What Passes For Pastoral Wisdom In Moscow

Over the last few days, Doug Wilson’s Blog and Mablog has been especially full of ugliness, inviting even more rhetorical refuse of varying degrees and flavors in the always-packed “comments” section.

Remember as you read below that this is what unbelievers in Moscow have thrown at them as necessary conclusions reached from a Spirit-led understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — and, if you’re like me, reach for a tissue.

Wilson’s on a tear about government social services, asserting that Christians who receive any help — Social Security, Medicaid, student loans, etc. — “won’t be at the vanguard” of Christian dominion in society, a pretty scathing charge coming from someone fully vested in a Reconstructionist takeover of the world and its institutions. He helpfully suggests that receiving government services is akin to receiving stolen property, prompting one commentator to, chillingly, ask why the Church shouldn’t excommunicate or discipline congregants who do receive social services from the State. Somewhere, Atlas shrugs.

Wilson presents an in-depth analysis of the government “theft” and societal idolatry represented by, say, government nutrition programs for poor women and their (presumably non-Covenant)children. Public schools are included in his critique — a system of organized theft and other wickedness, Wilson opines, that no believer should be a part of. The guilt is head-spinning, the selfishness and arrogance jaw-dropping. Wilson expends a great deal of energy finding Scriptural support that relieves him from the responsibility to do what other Christians do eagerly — recognize that government action is a necessary component in helping the poor, first to survive and then to escape poverty. His contempt for the poor and for government, not to mention his selfish exegesis of the Word, has rarely been more in evidence. For shame.

Before that, he lauded America’s young people for recognizing that homosexuality is a sin, a Spiritual renewal symbolized by adolescent use of “gay” as an epithet — as in, “Hey, dude! You dropped the lacrosse stick! You’re so gay!” Where most of us look for evidence of a spiritual awakening in our youth by seeking . . . oh, I don’t know, maybe a reduction in alcohol use, a drop in sexual activity, an increase in volunteerism . . . Moscow’s most well-known pastor cites hateful trash-talk as evidence that Jesus is making inroads with teenaged America. Wilson recognizes that playground epithets like “that’s so gay!” don’t necessarily mean “that’s so like the erotic relationship between two men,” but is an effective, and spiritually aware, means of calling sin out.

Presumably, those young men who sometimes beat the shit out of some guy they perceive to be gay are even further along in their Christian walks than those who just scream “faggot!”, and I wonder if, after they leave prison, they’ll be recruited for Greyfriars’ Hall, where CREC pastors are nurtured in the peculiar morality that is Wilsonism. For shame.

And, finally, Wilson manages to inject his pastoral disdain into something that the rest of the world seems to happily consider a no-brainer — “going green,” or making simple decisions to reduce the amount of pollution in the world. Once again, he uses his tortured hermeneutic to shower contempt on not simply the radical fringe of the environmentalist movement, but even on those of us who recognize that as stewards of the creation, we ought to try as much and as often as we can not to trash it. To the rest of the world, our decision to carry reusable shopping bags is not quite enough; to Wilson, it’s just silly.

It’s about time that the Church participate in caring for creation; Christians have been rightly condemned for too often disregarding the stewardship mandate in favor of a “use it up quick, He’s coming!” mentality. Now that most of evangelicalism sees the benefit, spiritual and ecological, to conservation and reduced consumption, here comes Moscow’s Bishop of Bluster to nip that one in the bud — and then yanking out the roots and shredding them, and those tended the plant, as well. For shame.

Next up: An insightful commentary on poverty from a Wilson student who once sold security systems in a low-income neighborhood in California. By “insightful,” I don’t mean that it sheds light or offers much perspective on poverty. It does mean that you’ll get a peek into what a heart nurtured by Wilson looks like. And it’s ugly.

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