January 17, 2021

A Tale of Two Wilsons

Madonna of Humility, Bartolo

Below you will read two remarkably different responses to this past week’s blogosphere blow-up. One, by the person who put the initial post up at The Gospel Coalition (now taken down), is honorable and reflects the spirit of Christ. The second, which is by the author whom the blogger quoted, well, you can read for yourself and decide.

As for me, I’ll just say we’ve seen wisdom borne out via these two reactions. I appreciate and commend Jared. On the other hand, it is not likely that we will be giving the second Mr. Wilson and what he has to say any consideration from now on. I don’t care to be inviting further abuse.

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
     reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

– Proverbs 9:7-9 (ESV)

* * *

From Jared Wilson at The Gospel Coalition:

…my first apology is due to my brothers and sisters in The Gospel Coalition and to my other complementarian brothers and sisters. I have brought ill repute upon you with my foolishness and rashness, and I ask your forgiveness.

But more importantly, my words hurt others whose pain runs deep and whose healing is difficult. I don’t want to load this apology up with words, because it is the most important part of this to me, and I want to be clear: For those offended or shamed, or otherwise and in any way burdened by my blog posts and my comments, your pain in this matter is totally my fault. Please forgive me.

* * *

From Doug Wilson at Blog and Mablog:

Gather around, children, and I will try to provide you with a brief post mortem on the recent ruckus created by our professional indignati.

The Bible certainly says to weep with those who weep. When one part of the body hurts, the rest of the body hurts. But this happens in community, face to face, and not in the midst of a sob sister rugby scrum, with them trying to get us to back away from any particular truth the Scriptures plainly teach. We are told to weep with those who weep. We are told nothing in regard to the feminist bedwetters.

…They deny the authority of Scripture, they accept as dialogue partners advocates of every abomination that Leviticus contains, they attack those who are seeking to be faithful servants of Christ, they call the holy wars of YHWH genocide, and so on, down the street and around the corner. Other than that, they are good Christians.

So what is worse? To deny the authority of the words of the thrice-holy God, or to say that someone is being a bedwetter? Well, in this strange new world, the question answers itself. “Mommmm! He said bedwetters!” I’ll let you in on a little secret, which you may have already guessed if you have been following. For the most part their sheets are dry. If I were dealing with a family struggling with the very real problems of a child humiliated by bedwetting, the only attitude that should have any place in my heart would be compassion down to the ground. But when I deal with these bedwetters, you may feel free to imagine me sitting here at my laptop, hands on my tummy like Santa Claus, bouncing with each chuckle. Ho, ho, ho.


  1. Yes. Jared apologized for the dust up he created. And Doug basically said “stick it in your ear”.

    But Jared did not take back anything that was in the post. He just said he was sorry that it offended some. And given his news on the street example I have to think he was in total agreement with the post and still is but feels maybe it’s not good to discuss such things in public.

    • Joseph (the original) says

      we can grant Jared the grace of differing opinion since he did take the high ground in admitting the topic was volatile & there are broken people caught in the crossfire of objective theological debate.

      he recognized its controversy & how such things can & do inflict additional harm to those already suffering from serious abuse issues of every stripe. his actions supported by his words. he did not ignore those asking for compassion & a revisit of the gravity of posting his convictions. for this we can & should salute him for his sensitivity regardless of whether he has changed his mind. it is not necessary for Jared to ‘come around’ to a differing point-of-view. he simply took ownership of the further injury caused to the least of these…

      it’s one thing to use a soapbox to brow-beat others as Doug does vs. stepping off one as Jared did when the result in human terms outweighed the objective topic being promoted as a neutral theological consideration. once real people are considered more important than sterile theological perspectives that are not universal or even seen as un-Christlike by many, then we actually get to see grace extended without the need to be right, an implied authority, speaking for the Church Universal, an expert on gender roles & their divine design, etc.

      i have seen Chap Mike take the high road too in some of the more controversial/volatile topics he attempted to address here @ iMonk. sometimes the passion/conviction does get in the way of dealing with topics with greater graciousness, humility & avoiding ad hominem caricatures/attacks…

      anyway, there is much to appreciate about this one small flare-up in the blogsphere & how it was handled…

      • +1

      • Maybe, but Jared didn’t go from post to apology. He had an in-between defence post, and the comment section was full of him saying everyone who didn’t see what he saw had “reading comprehension” problems. So, he finally, after a few days, got around to an apology. After just about everyone blew up.

        The Gospel Coalition is a brand name, with a rep. to protect. Do you think he came up with this belated apology On his own? It was a nice apology, but I think he was pushed, both inside and outside to it. Was it pure? Or was it PR damage control also?

        If it went from post to apology, with minimal defensiveness in the comment sections, then, OK, we all need forgiveness, but I don’t think this all bubbled out of his heart spontaneously. (He sent?) his wife (went?) onto Rachel Held Evan’s blog to say how hurt she was about all the “abuse” her husband was taking, while he wouldn’t apologize for anything he was causing anyone else.

        I would love to give Jared the benefit of the doubt, but, Tim Keller has a brand to protect here (TGC), and John Piper has his pet ‘Council of Biblical Manhood/Womanhood’ to protect and grow, so Jared is’t an island on The Gospel Coalition site. Perhaps a clarification on whether his actions were independent or not would clear this up?

        Maybe the difference between the 2 Wilsons is: Jared is still under some authority and Doug is beholden to no one?

  2. Let me try to understand this with my tiny female brain so pitifully unguided by a real manly man who is the lord, master and head of me: if I think language comparing men to an invading army and women to hostile terrain needing to be conquered and held under by force is not the best metaphor for marriage, I am a fellow-traveller with those who advocate abominations.

    Oooookay. Just as well I’m not a real Christian, huh?

    • Yep. A friend has called it a box faith. Some call it the package. If you don’t take the entire box or package then you have really taken nothing. In THEIR opinion.

      And anything outside of the box or package isn’t worth discussion because it is all about tearing down their true faith.

      • MelissatheRagamuffin says

        Good thing that their opinion means zippity doodah to me. *holds out her foot for Doug Wilson to kiss her big left toe*

      • “But when I deal with these bedwetters, you may feel free to imagine me sitting here at my laptop, hands on my tummy like Santa Claus, bouncing with each chuckle.”

        Paging St. Nicholas of Myra: here’s another church guy who needs a gentle rebuke.

        • David Cornwell says

          His statement about bed wetters does not even make any sense to me. I just fail to understand the man.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            It’s the Utter Righteousness of the Truly Godly Elect, Predestined as such from before the Creation of the World.

          • Joseph (the original) says

            is he implying he was not a bedwetter because he was of the Special Elect of God???

            a divine ‘get-out-jail’ free card of sweeping exemptions???

            hmmm…where do we sign up for one of those??? 😉

          • Thank you. I thought it was me! His striving to be witty falls so short of any bits of grace and comes across as nonsense.

  3. I really pray that this whole incident is an eye-opening experience for Jared. I truly believe that he wants to preach and minister with grace and a Jesus-shaped spirituality (and I seem to recall that he and Michael Spencer had a mutual admiration for each other). But what he may not fully realize is that he’s playing with fire with regards to the “other Wilson” and those who follow him. I hope Jared exercises more discernment in the future.

  4. Jared Wilson recognized an error and apologized. It might not be the error some want him to recognize but he humbled himself and apologize. Doug Wilson is a whole ‘notha thing. So why exactly is TGC dragging his name into the mainstream. Is there no discernment or wisdom there? I just don’t get it.

    • Joseph (the original) says

      i think the reference to Doug Wilson & using him as a ‘herald’ of sorts for his particular brand of theological posturing is a defensive reaction to the perceived threat of alternate perspectives. not anti-Christian diatribes, etc., but thoughtful, heartfelt, theologically sound differing opinions…

      those that feel so threatened need a very real ‘bully’ to shout over the quieter, nuanced arguments that are deemed the most harmful to a rigid theological position. it is simply a brand of theological assertion by intimidation. when the Doug Wilson’s of the blogsphere mistakenly think they are ‘defending the gospel’, they really are just being defensive about their sacrosanct, self-authoritative conclusions…

      it is not laced at all with grace. it is the self-appointed sheriffs of the internet that make it their personal responsibility to ferret out all non-comforming theological perspectives & justify their utter lack of respect for others in the name of God of course…


      the theological bullies want all hearers of their enlightened viewpoints to kowtow to them by checking their minds at the foot of the tyrant’s soapbox & swallow the snake-oil without question. and they will make fun of, berate, scold, criticize & eventually damn all those of differing opinion to the pit of, well, alternate viewpoints really…

      Lord, have mercy… 🙁

  5. “Apologized.” My typing skills need work.

  6. I’m grateful Jared Wilson apologized. I forgive him. As for Doug Wilson…hummm. I need to ask for some extra grace there. I’ve read his past few blogs. He is a mean-spirited man, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45.

    Jesus forgave many sins while on earth and gave ‘what for’ to the religious leaders. I trust he’ll do the same to Doug Wilson in His time. I would suggest, though, Doug Wilson read the book of Obadiah (it’s a short read). He does remind me of the mindset of Edom. I hope he ‘gets’ the metaphors. :0)

  7. Christiane says

    the whole ‘Council For Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’ thing needs to be examined for what it leads to at worst, as does the teaching of those who commend the beating of children and babies for ‘discipline’ . . . a teaching that has led to the deaths of little ones at the hands of mis-guided ‘Christian’ parents . . . so sad is this it breaks my heart.

    why is power over someone else considered ‘Christlan’ in some quarters ?
    why are the weak preyed upon by the strong in these cults?

    I don’t understand.

    • David Cornwell says

      Excellent questions.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      why is power over someone else considered ‘Christlan’ in some quarters ?
      why are the weak preyed upon by the strong in these cults?

      Because they are Imitating God — at least what they believe God to be like. Both Calvin & Mohammed tunnel-visioned on God’s Omnipotence and Soverignity overriding anything else, reducing God to nothing more than Ultimate Will and Ultimate POWER. If God is nothing more than Omnipotent POWER, then to be Godly you worship POWER and to be like God you force your POWER over everyone else. Since God is The Ultimate Tyrant weilding Ultimate POWER, so I must be the Tyrant wielding POWER. And since God can never be wrong…

  8. current resident says

    Probably won’t get posted, but here goes…

    Everyone, everywhere, let’s shut down all the blogs, let’s go back to the time when if we wanted to argue with someone over something that matters or doesn’t matter, that we did it face to face or in letters or something like that. Should we have ever heard of any of these people in all of our lives? Unless you live in their area, or on their tour circuit, we never should have been exposed to these’s people’s ideas. If they want to write books, then fine, let them write books and let whoever wants to read them read these books and get all riled up. Then, if you get a book club together and want to read and discuss the book at a coffee house or something, then fine, discuss. I shudder to think that people are losing sleep over what these people are posting, and then losing more sleep over what other people are posting about what the original people posted. Are we any better off with this technology, this blogosphere? I’ve become caught up in the drama of this whole thing that it makes me sick. And I’ll probably continue to read about these things until they finally decide to shut down all the blogs.
    So I’m really posting this post to say that I’m to blame for this whole mess, because if there weren’t people out there reading the thoughts and ideas of everyone with access to a computer, then all this mess gets dealt with within the geographical area of where these people live and they aren’t able to reach people who never would have ever read anything they said ever. Because this whole internet thing makes it way too easy for anyone to influence a lot of people with a post. Because I’m guessing it’s hard to publish books (at least the old-fashioned way), but with book writing at least you are getting people writing books who either have really novel and good ideas, or people who have terrible ideas but a lot of money, or both, or neither, but at least there’s a buffer there. Instead of what we have now with everyone in the entire world able to say anything about anything and click a button and boom, it’s out there. Which I’m not attacking directly (it’s great that we can express ourselves to a wide audience, I guess), but when a lot of people start reading and reacting to what some of these people are saying over a period of time, and then lines get drawn and people take sides and then all hell breaks loose everyday because someone wrote something and then people got mad and then wrote something else. I realize there is probably some irony in here somewhere, I’m writing a comment about people who react to posts and comments.
    And I’m guessing this will either get posted and ignored, or not posted, or posted and a bunch of you will poke holes in what was said, the way it seems like a lot of people in these comments sections do to each other. But if we could meet face to face and talk, I’m sure we could have a productive dialogue and even become friends.

    I live in the mid-west.

    • Highwayman says

      “But if we could meet face to face and talk, I’m sure we could have a productive dialogue and even become friends.”

      Well, probably some of us could. And some of us would get equally stressed and lose sleep over non-productive dialogue with those we meet face to face, as we did before the internet was ever invented. Non-communication is as easy face to face as it is on screen, when those who hear what we say fail to understand what we meant.

      I sympathise with what you’re saying, current resident, and also frequently wonder whether we’re better off with all this technology, but now we have it, for better or worse, we can at least choose how to use it and whether we even turn it on!

      One of the reasons I follow i-Monk is that it’s well moderated (thanks to Chaplain Mike and others) and the discussion is generally civil, even in disagreement – as a result, it’s given me a lot of food for thought which I wouldn’t have got elsewhere and have greatly appreciated.

      I live in the UK and am unlikely to visit the mid-west.

    • @ current resident

      Oh, you’re right.The internet is immediate response time to everything from a blog to a recipe to giving 1-5 stars on a book or movie. People want to communicate information and ideas-from the time of chipping out images on a large rock to now. It would be nice if we could all sit down over a leisurely cuppa and have discussions, lean over the fence for a friendly chat with neighbors, sprawl out on a park lawn on balmy Sunday afternoons and talk about the weather, crops and the Pastor’s sermon. My childhood was like that (yes, I’m old…lol).

      I closed my account on Facebook for many of the reasons you are describing. So impersonal. Life is full of work with our little farm, grandchildren, daily stuff; I’m crazy busy with ministry work, and struggling with what happened at the over-the-top authoritarian church my husband and I just left. But here…

      It took me a long time and a lot of researching many blogs to light on this one. The day will come when someone outright disagrees with me or pokes fun at something I write and that’s okay. I feel safe here to post anything reasonable and not be condemned or berated or made to feel less. I love that. For me, this is a tool to grow by reading the essays, blogs, the comments, the discussion and then think about it; not just a place to put my two cents in.

      Yea. I may be part of the problem but I’m working at being part of the solution. I think most of us are. And, if it takes a blog to do that-I’m okay with it. Not the best solution but it works for now. And, it helps me learn to be more like Jesus as I move forward in my walk. I need all the help I can get there…including the internet.


    • We, unlike other sites, welcome discussion and don’t delete comments unless they break the rules or are severely off topic.

      • I probably came dangerously close to ‘off topic’ with the previous post. Thanks for the reminder and sorry, CM.

    • > Are we any better off with this technology, this blogosphere?

      Maybe, I don’t know, possibly we are worse off.

      I like this definition of the Social Media: “a place where everyone speaks, and nobody is listening”. That isn’t entirely true, and really off topic from all of this, but yes, the blog-o-sphere is an ugly place and the Internet has a powerful negative bias [the angry, offended, or just trolls, are far more likely to post / comment / moderate that someone happily, or just busily, living their life].

    • Another Mary says

      I would love to but I live too far away. I tend to agree with Martha of Ireland but, she’s too far away too. So I guess I’ll just continue to read and then do the realllly unusual….I’ll THINK about it. A novel prospect huh.

  9. Joe Rigney says

    I’ve been an iMonk reader for over 10 years. I realize the blog has “evolved” from those days, and even more so with Michael’s passing. So I just thought I’d highlight some things that Michael said over the years about Doug:

    “Thanks Pastor Wilson. You’re an IM/BHT favorite, and we are always happy to post links to your provocative, engaging posts and to further the mutual conversation about what matters most with you and your audience.”

    “I’ll just recommend the best book in print on how to do church: Douglas Wilson’s fantastic look at all things ecclesiastical, Mother Kirk.”

    “Wilson is the eclectic Calvinist. He’s got his TR side, he’s part of the Federal Vision, he loves (and critiques) N.T. Wright, he’s funny and a bit arrogant, he’s commonsensical and theological, he’s silly, sarcastic and serious, he posts all his best work, he’s a wonderful apologist, he’s demolished Brian Mclaren and he’s just plain fun to read every day.”

    “Hands down, no argument, my favorite reformed writer/pastor is Douglas Wilson. If you haven’t met pastor Wilson, become a reader of his blog at Blog and Mablog, get his books at Canon Press, read his magazine Credenda Agenda or listen to his sermons/teaching from Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho.”

    And lest anyone object that Wilson has “changed” in the last few years, the offending excerpt that Jared Wilson posted was written in the early 90’s and was contained in those Canon Press books that Michael recommends above. In other words, Michael was able to read and appreciate Doug, even when he disagreed with him, and certainly didn’t feel the need to get everyone riled up about Wilson and start letter-writing campaigns to get others to distance themselves from him.

    So for what it’s worth, as a longtime reader whose stuck with it, even as the post-evangelical wandering went far beyond me, I miss Michael and his demeanor in debates like this.

    • Michael ended up distancing himself from the True Reformed, mainly because of their hardball, take no prisoners rhetoric, shredding him and anyone else who did not dot their “i’s” correctly.

      • Joe Rigney says

        Chaplain Mike,

        I know that Michael was ostracized by some within the Reformed community; like I said, I’ve been reading iMonk for more than a decade and Michael’s writing was incredibly helpful to me, especially in college. But Doug wasn’t a member of the Truly Reformed; he’s been the target of their ire for a long time, and for some of the same reasons as Michael: appreciation for aspects of N.T. Wright, recognition of Roman Catholics as (wayward) brothers, refusal to kow-tow to some of the Reformed Shibboleths. Doug simply isn’t a part of the Truly Reformed.

        The last post above is from 2008, long after Michael moved away from Reformed theology. Michael moved on from Reformed theology, but never lost his appreciation and respect for Wilson, even when they disagreed. And Wilson never lambasted Michael in the way you described above, and Boar’s Head Tavern is still linked at Wilson’s Blog Roll

        To lump Wilson into the Truly Reformed camp is the same sort of guilt-by-association thinking that Michael was often subject to, and in this case, a rather ironic one, given the Truly Reformed’s opinion of Wilson.

        • Joe I’m happy to take your word for this at this time, especially since I’m riding in a car and trying to type on my iPhone. The issue really isnt about Wilson’s past or larger body of work. It’s about how, in this exchange he is being a hateful boor.

          And, even in recommending Wilson, Mike said, “I don’t agree with Wilson on everything by any means. In fact, I probably don’t agree with him on many things.”

          • Joe Rigney says

            Chaplain Mike,

            I actually think Wilson’s past and larger body of work is relevant here. The spark for the debacle was a quote from a book written in the 90’s. And that quotation was used as a cudgel from the beginning to tar Wilson as a misogynist whose rhetoric promotes a culture of abuse and rape, all because people didn’t read it well and wanted to use it to spark some outrage. If Rachel Held Evans (or any of the commenters at Jared Wilson’s initial post) had wanted to have an actual discussion about the language he used, I’ve no doubt Wilson would have cheerfully replied (witness the way he dealt with honest questions on the subject at his own blog, and the fact that he showed up at Jared’s blog asking for questions). But when people enter the discussion saying that you’re “overtly misogynistic” (Held Evans’ words) and that the proper response to the quotation is “to get angry” and write letters to TGC to get it taken down, it’s hard to believe that anyone is interested in a respectful conversation.

            Michael Spencer knew what it was to be slandered. So does Doug Wilson. And the fact that Wilson refuses to let folks who have slandered him take the moral high ground is something that I think Michael would have appreciated. Truly Reformed folks don’t get to slander people and hide behind a “righteous zeal for truth.” Egalitarians don’t get to slander people and then play the victim card. Slandering someone means that you forfeit the right to dictate the terms of the debate for everyone else.

            • Joe, please remember that our response at IM was measured and precise.

              First, I said D.W. was wrong about authority/submission having anything to do with the intimate relationship between husband and wife. That’s an honest disagreement about which further conversation can be had.

              Second, I said that the language he used was insensitive and incendiary. There is no “context” that could make it otherwise.

              Third, as I just said in another comment, the whole matter would have been over and done with had not Wilson fired his final salvo, with its hateful language. Today’s post is ONLY about his reaction to criticism. That’s why I quoted Proverbs 9 — I rebuked someone who was scoffing at me and my position, and ended up receiving insults and hateful dismissals.

              That’s why I don’t consider what happened here slander. It was honest criticism. He may have a gripe with others, but I don’t think he or anyone else should with Internet Monk.

          • Joe Rigney says

            I didn’t mean to imply that you slandered him (though it seems that your initial post did its fair share of scoffing: “fiddlesticks” “most specious, ridiculous argument I have ever heard,” his language is “outside the bounds of consideration and kindness.”)

            And I don’t think he has a gripe with you. I’m simply pointing out that Wilson has held those positions and written in that way for years and Michael Spencer appreciated and respected him, even when he didn’t agree.

            And if you didn’t slander him, then why did you assume he was scoffing at you? His final post was an attempt to explain his tactics: why he wouldn’t cede the moral high ground to those who initiated the conversation by calling him a woman hater who creates an atmosphere of sexual abuse. The fact that he didn’t take such an accusation as a desire to “dialogue” about women’s issue doesn’t surprise me, and his response seems perfectly reasonable. When people have serious questions, he happily entertains them (see the comments of the final post).

            But his satire has a particular target: those who used his words as an opportunity to gin up outrage and get angry and offended as a way of marginalizing positions with which they disagree. If that’s not what you were doing, then why did you take it as a response to you?

            On a somewhat related note, since C.S. Lewis and Robert Farrar Capon are big names around here, what did you think of the quotations that Wilson highlighted from them? Do you regard their positions as “outside the bounds of consideration and kindness,” “degrading and hurtful”, etc? And if not, what differentiates them from Wilson in your mind?

            • We could continue on this way a long time. The main thing I think is this. Doug Wilson had a chance to just let the whole thing drop, like Jared Wilson did. He didn’t. Instead he spewed out a venomous dismissal. As far as I’m concerned what I have said today is the end of the matter as far as my involvement.

              As for the whole patriarchy thing — and I haven’t necessarily responded specifically to what C.S. Lewis and Capon and others have written — I’ve pretty much made myself clear on why that is not my belief on several occasions.

    • It has been stated many times that Michael Spencer’s views toward the reformed movement changed over time.

      I offer this article as an example, where not only his views changed, but that after receiving his respect, the reformed community returned the favor by attacking him.


      I don’t think the argument that Spencer endorsed Wilson or even Piper at one time hold a lot of weight in this discussion, simply because the reformed community never considered him one of their own. That snub more than anything should be convincing evidence that he was not on board with everything the reform community believes.

      Then again, I think Jared Wilson was Doug Wilson’s expendable pawn in this recent escapade. I guess when you’re God’s chosen, special man, the ends justify the means, no matter who gets hurt.

      • Joe Rigney says


        That post was from 2005. Michael’s last post above was from 2008, long after the Truly Reformed went to town. Michael appreciated and respected Wilson long after he left Calvinism.

        Michael’s respect for Wilson may not hold weight with Wilson or Held Evans. But Chaplain Mike weighed in, called Wilson a scoffer, and said we need no longer give him any consideration. I was simply lamenting that Michael Spencer would not have done that, even if he disagreed with the substance and style of Wilson in the debate.

        Like I said, I miss Michael.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    From Doug Wilson at Blog and Mablog:

    The Utter Righteousness of God’s Special Elect.

    • Joseph (the original) says

      is this implied ‘condition’ simply license to be an asshole for God? damn all the not-so-special-elect & those that are doomed to perdition from the get-go??? no need to be respectful, courteous, gentle, patient, etc.?

      it’s a divine benefit to treat others with contempt & warrant God’s Golden Seal of Approval while doing so???

      hmmm…i can see how such a twisted concept does cause those believing such things to glory in their so-called standing based on divine election. not sure, but it seems being that kind of apple-of-God’s-eye rotten to the core. nice & shiny on the outside, but inside full of death/decay…

      oh wait, seems Someone else made such an analogy before…

      Lord, have mercy… 🙁

      • “but it seems being that kind of apple-of-God’s-eye rotten to the core. nice & shiny on the outside, but inside full of death/decay…”

        Well said.

  11. I have a question that falls out of all of this somewhat.

    If someone considers themselves truly one of the elect, is it automatic that their children are also members of the elect? This seems to be the way things are presented. By the elect. Of course.

    • The Canons of Dort (always thought that sounded like something out of Monty Python…) says that the children of Elect who die in infancy are Elect. But it seems to me that if you’re going to make that statement, you have to extrapolate it that all children of the Elect are Elect themselves. Otherwise, the best course of action would be to kill them all before they have a chance to grow up…

      FIRST HEAD: ARTICLE 17. Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor 7:14).

      • humanslug says

        I say we have Brother Maynard bring out the Holy Hand Grenade, consult the Book of Armaments, count to three (no, five), and then lob it at the foul-tempered rabbit of hyper-calvinism — “who being naughty in Thy sight shall snuffeth.”

  12. My jaw was on the ground reading both: I was surprised by the humility of Jared and the venomous bile of Doug. Wow. Just wow.

  13. While I think Doug could and should have been more winsome for his cause by employing sensitivity towards those who found his writing to be emotionally painful, I do not think RHE took the high ground here at all. I think the Wilson gals are on to something in their response to RHE:

    “Your tender concerns for abused women everywhere regarding a christian use of sexually explicit terms (which were used in the context of many years of ministry, counseling, teaching, and rebuke towards men- not to mention the rest of the book they were pulled from) caused you to do what? To seek out an audience that might be hurt by it – to push it into their faces, and ask them to be offended. I too have known abused women, and I sympathize with them. While I am sorry for their pain, I would not forward them discussions of S&M literature to see if it hurt.”

    The “politics of nice” is a power play game, it’s all spin and no substance. Any excuse to crucify complementarian Calvinistas is as good as the next. I don’t buy their views at all, but I’m not convinced by their dissenters either.

    But the fact that Jared gets kudos for apologizing even though he doesn’t recant his views demonstrates that this isn’t about the issue, it’s about the feelings. And Wilson does not teach the things he is being accused of anymore than Capon or C.S. Lewis.

    • Thank you, Miguel. You are spot on. It’s highly ironic to me that once feminism inserts itself into a discussion, everything becomes about feelings.

      • Perhaps this is a natural consequence of society having ignored women’s “feelings” for millennia.

        • It’s ironic that feminists have become the very caricature that they appear to want to distance themselves from.

          In any case, what matters is the truth, regardless of what you or I or anyone feels about it. C.S. Lewis once said that he disliked being around children, but he recognized that the fault was with him, not with children. He needed to conform himself to reality rather than assuming that reality needed to conform to his feelings. The person who turns a discussion toward his/her own feelings (or that of his/her own group) is implicitly saying that reality must conform to me or us, rather than vice versa.

          I have not seen much substantive discussion about the truth or falsity of Douglas Wilson’s book. Most of what I have seen are snippets of outrage at a soundbite from a book that, I’m quite confident, 99% of those who have entered this discussion have not cared to read (I read the book about a year ago, and I found it to be a very substantive and edifying treatment of all manner of sexual matters, written for a male audience; I would heartily recommend it to other men). Meanwhile, Jared Wilson’s original point about Fifty Shades of Grey (which feminists really SHOULD be outraged about) has all but disappeared. This is what discussion has been reduced to in a political climate that has completely capitulated to the feminist agenda.

          • I see it differently, Aaron.

            I’m not going to speak for all who reacted against the offending post, because I read several sites that I thought went way overboard and made personal attacks about both the Wilsons and, indeed, the entire Reformed blogosphere.

            I made it a definite point NOT to take that approach on Internet Monk. I tried to make a measured and precise response: (1) I think the patriarchal perspective is wrong, (2) D. Wilson’s language in the excerpt that was quoted was insensitive and incendiary.

            It all would have ended there. I did not even suggest that Jared take the post down. I said my piece and considered it over. But Doug Wilson’s last post was so over the top that I felt I should point out the contrast between Jared and Doug’s responses because I found it significant and instructive.

          • Aaron, did you read the Jared Wilson post before it came down? He also mentions another book: 50 Shades of Grey, and claims not to have read it (I didn’t bother to either). So, here we have a whole blog post condemning a book the blogger never read, and you are worried that commenters never read the book used to critique the unread book?

            When the blogger doesn’t bother to check his material, it is because blog comments are not discussions about full length books, they are about snippets. Jared did this, his commenters did this, everyone does this. Welcome to the world of blogging. If this upsets you, try e-mailing Jared for starting the whole thing by blogging about a book he never read. It was in his second “defensive” post (pre-apology, post-Doug Wilson post – not sure if it is still there, I can never find old stuff on the TGC site, and have quit trying).

          • 50 Shades of Grey, and claims not to have read it (I didn’t bother to either). So, here we have a whole blog post condemning a book the blogger never read, and you are worried that commenters never read the book used to critique the unread book?

            This isn’t an unknown book. And he wasn’t reviewing it. The content of this book is well described all over the book press and the Internet. Condemning its subject matter and tone isn’t really a reach.

      • David Cornwell says

        If I were female and took seriously some of the attitudes of Christian men, I’d be a radical feminist myself. And would separate myself from the church.

    • Yes, presentation matters. What I hear CM saying to Jared is OK, try again; still listening here. Whereas it just is never a good idea to respond to upset with upset. Doug probably has a valid point — the point is valid, Doug probably has it — that the victim card can be overplayed; he could say that in preference to demonstrating it.

      This distinction isn’t about feelings, it’s about a style of argumentation: should we aim to be productive, or to conquer, penetrate, and colonize? It’s nice that his daughters still like him, but really, rejecting Galatians 4:24 goes too far if you ask me.

      • Galatians 3:28!!! Duh … although I could preach 4:24 here if I had too …

        • Joe Rigney says


          For what it’s worth, Doug didn’t (and doesn’t) reject Galatians 3:28. He was using a reductio argument to the effect that Rachel Held Evans has expressed that she “had a grudge against the apostle Paul” and that “inerrancy gives her fits.” He was simply using her approach to biblical arguments (pick and choose) to make a point.

          • “Don’t quote Gal. 3:28 at me, sister. I have had a grudge against the apostle Paul ever since he wrote those misbegotten words.”

            …misbegotten words…

            Wherever has RHE said she “has a grudge” against the Apostle Paul?

    • This is about dealing with others respectfully, as actual human beings, not assigning them to Gehenna because they disagree and call someone out on incendiary language and dismissive attitudes.

      • I would argue that Wilson was also given an inaccurate and unfair caricaturization in the exchange. I think his reaction was defensive and hostile, but he did not throw the first stone. I believe he sees himself as being hostile to some ideas, or being valiant for truth. I’m not defending his rhetoric, I’m just pointing out that the axe swings both ways. I think Jared deserved his kudos for playing the nice card. But to paint Doug as a backwards, misogynistic, sadistic trampler of women’s freedom is blatantly and willfully ignorant of the vast majority of his work where he defends the dignity and respectful treatment of women. It’s taking the egalitarian hammer to the conservative culture nail.

        • I am willing to grant that his body of work is more nuanced than the critique in this particular instance might suggest. I won’t back off from my point that he is being an ugly boor in this situation and that he deserves to be called on the carpet for his hateful dismissiveness toward those who disagree with him.

          • Yeah, I love you Miguel and you always have some of the best comments; but I am with Mike on this.

          • I’m not defending Wilson’s sharp attitude and biting remarks. Sarcasm is an expression of anger, but hateful is a bit strong. I’m simply saying that though he is being quite crude, he is doing it in his own defense after getting thrown under the bus. Jared handled it more graciously. Doug’s feigned objectivity is his attempt to pretend it isn’t getting to him personally, but his vocabulary reveals otherwise. But people are going after his character under the guise of attacking his content. The quickness of his wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law to vouch for him in those areas speaks to the spuriousness of the slander (not by you). But it doesn’t justify his venom.

        • is blatantly and willfully ignorant of the vast majority of his work where he defends the dignity and respectful treatment of women

          Just because someone has some great thoughts and writings on one or more subjects doesn’t mean they can’t have some very wrong thoughts and writings on others. And we should not ignore the bad due to the good.

        • I don’t understand how someone who, in this article says, “…new bishop is a lesbian dyke from Ecuador.” NOT be viewed as misogynistic or at least homophobic. That is the kind of language I would expect from Stormfront, not some kind of supposed major thinker in the Evangelical church.

    • I really couldn’t disagree more. It’s fine for people to take different views. It’s absolutely not fine for people to be nasty, mean and vile to those with different views, and that is what Doug Wilson’s rhetoric is.

      What use is all the nuanced doctrine and belief in the world if one cannot reflect in their actions and words the love of Jesus Christ?

    • +1. I don’t particularly agree with Doug about gender relations but I thought the response by his daughter was a hoot. If you perceive Rachel Held Evans as professionally aggrieved then Doug’s response makes sense. Of course it angers people (Chaplain Mike) who aren’t playing power games… The same words – “that hurts my/other’s feelings” can be an honest expression of a Christian brother/sister which you have a duty to relate to or can be a cudgel with which people who see you as the enemy are using to attempt to shut down discourse.

      Chaplain Mike I think you should consider that the second interpretation is possible. Again – I’m not a calvinist, not exactly a gender conservative, have no idea who Doug Wilson is, but read RHE’s initial statement as mostly an expression of liberal politics/culture and have generally sympathised with Wilson’s take on the brouhaha.

  14. “…they attack those who are seeking to be faithful servants of Christ, they call the holy wars of YHWH genocide…”

    The elephant in the middle of the room is not complimentarianism; it is patriarchalism. From this statement, Wilson is not just defending patriarchalism; he is identifying himself with the patriarchs – perhaps a rightful or chosen heir of the patriarch’s blessing and destiny.

    Perhaps this is a form of Calvinism, to believe the elect are a continuation of God’s covenant with the patriarchs. The Calvinists that I respect approach predestination with great humility. Even Luther, who was not a Calvinist, was driven to the cross whenever confronted with the doctrine of predestination. To respond to predestination as confident that you’re not only “in” but you are really more special than others is self-righteous delusional nonsense.

  15. re: the Doug Wilson rebuttal:

    What in Hell was that???

    No, really. I mean that literally.

  16. Not sure how to phrase this in politically correct terms, so I won’t even try.

    * I have been a complementarian before I even knew what the word meant.

    * As a comp I don’t share the Wilson boys dominionist views on sex and DW’s choice of words to describe it, is an exegetical faux pas IMO though I understand the point he was trying to make.

    * RHE is hardly a credible and respectable critic despite the endless promotion of her ideas on this site. Her propensity for inciting e-riots with sensationalistic rhetoric and predetermined bias, removes her ability to be objective and hardly makes me want to stand up and take her seriously. She is becoming the cyber Wilberforce for women’s rights. I don’t doubt that she means well, but her antics are just getting tiresome.

    * Given the above, I stood up for the Wilsons conversations that ensued.


    This could have had a happy ending with both sides learning something from each other where we could all go away and re-evaluate where our affections lie.

    Well it almost ended well until Wilson senior had to have the last word. If he had an ounce of credibility left, this was his opportunity to redeem himself by not capitulating his views and as a sage pastor, good ol’ wise man that he would be by now, he could have addressed the core issues of his opponents.

    His post drips contempt, sarcasm, smugness and snarkiness. It is unnecessarily inflammatory. It gave more ammunition to his detractors to now say, “see? I told you so”. This only served to highlight that the most important thing to him (seemingly) was to have the last say and be right. Simply put, he blew it. His daughters posts didn’t do him any favors either, they’re just as sulphurous as his (the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree).

    He chose the path of least resistance and did what comes “natural” to him (I share the same weakness so I’m a tad “qualified” to comment). It takes more effort and hard work to try and be conciliatory and gracious when you know you have enough ammunition at your homiletic arsenal to belittle your adversaries. But we are called to a life of reconciliation with “the brothers”.

    Given what has transpired, IMO he is in direct violation of Matthew 5:22-25.


    • “Well it almost ended well until Wilson senior had to have the last word.”

      Bingo. You would not have heard another thing about this from IM, even had Jared never taken the post down. Today’s post is strictly in response to Wilson’s final salvo.

  17. Rick Ro. says

    A thought struck me (yes…ouch!) as I read about the Wilson “fracas”: Did Jesus die on the cross because any of this matters? No…me-thinks Jesus died on the cross because NONE of this matters.

    Praise Jesus for His mercy, grace and a love which can’t be measured.

  18. * RHE is hardly a credible and respectable critic despite the endless promotion of her ideas on this site. Her propensity for inciting e-riots with sensationalistic rhetoric and predetermined bias, removes her ability to be objective and hardly makes me want to stand up and take her seriously. She is becoming the cyber Wilberforce for women’s rights. I don’t doubt that she means well, but her antics are just getting tiresome.

    If my Facebook news feed is any indication, Rachel Evans is demanding a lot more respect and is taken more seriously than most other Christian blogs. You might not think she deserves it, but I think you’d be mistaken to simply discount her perspective. I find it odd that you seem to be comparing her to Wilberforce but saying that’s a negative thing.

    • I only likened her to Wilberforce as someone analogous fighting for a cause, not that I would consider her e-spats equal to WW’s fight for abolition of slavery.

      And it’s not her perspective I’m necessarily dismissing but her antics.

      In response to taken more seriously than most other Christian blogs, I would say that popularity and notoriety are not marks of correctness. To repeat my previous comment, I have NO doubt that she means well (that is, I don’t believe she is trying to gain an audience by deceitful means and a subterranean agenda), but the WAY she goes about voicing her objections leaves a lot to be desired.

      • I just don’t see why she does should be described as “antics”. There are some issues that I have a hard time empathizing with her on, or I feel she may be being a bit overly-sensitive, but I can say that about a lot of blogs. I just think that using the word “antics” and “spats”, well, it is kind of reinforcing the idea that women aren’t taken as seriously as they should be in the church.

        I do believe there is a double standard at play in society when it comes to how women have to present their arguments. If they are too serious and harsh, they will be written off as b*tches. If they try to soften their tone, people seem to have hard time taking them seriously.

        • +1

          • See Phil, that’s how bad rumors start.

            I just think that using the word “antics” and “spats”, well, it is kind of reinforcing the idea that women aren’t taken as seriously as they should be in the church.

            What you’re doing (consciously or unconsciously) is this:

            (A) John is saying that Rachel Evans can’t be taken seriously because of her antics and spats

            (B) Rachel Evans is a woman

            (C) Therefore according to John ALL women can’t be taken seriously

            Some may call it ‘equivocation’, or whatever logical fallacy label you want to give it, but it’s a paralogism nonetheless.

            So for the sake of clarity Phil, it is Rachel Evans’s tactics I am objecting to, not ALL women in Christendom. There are female bloggers whom I highly respect and have learned a lot from them even though we may not completely agree on every issue. It’s just that Evans isn’t one of them.

            So let’s not make this conversation about Evans as she was not the focal point of my initial comment.



          • So, I was thinking while canning some blueberry jam tonight…

            John, I don’t believe you think all women can’t be taken seriously as you pointed out with your equivocation fallacy. I didn’t get that impression at all. What you wrote in your first post is thought-provoking, but it got kinda lost with what you said about Evans, so I gave the 1+ because your tone was demeaning and, I think, unnecessarily antagonistic. All this before the ‘how eva’ that carried the most important part of your message.

            I did have a knee-jerk reaction…my bad…I am a little hyper-sensitive after so many years of swallowing my words in the church community.

        • True.

  19. A lot of people who comment on Evans’ site are either extremely disgruntled Christians who want the church to have no boundaries at all or have left the church altogether. She does have some good things to say at times, but she also tends to throw a lot of grenades and make some fires worse.

    • Rhetorical question: had Rachael said nothing about this, would no one in reformed and/or evangelical circles have offered a critique or an expression of shock? Perhaps it takes an outsider to bring to bear a critical eye to evangelicalism, because self-criticism seems to be forbidden. That may be the scariest lesson from this entire episode. What else is going on against which evangelicals either lack the courage or the autonomy to raise a prophetic voice? If you’re a business manager, the two things you never want to hear is “everyone else is doing it” and “we’ve always done it this way”. Just because women have been treated as passive, compliant objects by even reputable Christians in the past does not make it right now nor does it make it right then. Perhaps Doug Wilson’s trade-mark shocking language is what helped bring this to Rachael’s attention, where it may have been ignored in the past. Either way, now that the problem has been brought to light, lets not sweep it back under the rug. Don’t shoot the messenger; deal with the message.

      • Rhetorical Answer:

        The issue may have not received the attention it received, had it not been raised by a popular blogger. The critique and concerns were legitimate but the methods employed to get “engagement” are objectionable (to some of us at least).

        The “messenger” does not get immunity just because the concerns are legitimate. Again, it’s her style and methods some are objecting to, not the fact that she drew attention to a legitimate issue, but how she did it, so let’s separate the two.


        • I’ve read her posts concerning this issue, and I’ve got to say, I don’t see anything wrong in the way she presented her problems with them. Style is just that – every writer has a style they present their ideas with. Methods – I’m not sure what you mean here. The method is a blog, but she’s a blogger, and she was responding to another blog. I’m just trying to figure out what you find so objectionable.

          • Phil, I have to desire to perpetuate the conversation about Evans as the thrust of this post is not about her, but as a primer here’s a thoughtful critique from a fellow female blogger who does not share her views. Also here and here.

      • Rhetorical question: had Rachael said nothing about this, would no one in reformed and/or evangelical circles have offered a critique or an expression of shock?

        It didn’t start with her blog. But the reach of her blog certainly grew the issue faster once she picked it up.

  20. ???? ???????? 12:34… ?? ??? ??? ????????????? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ?????. ? ?????? ???????? ?? ??? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?????, ??? ? ??????? ???????? ?? ??? ??????? ???????? ???????? ??????. 36 ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ????? ? ?????????? ?? ???????? ??????????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ????? ???????· 37 ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ??????????, ??? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?????????????.

    Matthew 12:34 “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    This whole exchange on and by both sides, including me, has made me more mindful of the above. Woe to us bloggers and Facebookers.

  21. Hi, I have been lurking here for about four years with varying degrees of commitment. I feel like I know some of you regular commentators fairly well (I think that sounded more creepy than I intended); a particularly warm hand shake goes to Chaplain Mike. I have enjoyed drinking from this intellectual pool immensely.

    Ok. Here is my question to anybody/everybody:

    a. What could/should have Rachel Held Evans done differently?

    My thought is this: Hateful language (I’m assuming nobody associates the term “colonizes” with love and positive imagery?) which is greeted with silence generally begets either the same hateful language or slightly more hateful language. So…I sincerely doubt silence would have been the best solution.

    Perhaps then simply writing simple language: “Some guy somewhere made some slightly inappropriate remarks regarding women and sexuality…we should maybe think about knocking on his blog door asking him for a nice cup of coffee and would he mind maybe being a little more careful about language selection in the future?” might also not exactly be conducive to achieving the desired end.

    b. (just to be fair) What could/should Jarod Wilson have done differently?

    Easy peasy. He and I happen to have different views. I can live with that, provided he isn’t malicious towards him, and I extend the same respect towards him. I expect to see him for a while in Heaven and would prefer that to be as not socially awkward as possible….

    c. What could/should the other Wilson have done differently (who…based on his answer, in my opinion, does not get name recognition)?

    I found next to nothing redeeming about his response: I was not motivated to run the race with more perseverance, it did not instill in me a great desire to love my enemy (but maybe helped identify some?), certainly did not create an intense desire to turn any cheeks, donate any extra cloaks, study theology more deeply, serve my family, love my students, pray for the hurting, give to the down and out, or live more graciously. It had quite the opposite affect.

    …and again, nice to meet you all.

  22. Typo, I meant to say “I have NO desire to perpertuate the conversation about Evans”!

  23. Don Johnson says

    May the Jared’s in the gender restrictionist camp gain wisdom and see what the Doug’s in the gender restrictionist camp are doing so that they will be less conned by them.

  24. Donegal Misfortune says

    Doug Wilson has a penchant for satire and uses it very well or else it wouldn’t have elicited the response that it did. He is very Chestertonian in all that he writes. I wasn’t offended by it, but then again, I am not trying to get, “being offended,” turned into an Olympic event.

    • Indeed some folks have turned “being offended” into a calling! Don’t get me started…

      Personally, I enjoy that particular writing style and it gets my attention a lot quicker than a carefully sterilized “Christian” article. I find it refreshing when someone injects some personality into their writing. I am also guilty of usually succumbing to “the lowest form of wit” myself.

      Had this been just a stand-alone post/article, I would have been the first one to high-5 him. But given the context of what preceded it and what he was actually responding to, his “wit” was ill-timed. There is a time and place for it and I sincerely don’t think this was the right time. He was only an inch away from bringing closure to this brouhaha, but he showed that reconciliation was not something he was interested in.


    • androidninja says

      So that’s who he’s trying to imitate (Chesterton, I mean). No wonder his work reads like bad fan-fiction that’s been run through a thesaurus program by a fan trying to sound like a 20th century Inkling.

      The natural scientist in me thinks that this is a case of imperfect Batesian mimicry. Let the reader understand.

    • But then, you’re not one of the women being “colonized,” are you.

  25. FYI: Douglas Wilson has written a piece on 50 Shades of Grey that is now on the Huffington Post:


    • That’s a good post (at least based on what I know of 50 Shades – which admittedly isn’t much), and if either Wilson had originally posted something along those lines very few people would have a problem with it.

  26. Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this
    technological globe the whole thing is existing on

  27. Just because we are ‘covered’ by Grace, does not mean we are necessarily living ‘under’ Grace. Or In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, charity.

  28. And to bookend, the whole discussion, here’s an article about a hotel in Britain that’s replacing all its Gideon’s Bibles with “50 Shades of Gray”:

  29. Hi all….have lurked awhile, love this blog, found it through the Labri list, which is almost extinct now, so started looking for a Christian list that did not have a lot of ad hominem attacks, folks with positions set in stone, etc. I have been aware of D. Wilson for years, since I found his Credenda Agenda. I am rather surprised he is on the editorial board of Christianity Today. I read what he said in response to criticism, and I agree with CM, not good, not good at all. If we feel we are speaking the truth, we must speak it in love, that is an absolute. I only sense hostility and anger from him, how could that be loving? Natalie, thot your post was great. A lot of very smart people on here and that is fun!

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