Leithart isn’t Wilson

This is a dangerous post.  I believe I can now quote and interact with Leithart’s scholarly works in good conscience.  True, he was involved in the Sitler affair, and he made some bad decisions.  But he repented of them publicly.  Wilson hasn’t.

And James Jordan kept himself from that whole fiasco.

Leithart and Jordan are public theologians.  Jordan forces me to wrestle with the Hebrew text.  I can respect that.

Turretin vs. Doug Wilson on Calling

I do not know if Wilson has since gotten a legitimate calling and ordination from an established church body.  But he explains in his own words.  (I thank Rachel Miller for finding this.  Even though she unfriended me on Facebook because I said Saddam was better than ISIS).

I also recommend this post by Rev. Lane Keister.

Having written this book, I must now apologize, at least in part, for how the book came to be written by someone like, as the Victorians used to say, the present writer. At the time of writing, I have been a minister of the Word for twenty-three years. But how that came about contains more than a few ecclesiastical irregularities.

I came to the University of Idaho in the fall of 1975, fresh out of the Navy, and ready to study philosophy. My intention was to study various unbelieving philosophies and to then get involved in some kind of evangelistic literature ministry in a university town somewhere. Right around the same time, a church was being planted in our town by an Evangelical Free Church in a nearby community. The fellowship was successfully planted, but this new church never affiliated with the Free Church. This was not due to any doctrinal or personal differences; it was due mostly to the fact that it was the seventies. I was at the organizing meeting for this church and wound up as one of the guitar-playing songleaders. The best way to describe this would be to say that it was some kind of “Jesus people” operation.

After about a year and a half of meeting, the man who had been doing the preaching (ordained by a Baptist denomination) announced that he had gotten a job elsewhere and that he was moving. We were on our own the following Sunday. As I said, it was the seventies. The idea of going into pastoral ministry had not occurred to me, but when it did, I didn’t like it very much. Nevertheless, as things turned out, I was up in front with the guitar. That was my call to the ministry; I knew all the chords. I began to preach.

Our church had been planted by an established denomination, but we had no constitution, no doctrinal standards, no established leadership. I started what we called a “responsible brothers” meeting to fill the void of leadership — ad hoc elders. We knew from the Scriptures that we needed to be governed by elders, but we didn’t have any. We received some teaching on elder qualifications from the pastor of the Evangelical Free church that had established our church, and as a result different men among the responsible brothers removed themselves from consideration. In this situation, I presented myself to the congregation and asked them to bring forward any objections to my holding office of elder within the next few weeks. If no one did, then I would assume the office. As it turned out, no one did, and I have been working with this congregation of faithful and longsuffering saints ever since.

All this, as I said earlier, was highly irregular, and I would rather be dead in a ditch than to go back to that way of doing ecclesiastical business. . . . (Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001] 267–268)

To be fair to Wilson, a calling is not a necessary condition for a true church. However, as Francis Turretin notes, if one doesn’t have a proper call from a true church (word, sacraments, discipline), then that is because there is no true church from which to receive a call.

Was the Calling of the Reformers legitimate?

If ministers ought to be called, and we reject the Anabaptists who reject this, then were the Reformers legitimate ministers since they did not receive their call from an ordained ministry (in this case, the Roman Catholic Church)?  Turretin makes a distinction between a church constituted and a church to be constituted (III: 239).  In a constituted church, we expect a call because we want to maintain good order.  However, if we find ourselves in an area with no constituted church, granted it is an extreme example, no call is needed.

Here is the problem for Doug Wilson fans:  were there no true churches?  Were there no Reformed churches?  What was wrong with joining the OPC or PCA, both of whom had witnesses in that area of America?  If Presbyterian government is true, and I think it is, and it is really important, as I think it is, then surely there is no harm in seeking out proper order.

For Turretin the only way to justify this situation is that there are no other witnesses around.  In other words, all of the other churches are fornicating, preaching false doctrine, and openly persecuting the true faith with the sword.  Obviously, this wasn’t the case in the Pacific Northwest.

Therefore, I cannot in good conscience call Wilson a pastor, nor can I affirm that Christ Kirk (Moscow) is a true church.  At best it is an irregular gathering.

Update on Wight-Wilson police report

This buries the Wilsonista case.  Wilson’s disciples tell me, “But you don’t know the whole story,” to which I reply, “Bulls*&%.  I do.”

Confession and Court Records.

Key excerpts:

Jamin Wight Contradicts Doug Wilson
Jamin Wight contradicts Doug Wilson on two key points:

  1. Jamin Wight states that he “was asked to move in with the Greenfields (February 2001) and have his room and board paid for in trade for working around the home”; whereas Doug Wilson claims the Greenfields “had bizarrely brought Jamin into the house as a boarder so that he could conduct a secret courtship with Natalie.” (Doug Wilson’s ‘Reluctant Response’)
  1. Jamin Wight states that the Greenfields forbade him from holding hands with Natalie: “the first time they ‘broke the rules’ . . . they held hands. . .”; whereas Doug Wilson claims “her parents permitted a certain measure of physical affection to exist between them (e.g. hand-holding).” (Doug Wilson’s ‘Reluctant Response’)

The 31-page police report contains no exculpatory evidence or testimony on behalf of Jamin Wight. The entire document — with the exception of Doug Wilson’s two-page letter — affirms Mr. Wight’s guilt in the matter of sexually abusing a minor. Mr. Wight admits his guilt several times in unequivocal terms.

An addendum to Neo-Jovinianism

Last year during the uproar on one of the many, many Doug Wilson scandals, I wrote “Against the Neo-Jovinians” where I argued that a semi-monastic life of disciplined ascetism is a better cure for pedophiles than, say, marrying them off so they can have more babies to abuse. I suggested that the pedophile should go live with some cranky monks for about 30 years to burn away the garbage.

I stand by that as common sense.  In one facebook debate a key Wilsonite pointed out that many monasteries suffered from sodomy.  And that’s true.  So I need to clarify what I meant.  When I said person x should go life with some monks, I didn’t mean in a communal, coenibitic monastery with a bunch of Wilsonites his own age.  That certainly is a recipe for disaster.

No, I meant something along the lines of going to life with five or six older (50 years +) men who can guide him.

Can Wilson even deal with Heidegger

So after I finished Heidegger’s Being and Time I went to the leading “Evangelical spokesman” to see what he said. Long story short, if you go to www.dougwils.com and type in “Heidegger” you will get three pages of “see how stupid they are” or “muh Nazis!”  What you won’t get in a sustained, mature interaction.  

The only time he remotely gets close to understanding Heidegger is when he is citing Leithart’s discussion of Westphal’s discussion of Heidegger.  And it’s clear that Wilson is out of his depth, which he kind of admits.

(Is he speaking in tongues in this post?)

Here he shows himself mentally incapable of dealing with a godly and renowned philosopher like Merold Westphal.  (Mind you, I have some differences with Westphal.  I think he too closely identifies ontotheology with metaphysics).

Wilson’s Influence on “Classical Christian Education”

More evidence to show that Wilson is mentally unhinged. Granted, not everything in the Omnibus is wrong. The NT Wright section on Paul’s preaching a new cosmos is fine, for example.

My own thoughts on Classical Education:  if it works for you, fine.  I think some aspects of the “classics” are okay.  Latin, Greek, Plato, Virgil.  But to make an ideology and movement out of it is mental death.

But still–Rachel has done a fantastic job getting this evidence together.

A Daughter of the Reformation

As I noted in the last post, Doug Wilson’s views on theology, history, slavery, patriarchy, marriage, sex, etc. are present in materials that many CCE schools, programs, and homeschools use. In doing my research, I focused on the six-volume Omnibus produced by Veritas Press. Veritas Press is owned by Marlin and Laurie Detweiler who were members of Wilson’s CREC denomination.

The Omnibus Curriculum consists of six volumes covering the time periods from classical civilizations to the modern era. The material is intended for students in grades 7-12. Each volume consists of essays and “sessions” discussing the “Great Books.” The Omnibus volumes range between 500-800 pages in length and cost from $75-$100 each. The first three volumes were edited by Doug Wilson and G. Tyler Fischer. Volumes 4-6 were edited by Wilson, Fischer, and Gene Edward Veith. The first volume was published in 2005, and the last volume was published…

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Putin, and Wilson’s wanna-be postmillennialism

This anti-Wilson post doesn’t have anything to do with the sex scandals.  Still, he accurately sees where the historical winds are blowing, and he rightly sees that they aren’t in his direction.  We shall establish his thesis and then see if his points address them.

Thesis: I want to outline five reasons why I believe this [Putin = Constantine] is not the case, but first I want to put an important disclaimer up front.

Disclaimer: he realizes that some of his points are more anti-EO than anti-Putin.

~1. Doesn’t actually say what’s wrong in this point.  Remember, his thesis is that Putin is not Constantine.  He merely asserts that Putin is “farther down that cul-de-sac.”  Okay, how so?  Silence.

~2.  So Constantine is an imperfect ruler, what of it?  Wilson comes close to an actual argument when he claims that the Russian state specializes in “kennel-fed church dignitaries.”  This is a misleading half-truth.  The post-Petrine church in Russia (say around 1700-1825) was a department of the state.

This is not so today.  Admittedly, we can’t always find clear lines of separation, but Putin knows that the church provides him with moral legitimacy.  If he alienates the church he loses that legitimacy.  He knows that.  The church knows that.  Every scholar of Byzantine history knows that.

~3.  This point is hard to distill.  He begins by decrying caesopapism, but that seemed more relevant to (~2).  He then moves to iconoclasm, but it’s hard to see how the two points are related.  He concludes this point by lamenting the thuggish nationalism in Ukraine.

So, exactly what do I say in response? I’m not sure.  He didn’t actually focus around a single topic so I can’t respond to a single topic.  I have my own thoughts on icons and Ukraine (so, does he support Right Sektor and the child-slaying Banderans?).

~4.  This is nothing more than a summary of a Ted Cruz speech.  If al-Assad were indeed a “secular government with a Muslim culture,” then why are all Muslim cultures trying to kill him?  Why are Christians at the top level of government and military?  If Assad falls, as Wilson seems to hope, then thousands of Christians will drown in blood.

~5.  This might be a legitimate theological criticism.  But it’s just plain bad history.  And a logical fallacy.  Watch this.

If p, then q.

P.

Q.

Basic Modus ponens.   Here is the fallacious form of it.

If p, then q.

Q.

P.

If Icons are bad, then Muslim invasion.

Muslim invasion.

Therefore, icons are bad.

And Wilson teaches logic.

Gary North once said that when your career begins to embrace sin and scandal, God will impose sanctions on you by making your writing very bad.  This happened with Rushdoony.  It is now happening with Wilson. He used to be a good debater.  I’m not much of a debater but this wasn’t that hard.