The men of the ‘Gospel Coalition’ really, really hate women

The men of the ‘Gospel Coalition’ really, really hate women July 18, 2012

What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with these people?

Before we go on I should note that much of what follows could be triggering — because apparently in order to discuss something called “The Gospel Coalition,” we’re also going to need to discuss rape and rape culture and what these strange, cruel men refer to as sexual conquering in the name of their strange, cruel God.

Because, sweet Jesus, these men have issues. The Gospel Coalition is really bad news.

For some reason this Gospel Coalition bunch — neo-Calvinist patriarchal types in the John Piper/Mark Driscoll/T.J. Mackey mold — decided to weigh in on the current popularity of 50 Shades of Grey.

Rachel Held Evans summarizes:

In a post on the GC Web site entitled “The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, etc,” Jared Wilson argues that the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey simply reflects a perversion of the proper, God-ordained relationship of authority and submission between men and women. To support his point, he quotes from Douglas Wilson’s book, Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man:

Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

But … our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.

This man is unwell, unwhole and unhinged. God have mercy on Mrs. Wilson, and on all her daughters.

Evans responds:

There is so much about this passage that I, as a woman, find inaccurate, degrading, and harmful that it’s hard to know where to begin. That Wilson blames egalitarianism for the presence of rape and sexual violence in the world is ludicrous and unsubstantiated. His characterization of sex as an act of conquering and colonization is disturbing, and his notion that women are little more than the passive recipients of this colonization, who simply “accept” penetration, is as ignorant as it is degrading.

She goes on, at great length, to conquer the Wilsons’ hateful assertions with a penetrating argument. Read the whole thing.

J.R. Daniel Kirk points out that in Jesus’ name no, this is not a healthy view of sex and gender, or a biblical view, or a Christian view:

When you sexually conquer someone, this is rape. … I am embarrassed for Christianity that such an advocacy of rape (marital or otherwise) could find itself onto a websites that boasts of being one of a “Gospel” coalition.

Scot McKnight is just as blunt, writing “Take it down” and calling on the group to remove it’s cruel, degrading and “woefully ignorant” post.

Grace at Are Women Human? has a long and thoughtful response: “Doug Wilson, The Gospel Coalition, and Sanctified Rape Culture“:

Wilson goes much farther than any rape apologist Christian writer I’ve ever read, and that’s a lot of people. His notion of godly sex is little more than sanctified rape. In the name of Jesus.

He also says (as Jared Wilson states in a comment defending this filth) that “rape is judgment upon a culture that does not cherish and protect women.” We should be OK with this, according to Jared, because Doug Wilson isn’t blaming rape survivors for being raped. He’s only blaming all women who want to be treated equally and all of our allies. That’s all.

So just who is this twisted “Doug Wilson” creature, anyway? Glad you asked. Grace provides some more background on this horrible trainwreck of a human being:

Doug Wilson is not only a rape apologist; he’s also a slavery apologist. And contrary to Jared Wilson’s dismissal of commenters who repeatedly tried to point this out, this is absolutely relevant to Wilson’s teachings about obligatory female submission in sex.

Wilson is the co-author with Steve Wilkins, a white supremacist, of a pamphlet called Southern Slavery as it Was, which claims that Southern slavery “was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity” but a relationship between “friends and often intimates.”

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  • David Motes

    I’m a little confused by the whole thing so I traced it back to Wilson’s site and he seems to have withdrawn the post and (sort of, circularly) apologized (not to any critics of course but to some other people.)

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Wait, what?  He SAID that?  Why would any sane man not want his partner not to enjoy the act of sex.  I can  put being indifferent as to wether or not she enjoys it to normal asshatery but to think her enjoying it is wrong?  That’s blatantly insane.

    Agreed.  All this talk of BDSM, and how the dom isn’t actually the one in power, and mutuality and what not… well, that is what genuine, honest to god sadism looks like.

    Same for ‘orgasms are for girlfriends’ guy…

  • Caravelle

    Yeah, that was one weird apology, where it wasn’t at all clear what he was apologizing for. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a notpology because there wasn’t any “if anybody was offended”… he seemed to genuinely realize he’d done something wrong and was apologizing for that, but it wasn’t clear that he understood what it was he’d done that was wrong.

    I don’t think that’s a bad thing actually, I think that realizing you’ve done something wrong and apologizing for it even when you can’t understand exactly why what you did was wrong is laudable, it takes other people into account and all, but I see it as the first step in actually getting to understand what the issue was and I’m not confident he’ll take the other steps.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I get the impression a lot of RTCs _say_ God created humans, but they think He subcontracted out the pink bits to Satan.

  • Sam

    Just thought I’d google Jared Wilson and found part of another post (see below). I don’t know much about this blog or the people that comments on it, but it’s a million miles away from being objective. There is a need for balance, not just presenting one thing to provoke a load of reactionary comments. 
    A complementarian husband does not exercise his authority absent of any authority over him. The Bible that grounds his authority describes his responsibilities, so he submits to God’s authority, and he is under the authority of a local church. Contrary to caricature, the complementarian husband who uses his views as a license to shut out his wife’s counsel, to forsake her cherishing and freedom, and to deny her flourishing and edification is not a complementarian at all, but a selfish brute in need of sharp rebuke and church discipline. And if the situation calls for it (physical abuse or any other compromise of safety), legal justice.No view of gender roles will protect us from sin, certainly. But real complementarianism is not about “lone ranger” husbands deciding according to their own whims what’s good for their wives and families. It is about husbands under God’s authority and the authority of a local church cherishing, honoring, and building up their families. Husbands are charged with presenting their wives sanctified and spotless to Christ, not burdened and beaten down by neglect and dishonor. A complementarian man’s mission is his wife’s joy in Christ. In fact, Proverbs 12:4 and 1 Corinthians 11:7 imply that a wife haggard in spirit and squelched in soul is evidence of a husband derelict of his duty, regardless of his views on gender roles. Any man who treats his wife in a neglectful or abusive way is no complementarian; he is a walking perversion of manhood in need of repentance.

  • Galantry

    Utterly missed the point. Try reading and understanding the whole thing in all it’s proper context. Just about every comment here is reactionary. Still, this is the Internet.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do kindly explain how we are in the wrong for thinking women ought to own their own bodies, sexuality, and lives the way men own their own bodies, sexuality, and lives.

  • You may profess to believe complementarianism can actually “work”, but more often than not it’s just an excuse to dismiss women on the grounds that “my domain is not your domain, so your input isn’t valuable”.

    You may claim such a person is the deviation from the norm. I say such a person satisfies the condition of the norm.

  • Lori


    Husbands are charged with presenting their wives sanctified and spotless to Christ  

    So if your wife does something that you believe will interfer with your ability to present her “sanctified and spotless to Christ”, what do you do? Is your wife a moral actor with volition and responsibility of her own or not?

  • Lori

    You appear to be unclear on what “reactionary” means.

  • guest

    I think this is a sad case of unfortunate words choice and unfortunate word twisting.

     Nothing I read In that excerpt of his writing made me think he was advocating rape until you all went psycho about it. 

    Maybe he could have been more careful about the words he chose to communicate the fact that in sexual intercourse (of the penis entering the vagina variety) there must be a penetrator and receiver.

    Because human kind has issues in all areas of life, sex too can be warped (I’m sure none of you would advocate the many sexual crimes committed are a good thing).

    I know nothing about this guy apart from the small section of his writing above so cant comment on anything else about him but the post title caught my eye. 

    I’ve met a number of men involved with the gospel coalition and have no idea why you think they hate women??? Have you asked them that and they said they hated them??? Or have you maybe just twisted their words and intentions to suit your own purposes??
     All the ones I know are lovely men who care a lot for all the people around including *gasp* women.

  • EllieMurasaki

    in sexual intercourse (of the penis entering
    the vagina variety) there must be a penetrator and receiver.

    Your choice of language implies that, in heterosexual sex, the man is always dominant and the woman always receptive, passive, submissive. There’s nothing wrong with male dominance or female submission, of course–provided it’s confined to the bedroom outside of which the partners are equal, and provided both parties have veto power over every sex act every time it’s proposed or performed, and provided nobody asserts that male dominance or female submission is the One True Way from which all deviants must be punished. (Yes, yes, lifestyle BDSM, I know. I am not familiar with the BDSM community and am therefore carefully distinguishing between lifestyle BDSM, on which I am pointedly expressing no opinion, and Ephesians 5:22 and Jared Wilson, which, fuck that. Though I do note that anyone who knows the term ‘lifestyle BDSM’ probably also knows the term ‘consent’, and is certainly aware that lifestyle BDSM is not the norm.)

    There might be something wrong with male dominance and female submission on a macro scale, as having a great many more male dominants than male submissives and a great many more female submissives than female dominants plays right into the damaging cultural narrative that males are always dominant and females are always submissive, but on the micro level of a single couple, there’s nothing wrong with male dominance or female submission. Or female dominance, or male submission, or switches of any gender, or people who want to not play these games at all. The problem with Ephesians 22 and Jared Wilson is the assumption that male dominance and female submission are an inherent part of every m/f couple.

    Try phrasing it as ‘the vagina envelops the penis’ for a while, see if that puts your thinking on a more egalitarian path.

  • Burgs182

    I am a woman and never once thought that the Gospel Coalition hates us. I respect and support all those men, while they are human, I fully submit to Jesus.
    This article appears to be rooted in bitterness and lacking in facts.

  • Beroli

     There is something extremely ironic about you–either as part of a group of people all making remarkably similar posts with a remarkably similar posting style, or under multiple names–posting calling an article which makes a large number of fact-based assertions “lacking in facts” based on, “I never once thought that the Gospel Coalition hates us.”

    Do you have any facts? Counterarguments to the facts in Fred Clark’s article? Or should everyone in the world take your word that, all evidence to the contrary, the Gospel Coalition’s attitude toward women is perfectly healthy?

  • Lori

    So, what you do or do not feel is the final answer on whether or not the Gospel Coalition hates women? Did I miss the meeting where we elected you our standard?

  • Blahhhhh

    Yikes. Feminists scare me.

  • Lori

    The idea of people having a different opinion from yours is scary to you? Your life must be very difficult.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t think so. I think Blah’s either a man coasting on male privilege or a woman with sufficient privilege in other areas to coast on that, and if Blah’s a he then he’s afraid of there being enough women living up to their potential to take that privilege away from him, and if Blah’s a she then she’s afraid of having to actually live up to her potential.

  • Beroli

    The account name changes three hours later? So we’ll just cross off “part of a group of people” and note that you’ve been making a number of posts under different names, shall we?

  • Tim

    Glad I read this…no I’m not actually glad I read this and to quote people out of context is only a little disingenuous….and who made you the morality police.  So someone thinks this is the right way and you think it’s wrong…so what do we do…we resort to name calling.  Good job.

    The real problem is that they could only say it right if they agreed with you but since they don’t you make it an issue of morality instead of a difference of opinion about….Hmmm??  Seems like I remember another group of people that has done this…who was that??? Oh that’s right it was the GLBT’s…again, good job…you guys are awesome.

    Oh and ReverendRef…somehow I doubt it…you must be the village idiot.

  • Guest

    For one, Jesus chose twelve people to carry on after Him.  On His own accord He chose 12 men.  Not one woman in the bunch.  How would that fly in today’s world?  Oh, He’d be called a mysogynist, a chauvinsitic pig & everything else because of this.Secondly, the scriptures clearly articulate that elders are to be men, not women.  Elders are to be the husband of one wife ….Paul doesn’t permit women to teach & exercise authority over men (in the church) so this is in keeping with what he states about male eldership.  A pastoral position is essentially an elder so no women pastors.

    As a woman who is complementarian myself  …attending a church that advocates such ….eldership is the only role off limits to women.  Period! So lot’s of hot air is being blown on this page about ‘Nothing’, as much of the facts about complementarianism are being misconstrued!

    Women are heartily encouraged to be leaders in every single area possible in the world within complementarianismm, provided the godly raising of their children is not sacrificed as a result.  Seminary professors, presidents of companies, entrepreneurs & managers of their households …women are capable of all of these, but why must society declare them only worthwhile if they work outside the home. 
    Women as the bearers of children have the enormous responsibility of rasing & training the next generation unto godliness & that is an incredibly important role that cannot be effectively accomplished by another.  Families in America are crumbling because women have been lied to about being a mother …that it is so much less worthy than being a business executive.  Children need mothers who are ‘present’ not absent & that is unmistakably the biblical model.

    As for the sexual remarks, Doug Wilson is entitled to his opinion & as a writer can state things in a matter he so chooses.  Complementarianism as I’ve understood it ….DOES NOT imply one sided pleasure in the marital relationship whatsover & I’ve never heard such a teaching before.  If Mr. Wilson is in fact teaching that women shouldn’t enjoy the sexual experience then he would be at odds with the scritpures themselves.  This relationship between husband wife is clearly a mutually submissive & satisfying interaction & the New Testament doesn’t conflict with that.

    But, that said, even if Mr. Wilson believes in a way you don’t, because it doesn’t suit your particular understanding of the male/female roles ….is it defensible for you as a fellow Christian to tear your ‘brother’ apart over your points of disagreement?  The scriptures give specific steps on how to address grievances & even theological differences … loving correction, but this page is full of hateful angry accusatory rage & hostility. 

    If Mr. Wilson is wrong, which he may very well be (I haven’t read the book & seen the context of these quotes) there is certainly a more biblical response than this isn’t there? 

    What’s happening here is a mirror image of how the wordly ungodly media goes after those it disagrees with, not a biblical god fearing model of asking questions & working towards harmony & reconciliation.  Saying that people (who are your brothers if you’re a Christian) ….’Hate Women’ because they disagree with you is divisive ….you just can’t see it!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Things like this convince me utterly that the disciple Jesus loved was in fact Mary of Magdala. Yes, yes, Dan Brown, shitty theologian, but.

    Also there’s the joke that Jesus came as a man and picked only men for the twelve disciples because everyone would listen to a man and only women would listen to a woman. Funny ha ha puke; funny mostly because accurate, particularly two thousand years ago. It is not two thousand years ago and we no longer have reason to suppose that women are incapable of any task given men, and certainly no reason to suppose that any task given men is one women should not do. Ditto vice versa.

    I do find myself agreeing that the role of ‘mother’ is vastly undervalued in this society. I think that would change if, one, we considered all parents to be state or federal employees engaged in the vitally necessary task of raising future citizens and we paid them accordingly, and two, we allowed women to be both mothers and careerpeople the way we expect men to be both fathers and careerpeople.

    I have not seen Fred be anything less than loving towards Wilson. He isn’t even being particularly harsh towards Wilson. The hostility you speak of is entirely from Fred’s commenters, large swaths of whom, not being Christian, have no obligation to treat Wilson with Christian love.

  • Guest

    “unwell, unwhole and unhinged”  ….’haters of women’ …..”cruel, degrading and woefully ignorant” ….”twisted creature”   …..horrible trainwreck of a person”

    These must be the ‘anything less than loving’ words you refer to ….if so I’m not sure what kind of Christian would attribute these as loving???

    They belong in the harsh & hostile category ….as previously stated!

  • EllieMurasaki

    So I misremembered what Fred said. You’re quoting from a three-month-old post; I think I can be excused for that. Have you any counter for my assertion that we have grown as a species since Jesus came and we no longer need to or ought to define people’s lives, sexual or otherwise, by their gender or genitals?

  • The_L1985

    That’s just stupid. When I play Scrabble with a friend, and the friend is having fun, that doesn’t automatically mean I’m awesome at Scrabble. (I’m not all that good at Scrabble, actually. Just ask my mother–she stomps me in Words on a regular basis.)

  • de_la_Nae

    Oh shit, I thought that name was familiar. This guy did a big presentation at Indiana University in Bloomington a while back. We had a bit of a *thing* about it in town, with protesters and counter-protest and a one-man white pride rally and all sorts of ‘fun’ little letters to the paper attacking the ‘homosexualist agenda’ and also ‘why the hell are they letting a slavery apologist speak’ and…yeah.