Archive for the ‘Doug Wilson’ Category

All Forms of Slavery?

April 18, 2013

Thabiti Anyabwile and Doug Wilson have concluded their discussion, but in the conclusion section, Thabiti posted an item claiming it was a point of common agreement between the men:

3. The logic of the gospel is jubilee logic. This means that the messianic promises all looked forward to the day when the liberation of the world from every form of slavery would begin, and the arrival of Christ was the inauguration of God’s kingdom. This liberation from slavery begins with liberating men from their slavery to sin, but it necessarily and inexorably includes all other forms of slavery as well—whether the forms of slavery as they existed in the ancient world, or the more recent forms in our country.

Sorry, guys, but minimally we’re still slaves of our Lord.  We’re more than that, but we are that.  That metaphor for our relationship to God remains.  We are not slaves to sin, we’re slaves to God.

The gospel does not demand the liberation of human slaves.  The command to masters is not “free your slaves,” but rather masters are commanded to treat their slaves equitably, with the very reason being that they themselves have a master in heaven.

Ephesians 6:9
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. 

Colossians 4:1
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

This is very similar to the commands to husbands to love their wives:

Ephesians 5:24-25
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

In both cases, the metaphor between the master-slave relationship or the husband-wife relationship is not subversive of the relationship, it reinforces it.  These superior-inferior relationships are not intrinsically evil – they are actually pictures of our relationship with God.

Moreover, Paul presumes that there will be believing slave owners.  He writes:

1 Timothy 6:2
And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

In other words, even though the Gospel does make all Christians brethren, that does not mean that believing slaves should stop serving believing masters.

I realize that modern American culture (and more broadly Western European culture) is highly anti-slavery.  We, as Christians, need to rise above the culture and stand on God’s revelation, rather than the changing morals of human society.  That means that we can be critical of systems in which there is abuse of slaves by masters, but we don’t have to declare our Lord sinful for having us as his slaves.  We don’t need to conform the gospel to our culture, we need to acknowledge the places where the gospel opposes the culture.

We call Jesus, Lord, not just because he is our King but also because he is our Master, recall that Colossians 4:1 (quoted above) states: “Οἱ κύριοι (kurioi – masters), τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὴν ἰσότητα τοῖς δούλοις (doulois – slaves) παρέχεσθε, εἰδότες ὅτι καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔχετε κύριον (kurion – Lord/Master) ἐν οὐρανῷ.”  If you really think that “all other forms of slavery” are wrong, then how can you claim to be a “δοῦλον δὲ κυρίου” (doulon de kuriou – Slave of the Master or Servant of the Lord, 2 Timothy 2:24).


Douglas Wilson vs. Andrew Sullivan on "Gay Marriage"

February 28, 2013

Doug Wilson has posted the gist of his prepared remarks from a debate with Andrew Sullivan on the topic of so-called “gay marriage.” (link to remarks) In general, I would agree with what Wilson said – although I cannot confirm his positive comments on Sullivan’s behavior (as I did not witness the debate).

Wilson has a great way with words, a gift I would love to obtain. For example:

As Dan Phillips has aptly noted, the most offensive verse in the Bible is not to be found in Leviticus or Deuteronomy with laws concerning homosexuals. It is not to be found in the New Testament when Paul tells wives to be submissive to their own husbands. It is not to be found in the places commanding the Amalekites to be smitten. The most offensive verse in the Bible is the very first one—in the beginning God created the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:1). This means that there are only two ways to go. We can work to discover the meaning of the world around us, a meaning embedded there by God. Or we can rebel against that meaning, and try to roll our own. Once we have rolled it, we usually try to smoke it.

This observation is really central to most of the interaction with non-Christianity – from Atheism/Agnosticism to Roman Catholicism. Our understanding of the world needs to proceed from the revelation God has provided, and if we don’t do that we end up victims of our own foolishness.


Properly Loving One’s Neighbor

August 20, 2012

Douglas Wilson (there, I’ve now lost half my reading audience) has posted some shots at Horton’s piece on “gay marriage.” (link to Wilson) Wilson was struck by something Horton said, something that also struck me: “The challenge there is that two Christians who hold the same beliefs about marriage as Christians may appeal to neighbor-love to support or to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage.”

There are a number of problems with what Horton says. Here are a few:

1) The second table of the law best describes our duty to love our neighbor. If we disregard the law of God, we are simply having friendship with the world, not Biblical love of neighbor. None of that entails that we cannot be kind, friendly, and loving toward our neighbors who sin. On the contrary, we must be those things. However, we must do so without compromising the second table.

2) The law given to Israel did accord with love of neighbor, and particularly with the second table. In other words, the harsh punishments of that law for the sin of Sodom were not unloving, nor were they in any way a violation of the second table or the duty to love our neighbors as ourselves. Whether or not those precise punishments should be imposed, if those precise punishments were imposed, there would be no injustice.

3) The appropriate neighbor-loving reaction to Sodom’s sin (by the civil magistrate) is not affirmation or tolerance of that sin, but judicial correction of that sin. In other words, the general equity of the civil law of Israel applies. That general equity is at least that such sexual behavior deserves punishment by the civil magistrate (whether or not that general equity extends to the degree of punishment or the mode of punishment, we can leave to another discussion).

In short, Horton is wrong if he means that Christians can legitimately appeal to the principle of neighbor love to support or oppose such legislation.

Horton writes: “Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.”

The problem, though, is that Horton is affirming something that he (as civil magistrate) ought to condemn. Legitimate concern for the person’s economic security cannot trump the civil magistrate’s duty to oppose evil.

One wonders if Horton would say the following:

Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm mafia partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm pimping/prostitution partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm contract hit partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm false witness for hire partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

I hope the answer would be an emphatic, “well, of course not.” Horton wouldn’t want the shield of the state to be used to protect organized crime, pimps, hitmen, or sons of Belial in the course of their evil. So, Horton is being inconsistent (the hallmark of E2k) in supporting “domestic partnerships.”

I’m glad that Horton ends well (I quote his conclusion below), but I fear that he gets to the right conclusion without a solid framework:

At the end of the day, what tips the scales toward the second view is that I can’t see how neighbor-love can be severed from love of God, which is after all the most basic command of all. Even if they do not acknowledge “nature and nature’s God”—or anything above their own sovereign freedom to choose—reality nevertheless stands unmovable. Like the law of gravity, the law of marriage (of one man and one woman) remains to the end of time—not just for Christians, but for all people everywhere.

That’s where the rubber meets the road. If your interpretation of “love of neighbor” leads you to compromise your duty to God, it is not true love of neighbor. Love of God is the first and great commandment, and together with love of neighbor, it is the hermeneutic for understanding the entire Old Testament.


Doug Wilson Discussing Sexuality

June 30, 2012

Canon Wired has a set of videos including lectures delivered by Doug Wilson on a university campus. There are some minor points I would probably disagree with Wilson on, but it was nice to see that he gave a clear, evangelistic message as part of the presentation.

I thought I had previously posted a clip that showed one of the disruptions that took place during this presentation, though perhaps I did I not. Wilson does a good job of keeping fairly calm throughout the heckling and “protesting.”

I found it interesting to listen to the 2 hr. Q&A session first, and then go back and listen to the lectures (about 1 hr. 15 min. combined). It helped to highlight points where what the students heard was not necessarily what was said. It was also interesting to see how some of the people from the Q&A behaved during the lecture.


Thoughts on the PCA, Wilson, and Keller

May 31, 2011

“On the other hand, a denomination that rejects the orthodoxy of Doug Wilson out of hand while embracing Tim Keller unquestioningly is a denomination which has lost sight of what Reformed theology is all about.”

Some thought provoking comments from the BaylyBlog. I’m not sure I agree with their comments, but it is still an interesting perspective on the PCA’s current state of affairs.

I think there is work already in progress to deal with the Tim Keller situation. One reason for prioritizing the FV as something to be addressed first would seem to be the allegation that the FV is denying justification by faith alone. Whether or not that accusation is true, such a denial would seem to be a more central error than the errors associated with Tim Keller by his detractors.


UPDATED to correct Pastor Keller’s first name.

Waltke at Knox Theological Seminary?

April 12, 2010

If Doug Wilson’s accusation is true (“[Bruce Waltke] has now been hired on at Knox Theological Seminary“) I have one question: What was KTS thinking?

– TurretinFan

UPDATE: Some confirmation of Mr. Wilson’s report (link to confirmation)(Waltke’s more cryptic comments) thanks to Steve Hays.

Doug Wilson on Sola Fide

March 30, 2010

“I hold that a man is justified by the sole instrument of God-given faith, as that faith is placed by the grace of God in the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ alone, He who lived and died in our stead. I maintain that the only legitimate response that a creature may have toward His God, or any words that his God speaks, whether those words are promises, laws, threats, or comforting words, is a response of sheer, unadulterated faith — faith plus nothing else. I also hold that when the response to any of the words of God is something other than this kind of faith, then that response is legal, autonomous, prideful, and damnable.” (source)

What is remarkably absent from this definition is any specific denial of justification by works.

Someone named SovereignLogos responded: “Does this mean that good works are not a legitimate response to God’s laws? Or have you redefined faith in such a way that obedient works = faith? You say “faith plus nothing else.” What other “else” could you have in mind?” (source)

Doug Wilson responded: “SL, we are still talking about justification, right? And even after justification, faith is the sole legitimate response to God’s laws. And of course such faith necessarily results in obedient works — works that are not motivated and driven by faith are actually disobedient works.” (source)

I’m not sure what to make of this. I can’t follow whether Doug Wilson knows the Reformed Shibboleths and is deliberately avoiding pronouncing them to needle the “Truly Reformed” crowd – or whether Doug Wilson is deliberately avoiding the specific question of justification by works because of some other reason – or whether Doug Wilson thinks he has addressed the issue fully with the wording he has provided.

Perhaps I’m in an overly generous mood, but unless Doug Wilson is defining “faith” in two different ways in his two comments, I don’t see how folks think he doesn’t at least profess to hold to sola fide.

Now, whether the Federal Vision stuff that he has been involved with is consistent with sola fide is a separate and important question. Nevertheless, we need to leave open the possibiltiy that Doug Wilson is simply being inconsistent by accepting those Federal Vision tenets that would contradict sola fide, given his seemingly strongly worded commitment to the doctrine above.


Fellow Limited Atonement Advocate

March 3, 2009

Today I happened to spot the blog of a fellow advocate of Limited Atonement. Mr. Josh Walker of the Bring the Books blog has a number of interesting posts on the Atonement.

1. Demonstrates one (of several) problems with the theory that Calvin held universal atonement.

2. Demonstrates that Charles Hodge held to Limited Atonement.

3. Quotes John Murray on Limited Atonement.

4. Identifies Dabney’s refutation of Amyraldianism.

5. Even identifies that (at least at one time) even Doug Wilson held (or holds) to Limited Atonement.


Brazen Committees – Response to Doug Wilson

April 6, 2008

Doug Wilson, on his own blog, writes: “Establishing committees that are as stacked as a painting on a WWII bomber’s nose is not the way to inspire my confidence. No, I haven’t gotten over the sheer brazenness of that study committee.” (source) I think Doug is missing the point.

1) The study committee wasn’t called to inspire anyone’s confidence, and certainly not to inspire the confidence of an outsider like Wilson.

2) The “stacked” mixed metaphor is slightly off-color, but mostly off-putting.

3) Calling the Federal Vision study committee stacked because none (or less than half – or less than all – who knows what number or percentage would satisfy Wilson) of the members of the committee were Federal Visionists is absolutely as silly as suggesting that a study committee on women in the ministry must include women pastors or that a study committee on paedocommunion must include children. It is as silly as suggesting that a study committee in the PCA on Roman Catholicism must include Catholic priests. Frankly, it is as silly as suggesting that a study committee on Stalin must include representatives from the KGB.

The underlying silliness is the apparent belief that the only way that a view can get a fair hearing is if the study committee includes in its membership either the people who are likely to be affected by the committee’s decision (women/children examples) or the people who are under examination (priests/KGB examples).

4) Calling the selection of members for the committee “brazen” assumes that there was something wrong with the process. Why Wilson supposes that there was something wrong with the process, we can only guess. He obviously didn’t like the fact that there were no Federal Visionists on the committee, but he doesn’t provide any reason for us to think that the exact same mixed metaphors wouldn’t be hurled if only one of the members had been a Federal Visionist, or only two, or only half, or if too soft or inexperienced Federal Visionists had made up the entire study committee. Indeed, I see no reason to doubt that if Doug Wilson himself had made up the entire study committee, he’d just start complaining that his report got a “stacked” review at the GA, and that the presbyters “brazenly” refused to agree with his questionable theology.

In short, I’m disappointed by Wilson’s refusal to acknowledge that the study committee was properly formed, conducted itself in a scholarly and Biblical fashion, and reached a sober and correct conclusion, namely that the so-called Federal Vision is outside the bounds of Reformed Theology as defined by the Westminster Standards.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except that Wilson had called a committee to examine his own theology some time ago. Did he include any TR’s on the panel? No. Of course he did not, and I don’t think that anyone imagines he had some duty to do so. Next time Wilson wants to gripe about “stacked” PCA study committees, let me suggest this metaphor: “as stacked as the CREC committee that examined me.”


Sam Duncan’s Comment

February 11, 2008

It seems Sam Duncan has created no small stir by pointing out the obvious fact that the PCA’s SJC has already been considering the facts of the case of Wilkins’ promotion of, and the LAP’s failure to prosecute Wilkins for, Federal Visionism.

Apparently he made the mistake of using the phrase that no one in the LAP could expect to have a “fair trial” before the SJC. The Federal Vision advocates leaped on this:

Example 1
Example 2

Even Doug Wilson, who seems to have known better, partly jumps on it.

GreenBaggins sets the record straight.


UPDATE: Reformed Musings provides some context (link).

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