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

    He's clearly not. Like the movie, The Apostle, he essentially ordained himself.

    His answer to the blog post was, essentially that Spurgeon was never ordained and that Calvin probably never was either. Since Doug is on par with both then, by extension, ordination is something that other people require for ministry. Apparently, Jesus and Doug are enough and anyone who says otherwise doesn't realize that God put this fighter in the right place at the right time to deal with the evils of today's society.
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    If he was self ordained, and remains so; it's not just irregular, but invalid, correct?
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Or is he not claiming his self ordination was valid; but he doesn't need ordination? Sounds like it from Rich's comment.
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    In Wilson's own words:
    Doug Wilson is not ordained but he doesn't need to listen to the hardball "Reformed establishment":
    Meh. What does this guy know?

    I want to know what Doug Wilson thinks. Apparently, this fellow who wrote something called the "Institutes" probably wasn't in an ordained office because that's what Doug Wilson says. Must not be a very smart man because this guy that wrote the "Institutes", if not ordained, believes he is utterly undoing the work of the Church by contemning the ordained pastoral office.
  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Oh, but wait, maybe Calvin received an immediate call from God and didn't think that ordination required the laying on of hands...

    Never mind. Calvin needs to go read Doug's book because he's probably learned Ecclesiology from these newfangled Seminaries.
  6. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    I am no fan of Wilson and agree with you all that his ordination smacks more of solipsism than regularity. However, when you move into the realm of independent congregations, ordination is often little more than a group of board members agreeing that someone has gifts and should be their preacher. That is one of my problems with independent "autonomous" churches unaffiliated with a denominational body. Unless Wilson's congregation was part of a larger denomination when they started (he mentions the Evangelical Free and says that they did not elect to affiliate with them) there would have been nobody else to ordain him than his own leadership.

    But, once he elected to become Reformed (or some facsimile of it), you would have thought that he would have gotten the ordination matter taken care of forthwith.
  7. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    Much has been said already in this thread but just this further bit about the historical claims regarding Calvin and Spurgeon.

    It seems clear enough that Calvin was never ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, but that he did submit to such in Geneva or Strassburg. There is enough evidence to infer such, even in some materials quoted by Rich, as well as in other places. Certainly, Calvin never admitted to not being ordained nor disdained the necessity of such. Given his place in history (on the cusp of the rise of Protestantism), it is understandable that his situation may have had some irregularities associated with it, none of which is the case with Wilson in his situation.

    Spurgeon clearly and unmistakably disdained the need for a man to be ordained, arguing that not only that it was unnecessary for preaching but for administering the sacraments and pronouncing the benediction. He did not believe that one must be ordained at all to perform such functions. He himself did, in fact, have what might be said to be a kind of ordination ("recognition" he preferred to call it), though he argued against there being any necessity for it as we would understand such. What he believed to be necessary was the divine call and the approbation of a local congregation.

    One would think that as Wilson's polity developed he would have submitted himself to what he came to believe to be warranted even though he had earlier ministered without ordination. It is the case that he has submitted himself to certain things (presbytery examination) that would speak to this, but does not argue from those sorts of things but rather argues from the presumptive lack of ordination of Calvin and the known antipathy to ordination of Spurgeon--all a very odd kind of special pleading, it seems to me.

    It distinctly sounds like he acknowledges the need for ordination and requires it for others, but exempts himself from it (not even bothering to argue that he's otherwise successfully surmounted all that would lead to a laying on of hands). The oddity of asserting the lack of ordination of other worthies is quite striking and more than a little curious. It bespeaks one who sees himself as exempt from the ordinary procedures.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    This is consistent with Reformed Baptist polity.

    For a Presbyterian to appeal to a Baptist when it comes to 'ordination' seems like grasping at straws.

    Does anyone (on PB) know whether there was an existing eldership at Waterbeach when Spurgeon was installed as Pastor? If not, there wouldn't have been any laying on of hands, but it would still be consistent with the LBC.
  9. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior


    If you read Spurgeon carefully, you'll see that he did not require whatever office-bearers a church might have solemnly to set apart the candidate with prayer and fasting and then to lay hands upon said candidate. That is indeed an orderly procedure among our Baptist brethren and one that I would not regard as invalid, being ordination in that context. Spurgeon argued that while such is not inappropriate, it is not required: all that is required is that the man have a divine call and a call from a congregation; he need not having the solemn setting apart and the laying-on of hands. It appears that Spurgeon did not have that, although that's a little tougher to discern. At any rate, I do not regard his ministry as invalid in any sense of the word.

    I am careful, as was Hodge and the Princetonians generally, not to unchurch all of those who are not Presbyterians. I do not intend to be schismatic because others may do things that are irregular. We must maintain all the attributes of the church, which include catholicity. Even if Baptists don't recognize me (and I used to be--when young--one who only recognized those of my own party, shamefully), this does not mean that I don't recognize them and others who are properly part of the Church catholic. These matters belong not to the essence of the church but to its perfection.

    None of this, of course, changes one whit the bizarre nature of Mr. Wilson's approach.

  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    You seem to think that we should take Doug Wilson's professions of belief in sola fide at face value. Some of us beg to differ.
  11. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner


    I don't know what you have seen, but in my experience, some of those who are "self taught" (e.g., skipping seminary) are often the first to argue against the "formalities" of regular procedure in other areas as well (e.g., ordination). It is almost as if admitting the importance of doing things decently and in order would throw light upon the irregular route they had chosen for themselves. Blessedly, there are plenty of men who did not have the opportunity to go to seminary who, nevertheless, stand on the side of biblical polity and regular order, even if the denominations each differ among each other on what it requires.

    Baptist ecclesiology soft peddles ordination generally. It is almost a corollary of their autonomous church structure, even though the early Baptists tried to balance independence with interdependence. [They reason that] since each church has the "right" to select its own leaders, why should they submit to outsiders in the matter at all? Standard Baptist denominations all have their official procedures for ordination. But, the tendency to independency militates against a high degree of accountability and coopertion, even in ordination. I used to belong to a group that had very structured procedures for vetting and recommending candidates for ordination. Still, some of the larger congregations would "do their own thing" and ordain people raised up in their congregation without submitting to the procedures at all. The Evangelical Free is quite "baptistic" in polity. And, if Wilson's group did not even join with them, there would have been little reason to follow a regular procedure for examination and ordination. However, as you and I both noted, you would think that a conversion to Reformed theology would have brought with it a willingness to submit to the requirements customary in the body they were joining.
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I appreciate that about my Presbyterian brethren on PB. I would never assume that you would. I was just trying to point out that Mr. Wilson's appeal to Spurgeon doesn't really support his defense. There are some baptists who would probably refer to Spurgeon as 'ordained' because he was called by a local church to be so even if no hands were laid on him.

    And I speak for many of us on PB, Dr. Strange, how much we appreciate your contributions to our discussions here.
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    So overall we (Presbyterians)recognize pastors that are simply not ordained...correct? To not recognize these men would be essentially schismatic and cause all kinds of problems. If so I suspect we recognize female pastors and the duties they performed like baptisms and such?
  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I think what Alan is saying is that we don't completely "un-Church" other Churches. We recognize unlawful practices and call them as such in our Confessions. We recognize the sinfulness, for instance, of "contemning" (neglecting) the proper administration of Sacraments but we don't simply say they're "non-Churches".

    As an aside to this discussion, we just had a Presbytery meeting this morning and someone was asking me how my Seminary studies were going. I've been taking Seminary classes now for about 6 years. I'm doing this all while a full time employee with 5 kids and elder responsibilities. When I started I think I had a pretty good handle on a good deal of theology and the Scriptures. I even think that I thought that Seminary would be more "review" than actual learning.

    What I've found with every Seminary class is that I learn something new and profound with each class. I cannot imagine having "self-studied" to gain the level of appreciation sitting with an instructor and other students for weeks at a time in the deep end of a particular aspect of theology. I would not have the grasp I have of many theological topics that I do now and it would not have been profoundly shaped in my daily ministry as I am without it. I'm grateful for the ongoing experience.

    I'm not trying to despise the self-learned here but I think part of Wilson's problem is an assumed "self-taught" grasp of Christian theology that I might have if I had not submitted myself not only to instruction but the lengthy under care process as well as the sanctifying process of being accountable not only to fellow elders at the local session but to the Presbytery and the larger Church. By contemning the gifts that Christ has given His Church Wilson has cut himself off from the maturation process. He thinks he can grow, Pastorally, while forsaking all these things and it is a pity that so many see him as a mature voice for theology and life.
  15. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Incidentally, it seems to me that part of the problem of a professional theologian who is not, likewise, a Church-man that he will likewise not be fully matured. I do not believe theologically mature thought can be developed outside the sphere of the life of the Church as Christ has ordained its gifts toward their proper end.
  16. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Yes I can see such. What I was asking if we also un-pastor unordained pastors. We accept the baptism of many who are baptized by RC priests and from other apostate churches like the PCUSA. I understand that the sacrament does not depend on the qualifications of the pastor and I would assume (not sure) we would accept the baptism of one who was baptized by "Pastor" Jessica in a PCUSA church. Thus we accept the work of improperly ordained pastors and female "pastors".
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    It's not so much accepting their work as recognizing that Christ is King of the Church. We are not rulers who, by our authority, bind and loose. The Church's authority is strictly ministerial. Even our Sessions, Presbyteries, etc are named "courts" because we do not make law but simply administer or adjudicate according to what the Lawgiver has given us. We can rightly deem that another Church is performing unlawful actions but we still recognize that they are unlawaful precisely because it is not their Church but Christ's.
  18. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Not being Donatists, most of us draw the line at baptism administered by Trinitarian formula as prerequisite for acceptance. The "who" done it is not nearly as important as in whose name it was done. My group recognizes and accepts the validity of baptisms properly administered (i.e., using water in any quantity and/or mode, together with the Trinitarian invocation instituted by Christ, Matt. 28:19) in all Christian churches.

    Unfortunately, for much of my life (and ministry) I also insisted on the "proper" mode.
  19. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    There have been very few men who have been major blessings to the Protestant churches who were not formally trained in theology and ordained by churches. Calvin, Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones are probably the three best known and they are sufficient to illustrate the point that seminary training is not equivalent to being useable of and being used by the Holy Spirit. That said, too many people have underestimated the benefits that theological training brings to most men who have not been gifted with either the intellectual force or the physical or nervous energy that animated these exceptional men.
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Temporarily breaking my silence. Wilson's self-ordination (or no ordination) is only the tip of the iceberg. Court documents are public, including some with Christ Kirk letterheads. The evidence is damning. And it isn't just one or two pedophilia cases. That's why this issue is so hard to attack. There is simply too much damning information one doesn't know where to start.

    The problem is that he is the pope of the CREC. NAPARC cannot practically touch him. I hate to say it, but only the government can reign him in.

    *He asked God to bless a pedophile with children.
    *He publicly sl&t-shamed a rape victim.
    *He strongly advised victims not to go to the police.
    *His elder buddy's son ran a pot-ring at NSA and he failed to turn him into the police.
  21. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    I was waiting for someone to mention MLJ. He was indeed one of the great preachers of the last century, trained in other disciplines.

    It is simply not accurate, however, to say that Calvin was not theologically trained. He was. Before going to study law in Orleans at the insistence of his father, he had studied philosophy and theology in Paris at, inter alia loca, the Collège de Montaigu. As noted earlier, he apparently did not have an RCC ordination, but that he lacked any sort of ordination altogether is disputed. It is not the case, however, that he lacked theological training (though his training for the clergy was interrupted by his turning to study law).

  22. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    My understanding is that Calvin, Turretin and others rejected lay baptisms as practiced in the RCC as legitimate baptisms even if done in the Trinitarian formula and with water--which means, for them, the "who" does matter to some extent. Turretin explicitly required baptism to be administered by a pastor lawfully called, of which he included RCC priests as ministers of an external but impure church, otherwise he considered it a nullity. No doubt many modern defenses of RCC baptism legitimacy have merely required the formula, but it seems to me that older defenses were somewhat more nuanced than that.
  23. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    My point was larger than Seminary training. I'm OK with men learning outside of formal Seminaries. My larger point is that theological development be done within the sphere of the Church and those whom Christ has gifted. This is why I followed up about the idea that the best Seminary professors are not those who think of their pursuit as academic research for its own sake but those who labor within the Church and not only participate regularly in its courts but see their aim as training men and women for service to the Church.

    When the Centurion sent a servant to ask that He heal one of his beloved servants, the Centurion noted that he was a man under authority and (because of this) he had authority over others. Authority and maturity is derived by being part of the living Church as it matures children in the faith into the mature and those living stones (built upon the foundation of the apostles) rise up to be the next generation of those performing the simple and sincere ministry of the Word. We are called to the ministry of being considered the "scum of the earth" for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

    To attempt to stand outside this living edifice and construct a building to the glory of God is dishonoring to the Lord and His gifts. I just don't see the Scriptures teaching that a man can expect to be matured by the Lord who is not likewise obedient to the gifts and offices that the Lord has ordained toward the building of His Church. Seminary is a means toward part of the whole but is not the whole if you catch what I'm trying to express.
  24. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    He has always been guilty until proven innocent, which can't be done, because no matter how many formulations of the solas he isses, it's not enough, just like no explanation of the Sitler situation will be enough for some people.
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    He openly communes with the harder elements in the FV who deny the solas. That means he communes with a common confession from them. I will grant him that when push comes to shove, he sounds confessional. But he also wants to say that he is in good standing with the "stout" elements of FV. He can't have both.

    As to the Sitler case, I don't have to be satisfied with his explanations. At this point there are enough court documents to go on. FV guys and CREC guys have personally gone after me on this because I have a bulldog mentality on this point. I live in proximity to a major CREC church. I know the dangers that can go on. And I will fight to the hilt on this one.

    But we can go by Wilson's own words:

    In Fidelity he said pedophilia is a crime that deserves the death penalty. But when it applies to his parishonier Sitler, we should be all grace.
  26. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    In the context of my post, the comment about the "who" of the officiant being relatively less important than the fact of a Trinitarian Christian baptism was NOT intended to suggest that anyone could perform a valid baptism, merely that the baptisms performed by a recognized Christian church were typically acceptable by my group regardless of mode and even if the group was guilty of heterodoxy (as opposed to heresy). I disagree with the RCC, EO, Cambellites, pentecostals, and any number of other groups. But, the baptism of a pastor of any church that is within the orbit of the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed would be taken as valid despite mode and theological differences. My guess is that we would accept any baptisms administered by Mr. Calvin or Mr. Spurgeon too if you find any. ;) Not all groups treat ordination as seriously as some of us do. That offers no excuse for Mr. Wilson who evidently wants to identify with a group that DOES take it seriously but freely exempts himself from its strictures.
  27. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not here to "defend stout FV" or the CREC, and even if I were interested in doing it, it would get me a board ban. But unless everyone here is saying Lutherans have a false gospel, I think the rhetoric about the FV guys could stand be dialed back, as the views on sacramentology's soteriological ramifications are similar.

    Wilson said that Sitler should do time, and that if he commits another crime, he should do time again. He also said if a court had found in favor of the death penalty, he would not have opposed that, because civil punishment is distinct from divine forgiveness or repentance.
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I wasn't actually attacking Wilson's soteriology as true or false. I was simply showing the claim that he can't say he's confessional and commune with the Rich Lusk/James Jordan elements.

    The problem with Sitler case:

    1) Wilson had previously written that first time offending pedophiles get the death penalty. Not second chancers. He clearly backed down on that one.

    2) He asked God to bless a pedophile with children. I mean. Really. And Sitler later failed a lie detector test (not going into the details here).
  29. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    There is a gospel issue here as to whether or not regeneration and the grace of God really can take away pedophilia or depraved desires. This goes hand in hand with the simple fact that Wilson could not have prevented Sitler getting married had he wanted to.

    And while you may be distinguishing between issues of association with Jordan or Lusk and Wilson's personal soteriology, those implying or outright stating that Wilson denies the solas did not appear to be quite that nuanced.
  30. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    There is a difference between these two statements

    C1: The Gospel can take away disorders like pedophilia.

    C2: The Gospel always does take away disorders like pedophilia.

    Nobody doubts C1. The issue is C2. I dispute it.


    C3: Women shouldn't have to dress modestly because the Gospel takes away bad sexual desires.

    Sure he could have. It's called saying "No." He is the Pope of the CREC. He could have said no and people would have had to obey.
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