Do We Take the Good and the Bad?

Here is a piece in Christianity Today discussing the man, the mission, the mystery that is Doug Wilson. I watched him debate Christopher Hitchens at Westminster Theological Seminary last Fall. Whatever his other controversial (and I find some of them downright troubling) understandings, he did a solid job against a brilliant and eloquent atheist. Such a fact brings up interesting questions about how we enage with and show support for Christians with whom we hold serious disagreements.

About Adam Carrington
  • Hooser

    Thanks for linking to this. I live in Moscow, Idaho and attend Christ Church’s sister church. Consequently, I have a lot more context for a number of the ‘troubling’ beliefs that Wilson holds or supposedly holds. For one, it’s important that folks understand that this article was written by a non-Christian and that it has taken a lot of the story out of context. Second, articles of this type tend to focus on the negative and not on the positive. I can attest personally to the charity, generosity, and personal care that Pastor Wilson shows towards his flock and other Christians. I would suggest that when folks read about Pastor Wilson that they keep in mind that everything he does is done with very specific intentions and that many of the views he holds are held precisely because he understands them to be views that are fundamental to defending the Gospel in a very holistic and fully orbed way. The fact that he’s taking on prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens I think attests to this. He has sought to be a Christian that believes in the lordship of Christ in EVERY area and his views, public and private, are the result of him seeking to be always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within him. I understand the sometimes caustic impression that comes across to others, but I very strongly believe that it is a result of him seeking to vigilantly defend the core of the Gospel. Finally, I think it’s funny that he gets credited for ‘starting’ or for ‘running’ a number of organizations or holding various views. There are numerous folks that have worked alongside him in building various organizations and who hold the same views around here and the only reason folks ‘blame’ him for their existence is because he is the most well spoken figure within those organizations and strongly defends them when ever they get any ‘heat’. We are not somehow blind followers of Wilson because we agree with him any more than folks who agree with his defense of the Gospel in his Hitchens interchange should be considered blind followers of him. At the end of the day, we appreciate Wilson because he goes to bat for us, whether or not we deserve it or can defend ourselves. This is a trait that I think makes him a far more godly leader that the majority of his critics and it’s what makes us appreciate him. This is the human side of Wilson that rarely gets airtime in these stories. Too many times, Christians have aligned their boundaries of fellowship with their doctrinal boundaries and I think this is a mistake. Thank you for showing appreciation of Wilson for vigilantly defending the basics of the Gospel regardless of your differences with him on particular views. He takes a lot of heat from non-Christians and disgruntled Christians already and it’s nice when he doesn’t have to deal with quite so much friendly fire from the folks he’s defending.

  • Adam Carrington

    Hooser,

    Thanks for your comment and perspective. Always good to get insight from someone who knows the man better than I or the article writer. On the further positive side, I have read Wilson’s exchange with Hitchens (in Is Christianity Good for the World?) and some other works of his and found them very useful. He is engaging; he thinks and writes clearly.

    My main issue with Wilson (based solely on what I read in the article) is his defense of the Confederacy in the Civil War. I’d like to hear a full defense from him on that point. I’ve spent a long time studying the conflict from theological and political perspectives and can’t say I come down anywhere near his “paleo-confederate” side. Further, a more theonomist-like view has yet to captivate me, either, though I continue to engage with friends and acquaintences beholden to the view.

    Regardless, I have no doubt that Wilson is a strong Christian brother. Whatever we may disagree on, I’m glad he is making the argument for Christianity in the face of unbelief.

  • Hooser

    Just to give you a little more context on the main issue you mentioned.

    First of all, you could check out his book of essays on the subject called ‘Black & Tan’ to read him in his own words. That would probably be the clearest way and most honest way to interact with his views on that. Also, if I could try and sum up what I understand his perspective to be, I would first of all say that he believes that slavery was a thoroughly sinful institution. That said, I think he believes it should have been ended peacefully(ala William Wilberforce style) and is probably skeptical that Lincoln brought on the Civil War for the purely altruistic reasons that modern civil orthodoxy would like to make us believe.

    Also, if you’re curious and willing to familiarize yourself with where Wilson is coming from, you should also check out ‘A Primer on Worship and Reformation’, ‘A Serrated Edge’, ‘Against Christianity’, and ‘Heaven Misplaced’. That’s at least a good start.


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