What Doug Wilson Should Have Learned From Thabiti Anyabwile About Racism

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Abraham Lincoln

wikicommons
Scars of whipped slave, Baton Rouge 1863-

Here is a joke.

Question: Who wears a forest ranger's hat and carries a can of kerosene?

Answer: Stanislaus the Fire Prevention Bear of the Polish National Forest Service link

Have I made you feel uncomfortable? If you are not from an Eastern European immigrant family, and you felt uncomfortable, not sure if you should laugh or not, good for you. My best friend in high school, I will call her Lila, and I, both descended from Eastern European families, would tell these jokes as we walked to school. There, we would join in with other students from all sorts of backgrounds, mostly 1st and 2nd generation Americans: Italian, Greek, French, Irish, Chinese, etc. Most of them had their own jokes featuring people from their particular ethnic background. We would laugh hysterically at each others' jokes. However, if the rich, white boy whose daddy's family came on the Mayflower, would attempt to join in and tell Polish jokes, fights would ensue. You need to pay your dues to have the privilege of telling ethnic jokes which means that one should be very careful of joking about someone from a different ethnicity.

Many of these jokes were born out of the pain that our families experienced as they tried to fit into a new culture. It was difficult. My father spoke only Russian until he started school. Russians were looked at suspiciously as the rise of Communism threatened the world. He would be called "Red," "Commie," "Bolshevik," etc. However, he, as well as many other immigrants had an advantage. They were white. They could change their names, start dressing well, get good educations and fade into the melting pot. My dad spent a few years in the Army which also added to his acceptance.

About 15 years ago, I invited Jim Jeffcoat, a now former Dallas Cowboy football player, and his wife, to a dinner to benefit a Christian school that my kids were attending. They lived nearby and were interested in having their children attend this school. I did not know that Tony Evans, the famous preacher, would be speaking about a challenging topic. He said that we had to do more to integrate our school and asked everyone to look around the room to see how many people of different skin colors were there. Well, the only African Americans in the room were the Jeffcoats and Jim is a really tall, big guy, to boot.

I turned to him and apologized for putting them on the spot. He was most gracious to me and said that no one had ever missed him walking into a room since he was in junior high school and that he was used to it. Thankfully, he knew Evans and they had a great talk and the Jeffcoat family did end up at the school.

I learned a very important lesson that evening. My father was able to fade into the culture because of his skin color. African Americans cannot do the same. They have walked a very different road. Therefore, when an African American shares with us his/her struggles with racism, we all need to listen up because we have not shared in an identical experience.

I watched a great movie the other night called Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story. This amazing pediatric neurosurgeon, considered the finest in the world, knew the pain of both poverty and racism when he grew up. He endured racist teachers and racial remarks during his residency. He handled it with dignity. Besides, he got the last laugh. He developed procedures in pediatric neurosurgery that many felt were impossible and attracted the attention of the world. I highly recommend it.

A couple of weeks ago, Thabiti Anyabwile, an African American preacher, a member of The Gospel Coalition and a graduate of NC State U (Go Wolfpack) link began a dialog with Doug Wilson on Wilson's controversial book Black and Tan. We wrote about Doug Wilson's disturbing views on slavery here and here. Both of these posts should give the reader an idea of the difficulties of Wilson's position. 

Here are the links to the articles that comprised this back and forth,online discussion between Thabiti and Doug. Frankly, it was one of the most interesting debates on racism and the faith that I have ever read. Here is a link to all of the posts, in chronological fashion, of this exchange.

Initial thoughts:

I was excited about this discussion because I have thought Doug Wilson to be somewhat self absorbed, making his points in a shock jock manner, rarely thinking (or is it rarely caring) about those he seeks to influence. He's always right, he's smarter than you and everybody who is opposed to him is a leftist loon. Anyabwile is a thoughtful man who does not toe the company line and is known for stepping out on issues like the overuse of the word "gospel" and his take on the "Precious Puritans" rap. 

​​Why was this a public discussion?

Anyabwile decided to take on the discussion of Wilson's infamous publications because Wilson has never retracted his assertions. It is important to realize that Wilson has received widespread criticism for his views from  the Christian community and  academia. 

As far as I know, Wilson has not retracted his book or anything in his book Black and Tan. The book itself is a clarification and further defense of an earlier publication, Southern Slavery: As It Was, which due to some oversights in proper citation and some problematic data was pulled from circulation. So, what we have is a publicly-stated position defended and maintained, making it an ongoing issue.

Wilson's views on slavery and racism

Anyabwile presents Wilson's views on slavery. This is one of his goals. He wants to carefully outline Wilson's basic beliefs in order to help us all to better understand the controversy. He explains that Wilson believes that slavery was not inherently evil and could be differentiated from human trafficking link.

He insists that Christian participation at any point in man stealing was inconsistent with biblical teaching (p. 54). But he distinguishes man stealing from the system of slavery itself. Later, Wilson maintains that slavery itself was not an inherent evil and that godly Christians could be members in good standing in Christian churches while owning slaves 

Wilson claims he is opposed to racism which he does not equate with slavery. He also believes that the Civil War was unnecessary and that the gospel would eventually result in a peaceful demolishment on slavery in the US link.

The radical abolitionists’ insistence on immediate action, force and coercion short-circuited the gospel’s slow, leavening work and resulted in the horrendous loss of life during the Civil War, or War Between the States, as Wilson prefers. 

My perception:

I disagree with Wilson in the matter. Slavery almost always involves racism since it is the forced servitude of people groups. The South's slaves were black. Slavery results in the perception that said group is inferior and deserves to be enslaved. This attitude, after the Civil War, resulted in the separation of whites from blacks. "Separate but equal" was anything but equal and it took the Civil Rights movement to expose the ugliness of this entrenched view of the superiority of the white race.

Secondly, when the South attempted to leave the Union, claiming federal coercion, they did not free their slaves. If this was truly about states rights, they could have made the statement loud and clear by freeing their slaves. Then, they could have hired these freed slaves as free workers. The "gospel leavening" that Wilson proposes did not seem to be taking hold. 

Wilson ties in the Civil War ( I don't care if he prefers "The War Between the States") to abortion and gay marriage.

Wilson believes that the federal government overstepped its authority link and he ties in the current abortion and gay marriage debate.

 If most Christians today would be happy with an exercise of federal power to prohibit homosexual marriage, or to extend federal protection to the unborn, then how can we be unhappy with federal power doing a good thing like freeing the slaves? Where I would see an ominous federal aggrandizement of centralized power, starting in 1861

My perception:

There is a difference between our arguments on abortion and gay marriage and the Civil War. The South was threatening to break our nation into two separate countries. There was a Union at stake. That is not the case with abortion or gay marriage. We will have our fights but we will still be the United States.

Wilson defends the exception and begins to whine about "poor abused me" 

Thabiti reviewed Bible passages referring to slavery here and finds that Wilson generally agrees with his exegesis. However, Wilson, in my opinion, then emphasize the exception to the rule. He believes that slavery in the South, at times, was merely a benign form of indentured servitude and that many slaves and masters had affection for one another link.

But there were more than a few slave-holders in the South who, like the centurion, had members of their household who were dear to them. Their affections were not turned into something else by the corrupt nature of the institution itself.

For my abusive critics, these are the only people I am interested in defending. Part of my defense has been to point out that some of them actually existed. But if you then throw back in my teeth a long history of white degradation, abuse, sexual exploitation, lynchings, etc., as though I had any sympathy whatever with those sorts of monstrosities, 

My perception:

They could have still had "affection" for their slaves by freeing them and then offering to pay them to stay on. Then, the former slave holders could really see the strength of their mutual affection. Wilson does not appear to perceive how his "in your face" statements cause people, both within and without the faith, to misunderstand his expression of Christian love. In the meantime, Anyabwile continues his assessment in a kind, yet deliberate, manner.

Wilson believes in progressive revelation. In other words, we get better over time. Link 

Writing Black & Tan was racially insensitive? But so is orthodox Trinitarian theology anywhere in the neighborhood of T.D. Jakes.

In other words, I believe our Christian brothers 500 years from now we look at our behavior now, in the present crisis, with as much consternation as they look at our brothers at the time of the Civil War. History really is a mess. 

My perception:

To compare the horrors of racism to TD Jakes Trinitarian theology (or lack thereof) is insensitive to Anyabwile's discussion. To make matters worse, TD Jakes is also an African American which could lead some to think that Wilson just might have a problem with racial animosity. There are a thousand white preachers he could have quoted to make his point but, no, he had to quote a black guy.

Anyabwile continues to assess Black and Tan which he believes is both revisionistic and biased link.

I argue Black and Tan fails to provide us any history while attempting a major revision of our understanding of the American South and slavery. I also contend that the book’s failure to interact with differing perspectives amounts to a biased view and an overly optimistic view due to Wilson’s postmill perspective.

My perception:

Wilson is a postmillenialist. What does that mean? Here is one definition.  Link

Postmillennialism is the belief that Christ will return after the millennium. All postmillennialists believe that the current age is the kingdom, while some believe that the millennial phase of the kingdom is present and others hold that it is yet future when the world has been Christianized. Postmillennialists also believe the Church is the agent through which this return to Eden will be mediated by Christ the King from heaven. 

I believe that Anyabwile is trying to understand how anyone could have such an optimistic view of slavery in the South. He surmises that Wilson postmillenial belief leads him to think the South must have been a good place because things in this postmillenial kingdom should mean that the world, especially the "Christian" United States, is getting better. This sort of belief is tied to Christian Reconstructionism which we must get to one of these days.

Wilson goes off with a tirade on ghouls.

Now here is the problem. All of this is going on today, now. Is America today a hellhole? It still depends on who you are and where you are. 50 million dead and counting.

My problem as a pastor involved in the culture wars has to do with the fact that just about every abortion mill in the country is within quick driving distance of an evangelical church, praise choruses and all. Do we have any responsibility to do something? I believe we do. What then? How shall we then live? If there were an underground railroad for the unborn black children, would we be heroes for running it? What principles are involved? Was John Brown a murderous thug? Should pro-lifers be praying for our own equivalent thug? Why or why not? Is there any way to appeal to the relevant principles (legal, constitutional, moral, historical, and biblical) without getting called a racist? Let me add to the mix the fact that our half-black, half-white president represents our two races very well. He is a ghoulish president, and we are a ghoulish people. Blacks are ghouls and whites are ghouls. Neil Young heard bullwhips cracking from over a century ago, but he can't hear the silent screams from just down the street. North Dakota has just given the raspberry to Roe v. Wade. Are they heroes or chumps?

My perception:

Wilson lost it here. This statement is an embarrassment, which is something he seems to enjoy. This is not how to win the argument or to attract people to the faith. 

Anyabwile calls Wilson on his racial insensitivity. link 

He lists the problems in Black and Tan

  • A benign view of slavery which was ended wrongly
  • Wilson's self-description as a paleo-Confederate
  • ​Infers that black culture was inferior
  • His seemingly positive comments about Little Black Sambo
  • Accusations that the black culture is indifferent to abortion 

Does Wilson apologize?

Wilson attempts an apology which is a bit difficult to follow link and goes on to explain his apology here.

For those just joining us, this claque of accusers, that's not-good-enoughers, and the deeply grieved has been following me around for well over a decade. Sometimes it involves race, and a lot of times it doesn't. It always involves throwing jagged objects at my head, which helps us maintain at least some kind of continuity. When it involves race, I make a point of factoring in the very real problem of racial sensitivity scam artists. They are out there, and there are a lot of them. One of the central reasons there are a lot of them is because the sins of white people against blacks were the kinds of inexcusable sins that spanned centuries, and hence created a vast quarry in which the scam artists may labor happily for many years to come.

Anyabwile calls him on his "soft" apology and is not satisfied link

So, it seems to me that the threshold question is whether or not you recognize anything offense in your words. Whether or not you can see a causal connection between the ways you’ve sometimes described or referenced African Americans or slavery and the hurt, anger, or offense some have taken. You’ve already admitted to a kind of “collateral damage.” What’s left to be determined is whether you think that damage is in the heads of the wounded or should be located in the words you’ve written.

Wilson then says he did apologize link

Thabiti, the answer to that question is yes, and was the reason why I sought your forgiveness in the earlier post. And I am sure this response will generate further reasonable questions from reasonable men, and further howls from the unreasonable ones. But that is why I did it.

My perception:

If one has to justify how one has apologized, it is not much of an apology.

Wilson's final diatribe link.

Wheaton College, which now has a student group for those students who "self-identify" as one of those alphabet GLBTQ thingies. Now the problem is not having a student group that would help students repent of their effeminacy and softness, or of their desire for carnal knowledge with those of the same sex (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Some Christians have those temptations, and we all need help with our temptations. I don't begrudge that at all.

But who cannot see, provided you look directly at it, that this group will not be a group characterized by a spirit of repentance. Rather, students who join this group will find a haven for talking about their desires, just so long as they don't act upon them before graduation, they will spend years marinating in therapeutic goo and — here is the point relevant to our discussion — they will be able to do all this on the basis of the straight evangelical world having hurt their feelings. The group will not (bet you a hundred dollars) focus on how they are offenders against biblical norms, but will rather focus on how the larger Wheaton community, still conforming kinda to those norms, is thoughtless, callused, hurtful, and, you guessed it, insensitive.

This brings us to those instances where I deliberately set up the accusers, making a point of doing what I know they are demanding we all stop doing. For example, in the comments of Thabiti's last post, one person pointed out that I use the word sodomite from time to time. "I can imagine a glee, sitting at desk, typing, and thinking, 'Watch this! Watch how the ‘libs’ blow up over this one . . .'" Now I do admit that there are times when I crack myself up — as for example if I were to write about Anglican sodomites processing up the central aisle in their sodomitres. At the same time, I take no glee in being a "bad boy." I am in deadly earnest.

I can see why this dialog ended here. In the end, it appears to me that Wilson made this all about him and missed out on an opportunity to learn from a man who personally understands racism. Wilson can claim that he is not a racist all he wants. It doesn't matter when those who read his words think differently. Maybe he needs to change his style?

I learned much from reading Anyabwile's analysis and admired his restraint in this exchange. He apologized thoughtfully when some people objected to his view on Trayvon Martin. Wilson could learn a thing or two from him. Wilson needs to stop with the cutting jokes on sensitive issues and humbly listen to those who have something to teach him. I highly recommend that our readers carefully read Anyabwile's perspectives. They are excellent.

This week: We will be looking at Homeschoolers Anonymous and a new site for those who survived Bill Gothard.

Lydia's Corner:1 Samuel 2:22-4:22 John 5:24-47 Psalm 106:1-12 Proverbs 14:30-31
 

Comments

What Doug Wilson Should Have Learned From Thabiti Anyabwile About Racism — 237 Comments

  1. It’s like Doug Wilson brings up the hot=-button abortion/gay relationships stuff to prove that he’s on the “right” side of SOMETHING, and detract from how strongly he’s on the “wrong” side of the race/slavery issue.

    And as for his comments on the LGBT group at Wheaton….sigh. Wilson complains that those kids can’t keep their focus on proper Biblical behavior because they’re too busy whining about their feelings being hurt? Well, I say that Doug Wilson can’t seem to grasp that their feelings got hurt because he’s too busy focusing on “proper” Biblical behavior! That sword cuts both ways, buddy!

    Trying to distract everyone doesn’t make you more right.

  2. Doug Wilson to husbands:

    Perhaps husband and wife are both professing believers, but through his abdication of godly authority, she has backslidden to the point that he simply does not know how to lead her…The symptoms can of course vary. He may be distressed over her spending habits, television viewing habits, weight, rejection of his leadership, laziness in cleaning the house, lack of responsiveness to sexual advances, whatever. But however the problem is manifested, what should a husband do?

    http://www.reformedsingles.com/not-where-she-should-be-douglas-wilson

  3. Honestly…whenever I read Wilson, there is always at least one paragraph that I just can’t understand. I mean actually cannot figure out what he is trying to say. The ghouls paragraph is one of them. He just jumps around from random phrase to seemingly random phrase, going nowhere. Seriously, this happens in every article I read from him. And the context doesn’t usually help either. I suspect most of them are abortive jokes gone very, very wrong but which Wilson still thinks are hilarious.

    Maybe I’m just stupid. The problem isn’t that I don’t find them funny, I find them literally incomprehensible so I never get to whether or not they’re funny. If I were an English teacher, the following is what I would put on Wilson’s paper when I found one of these gems.

    http://www.demotivation.us/some-gadgets-1246169.html

  4. Wilson needs to stop with the cutting jokes on sensitive issues and humbly listen to those who have something to teach him.

    And therein lies a key problem: In Doug Wilson’s world, no such person exists.

  5. I was in chapel when Anyabwile spoke at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary — a very humble, godly man, though I disagree with his Calvinism. We could all learn a thing or two from him.

    Wilson, on the other hand, appears to thrive — and, I’m detecting, obtain a sense of affirmation — in being controversial. You know the type: the high school kid who wanted to be known for being stubbornly outlandish. And to think that there are people quietly “watching” Wilson “from the outside,” and it, unfortunately, affects them against and not for the kingdom of Christ. Ugh.

  6. Thanks for posting the rest of the back-and-forth between TA and DW. I lost track after the first four installments and I honestly don’t know if I’ll set aside time to read all of it. There are more fun things to do in life. :)

  7. Hey, Doug – when you write books like [i]Black and Tan[/i]and keep company with people like Steven Wilkins and the League of the South, don’t be surprised when folks suspect that you have a serious problem with race.

    I’ve tried to dismiss Wilson as a narcissistic class clown, but the things he says about slavery and black culture strike too painfully close to home. Attitudes like his helped prop up the racist culture and politics that kept my parents from marrying, kept my father from rising to the level of success that his intelligence and effort deserved, and ultimately led to the disintegration of our family and my father’s descent into alcoholism and depression.

    Wilson speaks as though all this is just an intellectual exercise for his own aggrandizement and entertainment. Does he have any idea that words like his have real consequences in the lives of real people?

  8. Jenny –

    I’m sorry for the hardship you and your family have experienced in this life. I’ve often wondered the same — does Wilson realize the effects of his words? Wilson seems to enjoy the ring of his words on the written page and the back and forth “chess game” as he might call it. He feels he is “biblically” justified and throws out proof texts of OT verses. I hope he and his conscience stay confined in Moscow, Idaho.

    On a side note, I wonder how many African Americans are in his church, or in the college and schools he supports?

  9. Wilson was and is a racist in no uncertain terms. Quite frankly, I would not waste my time dealing with him at all. To me, racists are the real zeroes in society. The only cure is to reverse the historic situation and make them and minority and oppress them for a while (the racists, that is). Then the smarter half (those with IQs above 75, hint hint), might learn the lesson.

  10. If you notice, it is all about how clever Wilson thinks himself. He enjoys being outrageous and insulting people then piling on if they respond to the offense as if they are whiners. I used to read his blog a while back because I could not believe an actual “scholar” and pastor wrote that way. He was fringe but all the anti patriarchal blogs were pointing to him as an example of one of the worst. I think he is a bully narcissist and the fact that John Piper invited him into the New Calvinist circle says a lot about Piper.

  11. I found out this discussion was going on when someone called me and asked if I was making comments during the exchanges. I was not.

    Here are my random thoughts about this.

    Wilson’s pastoral instincts are not as strong as his desire to provide commentary. If Wilson were a columnist who was reprinted in various newspapers, that might be one thing. But as a pastor, he seems to have a tin ear, which is not good for pastors.

    Wilson is out of his area of expertise in his discussion of race, slavery etc. He compares slavery in the South to ancient slavery in Roman society and attempts to say one is better than the other etc. Is Wilson really educated in these areas? I don’t believe so. I don’t see anything in his background that would qualify him to be an expert in these areas. He purports to be a pastor and theologian, I believe. He should stick with those matters and not get off the reservation commenting about things in which he is not really trained.

    The same friend who thought I was commenting on the exchange has tried to defend Wilson, and tries to say that what Wilson was really trying to do with Black and Tan was address Christians like Paul Hill who shot the abortion doctor and John Brown.

    Well, if that’s the case, write a book about that. Black and Tan does not really appear to be about Paul Hill anymore than “Birth of a Nation” was about a host of vaguely related social ills.

    Also, the comparison of John Brown and somehow trying to defame the rightness of the Civil War seem to be a distraction. Delving into those topics gives the unmistakable sound of defending slavery and jim Crow.

    Wilson is completely oblivious to the fact that disputing the rightness of the Civil War and talking about how evil John Brown was are explosive discussions to modern African Americans.

    If Wilson wants to minister in Idaho where there are probably 15 Black folks, so be it. But the last thing my denomination (the SBC) needs to be doing is having in depth discussions with Doug Wilson about race and slavery.

    I believe that a lot of Wilson’s Reformed fellow travelers don’t get it either. How can people be so culturally unaware? If one is trying to start a church in any major metropolitan area or an area where there are mixed cultures, why would one want to identify with views like Wilson’s? It is incomprehensible to me.

    Wilson’s theonomy is also a real problem. That, in my opinion, is what drives much of this. If one believes, as does Wilson, that the OT moral code should essentially be the basis for modern law, what does one do with slavery? The fact that slavery is also not condemned outrightly in the NT exacerbates the problem. So, Wilson is on a quest driven by his world view to try and find a place in which slavery can still exist and the OT and NT not be seen as out of step on the issue.

    This creates so many problems, and Wilson is apparently simply unable to see that.

    Finally, Wilson, in my opinion, has seen how this issue is damaging his reputation. There are films posted on Youtube where Wilson “explains” his views to put them in a more positive light. To give them context. The young Reformed questionner in the video I saw was clearly “checking off” his list so as to get Wilson scrubbed enough so that young Christians will not be repulsed by his views.

    This has to have been at the genesis of the discussion that you have cited.

    it’s all an effort for Wilson to “explain” himself.

    My point is that I don’t personally hate Wilson. He does apparently have some likable qualities.

    But he is completely off the range on the issue of race in the U.S. in 2013, and he doesn’t even know it.

    Maybe he’ll come around. I doubt it.

    I think that his young Reformed admirers are likely to come around, and that is the fear, I believe, that Wilson and some of the older folks in that movement have.

    Sorry if I have rambled too much.

  12. Oh and I will mention that on some other blogs right after Piper invited Wilson to preach at DG conference I commented on Black/Tan and Slavery As It Was and most of the YRR had never heard of it. Had NO idea of Wilson’s views. They simply accepted him cos Piper influence is so great. There were cries of “prove it!!” THAT….is what is so scary about that movement. Young men who do not do their homework.

    Slavery As It was….was repudiated by history scholars… it was so off course with facts. It became an embarassment and that is why Black and Tan was written. Wilson has given conferences with the League of the South people.

    I simply cannot see the advantage to them for bringing Wilson into the Reformed/GC fold as one of them. It is one thing to think lowly of women but race? I think they miscalculated this one. That movement has attracted a lot of creeps…Mahaney, Driscoll, Wilson…what next? Doug Phillips? Gary North?

  13. Hester, HAHA. Just sent that stamp link to a teacher friend of mine who I have heard say something similar while reading papers. :o)

  14. @ Anonymous:Unfortunately, TGC has a number of his posts published. Just feed his name into the search engine. I was glad that Anyabwile decided to go after him since he is also a member of TGC.
    I do not believe that Black and Tan had anything to do with Paul Hill, despite his protestations to the contrary.

    I am frankly shocked at the number of his apologists within the Reformed community. There is something wrong with the Neo-Calvinist movement if they believe this man represents the best of their number. And they wonder why the number of “Nones” keep rising…

    Thanks for your comment.

  15. “He purports to be a pastor and theologian, I believe. He should stick with those matters and not get off the reservation commenting about things in which he is not really trained.”

    Yikes. You think he is qualified? It goes the heart of the matter: His heart.

  16. 56 years

    I believe you have good reason for your comment. That is my point to Wlson and his fan boys. I don’t care if they or he claim his views are not racist. He sounds like one.

  17. Wilson reminds me of the many of the elderly local (Raleigh, NC) fans of Jessie Helms. What they really want is for the clock to be turned back to when the nice rich white folks rules everything and the blacks and poor white trash knew their place. And the world was wonderful for everyone. At least in their mental image.

  18. Anon 1 wrote:

    I simply cannot see the advantage to them for bringing Wilson into the Reformed/GC fold as one of them. It is one thing to think lowly of women but race?

    I’m not sure you meant this the way it came across…it’s more acceptable to put down and enslave based on gender than race? Just sayin’….

  19. Dee,
    Your analysis is insightful and thoughtful. Obviously you spent quite a bit of time following this debate. I did not even know it existed. I have respected Anyabwile for his level headed addressing of his enemies. And for his willingness to enter into a markedly white dominated world of Reformed Theology and speak truth without kow-towing to the big heads. Doug Wilson seems to me to just want to make a name for himself by shocking, kind of like Mark Driscoll. They both (Wilson and Driscoll) come off as horrendously self righteous and condescending. I have spent the past 2 years reading Biographies of Lincoln, histories of the Civil War and Reconstruction and US Grant’s personal memoirs, and never once time have I come even remotely close to the view of slavery that Wilson suggests. Slavery was a horrendous black eye on American History. You cannot divorce man-stealing from slavery. It just cannot be done. Maybe in the self-deluded head of Doug Wilson it can, but without man-stealing, you cannot have slavery. Thanks for the review of their debate.

  20. This is my first time commenting, though I have been reading this blog faithfully. It’s been such an encouragement! My main issues with D. Wilson (besides some of his obvious errors of thought) are his self-righteous tone and demeanor. The reason I fel led to comment is because of the final paragragh when he “rips” on Wheaton College and a support-type group for those struggling with same-sex attraction. I happen to be a Wheaton Grad from the ’90’s and support a very conservative view of homosexuality. During one of my last years at Wheaton, the campus newspaper published some interviews of one struggling with being gay and Christian. There was quite a backlash and rhetoric during those weeks…then a tragedy. One of my classmates took his own life by standing in front of an oncoming train. It rocked our community. Perhaps if he had had a safe place to share his struggles without condemnation, there could have been a different outcome. I wish Doug Wilson had an ounce of compassion for others who struggle.

  21. Wilson strikes me as someone who is nowhere near as intelligent as he thinks he is, but has enough of a way with words (and throws in big ‘intellectual’ words as often as he can) to be able to convince people of his smarts. But because he doesn’t know as much about things as he thinks he does, and because he has an ego the size of a jumbo jet, his only possible reaction is to deride his opponents. From all I’ve read of him (thankfully not much!), he never engages with the content of criticisms. He might give a shallow sentence or two that touches the surface of the critique, but he never goes deeper. Instead, he chooses to bully and insult.

    The brouhaha last year over Jared Wilson’s quoting of Doug is an excellent example – and was my first and probably last direct interaction with Doug Wilson. After I and others pointed out the actual meaning of the words Doug had used and the implications of what he’d written, and how it really did not mean what he claimed it meant, his response was to tell me I needed ESL classes. Apparently it required too much effort to have a real discussion.

    Of course, that’s assuming he’d even be interested in discussion, which I’m quite convinced he isn’t. He’s only interested in impressing his fanboys, and mocking his critics without bothering to respond to the criticisms is an easy way to do that.

  22. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I’m not sure you meant this the way it came across…it’s more acceptable to put down and enslave based on gender than race? Just sayin’….

    Context, Jeanette, context. He comments all the time, on this post and on others; he’s made it abundantly clear where he’s coming from. He appears to be insinuating that sexism (in the form of patriarchy) is a norm and thus wouldn’t be so shocking to them.

  23. Doug Wilson does not have a problem with a centralized government. On the contrary, his neo Calvinism DEMANDS a collectivist view of government. This is the big lie…that Calvinists believe in democracy and liberty. They believe in nothing of the sort. Their very doctrine teaches that men are depraved barbarians who must be compelled by force into right moral standing by “leadership”. They are to be compelled by this Christian version of Talibanism; there is absolutely nothing of value the individual can bring to a society run by believers of this theology. Their Marxism is camouflaged by prayer-in-school rallies and teary eyed renditions of the star spangled banner.

    No, he has no problem with statist governments. He just thinks he should be the one running it.

  24. I found this (from one of Thabiti’s posts) to be a wonderful exhortation that more Calvinistas need to take to heart. It would begin to address so many of the problems in their movement.

    “So, who gets to decide? I don’t know if they get the final word, but the person so hurt should at least have the first word. And the person doing the hurting should really stop and listen for what they missed. That listening turns out to be crucial because the nature of insensitivity is that it fails to sense something. When we’re insensitive we have a blind spot, at least. At worst, we’re knowingly and intentionally trying to cut and hurt. In either case, we’ll never properly fix the hurt or help the hurting feel differently or address our own heart issues (out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, right?) if we continue tone-deaf to that leading indicator—the other person’s feelings.”

  25. Also, reading the comments on Thabiti’s posts, I am struck by the backlash he is experiencing from his own Calvinistas. It’s surreal to see Calvinistas using arguments against a Neo-Reformed leader of Thabiti’s status that I have, thus far, only seen used against “the average lay person.”

    Example: One guy argues that “racial insensitivity” isn’t explicitly labelled as a sin in Scripture. He then says that Christians should be able to say whatever needs to be said as long as they have good intentions. This is exactly the defense used by our old pastor after he was aggressively (and sinfully!) offensive to us! I’m sure many of you here have heard similar arguments/excuses.

  26. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Jeannette,
    Because I’m familiar with Anon1’s comments I am confident that Anon1 would not want us to feel the way you (and I too) felt reading that comment.
    I cannot even really take the dialogue between Thabiti and Doug seriously because I feel like Thabiti does the same thing to the gender issue that Doug does to the slave issue. Being a woman even in the best of complementarian worlds feels like being allowed to ride the bus, but forever assigned to back seats.

  27. Re:

    Wilson claims he is opposed to racism which he does not equate with slavery.

    It reminds me of how gender complementarians tell women that keeping them out of certain positions within church, society, or within marriage (or that they must remain second tier) is not sexist, because, they say, they’re not unequal in being, they only have different “roles.”

    The roles females are assigned by complementarians are permanent, based on their gender, which, barring sex change surgery, they can’t do anything about. There’s nothing equal or fair about that.

  28. About Wilson’s other remarks.

    I don’t understand Wilson’s analogy comparing slavery to abortion. Is he trying to say slavery can’t be considered so bad since we have so much abortion today?

    I also don’t understand why Wilson brought up Wheaton College/LGB groups and what that had to do with a discussion of racism?

    I went to Wilson’s page, and his concluding paragraph is this:

    I want very much to be at peace with Thabiti, and with everyone like him. I want to continue to be a pain in the neck for everyone who, wittingly or unwittingly, wants us to apologise our way to perdition. You see my dilemma.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but that statement and the rest of the page (which I skimmed over) looked like a big non-apology.

    Wilson apparently doesn’t feel as though he has anything to apologize for, he only regrets that he is, or his views are, being construed as racist or mean.

    He seems to be saying that Rev. Anyabwile is overly sensitive, or has no just cause to feel Wilson’s views are insensitive.

    Rev. Anyabwile said on one of his page (he’s quoting Wilson here):

    “We are, all of us, sinners. And it is not fitting for a sinner to look sideways at someone else and say, ‘Well, I’m less of a sinner than you’” (pp. 29-30)

    I understand we’re all sinners, I do.

    But this habit by some Christians to make all sins sound equal in horror or injustice, or to say all people are on equal standing – for example, to equate the guy who steals post-it notes from his office job with a man who rapes children – rubs me the wrong way.

    This view that all sins are equal is one of the reasons some churches do not help domestic abuse victims, or call the police the minute they find out a child in their church has been molested by another church member or employee.

    And it can make them very (I know Wilson doesn’t like the word, but here it is) insensitive to Christians who are in pain. (As in, “Stop complaining that a bus drove over your foot and that your grandma just died from cancer last week, when my cousin Mildred has chipped nail polish.”)

  29. Patti wrote:

    I feel like Thabiti does the same thing to the gender issue that Doug does to the slave issue. Being a woman even in the best of complementarian worlds feels like being allowed to ride the bus, but forever assigned to back seats.

    That’s a good point, similar to something I said in another post on this thread (but it’s still sitting in moderation).

  30. Daisy wrote:

    this habit by some Christians to make all sins sound equal in horror or injustice, or to say all people are on equal standing – for example, to equate the guy who steals post-it notes from his office job with a man who rapes children – rubs me the wrong way

    My guess is that the tradition of saying this comes from, or at least is driven by, altar-call-based “evangelism” whereby the goal is merely to get people to pray the “sinner’s prayer”. People who haven’t led obviously evil lives have to be persuaded to pray the same prayer as those who have; hence we need a way to convince them they’re just as bad, and the simplest way to do that is to equate all sins.

    The closest thing to the sinner’s prayer I can think of in the gospel accounts was Peter’s: “Go away from me, Lord – I’m a sinful man”. Ironically, as we all know, Jesus didn’t exactly grant that request! (There’s also the tax-gatherer in the parable – “God, have mercy on me, sinner that I am” – but he wasn’t a specific living person. And others, like the woman who poured perfume over Jesus’ feet, could fairly be said to have prayed a sinner’s prayer with more than just words.)

    But I stray… if anybody really is calling Wilson out on the grounds that he’s a sinner and they’re better than he is, then they’re wrong. But the NT (as in new testament, not the N.T. Wright, aka Tom Wright) commands us, on occasion, to rebuke one another. And it gives us no excuse at all for falling back on, you’re a sinner too, so you’ve no business talking to me.

  31. I’m wondering: can anyone please explained to me how a Christian can both condone/engage chattel slavery and love his neighbor as himself/herself?

    How is slavery NOT a violation of a neighbor?

  32. @ Pam:
    I’m with you on this one. Although it’s very difficult to respond graciously to criticism, if one is going to hold forth on contentious topics then one must be big enough to face the consequences.

    As one obscure early christian writer (whom Luther didn’t much like, incidentally) put it:

    Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    Couldn’t have put it better myself!

  33. dee wrote:

    I am frankly shocked at the number of his apologists within the Reformed community. There is something wrong with the Neo-Calvinist movement if they believe this man represents the best of their number.

    1. Exactly. Here is the something that is wrong with us (I write of myself as well, though I am learning, I hope). We draw a line between those we consider Calvinists and those we consider not. Then, as good tribalists, we bend over backwards to commend/defend/explain those on the “right side” of our line, while squinting/rolling/narrowing our eyes at everyone on the “wrong side” of our line.

    2. There is something very wrong about doing that. But IF one must draw lines, and then proceed from there, at LEAST make the line one that divides creeps from non-creeps. If one were to do that, one would find plenty of people of every theological (and nontheological) sort in both groups. And one would know immediately where to place Wilson.

    3. I read on some of the blogs authored and favored by my fellow “Young, Restless, and Reformed” crowd (I long ago stopped reading Wilson himself) — the commenters here are far, far more enjoyable and profitable to read.

  34. @ Bob M:I bet you could have been more precise that I was. I have read some on the issue of slavery and the Civl War but not as much as you. It really is a heart issue.

    One just needs to sit back and think. Slavery seems to target people groups throughout history so it is based on race and/or conquered people groups. Slavery does nothing to point to the equality of all men-just the opposite. But what really burned me was Wilson’s choice of another African American to make his sarcastic comments. He could easily have chosen a myriad of white pastors. This comment alone speaks to the heart of Wilson.

  35. @ anonymousNC:
    That makes me want to cry. My daughter attended Wheaton for 2 years and I admire that community. I did not comment on his Wheaton tirade because I felt he exposed his hard heart very well in this exchange. It made me sick. Why is he admired by the YRR crowd? I just plugged in his name at TGC and he got 64 references! 64!

  36. Pam wrote:

    After I and others pointed out the actual meaning of the words Doug had used and the implications of what he’d written, and how it really did not mean what he claimed it meant, his response was to tell me I needed ESL classes. Apparently it required too much effort to have a real discussion.

    This is a prime example of Jared Wilson’s retort to your question is why i am concerned about the general acceptance of Doug Wilson. There is no discussion when it comes to the anointed brethren. He is a genius, the rest of us are idiots. This sort of stuff is tearing the foundation of the church apart and I mean that most sincerely.

  37. Doug Wilson is a perfect example of someone who claims to be a ‘Christian’ yet goes on to prove he is anything but given his complete ignorance of the commandments to love God and love your neighbor, the bedrock of the Christian faith. Instead, through pseudo-intellectual gibberish, he seems focused on his need to bolster his fragile ego by creating a worldview where he can put himself in a position of power and superiority over others, hence his views on women and fondness for life on the ole’ antebellum plantation. A warped and twisted worldview has no place for love of others. In fact, caring for and about others is repugnant – note his call for gays to “repent of their effeminacy and softness” and the railing against “racial sensitivity scam artists”.

    But Wilson tries to deny this by saying “if you then throw back in my teeth a long history of white degradation, abuse, sexual exploitation, lynchings, etc., as though I had any sympathy whatever with those sorts of monstrosities, I will just give you leave to debate with the man you think I am.” No, Doug, we know exactly who you are, someone who is so frighteningly clueless and lacking in love that he is unable to see that white degradation, abuse, sexual exploitation, lynchings, etc. are an inseparable part of the American slavery that you claim “was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence”.

    It is no surprise, then, that Wilson has chosen an area that is ground zero for white supremacists as his home.

  38. Argo wrote:

    No, he has no problem with statist governments. He just thinks he should be the one running it.

    He substitutes the word “church” for the government and then proceeds to bring in elders to discipline mom around when she won’t do the dishes. If this is what I heard day in and day out I would be so depressed, I would get take out and leave the boxed around for him to clean up.

  39. Mr.H wrote:

    So, who gets to decide? I don’t know if they get the final word, but the person so hurt should at least have the first word. And the person doing the hurting should really stop and listen for what they missed.

    This is something that i think Wilson needs to understand.

  40. @ Dee:

    “But what really burned me was Wilson’s choice of another African American to make his sarcastic comments.”

    That was bad enough but what was even dumber was the fact that race has nothing to do with T. D. Jakes’ problem. His theology is the problem and that isn’t racial at all. A white or Asian or Indian theologian who had messed up the Trinity would be just as much at fault. I’m sure it was supposed to be a joke but Wilson is essentially saying here that criticizing a black person about anything is a racial problem simply because they’re black. I’m not sure if this amounts to a backhanded claim that all black people are hypersensitive, or what. But it’s really bad whatever it is.

    Maybe if Wilson would actually inject a good dose of clarity and perspicuity into his writing we wouldn’t have to keep having these discussions…

  41. @ Dee:

    “He substitutes the word ‘church’ for the government and then proceeds to bring in elders to discipline mom around when she won’t do the dishes.”

    He’s allied with Reconstructionists so he probably sees civil government, church government and family government (a “little church”) as parallels/microcosms of each other. The Puritans believed it before he did.

  42. pcapastor wrote:

    We draw a line between those we consider Calvinists and those we consider not. Then, as good tribalists, we bend over backwards to commend/defend/explain those on the “right side” of our line, while squinting/rolling/narrowing our eyes at everyone on the “wrong side” of our line.

    I think we all do this to some extent. It is human nature to believe the best of the guy “fighting with you for the cause.” But sometimes we have to slow down and admit that some people hurt the cause even if they are in the trenches with us. They lob the grenades at the lost and hurting even when people say to slow down.They are their own authority and that will hurt everyone in the lob run.

    Wilson, in my opinion, is hurting the cause. His views on slavery and racism are well known in academic circles. To them, he represents the “intellectual” Christian. And we wonder why we can’t make inroads in those circles?

  43. @ Hester:
    Hester wrote:

    Maybe if Wilson would actually inject a good dose of clarity and perspicuity into his writing we wouldn’t have to keep having these discussions…

    He can’t because he thinks he has.

  44. I would love it if Wilson’s daughter fell in love with a black gentleman. What bothers me is that I suspect Wilson LOVES seeing his name in print, and the rest of us discussing him. His arrogance and pride are so obvious to everyone except him. Nuff said.

  45. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Abraham Lincoln

    But Mr Lincoln, whenever someone argues for slavery, their unspoken corollary is always “Now *I* get to be Massa in the Plantation House.”

  46. dee wrote:

    pcapastor wrote:
    We draw a line between those we consider Calvinists and those we consider not. Then, as good tribalists, we bend over backwards to commend/defend/explain those on the “right side” of our line, while squinting/rolling/narrowing our eyes at everyone on the “wrong side” of our line.
    I think we all do this to some extent. It is human nature to believe the best of the guy “fighting with you for the cause.” But sometimes we have to slow down and admit that some people hurt the cause even if they are in the trenches with us. They lob the grenades at the lost and hurting even when people say to slow down.They are their own authority and that will hurt everyone in the lob run.
    Wilson, in my opinion, is hurting the cause. His views on slavery and racism are well known in academic circles. To them, he represents the “intellectual” Christian. And we wonder why we can’t make inroads in those circles?

    Exactly.

    One way in which I diverge from many of my fellow PCA pastors, is that I have never considered Wilson, in any sense whatsoever apart from our shared humanity, to be in the “same trench” with me. On anything. But that makes me an oddball in my circles.

    “Calvinist vs. Arminian! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “Love and respect and gratitude for the historic church vs. the modern shallow church! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “The Culture Wars! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “Come on now, you are being unreasonable! Doug Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens! He’s in our trench! Surely you have to grant that point!” Do I?

  47. I disagree with Wilson in the matter. Slavery almost always involves racism since it is the forced servitude of people groups.

    Not necessarily, Dee. But when the African Slave Trade got going to supply all those plantations in the Caribbean and South with “serfs” for the wanna-be “Milords” in their New World manors (i.e. the default European society of the time), race locked in HARD. In European art, black Africans were depicted as “funny-looking foreigners”, emphasis on Foreign. Then the Slave Trade hit the big time, and black Africans in art went from Foriegners to Subhuman Livestock. Just like any other domestic livestock, with the exception of slaughter for meat.

    Humans, like all primates, are visually-oriented. If something LOOKS different, our brains default to Different. If another type of human does not LOOK like Us, it is Not Us, it is Them.

    Put the two together, and the real Raw Racism sets in hard. And after a generation or two, a fish doesn’t know it’s wet.

  48. TedS. wrote:

    Perhaps husband and wife are both professing believers, but through his abdication of godly authority, she has backslidden to the point that he simply does not know how to lead her…The symptoms can of course vary. He may be distressed over her spending habits, television viewing habits, weight, rejection of his leadership, laziness in cleaning the house, lack of responsiveness to sexual advances, whatever. But however the problem is manifested, what should a husband do?

    You really wanna know?

    “WOMAN, SUBMIT! DO AS I SAY OR I BEAT YOU!” (Humbly, of course…)

  49. Hester wrote:

    He’s allied with Reconstructionists so he probably sees civil government, church government and family government (a “little church”) as parallels/microcosms of each other. The Puritans believed it before he did.

    And the Ayatollahs and Talibani believe it now. And also act on it.

  50. pcapastor wrote:

    “Calvinist vs. Arminian! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “Love and respect and gratitude for the historic church vs. the modern shallow church! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “The Culture Wars! He’s in our trench!” Is he?

    “Come on now, you are being unreasonable! Doug Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens! He’s in our trench! Surely you have to grant that point!” Do I?

    “So what if Hitler killed six million Jews —
    He wasn’t a Communist!”
    — Bob Dylan, “Talking John Birch Society Blues”

  51. sad observer wrote:

    It’s like Doug Wilson brings up the hot=-button abortion/gay relationships stuff to prove that he’s on the “right” side of SOMETHING, and detract from how strongly he’s on the “wrong” side of the race/slavery issue.

    AKA playing Teh *** (ed) Card off the bottom of the deck. (Which is, however, very common among Christianese Culture Warriors. Fred Phelps is just the one who’s the most obvious about it.)

  52. Pam wrote:

    Wilson strikes me as someone who is nowhere near as intelligent as he thinks he is, but has enough of a way with words (and throws in big ‘intellectual’ words as often as he can) to be able to convince people of his smarts.

    “You don’t need any intellect to be an Intellectual.”
    — G.K.Chesterton, one of the Father Brown Mysteries

  53. Daisy wrote:

    It reminds me of how gender complementarians tell women that keeping them out of certain positions within church, society, or within marriage (or that they must remain second tier) is not sexist, because, they say, they’re not unequal in being, they only have different “roles.”

    1) Cooker.
    2) Cleaner.
    3) Breeder. (Sons, of course.)
    4) Sex Toy (non-inflatable) 24/7.
    5) Ego-stroker of the Male, 24/7.

  54. @ pcapastor:

    I loved your honest comment, pcapastor.

    “But IF one must draw lines, and then proceed from there, at LEAST make the line one that divides creeps from non-creeps.’

    But if one did that, one would have to look hard at character and behavior instead of doctrine only. And how can they do that…what with us all being wicked sinners 24/7 and all? There are no creeps…or, rather, we are all creeps so look on the bright side…we have doctrine!! (I disagree, but that is the feeling I get when I delve into what some of these pastors are saying.)

    Wilson’s views have no place in my heart. I definitely get the feeling he delights in his being a supposed master wordmithy and showing us ignorant ones his self-acclaimed expertise. Isn’t he a self-made pastor with a self-made denomination?

    This blogger, who lives in Moscow and is acquainted with Wilson and debated him, has written about his disturbing views and cultish organization for a long time. Her blog is a wealth of info about Wilson. She shares some insights.

    http://www.keely-prevailingwinds.com/2013/03/suffering-disdain-for-defending-slavery.html

  55. Diane wrote:

    But if one did that, one would have to look hard at character and behavior instead of doctrine only. And how can they do that…what with us all being wicked sinners 24/7 and all? There are no creeps…or, rather, we are all creeps so look on the bright side…we have doctrine!!

    “Doctrine” or Purity of Ideology?
    (“Ees Party Line, Comrade!”)

  56. Appallingly, it appears that Doug Wilson is not alone amongst conservative evangelicals in defending the institution of slavery. At http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/a-case-study-regarding-kjvo-apologetics/ we find conservative/Calvinist blogger Fred Butler taking the position:

    “However, while God does condemn slave trading and kidnapping for the purposes of enslaving people, He did not forbid slavery, merely regulated it, and instituted indentured servitude that does practice principles of master ownership of another person.

    “Additionally, the fact that Paul mentions slavery in the context of the Roman slavery during his days of ministry, exhorting masters to treat their slaves honorably with respect and dignity, and slaves to serve their masters with a whole-hearted devotion, (See Ephesians 6:5ff.) shows that Christianity can and does thrive in such conditions; albeit conditions we in liberty-loving modern America find odious and have virtually never experienced.”

    Butler states that he is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary and an employee at Grace to You radio ministry, both of which I understand to be affiliated with John McArthur.

    In a thread on Julie Anne Smith’s Spiritual Sounding Board blog, I engaged in a discussion with an African-American Baptist Pastor was defending Roman, and to a lesser extent, Egyptian slavery–though to his credit, the pastor eventually backed off.

    At this point the grounds for my concern are largely grounded on anecdotal examples. However, I am beginning to fear that conservative evangelicals really just do not have that big a problem with the idea of slavery. I suspect that this has to do with their application of Paul’s teachings, on the place of women women, in the promotion and defense of patriarchy, with the consequent requirement that Paul’s specific instructions regarding women be applied as normative without reference to the exigencies history and culture. Logical consistency then demands that they also view Paul’s acceptance and enablement of slavery as normative.

    Add me to the fellowship of the Nones.

  57. pcapastor wrote:

    Come on now, you are being unreasonable! Doug Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens! He’s in our trench! Surely you have to grant that point!” Do I?

    I liked this point. There are some supposed “Christian” white supremacists who want the US to fight terrorism. Are they in our trench as well?

  58. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Not necessarily, Dee.

    I purposely did not say all of the time. But take a look at history. One tribe would fight another. The winner would take the conquered tribe as slaves. Therefore, that group(tribe, race, etc) would become subservient to the conquerer. I would be willing to bet that the conquerers would look at this “group” as lesser beings. Such a view would be directed at the conquered and not back at themselves.

    In some ways, slavery is like that. Deep down inside we have to make excuses for our willingness to subjugates others. We then make up excuses like “they are stupid and need us.”

  59. Do not care for Doug Wilson but Anyabwile erred greatly in affirming Race Based Special Interest Theology and Practice. While he does not offend with deliberate Afro-centric theology as Bradley does he attempts to legitimize the purposed racial perogatives in part in what is a spiritual body, namely the church.

    Additionally, I found Anyabwile’s arguments dubious in many places and always qualified with the acknowledgment he cannot be dogmatic yet he went ahead and was dogmatic anyway. His exegesis was sophomoric in many places.

  60. @ Gary W:

    Do you seriously believe that Fred Butler is defending slavery in the statement you quoted? He is not. He is accurately representing what the Bible says on the issue. More on this here: http://bible-researcher.com/slavery.html

    Also, be it known that Christianity led to the abolition of slavery in the Roman Empire.

  61. Many times I’ve said women, like blacks can’t blend in. Women are now a target in churches because there’s no way to hide the fact of being female. It has always reminded me of slavery in that there’s no hiding. But women should not have to hide. Nor should they.

    I haven’t read all the comments, sorry if this has already be discussed.

  62. @ Gary W:It appears to me that,If one applies extreme literalism to the Biblical text, one must defend slavery along with women wearing veils, having long hair, etc. If one applies patriarchy and postmillenialism to the mic, then we must become conquerers of our culture in order to usher in the Second Coming.

    There is so much tied up in this nonsense and it is becoming acceptable to certain subgroups within the faith. I thought the ideas of Rushdooney and his fringe faithful died along with him. Now, I believe we are seeing a rise in such beliefs. I think it is rather pleasant believing that we are the conquering faithful. It looks a lot nicer than martyrdom of the apostles.

    I get your “none” status. We have met the enemy and it is us.

  63. Nicholas, yes, regretfully, Butler’s words speak for themselves. He is defending slavery, even indicating that it was O.K. with God. He goes on to totally minimize the history of slavery in the American south when he describes slavery as being a condition “we in liberty-loving modern America find odious and have VIRTUALLY NEVER EXPERIENCED.” (Emphasis added.)

  64. Wilson: “I have been in three major blow-ups over slavery, and each one of the three times was right after a collision on homosexuality.”

    Reminds me of Keller’s illustration about college-aged doubt. Well, there’s doubt but…sexual immorality! Well, there’s slavery stuff but…homosexuality! Well, there’s evolution but…feminism!

    Wilson: “…help students repent of their effeminacy and softness” Well, this morning, just to see what he meant, I stuffed two ping-pong balls in my pants, shrugged on a leather jacket, and strode across my private property while stroking my chin…and oh boy,

    I can see clearly now the effeminate is gone.
    I can swat all obstacles in my way.
    Gone are those pink clouds that had me down.
    It’s gonna be a bright bright boyish kind of day.

    Oh yes, I can make it now the soft is gone
    All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
    Here is the testosterone I’ve been prayin’ for.
    It’s gonna be a bright bright bright masculiny day

    Makes me wonder what took me so long. Must have been the estrogen. Doh!

  65. @ Nicholas:I just read the post at the link. I agree with one point. Paul did not address the political dynamics of slavery. But, that was not what Paul was called to do. He was to define Christianity within the context of that culture. In that culture, Christians had few rights and could expect to be tortured, enslaved and despised.

    He was answering a “what then” question. He answered by telling the believers to live and love well and pointing to the ultimate hope. So, Christians went courageously to their deaths, rejoicing that they would instantly be transformed. This Word has given comfort thru the ages for those unjustly imprisoned in places such as the old Soviet Union and in China.

    The question arises as to what happens when Christians do achieve political influence. In those instances, people like William Wilberforce fought slavery. Calvin and the Puritans attempted to institute a “city on a hill” complete with all sorts of regulations.(This is not an endorsement).

    Today Christians carry on the battle in areas such as abortion. Many Christians (alas, not all) fought the injustice of racial separation. And they join in battles that sometimes are not necessarily Christians but purely political-such as assuming one political party is on the Lord’s side. (And if anyone thinks I am revealing my political affiliation by this statement, think again).

    Christianity has also been used to justify slavery (both sides in the Civil War believed that God was on their side) and racial separation. We are compelled, when in power, to address the issues of poverty and injustice while at the same time understanding that ultimate justice and peace is found in the loving arms of our Savior.

  66. @ Alex Guggenheim: There was an underlying theme to my post that, to me, changes the discussion a bit. Look at the first part of the post as i discussed issues like the discrimination of immigrants and then proceeded to discuss why discrimination was particularly difficult for those from an African American background.

    If you look at my concerns with Wilson, I was addressing his insensitivity to the racial issue. He is a white man who insisted, given the potential inflammatory nature of the discussion, to poke at another black preacher when there were plenty of examples of such theological concerns within the white community.

    So, when you said “His (Anyabwile) exegesis was sophomoric in many places.” I wondered if you were attempting to take into consideration his particular experience as a man who experienced the indignities of “walking while black.” If you are an African American, then I would assume that you have and argue my point from another direction.

  67. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    simply cannot see the advantage to them for bringing Wilson into the Reformed/GC fold as one of them. It is one thing to think lowly of women but race?
    I’m not sure you meant this the way it came across…it’s more acceptable to put down and enslave based on gender than race? Just sayin’….

    Hi Jeanette, So sorry I was not more clear! I had so many connect the dots thoughts when I wrote that but did not communicate well at all!

    I have been following this Calvinist resurgence for a while now and one thing they have done is to make gender roles a salvic issue. Are there exceptions? Yes, like Keller but he is allowed in the camp cos he is comp enough. But Piper is patriarcal as most of them are. Even in the GC vid of Mohler, Duncan and Deyoung, comp is mentioned as part and parcel of this movement and and the “Gospel”. And you have to admit that Mohler is a big mover and shaker in this movement.

    However, When Piper and the GC started promoting Wilson and brought him into the family this presents a problem for the SBC. It IS one thing for their followers to accept comp/patriarchy as a norm on the gospel continuum but quite another to ignore Wilson’s historical rewriting of history concerning slavery.

    This could be a problem for Mohler. Most of the YRR just accept a guru with little questioning based upon the affirmation of a Piper or Mohler. They don’t tend to do their homework. Some were shocked when these beliefs of Wilson were brought up on some YRR pastor type blogs. They did not believe it. Prove it was their cry.

    Now, for many years the Calvinista battle cry in the SBC has been about going back to the Calvinist “roots” of it’s Founders. The old dead guys of our Founding. But the problem is, many of our well known Founders were pro slavery. I mean big time pro slavery. To the point of being embarassing if you have ever read Broadus’ bio of Boyce who has a college named after him at SBTS. That stuff seems to get swept under the rug when discussing our “Founders”. But it has been brought back up as they urge us to go back to our historical roots. Many thought we had grown past them and were thankful!!!

    So, the answer to this was to change the name of the SBC to Great Commission Baptists. Cos you know, people start looking at history when you constantly teach them we must go back to SBC Founding roots of Calvinism. So a big push was for changing the name and it passed at convention the SBC could use the other name if they wanted to. Mohler was big time behind this and even tweeted that SBTS would now be known as the Great Commission Baptist Seminary. I drive by there quite a bit and the signs have not changed in the last year. So far, I have not seen any proof it is being used anywhere. So what was that all about? Could it be too many folks were bringing upb the Calvinist/Slavery past?

    What does all this mean? It means Doug Wilson should be a HUGE embarassment for the YRR in the SBC. But they are still finding out about him. The new SBC Pres is African American and this was a big deal.

    But the Reformed wing of the SBC is not alarmed by Wilson being accepted into the growing movement? What? Driscoll, Mahaney and now Wilson? Is there ever a time the creep factor does not kick in with these guys? Where are the concerns?

    So women? Yeah, separate but equal thinking is required to be in that movement cos it is the Gospel (sarcasm). But Wilson’s views on slavery? Where is the concern within the YRR/SBC wing? This has been a huge topic over the last few years about SBC diversity problem and so few African Americans in leadership at the entities.

    So yeah, I was being tongue in cheek when mentioning gender roles and this situation with Wilson. I think it is going to be a big embarassment for them if they keep promoting him.

  68. dee wrote:

    Come on now, you are being unreasonable! Doug Wilson vs. Christopher Hitchens! He’s in our trench! Surely you have to grant that point!” Do I?
    I liked this point. There are some supposed “Christian” white supremacists who want the US to fight terrorism. Are they in our trench as well?

    Welcome to politics as it makes strange bedfellows at times. :o)

  69. Gary W wrote:

    He goes on to totally minimize the history of slavery in the American south when he describes slavery as being a condition “we in liberty-loving modern America find odious and have VIRTUALLY NEVER EXPERIENCED.” (Emphasis added.)

    It does seem like he skipped over slavery in America. Maybe he only meant 20-21st century Americans.

  70. @ dee:
    Dee

    While one experiences unique indignities none of these kinds of individual or group proprietary experiences gives weight to theological arguments which is my focus. Anyabwile’s race is not a matter of extra or lacking sensitivities. I believe it is encumbent on us and for Teachers especially to rise above egocentrism when dealing w theology, hence I assume the best of Anyabwile and that he is, with respect to being able to receive the force of my words, not going to be guilty of projecting racial antagonisms, and to the readers here as well.

    I understand sensitivity but even the lack of it cannot be treated with any force as an argument on the issue.

    I do agree that Wilson’s diplomacy is debatable but that aside and to the greater concern, the principles and theology of the matter, I do believe Anyabwile would do even worse face to face in a debate and believe much of what he argued to be weak.

  71. The first time I heard the word “Kinist” was about 2005 or so. It kept coming up on certain blogs mostly Reformed people discussing it cos there were fringes within Reformed movement of Kinists that many Reformed folks were very concerned about. I had NO idea this movement even existed and it shocked me to my core the weirdness in Christendom. Creepy scary stuff.

  72. @ Eagle:

    I believe that MacArthur has said that the American Revolution was not Biblically sanctioned. I would agree with him.

    Interestingly, slavery was abolished in the British Empire before it was abolished in the USA.

    As for Egypt, “meet the new boss same as the old boss.” Actually, Egypt’s new bosses (Muslim Brotherhood) are worse than the old boss. Persecution against the Coptic Christians has heated up to a much higher level than it was under Mubarak.

  73. Long ago I read some of the scholar’s who responded to “Slavery As It Was” but cannot find them now. Wilson came out looking like a 10th grader writing a badly resourced paper.

  74. Nicholas wrote:

    Interestingly, slavery was abolished in the British Empire before it was abolished in the USA

    yes but using a technicality of shipping laws. :o)

  75. Patrice wrote:

    Wilson: “I have been in three major blow-ups over slavery, and each one of the three times was right after a collision on homosexuality.”
    Reminds me of Keller’s illustration about college-aged doubt. Well, there’s doubt but…sexual immorality! Well, there’s slavery stuff but…homosexuality! Well, there’s evolution but…feminism!
    Wilson: “…help students repent of their effeminacy and softness” Well, this morning, just to see what he meant, I stuffed two ping-pong balls in my pants, shrugged on a leather jacket, and strode across my private property while stroking my chin…and oh boy,

    Patrice, the more I read these guys respond to homosexuality over the years, the more I see it is really about THEMSELVES.

  76. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    Alex,

    I get the impression that you, like Doug Wilson, are in the habit of treating your subject matter like a mathematician treats numbers — as logical formulas — or an astrophysicist deals with data — reality in the form of calculations. Deeply engaged in it all, to the point of unawareness of what human beings actually experience on ground level. It doesn’t seem to have much relevance.

    I tend to think that you & Doug either expect or would prefer that your fellow humans be programmed automatons, responding to perfectly calculated equations, rather than the ruckus of stimuli that is reality (visible, invisible, biological, psychological, spiritual, creative, memory, inherited memory, sensory, etc. — a coin with so many sides)

  77. JeffT wrote:

    My comment is in moderation – did I get on the naughty list?

    Jeff – it must’ve been a stirrer to get deleterated here!

    (Though my working hypothesis is that you hit a wrong note whilst typing your email address!)

  78. @ JeffT:

    You may have just used a word that sent you to the naughty corner for a time out :) I’m sure you’ll be released from the corner soon.

  79. @ elastigirl:
    And if your assumption errs then what (and I believe it does)? And the exaggerated language is of little service. Still you are now trending away from substanative theological principles or even anthropological ones and toward ad hominem arguments of which I believe better from you.

  80. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    JeffT wrote:
    My comment is in moderation – did I get on the naughty list?

    Jeff – it must’ve been a stirrer to get deleterated here!

    I didn’t think so and didn’t use any bad words, who knows {shrug}

  81. Gary W wrote:

    At this point the grounds for my concern are largely grounded on anecdotal examples. However, I am beginning to fear that conservative evangelicals really just do not have that big a problem with the idea of slavery. I suspect that this has to do with their application of Paul’s teachings, on the place of women women, in the promotion and defense of patriarchy, with the consequent requirement that Paul’s specific instructions regarding women be applied as normative without reference to the exigencies history and culture.

    Gary W – – Were you reading my blog last summer when we had our run-in with Fred? One of the recurring questions were: where is your husband in all of this, do you have his permission to blog, etc. Who cares, Fred!!!

    I could write a lot about the character I have seen from this man and how he has treated my family. It’s all in my blog and it is painful to recall because it underscores a lack of love by those who act like they are Christian leaders. It seems that this lack of love permeates what we see among those lifted up as celebrity pastors/leaders. It is a complete and utter lack of love that allows CJ to be speaking in S. Africa. Why is he even there when 25 SGM churches have left and half the population of SGM has voted with their feet? Where is the love, people?

  82. Alex Guggenheim wrote:

    Do not care for Doug Wilson but Anyabwile erred greatly in affirming Race Based Special Interest Theology and Practice. While he does not offend with deliberate Afro-centric theology as Bradley does he attempts to legitimize the purposed racial perogatives in part in what is a spiritual body, namely the church.
    Additionally, I found Anyabwile’s arguments dubious in many places and always qualified with the acknowledgment he cannot be dogmatic yet he went ahead and was dogmatic anyway. His exegesis was sophomoric in many places.

    Alex, you need to give this up. Anyabwile isn’t the one with “sophomoric exegesis.” And, ironically enough, Wilson isn’t the only one using confusing, “smarty” language. There is no race or ethnicity in the church, and in that you’re right. We stand as one, but we must do whatever the hell it takes to get there, including sacrificing of ourselves to ensure that we, as one, can move past the atrocities of the past. Your whole “get over it” attitude needs to go.

  83. @ Alex Guggenheim:I think you did not have to say his arguments are sophomoric and you should stick to the knitting. In debating matters such as race, we can argue our theological leanings while being sensitive. For example, you call Anyabwile’s thoughts “sophomoric” and merely say that Wilson’s diplomacy is debatable. Guess which one comes across more strongly?

    My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.

  84. Anon 1 wrote:

    Welcome to politics as it makes strange bedfellows at times.

    You are right. The problem occurs when we then make politics and faith the same thing.

  85. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    The first form of “slavery” in the Americas was that of indentured servants. One small problem – indentured servants were usually of the same race so if one escaped, they would blend in with the other Europeans and not easily recaptured. Also indentured servants had an expectation that their term would come to an end. Thus indentured servitude was not a profitable work force in the Americas. Enter the captured slaves from Africa. There were many “benefits” to the African slaves – perhaps first being that they could not blend in to the community should they escape. They did not have the expectation of earning freedom. Those were the first two factors involved in bringing African slaves to the Americas. So yes, American slavery was based on racism from the very beginning.

    I could go on and on about the development of racism in colonial Virginia but I won’t torment anybody. It was one of my specialties in college; Doug wilson is not even on the radar of any historian unless he is used as an example of “how not to…”

  86. Nicholas wrote:

    I believe that MacArthur has said that the American Revolution was not Biblically sanctioned. I would agree with him.

    Some would say that Bonhoeffer should not have been involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. I think one could make Biblical arguments on both sides of the coin. The same goes for the struggles throughout the world to ovethrow tyrants.

    Perhaps the Russians should not have revolted against the Communists? The same goes for the Revolution. That is why politics can be problematic. We start applying Biblical principles to secular pursuits and everyone involved thinks they know what God wants.

  87. Pingback: Why is a famous evangelical pastor defending slavery? | Mercy not Sacrifice UNITED STATES

  88. @ JeffT:I am sorry that things are getting thrown into moderation. I just checked and yours is not there so it has been approved. We are playing around with suggested lists of words and seeing what happens. For example, we realized that the word “hell” could be problematic since it is often used in Christian debates. So, we have taken that one out of the queue.I was out grocery shopping and Guy and Deb are not available so things got stalled while I was deciding on dinner. Sorry.

    You didn’t do anything wrong. Its just us working it out. I take criticism seriously and am trying hard to do this right. Give us a few weeks to work out the kinks (hmmmm-is this a bad word-testing…)

  89. @ Alex Guggenheim:
    You sound very intelligent and I apologize that I do not understand what you are saying. Could you please reword your final comment so that I can answer?

  90. @ Julie Anne:I so remember those comments by Fred. You and I talked about it a lot. He is another example of someone who needs to up his love game.

  91. @ mot: Awesome example. Some in the comp camp will argue that women cannot pray or read the Scripture from the pulpit. And they will claim that this is the only Biblical thing to do. Similar aguments have been used in the past to keep the races segregated as well.

  92. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    Alright, I’ll try. Although your writing is heavy as walking through old molasses.

    “And if your assumption errs then what (and I believe it does)?”
    ******

    If my assumption is wrong, then I have misunderstood what is behind your communication. I read some of your article on Race Based Special Interest Theology. What struck me is a commitment to philosophical principle that leaves little room for things like compassion and understanding of human experience. The hard-lined black & white box of principle over people. If I am incorrect in my perception, you are welcome to elucidate.

    “And the exaggerated language is of little service. Still you are now trending away from substanative theological principles or even anthropological ones and toward ad hominem arguments of which I believe better from you.”
    **********

    Good grief, speak plainly, man. You don’t like metaphors, I take it?

    My point was you seem to have quite a developed philosophy about things which misses the brass tacks of human experience. The observation that “the loudest voices in the conservative evangelical world are middle aged white Reformed guys” (attributed to Bryan Loritts, http://thepedestrianchristian.blogspot.com/2012/02/examination-of-protestantevangelical.html) is a simple fact. An uncomfortable one for a person of an African-American background. What comes to mind is a little girl with dark skin shopping at Toys ‘r Us and seeing nothing but caucasian baby dolls, Barbie dolls, and Disney princesses. Bewilderingly & deeply painful and confusing.

    What I read in your article was like responding to this pain at ground level (and what furthers it) with an explanation of “this is just marketing and business”. A response that is not illogical, but which flies at 30,000 feet and doesn’t see or relate to the human component, the reality of what it means for human beings.

  93. ScotT wrote:

    We stand as one, but we must do whatever the hell it takes to get there, including sacrificing of ourselves to ensure that we, as one, can move past the atrocities of the past. Your whole “get over it” attitude needs to go.

    Preach it, brother!

  94. Now that I am reminded of Fred Butler’s behavior last year, I regret defending him on a different issue here today. I am not a fan of him.

  95. @ elastigirl:
    Your response is extremely egotistically based regarding the matter. Your experiences have become the center of your thinking and arguing the matter instead of larger and more binding principles. I doubt you will ever be satisfied until each environment you encounter is adjusted to you.

  96. dee wrote:

    @ mot: Awesome example. Some in the comp camp will argue that women cannot pray or read the Scripture from the pulpit. And they will claim that this is the only Biblical thing to do. Similar aguments have been used in the past to keep the races segregated as well.

    Anyone remember the word “Miscegenation”? I first came across it as a kid in a 1940s-vintage fiction writer’s guide (as in “Don’t use Miscegenation!”), thought it meant some common writer’s mistake, and only several years later found out what it really meant: Interracial marriage (AKA “They’re after our White Women!”), which at the time was not only illegal in a lot of states but a bright red murder flag-level taboo. (H/T to Malcolm X for the “Bright Red Murder Flag” idiom.) Today, who cares about it?

    As an aside to the comp/patrio angle, a lot of KKK lynchings (which often meant not just simple hangings but often burnings after preliminary torture/mutilation) were justified specifically in the name of “Protecting Our White Women.” (Don’t the comp/patrios also justify a lot of their male-supremacist behavior in the name of Protecting the Weaker Sex?) For some reason, protecting Pedigreed White Breeding Stock from Black contamination was really really really important. Reminds me of horror stories of over-the-top dog and horse breeders who act like their female stock is forever ruined (to the point of “putting down” them and all their offspring) if mated outside their carefully-planned purebreeding program.

  97. Mandy wrote:

    The first form of “slavery” in the Americas was that of indentured servants. One small problem – indentured servants were usually of the same race so if one escaped, they would blend in with the other Europeans and not easily recaptured. Also indentured servants had an expectation that their term would come to an end. Thus indentured servitude was not a profitable work force in the Americas. Enter the captured slaves from Africa. There were many “benefits” to the African slaves – perhaps first being that they could not blend in to the community should they escape. They did not have the expectation of earning freedom. Those were the first two factors involved in bringing African slaves to the Americas. So yes, American slavery was based on racism from the very beginning.

    A friend of mine explained it as due to colonization patterns and attempts to reproduce European society (“Milord” on his manor/plantation worked by serfs and peasants) in the New World. The indentures were the serfs whose labor would make the Lord of the Manor rich and titled and entitled to his liesure. However, there was one important difference between Europe and America:

    America had a frontier. Europe didn’t. Europe had been settled so long, if a peasant fled Milord, there was only other Milords and manors from sea to sea. In America, there was a vast unsettled (by Europeans) frontier to the West (which at the time meant the Appalachians). Instead of laboring as happy little peasants for Milord, these ingrates would bug out (even before their indenture ended) and settle the frontier as free men, yeomen with their own (homesteaded) land. So how were these new Nobility in their plantations to get their serfs to do all the work and keep them rich?

    Enter the slave traders (a lot of them from New England), bringing new animate property from Africa. Who couldn’t blend in if they ran away. And since Africans appear so different from Europeans, primate visual orientation kicked in to brand them as The Other.

  98. @ Alex Guggenheim:Huh? Egotistical?

    Elastigirl is a thoughtful person who has challenged me to think in new ways. She is kind and loving to those who struggle. I think that you could learn a lot from her. How can you make such sweeping generalizations about someone on a blog?

  99. dee wrote:

    Perhaps the Russians should not have revolted against the Communists? The same goes for the Revolution. That is why politics can be problematic. We start applying Biblical principles to secular pursuits and everyone involved thinks they know what God wants.

    Not just that, they KNOW what God wants better than God Himself.

    “A fanatic is someone who does what God commands — or what God would command if God only KNEW what was REALLY going on.”
    — can’t remember where I heard that, but it’s a good line

  100. dee wrote:

    How can you make such sweeping generalizations about someone on a blog?

    Net Drunk Syndrome.

  101. There are so many commenters here with better knowledge of history and theology than myself. Just some thoughts . . .

    Until last year, I hadn’t watched any movies or TV for over two decades. Two weeks ago my husband and I watched “The Help.” I was stunned, and, at the same time, gained a new appreciation for the struggles that African Americans have endured just to be treated as fellow human beings in America. I was not raised in areas where there were any racial tensions, so I was largely ignorant of what African Americans in just my parent’s generation went through. There was nothing “benevolent” about the way they were treated not so very long ago. Now we have twice elected our first African American president. But we should never allow a revisionist history that portrays the struggles of our darker skinned neighbors for less than the horror that it actually was. Perhaps Doug Wilson wouldn’t mind a “separate-but-equal” bathroom for himself?

  102. elastigirl wrote:

    I tend to think that you & Doug either expect or would prefer that your fellow humans be programmed automatons, responding to perfectly calculated equations…

    Like the New Soviet Man?

  103. @ dee:
    Dee

    So for the sake of continuity I replace sophomoric with “over reaching with general texts and historical inaccuracies on certain matters” otherwise my argument stands.

    I do believe face to face and under rigorous examination his points overall would fail even more. Not that I support Wilson, but that the exegetical and theological underpinning of Anyabwile’s argumentation is inadequate and at some points elementarily incorrect on a grammatical/contextual scale.

    As to sensitivities, one can grant Anyabwile the advantage but that certainly cannot be the primary thrust of the rightness of his argument but unfortunately I believe he depended on playing that card and by reading many responses this secondary line of argumentation for many is happily the primary one which can only lead to errant conclusions. If I did not know better I would swear I am contending with followers of John Piper who seem to be quite devoted to emotional appeals and posturing when encountering differing views, not you, of course.

  104. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    alex, alex, alex….. I think i’d like to be having a sloppy joe & a coke with you right now… I have a feeling you’re more warm-blooded and fun-loving than you come across.

    I think you need a tickle fight.

  105. @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex Guggenheim wrote:

    If I did not know better I would swear I am contending with followers of John Piper who seem to be quite devoted to emotional appeals and posturing when encountering differing views,

    This comment will go down in history. Normally, this blog is accused of being anti-Calvinist which it is not anymore than it is anti-Arminian. I shall have to drag this comment out as proof! Calvinistas-are you paying attention??!!!

    As for your argument, I must admit that I have no idea to what you are referring. If you can give an example, then we can discuss it. I am a simple woman who needs concrete examples with which to work.

    I suggest you take elastigril up on her tickle fight!

  106. I have a question about Thabiti Anyabwhile. Before he became a Muslim I read
    his name was Ron Burns. I don’t understand why he kept his Muslim name after he became a Christian.

  107. elastigirl wrote:

    An uncomfortable one for a person of an African-American background. What comes to mind is a little girl with dark skin shopping at Toys ‘r Us and seeing nothing but caucasian baby dolls, Barbie dolls, and Disney princesses. Bewilderingly & deeply painful and confusing

    At the same time she has an African American president in her growing up years!!! Strides have been made and those strides only make Doug Wilson look like an idiot.

  108. @ Anon 1:

    Yes. Strides have been made. I think we can give Doug Wilson his own tent, ball of string, and jar of honey and he’ll take it from there.

  109. elastigirl wrote:

    I think we can give Doug Wilson his own tent, ball of string, and jar of honey and he’ll take it from there.

    I don’t get what you mean?

  110. @ H&M:Here is one explanation,
    Thabiti, formerly known as Ron Burns, changed his name to Thabiti Anyabwile following his commitment to begin following the Muslim faith in 1991. Thabiti, meaning stern/ upright, and Anyabwile, meaning “God has set me free”, were chosen as names that reflect particular attributes of Allah. God, in his gracious providence, saved Thabiti and his wife out of the Muslim faith through the expository teaching ministry of a TV evangelist.
    http://www.radical.net/blog/tag/thabiti-anyabwile/
    It sounds like his name is still appropriate.

  111. @ HUG & Dee:

    Per the claim that kidnapping is wrong but American slavery wasn’t, the American slave trade wouldn’t have existed without kidnapping. There weren’t Africans conveniently located nextdoor to the settlers (though the settlers did enslave some of their Indian neighbors too so…). They had to cross an ocean to get to the Africans (now there’s determination if you’ve ever seen it!) and once they got them here they kept them generationally enslaved. The whole system was built on kidnapping so this claim seems to be splitting a nonexistent hair to me.

  112. Whoops, correction – the American slave system wouldn’t have existed without kidnapping. Of course the slave trade was the kidnapping.

  113. @ Anon 1:
    Anon 1, I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the last few weeks, catching up on Christian-arena issues in a very general sort of way (mostly online because it’s quickest). The things people write/do in the name of God! What is most appalling is the amount of malice that they carry towards others, always subterranean, never openly/honestly. I’m talking about the leaders here, for the most part, not commenters.

    Of course, their malice *must* be enforced underhandedly because otherwise they’d run straight into the clear words of Jesus, and from there, they’d be confronted by their own meanness, smallness and frailty. So they use endless iterations and complications of “authority”: the authority of the Bible over the world, their own authority of interpretation, their authority over the church body, the authority of men over women, of their culture over any other culture, of adults over children, of the Church over the world, etc. etc.

    So Anyabwile et al give over to Wilson, “Ok you say you’re not a racist or slaver because you say you aren’t, but you exploit “racial sensitivities”.” Are they kidding? Wilson can say whatever he wants until he’s green in the face, but throughout his blahblahblah (in above links), he is just plain racist. There is no other way to understand his refusal to recognize that black human-slaves were just as needy/deserving of freedom and self-determination as he himself is. His constant belittling of these fundamental values over his smaller cavils (confederacy, Confederacy, how nasty John Brown was) shows it. Why would anyone would give this guy a second thought? I gave him reading time and I feel dirty. I wonder why Anyabwile gave him so much effort?

    Then in this thread, Alex G has the gall to criticize Anyabwile for “affirming Race Based Special Interest in Theology and Practice”. “Racial sensitivities” get no play in Theology. See how that goes? Once one backs off, the new position is easily rejected in yet another under-handed iteration of malice underneath the beardy Show of Authority. With an attitude like that, Alex G isn’t fit to shine the shoes of Anyabwile. But he’s just another creature grown by the atmosphere inside the church.

    I’ve had my fill, Anon 1. Compared to Wilson, Hitchens (who I always thought bombastic, contemptuous and narrow-minded) is a paragon of honesty/humility. I despise being put in a place where my mind makes such comparisons.

    I am finding the current US Christian church a “mind-field” of betrayal, in a war more deadly to the soul (and intellect) than that outside the church. This makes me very sad. I have a great deal of respect for you (and Deb, Dee, Muff, rafiki, jeannette, numo, hester, et al) battling away as you do. And I wonder about it, as I do about Anyabwile.

  114. Patrice, I have to be honest with you. I have my position about our race problems in America and they probably will not go over well here. First of all, I was raised to believe there is ONE race. Humans. I attended church with African Americans since I can remember being alive.

    I tend to think Booker T Washington was the most brilliant economist of all time with his attempt to make African Americans on “equal” footing even before they had the vote! He basically said the only color that mattered in the long run in this argument was green. And his biggest obstacle in his current context toward that goal was guess who? Black pastors! So here we go again. Attempts to control people even within a group that had no equality. Hierarchy of ego strikes again!

    The thing is, this country perpetuated a horrible evil. And we must admit that and take it into consideration at every turn in every convo. We have to live with the consequences of such a horrible evil perpetuated on innocent people.

    But I also weary of not being able to have discussions without being considered evil whether it is with Patriarchalists or the Left wing. We have made huge strides and we should celebrate that as a nation. It is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that guys like Wilson are kooks. Whatever could he have been thinking that they were happy in that environment? The fact that so many have risen to great heights in this country (one of my favs is John Johnson) proves him totally out of touch with reality.

    There will always be bigots. The best way to make them look like kooks is to celebrate the success and intelligence of our fellow Americans who worked so hard to overcome great odds. We cannot even begin to understand the odds! I read bios of some in history and I am blown away at what they did. George Washington Carver comes to mind. incredible man.

    Any believer who thinks there are “races” is ignorant. There is one race, many cultures.

    Paul also said to slaves: If you can win your freedom, do it. And I would suggest Doug Wilson study the book of Philemon very carefully. As Philemon was told to treat his runaway slave Oni as a brother in Christ! Phil had the option of putting him to death for his “crime” in that era. Treating him as a brother in Christ was an equal position within the Body. Radical thinking for that time and placed. See, in the Body of Christ there is no slave or free, male nor female….and that can only take place when the actual folk within the Body LIVE it with each other.

  115. @ Patrice:I really don’t see much difference between Wilson and Lester Maddox, George Wallace (especially in his irascible intolerance toward the Civil Rights movement, David Duke (and all other KKK officials present and former).

    That *anyone* would allow him even *semi*-legitimate status is deeply troubling and speaks to multiple, overlapping problems within a certain segment of the contemporary American church. Of course, it’s hardly surprising to me that some of Wilson’s defenders come from the Deep South, nor that he’s used Montana as a base. :(

  116. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    alex, alex, alex….. I think i’d like to be having a sloppy joe & a coke with you right now… I have a feeling you’re more warm-blooded and fun-loving than you come across.
    I think you need a tickle fight.

    Holy crud, I snorted so hard that stuff almost came out of my nose! Alex sounds like he works in a very technical field, & is stuck in that linguistic loop. A friend of mine doing a PHD in Theology puts up the most linguistically dense status updates on fb that I have ever read,which crack me up. Thankfully he follows them up with pics of him & his 5 year old on a train or geeking on Star Wars. I can get bogged down myself when having to write funding applications or summarise work with a client for social services or something, but Alex does have a special talent for it.

    Alex- loving your work, & the quip about Piper was priceless. I’m actually an undercover Calvinsta ( & a man) sent here to learn, & you’ve blown my cover. Darn it.

  117. Science supports the “one human race” theory without question.

    We have been deluding ourselves for centuries with the supposed “differences” in “races,” though God knows, that kind of thinking certainly has been the basis for the oppression of many and the rise and fall of at least one English-speaking empire.

    I more or less believe at this point that non-Europeans are going to have the last laugh – indeed, that they already have it, albeit we often ignore them due to perceived “backwardness” as well as the plain fact that most of them speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Urdu, etc.

  118. Patrice wrote:

    Wilson: “I have been in three major blow-ups over slavery, and each one of the three times was right after a collision on homosexuality.”
    Reminds me of Keller’s illustration about college-aged doubt. Well, there’s doubt but…sexual immorality! Well, there’s slavery stuff but…homosexuality! Well, there’s evolution but…feminism!
    Wilson: “…help students repent of their effeminacy and softness” Well, this morning, just to see what he meant, I stuffed two ping-pong balls in my pants, shrugged on a leather jacket, and strode across my private property while stroking my chin…and oh boy,
    I can see clearly now the effeminate is gone.
    I can swat all obstacles in my way.
    Gone are those pink clouds that had me down.
    It’s gonna be a bright bright boyish kind of day.
    Oh yes, I can make it now the soft is gone
    All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
    Here is the testosterone I’ve been prayin’ for.
    It’s gonna be a bright bright bright masculiny day
    Makes me wonder what took me so long. Must have been the estrogen. Doh!

    Patrice, this is a work of genius. I’m also going to try it! And those guys have the art of the spiritual red herring down pat…

  119. @ Mandy: Well, not exactly the “first.” Spanish and Portuguese officials and planters (and everyone else) in Latin America spent a heck of a lot of time enslaving the Native Americans they conquered…

    The African slave trade took hold in a big way in the Englihs, Spanish and French-speaking Caribbean long before it did so on the US mainland – due to the proliferation of cane plantations, for one… (And the dying out of the native peoples of the islands, for two.)

  120. numo wrote:

    That *anyone* would allow him even *semi*-legitimate status is deeply troubling and speaks to multiple, overlapping problems within a certain segment of the contemporary American church. Of course, it’s hardly surprising to me that some of Wilson’s defenders come from the Deep South, nor that he’s used Montana as a base.

    Moscow, Idaho is his base. I think he is from there?

    “Wilson is the publisher of and a contributor to the Reformed cultural and theological journal Credenda/Agenda, and is a former contributor to Tabletalk, the magazine published by R. C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Wilson_(theologian)

    One of the things I kept running across in those Reformed circles back in the early blogging days is a love for RC Sproul. He was like their idol which I found odd. This included not only the reconstructionists but the kinists, too!

  121. @ dee:
    dee wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:Huh? Egotistical?
    Elastigirl is a thoughtful person who has challenged me to think in new ways. She is kind and loving to those who struggle. I think that you could learn a lot from her. How can you make such sweeping generalizations about someone on a blog?

    She certainly is all too happy to make form rather unfavorable if not extremely biased assumptions about me and respond as if they have been validated. I believe that ought to warrant just as much attention and concern. As to learning, I always consider the arguments of those with whom I exchange views.

  122. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But I stray… if anybody really is calling Wilson out on the grounds that he’s a sinner and they’re better than he is, then they’re wrong.

    Wilson seemed to be arguing the opposite point, that because black people are sinners and are not perfect, they have not justification for calling him on comments or views they find insensitive, offensive, or racist.

    But the NT (as in new testament, not the N.T. Wright, aka Tom Wright) commands us, on occasion, to rebuke one another. And it gives us no excuse at all for falling back on, you’re a sinner too, so you’ve no business talking to me.

    Yep, that it does.

    When people such as Wilson take the approach that all are sinners, therefore one cannot rebuke wrong behavior, it gives people a license to sin.

    You can sin all day long if you want and not be held accountable. I can steal cookies from your cookie jar, and if you catch me red handed, I can make the appeal of, “You’re a sinner too, so I don’t have to apologize or buy you more cookies.”

  123. dee wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex Guggenheim wrote:
    If I did not know better I would swear I am contending with followers of John Piper who seem to be quite devoted to emotional appeals and posturing when encountering differing views,
    This comment will go down in history. Normally, this blog is accused of being anti-Calvinist which it is not anymore than it is anti-Arminian. I shall have to drag this comment out as proof! Calvinistas-are you paying attention??!!!
    As for your argument, I must admit that I have no idea to what you are referring. If you can give an example, then we can discuss it. I am a simple woman who needs concrete examples with which to work.
    I suggest you take elastigril up on her tickle fight!

    I was referring to the nature of their allegiance, not their doctrine. The sycophantic style by some of being hyper-reactionary mirrors the Calvinistas.

  124. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    alex, alex, alex….. I think i’d like to be having a sloppy joe & a coke with you right now… I have a feeling you’re more warm-blooded and fun-loving than you come across.
    I think you need a tickle fight.

    When I am addressing a serious issue I don’t make an effort to come across as less than serious. I can and do enjoy myself and levity is not far from my presence, often.

  125. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    alex — i’m simply observing what you’ve put out, & am prefacing it all with “it seems to me” and “I tend to think”. I’ve obviously misunderstood, and can echo my previous invitation to elucidate. I would like to understand better.

  126. ScotT wrote:

    Alex Guggenheim wrote:
    Do not care for Doug Wilson but Anyabwile erred greatly in affirming Race Based Special Interest Theology and Practice. While he does not offend with deliberate Afro-centric theology as Bradley does he attempts to legitimize the purposed racial perogatives in part in what is a spiritual body, namely the church.
    Additionally, I found Anyabwile’s arguments dubious in many places and always qualified with the acknowledgment he cannot be dogmatic yet he went ahead and was dogmatic anyway. His exegesis was sophomoric in many places.

    Alex, you need to give this up. Anyabwile isn’t the one with “sophomoric exegesis.” And, ironically enough, Wilson isn’t the only one using confusing, “smarty” language. There is no race or ethnicity in the church, and in that you’re right. We stand as one, but we must do whatever the hell it takes to get there, including sacrificing of ourselves to ensure that we, as one, can move past the atrocities of the past. Your whole “get over it” attitude needs to go.

    I see, 8th grade level vocabulary is “smarty” language? At least I know what I am dealing with here.

    We, as the church, don’t have to get anywhere, btw. Christ gets us there and the more we lean toward anthropologically based ecclesiology the further we are from Christ so I suggest any side emphasizing its racial properties as a source of ecclesiastical or spiritual identification or articulation is in error and if I recall, I don’t see anyone doing that these days other than one particular group.

  127. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    alex — i’m simply observing what you’ve put out, & am prefacing it all with “it seems to me” and “I tend to think”. I’ve obviously misunderstood, and can echo my previous invitation to elucidate. I would like to understand better.

    Maybe an “it seems to me because i.e.with an explanation as to how this seeming came about” would help the cause. Maybe some questions before you declare your assumptions, you know, some discovery. I would post a smiley face but I am still serious and there isn’t a serious face emoticon which satisfies me.

  128. @ Argo:

    I’ve seen guys like this before, and my theory is that Wilson would probably argue that slavery was actually benefical to slaves.

    There’s also a similar type of sexism, I think scholars refer to it as “benevolent sexism.”

    It’s the form of sexism where men (and the women who are sympathetic to their view) will say that affording full equality to women and prohibiting women from doing “X” but allowing men to do “X” is for a woman’s own safety, benefit, and protection.

    Even if the motive truly springs from altruism, it’s still discriminating against a group of people.

    One page (from prevention.com) describes benevolent Sexism this way:

    …researchers examined benevolent sexism among nearly 400 college-aged men and women. Unlike the kinds of overt gender discrimination most women would blanch at, benevolent sexism can actually seem quite benign: In essence, it’s the idea that “women are wonderful, but weak,” says lead study author Kathleen Connelly, PhD, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Florida. “Benevolent sexism shows up all the time, in this attitude that women are warmer and kinder than men, but at the same time weaker and [needing] to be cared for.”

    It’s the same thinking when it comes to American slavery in 19th century.

    The slave owners are depicted as being kindly, grandfatherly types who took care of and protected their ignorant, illiterate slaves.

  129. Alex — let’s have Anyabwile join us for that sloppy joe and we can get all messy and laugh and enjoy each others’ company.

  130. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    I assume you wanted what you’ve written to be read. I obliged. I responded according to what I perceived. If I have misperceived, just tell me so I can understand.

  131. JeffT wrote:

    In fact, caring for and about others is repugnant – note his call for gays to “repent of their effeminacy and softness” and the railing against “racial sensitivity scam artists”.

    Drs Cloud and Townsend describe this sort of situation in the book “Boundaries.”

    Based upon his internet writings and how he debates with people over the web, it looks like Wilson falls into the book chart’s combination of “Can’t Hear / No” – which in detail says, “Can’t Hear/ The Controller: Aggressively or manipulatively violates boundaries of others”

    On the previous page, the authors discuss “Nonresponsives: Not Hearing the Needs of Others.”

    This part reminded me of how Wilson handled this debate on racism and slavery.

    Under the “Nonresponsives” heading is a description of a wife named Brenda who says that while her husband Mike is a good provider and “active Christian,” that he refuses to even try to meet her emotional needs, validate, or empathize with her hurt feelings.

    The authors describe it as: “[their marital] relationship allowed no room for her hurts or needs.”

    Instead of consoling his wife Brenda, the husband in the example (Mike) blurts out to her,

    “If you don’t like the way you feel, change your feelings. Life’s tough. So just… just handle it.”
    …It wasn’t that easy to express her neediness in the first place, especially with Mike’s coldness.
    … He seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of her struggles – and didn’t want to.
    (source: Boundaries, by Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend)

    The doctors go on to write,

    “Mike (the husband) does have a responsibility to connect with [his wife] Brenda not only as a provider and as a parenting partner, but also as a loving husband.
    Connecting emotionally with Brenda is part of loving her as himself (Eph 5:28, 33).
    … His inability to respond to her needs is a neglect of his responsibility.”
    (source: Boundaries, by Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend)

    In my view, that applies to Wilson and people like him, not just in the context of marriage but in other discussions of other topics.

  132. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    5) Ego-stroker of the Male, 24/7.

    I wonder why the gender complementarians can’t see that their views are self defeating.

    They say they believe women are weak, and men should be in charge of women, and all of life in general – but they are highly dependent on women coddling their egos and making them feel like The Man.

    If you’re a big, tough, strong he man, manly man cave man with normal self esteem, you should not need any woman giving you worth, not via constant compliments, ego stroking, etc.

    My ex fiance’ was in the “wants ego stroked 24/7″ category, one of his many annoying characteristics – and on occasions I felt he truly merited it, I would tell him “great job honey.”

    On occasions he’d tell me he did “X” and I didn’t see what the big deal was, I would not praise him.

    (I came from a family where I did not get praise. I only got put downs and criticisms from one parent.)

    But if the ex truly did something I felt was great, I’d pat him on the back for it.

    Did my ex ever do this for me, even when I told him a time or two that his support (in the form of “Hey honey, great job on X, way to go on X!”) would help me?

    Nope. He didn’t. And he would smirk at me when he knew I was expecting or wanting praise for something I had just told him (and I did not do this often), but he’d just stand there, smirking. But boy did he get bent out of shape if I didn’t praise him for every little thing.

  133. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    I assume you wanted what you’ve written to be read. I obliged. I responded according to what I perceived. If I have misperceived, just tell me so I can understand.

    Well then you perceived incorrectly. I will quote what you said and then comment.

    Alex,

    I get the impression that you, like Doug Wilson, are in the habit of treating your subject matter like a mathematician treats numbers — as logical formulas — or an astrophysicist deals with data — reality in the form of calculations. Deeply engaged in it all, to the point of unawareness of what human beings actually experience on ground level. It doesn’t seem to have much relevance.

    I tend to think that you & Doug either expect or would prefer that your fellow humans be programmed automatons, responding to perfectly calculated equations, rather than the ruckus of stimuli that is reality (visible, invisible, biological, psychological, spiritual, creative, memory, inherited memory, sensory, etc. — a coin with so many sides)Okay you are wrong on all points.

  134. Eagle wrote:

    My prediction is that after the New Atheist movement there will be another atheist movement (Former Reformed Atheists) that will make itself known and will talk about why Christianity is a cancer. They will be driven by their past experiences, and these futures “Bart Ehmans” will be ugly. I’m thinking Frank Schaeffer on steroids.

    That will be pretty bad if it happens.

    IMO the strongest arguments atheists have against Christian theism is the 1. Problem of Evil and that 2. many American Christians don’t live out the faith, even on a basic level.

    If you get a an atheist guy who once was a Neo Calvinist, he’ll be able to argue pretty effectively as to point 1, that God of the Bible is a God of evil because he doesn’t do anything to stop evil, or must be too inept to do so.

    As for point 2, holy smokes, some of these famous preachers (especially the Neo Calvinists, though the tele evangelists) are providing lots of examples of this, never mind the every day Christians I’ve personally come into contact with who have really hurt me when I needed support the most.

  135. @ dee:

    Christians in Iran and I believe in China too continue to be persecuted.

    I just saw two Iranian Christians interviewed who spent almost a year in a violent Iranian prison: their crimes boiled down to being against the govt because they were Christians and had Bibles they had been handing out to other Iranians.

  136. @ JeffT:

    Some of my posts have been winding up in moderation lately. Some go straight through, others in moderation. I think certain words trigger an automated mod function.

  137. @ Julie Anne:

    I’m sorry to hear that. I visited his blog once a long time ago and liked some of his posts, but he should not be treating people that way. And a woman does not need male permission to blog, please spare me!

  138. @ Alex Guggenheim:What in the world are we discussing. You need to spell it out, in 6th grade language, it would seem, to old Dee who is struggling to keep up intellectually.

  139. Alex, please just tell us the problem with the pastor we are discussing whose name I cannot spell. :o) I promise to give it as much an objective read as I can!

  140. @ dee:
    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    I know that I am not the most intelligent person on this earth. I have a special affinity for a movie called The Stupids. There is this wonderful song called I’m My Own Grandpa. I couldn’t find an acceptable version so I am linking to Ray Stevens’ version. http://youtu.be/eYlJH81dSiw Someday, I may understand it.

  141. Alex Guggenheim wrote:

    Aside from this singular choice of wording I find nothing in principle you are arguing. That makes for brittle ground in firming a protest.

    Where you replying to Dee, I believe:

    My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.

    @ Alex G. You can win an argument and still be wrong.

    You can win an argument and manage to needlessly alienate a lot of people, or even turn them away from Christ, which is what you seem to be aiming for, or it will be the outcome of your attitude and chosen method of debate.

    This is not a point you should gloss over, as you are doing – the point is in the Bible to boot:

    (posted by Dee)
    My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.

    Which I believe is another way of re stating 1 Cor 13:

    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

    I also believes this is fitting:

    Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

    Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

    15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:10-17)

    It looks to me as though Jesus was at times a little more concerned with how people treat other people than he was in winning debates, being right, people rigidly following doctrine, rules, and religious law to the letter.

  142. elastigirl wrote:

    What struck me is a commitment to philosophical principle that leaves little room for things like compassion and understanding of human experience. The hard-lined black & white box of principle over people.

    That was my perception as well.

    Did you ever see the first Terminator movie? There’s a scene where the hero from the future who is rescuing the lady tells her a Terminator (cyborg) has been sent to kill her.

    He explains that Terminators are programmed to kill: they never sleep, don’t feel pity, remorse, sympathy, or compassion.

    Sometimes, some Christians come across this way, so programmed to follow logic, proper debate rules, and their view of correct doctrine, they seem like Terminators.

  143. Alex,

    I want to be clear. I’m not doubting your intelligence. But if you want to say something, say it clearly. Doug Wilson has a tendency to use the most obscure word possible when something simple would suffice. If it’s truly important to you, say it in a way that everyone can understand. Otherwise most folks will assume you’d rather flex your mental muscles than tenderly shepherd souls.

  144. Alex Guggenheim wrote:

    She certainly is all too happy to make form rather unfavorable if not extremely biased assumptions about me and respond as if they have been validated.

    I’m reading what you’re putting on the blog. I don’t have to make assumptions.

    I arrived at the same conclusions she did.

  145. Alex Guggenheim wrote:

    I see, 8th grade level vocabulary is “smarty” language?

    Your tone so far has been very pompous, as though you’re trying too hard to sound intellectual.

    Your comment about “8th grade level vocabulary ” is pretty disingenuous, too.

  146. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    Alex, darling — Yes, we’ve established that I’ve misunderstood. I’ve invited explanation from you so I can better understand. Not sure why you haven’t wanted to do this.

    My more fleshed-out “misperception” at 2:39 above offered many opportunities to explain away. But I’ll spell things out & focus on two:

    Concerning your position on Race Based Special Interest Theology, (1) please explain if, how you take into account the pain of human experience, and

    (2) supposing you possess an average amount of empathy, how do you imagine an African-American christian of the reformed tradition might feel surrounded by powerbrokers who are white middle-aged men? What solutions or remedies does your position offer for the frustration/discomfort/pain that such a person might feel?

    my last attempt at a true conversation…. before i get out my long, white feather and go for your feet.

  147. @ dee:

    In light of one of his last posts about not finding a serious face smiley, I am feeling now more than ever he is trolling.

    Also, one of my posts above is in moderation. I thought folks might find that post interesting, because I found some material in a book by Christian psychiatrists who discuss people who have a propensity to be logical and correct, yet be cold and heartless.

  148. Alex – I wonder if you speak (verbally, that is) in the same way that you’ve been writing in comments here?

    If you do, I wouldn’t be surprised if people get confused or are generally uncertain about what you say.

    There’s a beauty in both simplicity and clarity when it comes to using words. It’s easy to throw around big words and obfuscate (hah!! ;)), perhaps harder to state things in simple, conversational terms.

    The operative word there is conversational

    I think that’s what we’re aiming for here, and I hope you can see your way clear to joining in on the convo.

  149. @ Beakerj:
    :-) I’m going to try it again tomorrow. Maybe a new boy-song will come to my heart and I’ll be even more certain of my superior eligibility for awwwthoritahhhh.

  150. Patrice wrote:

    and I’ll be even more certain of my superior eligibility for awwwthoritahhhh.

    Have you ever seen cartoon character Eric Cartman as a police officer?

    I don’t like every thing on the South Park cartoon show, but when Cartman does his police officer shtick, it’s pretty funny.

    Here’s a clip (there’s at least one very mild vulgar term in it, one that refers to people’s rear ends, the rest of it is clean – and the You Tuber user’s account who posted this has a dirty word in his screen name, sorry):

    Cartman Respect My Authoritah – South Park

  151. @ Daisy:

    Hi, Daisy. Haven’t seen the movie, but I completely concur that this shows up in christian culture. Possible reasons that come to mind:

    1) wanting men to feel better about christianity so reshaping christian culture to eradicate anything resembling femininity (like the softer things of kindness and intuition)

    2) homophobia, and therefore making stereotypical masculinity (unemotional, direct, rational, tough) what is godly

    3) fear of homophobia, therefore locking up theological systems to keep it out, & creating an allegiance to spelled-out systems and black & white rules to silence questions

    3) fear of the mysterious and the unknown, therefore an allegiance to spelled-out systems and black & white rules to maintain control

    4) fear of losing power and control, therefore enforcing an allegiance to spelled out systems and black & white rules

    5) fear of losing one’s ministry career (pastor, seminary professor, seminary president) therefore enforcing an allegiance to spelled out systems and black & white rules to maintain control

    6) fear of becoming unnecessary and irrelevant therefore enforcing an allegiance to spelled out systems and black & white rules to keep oneself relevant and needed.

    7) fear of losing power

    Some overlap there, but that just about does it.

  152. @ Anon 1:
    “I have my position about our race problems in America and they probably will not go over well here.” Ach.

    I live in an 85% black middle-class neighborhood and what amazes me is how generous and gracious my neighbors are to me. After everything and even though so much continues. Occasionally various children visit (they like my arty house) and one or another will have something to say about being black/white, about something they saw or heard, maybe just a mention or maybe a question or maybe a long story recited. They study my face carefully via side-glances for my response. So I tell them what they need/want to hear spoken aloud, that this white person sees that the world isn’t at all fair (and it should be!) but that they are as lovely as everyone, which is very lovely indeed. In various ways/forms, I say this again and again. And then they bounce away, as kids do, with a giggle and a push. A couple of times after they’ve left, I wept.

    So for me, although I am, of course, impressed by various members of the black intellectual community (unimpressed by others), this is what remains—my kind neighbors and their beautiful children. In my odd spot in this corner of the world. Where I see God.

    So I guess that’s the point of it. There is no way I will get involved in a legalistic and power-deranged religious system when I, right here, have what makes me one of the luckiest people in the world. Being with God among His/Her children in all grace. :-)

  153. @ Nicholas:
    Now that I am home from work I have been able to take a closer look at the 2003 Michael Marlowe article you linked to. I am simply horrified. I had been a part of the evangelical world from 1970 until a couple of years ago when I was ejected from a Southern Baptist Church for having recommended that evangelism should be pursued with love rather than with fear and psychological manipulation. In the 40 some years I had been associated with evangelicalism, and indeed until just 10 days or 2 weeks ago, I had no idea that there were any Christians anywhere defending the institution of slavery, either in its ancient or in its more modern forms. Now I learn that the legitimacy of slavery, at least in biblical times, is accepted as an article of faith in apparently large segments of self-avowed Christianity.

    I recognize that my arguments will avail to persuade nobody holding to such notions. Nevertheless, I suggest that these people are failing, at least, to distinguish between God’s perfect will and His permissive will. God, through Moses, permitted divorce and even instituted certain regulations regarding the practice. Surely we all agree that God does not approve of divorce. I am aware of no prohibition of polygamy in the Old Testament, yet by the time of Paul we are informed that elders and deacons, at least, must be the husbands of but one wife. The Old Testament Law prohibits murder and adultery. Jesus ups the ante, teaching that hatred and lust are moral equivalents. I, and perhaps you also, could go on.

    Clearly God previously accepted things He did not approve. Jesus’ new commandment is that we love one another. John 13:34. Paul informs us that love does not insist on its own way. 1 Corinthians 13:5. Love is simply incompatible with the notion of one person lording it over another. I cannot believe that I find myself having to actually argue the point, but slavery simply is not acceptable, nor was it ever so.

    Likewise, misogynistic, patriarchal notions permitting and even encouraging the domination of women by men, whether in marriage, in the church, in civil society, or otherwise, are simply abhorrent–aberrant views of Paul’s teaching, and its application, notwithstanding.

  154. numo wrote:

    really don’t see much difference between Wilson and Lester Maddox, George Wallace (especially in his irascible intolerance toward the Civil Rights movement, David Duke (and all other KKK officials present and former).
    That *anyone* would allow him even *semi*-legitimate status is deeply troubling and speaks to multiple, overlapping problems within a certain segment of the contemporary American church.

    Yes. There is something profoundly wrong in the human heart, that it is drawn over and over again, into systems of power: those who want power and people who want to live under power. If I have to judge, I carry deeper criticism towards the citizenry/members who allow greedy and narcissistic people to weasel their way into leadership and then acquiesce to them.

    It is this system of power that allows racism (insert preferred label for fear/contempt of the differently-hued “other”) and misogyny to grow on the social body. I hate nothing except this. And this I hate with a passion.

  155. @ elastigirl:

    “… fear of the mysterious and the unknown, fear of losing power and control, fear of losing one’s ministry career, fear of becoming unnecessary and irrelevant, fear of losing power.”

    Being alive is scary!

    “You WILL respect mah authoritah!”

    Whoop!

  156. about the mysterious and the unknown:

    There is a natural fear of the unknown. But logically, the unknown category has to contain at least some goodness and greatness and wonderfulness waiting to be discovered. After all, everything in the “known” category started out in the unknown category.

  157. @ elastigirl:
    Yes there is. There is terror, there is dread, there is the breathlessness before the roller coaster takes its next plunge. They all occur at one time or another for each. But I prefer to spend the tenor of my life in the breathless state. Something about faith, maybe. That assurance of things hoped for, in things yet unseen.

    Dread of chaos is felt in destruction. That is not where I hang the hat of my life.

    Good night, elastigirl. I like the things you write.

  158. @ numo:
    We? This fallacious form of psuedo-enlargement of one’s argument reveals an underlying distrust of its claim by the author.

    Why not you join the convo instead of posturing. Yes I speak this way face to face and regularly teach a large class which is eagerly attended by church members.

    The class membership ranges from those who did not graduate from high school to Ph.D.’s and none of which have difficulty understanding me and much of what I teach is written as I write here and communicated via power point. Not that I owe you such an explanation seeing you are now reduced to ad hominems in your complaint which is irrelevant but because I am indeed thoughtful I went ahead and scratched your itch for you.

    So I have indulged your rude and presumptive post only because I am thoughtful and fun-lovin

  159. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex, darling — Yes, we’ve established that I’ve misunderstood. I’ve invited explanation from you so I can better understand. Not sure why you haven’t wanted to do this.
    My more fleshed-out “misperception” at 2:39 above offered many opportunities to explain away. But I’ll spell things out & focus on two:
    Concerning your position on Race Based Special Interest Theology, (1) please explain if, how you take into account the pain of human experience, and
    (2) supposing you possess an average amount of empathy, how do you imagine an African-American christian of the reformed tradition might feel surrounded by powerbrokers who are white middle-aged men? What solutions or remedies does your position offer for the frustration/discomfort/pain that such a person might feel?
    my last attempt at a true conversation…. before i get out my long, white feather and go for your feet.

    elastigirl wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex, darling — Yes, we’ve established that I’ve misunderstood. I’ve invited explanation from you so I can better understand. Not sure why you haven’t wanted to do this.
    My more fleshed-out “misperception” at 2:39 above offered many opportunities to explain away. But I’ll spell things out & focus on two:
    Concerning your position on Race Based Special Interest Theology, (1) please explain if, how you take into account the pain of human experience, and
    (2) supposing you possess an average amount of empathy, how do you imagine an African-American christian of the reformed tradition might feel surrounded by powerbrokers who are white middle-aged men? What solutions or remedies does your position offer for the frustration/discomfort/pain that such a person might feel?
    my last attempt at a true conversation…. before i get out my long, white feather and go for your feet.

    elastigirl sweetie

    I cannot provide you clarity on why you wrongly perceive me until you explain how you came to the assumptions you did. You have not done that and I do not read minds so it is not that I am unwilling because I am quite willing.

    1. Your question about human experience is extremely general. I can only give a general answer which is that God has contained in his Word promises and a plan for human suffering.

    2. Who are the power brokers of which you speak? Reformed church leaders or secular ones I am unclear. I can tell you that most people white, black or brown are not power brokers. But are these power brokers doing something to hurt you? In the end, though, I appeal to Joseph, Daniel, Paul and our Lord who trusted the real power broker in any context no matter its appearance of favor ability or not toward them.

  160. @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex and Numo

    I’ve been away for a day and haven’t read any comments but the last few but let’s dial it back a bit. Debate ideas, NOT opinions about each other.

  161. @ Daisy:
    @ ScotT:
    Daisy wrote:

    Alex Guggenheim wrote:
    Aside from this singular choice of wording I find nothing in principle you are arguing. That makes for brittle ground in firming a protest.
    Where you replying to Dee, I believe:
    My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.
    @ Alex G. You can win an argument and still be wrong.
    You can win an argument and manage to needlessly alienate a lot of people, or even turn them away from Christ, which is what you seem to be aiming for, or it will be the outcome of your attitude and chosen method of debate.
    This is not a point you should gloss over, as you are doing – the point is in the Bible to boot:
    (posted by Dee)
    My post argues beyond the theology (which is important) to love which shows an understanding of the pain of those who suffered under a supposedly “Christian” nation racism.
    Which I believe is another way of re stating 1 Cor 13:
    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
    I also believes this is fitting:
    Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
    Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
    15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:10-17)
    It looks to me as though Jesus was at times a little more concerned with how people treat other people than he was in winning debates, being right, people rigidly following doctrine, rules, and religious law to the letter.

    Well so far I have had someone misrepresent my case by saying I am simply telling people to get over it, I have been accused of trolling because someone does not get my dry humor about an emoticon serious face and rather emphatically without explanation been described as cold, compared to a Terminator, treating people like automatons and using overly intellectual language from my use of vocabulary words I learned in Junior high. Tell me again who is failing the decent treatment of people criterion?

  162. @ GuyBehindtheCurtain:
    GuyBehindtheCurtain wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex and Numo
    I’ve been away for a day and haven’t read any comments but the last few but let’s dial it back a bit. Debate ideas, NOT opinions about each other.

    I concur but I did not initiate the opinions about each other nor have kept it alive though I have responded in my own defense so I suggest you go to the source of its initiation. Now I defending myself regarding opinions about me by others us verbotten, well then I will excuse myself all together.

  163. @ Alex Guggenheim:
    When you repetitively refuse to honestly answer questions regarding your curiously phrased statements loaded with ambiguous criticisms, you are liable to experience antagonistic responses. This is how it is with humans; it was ever thus.

    If you are interested in something other than thread disruption, write clearly and openly. If you don’t, we will know why you are here. Quite simple really, isn’t it?

    And because you seem to think that everything worth mentioning is in the Bible, here you are:

    “The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.”

  164. @ Alex Guggenheim:Alex
    Could you please tell me that exact issue that you want me to address. I asked this yesterday. You made a sweeping statement about Anyabwile’s arguments not being up to snuff in your opinion. Why don;t you mention one or two and we can go from here.

    Could you also stop with the prose? It reminds me of a Star Trek episode in which an entire culture spoke in metaphors, all the time. Assume I am simple and address your concern. I have no idea to what you are referring.

  165. @ Alex Guggenheim:I do not get you. I am trying. I have even tried humor. State your case or move on. This is a blog, not a term paper or an oratorial exercise. That means it is important to state your case clearly and simply. When few people get what you are saying, including me and I have been around this milieu for a long time, it means you need to up your game in this arena.

  166. dee wrote:

    @ Alex Guggenheim:I do not get you. I am trying. I have even tried humor. State your case or move on. This is a blog, not a term paper or an oratorial exercise. That means it is important to state your case clearly and simply. When few people get what you are saying, including me and I have been around this milieu for a long time, it means you need to up your game in this arena.

    Dee

    You have amazingly transformed into the very thing you claim to eschew in reducing your argument to petty issues of form. But you have given rise in me for an article about my unexpected experience here. I am so sorry firm stumbles you so much. I suspect this same attitude is present in those who cannot tolerate certain human forms as well. My participation here has ended. Best wishes and if you are interested the article will be posted by Sunday evening at my blog.

  167. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    Alex, from my reading of the thread and the interactions, all anyone has asked is for you to expand on your first comment and give some detail to your dismissal of Anyabwile as ‘sophomoric’ and some more detailed reasons for excluding cultural, racial, and other experiential elements from discussions. On your site you’ve correctly written that we’re all spiritually unified in Christ, but it’s naive to think that such unity and uniformity on a spiritual level removes the anthropological and experiential differences between us.
    I think this may be the heart of the disagreement: while it’s easy to agree that we’re all uniform on a spiritual level if we’re Christian, that isn’t really the issue at hand. The issue is how should Christians approach those anthropological and experiential differences. From your comments your position appears to be that it isn’t a concern, which is fine, but you haven’t articulated why. That’s really all people are asking for – give some reasons for your position.

  168. @ Alex Guggenheim:
    Alex translation: “Dee, You do the very thing you criticize. Seems to me you have the same attitude as racists. I regret that you don’t like God’s laws. I’ve decided to write about it–you can read it Sun night at my blog. I’m finished here. Best wishes!”

    So you’ve decided to go away instead of engage openly and honestly. Ok. Best wishes to you, too, Alex.

  169. @ Alex Guggenheim:

    Another Translation: “Since I, Alex Guggenheim, could not dazzle you with my brilliance, I tried to baffle you with my B.S. Since I couldn’t baffle you with my B.S. I take my leave and will try to baffle elsewhere where my baffling is actually appreciated.”

    Sorry, Alex. High sounding nonsense is still nonsense no matter how confusing you make through flaming abuse and over-use of the English language.

  170. This thread has left me . . . well, speechless.

    Someone calls a man’s writing “sophomoric.”

    The very people he is writing “to” ask for clarification and examples.

    The clarifications never come.

    “Someone” stomps off to write an article about “his” experience on “his own” blog.

    Very strange :( Maybe even sophomoric! ;)

  171. Pam wrote:

    On your site you’ve correctly written that we’re all spiritually unified in Christ, but it’s naive to think that such unity and uniformity on a spiritual level removes the anthropological and experiential differences between us.

    I think this was a great comment.

  172. Bridget wrote:

    The very people he is writing “to” ask for clarification and examples.
    The clarifications never come.

    I kept asking for a point to discuss. I am left confused. You know me, I will talk about anything.

  173. @ Mara: I think he does better at his own blog. There he can indulge his own ideas and not get much pushback. When feedback comes, it can be most threatening. I have learned much from this process and I have grown as I engage with others who thing and express themselves differently.

  174. @ Patrice:

    “There is terror, there is dread, there is the breathlessness before the roller coaster takes its next plunge. They all occur at one time or another for each. But I prefer to spend the tenor of my life in the breathless state. Something about faith, maybe. That assurance of things hoped for, in things yet unseen.”
    *********

    Hi, Patrice.

    One of my favorite storybooks as a kid was “The Cookie Tree” — any other ’70s children around here who remember this book? The art was great. But the story was great, too…

    a mysterious tree suddenly appears overnight in the town square of a medieval village. Silver bark, golden leaves, and chocolate cookies tucked in amongst the leaves. The villagers were terrified! What omen doth this portend? We’ve never seen a tree like this before.

    What to do! While some people hid in their homes for fear of this strange, unfamiliar thing, others of the grown ups and village leaders gathered outside to discuss how to deal with this mysterious, unknown thing. “Cut it down!” “Destroy it!” seemed to be the best idea. Yes, that’s the ticket.

    Until one young kid (or a few) went out, looked at it, walked around it, got closer, touched it… hmmm, still alive here, nothing bad happened…. rustled the strange golden leaves,…. picked a cookie…..and *GASP* ATE IT!!!

    It was tasty. A little crisp. Delightful.

    And the sky didn’t fall.

    Soon, the grown ups noticed the laughter and happy sounds coming from the town square. Those huddled inside their homes began to peer through their closed windows, crack their doors open, and slowly ventured outside. Some dared follow the children’s example. Then others, and soon the whole village was approaching the mysterious tree and enjoying the chocolate cookies.

    The next morning the tree was gone. But perhaps less fear of new, different & unfamiliar things stayed on.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Cookie-Tree-Jay-Williams/dp/0819301590

  175. dee wrote:

    I do not get you. I am trying. I have even tried humor. State your case or move on. This is a blog, not a term paper or an oratorial exercise. That means it is important to state your case clearly and simply. When few people get what you are saying, including me and I have been around this milieu for a long time, it means you need to up your game in this arena.

    I love you, Dee. LOL Not a term paper or oratorial exercise, indeed!

  176. I will say I am disappointed because Alex has some pretty good blog posts at his blog I have enjoyed. I would have loved to hear him articulate his thoughts more here because he might have some input we need to consider.

  177. Patrice wrote:

    So I guess that’s the point of it. There is no way I will get involved in a legalistic and power-deranged religious system when I, right here, have what makes me one of the luckiest people in the world. Being with God among His/Her children in all grace.

    I missed this one from earlier. How beautiful. I liken it to “grace” to one soul at a time in our every day walk out there in God’s “Redeemed” world. Why do we seem to forget the main point was to “redeem” it? We need to tell believers about that! :o)

  178. @ Anon 1:

    I had read a small bit at Alex’s blog as well. I just don’t understand the actions he has taken on this thread.

  179. I’ve never read Alex’s blog but I did find many of his comments obscure and confusing (due to some grammar/terminology weirdnesses and a few cases of prepositions nested within one another like Russian dolls). I don’t think he was trolling or threatening, I think he really was trying to communicate but something got lost in translation. What it was, I can’t quite say. But something got lost.

  180. @ GuyBehindtheCurtain:

    Just to clarify. When I put up comments like this one I’m not yelling at anyone. I just wanted the conversation to change. And Alex and Numo were the last two parties to the conversation so their names got mentioned. When I/we yell it’s usually behind closed doors. And you’ll know we are yelling.

  181. One more quick admin comment. Letting a thread die means you have to accept not getting in the last word. Dead threads don’t talk.

  182. elastigirl wrote:

    One of my favorite storybooks as a kid was “The Cookie Tree” — any other ’70s children around here who remember this book? The art was great. But the story was great, too…

    Note: STORY. Not a Term Paper or Manifesto or Theological/Oratorial Exercise.

  183. Daisy wrote:

    @ Argo:
    I’ve seen guys like this before, and my theory is that Wilson would probably argue that slavery was actually benefical to slaves.
    There’s also a similar type of sexism, I think scholars refer to it as “benevolent sexism.”
    It’s the form of sexism where men (and the women who are sympathetic to their view) will say that affording full equality to women and prohibiting women from doing “X” but allowing men to do “X” is for a woman’s own safety, benefit, and protection.
    Even if the motive truly springs from altruism, it’s still discriminating against a group of people.

    I recently read an article by a Calvinista arguing in favor of complementarianism. He used the very tactic you mention to try and show women why they should allow themselves to be treated as less-than. I forget the exact wording, but he said something to the effect of: “Women should resist male authority like a person resists a warm coat on a cold winter’s night, or a president resists a Secret Service protection detail during a crowd meet-and-greet.”

  184. Pingback: Dealing with Offensive Writings | preciousonesblog UNITED STATES

  185. @ William Birch:
    Wilson has actually said that he courts controversy on purpose. He says that you shouldn’t be racist, but if you don’t get accused of being a racist, then you’re not following Christ.