A Question for Doug Wilson Fans

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Semper Fidelis, Oct 7, 2015.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Is there a spectrum, in your thinking, between Wilson's views and liberalism? Is it either Wilson's views are the normative Biblical view of male/female relationships *or* we might as well just ordain women if we don't adopt Wilson's views?
  2. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    My remarks were in response to Jacob's characterization of Wilson and his fellow elders. I am not aware of Wilson saying anything like this beyond simply affirming the biblical role of women in the church.

    But apparently, I am not as familiar with Wilson as you all are. What is the distinction between Wilson's view and the "normative Biblical view of male/female relationships"? The quotes offered by the blogger as evidence of his "extreme" views are hardly problematic.

    Please read nothing into this. It really is an honest question. Is there something more that he has said on record that is at variance with the Bible's teaching?
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Pastor Sheffield,

    It's sort of what I described as the general hermeneutical danger in Wilson. He takes wisdom, interprets it as "do this in this way" and it becomes the norm. He over-develops good themes and makes them unbalanced. The fact that man is head of woman as Christ is head of the Church means, for Wilson, that he sees a correspondence between the offices of Christ and applies them to men. Man is a prophet, priest, and king of his family. That's not what Paul develops but it's how Wilson develops it. As it's Christ's work (by the Spirit) to sanctify His Bride, so it's the case that a husband is expected to be the sanctifying agent for his wife. There are all sorts of other things that Wilson just runs with that over-develop the analogies that the Scriptures would use. Look at that blog post that Jacob posted and you'll see the dangerous fruit in the way that men and women start to expect male/female relationships to function. I'm in no way an egalitarian and believe a man should be strong and able to teach his family but I've seen the fruit of this imbalanced Patriarchy that seems to supplant Christ in the home with Patriarchy in the home. I've seen good friends now divorced whose kids hate the Christian faith because they've mistaken their father's over-bearing patriarchy for the Christian faith. I've witnessed a divorce where the man is still complaining about how male-female relationships are supposed to have functioned and arguing that the Session stepped in to his authority.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He sees fathers as priests and his view of paedocommunion means that fathers, not elders, hold the keys of the kingdom.
  5. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    This is exactly what Trueman is calling those who are like Wilson on.
  6. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Rich and Jacob,

    Wilson is hardly the only one using this kind of language. Dr. Sam Waldron wrote a book titled "A Man as Priest in His Home" But as Dr. Waldron points out, this language is not uncommon among Puritan and Reformed worthies:

    Richard Baxter comments,

    “‘The husband is to be the mouth of the family, in their daily conjunct prayers unto God.’ Therefore he must be able to pray, and also have a praying heart. He must be as it were the priest of the household; and therefore should be the most holy, that he may be fit to stand between them and God, and to offer up their prayers to him. If this be cast on the wife, it will be his dishonour.” [Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 4 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 144.]​

    William Gouge speaks several times of the man as a priest in his home:

    Page 62 of A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage remarks:
    “Always, therefore, without ceasing is this duty to be performed. Whenever husband and wife make any prayer, they must remember one another. Often they must purposefully make time to pray especially for one another: and that both in absence, and also in presence of one another. This latter especially concerns the husband, who is as a priest to his wife, and ought to be her mouth to God when they two are together: yet I doubt not, but that the wife may pray in the husband’s presence when they two are alone, either for trial (that he may have knowledge of her ability and gift in that kind) or for help (if the wife is much more able to perform that duty than the man is, as many wives are). Not without cause therefore have I reckoned this among common mutual duties.”​

    Page 177 of the same work has these comments:​

    He is, under God, all in all to her; in the family he is a king to govern and aid her, a priest to pray with her and for her, a prophet to teach and instruct her. As the head is placed in the highest place over the body, and understanding placed in it, to govern, direct, protect, and every way seek the good of the body, and as Christ is united to the church as a spouse, and made her head, that she might be saved, maintained, and provided for by him; so for this end was a husband placed in his place of higher rank; and his authority was committed to him, to be a savior of his wife. Therefore if none of the former motives prevail with wives and move them to be subject to their husbands, yet this should.

    For from this reason flow these two conclusions: 1. The submission required of a wife is for her own good. 2. In refusing to obey she shows herself both ungrateful to her husband, and also harmful to herself.​

    Page 246 of the same work adds:​

    In this provident care which a husband ought to have of his wife, we will consider the extent and duration of it. It ought to extend both to herself, and to others; regarding herself, to her soul and body. For her soul, means of spiritual edification must be provided, and those both private and public. Private means, are holy and religious exercises in the house, as reading the Word, prayer, catechizing, etc. These, being the spiritual food of the soul, are to be provided and used every day, as our bodily food. A husband as a master of a family must provide these for the good of his whole house, but as a husband, especially for the good of his wife. To his wife, as well as to the whole house he is a king, a priest, and a prophet.

    John Angell James in A Help to Domestic Happiness:

    “This mutual help should extend to the maintenance of all the habits of domestic order, discipline, and piety. The husband is to be the prophet, priest, and king of the family to instruct their minds, to lead their devotions, and to govern their tempers. But in all that relates to these important objects, the wife is to be of one mind with him. They are in these matters to be workers together, neither of them leaving the other to labor alone, much less opposing or thwarting what is done…A lovelier scene is not to be found on earth than that of a pious couple, employing their mutual influence and the hours of their retired companionship in stirring up each other’s hearts to deeds of mercy and religious benevolence.”​

    He adds in The Christian Father’s Present to His Children:​

    “The want of discipline, wherever it exists, is supplied by confusion and domestic anarchy. Everything goes wrong in the absence of this. A gardener may sow the choicest seeds. But if he neglect to pluck up weeds and prune wild luxuriances, he must not expect to see his flowers grow or his garden flourish. So a parent may deliver the best instructions. But if he does not by discipline eradicate evil tempers, correct bad habits, repress rank corruptions, nothing excellent can be looked for. He may be a good prophet and a good priest; but if he be not also a good king, all else is vain. When once a man breaks his scepter or lends it to his children as a plaything, he may give up his hopes of success from a religious education…The misfortune in many families is that discipline is unsteady and capricious, sometimes carried even to tyranny itself, at [other times] relaxed into a total suspension of law, so that the children are at one time trembling like slaves, at others revolting like rebels; at one time groaning beneath an iron yoke, at others rioting in a state of lawless liberty. This is a most mischievous system, and its effects are generally just what might be expected.”​

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his sermon “Hindrances To Prayer” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 20, number 1192) is typically plain:

    “I believe that the bulwark of Protestantism against Popery is Family Worship. Take that away, and give over the instruction of children in the fear of God, and you lay this country open again to the theory that prayer is most acceptable in the parish church, and so you get into the sacredness of places: then taking away the priesthood from the father of the family, who ought to be the priest in his own house, you make a vacancy for a superstitious priesthood, and, leaving the teaching with these pretenders, mischiefs innumerable are introduced.”​

    D. Martin Lloyd-Jones’ comments in Life in the Spirit in Marriage, Home & Work: An Exposition of Ephesians 5:18 to 6:9:

    “I regard this as a most serious matter. There is no more important influence in the life of a child than the influence of the home. The home is the fundamental unit of society; and children are born into a home, into a family. There you have the circle that is to be the chief influence in their lives. There is no question about that. It is the biblical teaching everywhere, and it is always in so-called civilizations where ideas concerning the home begin to deteriorate that society ultimately disintegrates…In the Old Testament, it is quite clear that the father was a kind of priest in his household and family; he represented God. He was responsible not only for the morals and the behavior but for the instruction of his children. The Bible’s emphasis everywhere is that this is the primary duty and task of the parents. And it remains so to this day. If we are Christians at all, we must realize that this great emphasis is based upon those fundamental units ordained by God—marriage, family, and home. You cannot play fast and loose with them…” ​

    It goes without saying that any authority exercised by fallible and sinful men may be and often is abused. But to suggest that Wilson's idea of a father's role being analogous to a prophet, a priest , and a king is somehow novel, unique, or extreme is simply not the case. And suggesting that this view tends toward abuse, would hazzard implicating the men above as advocating an abusive model for husbands and fathers.

    The concern I have in this discussion is not for Douglas Wilson. He can answer for himself. My concern is that some adopt the arguments of liberals and feminists simply because they don't like aspects of Wilson's theology and end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Are good men opposed to aspects of Wilson's doctrine for good reason? Yes. But there are also enemies of Christ and his church who hate Wilson for the same reason they hate the Bible. We should be careful not to lend legitimacy to those whose contempt for Wilson is really a contempt for God and his Word.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  7. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The manner in which you put things on a spectrum is very curious. Your logic goes like this:

    1. Men in the past that I respect used the word Prophet, Priest, and King.
    2. Doug Wilson uses the same terms.
    Therefore, there is nothing wrong with Doug's teaching on this subject.

    In other words, it doesn't matter how Doug might be the same in his use of terms but completely different in how far he runs with those topics, all that matters is that we can find some people somewhere in Church history that draw analogies to demonstrate that Doug is not speaking out of turn.
  8. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Apparently, we just learned that these men were also for paedocommunion because Dad is the family priest:

  9. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    The list of quotations was compiled by Dr. Sam Waldron. Not myself. I was interacting with what you said in a straightforward and honest way. My contention was that his views (as you expressed them) were not novel or unique. That seemed to be your point. That is what I was addressing. If you have specific things that Doug Wilson has said that better illustrate your point, that would further our discussion in more helpful way. And I'm hopeful that can be done.

    What you have done here is misrepresent my statements and assigned motives to me that are contrary to the motives I have expressed--an insinuation of duplicity and dishonesty. This is regrettable.

    I do understand how easy it is in an online discussion board to speak in a way different that you would ever speak with someone in person. But we ought to labor to maintain a fraternal spirit even in our disagreements.
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I think Rich's point is that there is a significant danger in committing word-concept fallacies. Sure, plenty of men in the past spoke about a father being, in some sense, a priest. The danger, however, is that we automatically assume that they were using this terminology in exactly the same sense as Doug Wilson et al. If we assume that they were, then Rich is correct in pointing out that they were also advocates of paedo-communion. Why? Because the form of patriarchy advocated by Doug Wilson includes a belief in paedo-communion.

    For what it's worth, I am not opposed to patriarchy with a small "p"; in the sense that I believe the husband is to be the head of the home under God. However, the term complementarianism is probably to be preferred.
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Analogical language. That's what I think MLJ and others are doing.

    I can reason analogically and see myself as priest, king, prophet in the home. I'm not going to serve my 3 year old communion, though.

    Wilson reasons univocally on these points, hence "Daddy-daughter communion."
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Do you believe there is a systemic error on some Reformed circles that teach a high view of patriarchy...that this leads to authoritarianism and the mistreatment of women (through silencing them or not giving them enough say in matters of courtship and the home)...where submission is to be their key virtue even above common sense? From Gothard, to Vision Forum, to the Duggars, to the authoritarianism displayed by Sproul jr., to this Doug Wilson debacle, it seems the role of women is merely to be quiet and subject to their elders and their husbands and, in turn, these elders and husbands and parents "Lord it over" their "inferiors" and treat women as objects to be acquired through marriage, etc?

    Is there something in their theology, a common strand, that gives elders and parents too much say in the lives of others (church members and daughters)?
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I was actually using a bit of reductio ad absurdum. It wasn't nice. I could have been more fraternal. Please forgive me. Others have expressed the point. I get the impression you're either reading past what has already been said. I'm speaking in brief. I'm not a big fan of the prophet, priest, and king language applied to Dad but will grant it can be used responsibly. That's not what Wilson does. I described a dangerous hermenuetical method early on that puts partriarchy and the family as a central theological tenet that even overshadows election in its import. He won't say it does but the practical theological import is to put the family at the center of Sacramental theology. In one sense, the focus on Dad is so great that it supplants Christ and His benefits that are not only supposed to be signified but sealed in those sacraments. The purpose of the Sacraments is to help the worshiper raise their senses by the Spirit to where Christ is seated and place the focus on him. Patriarchy (with a big P) is always emphasizing "family integration" and how important Dad is in ministering to the kids. I don't want my children or my wife thinking of me as their priest or "vicar" any more than I want my mom and brothers thinking of Mary or the Pope as Christ's vicar. I want to point them to the Mediatorial office of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King.

    Yes, revivalism is dangerously pietistic and focuses too much on the individual worshiper and even downplays family worship. The remedy to imbalance with checked out pietistic Dads is not to put Dad in the center of worship. Dad is not what was supplanted by pietism. The family was not supplanted by pietism. It was Christ and His work in Word and Sacrament that was sacrificed.

    Pursue partriarchy and the family as a means to true Christian worship and you won't get to Christ. Purse true worship and the living Christ and His offices and gifts and all the other things will follow to include fathers whose hearts are for their wives and children, wives that love and submit to their husbands, and children who respect and love their parents.
  14. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    I do not see a neat and tidy difference between the statements above and those attributed to Wilson in the blog. This is what was put forward as exibit A:

    Now, where is the obvious error here? I don't object to this. Explain to me why I should? And don't just say "It's bad because Wilson said it!"

    I have no dog in the paedocommunion fight. That's a in-house Presbyterian issue. As for as I am concerned, paedocommunion and paedobaptism are equally erroneous.

    My comments have dealt with Wilson's views on the roles of men and women in the family and church. What I have read of Wilson on this issues (Reforming marriage) as well as what has been posted here seems consistent with Scripture. No one here has given a clear explanation of the material problem with his view of marriage and how it is unbiblical. If someone just wants to say pox on all of Wilson's views, they can. But I am not willing to call something unbiblical simply because Wilson has expressed it as his view.
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It might be worth pointing out some key qualifying phrases. They make it appear that the quoted authors were alluding to some kind of an analogy.

    It is not safe or wise to turn a partial likeness into an exact identity, especially not in a matter of such importance.
  16. Loopie

    Loopie Puritan Board Freshman

    With all due respect, I honestly believe (from listening to Wilson's sermons on marriage), that he would agree with this. One continuous theme that I have seen throughout this past year's sermons from Wilson is the theme of true worship and love for Christ being the core of everything else in our lives.

    Again, I have not read any of Wilson's books, nor do I follow his blog. I have simply listened to his sermons for the past year in order to discern what kind of teacher/pastor he is. Whatever faults there may be, he does CONSISTENTLY preach the gospel. He doesn't just say a few good things here and there, but he always preaches the gospel. For instance, there are a few themes that he uses several times in his sermons that I found to be quite good:

    1) He describes the Law as the stop sign on the road. It cannot control the speed of your car, but it tells you that you are offending and breaking the law.

    2) He describes saving faith as finally realizing that we cannot pedal any harder, and that we can only look to Christ.

    3) He describes grace as something that cannot be merited, and that God is completely sovereign over one's salvation.

    In the end, I think that we should avoid condemning a man until we look at ALL of the information. This includes what the man preaches every Lord's Day. I would encourage anyone who thinks Wilson is a heretic to listen to his sermons for even just six months and then decide whether he teaches heresy. Maybe he is not a good communicator when it comes to writing or blogging, and perhaps he should just stick to preaching. But either way, it seems unfair to condemn a preacher without taking into consideration what he is preaching.
  17. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    That is precisely the key when it comes to evaluating a teacher like Wilson. It's true that Wilson will preach salvation by grace alone through faith alone. The problem is that he also teaches things contrary to that. The advocates of the Federal Vision believe that they can hold together mutually exclusive propositions. Their epistemology of paradox gives them a way out of submitting to the rules of logic in their teaching.
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    But we have, some of his for over a decade

    He also intimidated witnesses, falsified reports, and if not he, then his elders hacked into email accounts. He shelters sexual predators and slut-shames rape victims.

    Thomas Aquinas and Anselm believed in grace alone, too, just not quite in faith alone.

    I have looked at all the info. I've read everything he and his wife have written on family. I Have been reading his blog daily for 13 years. I have read all of the court documents, police reports, witness statements, and Wilson's statements. And hundreds and hundreds of his mp3s.
  19. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    With all due respect I rather not listen to a preacher (especially for 6 months no less) who the pastors here have warned us about. Also I do not recall any condemning him but condemning some of his teachings. One other thing I am learning is that the FV stuff is probably the most cunning devise Satan has used because it sounds like "Did not God say". I am glad of the elders here who are willing to share what they discern as bad and many of them have done the work for us because that is their job and we ought to take heed to what they are warning us about.
  20. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, yes. No one's knowledge of Wilson holds a candle to yours. You are quite the "Wilsonista". You have read all this and when asked politely to provide examples of the things you are talking about for the sake of discussion, you will not. You will only assure us that Wilson is every bit the perverted and deviant monster you declare him to be.

    End of discussion. Jacob has done all of the reading necessary. No one need read anything for themselves or come to any conclusion different than the one he has handed down. The court (i.e. Jacob) has found Wilson to be a witness-bullying, document-falsifying, account-hacking, predator-harboring, slut-shaming Son of Belial. And because he read all this on the internet, you can be sure it's true. He is hereby declared to be ANATHEMA. And anyone who does not agree with this decision, is obviously a Wilson minion doing his bidding. Let them also be ANATHEMA. The court is adjourned.
  21. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Brethren, I would encourage each of you, as well as myself, to remember that we will give an account for the use of our time. Is it redeeming the time to spend hours reading about or discussing a scandal in a church in Idaho? Giving a celebrity pastor negative attention is still giving him attention. It may be worth the time of a few noted Reformed ministers to investigate this in order to warn others, but most of us are better off not following Wilson scandals in detail or arguing about them. This thread pairs well with the recent thread on news media. It is mostly entertainment, not keeping informed, and reformed news is hardly different.
  22. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I agree. Thread's done.
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