A Question for Doug Wilson Fans

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Semper Fidelis, Oct 7, 2015.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Great blog post: https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/a-question-for-wilson-fans/

    I've tried to learn to be more circumspect as I get older but recent events convince me more than ever that Doug Wilson is dangerous. Between the news of ministers being removed for moral failure and the hubris of Doug Wilson I found myself in daily prayer asking that the Lord would keep my foot from slipping. It makes me shudder to think of a man so blind to his own sin that every criticism is, de facto, affirmation that he's doing the Lord's work.
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Do you believe there is a cluster of traits surrounding men such as this, so that we might safeguard ourselves? Any doctrinal or character or personality distinctives that put one at greater risk?
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I would agree that there are many troubling aspects of Wilson's beliefs and practices, while at the same time I must also admit that I have enjoyed and agreed with many other things that he has said or written. I guess the question we must ask ourselves is, is there enough meat on these bones to make it worth the time to pick through, or is the whole bird rotten and worthy to be discarded? Virtually every preacher or teacher will have at least something worthwhile to say from time to time, but few of us would bother to search for the nuggets of truth in someone like Osteen. Perhaps we shouldn't do so with Wilson either.
  4. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for the link. I was not aware that Doug Wilson was self ordained.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Has the CREC ever 'corrected' Wilson's self ordination or has he/they simply let it stand?
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    It's practically impossible to know this (yet to be stated below) most necessary of things respecting a young would-be minister, which is a reason for needing various stages or trials to determine a man's fitness for ministry. Not just for others to judge him, but also for an honest man to self-judge. But it must be discovered, and defects addressed sooner rather than later. Because, too late and a virulent plague comes upon a man, or a church, or a whole body.

    After "godliness" (Gk. eusebia, quite an all-encompassing term), which is something akin to a "quality" or stamp of character as compared to a "trait," and of first importance--the term is nowhere more prevalent than in the the pastoral epistle--I'm not unalterably sure, but suppose the church needs most to find a man who seeks to be humble. No man is as humble as he should be; but he needs to be at war with his pride.

    He must study it as his chiefest foe. Even his besetting sin--if it isn't pride--is subaltern to Commander Pride.

    Our Lord's witness, Mt.20:24-28
    Peter writes to the elders, which are overseers or bishops, among whom he (who is an apostle) counts himself, 1Pet.5:1-3
    Beware of any man--regardless of his gifts, his putative wisdom, his charisma/leadership; all which (along with other attractions) can be used to blind eyes and mollify outrage--guard yourself from anyone who likes controlling other people.

    Be especially wary of those who avoid and resist (often with remarkable adroitness) all efforts to bring him into any position of subordination, any place of true and unfeigned accountability. If there are formal arrangements into which a "lordly" man engages himself, which seem to set him in an equal-relation to others or make his words and deeds subject to review, watch closely to see if real practice accords with formality. Paper arrangements have all the substance of whatever characters make, and later own them.

    Don't mistake me: for saying that a man who is sufficiently self-effacing is thereby qualified for ministry. Or that "natural leaders" are dangerous. TRAITS, one or many, do not make a trustworthy guide. A man is not the sum of his parts. More importantly, a church's leadership is more than its "public face," regardless of the significance of it. The session of a church is a multitude of counselors conferring as one mind for the sake of the body. Every one of those counselors is a gift (to the church), which is meant to complement the whole.

    The great hurt to the church are those with uninhibited, unchecked libido dominandi. Men like Diotrephes, who love to be first (Gk. philoproteuo): "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not." 3Jn.1:9
  7. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Finally someone brought it up.
    I was always concerned when some here and plenty elsewhere (*cough*Baylys*cough*) hold him up solely for his 'complementarian' views. They'd fellowship with him (probably not the ones on the board though) but not egalitarians who adhere to sola fide.
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Pet 1:9)

    The 'these things' are faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. These are all positive qualities as opposed to negative. It is one thing to NOT be a drunk and another thing to BE temperate. It is one thing to NOT be wrathful and another thing to BE patient. Just because a man is not divorced does not mean he loves his wife as Christ loves the church.

    For true teachers, however, "these things be in you, and abound..." (Verse 8) As a general rule, true teachers strive to grow toward the divine nature, while false teachers strive to get as close to the line of sin without going over. They are good at avoiding negative characteristics, but have no interest in, and often mock those who pursue these positive characteristics.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    A good friend was telling me a sad story just the other day about his church where the new pastor is in some hot water for resisting any accountability from the membership. He spent the entire sermon explaining how some of the older members of the church are 'being divisive' (which may be true), but more importantly defending his spending the evening in a bar watching a baseball game with his buddies because he happened to have a spiritual conversation with an unbeliever. Whether or not it is sinful to watch a baseball game in a bar is beside the point. The point is, he is trying to get as close to the line of sin as possible and then using an entire sermon to defend himself. That makes me suspect.
  10. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Can you explain further how this is true?

  11. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Several in my family have watched baseball games in bars and it never occurred to me to consider this as a sinful activity (?)
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    That is not my point. He spent an entire sermon explaining how he was not guilty of sin instead of simply saying, "I'm sorry that my trip to the bar offended my sheep, I will lay down my liberty as an act of charity." And then he could have preached a real sermon and not waste everybody's time defending himself.
  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I think a shorter way to address the problem would be to simply point out that ministers should not have "fans." As with sports and entertainment folk, "fans" introduce an element of unaccountability which makes it impossible to impose normal moral standards on those to whom more is given and of whom more is required. If people would stop acting like "fans," ministers would feel no reason to act like "celebrities," the balance of the moral order would be restored, and faults could be addressed and corrected in a spiritual manner.
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    From reading Wilson's "clever Dick" Credenda/Agenda magazines in the '90s, and then seeing his descent into heresy, I can see that the Evil One can carry very clever people away in their own "brilliance", if they don't watch and pray.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  15. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    Are we even allowed to identify as Doug Wilson "fans" on this board, or will the guardians of the deposit of the faith on here boot us for "denial of sola fide"? :rolleyes:
  16. Paul1976

    Paul1976 Puritan Board Freshman

    I'll admit to being a big C.S. Lewis fan, and he must have at least half a dozen viewpoints that could get one booted from this board. Some with extreme prejudice...

    I think an important point to consider is that a number of teachers hold or have held wrong views at some point in their ministries. Yet, in spite of Lewis' flaws, he had so many correct and deep insights that I still love reading his works. After listening to a Desiring God conference on Lewis, I'm convinced much of the reason Lewis had so much of an influence is that he possessed a real love for God and for his people. Despite some serious doctrinal errors, he was a very deep Christian, at least from what I was able to gather. Another example to consider is John Bunyan. If my memory serves, he was neither seminary educated nor ordained, but produced a number of books that have now stood the test of time.

    So, I'm a little concerned with dismissing individuals simply over wrong views or backgrounds. My personal experience with Wilson is that I heard him speak at several Desiring God conference recordings, and liked his messages there. I was not aware of the controversy around him at the time. I later downloaded a series of sermons from his church, but stopped listening after a serious interpretation error where he simply ignored what Jesus specifically stated elements in the parable of the wheat and the tares represented, and assigned different meanings to them which happened to be more appropriate to his theology. That, in my view, is an excellent reason to disregard a teacher. Perhaps the others are serious yellow flags?
  17. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Dunno; don't recall it happening; but just maybe for rolling the eyes snarkiness.
  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I agree. The title merely reflected the Blog article.
  19. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Wilson answered this question for his fans. People like him, according to him, because he is clear and because he fights. I would tweak that a bit: people like him because he is vivid and entertaining, and because he fights. I don't think he is an exceptionally clear writer, but his illustrations and turns of phrase can be quite forceful (it seems like a sign of a lack of clarity that he confuses that for conceptual clarity). Other people also fight, and in some cases what popularity they have is based on that; but most of them lack that verbal sparkle.
  20. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    That sounds like one of our presidential candidates!
  21. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Who knows? Maybe this latest scandal will be the one that finally knocks Wilson off his perch.
  22. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    That was a very good description. His conceptual clarity is masked by his command of the language and charisma. He's hard not to like.

    I think people look at Church history and assume that the orthodox always had the winsome and popular on their side. The opposite is the case. Christianity has always been embattled by people who have charisma and make the orthodox look small and insignificant in their time. It's hard to go through even months (much less years) where the simple ministry of the Gospel seems overshadowed by those who seem to have a voice that others are paying attention to. We want a voice like Doug's to stand up for the little people - to put his finger in the chest of the culture and say: "I'm not going to take it any more!"

    But ministries like his won't last.

    The older I get the more I appreciate something that will endure. I'm less attracted by those who gain large followings. If one wants to know what it's like to really feel the reproach of the world then try regular ministry and keeping the doors open for the simple preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. Deal with the indwelling sin in your members and have the courage to shepherd those who are battling their own and resisting the means of grace with patience and endurance. Do battle within the Church for Her peace and purity.
  23. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Ruben and Richard are spot on. In a world of colorless blandness and the proverbial man in the grey colored suit approach to the faith, someone like Wilson stands out just as Trump does among politicians. That should not surprise us.

    On the substantive point, it is exceedingly doubtful that heresy ever comes packaged so neatly as the charts in the theological dictionaries. If Arius, Pelagius, or Finney were wrong on EVERYTHING, nobody would have been seduced by their falsity. Rather, the admixture of truth with error, all served up in a winsome or compelling manner fuels the heretical enterprise.

    It will always be a judgment call how much time to spend in the works of errorists in order to find the truth stated helpfully and applicably. At my age, I'm more in the camp of reading the ones who get it (generally) right and not worrying so much about having an encyclopedic knowledge of the ins and outs of the ones who get it (mostly) wrong.
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Well noted. Finney really tapped into the spirit of the age. Criticism of his methods must have appeared dour. Finney was "missional" after all and powerful. Ministry that didn't get on board would be left behind.

    I was reflecting on this just yesterday thinking that revivalism has taken 150 years but has pretty much reached full burnout at this point. I think the fruit of it is the collapse of it's great-great grandchildren mostly into new forms of liberalism caving into the the spirit of the age.

    I was reading Torrance the other day making a good point at how essentially Arian much liberal theology is. I think we always assume that our age is the first that's experienced theologians that see orthodox as out of touch or behind the times.

    Wilson, Driscoll, and others with big followings appeal to those who want more bang. The bang they get, however, is a flash in the pan on the scene of Church history.
  25. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner


    I blame the Lutherans, or more specifically, the "pietist" movement begun by the Lutheran Spener. Notice how "contemporary" Spener's six proposals sound, even though they were published in 1675!

    In Pia desideria, Spener made six proposals as the best means of restoring the life of the Church:

    1. His proposal that the study of the Bible should take place outside the church in private meeings (ecclesiolae in ecclesia - "little churches within the church") sounds just like the small group movement.

    2. Greater lay share in the spiritual government of the church and a diminution of the role of the office of pastor.

    3. Emphasis on the "practical" aspects of Christianity, particularly on the "practice of it."

    4. Sympathetic and kindly treatment of unbelieving systems and heterodox believers. Reduction of bombast in favor of dialog and sympathetic understanding.

    5. Less emphasis on the dead orthodoxy of creeds, confessions, and systems of thought in favor of giving more prominence to the devotional life.

    6. A shift from rhetoric, doctrinal preaching, and didactic exposition to motivational preaching that implants the heart of Christianity in the inner man.

    The essentially orthodox Spener + Puritanism were the primary sources for the First Great Awakening (also orthodox), which in turned morphed into the Second Great Awakening (infected with Finney), resulting in the revivalism of the Third Great Awakening and Moody's appropriation of Finney methods and means, passing through the Fundamentalist-Modernist years, and eventuating in the neo-evangelicalism of post-WWII evangelicalism.
  26. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Pia Desideria was a required text for our introductory spiritual formations course at my liberal PC(USA) seminary.
  27. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    We need to replace 'fanaticism' with 'confessionalism'. When Christians do not subscribe to a confession, they have no choice but to hang their hat on the most popular teachers they can find. "How can a guy with this many followers be wrong?"

    With confessionalism the Christian's faith and life stands upon doctrine and not the fickle whims of the masses. How many Christians today even remember "The Prayer of Jabez"?
  28. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    There is a CREC church in nearby Lakeland that is hosting a conference headlining Doug Wilson. I'm glad I read the blog post Rich linked to in his OP. I didn't know much about Doug Wilson, but now I consider myself a bit more informed.
  29. Clark-Tillian

    Clark-Tillian Puritan Board Freshman

  30. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    As a follow up should we considered him ordained?
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