not give lip service to any resistance that by-passes the need for repentance. We elected this man to the White House . . . “

No reasonable Christian should ever attempt any engagement in the political process without first examining her heart and repenting of her own sinful participation in that which they plan to protest. I recognize that many, perhaps most, Christians didn’t vote for Barack Obama. That some of us did is not, in my estimation, evidence of our individual or our corporate sin. I might also ask when Wilson demanded national repentance for having elected George W. Bush not once, but twice.

6. “Resistance must be corporate, not solitary, and by this I mean more than you and your buddies. I’m referring to Calvin’s doctrine of the lesser magistrates, and the more the merrier. We need officials who will ‘just say no.’”

Effective resistance is corporate, not merely solitary. But each of us is accountable for the state of our own souls; our decision to join the corporate resistance is our own, and must be informed by the teachings of Scripture — not of John Calvin.

7. “In the political maneuverings that will occur in the months to come, sharply distinguish allies from cobelligerents. Don’t think about them, or speak about them, as though they were the same thing . . . “

Wilson’s anti-ecumenicalism survives even his most reckless politics. This is amusing in light of his unconscionable acceptance in the wider evangelical community as a legitimate spokesman and apologist for Christian faith, regardless of his questionable conduct and the bass-ackwards doctrine of his Federal Vision. Wilson certainly has benefited from others’ willingness to set aside correct doctrine and embrace him as an ally in secondary matters. John Piper comes to mind here.

8. “Civic repentance means doing something fundamentally different than (sic) what we have been doing for a number of generations. It does not entail a rewind to the status quo ante. If you rent a movie and it turns out to be a dog, what would be the point of rewinding and trying again?”

Wilson is calling here for “something fundamentally different” from the same-old, same-old forms of Christian resistance, without taking any responsibility at all, or not even, apparently, caring at all, if anyone reading his words decides that that “fundamentally different” approach might best be demonstrated by an escalation of resistance. How that might lead to violence isn’t hard to imagine, and Wilson is reckless in asking for “different” while not specifically cautioning against an escalation that leads to violence. He can hide behind his vagueness, but he cannot escape accountability for any new form of resistance that his followers might devise on their own because of it.

9. “When it comes to anxiety, panic, worry, distress, or fear, repent of that . . . God loves a cheerful warrior.”

God also loves a prudent pastor. And God loves Doug Wilson. The two, however, are not the same. I would hope that a measure of distress would creep into the Christian’s heart when considering not only the state of our nation, but also the abysmal counsel that this man offers in response to it. I’m not convinced that God loves this type of “cheerful warrior,” but I’m fairly sure he hates cheeky warmongering.

10. “Pray that God would raise an army of men who will preach the ancient gospel in power and simplicity. Apart from that, all the activity referred to in this list will be born as nothing, grow up to a mature nothing, and its gray hairs shall descend to the grave of nothing.”

Wilson clearly doesn’t end his tirade by describing “resistance” as the preaching of “the ancient gospel,” thus clearly defining what he means in the nine previous points. No, he says, the preaching of the gospel is what must accompany resistance; it isn’t, of itself, resistance. So his is not a Wesleyan call to answer all social ills with fervent preaching and soul-winning; his is an unspecified and wild call for resistance against tyranny, a resistance which he doesn’t describe, other than to remind the resistor to preach the gospel while committing it. I agree that without the proclamation of the Gospel, no efforts at societal improvement will succeed. I’m astonished, though, that in specifying the obvious, he leaves open to the individual reader how, exactly, to resist tyranny — without condemning the violence that so easily could result from his mandate.

This is perhaps the most dangerous post Wilson has written in the last year, and that’s saying a lot. From the beginning of Obama’s rise to the presidency, he has lead the charge locally against him, and to say he hasn’t played fair or judged prudently would be an enormous understatement. He’s filled his anti-Obama screeds with the worst kind of reckless fearmongering and innuendo, counting on his congregation’s awe of him and his merciless filleting of his opponents to insulate himself from accountability for his words. He is an agitator and instigator of the worst sort, and all Christians, particularly those whose disagreements with Barack Obama take a reasonable, measured, responsible form, ought to be ashamed of him.

I pray that the Lord’s mercy would be abundant toward Wilson — a mercy and grace that brings repentance. Until that repentance, I would ask his followers to resist what passes for mature and sober teaching from his pulpit.

Because that’s a tyranny of error and a reign of recklessness no Christian ought ever try to justify embracing.

One Response to “Doug Wilson’s 10-pt. "Resisting Tyranny" Mandate, Part 2 — Point-by-Point, Error En Toto”

  1. Ashwin says:

    If you would stand back and read Mr. Wilson’s points again you will see that your difference with him is POLITICAL.

    You approve of what the U.S. legislature has done and Mr. Wilson does not.

    Mr. Wilson however correctly prescribes a course of action that cannot go wrong – “Preach Christ!”

    You ought to be applauding him for his good sense to put his politics behind him.

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