Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bold Love

At the risk of imitating Lane, you have to buy this book:

Arrogance swaggers to its own inner rhythm. It sings its own boastful songs of conquering potency. The bravado of arrogance is, at times, enormously attractive. It walks into potentially dangerous and shameful situations, and calmly and powerfully exerts control. There is a sense of confidence, a savoir faire, a leader’s energy that allows others to abdicate choice and relax in the swagger of their boldness. Arrogance creates a mood of “follow me or get lost.” And who wants to be lost in a world such as ours?

Consequently, arrogant men and women rule the world and offer the illusion of rest (from choice) for the weary, and hope (for protection) for the frightened. An arrogant heart is hardened by its own sin and blinds the hearts of those it controls. The more evil a person is, the greater the degree of arrogant hardness ruling his heart. In turn, the greater the hardness, the more likely the control of others will be achieved through vicious contempt. (Dan B. Allender, Tremper Longman, Bold Love, “Loving an Evil Person” [Colorado Springs: Navpress Publishing Group, 1993] npn.)

Thank you.

Pop Quiz

Question: What do OJ Simpson, Charlie Manson, and Douglas Wilson have in common?

Answer: They all use serrated edges to kill their victims.

Now read this.

Thank you.

Strong Presumption of Guilt

Bob Mattes nails it again right here. And if I’m a member of LAP or, more particularly, if I’m Steven Machen Wilkins, then I wet my pants with thanksgiving to God that the PCA does not have the authority to accord a strong presumption of guilt pursuant to the terms of this principle: “Keeping company with known offenders at the time of the offense, and more generally associating with those of scandalous reputation, was also an appropriate cause of suspicion.”

Thank you.

Speaking of Linden

On January 27, 2003, Steven Machen Wilkins posted this little nugget on the “members only” Biblical Horizons email list, and I think it’s important for the Reformed church to see that the Federal Visionists have had the martyr-victim complex for over five years, which means that their strong delusion is deeply embedded. This email also demonstrates that they have never had any intention of moving off their doctrine, no matter what anyone says. Notice that it’s dated before the Knox Colloquium when everyone was supposed to get on the same page. But here you see Wilkins kicking against goads long before the FV reached its present crisis.

By the way, Biblical Horizons is a Yahoo Group, and in this case I believe the word “yahoo” is especially fitting. Steven Machen Wilkins wrote:

Y’all, David Linden has written requesting permission to make transcripts of our messages at the Pastors Conference. He is doing it, of course, to continue his war against John B. I am weary with him playing the role of the “friendly assassin” so I wonder if something like this (answering him as he likes to do to others) would put him back on his heels (haven’t sent it yet, just having fun thinking about doing it):

Dear Mr. Linden,

Thank you for requesting permission to transcribe the messages given at our most recent Pastors Conference. Before we respond I am compelled to raise a matter of concern that has been brought to our attention regarding your own views on the nature of faith. I do this with the greatest reluctance, having become somewhat acquainted with the painful nature of theological disputes among honored brethren.

I am sure, however, that you are able to sympathize with our concern over being charged with heresy by men who themselves seem to hold various aberrant views (if not heretical views) on other issues. We have received denunciations from a man who has publicly (in print) departed from the orthodox faith regarding the nature of Christ (he seems clearly to hold what appear to be distinctly Nestorian views of Christ’s nature). This, as I’m sure you can see, is of great concern to us.

What is of greater concern is that these men who hold these heterodox views do not seem to receive the attention from others that you have focused upon the views of one of our speakers. Indeed, it has been our impression that not even you have sought to bring any attention to this man’s views at all (though they are patently heretical according to the declaration of the historic Christian Church). If we are mistaken here, we would be most thankful to be corrected.

This has led us to be somewhat concerned over your own motives as well as your views. Indeed an article you have posted on the internet regarding the nature of faith (“Justification by Faith Alone”) has only made us even more concerned. It does appear to be a rather serious departure from your own confessional position (specifically Belgic Confession Article 22) and taken on its face, we would be forced to conclude that you stand in rather serious violation of your subscription vows as an elder. We certainly do not want to be hasty in bringing charges against you publicly, but it does seem to us at least, that your views as stated, are a rather serious departure from the historic Reformed understanding of faith. Having been the victim of what appears to be an intentional unwillingness to try to understand our position, we want to give you the opportunity of clarifying your views before we make any determination over your orthodoxy. Furthermore, since we are very concerned to defend the truth as it has been “once for all delivered to the saints” we do want to be careful (as I’m sure you can understand) about those with whom we are dealing in these matters.

Historically heretics have led the way in charging others with heresy (and here I must be careful to say that we are emphatically *not* calling you a heretic, but you do understand, I’m sure, our concern on this point). Because of this reality, we have become much more cautious about allowing men to use material who themselves may be trying to deflect attention from their own heterodox views by carelessly charging other men with heresy. We are not saying that you are doing this, and I certainly don’t want to impute such evil motives to you, but you must understand given your apparent departure from the historic Reformed faith at the point above mentioned, why your motives have come into question. Your views have raised some serious concerns among us here as I’m sure you can understand. This concern has been confirmed by others (some of whom are in your own confederation) but we do not want to act on the opinions of others regarding your views — we would rather have your own words and make our judgments based solely upon the explanation you give us.

Thus, if you would be so kind as to provide us with a more detailed explanation of your views regarding the nature of faith, it would be most helpful to us. We don’t want to be guilty of twisting your words, even words you have apparently carefully crafted, to mean something you don’t intend. Thus, I hope our intentions are clear: Please provide us with some detailed exegetical and historic theological rationale for the distinction you are making between “saving faith” and “justifying faith” so that we can be assured that you are indeed orthodox on this most fundamental point. Errors on such a fundamental issue as the nature of the faith that justifies can certainly be among the most serious errors of all — endangering the souls of millions. Further, as you will surely understand, we don’t want to be assisting anyone who is a latent antinomian or one who is seeking to spread confusion in the church at large on such a foundational matter — and I’m sure you can fully sympathize with our position.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration of our request. As soon as we receive this documentation and a thorough explanation of your position so that our own minds can be brought some ease over the disturbing questions your paper has raised among us, be assured that we will give your request serious consideration.

Warmly in the defense of the faith,

Steve Wilkins

Thank you.

Doug Wilson on church discipline

Yesterday David Linden posted this on the BB Warfield list and it deserves everyone’s attention. I know that Wilson follows my blog closely, so I’m republishing it for two reasons: First, to give him a chance to correct the record and, second, when he does not correct the record to establish his utter contempt for all authority but his own:

Dear friends,

I have not been around enough and in touch enough to comment on all that has been happening related to Federal Vision issues. Probably members of this list know that the United Reformed Churches of N. America also has a study committee looking into the FV.

The famous Auburn Ave. Presbyterian Church pastors’ conference of 2002 had (and I quote from memory) a remarkable quip by Douglas Wilson. It was in a Q. & A. time. Fairness requires that we recognize that remarks in such a content may be what we blurt out without careful consideration. It is not the same as speaking from careful preparation. Yet what we blurt out may be revealing in the sense that it can be what we really really think and the admission got loose.

Sorry for all the buildup, but I also add that I have no knowledge of Douglas Wilson saying something like this on any other occasion, nor have I heard any retraction. Maybe others can help. Some have transcripts of all that was said at that conference. If he has said something that corrects this, I would love to hear it. I will also CC to him.

The matter of discipline came up in denominations for discussion. Some holding to the AAPC views could face discipline. Maybe (I said maybe) some desired for approval in church courts that their views were “within bounds.” Whatever the context Wilson said that going that route was “playing on their field.” I hope someone has the full quotation. (Remember at that point in time these views were not called FV, but AAPC teaching.)

What struck me when I heard that comment on the tape was:
  1. This reveals a real “us vs. them” attitude, and
  2. even worse, it discounted the integrity of our church courts. In other words, “we” will not find genuine fairness there from “them.” The presumption being that the “they” do not have a true understanding of these disputed truths.
In other words the remark had in 2002 some flavor of schism. In that same Q. & A. segment no one countered that remark. Sometimes blurts are blotches. I hope Douglas can give a wiser word on this.

With blessings on all who love our Lord Jesus Christ (and His gospel) in sincerity,

David H. Linden
Member of Bethel URC, Calgary, Alberta

Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Lane Keister listed four questions on his website that he believes cannot be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. I disagree with Lane, however, and have provided an honest answer for each question.

  1. Is Rev. Wilson right that RE Mattes has been injudicious in his comments about him?

  2. Yes: The Most Holy Reverend Wilson (TMHRDW) is correct to assert the RE Mattes has been injudicious in his comments about him because RE Mattes deserves neither the presumption of innocence nor the judgment of charity.

  3. Are TE Hutchison and RE Mattes right, that the series of communications that RE Mattes received from an elder of Rev. Wilson’s church, Mike Lawyer, were an inappropriate attack perhaps intended to silence his speaking out against Rev. Wilson; and that Mr. Lawyer’s action represents an example of a pattern of such attacks experienced by others who have voiced opposition to Rev. Wilson?

  4. No, and anyone who points you to the great cloud of witnesses who have testified to TMHRDW’s reign of terror (ROT) is a cowardly anonymous accuser who deserves to join the piles of dead bodies littering TMHRDW’s past ministry.

  5. Are those who disagree with TE Hutchison’s posting of the links right?

  6. Yes: TMHRDW did not give TE Hutchison permission to post those links because he believes the documented facts — covered with his fingerprints and signed by his hand — on those websites are false.

  7. Are those who believe there is a pattern of bullying opponents on the part of Wilson and supporters right?

  8. No. And if you disagree, then expect a visit from Doug’s Thugs.
Thank you.

Response to Doug Wilson

Ol’ Beelzeblog responded to Andy Webb’s post from the BB Warfield list by utilizing his well-crafted art of deception. I would link to it if reading it was worth your time, but it’s not. Just read Pastor Webb’s answer and appreciate the absence of fast moves, cutting insults, deliberate misquotations, clever word games, or other devices from hell.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I really didn’t want to get into a direct exchange with Doug Wilson over the matter of discipline concerning Steve Wilkins and Louisiana Presbytery but given that he has responded to me directly on his blog and both asks questions and implies that I made groundless assertions, I don’t really feel like I have much of a choice but to reply. I’m going to go ahead and post Wilson’s reply, but I should point out that Doug’s post quotes my original very selectively, and at times it’s unclear where what I wrote ends and how he responds begins. For that reason, I’d recommend reading my original post first if you haven’t already done so:

Andy then argues that FV advocates by definition will cry procedural foul so long as our views are not upheld, which is manifestly false. He says, “the only way the FV community will consider a report ‘fair’ and the scholars who prepared it ‘wise’ is if it approves their theology.” Oh, I don’t know. My threshold is much lower than that. I would have considered a study committee report procedurally fair if they had not, for example, stacked it with all opponents, nothing but opponents, opponents all the way down.

Manifestly false? Ok, I’ll bite. Show me a few examples of when a denominational or seminary report that labeled the FV a serious error (if not a heresy) was not attacked by FV advocates on procedural grounds (“they didn’t contact the authors personally,” “the committee members were . . . (you may choose more than one) biased, incompetent, disingenuous, hypocritical, ignorant, sloppy,” etc., etc.) Also by Wilson’s criteria, the Canons of Dordt were procedurally unfair because the council was “stacked” with Calvinists.

Substance and process are different issues. I have repeatedly named FV critics who are obviously fair-minded and judicious men. I know they are out there, and I pray that some of them are on the SJC. So there is a difference between a decision with which we differ and a decision which is obviously a judicially-coated bum’s rush.

It’s at the point that I almost want to break off the dialogue. “Judicially-coated bum’s rush”? We have men like Sean Lucas, the Dean of Faculty from our denominational seminary on the committee and it’s to be assumed that these men are closed-minded, sinister, unfair, and incapable of accurately assessing a theological movement? Given that the FV has been discussed to death via books, papers, conferences, debates, colloquiums, DVDs, the internet, etc. for at least five years (longer if one includes contributing movements like Shepherdism and the NPP), and that its proponents have had ample time to present their case and have only been able to persuade a tiny minority, I find it bizarre that they would demand that we look for people who either haven’t been exposed to the FV and come to decision or some of its open proponents to populate the committee. Where is the requirement that a study committee have active proponents of the issue being studied on it and how does a lack of them nullify the validity of the conclusions of such a study? Historically the reformed have not felt constrained to put proponents of a position suspected of being in error on the commission studying it, rather they have sought Christian men who were qualified to judge and render an assessment. Is Wilson asserting that this committee and the OPC committee that drew the same conclusions were unqualified to assess a system of doctrine? For instance, was the old PCUS study committee report that determined that Dispensationalism was not compatible with the Standards in error because the assembly did not take care to make sure Dispensationalists were well-represented on the committee? Are we to assume that we can’t come to a fair assessment of whether having foxes in the henhouse is a good idea unless we have foxes represented on the committee?

If the position “PROPONENTS MUST BE PRESENT ON THE COMMITTEE AND A MINORITY PAPER MUST BE DELIVERED” is really a rule to be followed are we going to follow it when it comes to studying issues like Women’s ordination, Open Theism, Same-Sex marriage, etc?

Then Andy gives a summary of the whole Wilkins’ deal. I will follow the numbering of his summary, and add comments as we go.

1. Wilkins is a member of Louisiana Presbytery, which has only 8 churches, and has in the past harbored other malefactors. “For instance, Jeff Steel, former pastor of an LA Presbytery church, went on to become Father Jeffrey Steel and an assistant to N.T. Wright. Simply put, this is not a Presbytery where an attachment to the FV or NPP is considered odd.” Wilkins is suspect because another pastor in his Presbytery went Anglican? I wonder how many presbyteries in the PCA are suspect on this interesting basis.

I sense Doug is not getting my point. Steel is more than just an Anglican, by his own confession he’s an Anglo-Catholic, the type that includes posts like “Most Holy Theotokos Save Us!” on his blog. None of this is brand new to his theological perspective, and yet there was never a thought of investigating his theological views when he was in LA Presbytery because Anglo-Catholic and NPP views, while they would be incredibly alarming in most PCA presbyteries, are no big deal in LA Presbytery. LA Presbytery didn’t view Wilkins’ views as out of accord precisely because they are fairly common in that particular Presbytery.

In fact, while the SJC was very careful about their wording, they as much as admit that the critical problem is that a controlling majority of Presbyters appear to agree with the FV and the NPP and therefore that no trial that seriously questions the truth of those convictions will be forthcoming. After pointing out the places where Wilkins’ answers deviated from the teaching of the Standards, the SJC decision notes: “Indeed, Presbytery’s citation, without any caveats whatsoever, of the written and oral examinations of TE Wilkins as part of its grounds for denying the complaint of TE Jones gives the appearance that Presbytery is supportive of views such as those noted above.”

“2. Steve Wilkins’ own attachment to the FV is unquestionable.” Okay, I’ll give him half of this one. FV and Auburn Ave Theology (named after Steve’s church) are interchangeable, and Athanasius Press, the publishing arm of Auburn Ave, published a book entitled The Federal Vision, which had an essay by Steve in it. But unquestionable attachment to the FV is a very different thing than asserting that the opponents of the FV are representing it accurately. Wilkins is FV, all right, but if FV is what some people say it is, then he is not, and neither am I.

Again we see that no one can define the FV except the FV and they reserve the right to assert that they don’t mean what we think they mean when they do and don’t necessarily affirm what the other FV guy said he meant at the time. In the end, no one has understood the FV if they condemn it, and if an FV proponent ceases to agree and leaves the movement, that only proves they never really understood it. And this is an improvement over the “Old Perspective?” If I went around arguing that a majority of Reformed people disagree with me because — even after they’ve read my copious writings on the subject — they don’t understand what I’m saying, after a while I might begin to wonder if the problem wasn’t me.

3. This next one is astonishing. “Despite the size of the Presbytery attempts have been made to bring charges against Wilkins by members of the presbytery. These attempts have never produced a trial because the Presbytery has consistently refused to do so.” Oh? Every day I learn something new about PCA polity. I did not know, for example, that charges can only be filed if Presbytery allows it. Or let’s suppose another suppose. Let us assume that the men who objected to Wilkins did file charges properly, and the Presbytery, in defiance of the BCO, refused to act. So why wasn’t Louisiana Presbytery brought up short on charges for that?

Excuse me. How is this possible? Is Andy making an accusation here that Louisiana “consistently refused” to act on charges properly submitted? Is he able to prove this? Is he able to bring charges? If Louisiana really did something like this, that really would be actionable.

On two separate occasions motions where made at the Presbytery to begin investigations into Steve Wilkins’ teaching which is the necessary precursor to a trial. The following is from the minutes of the 72nd Stated Meeting of Louisiana Presbytery at Auburn Avenue PCA on October 19, 2002, on page 5:

“In reference to Item # 4 (Attachment F.) TE Jim Jones moved that the presbytery establish a committee to investigate the theological issues raised by the RPCUS in their communication received at the July 2002 meeting of Louisiana Presbytery and by a member of this presbytery.

The vote was: 6 for, 7 against, 4 abstentions.
TE James Jones records his positive vote on this matter.”

The context of this discussion and vote was the teaching of Steve Wilkins and the Auburn Avenue declaration.

Later in 2004 when Rich Lusk, Wilkins’ Associate Pastor at Auburn Ave, was attempting to transfer to Evangel Presbytery (Evangel’s Candidates Committee declined his transfer on theological grounds and Lusk subsequently brought that church into the CREC) at the meeting that year at Lafayette, LA, Jones again made the motion to examine both Rich Lusk and Steve Wilkins. The presbytery was unwilling to hold up Lusk’s departure for Evangel or examine Wilkins but did establish a study committee to look at the FV theology in general but declined to investigate Wilkins in particular.

On both occasions there was considerable negativity in the Presbytery expressed towards those in favor of examination and it was clear (as the SJC noted) that no trial would likely appear as that would amount to a trial not just of the beliefs of Wilkins, but the bare majority of the presbyters. As I noted before, this is a problem endemic to theological affinity presbyteries — everyone has the same Ox so a strict “No Goring” rule is in force.

4. In January 2005 Central Carolina Presbytery asked Louisiana to examine Wilkins’ formally, which they did, deciding that there “was nothing chargeable in Wilkins’ views.” No comment here.

5. This one takes us back to #3. “Given that no action against Wilkins was available from within the LA Presbytery, several Presbyteries determined . . .” Okay, humor me. Let’s go over this assertion again, for it has been made two times now. “No action against Wilkins was available from within.” That is a substantive assertion, one we ought to be able to hang our hats on. So where is the peg? What happened? Were there not enough members of the Presbytery to file charges? Did they file charges and the Presbytery kept losing the paperwork? Can charges only be filed if the charges themselves are approved by a majority vote of the Presbytery? Or was it some other thing I haven’t thought of? Notice Andy’s curious circumlocution here: ““No action was available . . .” What is that supposed to mean?

See above answer to #3. No investigation, no trial, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the verdict would be when a theological affinity Presbytery tries the majority view.

6. Although one appeal from the outside presbyteries was rejected, another one based on BCO 40-5 was taken up. This memorial charged that Louisiana was guilty of “important delinquency and/or grossly unconstitutional proceedings.” This is how Louisiana first found itself having to answer to the SJC. Another Presbytery asserted that they had done wrong, and the SJC considered it.

Not really. As demonstrated, several attempts including requests from other denominations had been made to get LA Presbytery to try Wilkins views. Complaints were also filed by members of the presbytery over Wilkins’ exoneration. Even Howard Davis, a man no one can seriously label “Anti-FV” or “unfair,” filed a dissent over Wilkins exoneration. The fact is that because of the composition of the Presbytery, it was only POSSIBLE to deal with the problem by exercising the BCO’s review and control methods. Emergencies like this is what they were written for in the first place.

7. “The SJC determined that our memorial was in order, and that LA Presbytery had erred both in the methodology of their investigation and in their decision to exonerate Wilkins.” Emphasis there is mine. I have to assume that this cannot be understood as a finding of Wilkins’ guilt, but rather a determination that exoneration was premature or improperly grounded. Louisiana was told to reinvestigate, using new guidelines. Notice that all these are inquiries, investigations, reinvestigations, sets of questions, and so forth. No trial yet. No charges (to this day) have been filed, and the procedures that a trial would call for have not yet been applied.

8. Louisiana examined Wilkins again and exonerated him a second time (Is that the word we want, exonerated? He is not on trial). The vote was 13 to 8, and 7 of the dissenting votes filed a complaint with the SJC.

Ah, now you are complaining about Louisiana’s Presbytery’s own language not mine. I agree it was over the top. I quote: Louisiana Presbytery Report on Federal Vision Theology — found him to be “publicly exonerated by Louisiana Presbytery and declared to be faithful to the Confessional Standards of the PCA.”

9. In the meantime, the GA assembly overwhelmingly approved a study report which condemned what they considered to be FV theology. The runaway train aspect of this whole affair is summed up nicely by R.C. Sproul’s statement on why there was no minority report, why it was okay for the committee to be stacked. You don’t put the defendents on a jury, it appears. Right, but it was a study committee, not a jury. And if it were a jury, you don’t put avowed opponents of the accused on a jury any more than you put friends, employees, or cousins of the accused on a jury. Either way you go with it, that was all screwed up. If a study committee, why no minority report? If a jury, why were adversaries of the accused allowed on it?

See my answer above regarding the study committee. Also, Doug’s objection neatly disregards a few salient facts. As mentioned before, for FIVE YEARS at least, the proponents of the FV have industriously spreading their message, it has reached and affected churches as far away as Eastern Europe. In order to become the report of the PCA the study committee paper had to receive a favorable vote. Now, if the majority of PCA presbyters liked the FV, you could have had the most negative report in history and it wouldn’t have made a difference, they still wouldn’t have voted in favor of the report. The fact that over 90% of the PCA voted for the report is not due to the fact that we all like RC Sproul (and who doesn’t?), but that the vast majority of presbyters exposed to the FV have responded negatively because IT ISN’T SCRIPTURAL OR CONFESSIONAL AND THEY KNOW IT. The FV men would like us to believe that the PCA is entirely filled with gullible twits who know nothing about any issue and will automatically adopt anything that a study committee sets before them and that the same is true of the OPC, BPC, RPCUS, RCUS, and every other denomination that has condemned the FV. The actual fact is that wherever it is presented, the FV fails the “smell test” hands down. Now, given that the clear indication is that one must either repent or leave, the FVers instead choose option three, attack the church as being shepherded by a bunch of politicking ignoramuses.

10. This last October, the SJC approved the complaints against Louisiana, and have indicted Louisiana to appear and explain itself. We are all now waiting to see how that turns out.

Got all that? And so now we return to the original question, the one that Andy was replying to. Andy made all these points without interacting at all with the points I have been raising. So here they come again, in short form, in just a minute.

But first, let us by-pass the mysterious failure of charges to appear from within Louisiana. Let us wonder no more about it. Let us pretend that that didn’t happen, and let us pretend that the PCA really is dealing with an anomalous situation, where charges from within are impossible, and yet something absolutely must be done. A big pretend, but let’s do it, shall we? After all, we can put out of our minds the fact that seven members of the Louisiana Presbytery were able to file a complaint with the SJC, but somehow their ability to file charges from within the Presbytery was beyond their ken. Look, I am not asking you to believe it. Let’s just pretend that we are okay with how the SJC got this mess on their agenda.

See the above explanations detailing WHY and HOW no trial was able to be brought against Steve Wilkins from within LA Presbytery. Additionally, please note that Doug is speaking as though it is impossible for a Presbytery to act to screen a member they like or agree with from valid charges. The PCA’s own experience in the PCUS flatly contradicts this, that is precisely what happened again and again to thwart conservatives from dealing judicially with notorious liberals. BCO 34-1 and 40-5 were actually good rules generated by actual historical circumstances, namely a Presbytery consistently voting not to investigate a member clearly out of accord with the Standards, or if an investigation occurred, deciding again and again that there was nothing meriting a trial.

Now, given this, the questions I have been raising are basic, and Andy’s claim that the PCA has been moving at glacial speeds does nothing whatever to answer my concerns. Glacially slow injustice is still injustice. So here are my questions again.

Will Louisiana be charged with failure to indict Wilkins, or failure to convict Wilkins?

If the former, then a full trial for Wilkins, not Louisiana, will have to be held in some venue, and Wilkins will have to go into that trial with the full presumption of innocence, right? I am asking Andy here. Right?

To tell the truth Doug, at this point, I don’t know what the SJC will do in regards to Louisiana and Steve Wilkins. Personally, I am content that judicial action has finally begun to deal with a highly active and industrious proponent of a theology that both the PCA and OPC have overwhelmingly declared to be contrary to our Standards. My hope is that by this process God would be glorified, the purity of His church would be defended, and that ultimately the advocates of the FV would hear the church and abandon their attempts to promulgate an erroneous theology. I also hope that unlike so many denominations in the past when it came to discipline and who allowed error to thrive and grow by failing to cast it out, we will not grow weary in well doing, and would strive to continue until there are no longer ordained men teaching FV theology within the PCA. I hope that all the denominations that have condemned the FV will do likewise.

If the latter, if the charge is a failure to convict Wilkins, then how can this be sustained when Wilkins has not yet had his day in court? And when every setting where he has been able to answer questions (not in a trial setting) has been dismissed? So when will the SJC arrange for a trial for Wilkins, with the full presumption of innocence, so that they can then charge Louisiana with a failure to convict him?

It seems to me that two distinct issues have to be dealt with: 1) Louisiana’s decision not to indict Wilkins when his written materials clearly indicate that he is out of accord with core doctrines in the Confession (admittedly not to the satisfaction of the FV which alternately redefines the meaning of the Confession, declares their theology an improvement on the Confession, or declares the Confession out of accord with the teaching of scripture). 2) Then at some point, if he continues in maintaining the FV, Wilkins will have to be tried.

I will not attempt to speculate how the SJC will deal with these matters, but the “mess” you describe is the making of the FV and Louisiana, not the SJC or the PCA. The fact that we won’t tolerate the continued presence of serious theological error in our denomination is a good thing, even when dealing with it is difficult.

And last, as Louisiana comes to appear before the SJC, do they have the full presumption of innocence, and is the burden of proof on the prosecution? Does the prosecution have to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that Louisiana was negligent in their second interview of Wilkins? Or does Louisiana have to prove their innocence, as one member of the Commission (at least in part) thought?

These are basic questions, and Andy has given us a history lesson covering the whole saga. But he has not answered the questions. So, Andy, is Louisiana innocent before the SJC until the prosecution proves them guilty in open court? And are they judicially innocent of a charge of “failure to indict,” or are they judicially innocent of a charge of “failure to convict?” And if the latter, when will Wilkins have his trial? And does he have the presumption of innocence?

Or are you of the conviction that obviously guilty people shouldn’t have fair trials?

See above. LA was clearly found to be in error in not indicting Steve Wilkins given the overwhelming evidence of a serious departure from the Standards. That problem is being dealt with via our judicial process spelled out in the BCO. Trials should be as fair as they can be this side of the final judgment, I am reasonably sure that if it comes to a trial, Steve Wilkins will get a trial that is equitable and follows the BCO. But the FV doesn’t want any trial that concludes that one of their advocates is teaching a serious error, they want a trial that maintains their ability to go on teaching the FV or whatever the next theology is we begin “claiming” our FREEDOM! to teach. It’s interesting to me how the post-theonomic FV community is now screaming for their right to theological autonomy, a very popular and up-to-date American position.

When it comes to the FV, from the very beginning we’ve been hit with “so prove it’s an error” arguments, we’ve done that and they are never satisfied, all we hear is “doesn’t prove it” and then later “you’ve never proved it.” There is no court, no trial, no debate, no colloquium, no paper, no book, no sign we can perform that will ever meet their standard for proving the FV is an error. In that respect, the whole process reminds me of past dialogues with Roman Catholic apologists. There is a wall of infallibility that simply cannot be scaled.

Anyway Doug, since you asked me my opinions of fair trials, please allow me to ask a couple of questions about your opinions on the matter of church discipline:

1) Do you believe that not only church members but church officers have a right to scrupulously fair trials conducted strictly according to an established written procedure, including the ability to face their accusers, see and present their own evidence etc. before any sort of verdict is rendered or censure administered?

2) Do you believe that the judicial decisions of other denominations should be respected, particularly in regard to excommunication or deposition from office, and that the practice of receiving members or officers who are currently being tried is unsound?

Thanks in advance,

Andy Webb

Re: Response to Doug Wilson

Hi Andy:

I don’t know; our denomination has ruled his messed-up paradigm out of bounds. Do you really think that you need to dignify his idiocy with an answer anymore? To what end? It’s just throwing pearls before swine now.

It’s all just the same garbage over and over from those guys now. They’ve been marginalized, so old Doug feels that he doesn’t have a shot at the golden ring now. His chances of getting the “Reformer of the Year” are diminished somewhat, so he screams. So what? Did anyone expect anything else?

I certainly wouldn’t feel led to an exchange, but dear sir, you probably have more patience than I.

Have you set a limit on the exchange? This would be prudent, I think.

In Christ,

Dan Landis

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Re: “Attack from Moscow”

I lifted this post from an exchange addressing the recent “Attack From Moscow” from the The Warfield List. I rejoice to see that the number of Christians who see through Wilson and his Kirk Klux Klan appears to grow everyday.

Hi Jeff,

I’m currently in NJ visiting with family and trying desperately to get the evening sermon finished before drive-time tomorrow, so technically I shouldn’t even be writing any non-essential email, but I did want to add a few quick comments.

For several years after I became Reformed, I was an avid reader of Doug Wilson’s books and Credenda Agenda. I particularly appreciated his and his wife’s books on marriage and family, and recommended them to others. I frequently got a good chuckle (usually at the expense of others) from his witty but acerbic letters and columns. In time, the chuckling became something I began to feel guilty about, and I became more and more concerned about the acid and the trajectory of his overall theology. In particular, his veneration of all things medieval began to really bug me, and even though I am an opponent of federalism and a fan of southern Presbyterian theology, the pro-slavery kick was much more than I could bear. The various public scandals and then private conversations with ex-Christ Kirkers were the icing on the cake (for documentary and audio evidence of what I’m referring to, please see dougsplotch). “Reformed” is Not Enough only serve to confirm my growing concerns. Today, I neither recommend his ministry or his writings to others.

I have no doubt that a minister in a connectional denomination that had effective oversight, review and control would have either been removed from his position or caused to resign a long time ago. Had not Wilson worked hard to ensure that he is functionally accountable only to himself, that might have already happened. Additionally, the current practice of growing the CREC by “crash landing” (to use another blogger’s apt phrase) churches from other denominations and ministers who have either been or are about to be or have been disciplined by their mother denominations is hardly a safe or advisable practice. Obviously it’s hard for a Reformed church to become cult-like, but sadly Christ Church has already accumulated many of the marks. Unfortunately, Jeff, your comments and the comments of others pointing out the obvious and growing problems with Wilson’s ministry and denomination will only garner you more “attacks from Moscow,” experience has shown that infallibility is merely one of many RC doctrines that Wilson has co-opted.

Anyway, I’m saddened by the recent beyond-the-pale lashing out at Mattes, but not surprised, there is much more where that came from, I just hope that this might precipitate the moment where we finally have the public equivalent of the McCarthy/Welch exchange. Mattes’ best response to Wilson’s libelous blog post might simply be Welch’s famous rejoinder, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

Your Servant in Christ,

Andy Webb

Hi Andy, all:

First off, I wanted to post a short (1:56) MP3 of an arrangement/orchestration of Bach’s Brandenburg No. 4 in G Major (up until the violin [or harpsichord, depending on which version one prefers] solo) I arranged to offer to the list for a happy Thanksgiving. I’m not sure how to this, or even if I have access to do so. I’ll take a shot at it, bit if you or anyone has sage wisdom as to how to do this before I descend into the time-consuming abyss of the Yahoo cyber-maze, I’d appreciate it. If anyone wants to request it, I’ll send it directly to you. I hope that you enjoy it.

But what you and Jeff write is not a surprise is it? For years now, it has been apparent that the FV really is just the Reformed equivalent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Check out the parallels between the agenda of the main cult leaders and Wilson and you can get the flavor (Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults is great for background on these leaders). This is one small reason why, as helpful as the liberal model is in helping to understand the FV (particularly as it affects established conservative denominations), the cult model, with its ability to analyze integrating the post-modern theological syncretism (the FVaries demonstrate with no regard at all for systematic context), will inevitably be more helpful in understanding the error of the FVaries.

Wilson, I have heard, is absolutely irate about having his views marginalized. We can certainly expect more rants from him and his buddies. So far (until the series of reports condemning the FV from conservative denoms and seminaries), the FV existed being viewed by many as somewhat akin to an eccentric cousin within the Reformed family. Now, it is outed as simply a bastard son pretending to be THE heir, a self-deluded pretender to the throne. This is the fount from which the venom spews.

In Christ,

Dan Landis
Church of the Covenant OPC

I find it interesting that the response to Wilson is to attack and discount him rather than even attempt to deal in any serious way with the substance of his arguments. I thought his questioning of basic fairness and burden of proof were troubling and would welcome meaningful interaction with them rather than personal attacks and name-calling.

Jack Wilson
Covenant OPC

Hi Jack,

Sorry about the lateness of this reply, I have been incredibly busy of late.

Jack, what I wrote was not intended to be an ad hom against Wilson. I have nothing against the man personally. Rather it was intended to be an appeal to a wise maxim that your mentor R.C. Sproul long ago taught me when considering an assertion: “consider the source.”

As one of the primary promoters and publishers of the Federal Vision, Doug Wilson is hardly an unbiased observer of the current process of church discipline against FV advocates in the PCA, especially given the CREC’s “odd” (to put it very mildly) practice of church discipline and respect for the discipline of other denominations. Additionally, as the scorn liberally heaped on your own denomination’s report on the FV shows, the advocates of the FV have made clear that any action of any church court that condemns them or their theology will be attacked and vilified and the bona fides and intelligence of those who prepared it shredded. For instance, after the OPC report was released, we watched as the men who prepared it went from being scholars to disingenuous buffoons. Simply put, the only way the FV community will consider a report “fair” and the scholars who prepared it “wise” is if it approves of their theology, or at least doesn’t condemn it. So it really doesn’t matter what process is used by the courts of the church to discipline FV advocates, the very fact that the process is underway will always be “unfair” because there can never be merit in a case that attacks their orthodoxy. Under normal circumstances, when a doctrine is overwhelmingly condemned by every orthodox Reformed denomination and seminary that studies it and produces a report, you would expect that assertions that the study process is always unfair would begin to sound hollow even to those promulgating them, but instead we still hear all the time from the FV that the real problem is a “vast TR conspiracy” and not their own unscriptural and unconfessional (to use the declaration of the OPC report) theology.

But setting aside the source of the criticism for a moment, and the impossibility of there ever being a “fair” method of condemning their theology (theoretically, if they all condemned themselves, that might be considered fair) let’s try to lay out some broad outlines of the case against Wilkins with some background that seems to be frequently omitted, please keep in mind that the following is all from memory:
  1. Steve Wilkins is a member of Louisiana Presbytery (hereafter LA Presbytery) a tiny Presbytery of 8 Churches with a great deal of theological affinity and considerable support for both the NPP and FV. For instance, Jeff Steel, former pastor of an LA Presbytery church, went on to become Father Jeffrey Steel and an assistant to N.T. Wright. Simply put, this is not a Presbytery where an attachment to the FV or NPP is considered odd.

  2. Steve Wilkins own attachment to the FV is unquestionable. Before the FV was called the FV it was generally known as the “Auburn Avenue Theology” after Wilkins church which sponsored conferences promoting it. The name Federal Vision was coined by these advocates and used as the title of their manifesto, The Federal Vision printed by Athanasius Press, the publishing arm of Auburn Avenue PCA. Wilkins has an essay in this book.

  3. Despite the size of the Presbytery attempts have been made to bring charges against Wilkins by members of the presbytery. These attempts have never produced a trial because the Presbytery has consistently refused to do so.

  4. In January of 2005 Central Carolina PCA Presbytery wrote to LA Presbytery expressing their concerns with the published statements of Steve Wilkins and requesting that his views be formally examined. This was done by means of questioning Wilkins, and despite giving several answers that either contradicted or substantially revised the Westminster Standards, LA Presbytery determined there was nothing chargeable in Wilkins views.

  5. Given that no action against Wilkins was available from within the LA Presbytery, several Presbyteries determined that it was time to use the BCO 34-1 clause, this clause presses the General Assembly to assume original jurisdiction because a presbytery has refused to act in a doctrinal case or a case of scandal. (The clause was written into the BCO at the founding of the PCA because of memories of the old PCUS “rotten presbytery” problem were liberals became the majority in a particular presbytery and did whatever they wanted.) They include written evidence from Wilkins published writings showing where he was manifestly out of accord with the Standards. This attempt to use 34-1 failed because the SJC determined that the investigation by LA Presbytery met the requirement to “act” of 34-1.

  6. Central Carolina Presbytery however, in its memorial to the General Assembly also memorialized the SJC (BCO 40-5) calling upon them to look into the actions of LA Presbytery regard Wilkins as matters of important delinquency and/or grossly unconstitutional proceedings. This call was taken up and the LA Presbytery was called to account for its actions in re: Steve Wilkins before the SJC.

  7. The LA Presbytery defense of their actions was unsuccessful, and even the representative they sent expressed his own reservations in regard to the incongruities between Wilkin’s published statements and spoken testimony. The SJC determined that our memorial was in order, and that LA Presbytery had erred both in the methodology of their investigation and in their decision to exonerate TE Wilkins. The SJC then voted unanimously to redress the situation, instructing LA Presbytery to reinvestigate using the new guidelines they were given by February of 2007. The SJC decision on this point was unanimous.

  8. LA Presbytery again examined and exonerated Steve Wilkins by a 13-8 vote in January of 2007. The following month 7 members of LA Presbytery filed a complaint (43-1) regarding the decision of LA Presbytery to exonerate Wilkins. This also went to the SJC.

  9. In the meantime, the PCA in June of 2007 overwhelmingly condemned the FV theology at its GA by accepting a study report which judged it to be unscriptural and unconfessional just as the OPC, BPC, RPCUS, RCUS, etc. already had.

  10. In October the SJC decision in favor of both the members of LA Presbytery who complained against the decision to exonerate AND the original Central Carolina memorial and have indicted LA Presbytery calling it to appear to explain its actions in this matter.
In short brother, this has been a long and by-the-book judicial dealing with a man who unquestionably holds to the FV — a doctrinal system that both your and my denomination have already overwhelmingly condemned in their published study reports. The idea that this is “unfair” can only be cogent if like most FV advocates you reject all processes that have condemned the FV and utterly reject the idea that the FV could ever be unorthodox. But to turn this GLACIAL, plodding, step-by-step, vote-by-vote, reaffirmation-by- overwhelming-reaffirmation process into some sort of modern day Council of Constance is just silly. (Not that it’s relevant but it strikes me that had the Roman Catholics been using this process during the Reformation, most of the martyrs would have died not at the stake but of old age.)

Your Servant in Christ,

Andy Webb

Andy Webb and Dan Landis, to you I wish to say,

Thank you.

Disappeared in the Night

U P D A T E :
Yesterday at this time Google said something to the effect that the owner blocked Google’s access, similar to the message that gives for I assume that Lawyer has now unblocked the block.

Douglas Wilson’s “personal assistant,” Mike Lawyer, has removed Wilson’s knife from Bob Mattes’ back by secretly pulling his offensive email from his website. And in typical Kirk fashion, Lawyer has not apologized and he has not repented because, in his mind, removing the post makes it as though nothing happened. “What post are you talking about? There’s nothing there.” Welcome to the land of DUMB, where deception is reality.

Last night Andy Gilman posted a link to Mr. Lawyer’s blog, but this morning the link was dead. So another brother posted a link to Google’s cache display of the post, which worked fine for me, but within hours Mr. Lawyer killed Google’s access to it.

Now it’s gone — disappeared in the night — and monkey boys everywhere can rest assured that their Fearless Leader’s assistant did no wrong.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Separation of Kirk and Hate

A few days ago a couple of Douglas Wilson’s monkey boys denied that Wilson had any involvement with As usual, the facts showed otherwise. So I tried accessing hatesplotch from to point others to it, but it says,

We’re sorry, access to has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.

I am really disappointed in the leadership of Christ Church, Moscow, for not allowing their testimony to stand. If you’re ashamed of it, then you should apologize. If you’re not ashamed of it, then reload it for your national audience to read.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Memo to Anyone with Wilson’s Silverware in Their Backs

As I read the WorldMagBlog thread referenced by Patrick Poole (below), I came across an interesting comment (#74) by Dr. William Ramsey, who co-authored Southern Slavery As It Wasn’t: Professional Historians Respond to Neo-Confederate Misinformation, which was a response to Wilson’s and Wilkins’ Southern Slavery As It Was. Dr. Ramsey also wrote the “The Late Unpleasantness in Idaho: Southern Slavery and the Culture Wars,” which has this quote:

In an angry letter to the university provost, Wilson claimed that the book review was “slanderous” and “defamatory” and demanded disciplinary action and a public apology, while Atwood wrote a similar letter to the president. Failing to get the desired response, Wilson wrote to Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne asking him to step in and “remove the University of Idaho as a launching pad for their mortar rounds.”

Wilson also asked the governor to make the men apologize to him, if you can believe that! What a petulant little child. But I digress. Please notice Dr. Ramsey’s comment:

My opposition to Douglas Wilson began as a naive effort to combat historical misinformation and academic dishonesty with respect to the history of southern slavery. In my experience of the recorded documentary history of the American South, his views were incorrect, and I said so. I have suffered for it in more ways than most people can imagine. I am not a God-hater. But if your pro-slavery literalist interpretation of God’s word demands an earthly enemy, my e-mail address is I am happy to speak with you personally and anonymously with no regard for public relations. God Damn me to Hell.

Dr. William L. Ramsey
Assistant Professor
University of Idaho

Posted by: Willliam Ramsey at April 25, 2005 01:56 AM

Mark this: “I have suffered for it in more ways than most people can imagine.” If Wilson has you in his crosshairs, then you must understand that you are dealing with a ruthless, hateful, vindictive SOB (Son of Belial), who will stop at nothing to exact his revenge. Be careful.

Thank you.

Wilsonistas Gone Wild! ! ! !

A couple of days ago we witnessed Pastor Douglas Wilson’s flying monkey boys pollute the Internet with comments in defense of their Fearless Leader. For the record, this was not the first time it happened; witness Patrick Poole — that man “who acts with integrity.”

Thursday, February 16, 2006
Wilsonistas Gone Wild! ! ! !
Following up on my post from yesterday, “The Mendacious Mullah of Moscow,” I’ve received a torrent of hate mail — all of which curiously originates from residents of Moscow, Idaho. The letters all follow along the same lines, making me wonder if there isn’t some “insert the adjective” webmail form letter over at The letters generally run as follows:

Dear Reformed Reprobate,

Greetings in Christ! I am a member at Christ Church/I’m a student at New St. Andrews/I’m on staff at Logos Schools/I’m married to one of the Great Leader’s children, and I wanted you to know how much I would love to put the serrated edge against your throat for daring to question the wisdom of our Great Leader, but as a fellow brother/sister in Christ, I will refrain from doing so (at least at the moment, you presbyterian pig). Our Great Leader vanquishes his foes merely by the word of his power and pen, so where do you get off saying negative things without having submitted yourself to the higher knowledge that proceeds from our Great Leader’s mouth and keyboard?

I just read on our Great Leader’s blog his recent instructions not to speak, hear, or think, let alone blog, about anything with reference to the Great Leader’s liquor distributor, friend, and future CREC colleague, R.C. Sproul, Jr.; and if it’s on his blog, I believe it and that settles it. If fact, I didn’t even permit myself to think about it as I was just writing about it. How dare you consider yourself a Christian and believe that you too can blog on the same topics as the Great Leader!

But you take your spiritual rebellion even one step further and blaspheme our Great Leader by challenging the infallibility of his version of events in the matter that I’m not even allowed to remember. And how can you claim to know any truth living so far away from the Moscow Mecca? Our Great Leader only speaks truth, only thinks truth, and IS truth, you wretched revisionist! If you have doubts, you should register your doubts with the Great Leader’s Judicial Committee, who will legitimate anything our Great Leader says, including verifying any unsigned documents he might provide as evidence to rebut your witness, in order to quickly dispel your heretical notions about the Great Leader’s unquestioned truthfulness.

If that doesn’t convince you, your only recourse is to register an official complaint with the Cult of Personality Committee of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Cults, who’s first task will be to examine if you first followed Matthew 18 before you dared to question the Great Leader’s veracity. And they will show you no mercy, you covenant-breaking non-paedo-communionist!

It is people like you that sow seeds of doubt amongst the weaker brothers and sisters of the True Kirk and feed the evil that dare not be named (Dr. Terry Morin — ed.). Since you posted your blog article after our weekly Wednesday afternoon imprecatory prayer session, we will have to wait another week before we pray down the Great Leader’s Righteous Justice upon you for your scurrilous sacrilege. My sincerest hope in life is that you rot in eternal fires of Blog and Mablog for your crimes, or are at least satirized as a macaroni dish in the forthcoming issue of Credenda/Agenda. But even that terrible fate will not compare to the eternal horror should the Great Leader set his steely gaze and his poisoned pen upon you. Prepare to meet your fate, reprobate!

Peace in Christ and death to all infidels,


Again, this is generally how the hate mail runs, so I admit to taking some literary license here. But anyone who has ever been on the working end of a Wilsonista jihad will know that I’m not that far off the mark. While the Great Leader is quite fond of repeatedly noting the “fellowship of the grievance,” aka the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy, this is far from a strictly anti-Wilson sect.

It was last year that I began noticing whenever anything that could even be slightly construed as negative was said on the Internet about the Sultan of Subjectivity that the same cast of characters would magically appear out of thin air to fiercely attack not just any criticism of Wilson, but savage the critics themselves.

The best example I can remember was the hatchet-job that the Great Leader engineered against Knox Seminary professor Cal Beisner in a WorldMagBlog discussion last April (this is lengthy, but please bear with me).

At issue was a brief article published by WORLD (follow the link and go down to “Doug Wilson and Slavery”) concerning the Southern Slavery As It Was plagiarism flap. Wilson immediately showed up on the scene in the comment section (Comment #7) to rake WORLD over for daring to mention the flap and for not abiding by his interpretation of the facts. In his opening comment, he attacked the credibility of WORLD because they chose to quote someone he didn’t like. Here’s his opening post in its entirety:

I have gone back and forth on whether to say anything, but it seems to me that this is an venue where we can have a courteous discussion about this, particularly since comments were invited. That said, the article was extremely disappointing. World magazine weighed into a local controversy when they simply didn’t have the background on it (despite having plenty of time). For local Christians here in Moscow, it is hard to swallow when our fellow believers at World quote someone who lives in the Ward Churchill universe as some kind of authority. I did not take this story as any kind of attack on us, but as a news story it failed, at a number of points. Disappointing. I don’t want to have to start reading all World articles with the nagging thought in the back of my mind — do they do this kind of thing in their other reporting? I hope not. Doug Wilson (Comment #7)

Did you catch that sleight of hand? Anyone in academia is compared to Ward Churchill. WORLD quotes someone in academia, so he is concerned about the quality of all their reporting. How’s that for charity? But this was just the beginning.

In short order, Nate Wilson showed up (Comment #30) to attack someone who questioned his father’s very generous definition of plagiarism. By the time the Great Leader made his next significant statement (Comment #55), the “Suffering Servant” messiah complex was in full bloom. The Wilsonistas had already laid the rhetorical groundwork for that:

I’d say pastor Wilson is operating right in the footsteps of the Christ. And if you had your way, I’ll bet there’s a nice bald hill somewhere on the Palouse, where you would end his life just as the Pharisees ended those of the Christ that he follows! (Comment #49)

Anyone attacking Wilson was now a Pharisee re-crucifying Christ! But hold on; I’m not even getting started yet!

No sooner had someone cited the New St. Andrews catalog on plagiarism (Comment #63), then the Great Leader was back armed with a fable to explain it all away (Comment #69). Ignore the man behind the curtain! When everyone did not take the bait, he claimed to call it quits (Comment #80).

After that, Cal Beisner arrived (Comments #101 & 103) citing an ANTITHESIS article that Wilson had written, “Wrestling with Wesley,” where Wilson charged John Wesley with plagiarism for treating texts in exactly the same manner as Wilson/Wilkins had handled the disputed portions of SSAIW, which, he was desperate to explain, was really carelessness, not plagiarism at all. Cal later cited another instance (Comment #132) where scores of students had been expelled and had degrees revoked for the same kind of text lifting that had occurred with SSAIW.

In all fairness, Cal’s comments were not an attack on Wilson and the charity and friendship he has exhibited towards Wilson is well known. If anything, Cal had been the most reasonable voice in the Auburn Avenue wars and went out of his way to give Wilson, et al. a fair hearing by raising the funding and chairing the the Auburn Avenue Colloquium to give those men ample opportunity to explain their views. Additionally, Cal had a book published a while ago by Canon Press, Evangelical Heathenism. With credentials like that, it is difficult to cast him into the category of the “fellowship of the grievance” or an “intolerista.”

The plot thickened when Cal made the following statement with reference to Wilson’s book:

Let me make my position clear: SSAIW is historical trash, as demonstrated by a number of written critiques (including McKenzie’s — which, along with Wilson’s response and McKenzie’s rejoinder, I have read). It also makes the stupid error of equating Southern black chattel slavery, which, founded on manstealing, was sinful, with the types of slavery (bonded servanthood, slavery to pay debts, slavery as punishment for crime, or slavery as alternative to death in warfare) countenanced (under carefully regulated conditions) in the Bible. But by lack of training in historical research, or by mistakes in logic, or both, one may argue in substance what Wilkins and Wilson argued while not being vulnerable to serious moral censure. Plagiarism, for someone who, like Wilson, had demonstrated that he knew better (in his essay on Wesley and the policies of NSA), is another matter. (Comment #139)

Whether it was Cal’s comment, or the appearance of the evil that dare not be named (Dr. Terry Morin — Comment #121), that provoked the following attack on Cal, no one may ever know:

Hello, I couldn’t help it. I tried putting myself in time-out until I calmed down, but I got loose when I wasn’t looking, and so here I come, cannon balling into the fracas.

The real disappointment is Cal Beisner, who ought to know better. How tedious to see him be so dishonest with the facts. He is manipulating his definitions to smear Doug. Either that, or he has absolutely no sense of proportion or wisdom. I have sat on a number of disciplinary hearing committees for plagiarism, and there is a big difference between someone who has plagiarized and someone who has made a major gaffe in their citations. One is carelessness and the other is deceit. I am completely baffled by Beisner, a college instructor, and his refusal to make this distinction. What a scary thought to be the student of a man who won’t acknowledge the difference. Or is there another motivation in trying to get a plagiarism charge to stick against Doug?

Does anybody else think it is odd that all the hullabaloo is aimed at Doug, when the portions of the work that are being featured in our various tirades were all actually Wilkins’ sections? Is it maybe because the point is not plagiarism, but actually the chance to go after Wilson? Here’s an interesting parallel: Rose Huskey (who posted above) has made herself a little cottage industry here in Moscow out of bringing charges against anything that Doug Wilson touches. And she regularly insists that it has nothing to do with her hatred for Doug Wilson; it is the principle of the law that she is concerned about. But she has been provided with a number of other local churches which are violating the same law (as she reads it) and to the same degree, yet she turns them the blind eye. Beisner’s singling out of Wilson smacks of a similar zeal for righteousness.

Very principled.

By the way, I don’t think there is any need to go after Wilkins. He has handled the whole thing quite admirably and is a very honorable man. Wilkins has the sort of wisdom to make the distinctions that Beisner is missing. I only bring him in to point out the inconsistency of the men with the Doug-complex. (Comment #150)

Cal is “dishonest with the facts”; he was “manipulating his definitions to smear Doug”; he had “no sense of proportion or wisdom”; he couldn’t discern the distinction between carelessness and deceit; he had a “Doug-complex.” The Wilsonista jihad was on.

What made this comment so interesting, apart from its vicious and condescending spirit, is that it bore a very familiar name: Douglas Wilson. The email address it bore, however, was also familiar to those who take note of the Kirk Krusaders: This email belongs to Ben Merkle, Wilson’s son-in-law. Remember, Wilson had said that he was taking his leave of the discussion. What could possibly be going on? Surely some machination of the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy was afoot and up to no good!

Immediately, one of Diotrephes Doug’s devoted disciples and regular Blog and Mablog commentors, Valerie, began attacking the commentator who pointed out the bizarre scenario unfolding before the readers, attempting to provide an explanation as to how such could have “accidentally” happened. In short order, Wilson himself reappeared out of thin air to explain it all:

This really is Doug Wilson, and I know I said I wasn’t going to post anymore. Events overtook me. Anyhow, Ben Merkle, my son-in-law, posted from our computer at our home, and through an unfortunate computer deal, the post that he wrote from here showed up over my name. Anyhow, I would like to take this opportunity to accuse Ben of plagiarism, and demand a full apology. (Comment #157)

Yep, no coordinated attacks on Cal Beisner from the very heart of Moscow Mecca to be found here! Just a keystone cops series of events! Following his father-in-law’s laughable lead, Merkle chimed in:

Yipes. The earlier post, which begins with “Hello, I couldn’t help it” was written by me, Ben Merkle. I was visiting at Doug and Nancy’s when I typed it. I managed to get in my email address, but somehow missed that Doug’s name had automatically appeared in the name slot. It was me. I take full credit for it. I hang my head way way low.

Wait. Hold on a second. Darn it, it happened again! Doug Wilson’s name hanging up there taking credit for somebody else’s work. Plagiarist! Holocaust denier! Horse thief! (Comment #160)

Can you hear the nervousness in their laughter increasing? Wilson had to keep the laughter going:

No, wait. It was his writing, and my name, so I was the one guilty of plagiarism on this one. Is that right? We need a determination from the line judge. Seriously, that was not a set-up. Not done on purpose. Pure accident and computer glitch. But still, my name showed up under Ben’s writing. Should I confess to plagiarism? Given some of the argumentation above, why not? (Comment #161)

Ha ha! Chuckle, chuckle! But no apology for the clearly coordinated backstab to Cal Beisner. Demand all the charity you want — this was a planned hit.

Professional Wilson apologist Tim Bayly (follow the link to his blog and check out the posts in recent weeks by he and his brother, David, shouting down any criticsm of Wilson and Sproul, Jr.) showed up to cover-up the hatchet job with a Wilson lovefest:

My brother, David, and I want to state publicly our support for Christ Church, her pastors and elders. You may read our fuller comments on our blog found here.

May God bless Pastor Doug Wilson as he confesses our most holy Faith. (Comment #177)

Wilson is confessing “our most holy Faith,” so his opponents must not be. Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Cult (CREC) members quickly gathered to join the happy chorus (Comments #222 & 223) to make sure that any discussion of the bungled attack on Beisner was quickly shoved out of sight. But the attacks on all members of the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy continued over at Blog and Mablog for more than a week afterwards:
  • “Boethius Counting His Toes” — where he describes his critics on WorldMagBlog as “a weird coalition of lesbians, evangelicals, secularists, anti-Auburn avenue folks, and pro-abortionists.”
  • “Son of Can’t Tell the Players” — where he spins the discussion and Beisner’s comments by stating that “Cal joined up with overt enemies of Christ and His gospel, trying to make the same point they were making, with no apparent sense of who his friends and enemies actually were”; yeah, real charitable. . .
  • “My Relationship with WORLD — where he admits to browbeating WORLD publisher, Joel Belz, before the WORLD reporters even interviewed him to avoid having to address the plagiarism issue; also note the ritual denunciation of “intoleristas,” etc.
  • “Me and Steve” — where he wrings the admission of sloppiness out of Steve Wilkins that he refuses to give regarding the plagiarism in their SSAIW book.
  • “Gettysburg Do-Over” — where he revisits the criticisms from the WorldMagBlog discussion in an environment that HE controls.
  • “Biblical Absolutism” — addressing Beisner, Wilson says that his interpretation is the only one truly faithful to Scripture.
  • “Kick It Up a Notch” — where he thanks his supporters for doing his dirty work during the WorldMagBlog brawl and takes his rightful place upon the Credenda/Agenda cross to suffer for the sins of the “intoleristas.”
If you’ve followed me thus far, I hope that I’ve identified the malicious methodology of the Great Leader and his followers: de l’attack, encore de l’attack, et toujours de l’attack; et Le Mullah est sauve!

When you see it spelled out like this in blow-by-blow detail as I’ve laid out examining the coordinated attack on Cal Beisner, the abusive patterns are easier to see. It truly is heartbreakingly tragic. Really. The blind, unquestioning faith that the Wilsonistas place in their Great Leader makes it all acceptable. So I have been hardly surprised by the hate mail I’ve been getting from the Wilsonistas. This is the behavior they are taught is normal; any attack on Wilson is by anti-Christs or those who are only “objectively” Christian, but have aligned themselves with the forces of pure evil. Even better, they have the whole theology and ecclesiastical system to back it all up. Much like The Matrix.

I have some further thoughts and responses to some of issues raised in the hate mail that I want to respond to, but the hour is late (or early, as the case may be) and I’m going to take my leave to get some overdue rest. Stay tuned!

Thank you.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Federal Correction

Mr. Dave Glasebrook has written several comments trying to correct assertions I made in this post. I deleted his comments because he insists on using my blog as his platform to advance Wilson’s abusive agenda. However, he does make a point, writing,

Please refresh my memory about letters and phone calls to employers seeking termination of employees because they wrote the plain truth about Wilson. Please tell me when I wrote to the Spokesman Review demanding the termination of a reporter. That is false.

To be fair, Mr. Glasebrook makes an excellent clarification. He never wrote any letters to The Spokesman Review demanding the termination of a reporter. He did it all by phone. In fact, he did it after she wrote these two articles. I know this because she told me (she laughed, saying, “My editor thinks he’s a nut!”), so it’s not as though Mr. Glasebrook effectively chilled anyone. Nevertheless, I appreciate his calling this to my attention and I apologize for any offense I may have caused.

Thank you.

Red-Hot Hutchinson

If webblog rankings are an accurate measure of success, then Dr. Jeff Hutchinson should reconsider his decision to step down from moderating Green Bagginses. Check this out.

Or maybe we should attribute the sizzle to Douglas Wilson’s duplicity. Dr. Hutchinson only called attention to Wilson’s knife in Bob Mattes’ back.

I say that Jeff should give it a week to flesh it out.

Thank you.

The Mendacious Mullah of Moscow

Patrick Poole really knows how to turn a phrase, and he’s not bad at turning the blade either. As you read this, make a mental note that everything Wilson asked the world to do vis-à-vis RC Jr, he has refused to do in the Wilkins case. And make another note that Douglas Wilson says that Patrick Poole acts with integrity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The Mendacious Mullah of Moscow

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” — Proverbs 12:22

Here’s a joke: How do you know Doug Wilson is lying? His fingers are typing.

The most recent example of this is his blog post from over the weekend with reference to the R.C. Sproul, Jr. scandal, entitled: “R.C. Sproul Jr.” A Justice Primer. Now the fact that he equates his mendacity with justice is full of all kinds of pathetic irony, but I am struck with how utterly we can become so invested in the lie that we are forced to continue with it even when it is in our own best interest to be truthful. Such is the case with the Moscow Mullah.

Before I address the substance of his obstinate obfuscation, let me just point out that Douggie can’t claim to be ignorant of the facts of the matter: his statement makes it clear that he represents to be in the know. Also, the facts under consideration are a matter of public record. Anyone choosing to take fifteen seconds to do an Internet search can view practically the entire body of evidence at issue (if you’re too lazy for that, go here). So this clearly is not about Douggie not understanding nor having insufficient evidence to know what is going on as he is blog bloviating.

The Pasha of the Palouse tells us: “Responsible Christians everywhere should wait patiently while these responsible adults sort this one out.” And just who are these responsible Christians that he refers to? The RPCGA, the former (note the qualification here) denomination of R.C. Sproul, Jr. and his Gang of Ecclesiastical Thugs (known in the 1970s as R.C. and the Reprobate Band). Douggie apparently puts himself in that category of “adult” as well (LMAO!).

But the assumption that he is wanting you — no — is demanding that you make, and which predicates the entirety of his statement, is that the RPCGA is still involved in adjudicating the case of these defrocked degenerates. If this were true, he would be entirely in the right in terms of telling everyone to pipe down to allow these men a fair hearing, though he would have no more authority to say it than any other blogger. However, the assumption he is peddling is entirely and deliberately false.

Now if you go to his blog post, it is dated “2/11/06,” a full week after the RPCGA dismissed these men from their denomination — ample time for him to get caught up on the matter before he started slinging crap from the trees at anyone daring to disagree with him. The simple point of fact is that following their dismissal from the denomination the RPCGA has no further jurisdiction over these men, and any investigation or report the RPCGA would issue at any time would be as valid as Douggie clearing out the opium den at the New St. Andrews men’s house and convening his own ecclesiastical show trial (not that he’s discounted that option yet; that’s what he seems to be angling for). Even further, any slime-ball micro-denominational outfit willing to credential these spiritual sodomites would equally have no jurisdiction to try or authority to clear or convict them with reference to past charges. Douggie lectures us all enough on the topic such that we are only left with the conclusion that he understands presbyterian church polity (remember, “Reformed is not enough”!). R.C. and the Gang are freelancers (putting it charitably) and renegades (putting it more accurately) at this point, notwithstanding what Douggie says, and not subject to any further sanctions by the RPCGA or any cult of personality they might happen to join down the road. This is so plainly clear that Wilson telling the rest of us to ignore the man behind the curtain immediately tips his hand.

What exactly is he expecting us to wait for? R.C. and his lackeys need more time for the cover-up story to stick. This isn’t a matter of principles for Douggie; it is bare-knuckle pragmatics and propaganda. You see, having been justly defrocked for monstrous behavior towards members of their own congregation and other assorted illegal activities (all of which they admitted to in writing), and then having been reinstalled to their offices by their newly minted independent congregational church two days after being released by the RPCGA, they are spinning the story that the defrocking was due to their bizarre adherence to paedo-communion (a practice completely unknown throughout the entire 2000 year history of the Western Church), not because of their admitted ungodly and vicious behavior towards God’s flock.

But the Declaratory Judgment of the Westminster Presbytery tells a different story:

The consistent pattern of actions taken by these men are duplicitous in nature, and demonstrate that they willingly and knowingly act in an arbitrary fashion in violation of their vows of ordination and in violation of our denomination’s Book of Church Order. Most importantly, their actions manifest that they lack the qualification for the ministry (1 Timothy 3:1–7). It would be unwise to allow these men to continue to hold an office for which they are not qualified. They have no interest to govern themselves appropriately within this Presbyterian system of government that they vowed to submit and conform to its rules and regulations with conduct becoming ministers of Jesus Christ. (Declaratory Judgment, p. 11)

According to the unanimous decision of Westminster Presbytery of the RPCGA, these men are morally and spiritually unfit and unqualified for the office of church elder. As I said previously they have shown themselves to be butchers of God’s sheep, not shepherds. This rightly rendered verdict was immediately rejected by R.C. and the Gang (and apparently by Wilson), who agreed to allow themselves to be reappointed to their offices hours after they were free from any attachment to the RPCGA. Furthermore, R.C. has taken his case to the Internet, first to declare that they had been wronged by the presbytery in their demittal from office; and then when dismissed, to claim vindication. If this isn’t thumbing their nose at the RPCGA and their lawful decisions, I don’t know what else could ever be. That is the real issue at hand and the source of scandal.

Douggie, if this public conversation is too adult for you, maybe it’s time for you to go to bed. This is no longer a matter of private discipline; it is a matter of public scandal, and fair game for public comment. There’s no further waiting required by anyone at this point. Let me be crystal clear: if anyone on the Internet is “shoveling excrement” on this matter, it is Douggie Wilson himself. There is nothing forthcoming from the RPCGA that means anything authoritatively, as Wilson tells us to expect. And he knows this.

But his friends have been shown to be the knaves that they are, and Douggie has admitted on his blog that there are plans afoot to usher these men into the CREC, Wilson’s own boutique micro-denomination, so he has to bang his pots and pans to scare away the presbyterian predators while these men are brought into safe harbor. It doesn’t seem the slightest bit of concern to Wilson that he is utterly discrediting himself in the process, begging the question, of course, that he hasn’t already done so. If that’s what passes for “justice” in Moscow these days, I gladly want no part of it. And I certainly don’t need lectures on it from Douggie Wilson any more than I need to hear sermons on effective church government and Christian leadership from R.C. Sproul, Jr.

One final thought: having read the comments section attached to his post, what is even more pathetic than Wilson’s lies are the plethora of mindless Wilsonistas who applaud his brave stand for godless autonomy, falsehood, and deceit. And to those mindless Wilsonistas, let me say that when they start passing out the Kool-Aid at the tragic but inevitable conclusion of The Great Moscow Meltdown, you can’t say that you haven’t been warned.


Thank you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

More Hate

You really need to read “The Late Unpleasantness in Idaho: Southern Slavery and the Culture Wars” to begin to grasp the magnitude of Douglas Wilson’s Southern Slavery scandal in 2003–2004. That said, Wilson’s final response to the community’s outrage was a website called, which lived up to its name. It was full of hatred, insults, revilings, and other abominations. Personally, I thought that the audio sound effect of a machine gun firing away at a flock of sheep captured the essence of the site, as well as the essence of Pastor Douglas Wilson. Perhaps history will tell.

Anyway, monkey boy Gabe Rench has asserted that “Doug [Wilson] did not start up hatesplotch.” But I never said that Wilson started it; I said it was his official response to the Southern Slavery scandal of 2004. Either way, don’t take my word for it; take Dr. Brian Pitcher’s word, who was the Provost of the University of Idaho at the time.

Thank you.

Please read this comment for the full context.

Monkey boy Gabriel Rench asserts here that “Doug did not start up hatesplotch and never posted on hatesplotch.” Here is a post that Pastor Douglas Wilson uploaded to, which is terribly ironic when you remember that he had just pulled Southern Slavery As It Was from the shelf because of “citation problems.” Regardless, as you read this, remember that Wilson did not have a blog at the time and that this post represents his finest contribution to academia:

Additional Footnotes for Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey
Additional Footnotes for Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey A recent critique published of Southern Slavery As It Was was what other scholars call “way scholarly.” This can be seen at a glance by simply counting the footnotes in it — forty-one of them in a mere eleven pages! Our only problem with the piece is that when these distinguished authors spit on their hands, rolled up their sleeves, and really got into the juicy bits, they (when the fever of professional historical scholarship hit) forgot to footnote those really insightful parts. So in a random fit of public spirit, we did some checking and herewith append the following footnotes to the following section, a section desperately in need of a little more scholarly festooning.

“As we see it, Wilson and Wilkins hope to whitewash the legacy of Southern history.(1) They do this, it seems, because they fantasize about a new Southern cause — an evangelical redemption, the creation of a New Jerusalem (2). They believe that the South is historically the locus of Christian regeneration (3). The South is God’s promised land for the chosen white race (4), a race that will redeem all others through blood and fire (5).”

1. As noted by Sami Rami Dumbunni in his seminal article “Great Experiments in Telepathy,” Psychic Friends Network Peer Review (Calcutta, India: Astral Whoosh Press, 1994), pp. 201–254.
2. Hal Lindsey, The Late Great State of Illinois (Carbondale, IL: Chickaboom Press, 2002), p. 62. Lindsey argues for a New Jerusalem that descends from heaven down to the Midwest, as opposed to the South, but he nevertheless gives a fair review of all the positions.
3. Quinlan and Ramsey, writing in “What All Us Scholars Instinctively Know” in Brain Barf Journal (Wouk, IO: Cow Town University Press, 1999), p. 150.
4. Karl Barth addressed this question in excruciating detail in his monumental work. See Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (Riggins, ID: Huckleberry Press, 1988), pp. 201–222. Unfortunately, the great theologian did not come down definitively in favor of Tuscaloosa as the site of the rebuilt Temple, although this appears to be the consensus of most theologians today. See Most Theologians Review, Vol. 17, No. 3., 1998.
5. Johnny Walker Red Blood, Fire, Soil and Thunder (Toad Flats, Arkansas: Fever Pitch Publications, 1999), p. 28. The first chapter of this book is simply outstanding. Unfortunately, the quality declines shortly thereafter and Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey take no position on the alleged conspiracy between International Jewry and the alien microbes of Star System XL001.
Posted by Douglas Wilson — 1/27/2004 5:01:28 PM

In my next post I shall address his other assertion that Wilson did not start up

Thank you.

“A” for “Abuse”

In this post I referenced a man whose employment Wilson terminated after his wife challenged Wilson’s character. During that period of the Kirk’s history, Wilson was searching for a “mole” whom he believed was leaking Kirk information to the general public. So when he got wind of the wife’s remarks (which were really benign), he thought he found his mole. He immediately terminated the husband’s employment at Canon Press and then sent this email to the Christ Church membership. Wilson timed it so that everyone could identify Judas. About a week later the family resigned its membership.

After you read it, please set aside Wilson’s demented Messiah complex and file this under “A” for “Abuse.”

Controversy, Part 12
In our last installment, we considered the fact that the mere presence of controversy does not mean that something has “gone wrong.” Controversy is part of God’s pattern for the church; He tests us with such things to see if we will remain faithful to Him and to His Word. But at the same time, one of the reasons why controversy can be so gut-wrenching for us is that while “things” have not necessarily gone wrong, individual people certainly do go wrong. All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). But all things did not work together for good for Judas Iscariot, for Demas, for Alexander the coppersmith, for Ananias and Sapphira, for Hymenaeus and Philetus, or for Diotrephes. In the midst of controversy, people do shipwreck their faith, and their families are shattered through their disobedience.

Paul taught us that everyone who names the name of the Lord should depart from wickedness (2 Tim. 2:19), but as he did this, he was talking about controversy in his churches, led by men who were opposing his legitimate pastoral authority. And in this context, he also quoted Numbers 16:5 — “The Lord will show who are his.” So while those controversies were good for Israel, the Church, Moses, and Paul, they were not at all good for Korah and his many descendents [sic].

Douglas Wilson

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Chris LaMoreaux, Administrative Secretary
Christ Church - Anselm House
205 East 5th Street P.O. Box 8741
Moscow, ID 83843
Voice: (208) 882-2034 Fax: (208) 892-8724
Credenda/Agenda: (208) 882-7963

Thank you.